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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Driscoll’

Here’s the funny thing about worldview: Everybody has one, but it’s not the one they say they have.

Mark Driscoll reminded me of this in “Radical Reformission”, saying that people usually act in contradiction to the worldview they profess.

This fact is at the heart of how we as Christians use worldview as a tool for evangelism. This fact is also at he heart of how we as Christian mis-use worldview as a tool for evangelism. Let me explain.

Coming to understand worldview was a very exciting time for me as a Christian. My first exposures to David Wells, Don Carson, and Frances Schaeffer were unforgettable. I absolutely cherish the increase in wisdom I gleaned from reading these men. They helped me see that Christianity is reasonable and coherent, and that the unbeliever’s unbelief and sin is exposed by the incoherence of their worldview. As I would evangelize from time to time, I found myself analyzing the worldview of the person I was trying to share the gospel with, with particular respect to post-modernism. As I would discuss evangelism with other believers, my emphasis typically gravitated toward unraveling worldview.

Most of this is good. It involves listening and interaction with the people we evangelize. And yet I can’t help but think that most of the time, I’ve made things too complicated. It’s not that I’ve been lecturing people about their worldview, wagging my finger at them about their epistemological dilemmas. It’s more that I was spending too much time trying to move them out of their worldview and into mine, when most of the time they were already there.

I mean to say that when the discussion is philosophical, post-modernism is the flavor of the day, but when we’re walking down the street, we’re all good, old-fashioned pre-moderns at heart. Pre-modernism held that truth could be known, that God (or gods, or at least the supernatural) existed, and they revealed truth to us for which we were accountable.

We are all pre-modern when we look for meaning in our life, when we demand justice, when we help little old ladies across the street, when we expect others to correctly understand what we say, and even when we grab a coat because it’s cold outside.

istock_000004313258xsmall.jpgTruth is like gravity. I literally holds the moral universe together. We can all deny that it exists, but that only makes us out to be fools. We assume truth just like we assume gravity, And in the end we’re all grateful that our feet are planted firmly on the ground.

The practical results of denying truth would be like removing gravity from the universe. Imagine our feet leaving the ground. Imagine the atmosphere dissolving into space. Imagine planets leaving their orbits around the sun and dying. Imagine the universe itself dissipating. Nobody wants to live in that universe.

Now imagine someone coming to your door to take what’s your because they want it and they’re stronger that you. Imagine having no grounds for objection. Nobody wants to live in that world. Nobody does…yet.

So we see that people are not willing to live with any worldview other than the pre-modern, Christian, Biblical worldview. They only depart from it as long as it serves them. While it eases their guilt and permits their sin they’ll say that anything goes. When their own pursuits are obstructed, their true colors are revealed. And even while they deny the Biblical worlview, they assume it.
In the course of evangelism, I think it’s important to remember that it is the gospel that saves people. I certainly know and believe that, and yet I find myself trying to grease the wheels for the gospel by deconstructing their worldview first. Make no mistake: it is important to listen and understand where people are coming from. Worldview helps you figure that out in a hurry, just avoid the pitfalls of over-thinking and misuse.

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I’ve recently finished one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read in quite some time. Mark Driscoll’s “Confessions of a Reformission Rev.”is that book. Quite a lot has been said about Driscoll over the last year or so. He is the infamous “cussing pastor” mentioned in the popular and controversial “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller. He is closely linked with Doug Padgitt and Brian McLaren as he worked with them earlier in his life before splitting with them over their theological drift. My guess is that Driscoll is one man who many think they know without having heard him speak for himself.

For this reason alone, I decided I needed to find out what he was about: everything I have come into contact with that has to do with him has been compelling, for better or for worse. Say what you want about him, he is never boring, and more than that, his influence is on the rise.

So I read the book. It did not disappoint. I’m reading “The Radical Reformission” right now, but that will have to wait. My reaction was both strong and mixed. Let me explain:

  1. Mark is, I believe, unnecessarily crass… a lot. He does not cuss in the book, but admits that he has struggled with swearing in the past. At the same time he is known for crossing comfort barriers in his preaching. In his book the words are not the issue so much as the phrases. You could call is crass, you could call it coarse, or you could call it frank. To his thinking it is a part of identifying with culture. You may disagree. At times I did.
  2. Mark calls the teachings of Padgitt and McLaren as heretical, yet insists on calling them friends. Go figure.
  3. Mark has a different idea of the church’s purpose than I do. He rejects the attraction-heavy, market-driven approach of Willow Creek, but he does believe that the church must market itself to unbelievers to a lesser degree. He remarks that his church is more for those unsaved people they are trying to reach than for the ones already there. He calls this being “missional.” Many people have now hijacked this term to justify becoming worldly in the name of evangelism. For Mark, being “missional” means having a singular drive to go into culture and see people saved. This is a right pursuit, but I believe that the first purpose is for the equipping of Christians for the work of service (Eph 4:11-13), under which evangelism falls.
  4. Mark goes a little to far in my opinion in accommodating to culture. This is a very touchy issue. He rightly observes that most Christians do not want to accommodate to culture at all; most want to drag converts into their own culture. When living IN the world, there is always the risk of becoming OF the world (1 Cor 5:10, James 4:4). I think Mark crosses this line a bit. I am reading “The Radical Reformission” right now, which addresses this question, so I am withholding judgment for now.
  5. Mark asks us to be more considerate of the cultures of the unsaved (in his case, the unchurched, ultra-liberal, punk rock culture of Seattle) while he mocks other subcultures. He picks on the ultra-conservative a lot. He unintentionally implies that the legalists are less deserving of patience than the heavily tattooed, pot-smoking crowd.

One the other hand:

  1. Mark convinced me that I do not truly love the unsaved like I should. He commended me for loving the people in my church but criticized me for not caring about my neighbor. I would classify this as a life-changing conclusion.
  2. Mark pushed me to re-evaluate the Church’s obligation to it’s community. This conclusion mirrors my personal reflections and extends them to the Church as a whole. He paints churches with too broad brush strokes, but he sums up the basic types of churches relative to their views on evangelism.
  3. Mark helped me rethink my ideas about how to contextualize the gospel to different subcultures. I would say that I have understood that context is important to the gospel (see all of Acts 17) but that I may have been too legalistic in what I expected of converts. In other words, I have expected that they should become like me. Christians and churches can exist inside subcultures rather than having to conform to mine.
  4. Mark has challenged my thinking about what is Christian liberty and what is worldliness. Again, I would say that I have not been a legalist about what passes and Christian liberty, but I have probably been too narrow. He has drawn me to examine exactly why some of my hang-ups exist. Whether I agree with him or not, I understand it better for myself.

The guy who titled a chapter “Jesus, Our Offering Was $137 and I Want To Use it to Buy Bullets” is definitely worth a read. Love him or hate him, he’ll make you think.

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Calling all dudes.

Watch everyone asI play with fire. After asking my wife a few weeks ago if she was reading my blog, I was urged to color it up a little. Basically she said it was boring and that it lacked variety, i.e. pictures and video. My wife: best friend and harshest critic.

Enjoy my first attempt at posting youtube.

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