Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Driscoll vs. Emergent

Some conversation in the blogosphere is centering around a lecture given by Mark Driscoll for the Convergence Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I recommend that one listens to the PODCAST if he/she has 1.5 hours of free time and doesn't mind heretical accusations being placed on followers of Jesus. Though I am typically opposed to pain medications, the length of Driscoll's lecture prompted me to take (1) ibuprofen tablets. The content caused me to take another. (2) pills later I am very disappointed.

The presentation has initiated the aforementioned blog dialogue that appears to be quite hateful and intolerant. Driscoll initiates the bantering by referencing Emergent and/or theologically non-conservative-evangelicals, specifically Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren, and Rob Bell. I have read and/or listened to each of the three and my intent here is not to defend each's theology or to speak negatively about of any. My deepest concern is that the focus of many teachers, public voices, and bloggers has been to harpoon each other at the expense of learning the way of Jesus. That which is called "theology" has become quite the opposite. What should be expressions about and of God have become psuedo-academic/scholastic rants to defend one's stance on any given issue or doctrine while sacrificing the worth of others in the community.

I may unpack the previous line of thought later as I must fully process and think through the proper language to use. For now, my question in response to this podcast is, "What good did this do for the Kingdom of God?"


Travis.Bickle said...

I am much more interested in living and working among the poor, these days. When I began doing this, intentionally, with God's grace everyday - I no longer felt the need to defend or develop a theology. In fact, the only persons I trust to learn from or dialogue with or about, are the persons who are actually living (or have actually lived) what they have found to be True as a follower of Jesus (Merton, Claiborne, Romero, Nhat Hanh, Berry, Rohr, Prejean, King, Gandhi). I don't really know about the life of Pagitt, McLaren, or Bell, though I know their theology. I want to know about a persons life, and the fruit or potential fruit from that - because it is exclusively "...Your love for one another [that] will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

I am quite sure you understand all of this, but I thought it was relevant to reinforce.

-Steb- said...

What good did this do for the Kingdom?

Well my only response to this is Paul and his dealings with heresy (not assuming these are heresy). I think that we all agree that his methods (verbal mockery) for conveying his thought may be questionable and even sinful. However should we let this detract from the possibility that there may have been some truth in what he had to say? (Oh and by the way this blog seems, no it absolutely does employ the same method of belittling, and disrespect for the thoughts of others!!!!!!)
I thought his intentions where clear from the beginning that his intention was not to attack the people but to deal with their theology? But I could be wrong, and I could have totally misunderstood all of his introductory thoughts about this exact point.
If we are all seeking to learn the way of Jesus, then we are bound to come up with differing ideas and viewpoints. Out of this most naturally comes the possibility of heresy. So if one where to encounter what he perceived to be heresy, then what should his approach be? Confront it(But I guess I am assuming that there is such a thing as heresy). So what good did this do for the kingdom? 1.)If there is not a heresy then it served a critic that can spure new thinking and challenge old. 2.)If there is heresy then it fights against a poison that stands to destroy the faith of many. (Col. 2:8,18/II Timothy 4:2-4)

Mike said...

I agree with the harpooning bit. We spend far too much time attacking each other. I will listen to what Mark has to say though.

In order to live out our faith we have to have an understanding of that faith. Sadly many like myself have no idea what Emergent believes. Clarification would help

Joe Foltz said...

I think you have to chalk a lot of it up to Driscoll's personality. He's the "cussing pastor" Donal Miller talked about in Blue Like Jazz. I once heard him talk about preaching and he stated with pride that he has so offended people when he's been preaching, he's placed bodyguards at the front of the stage so he can't be attacked. The gospel is scandaline, but where do we draw the line at concerning being offensively blunt?

Ryan Schmitz said...


I think that a major concern that Driscoll has is that many of these preachers are not coming from a scriptural point of reference. He is a reformed theologian. Driscoll is going to disagree with people that are going to focus more on emotion and experience. He is an extremely intelligent man (as is Merton and McLaren); he knows his scripture and he is very consistent (in spite of a foul mouth from time to time).

Driscoll is abrasive and offensive to some, however many of the things that Bell and McLaren say are biting and insulting to those who do not share their perspectives.

Matthew 5:38-48, NASB

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone want to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only you brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."