This is how John Bunyan put it. Christ not only died for me. He died for me as one who put him on the cross. He died not just for the ungodly but for his enemies. It is the brethren of Joseph who sold him into slavery who are made the partakers of Joseph’s power and Joseph’s riches, as Adolph Safir put it. So it is with Christ and me.
Ok, I have posted enough on Driscoll, so I’m backing off. Except for one last reflection. (To be fair, I have not posted so much about Driscoll as I have about those who enabled him).
What Driscoll knows is that once this mediation thing gets out of hand, he is done. He is not a fool. He knows that there are more than one way to dominate a man. All the promises to restore him to ministry will end up in not restoring him to ministry. That’s the way this thing works. The promises of kindness and understanding will simply evaporate once the pile on begins. I am not saying what should or should not happen. I am predicting what will happen.
Driscoll’s attempt to restrict the accountability to what is laid out in his church constitution simply expresses his awareness that once the “outsiders” get inside, his goose is cooked. They want him out. He knows it. Mars Hill is not so certain this is what they want. Their process is being judged by the outsiders as too incestuous and giving Driscoll too much control. Actually, that’s why they approved the constitution the way it is. It’s too easy to knock off an entrepreneurial pastor who often will end up going against the popular wisdom of the congregation.
Take a look at Saddleback’s leadership arrangement. The reality is that leadership at Saddleback is on lock down. Pastor Warren hasn’t warranted any accusations of abusive domination. In that sense there is nothing to see. But in putting pieces together, Saddleback fits into the leader dominated governmental structure where the people of the church can’t “get at” the Pastor.
Hybels at Willowcreek has done an incredible job of plurality, from what I can see. His Board is operative and filled with substantial people. Hybels has freely shared some lessons he has learned in this area, and with a healthy dose of self mistrust has put in place structures of shared oversight.
Watching mega churches go through these kinds of crises is not a happy experience. Whey they crash, it’s nuclear. Can we say Crystal Cathedral? This is the downside of mega churches with mega stars. Staying under the radar so that things are not exacerbated by the press and the pundits is an almost impossible feat to accomplish. I would say that what the Ft Lauderdale Calvary Chapel is doing with the Pastor Coy situation seems to be a healthy way of keeping noses from sniffing rumors. Coy has simply vanished and the church has closed down communication. Of course, this is a much different situation than Mars Hill, where the dissatisfaction is in the pews. Not so with Coy. But it still could have been turned into a rumor mill and a false step could have brought about a crisis larger than the one they had.
John Piper has famously quipped that Romans 9-11 is a free-will killer. There is many a seminary student who finds himself/herself ending up with monergism simply because Roman 9-11 seems to offer no other way around it. They don’t want to go there but are forced to by what they think is the plain meaning of the biblical text.
What I have found is that there is another way to read these three chapters that are much more in line with the story line of Scripture, God’s holy love in saving to the uttermost. Once a person finds that the traditional texts that they have been taught teach unconditional election are as explainable with a synergistic grid, the Bible flowers with the beauty of God’s love for all in the death of Jesus on the cross.
Ben Witherington explains Romans 9-11 from a nonCalvinistic perspective.
“You who suffer, come to him, for he cures. You who tremble, come to him, for he smiles.” Victor Hugo
Most of us are beyond the Driscoll stuff. Nothing new here. Knew it was coming. It was just about when. A lot of people knew this.
Who didn’t seem to know it were his mega-star enablers. Janet Medford reflects on this a bit. I have read other similar posts. See Driscoll Drama: To Those Who Sold Tickets. We are waiting for a word from those who got on the Driscoll bus, looked past the obvious, got other people on the bus and now are PRing themselves on social media as praying and hoping for Driscoll’s restoration – rather than coming clean with their contribution to this catastrophe.
Driscoll will have a right to be disgusted at those who so warmly greeted and affirmed him and now condescendingly pray for him to get right with God. I am sure it is a stomach turner for him. He is now alone with his judges, those who used his fame, his new ways, his cred and hip ways to support their own agendas. There has always been enough info out there for those who cared to know to ask serious questions and slow down the bus. They didn’t. Can we say The Gospel Coalition, which is establishing a track record of deafness. Can we say CJ Maheny? The Gospel Coalition is looking like more than a coalition and more like a platoon.
I cannot even begin to imagine how the disaffected people at Mars Hill felt when the mega-stars were hyping Driscoll at the very time the disaffected were trying to catch their breath and get the word out about the abusive culture of the church.
I think one of the steps in the larger process is for The Gospel Coalition to manage itself and give account of their culture in a public way, explaining how they could get so wrong what others felt was to obvious to miss.
“As he that fears God, fears nothing else, so he that sees God, sees everything else.” John Donne
The Bible and prayer are like salt on an icy heart: they may seem impotent in the moment, but God’s melting work has begun. Kevin DeYoung