Truth and Lies: Mark Driscoll – One-ism vs Two-ism

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church is borderline infamous. His blunt and sometimes brash style of expository preaching has made his sermon feeds one of the top of the iTunes charts—and made him the internet’s piñata.

As the co-host of The Exchange, Driscoll covered the topic of one-ism vs. two-ism, primarily focusing on the realm of popular culture over two sessions, with his third session devoted how one-ism affects pastoral care. This post relates the big ideas of the first session (although I unfortunately missed the first half of session one due to a meeting).

Driscoll focused primarily on what it means to be a worshipper, and simply that we are all worshippers all the time. It’s what we’re created for—and also what we were created as.

We were created to reflect, mirror, image God in creation, says Driscoll. However, through sin, we have a proclivity to worship created things rather than our Creator God.

This is most apparent today in our “sacred culture,” the marks of which are:

  1. The myths that define life
  2. Community
  3. Sacred ritual

These aspects show up in most every area of our lives.

Music. We follow our favorite bands; we sing their songs, we buy all their records. When they make a bad one, we’re in music hell. Concerts are worship events.

Sports. We worship teams, dress up like our favorite athletes by wearing the same jersey and number. Our worship activities start up a few blocks away as we walk to the stadium and talk about what’s going to happen. “People won’t even drive to your church, but they’ll walk to the ball park,” says Driscoll. There are sacred spaces, such as “the hallowed ground of old Yankee Stadium.” If your team is winning, you’re in heaven. If it’s losing, you’re in hell.

Television. People define their lives by certain shows.  What time they’re on determines our schedules. We have to know who got kicked off the island. We need to know how Lost ended. Oprah used the medium of television to launch her own religion—her gospel is one of self empowerment, self-improvement, not for God’s glory but for your own. “How many Christian women get more Oprah than Bible?” he asks.

The Mall. The mall is a temple. It’s where we go to get an identity. They even have a booth where you can get your eyebrows plucked, and you can get a massage. In the mall.

Food. You get a 12 ounce bottle of coke anywhere else; here we get a bucket and a straw. People are starving in other countries; here we’re eating ourselves to death. “Comfort foods; Jesus said he’d send a comforter, apparently it’s in the fridge,” says Driscoll.

Medication. When the answer to every problem is take this pill, you have a culture that believes that heaven comes from taking medication. “Watch the ads. They show you the false heaven and false hell,” he says.

Arts & Recreation. “For some people it is identity. It’s idolatry. It’s passionate, unceasing outpouring.”

“If you look at the world and say where is the money, where’s the passion, where’s the energy—there’s the idolatry.”

But idolatry only fails us. Driscoll ended his first session with the following remarks:

  1. If you worship one thing, you have to demonize the other things.
  2. People and things fail as gods. They disappoint and devastate. The savior isn’t saving, so there has to be a sacrifice.
  3. You end up using people instead of loving them.
  4. People violently defend their idol—if you try to take it away, they’ll become violent.
  5. You have to sacrifice to your idol—family, money, friends, health
  6. We have theologies that present Jesus as an idol giver—health & wealth, “Jesus will give you a good marriage…”

“If you follow the passionate worship of people, you will find that ours is a very sacred day where people have lost sight of the worship of God,” he concluded.