Truth and Lies: Mark Driscoll – One-ism in Culture

In his first lecture, Mark Driscoll addressed how we are created to reflect, mirror and image God, but through our sin, we have a proclivity to, rather than reflect God, fall into one of two idolatrous options.

The first is that we worship ourselves. “This is, perhaps best evidenced by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In his hierarchy, Maslow says that our greatest need is self-actualization,” says Driscoll.

Our second option is to we worship other people. This accounts for rise of celebrity culture.

Radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky has come across this condition that people are suffering from the effects of mirroring other people. We no longer have role models, we have celebrities.

What we need, Driscoll argues, are role models. People would live an exemplary life, a model life, and we would imitate them (cf. Hebrews 13). You don’t worship them, but you learn from them how to be a better mirror. (As an aside, Driscoll is impressed that in God’s common grace and general revelation, the non-Christian radio host can identify the same problem that Scripture reveals, even if his solutions are different.)

“Today we have celebrities. They’re not role models. They’re infamous for bad behavior. But they haven’t done anything,” says Driscoll. “‘The only way to become a celebrity is to do something extreme,’ says Dr. Drew in The Mirror Effect. There’s a cultural appetite for more extreme examples.” [Read more...]

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. [Read more...]

Truth and Lies: Identity

I’m at the Exchange: The Truth & The Lie, a conference hosted by Truth Xchange and The Resurgence. Over the next few days I’ll be sharing my notes, but watching this clip from Mark Driscoll’s sermon, Jesus’ True Family, struck me as an appropriate note to kick off the event. In this video, Driscoll talks about how our identity determines our activity:

The transcript follows:

There is a parable told by Jesus, as well as a teaching moment that we’ll enjoy from him. And in both of these, he’s working from identity to activity. And this is the reverse of how religion and most people in our world work. In our world, including, sadly, in false-teaching churches and non-Christian religions, it is predicated on activity establishes identity. So you do something to become someone. In religion, this would be you have to give, you have to serve, you have to pray, you have to go to Mecca, so that God would find you pleasing in his sight. You have to reincarnate, you have to suffer, you have to go to purgatory, so that God would find you pleasing in his sight, so that you could be in a loving relationship, or at least a forgiving relationship with him. So activity creates identity.

The secular version is: you’re defined by your appearance, by your job, by your performance, by your status in life. So it’s whatever you do or accomplish that determines your identity.

In Christianity, it’s completely the opposite. [Read more...]

Book Review: Doctrine by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears

Title: Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe
Authors: Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears
Publisher: Crossway (2010)

Over the last three years, Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears have been releasing books at a mind-boggling pace.

Vintage Jesus focuses on the question of who Jesus is and why it matters; Death by Love looks at the atonement; Vintage Church explores what it means to be the Church.

And now they’ve released Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. Based on Driscoll’s sermon series of the same name from 2008, Doctrine examines 13 essential beliefs of the Christian faith: the Trinity, Revelation, creation, image, the fall, covenants, the incarnation, crucifixion & resurrection, the church, worship, stewardship and the Kingdom.

In many ways, this is Driscoll’s most focused book. As the story goes, the book originally weighed in at over 700 pages. The authors were forced to do some serious pruning. The result is a sharp 464 page work that sacrifices cuteness for clarity.

This is a welcome change, particularly for those who really don’t appreciate Driscoll’s sense of humor (and even for those who do). While his personality is definitely present, it doesn’t overshadow the content (something that happened in certain passages of Vintage Jesus).  Honestly, this is exactly how it should be. The content in this book is compelling enough on its own.

Worshipful Connection

As the authors provide readers with a foundational knowledge of each doctrine studied, they manage to tie each doctrine together so that we can see how they all fit. This is particularly evident in the chapter on worship. Driscoll & Breshears write: [Read more...]

Jesus Finds Wrecked People

An exerpt from Mark Driscoll’s recent sermon, Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son, from Luke 7:11-17. The edited transcript follows:

Jesus finds wrecked people.

That’s what he does. That’s our Jesus. God comes to earth as the man Jesus Christ, and he goes looking for absolutely wrecked people, people on the worst day of their whole life.

Luke says it this way: “He went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out.” Do you feel that?

Read these lines, “The only son of his mother, and,” what? “She was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had,” what? “Compassion on her.” Compassion on her.

This is a devastating day.

This is a wrecked woman. [Read more...]

The Kingdom is About Jesus

A challenging excerpt from Mark Driscoll’s sermon, The Beatitudes, Part 1 from Luke 6:17-36. Watch the video or read the transcript below:

The kingdom of God is not about getting. That’s what Jesus is saying. It’s not about getting wealth. It’s not about getting power. It’s not about getting comfort. It’s not about getting fame. And the kingdom of God is not about doing. It’s not what you do so that God will be pleased with you.

The kingdom ultimately is about being.

It’s about being in relationship with God.

And there are two ways that some will teach you to work out the counterculture kingdom ethic of Jesus.

One is absolute nonsense, religious garbage that arouses anger as I travel throughout this land, and I see Muslims, Jews, and Jack Christians who are religious, worshiping places, worshiping people, identifying themselves by their performance, and their power, and their prestige, and their prosperity. This is no holy land! This is a very unholy land! This is among the most unholy lands on the nation of the earth! The idolatry is steep and deep!

It’s just like the days when Jesus went to the temple, and absolutely was filled with fury. There is a righteous anger in the heart of God over those who would pilgrimage here, and cut in line for food, and steal, and cheat, and download porno in their hotel, and flirt with others, and follow ridiculous religious rituals, and then talk about the holy land. It’s not about the holy land. It’s about the holy king, and the holy kingdom, and repentant people by grace being connected to him, and being conformed to him.

The kingdom is not about going somewhere, but about belonging to Someone.

And so for us, it is never a place, it is a person, and the center of our faith is Jesus. [Read more...]

The Default Mode of the Human Heart

A thought-provoking clip from Mark Driscoll’s recent sermon Jesus the Sabbath Lord:

At Mars Hill, I wrote this down, I think the campuses that are most susceptible to religion and to legalism are the Federal Way Campus, the Olympia Campus, the West Seattle Campus, the Bellevue Campus, the Lake City Campus, the Shoreline Campus, and the Albuquerque Campus ‘cause it’s steeped, that whole city is, in Catholicism. I’ll go on record and say it. Legalism and religion are real threats to the health and well-being of those campuses.

Now for Ballard, Downtown, and the UW Campuses, the real threat and risk is reverse legalism. “Oh, they don’t drink? We’re gonna drink. Oh, they don’t smoke? We’ll smoke a pack a day to show our freedom in Christ.” Right? “Oh, they tithe, we’re not gonna tithe. That’s how free in Christ we are. Oh, they serve, well, we’re not any of that kind of works theology, we have a nap theology. We sleep like Calvinists. We don’t do anything, Jesus said, ‘It’s finished.’ So we’re done. Oh, they read their Bible every day, oh, that’s a lot.

Yeah, we don’t have a list like that, yeah, we’re not legalists. We don’t read the Bible at all. Don’t want to get all religious, read a book or pray or serve or care or give. We’re free in Christ. Anybody see my pants? I go to the Ballard campus,” right? We can be total reverse legalists. “Oh, that church doesn’t use instruments, we got a punk band, yee-haw, thank you, Jesus,” right?

And we can just be reverse legalists, and we could appoint ourselves as judges. We could judge all the religious people, and we could condemn them, and we could feel holier than they are because they’re trying so hard, and we don’t do anything. [Read more...]

Learning vs. Criticism

A thought-provoking clip from Mark Driscoll’s recent sermon, Jesus the Sabbath Lord:

The Bible said, “No working on the Sabbath,” so the religious people came along and they made a number of rules, one of which was you’re only allowed to do emergency medical care on the Sabbath, and they had a whole list of rules for what defined emergency care—a baby being born or a traumatic accident. Religious people worked this way as well. They worked through something called “the fear of man.” Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man is a trap or a snare.”

They like to make a scene in public, that’s why they’ll swarm to a blog, swarm to a Facebook, swarm to a Twitter account, swarm to a church, swarm to a church meeting, swarm to a dinner at someone’s home.

Swarm you at work, swarm you as family members at the holidays. They swarm, and they’re always looking for an audience to pressure you, back down, compromise, be quiet. Do you want to get stung some more? Then tap out, give up, give in. So they’re always picking a fight with Jesus where there’s a crowd, and here it’s on the Sabbath, a Saturday, in the synagogue in front of an audience.

And it says they came not to listen to Jesus, but to find fault with him.

Let me say this—you need to examine your own heart.

When you listen to me, another preacher, teacher, radio, podcast, read a book, are you listening, are you reading? First asking, “Okay God, teach me. I want to be humble. I want to learn. Secondly, “Show me my sins, my faults, my flaws, my failures so I can grow.” Thirdly, “Show me things I can help other people with as a good friend.” Fourthly, “If there’s anything wrong or askew or really dangerous here, show me that so I don’t get led into error.”

But don’t start with, “If I disagree, they’re wrong, I’m right and I’m here as God to judge.” [Read more...]

Too Staggering a Claim to Remain Neutral

“If Jesus is dead, then Christianity is dead. If Jesus is alive, then Christianity is alive,” write Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears in their latest, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (p. 279).

In support of the release of Doctrine, Crossway has released two sample chapters including a 24-page chapter on the Resurrection of Jesus:

Apart from the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no savior, no salvation, no forgiveness of sin, and no hope of resurrected eternal life. Apart from the resurrection, Jesus is reduced to yet another good but dead man and therefore is of no considerable help to us in this life or at its end. Plainly stated, without the resurrection of Jesus, the few billion people today who worship Jesus as God are gullible; their hope for a resurrection life after this life is the hope of silly fools who trust in a dead man to give them life. Subsequently, the doctrine of Jesus’ resurrection is, without question, profoundly significant and worthy of the most careful consideration and examination.

Driscoll & Breshears, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe, p. 279

“Apart from the resurrection. . . people today who worship Jesus as God are gullible.” It’s a harsh truth. Is it one we’ve taken time to consider?

Around this time of year is when the TV specials and magazine articles begin appearing in an attempt to debunk Jesus & the resurrection. “Maybe Jesus didn’t really die on the cross,” they say. “Maybe he only looked like he did.”

Maybe everyone who claimed to see Jesus hallucinated.

Maybe the whole thing is a bunch of gobbledygook cobbled together from various mythologies. After all, at the time, everyone’s god had come back from the dead… right? [Read more...]

The Incarnation: Jesus is Like Us and Unlike Us

Continuing to look at some clips relating to an essential doctrine of the Christian faith, from Mark Driscoll’s latest sermon series, Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God:

The Incarnation of Jesus.

Enjoy the teaching above and share some of your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Edited transcript follows:

Jesus is like us. This is how it changes our life. Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Jesus is like us. John Stott, a great British theologian once said, “In a world filled with suffering and pain, I could not fathom worshiping a God who was immune to it.” See, in other religions, the concept of God is that he is transcendent. He is far away. The life of sin and sinners on the earth is just a mess and it’s uncomfortable and it’s painful and deplorable so maybe God will send an angel or he’ll drop some commands but he’s certainly not going to come down and get involved.

The story of the incarnation is that he did. His name is Jesus. [Read more...]

The Incarnation: A Secondary Issue?

Continuing to look at some clips relating to an essential doctrine of the Christian faith, from Mark Driscoll’s latest sermon series, Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God:

The Incarnation of Jesus.

Enjoy the teaching above and share some of your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Edited transcript follows:

… Is the incarnation of Jesus a secondary issue? Some in church history have argued that it should be. In our day, even some well-known pastors and Bible teachers, not good ones, have said that it is a secondary issue. It’s primary. We believe at Mars Hill there are closed-handed primary issues that all Christians need to believe to be Christians, there are open-handed issues that we can discuss and debate but we need not divide over. This issue goes in the closed hand. Some say, “Why?” Some would ask, “What do we lose? Well, maybe Jesus’ mom wasn’t a virgin.”

Well, number one, the Bible is not true if that’s the case. It keeps saying that the virgin would be with child. Gabriel says that Mary was a virgin. Mary says that she was a virgin. The Bible is not true.

Number two, it would mean that Scripture is unfulfilled. We’re still waiting for the virgin to give birth to the messiah in Bethlehem and our sins aren’t forgiven.

Number three, it means Jesus’ mother is a lying tramp. That she was running around on Joseph or she was messing around with Joseph and she concocted this crazy idea that now billions of people believe and actually call Christmas and we should get rid of all of that.

And number four, it would mean that Jesus is just a normal guy. It’s not the virgin birth of Immanuel, God with us, in fulfillment of Scripture. It’s two teenagers messing around, one getting pregnant and then creating a crazy story. It changes everything.

It changes everything.

The Incarnation: Did a Person Become God?

Continuing to look at some clips relating to an essential doctrine of the Christian faith, from Mark Driscoll’s latest sermon series, Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God:

The Incarnation of Jesus.

Enjoy the teaching above and share some of your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Edited transcript follows:

Some will ask, so with Jesus, did a person become God? That’s a very common question. The answer is no. There’s a difference between a person becoming God and God becoming a human being. In fact, a great difference.

Now, the first lie that was told to our first parents in Genesis was that they could be God. And so any religion that teaches you you can be God-Mormonism teaches you that. Hinduism and many Eastern religions say that through karma and cosmic progress you can pay off your karmic debt so that you are one with the divine. That is another way of saying that you become one with that which is divine. You’re in effect divine. You’re godlike. [Read more...]

The Incarnation: The What Now?

I’ve been really enjoying Mark Driscoll’s latest sermon series, Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God. It’s been a very challenging series thus far—and very beneficial as well. So, I thought it’d be fun over the next couple weeks or so to go through some clips relating to an essential doctrine of the Christian faith:

The Incarnation of Jesus.

What is it? Is it important? What difference does it make?

These are really important questions to answer and worthy of serious consideration.

Enjoy the teaching above and share some of your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Edited transcript follows: [Read more...]