Ok I listened to Mark Driscoll on the Supremacy of Christ in the Postmodern World. I really like listening to him. He presents a number of challenges. If you haven’t heard it yet you should go to the following link and listen to it before reading any further. The Supremacy of Christ and the Church in a Postmodern World
Driscoll says that we should contextualize the gospel once we have the sound doctrine. We should do this in order to be relevant in the culture. Do you think he saying that if we take the gospel to the gothic culture that we should get body piercings and wear black to fit in so those in that culture might listen? I have debated for Christian groups such as P.O.D. who say that their mission is to take the Gospel to those secular bands they tour with like Korn, and Marilyn Manson and others like them. They wear the piercings and have their bodies covered in tattoos. Folks will use verses like John 15:19, and Romans 12:2 that say we should be not of this world and we should not conform to it to debate against this kind of “mission work”.
Driscoll also challenges preaching relevance. When he states that we should be careful to not preach, above the head so to speak, to those unbelievers who come in off the street and want to hear something they can understand. How do you maintain this sensibility without causing your flock to get stagnant? I have seen this form of preaching go way to the other side until the preaching is fully centered on the unbelievers and the believers who desire to grow kind of get pushed to the curb. I am indeed challenged by the things Driscoll says and I do like his edginess. I don’t think I have ever heard someone refer to a form of Jesus that you could beat up before. But he is right. That is the way Jesus is portrayed most of the time. He is all of the lamb and none of the lion.
I invite you to respond to my post so I can get an understanding of what folks think about these challenges.
October 12, 2006 at 4:19 pm
The biggest problem with these things is that it is not what believers have been called to do. The Bible, God’s word, is very clear that we are to be in the world and not of it (yep, back to THOSE scriptures!!). We are called to be “holy” – which by its very definition means to be set apart. I do not see how we can be set apart AND blend in with the culture. Oh, and speaking of blending with cultures…. God was VERY clear with Israel about the dangers of doing this. The term “harlot” comes to mind… And, lest you throw the “that’s Old Testament” at me, no where does Christ say we are to disregard the books of the Old Testament. As a matter of fact, those were the scriptures He, and his Apostles, pulled from!!
As far as the preaching issue goes.. my first question is what does Driscoll mean by relevance? You see, it is my understanding that scripture clearly states that God’s word will only be relevant to those who believe. You cannot make it relevant to those who do not – it is foolishness to them. We have not been called to share the scriptures with non-believers! We have been commissioned to share the gospel – the Good News of Jesus Christ and what His gift to us is. This involves explaining their sin condition, and what that condition looks like to God. It is explaining what God did to move us “past” that sin condition into a condition He can look upon. The blood of Jesus will be meaningless until the lost understand what it was spilled for – and what the blood covering does for us as sinners saved by His grace. Can we use scripture to accomplish this? Absolutely!! All scripture that explains of the Good News is relevant to the non-believer as is! As far as the lost “coming in off the streets”… well there will be one of several reasons they will be there: 1. They were invited by someone to come. 2. They were bludgeoned into coming by someone who means well. 3. They were moved by the Holy Spirit to come into the Lord’s House.
Of these three reasons, only number three will allow them to truly find any “relevance” to what they hear. Watered down scripture is not scripture. God’s word (without being manipulated to “relevance”) DOES NOT COME BACK VOID! God’s word has a purpose – just as Paul explained to Timothy. No where in scripture have I seen one of those purposes be to make relevant statements to the lost.
So, do you wear tattoos and black to fit in with a culture? Good question. I would have to say no, because of the whole “holy” issue – HOWEVER (!) isn’t it interesting that God has provided His gracious salvation to people who are tattooed and pierced… and how they can reach others through that?
I don’t find my biggest challenge, as a Christian, that of fitting in. I find my biggest challenge in being different for the glory of The One who made me for His glory.
October 17, 2006 at 8:46 pm
Great comment Rib. You have articulated your argument very well. I think or hope that what Driscoll means as relevance is like what DA Carson said at the same conference and that is to define the terms you use in your messages. He gave an example of prayer by saying he would explain to the audience that prayer is how we communicate to God. If he is to use the word justification. Expain in short form that justification is the term we use for what happens when God declares us righteous when we use the faith He has given us and we believe on His Son Jesus Christ.
As far as the contextualizing part I agree that being in the world is totally different than being of the world. It could indeed be a slippery slope to do what Driscoll does with his church. (actually Christ’s church)I would imagine there are very few who can pull that off. I will also refer to the stimuilating conversation we had with Pastor Pat and Steve the other night. I sure love doing that. It’s great to have stimulating conversation with other believers.