Enough Already!- The Continuing Saga of Evangelicals Attacking Driscoll

April 5, 2009

(Note: It has been brought to my attention since writing this that John MacArthur has made attempts to contact Mark Driscoll and deal with the issues that exist between them.  I am glad to hear that news and wish to repeal any critical comments I have made about MacArthur not doing so that appear in the article and comments below.) 

The twists and turns of evangelicals bitter affair with Mark Driscoll have been well-documented here (1, 2, and 3) as has my unwavering support of his ministry in Seattle and acround the world.  Now, with the recent passing of the 2009 edition of John MacArthur’s Shepherd’s Conference, the harsh light of interrogation has turned once more to Pastor Driscoll and his “language” in the pulpit.

First, and I wish to say this just as a confession, I have often found myself at odds with John MacArthur and those who follow closely to his beliefs.  Beyond the fact that I think Reformed Dispensationalism in the Dallas Theological Seminary tradition makes absolutely no sense, I think that Dr. MacArthur tends to be awfully arrogant and presumptuous in promoting it.  More than that, however, I take issue with his extreme moral positions.  From issues of alcohol use to those of contextualization, Dr. MacArthur and his followers often times have presented themselves, at least in my estimation, wrongly as God’s final arbiters of what is biblical and what is not.  I typically find Marthur’s writings to be very informative, I own several and have benefited from them greatly, but there always comes a level at which I just don’t trust him.  This has only been compounded by his comments in 2006 about Driscoll which he has just let be tossed all about by evangelicals in print and on the net without him ever taking the opportunity to expound upon what he’d said or confront Driscoll with it himself.  I don’t like that– it reeks of self-importance and I find it to be awfully unhelpful to the greater cause of reaching people with the message of the gospel.

I share this first of all as a means of confessing what is probably on some level a sinful feeling in myself.  I don’t like disliking John MacArthur and his ministry, but more and more I find them to be guilty of the same self-aggrandizement and moral golden calfs as other evangelical establishments that MacArthur would likely preach against, and so I struggle to reconcile that.  

I also share this as a full disclosure before I refer you to a series of posts on Jonathon Christman’s blog The India I Know which address the recent exchange of feelings between Mark Driscoll and MacArthur disciple Phil Johnson.  As in prior Driscoll-related conflicts, Johnson’s beef with him has to do with pulpit behavior and does not really sound any different to me than anything anyone else has said.  However, this case is unique in that the full correspondance has been digitally immortalized by Christman including a direct and public response from Driscoll to the questions/charges.  Though I’m sure if you are like me you have had enough of this conflict, it is interesting to see Driscoll directly reply to it finally.

I do not necessarily mean to support all or any views on Christman’s site, but due to his diligent work in getting this up I ask that you visit the posts on his blog to see for yourself what is going on.  Check out the posts here: Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII