Posts Tagged ‘Mark Driscoll’

If there is one thing that chaps my hide more, it’s folk who dub themselves “Christian” yet use Jesus Christ’s name as an expletive.

Many people around the world call themselves Christian, but only act like it one day a week – if that often.

“God” is such a ubiquitous term these days, you know:

  • “I believe in God… she is great for my life.”
  • “I believe in God… praise be to Allah.”
  • “I believe in God… but there is no need to get involved in organized religion.”

toleranceBlah, blah, blah. Whatever the excuse, when it comes to faith, God’s name is passed around like a cheap coaster on some old woman’s antique coffee table.

So, imagine my surprise when I read this USA Today article and discovered 11 percent less folk even bother calling themselves a Christian.

The faithful have scattered out of their traditional bases: The Bible Belt is less Baptist. The Rust Belt is less Catholic. And everywhere, more people are exploring spiritual frontiers — or falling off the faith map completely.

The perfunctory question is Why?! How was that found in this American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) referred in the article? Easy… no one cares.

  • So many Americans claim no religion at all (15%, up from 8% in 1990), that this category now outranks every other major U.S. religious group except Catholics and Baptists. Is that really a group, or just a collection of dimwits who have been scorned by the aforementioned groups?!
  • Catholic strongholds in New England and the Midwest have faded as immigrants, retirees and young job-seekers have moved to the Sun Belt. It’s coooooooooooold up there. The chill gets to those osteoporosis bones. Besides, there are more Ruby Tuesday’s and Furrs down there.
  • Baptists, 15.8% of those surveyed, are down from 19.3% in 1990. That’s easy. They’re dead… all the young people want to wear jeans, so they rock the “Community Church,” which is Baptist-lite.
  • The percentage of Methodists, for example, dropped from 8% to 5%. COUGH… gay marriage… COUGH… lesbians in the pulpit… GAG, COUGH!
  • Jewish numbers showed a steady decline, from 1.8% in 1990 to 1.2% today. Again, simple. It’s the economy. Well, it is, right?

Sure, there’s more. But why go into it? The math is there. The results are staggering. And the reasons are obvious.

There’s no privilege to being a Christian in the public eye. And in this world of “WIIFM” (marketing lingo: “What’s in it for me?”), churches are stooping to any level to put butts in seats.

They take steroids and HGH to grow, talk about sex… a lot, cuss in the pulpit… also, a lot and when things are particularly carefree, these megachurches (Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal or indifferent) are considering cutting on the advertising budget, and having the show in-house?!

Once we get back to realizing the splendor and majesty of God, we will get this Church back on track. Once folk stop realizing that Church is not supposed to be dog & pony show, but rather about a man who rode in on a donkey, we can get back to evangelism, reaching the lost and being the living epistles we’re supposed to be.

Ah, conviction, hellfire and brimstone. Those were the days, no?

It’s almost Six Degrees of Separation to source this riveting article, but I’ll give it a shot before I get rolling:

vanishing churchThanks to Another Brick on the Wall “Spiritual Pathway Ministries“, by way of the whole article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and discusses a Bob Pearle book entitled The Vanishing Church: Searching for Significance in the 21st Century.

All clear? OK, and away we go…

For the past couple weeks, we have plastered on the Wall a few ruminations about “Big Box” megachurches and even its progeny, “minichurches”.

And now this article about Pearle’s Vanishing Church stands in my shadow threatening to whoop up on anyone who talks smack in my direction.

He doesn’t hold that churches are literally “vanishing,” since there are all kinds of churches, often filled to overflowing, in our neck of the woods [North Texas]. “What I’m saying is that the biblical New Testament church is vanishing from society today,” he said. “Anything and everything is acceptable as long as it builds a crowd. Jesus wasn’t as interested in building a crowd as he was in telling the truth.”

Amen! And why all this brouhaha over exponentially growing houses of worship? It’s simple math:

On one hand, we have church overflowing of concert-quality worship, hypersensationalism, a disconnected waltz through the scriptures and a sermon that is more Tony Robbins and less Tony Campolo.

going-back-to-churchAnd on the other, we have a warehouse full of crushed velvet, ornate furnishings and lots of bling… and that’s just the “Frozen Chosen” sitting in the pewser, chairs.

Add the two together and you still get a bunch of folk en route lights and sirens to Luby’s Cafeteria who still can’t tell you what scripture was shared in the pulpit.

From seeker sensitive to televised tabernacle, the missing part of the equation seem to be allegiance to God’s Word. Well, better yet, just God’s Word.

Pearle — who rejects the label of fundamentalist — says declining membership in many mainline Protestant groups results from watering down core biblical teachings. He believes that evangelicals who do that will suffer the same fate. “You have to hear the bad news that we are sinners, before your receive the good news of salvation,” Pearle says.

People, we need a Savior, which is why we should celebrate Jesus Christ daily. We are “saved” and set free to worship God. However, most of us would rather go check out some dude crush expletives in the pulpit for shock value or hear the “Aw shucks the big guy upstairs sure loves you” show.

Now, THIS is the stuff worth shouting about in the sanctuary, regardless what size it is! Anyone?

There are two polarizing words in ecumenical circles that conjure feelings of “in need of deliverance” and “is that cat saved” – Mark Driscoll.

A "Mark Driscoll Inspired" church marquee

A "Mark Driscoll Inspired" church marquee

Consider, this is a pastor of a megachurch whose sermons – you know, like discussing dogma and all things God – are so peculiar that YouTube won’t even publish the bulk of them.

I can’t imagine how his church bookstore deals with the drama message titles like, “Biblical Oral Sex” and others that require a parental advisory sticker.

No, this isn’t rap music – it’s Jesus stuff, only minus the Jesus to some. However, is it buffoonery proselytizing or just what is necessary to touch a largely godless society? Check the article in the New York Times and judge for yourself:

…An anonymous audience member has just text-messaged a question to the screen onstage: “Pastor Mark, is masturbation a valid form of birth control?” Driscoll doesn’t miss a beat: “I had one guy quote Ecclesiastes 9:10, which says, ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.’ ” The audience bursts out laughing.

OK: A.) No kidding that dude was anonymous, much like most of the folk in Christendom dealing with lust. B.) Nice rote memory of the scriptures. And C.) How many were offended that I even posted that excerpt. Come on, show of hands.

However, it works for someone because this is the same droll and vulgar guy has almost 7,600 members in seven campuses. People all over the theological map have opinions mixed up more than Sybil’s (or Herschel Walker’s) brain pan.

Conservatives call Driscoll, “the cussing pastor” and wish that he’d trade his fashionably distressed jeans and taste for indie rock for a suit and tie and placid choral arrangements. Liberals wince at his hellfire theology and insistence that women submit to their husbands. But what is new about Driscoll is that he resurrected a particular strain of fire and brimstone, one that most Americans assume died out with the Puritans: Calvinism, a theology that makes Pat Robertson warm and fuzzy.

So, I got to thinking and would like to pose this question to the Wall Watchers out there: “Is what this guy is doing working, and is it necessary?” Here’s some chum for thought:

  • If he was so opprobrious and unmannerly in the pulpit, why are droves of people who call themselves Christians gathering to hear him in it? Maybe, just maybe, it’s because folk are tired of seeing the reprobates on TBN and need some reality with their Jesus cocoa.
  • Is cussing in the pulpit shock value to sell a few books and get a few headlines, or – God forbid – is that truly par for the course to get the attention of the unrighteous? In the real world, people do… oh, what’s the word… um, it’s a taboo word in churches these days… oh yeah, SIN. Now, pastors should live according to the precepts of God, but should also be a person of pragmatism and show that anyone can do it.
  • Are people so stained with skepticism by the country club they see on Christian TV that they are willing to sit through an hour of BET’s Comic View and hope to get some spirituality out of it? I hope that is nowhere near the case. In order to reach the lost, you need reality, but you also need righteousness! Jesus was not only man who dwelled among us, but he was a man like us.
See, he knows sports humor too.

See, he knows sports humor too.

So, the ubiquitous question: WWJD? To get people’s attention these days, who knows. But I doubt it would be to throw eff bombs and follow up with “Oh, and my Daddy loves you.”

That said, I’ll bet Jesus would seriously rock some “True Religion”.

Makes sense… and a little bit of irony, right? See there, he can be funny and keep it clean. What a funny guy. G’head Jesus! Teach Marky Mark a thing or two.

Church, if there is anything I am about, it’s being real with my walk with God.

I get upset, like Peter; I get bold, like Paul; I wax sentimental like John; and can wax eloquent like David. I’m still trying to rock the bling like Solomon, but ah, you can’t win them all.

That said, if there was one thing that almost caused me to start my own church out of my garage – lots of stiff folk warming pews and not enough enjoying their Christianity. It’s all about witnessing, and if I met some of those oddballs would I even be interested in becoming like them?!

Um, probably not. So, I choose to believe Jesus was a hilarious cat, along with being God in the flesh and all. He had to be, because we are not created to go through life as if we work in a library. NOW, thanks to Mars Hill Church‘s own Mark Driscoll, I have someone getting my back.

This week in video evangelism is an excerpt from one of his messages: Was Jesus Funny? It’s worth the listen. Peace.