John MacArthur on Mark Driscoll

John MacArthur

If anyone is interested in understanding John MacArthur’s position on Mark Driscoll you can read about it here, but as far as his position on Piper’s invitation to Driscoll to appear and speak at his 2008 Desiring God Conference…well…only time will tell.

From his December 11th, 2006 article entitled “Grunge Christianity? Counterculture’s Death-Spiral and the Vulgarization of the Gospel” MacArthur well says:

“Worldly preachers seem to go out of their way to put their carnal expertise on display—even in their sermons. In the name of connecting with “the culture” they want their people to know they have seen all the latest programs on MTV; familiarized themselves with all the key themes of “South Park”; learned the lyrics to countless tracks of gangsta rap and heavy metal music; and watched who-knows-how-many R-rated movies. They seem to know every fad top to bottom, back to front, and inside out. They’ve adopted both the style and the language of the world—including lavish use of language that used to be deemed inappropriate in polite society, much less in the pulpit. They want to fit right in with the world, and they seem to be making themselves quite comfortable there.

Mark Driscoll is one of the best-known representatives of that kind of thinking. He is a very effective communicator—a bright, witty, clever, funny, insightful, crude, profane, deliberately shocking, in-your-face kind of guy. His soteriology is exactly right, but that only makes his infatuation with the vulgar aspects of contemporary society more disturbing.

Driscoll ministers in Seattle, birthplace of “grunge” music and heart of the ever-changing subculture associated with that movement. Driscoll’s unique style and idiom might aptly be labeled “post-grunge.” His language—even in his sermons—is deliberately crude. He is so well known for using profane language that in Blue Like Jazz (p. 133), Donald Miller (popular author and icon of the “Emerging Church” movement, who speaks of Driscoll with the utmost admiration) nicknamed him “Mark the Cussing Pastor.”

I don’t know what Driscoll’s language is like in private conversation, but I listened to several of his sermons. To be fair, he didn’t use the sort of four-letter expletives most people think of as cuss words—nothing that might get bleeped on broadcast television these days. Still, it would certainly be accurate to describe both his vocabulary and his subject matter at times as tasteless, indecent, crude, and utterly inappropriate for a minister of Christ. In every message I listened to, at least once he veered into territory that ought to be clearly marked off limits for the pulpit.”

See part two by clicking here.

Boston’s Old South Meeting House

On a recent vacation, my wife and I spent a day in Boston visiting some interesting historic sights. The Old South Meeting House, where we stopped first, was a Puritan church building. (The Puritans never called their buildings churches, as they recognized that the church is the people who make up the body of Christ.) The building held many types of meetings with a variety of famous orators, including George Whitfield. It’s most well-known, however, for the meeting in which 5,000 colonists gathered to discuss the British tax on tea. When Samuel Adams gave the pre-arranged signal to begin the tea party by saying, “This meeting can do nothing more to save the country” the Sons of Liberty stormed out and emptied three tea ships of their cargo.

Today, the Old South Meeting House is a museum, with displays for each phase of the structure’s history. These include statues of some important people who have been involved in the history of the building. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, has been honored with a statue for her stance on freedom of speech. She wanted to speak at the meeting house, but the mayor of Boston prohibited her (and many others) from speaking because of her controversial views. In protest, she covered her mouth with a piece of fabric.

While I support everyone’s right to free speech in public places, I think it’s curious that the museum chose to honor Margaret Sanger, an avowed racist and proponent of genocide. Here are a few of her quotes:

“The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
Woman and the New Race

“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.

“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”
Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble
I wonder what the curator’s thought process was when he or she chose to honor Margaret Sanger with a statue. Did the museum’s decision makers realize they were honoring a very evil person—one who sought extermination of an entire group of people? Why didn’t they honor the KKK members or someone else who was prohibited from speaking at the meeting house? As a museum customer, I was offended that someone so wicked had been honored with a life-size statue.