Thinking Out Loud

March 18, 2014

Your Critics are Your Friends

celebrity-jeopardy Driscoll Noble Furtick

The above picture is taken from an article by Matthew Marino at the blog, The Gospel Side, titled Celebrity Jeopardy, Pastors Edition. In it he said one thing that for me really nailed it:

Last summer, in a post entitled “When did evangelicals get popes?” I pointed out the ironic similarities between celebrity video-venue preachers and the papacy that Protestantism rose in protest against. Extending the irony has been Pope Francis’ humility this year in contrast to the growing list of celebrity pastor abuses…

I encourage you to read all of it.

Like Matthew, I got comments — by email, Twitter and on the blog — that my emphasis on this topic and of Driscoll in particular was skewing too negative. But I think that there’s a time and a place to raise awareness of issues and thereby hold leaders accountable.

And if Warren Throckmorton’s blog post yesterday is accurate, maybe now is the time to back off:

…As it turns out, the publisher, Harper Collins Christian, has now corrected the section in question by quoting and footnoting the section of Ryken’s book I identified. Nearly all of the problems I identified have been addressed…

More to the point, there’s been an indication of true repentance as posted at Christianity Today yesterday in an article titled Mark Driscoll Retracts Bestseller Status, Resets Life.

…In the lengthy letter via Mars Hill’s online network, The City, Driscoll reflects on what he has gotten right and wrong over the past 17 years, which have seen the church he founded grow beyond his expectations to an estimated 13,000 people worshiping weekly in 15 locations in five states. Many praised the statement on Twitter for its humility, while many others said it still left their concerns unresolved…

[The full letter was leaked on Reddit.]

In Proverbs 27 we read,

Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.  (ESV)

If I am critical of the prominent writers and pastors who have been the subject of recent brought-on-by-themselves controversies, I am doing so as an insider, as someone who wants to see the scandals off the front page of the Christian websites and blogs. So we bring things into the open hopefully for a short season in order to see a turnaround and as a preventative that things don’t get worse.

Several years ago I wrote a paraphrase of II Tim 3:16, the verse that talks about scripture being useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. While I am NOT drawing a parallel between a blog and God’s holy word, in the paraphrase I noted that scripture:

  • shows us the path God would have us walk
  • highlights when and where we’ve gotten off the path
  • points the way back to the path
  • gives us the advice we need to keep from wandering off the path in future

Now mapping that back to the verse in Proverbs; this is the kind of thing I hope that we would do for and with one another. “As iron sharpens iron…”  The goal should be that we would raise the standard of integrity, point out when and where we leave that path, find the way to get back on track, and put safeguards in to place that stop us from wandering.

Furthermore, I would want someone to do that for me.

About these ads

3 Comments »

  1. Paul,
    Thank you for your redemptive heart in this matter.
    I too was very encouraged by Pastor Driscoll’s letter.

    Comment by Matt Marino — March 18, 2014 @ 9:19 am

  2. I wonder if it is even possible to be both a pastor and a celebrity. I suppose one could be both a celebrity and a teacher, author, or speaker. But a pastor?

    Comment by Bill — March 18, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

    • In a time before technology — and by that I’m going back to radio, followed by television, etc. — probably many pastors labored in their individual cities and weren’t really known outside their local areas. Electronic technology changed that, though you could argue that so did the printing press.

      But if a pastor were truly following the teaching of Philippians 2 — “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…did not consider equality with God something to be leveraged…he humbled himself” — then at each juncture where making choice “A” means humility would be sacrificed you would take choice “B,” the lesser road, making the (literally) unpopular choice. In Jesus’ early ministry he often performs a healing but then asks the person healed not to say anything about it.

      I think that this only reinforces that the ideal church size is something between 400 and 700.

      Or maybe, another way to say this, if you’re becoming a celebrity, you’re doing it wrong.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — March 18, 2014 @ 10:11 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Every time you leave a comment an angel gets its wings...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Silver is the New Black Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: