Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On Acts 29's blessed subtraction

If you're the type to follow the happenings of greater evangelicalism, you've no doubt heard that sorta-famous sorta-pastor Mark Driscoll received the boot of disfellowship to the hindquarters of his association with Acts 29, a church-planting parachurch group he helped start and until recently ran as its chief prophet-king or something. You might say Acts 29 engaged in blessed subtraction, and that he got run over by the bus, joining the mountain of bodies (by God's grace) - if you're the sort of person to make such jokes, and I most certainly am.

This story has been all over the Christian and pretend-Christian corner of the interwebs, so I won't rehash the whole thing. Here I'll just offer a few quick thoughts on the whole affair.

1) Before listening to Driscoll's horrendous "blessed subtraction" message again, I had forgotten it had been a speech to an Acts 29 conference. Am I a bad man for laughing?

2) It can't be easy to oust your group's founder, especially after sticking behind him for so long. As easy as it is to question the move - and we will - it still took some level of courage and/or conviction. On the other hand...

3) When Krusty the Klown announced his retirement, a reporter asked the pertinent question: "Why now? Why not twenty years ago?" Similarly, why was this move made now instead of five or ten years ago? What exactly has changed? Are these issues actually new, or are they just now too public to ignore?

4) To reiterate - there is very little new here. Nearly all of these issues have been knowable for years, for anyone who didn't actively try to not know. See for example here, here, and the multitude here. So again, what has changed? Why do Acts 29 and James MacDonald and Lifeway suddenly have to bail right now, when these sins and shortcomings have been obvious for around a decade?

5) Carl Trueman asks an important question: what did the major evangelical leaders who've been promoting Driscoll for a decade know and when did they know it? I would add, if they didn't know, what could explain that other than deliberate ignorance?

6) With all this happening in Driscoll's extracurriculars, don't forget he's still the sorta-pastor of a church with thousands of people. Having gone through a similar period a few years ago (when my pastor decided little things like "the Trinity" and "the gospel" are insignificant compared to "the Harvest brand" and his personal enrichment), I can tell you how easy it isn't. Disillusionment, confusion, "how could we have been so wrong?" - or the "how dare they attack our hero!" mentality of the personality cult. Pray for them, especially that they can break away and find an actual church.

7) As for Driscoll, he still has 'his' church, and now a bunch of extra fuel for his martyr complex. His two choices are to repent or double down (see Phillips' Axiom #2); early indications do not look good for repentance. I can't pretend to know how this will end, but without genuine repentance, more disaster is coming.


Unknown said...

More helpful resources here:



Sonja said...

Trog I really want to thank you. You've been there and it's what many of us, even years removed are dealing with as more secrets come out. This has been shared with FB groups regarding MD, but not ones full of people who cry "Mark's my hero!".

Any suggestions as to how to handle friends still blind? Some of us are at our wits end. I can use myself as an example but I left years ago.

Thank you. One of the best posts on Driscoll I've ever read.

Robert said...

I'm sad and angry over this whole mess. I am very frustrated that those who have supported Driscoll over all these years and brought many to follow him haven't apologized for their part in this and admitted their lack of discernment (it is OK to admit we aren't perfect, right? Isn't that why we all cling to Jesus). I think they should also say that those who have been calling on repentance from Driscoll (as well as pointing out that he doesn't meat the biblical qualifications for deacon, pastor, or elder) were right from the beginning. If these guys really want to be helpful to the huge audience that they have, this would be a good way to do so...