This teaching resonates strongly with me:
Reminds me of Lynn Stringfellow’s post on Social Justice.
Well, now that Mark has said it…
I agree with Driscoll that the gospel is something to be proclaimed which *needs* to be proclaimed.
Having said that, I just can barely stomach listening to him. I wish he give some examples of that straw man he’s attacking for being full of “cowardice” because I don’t think that would be true of most preachers and churches I know of (either personally or publicly). Second, he misrepresents what that quote attributed to St. Francis Assisi meant. Whoever said it was not trying to suggest we proclaim the gospel by deeds only. It was just a reminder that our proclamation of the gospel in words must also be demonstrated by the way we live and the deeds we do. Nevertheless, such argumentative rhetoric that allows attacks at straw men and mischaracterization of others seems to be something I hear a lot from Driscoll in his preaching.
Grace and Peace,
I wrote something similar a couple of years ago at http://adisciplesthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/07/use-words-if-necessary.html. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Wes!
Kinda hard for me to trust much of anything Driscoll teaches when he himself doesn’t teach the whole Gospel. He is a “pray Jesus into your heart” guy. The Gospel includes Repent and be baptised FOR the forgivness of sins.
Actually he doesn’t teach anyone to pray the sinner’s prayer. He teaches that at the moment one believes and trusts in Jesus as Savior they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and saved. Then they should be baptized by immersion in water as a sign of their new relationship with God, and they should live the rest of their lives as repentant, committed believers.
Even though his understanding of baptism differs from my own, they are teaching people to follow Jesus. And even though his understanding of baptism differs from my own, they are literally baptizing thousands of people – sometimes several hundred in a single weekend.
It would be an error to disregard everything another Christian says simply because they disagree with you about baptism, and in practice, unless you’ve changed recently, you don’t even do that, because your library is full of books written by leaders who have other understandings of it!
I don’t believe our understanding of what baptism does it what matters most – I believe our commitment to Jesus is, and that’s what God honors in baptism.
Didn’t say I didn’t listen to him. And I didn’t say I was passing judgment on him. Ok, I “may” have been wrong about “Praying Jesus into your heart…although it sounds like the same thing, all I said was, “It hard for me to trust much of what he says.” I read a lot of Authors that think as he does and I read with caution. And I have gotten a lot of good stuff from him and others. And you know that I do not believe I have the right to judge him. However, it does make a difference that he is teaching that baptism is NOT for the forgivness of sin (since one has already been saved). That teaching has left many in a questional state based on the teachings of Jesus. I choose not to honor that. You know some of the people I know that follow him like a God and don’t even come close to following Jesus and His teaching as a result.
That being said, I am not his judge.
Why camp on the “forgiveness of sins” as the only blessing coming from baptism that would cause you or anyone else to differ with someone who does indeed baptize by immersion? What about being “united with Christ,” or “clothing yourself with Christ?” What about being “baptized into his death?” or “following the example of Jesus?” And then, what about not understanding that believer’s baptism is associated with the “gift of the Holy Spirit?” What if we just accepted the fact that “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved?”
That’s a good point. Adding to it, many CoCers say a person has to understanding their baptism was “for the forgiveness of sin” otherwise it is invalid and they weren’t really baptized to begin with. Some also say you must understand your baptism as the time when you received the Holy Spirit, otherwise you didn’t receive the Spirit.
Where in the Bible is this said? Nowhere – this teaching is an extrapolation without any real biblical footing.
The only thing I can gather from the Bible people being baptized were required to understand is that they were following Jesus. 1 Peter 3:21, Romans 6, and other passages indicate there is a commitment to following in the steps of Christ involved that those being baptized were obviously privy to prior to their immersion – a “commitment of good conscious toward God” (1 Peter 3:21). That’s why I say Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll are producing Christians. They are teaching people to live lives committed to the Lord, and people are being baptized as part of making that commitment. I believe God honors their baptism and forgives them because they follow Jesus and believe He forgives them – not because they believe they are forgiven in baptism.
This isn’t about this post, but I didn’t really have any other way to contact you. I thought it would be interesting to read your reply to this post by Roger Olson, a professor over at Baylor:
Thanks for the link – I was actually referred to that article yesterday and chimed in with a couple of comments.
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