Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MARK DRISCOLL ON ABC NIGHTLINE FACE-OFF
...bringing Mars Hill Church to Mars Hill

Setting Some Wrongs... Right
Some of you seeing me post another article about Mark Driscoll are expecting me to come out of the box swinging, prepared to challenge, do battle against, or slice and dice with some well versed clever sarcasm about Mark and his TV appearance. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but today that will not be happening. 

As many of you know, I have been a very vocal commentator about the scatological pulpit methods that our brother has employed in the past few years. I still firmly believe that a minister of the gospel standing behind the sacred desk to "preach the Word" by divine command in a worship service where the saints are gathered should use words in keeping with that calling. Mark is a gifted communicator and has the platform and skill to really impact this generation for the kingdom. But the man of God's words should reverence the Lord Jesus Christ and reflect His glory; that cut straight His truth to give the sense of it to the people; and yet be palatable for every member of the church; not just those who pass an NC-17 rating. Sound speech is not just the absence of unsavory language; but the presence of that which is grace-filled for the building up of the entire body of Christ in love.

That is where I had failed in addressing these things concerning Mark and his ministry; this is where the Lord convicted me as I reviewed some of my past articles I had written about him. I was not godly in how I used words to speak of those concerns on this blog. IOW, I came to see that in a very real way we have the same problem... just a different manifestation. I find myself identifying with Isaiah in the temple as "a man of unclean lips" that needed to repent of his sin. Unclean lips doesn't necessarily mean here a tongue that uses seedy speech, but rather one that represents a heart that is not right before the Lord - unworthy deserving judgment. That was me; and apart from God's sanctifying grace each day - that is still me. IOW beloved, my heart was not right towards my brother in Christ. I should have been more gracious, charitable and balanced in my words when commenting about his ministry in the Lord. In my zeal to champion reformed biblical theology which I deeply believe, I was blinded to the prideful log in my own eye while blogging about the speck in my brother's eye. For this, I sincerely ask the readers of this blog and those associated with Mark and Mars Hill Church to please forgive me. I have already asked this of Mark privately and he has been most kind to extend to me a heart of mercy. It is my desire to always speak the truth in love and to not carelessly amputate another in that process.

In the wake of this, I am enjoying the beginnings of what I trust will be an ongoing friendship with Mark. My conversation with him has been meaningful and edifying; and he has been nothing short of kind and encouraging. I have come to get a glimpse of the pastor's heart, that is rarely made visible to the wider media-audience, that drives Mark and his passion in ministry. 

The Hearts of the Saints Have Been Refreshed... 
The Apostle Paul says in Philemon 1:7, "For I have derived much much joy and comfort from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you brother." 

So may I take a moment to encourage you and tell you what I appreciate about Mark and his ministry: 
  • his affirmation of Scripture as the infallible, inerrant, sufficient, authoritative Word of God; 
  • his burden for the salvation of the lost and passion for evangelism; 
  • his commitment to the doctrines of grace and to maintain the integrity of the gospel; 
  • his desire to plant churches and dedication to local church ministry; 
  • his ability to rightly divide the times and to discern the issues facing our cultural from a biblical worldview; 
  • to enter into discussion with nonbelievers in public venues about issues concerning the Christian faith;
  • for reaching out and ministering to people redemptively who have been abused, shamed, and defiled by this world;
  • and for taking a courageous stand for biblical fidelity and orthodoxy by walking the narrow "road less travelled" away from the liberal turnpike of Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Karen Ward, Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, Rob Bell, etc. 
I look forward to meeting Mark one day and trust that the Lord in His providence affords us seasons of genuine fellowship, a real friendship in the Lord, and an on going encouragement to "one another" in the Word of God. 

My Mom has said to me for many years, "if two people agree on everything, then one of them is unnecessary." Mark and I don't agree on everything - but at the same time, it also makes us "necessary" in each others lives. I am confident we won't see eye to eye on some issues in the future. But by God's grace, I pray that I will address those issues biblically, in humility, and personally; seeking his good... protecting the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. It's good for brothers in the Lord to wrestle through matters of faith, doctrine, theology, and truth; to learn from each other and sharpen each other for kingdom use. But it is also "good for brothers to dwell in unity" as the Psalmist says. So when blogging, may I do so in a way that brings glory to God, protects the integrity of His Word, shows respect for others, forwards His gospel, edifies His church, and to do so from a heart of sincere love, gentleness and humility. I haven't arrived at this in my life beloved; so I would relish your prayers for me to that end. 

His unworthy servant in His unfailing love,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14


ABCNEWS Nightline Face Off - "Does Satan Exist?"
With that said, I wanted to briefly post about Mark's appearance last week on ABC's Nightline Face Off which addressed the potentially explosive and controversial theme of "Does Satan Exist?" There were four panelists for this debate: philosopher Deepak Chopra and Bishop Carlton Pearson faced-off against Pastor Mark Driscoll and Annie Lobert, founder of the Christian ministry "Hookers for Jesus" about the existence of the Devil.

Not many pastors would welcome such a diverse panel and a biased, national news program like ABCNEWS Face-Off into their sanctuary. Nor would they host a debate on an issue concerning an aspect of the Christian faith that allows voices who are violently opposed to biblical Christianity to have a seat at the table. And then still speak with unashamed boldness about the gospel, the Scriptures and its truth while showing reverence and respect for those who oppose biblical Christianity (1 Peter 3:15-16). This is what I call: bringing Mars Hill Church to Mars Hill.

Though the aired portion of this broadcast was edited by ABC beyond even sound bit status, when you listen to the unedited videos of the complete interview (ten in total) you come away with an appreciation for our brother's presence and acumen in this discussion.

Mark was a faithful voice on this broadcast for a few key reasons:
1. He constantly drove the discussion back to the truth of Scripture; the gospel; the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and the overall worldview of Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. He didn't fall into the trap of a theological dualism (god of evil vs. the God of good). He clearly represented Jesus Christ as the only true God and the only way to salvation. He was not favored as one of many ways among the other gods; but the only living and true way in which there is no other God besides Him.

2. He did not use ribald language nor scatological innuendo in cutting through the philosophical pabulum and skubalon of his counterparts. But his use of well-placed sarcasm and biblical truth in unmasking the extensional meanderings of Deepak Chopra for example was brilliant. He remarked at one point, paraphrased: that if man were to invent the story of redemption he wouldn't have come up with the biblical account, but would have made salvation by "eating wings and napping."

3. The ABC interviewer within minutes went immediately to the theodicy question (theodicy deals with the problem of evil in this world. IOW, how can a good, perfect, loving, and holy God create sin, evil, and an imperfect world and still remain Omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent?) This is where I thought the discussion would ultimately go and I thought Mark answered the question in a solid, orthodox, reformed tradition. God made man in His image, and gave him moral freedom, pre-fall, to make choices. Man disobeyed God, sin entered this world, and God sent Jesus on our behalf to redeem man from his sins and give him eternal life and complete forgiveness by grace through faith in Christ alone. Again, he didn't get lost in the minutia of some heady theological construct that wouldn't have been profitable in this venue. I thought he was clear that pre-fall free will is not meant to "let God off the hook" for the existence of evil. But that culpability lies with Satan for his rebellion in heaven; and with our first parents Adam and Eve for their rebellion in the garden. 
God is sovereign over all His creatures and has decreed not only the certain existence of evil but (as my friend James White says so well) "has also decreed the secondary means by which it would come into existence." Clearly, on this prominent issue his comments were God conceived (sound doctrine), Christ centered (exalting to the Savior), and Spirit controlled (done with propriety befitting Christ).

4. Mark has a rare ability to take complex spiritual truth and say them in a simple and pedestrian way that communicates the core meaning (while staying true to Scripture) to those who don't speak Christianeeze or have never darkened the door of a church before. This is a gift; and one I wish more pastors had.

5. He was bringing Mars Hill Church to Mars Hill. In Acts 17 we read the account of where the Apostle Paul was in Athens ministering. He was in the marketplace preaching about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel. He was in the synagogues reasoning with the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles. And lastly, he was invited by the Stoic philosophers and Epicurean leaders to come to the Areopagus to come and explain to them this strange teaching they were hearing (i.e. concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead). 
Mark was invited by ABCNEWS to address this issue of the problem of evil in this world and about the nature and existence of Satan. He was on "Mars Hill" to proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through the Face-Off Program. He was not offering an opinion on just another view, but heralding the only true view - biblically.

6. His exchange with apostate church leader, Carlton Pearson - was nothing short of brilliant. I knew Carlton in the past and it was very sad to hear him speak of the Christian faith in ways that were clearly heretical. He was in a real way teaching doctrines of demons. Mark was challenging a man who was once one of the glory boys on TBN; a leader within the Word/Faith movement; Oral Roberts' son in the faith; and one of Pentecostalism's favorite sons. Though that heritage is troubling enough, what Carlton is now teaching is clearly from convictions that would render him as apostate. He no longer holds to the authority and perspicuity of Scripture; he doesn't believe in a literal hell or even a literal devil. He denies the importance of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; and also would deny penal substitutionary atonement. He also believes that Christianity is the sacred junkyard of borrowed myths from other philosophical systems. Mark really addressed him and Deepak as one pleading with them to come to the Lord Jesus Christ.

7. Lastly, he by example demonstrated in real time Paul's admonition to the Corinthian church: "I sought to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2). Don't miss this beloved. It is very difficult in this kind of venue and interview that is highly edited and stripped of most of its content to keep Christ and His Word central and prominent in the discussion. Mark used the theme of "Does Satan Exist" to speak about the Lord of all creation at almost every opportunity.
Equipping the Saints
I would encourage you if you are a pastor, Bible student, or lay-leader in the church to really watch these videos several times, study them if you please, to learn how to engage non-Christians on issues of faith. Now I know that there are some who would have desired for Mark to go into the depths of theodicy theologically; to use more reformed buzz words and doctrinal nomenclature. But this would have been fatal. We are to be salt and light to a dying world - and our brother represented the Lord and His gospel well.

March on Your Knees
As these videos are watched more and more by thousands of unregenerate people around the globe in the coming weeks, please pray for them that the Lord was use them in presenting the gospel. I would also encourage you beloved to pray for Deepak and Carlton. Pray that the Lord would grant them saving faith to believe the gospel and repentance from sin to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. Pray for Annie that her ministry to the streets of Las Vegas as a former drug addict and prostitute would bring the gospel of grace to many there. And continue to pray for Mark and his ministry at MHC that the Lord would continue to honor his faithfulness to His Word.

Satan maybe mighty, but our Lord Jesus Christ is Almighty; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against us.  Amen?

I want to end this post the same way that Mark ended his closing remarks on the Face-Off broadcast - by quoting this text from the Word of God:
"We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:19-20).

174 comments:

Mike Leake said...

Steve,

Thank you for your humility. This makes Jesus look really good.

Not that it matters but my level of respect for you has grown today. Not only that (and this certainly the most important) my love for the body of Christ has grown. What a testimony of the power of God's transforming grace and ability to transform communities that he would work in the heart of Steve Camp and in the heart of Mark Driscoll and that the two might reflect that in their relationship. Praise God for this!!

John said...

Steve,

You've demonstrated the work of Christ in the believer by submitting to conviction of the Holy Spirit. Whether it's a blog debate or commentary on another person or church, all of us need to be reminded of that nasty little sin called pride. We can find ourselves so caught up in the zeal and passion for the truth that we forget the more important Christian attributes of how we are to conduct ourselves even when critiquing that which is wrong.

I recently experienced this myself when confronting the emergent-squisshy methods of a church. Our motives should not simply be to win the debate or even to convince everyone to see things our way. Instead, we proclaim the truth in love and demonstrate grace to all.

Mike Ratliff's enlightenment on this topic inspired me to post a different sort of blog on this very issue...
http://blogoftheway.blogspot.com/2009/03/christian-blogging-rules-of-engagement.html

The humility in your post stands as a wake-up call to all Truth-Defenders! Thanks for sharing!

~ktf~
John

donsands said...

It's great when brothers in Christ can love one another in the truth.

I have been debating a brother i love, who is a full-preterist. It gets heated, but we keep the love up front, and respect one another for who we are in Christ.

It's all about Christ, and not eschatology, as important as doctrine is.

Thanks for such an edifying post.

And i pray for Mark every now and then that he would keep away from crude words. I may not use crude words like he has, but I have pride, lust, and self-pity in my heart for sure. And the Lord is still working on me.

JoJo said...

You are fortunate Mark has chosen to follow Christ's words about an offending brother.

I venture to say if he were not as charismatic and gifted as he is then you wouldn't be recanting and repenting.

Words mean things, Steve. Like feathers from a pillow, you can let them out but it is impossible to bring them all back in.

I pray you've learned a life lesson here and emerge from it a richer and wiser person.

SJ Camp said...

Mike Leake
Thank you Mike for those very encouraging words. I do thank the Lord for His convicting power. "He who began a good work will complete it..."

Mark has been very gracious in our limited conversation. We have something in common - five kids each. Mine are quite a bit older; but we share that blessing from the Lord.

If I may be so bold to offer only one small correction in your most kind words: on my best day, I don't make Jesus look good at all. But He, by His justifying and sanctifying grace, makes us all look good... amen? (i.e. - depraved sinners turned in disciples of the Savior.)

Thank you again dear brother.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

John
all of us need to be reminded of that nasty little sin called pride. We can find ourselves so caught up in the zeal and passion for the truth that we forget the more important Christian attributes of how we are to conduct ourselves even when critiquing that which is wrong.

Amen... well said.

Charles Bridges, that great 19th century British pastor said this one time: "pride is self contending with God for preeminence."

No wonder Jesus called us to "deny ourselves; take up our cross and follow Him."

He must increase; I must decrease.

Grace and peace,
Campi

SJ Camp said...

donsends
It's great when brothers in Christ can love one another in the truth.

I agree. Mark is my brother in Christ. That relationship by virtue of regeneration by the Holy Spirit puts us into the same family... (Eph. 4:1-3).

Thank you Don...
Steve

Mike Leake said...

Steve,

I agree with your correction to my comment about "making Jesus look good". I think an old professor has influenced me in saying that. I know what he means, and in a sense I stand by what I mean, but I agree it's easily misunderstood so probably best not to say it that way.

What is meant by saying "this makes Jesus look good" is not that it somehow adds to his intrinsic worth but that it accurately represents the goodness of Jesus. So rather than making him look bad (which is not living in a manner worthy of the gospel) this is making Jesus look good (living in a manner worthy of the gospel). But, nevertheless, it's probably not the best way of saying it...so thanks for the correction but more than anything for your obedience.

SJ Camp said...

Mike
I understand and thank you for clarifying.

SJ Camp said...

JoJo
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. You speak more kindly of me than I deserve for if you knew my sinful heart as I do, you wouldn't have been so gracious.

Just one thing if I may, only the Spirit can bring conviction to any of our hearts and only He can produce the grace to enable repentance.

I know that Mark would agree as well.

Grace and peace,
Steve

Scott Thomas said...

Steve, my friend, Thank you! Your grace toward a person you don't fully agree is refreshing. I think John Madden would say concerning this reconciled relationship, "Bam! Right there, that's the gospel."

Scott Thomas
Acts 29 Director
Mars Hill Pastor of Church Planting

Ur Man CD said...

Steve I read the blog in Google Reader and had to read it in the site to make sure it was real. Just want to thank you for your humility and still sticking to what you believe. You were one of the first people to get me interested in blogging by your evident passion for truth and I thank you so much for that. As I'm grateful for your analysis on the ABC Nightline debate. I pray that God will continue to bless you in all your endeavours.

Kevin in Manila said...

Steve,

You don't know how much I appreciate this post.

This kind of public apology is all too rare among Christians, especially Christian bloggers.

SJ Camp said...

Scott Thomas
Thank you for your very encouraging words. And coming from you means so much. Very humbling.

My friend Jerry Bridges is known for saying: "preach the gospel to yourself everyday." When I have failed to do just that, self-righteous religious pride finds a welcome place of residence in my heart. It is only the grace of His gospel that proves faithful once again to drive it out.

Please give my warmest greeting to Mark. I am praying for you all daily. May the Lord continue to bless your faithfulness to His Word.

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

SJ Camp said...

Ur Man CD
Good evening my brother! Thank you for your comment tonight. I am honored that this blog has been a source of encouragement in you blogging as well. What a great tool when used for the Lord, His gospel, His people, and for His glory.

Let us pray for each other to remain faithful in a very troubling age we live in. May the Lord use you to turn England upside down with the gospel.

In His unfailing love,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Kevin
Thank you my brother. Your words are not taken lightly.

Because He lives...
Campi

MarieP said...

Campi,

While I share your concerns about some of the methods and language Pastor Driscoll uses, I too was thankful for what he said on ABC. And yes, while I am sure some would have liked him to appear more blatantly Reformed, I believe he was picking his battles wisely and wanted to hammer home the truth that we are held responsible for being sinners, both by nature and by choice.

I pray that you will have a good effect on each other as you interact!!!

steve janz said...

Well done brother - may God's grace continue to mold the image of Jesus in you... as was demonstrated in your writing of this post!

SJ Camp said...

Marie P
Good to hear from you girl.. It has been too long since you've posted here.

I agree that Mark picked his battles carefully. What was fascinating was to see the reaction of Deepak and Carlton to some of his challenges to them. He drove them constantly back to the gospel of sola fide.

Come back more often.
Campi

PS - How is Southern doing these days?

SJ Camp said...

Steve
Grace and peace to you brother! How patient the Lord is with us all. I echo your thoughts here - may He continue to conform us to Himself each day.

That is the hope of the golden chain in Romans 8:28-31 isn't it...

Thank you again.
Steve

MarieP said...

My own pastor is working on a blog article for the Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog about the epidemic among Christian bloggers of criticizing our brethren.

He is teaching a SS series on assurance, and he just taught the first of several on issues of the tongue. I'll tell you, it was one that caused me to want to just keep quiet the rest of the day!

In it, he made this statement: "If we had to have a moratorium where all believers speak well of their brethren for a couple of days, there'd be tumbleweed blowing through the internet."

listen here

steve janz said...

It is the hope... praise God for Romans 8! What a ballast for our souls on this journey God's called us to. Mercy and grace on you too brother!

MarieP said...

"What was fascinating was to see the reaction of Deepak and Carlton to some of his challenges to them. He drove them constantly back to the gospel of sola fide."

Yes, it was!! And AMEN!

Things are going well at Southern! I am busier, as are the others in the library, since we lost some folks due to the economy. But God is faithful!!!

Are you coming to the SBC convention in Louisville?

Bhedr said...

Always willing to admit your need for growth brother Steve. What a blessing it is to see.

You are impacting this generation as well brother, but rarely do people see it.

Grace upon grace,

Brian

Marc said...

I'm not sure I can deal with all this getting along under the banner of Christ stuff. Its almost like what Jesus had in mind for His people.

Seriously Campi, are you writing this post because Driscoll threatened to come over and beat you up? :-)

Mike Edwards said...

Steve,

Ever since sharing the platform with you last year at the reformed conference at CBC in Waterford, my prayer has been that this very moment would come.

Praise God for the gospel being brought to bear on attitudes and words in ways that glorify God and edify the hearers/readers.

Amen, amen, amen.

poopemerges said...

I just want to say thank you Steve. Both Mark's peaching and your music have had giant influence in my life for the cause of the gospel...this inspires me to stay focused on Jesus and not the other junk.

D

BJ Stockman said...

Steve,

So thankful to see God's work of grace here between brothers.

Very happy,
BJ Stockman

Kris said...

Steve,

What an encouragement it was to read this post. I have kept up with your blog in the past and honestly have prayed that this post would come. I have had to learn this lesson myself in the past and continually have to keep myself in check. Thanks for your humility and your zeal for the Gospel!!

MarieP said...

Campi,

Right now I am listening to a message called "If We Could Hear Ourselves Talk" by some dude named Byron Yawn. Perhaps you've heard of him??? ;-)

John said...

You don't know how much this has absolutely made my day. This has brought me to tears of joy. It almost seems unbelievable. Our God is great!

Coram Deo said...

self-righteous religious pride finds a welcome place of residence in my heart.

Woe is me!

Guilty, guilty, guilty...

Not thankful enough for His grace,
CD

Elizabeth Davis said...

Amen about the exhortation to pray for Deepak,Carlton and the many unsaved who watched the ABC Nightline airing...may our sovereign and merciful LORD graciously cause them to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ!!

cyd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bhedr said...

Mark did well, I just finished watching. Tremendous. Finished with the word. How truly impossible it is for man to believe without the drawing of the Holy Spirit. Deepak is going to mislead a lot of folks, but the word of God that Mark finished with will draw out his chosen ones.

Grace upon grace,

Brian

cyd said...

Steve,

You said, "I came to see that in a very real way we have the same problem... just a different manifestation." That's true of all of us, isn't it? Both the log and the speck share the same origin.

Thank you for sharing this with us. It is a great encouragement and huge blessing to us all. How precious is the Lord's mercy and goodness in His dealings with His people!!

2Cor.13:11

Cyd

Carla said...

Dear Steve,

you wrote:

"In my zeal to champion reformed biblical theology which I deeply believe, I was blinded to the prideful log in my own eye while blogging about the speck in my brother's eye."

That is not an easy thing to admit or deal with is it? In fact, it is and should be quite heartbreaking to wrestle with so that we remain aware of it at all times and never let our words become unbalanced and uncharitable in the first place. It's a balance I struggle to find every single day and often miss, big time.

It's not very often (almost never, in fact) that I read a blog post and it makes me cry, but yours did today. Just knowing what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through you and how He's been working in and through others seemed so much more real today that it just sort of overwhelmed me with gratitude.

Thank you so much for this encouraging post and sharing your heart a bit on this issue. It's quite clear the impact has been and will be far-reaching for God's glory.

That's truly an amazing thing.

Wendy said...

Wow. I rejoice in Christ over such gospel reconciliation. Beautiful!

danielskiffington said...

Steve,

Thank you for your humility and grace you shared through this post. I really do hope more Christians (myself) included follow your example on how to love and reconcile relationships with Christian brothers when there are disagreements on the small things.

Daniel Skiffington
Mars Hill Church Member

Heart, Mind, Body, & Soul...By Todd said...

I apologize that I've not followed much of this before, aside from some letters in our Missouri SBC newspaper criticizing some of Mark Driscoll's words from the pulpit. I too struggle with how to properly speak truth in love, and it sounds like both Mark and Steve are growing in that area, but let's not get too carried away with our comments. We still have a responsibility to speak truth, and blogs are a great place to do so. I'm not sure how this all works out, but I'm no more comfortable with Christians remaining silent than I am with us bashing each other.

Dwayne Forehand said...

This is clearly a Spirit worked miracle of Biblical proportions! I am calling all of my cessasionist friends right now and telling them I have evidence now. ;)

Christine said...

Steve,

Good form! :)

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Glory to God!

Carol said...

I'm not even sure how I arrived at this link, but I'm so thankful that I did.

I've followed Mark for years via podcast. While I understand your initial criticisms of Mark are shared by others, I am thrilled to see you leading out in the grace and humility we oft times lack. May your example shine forth until that day you hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

The program as aired Thursday evening didn't make as much sense as the full clips available on the ABC site. I'll be marching in my knees with you that others will see and hear and put their trust in the Lord.

Chad V. said...

Steve;

I'm confused by this post.

I'm not sure how could have handled the issues concerning Driscoll more biblically than you already have. It seems you have removed all of your old posts concerning Driscoll. Those posts in my judgement we on target.

Are you retracting your calls for Driscoll to repent?

Danny said...

Steve,
Having not read through all of the comments I would like to ask the following.
Phil Johnson really called Driscoll to account at the Shepherd's conference. Rightly so at some points. However, he said that anyone using the kind of language etc. should immediately step down from the pulpit. What are your thoughts on this. Is Driscoll unredeemable in a pulpit sense?

Tim J. said...

Thanks Steve,
As someone who has greatly benefitted from your music and the teaching of Mark, I praise God that you can support him, even if you disagree with some of the things he says.

SJ Camp said...

To All
Thank you for all of your kind and encouraging words. Though I haven't answered each one of your comments directly, please know how humbled and grateful I am for each one. I will get to most by the end of the day.

Praise the Lord that He is not finished with us...

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Danny said...

sorry to get you up so early...ha

Dean Gonzales said...

Steve,

You're my hero. Not because you've compromised your convictions. You're still concerned that Mark crosses the line in the use of inappropriate language and want him to change. But you're approaching him as one sinner to another and setting the example for the rest of us. The devil tells us that we'll diminish in the esteem of God and our brothers if we confess our own sins and take the road of humility. In reality, the exact opposite is true. Thanks, brother, and may the Lord bless your ministry to Mark!

Bob Gonzales, Dean
Reformed Baptist Seminary

Josh said...

Well done Steve,

May we all learn from this. I know it's not easy, but it's a great act of love and humility. This post was a breath of fresh air.

-Josh

SJ Camp said...

Wendy
What a joy to have you comment here! You and I sure locked horns in the past on many issues surrounding Mark, but I am so grateful to the Lord for your words you said here.

Please forgive me Wendy for attitudes expressed to you in the heat of the discussions here that were not Christlike or godly.

Glad to have you commenting here once again.

Quick question: are you still teaching theology to women? Are they on mp3? Links?

Grace and peace to you,
Steve
Phil. 1:6

SJ Camp said...

Dean Bob
I am so honored that you commented here. Thank you!

I am so looking forward to a hopefully growing friendship with Mark. I am also looking forward to his ministry in my life. There is much I can learn and glean from him. He has already been a source of pastoral encouragement to me.

I have also enjoyed your series on the cessionist/continuationist debate. You've definitely jumped in the deep end of the pool...

May the Lord continue to keep us all broken before Him. He must increase, I must decrease.

Please send me some of your articles on whatever subject you would like. The readers of this blog would benefit greatly from your insights and teaching as well as myself.

VIVIT,
Steve

MarieP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MarieP said...

Is that jumped INTO the deep end or OFF the deep end...? (JK)

I really appreciate Bob Gonzales and his ministry as well. I have yet to meet him, but I hope to sometime in the future!

Planning on coming to the 2010 T4G Conference?

SJ Camp said...

Chad V
Good question my brother.

As I tried to say at the beginning of this post, I still have the same convictions over words used in the pulpit to reflect the Word being preached and the Savior with reverence - no question. But I needed to deal with the log in my own eye. My heart wasn't right in regards to my brother here.

I hope that Mark and I can be an encouragement in ministry to each other; different spheres of service, but the same Lord and purpose.

I am certain that if Mark were to comment here, he might disagree with several things I have said as well. That's OK. But I needed to approach these things with more than just the sword of solid reformed biblical theological truth; I needed my heart and methods to reflect Christ as well.

Though I haven't meant Mark, I look forward to sharing with him one day some of Seattle's finest coffee - and a chance to really dialogue about these things. BUT, in the context of Christ-centered love and grace with the goal not to debate or simply strive to be right; but to really see each other conformed to Jesus.

My blind spot caused me not to see some things clearly. I needed to set that right here. And again, I surely haven't arrived in this area of my life... Yet the Lord has given grace on these things.

Protect the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; AND til we all come to the unity of the faith (cp, Eph. 4:1-13). I hadn't guarded the first of those commands in my zeal for sound doctrine.

On the issue of repentance, Calvin said in his 100 Aphorisms that the Christian's life is to be marked by a life of repentance not just a one time act of repentance (my paraphrase). So my prayer for Mark is my prayer for myself: "Lord give me the grace to repent of anything that doesn't honor you in word, thought or deed each day."

That is my desire. Do I do that everyday - no way. But the Lord is helping everyday in that goal of faith. I can't fix another person; I can't fix myself. But as we serve each biblically and approach each other with the right heart and attitudes, we can provoke one another unto love and good works.

I hope this clarifies a bit more for you. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers to this end.

In His unfailing love,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Danny
Is Driscoll unredeemable in a pulpit sense?

What an interesting phrase. I have never heard that before. The answer is - NO. May the Lord bless Mark with many years of effective and meaningful pulpit ministry absent of the scatology. It is absolutely redeemable!

We are all great sinners... aren't we? No exceptions. Our hearts are corrupt and depraved. Even now, as new creations we are incarcerated in unredeemed flesh waiting for the redemption of the body (Roms. 8:20-27). And there is the struggle. The things we don't want to do, we do; and the things we should do, we don't do. "Oh wretched man am I." That was Paul's commentary on himself as a regenerate man.

That is my life too.

If any of us in our scope of service to the Lord by God's Sovereign grace is "unredeemable," then what we are saying is that God is not a greater Savior than my sin - than your sin. I don't believe that.

Grace doesn't condone sin; but grace covers all our sin. David is always the example people pull out of their hats on this. He sinned grievously before the Lord. But the Lord forgave him; David repented; and God used him to still pen Scripture (consider Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 in relation to his reconciliation and repentance). Isn't that an amazing reality?

In my own strength and goodness I am not worthy to sing for the Lord; teach for Him; blog for Him; wash feet for Him... anything. It is only by His grace that I may do anything profitable for the kingdom.

Thank you for your comment here and I hope this attempts to answer your question.

Campi

SJ Camp said...

DanielSkiffington
Amen my brother. Thank you for your grace-filled words.

Steve

SJ Camp said...

Heart, Mind, Body
I too struggle with how to properly speak truth in love,...

This is an area we all need grace in isn't it?

Truth without love is cold hearted orthodoxy; and love without truth is empty-headed sentimentality.

Balance under His mercy. We have this ministry "by the mercy of God..." Amen?

2 Cor. 4:1-7
Steve

littlegal_66 said...

Steve--

Without going into detail, quite simply, this is an answer to several months of prayer.
God’s grace is overflowing....

And I should have done this months ago, but if I may, I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly ask everyone (including you) for forgiveness as well, for the sarcasm I’ve communicated in the editorial graphics I’ve submitted in the past (to accompany some of your Mark Driscoll articles). I’d become, in a sense, an “enabler.”

So grateful for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit in my own life….

SDG,

Steph

P.S. I'm also very glad you posted this on March 31st, not April 1st!

SJ Camp said...

Littlegal
Amen!

SJ Camp said...

Marie P
Good comments here friend. Thank you for the links as well.

Would like to come to T4G in 2010. We will see how finances and schedule are at that time.

SJ Camp said...

Behdr
Great to hear from you brother - you have been missed!

Thank you for your encouraging words.

Steve

The Blainemonster said...

To hear Carlton Pearson talk of his past life in evangelicalism, it becomes clear soon enough, I think, that he never really understood Christ in the first place. His belief system was messed up to begin with - it's no wonder he's so confused now. He may actually be closer to true faith now more than ever.

Lisa Nunley said...

I read a quote one day that convicted my heart deeply:
"if we mean all these wonderful things we talk about, write about and sing about, then lets see something to prove it."-anonymous

This post has proven your faith in Jesus Christ by far more than any apologetic post you have written and any song you have sung.

We all have so very far to go in our walk with the Lord.

SJ Camp said...

Blaine...
Well said. This is why I appreciated Mark not delving into the minutia of "does Satan exist" - but kept the greater picture in view of where Carlton really is and dealing with more essential truths about the gospel itself.

This is great encouragement to us all to be praying for Carlton that God would grant Him genuine saving faith.

Thanks for your insights on this...

SJ Camp said...

Lisa
Tears of joy to have you comment here. Thank you friend!

What a faithful Lord we serve... amen?

barrywallace said...

Steve,

I've appreciated your music and your ministry for many, many years. ("Fire and Ice" was one of my favorite albums at one point.) But I must say that I've never appreciated your sincerity and humility more than I do after reading this. Thanks, brother.

Wendy said...

Steve, thank you for your apology. I confess that I too have sinned in this area--often commenting out of anger and not a loving, broken spirit of humility. It's one of the reasons I have tried to step away from making comments over the last year.

I'm not doing much teaching now, but there are some older audio files on the Mars Hill media website under general teaching. My sessions are on the last few pages since they are a few years old.

I've published a book and do most of my writing now on the blog for the book.

http://theologyforwomen.blogspot.com/

Thanks for asking!

founderandperfecter said...

This is my favorite of your posts, it really communicates the grace that Jesus has given you.

JMH said...

Well done, Steve. This was manfully handled. Thank you.

Brandon said...

I know you've got a lot of comments already, I just wanted to offer my opinion of his handling of theodicy. I do not think he answered it well. And I do not think a more Calvinistic, biblical answer would have been too complicated to explain. Driscoll placed all of the emphasis upon God's need for man's love, which can only exist by free will. This is simply Arminian.

Quite amazingly, Annie Lobert provided the biblical answer when she said “I truly believe that the devil was in my life because God wanted to show me how much He really loved me… I never would have known God’s love had I not been attacked by the demons.” Amen!

SJ Camp said...

Thank you my brothers for your gracious words.

A joyful encouragement in the Lord.

SJ Camp said...

Brandon
Well said. In fact that is how I interpreted Driscoll's words. Sovereignty and decree demonstrated God's love for me in answering the problem of evil.

We must all look to the cross.
Amen?

ecrosstexas (Eric Wallace) said...

"And they will know that we are Christians by our love..."

Thanks for posting this Steve. Praise God for the work he is doing in your life and in Mark's. SDG.

Danny said...

So, I guess I'm still confused and not trying to annoy. Phil Johnson tore into MD a couple of weeks ago. Steve, I know that you hold MacArthur and that crowd i high esteem-as do I. Was Phil too rough? He seemed to be outright calling for MD to step down. I'm struggling with this. There seemed to be no gray(ce) area with Phil on Mark. Almost as if there was something personal going on. After Phil's remarks on how MD used the verse about doing things with your hands...it rocked me. Please don't anyone quote the verse and how he used it in context because that is forever imprinted on my mind. i.e. i'll never hear that verse the same.

SJ Camp said...

Danny
I can't answer for Phil nor do I know his motives. Those are not mine to know. To get answers to those kind of questions you should address them to Phil himself.

You are correct that I hold John MacArthur and his team at Grace and TMS in very high esteem. We don't see every little jot and tittle the same; but that only endears them to me all the more - for it means I have a chance to grow in the faith in ways that otherwise I may not have considered.

Grace and truth,
Campi

Crimes & Intimidation said...

I"m glad you found something good. To be honest, I've been waiting to see how you and Ingrid Schlueter were going to smack Mark around again. Nice to see that you haven't, and I found it interesting Ingrid hasn't said a word....which is nice for a change.

Christine said...

Hello,

Danny, I would like to say something about the comment that you made concerning Mark Driscoll and his language. I don't know much of Mark Driscoll, as a matter of fact of those on the ABC panel, the one I know most of is Carlton Pearson, I didn't know that he had departed from the faith until my pastor made it public in our bible study one evening.

Romans 11:29 says
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Our job is to pray for Mark Driscoll.

2 timothy 2:19
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this Seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His. And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. So, i'm not condoning his language or speech. This is the first time i've heard Mark Driscoll on this panel. Thankyou to you Steve for posting it.

Romans 8:27
And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Our job is to pray, and I would say pray in tongues, pray in the Spirit. Don't know how many of you have received that gift. It is truly a gift.

May God give you wisdom and discernment.
Sincerely,
Christine

Moe Bergeron said...

Dear Steve,

Thank you for displaying the love of Christ to Mark. Not all of us are easy to love but by the power of God at work in us nothing is impossible for Him to heal.

Derek Joseph said...

Wow. Well, Steve, this moves me to praise the Lord - his Holy Spirit is working on earth to glorify him forever!

Thanks for being willing to say this in public. It honors Jesus. And builds up his Bride.

Your younger and much less wise brother,
Derek

SJ Camp said...

Derek
What a joy to have you post here. Your words were grace to me today. Thank you my brother.

Campi

SJ Camp said...

Moe
We are all hard to love somedays - aren't we?

Thank you for your gracious words. They are not taken lightly.

Steve

jennifer said...

I appreciate Steve's repentance here of the manner of his addressing issues.

What would make me really happy would be to see that Mark also repents of some things that he has done recently (such as the use of "that" verse, which, like Danny, has now been forever marred in my mind).

I think at times Steve did cross the line in his tone. I haven't found the same with Phil Johnson or John Macarthur. I think they have stuck to the issues and addressing them biblically.

I am still confused by Marks ministry. Some of it is good and helpful. Other parts I find disturbing. Like the sermon he recently did on Marriage and Men, where he screamed at the men in his church, calling them "freakin' jokes" and other names. Not sure how this kind of behaviour fits in with the sentiments expressed in Steve's post. It would seem Mark is still in favour of strong and personal language for himself.

So - great to hear of conviction and repentance. It would just be nice if it doesn't end there with more will eventuate. Will be praying for this.

SJ Camp said...

Crimes...
I appreciate Ingrid very much and thank the Lord for her ministry to us all. She has had to endure much for kingdom; may I encourage you to pray for her...

Praise the Lord for His fathomless grace; neverending mercy; unfailing love He gives to His children.

Thanks for your comment.
Steve

Crimes & Intimidation said...

Thanks Steve. I do pray for Ingrid, and I pray that sometime in the future she can repent of some of the lies she has spread about other believers. Because, there are many of us out here, who know exactly what this woman is about behind the scenes and the ways she hurts the body of Christ, way more than helping it.

Danny said...

Christine
I like driscoll a lot. If nothing else his ministry led me to finding the greatest young preacher of our time. That is Matt Chandler. I confess I don't listen to MD much anymore because Chandler is such a better communicator. If you are interested in a great sermon go to thevillagechurch.net website and then to "resource library" then "studies and seminars" and then "general session" fbc jax, fl. this is the sbc pastor's conf. in jax. he absolutely knocks this out of the park.

James Hunt said...

Steve,

You blessed me early in my Christian walk back in the late 80's. You've blessed me at times with some of the things on this blog; however, the first part of this post - your humble admission of sin and spirit of reconciliation has blessed me more than all things previously sung or written. Thanks!

Now then, on to see if some spiritual pride is hiding in my own heart - I find it often is.

Many blessings to you.

James

SJ Camp said...

Danny
I agree that Matt Chandler is a good preacher. Have you ever heard Burk Parson's who serves with R.C. Sproul as well? Excellent man of God... Sorry I don't have the link handy, but you can get his messages online through R.C.'s church.

Thanks again for your thoughts and the link to Matt's church.

SJ Camp said...

Jennifer
Thank you for your comment here. I agree that prayer is such an important ministry for any Christian that we need to daily invest more time with.

I know that sometimes I have crossed the line here before - true enough; and I think Phil would be the first to acknowledge he has crossed that same line several times too. We all need to temper strong words of exhortation with love, humility and grace so they just don't confront, but edify and encourage as well. That doesn't weaken those convictions - it simply puts them within the context of a right spirit and heart motive rather than one that is more argumentative for no other reason than to win the argument.

Here is a wonderful verse that we can all memorize and commit to prayer for our own lives, families, churches, blogs and ministries. It is 2 Cor. 13:11 which says: "Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you."

What an appropriate verse for this thread and for us all to apply to our lives. Amen?

Thanks again Jennifer.
Steve

Michele Rayburn said...

Christine, you said:

Our job is to pray, and I would say pray in tongues, pray in the Spirit. Don't know how many of you have received that gift. It is truly a gift.

May God give you wisdom and discernment.


Christine, if you "pray in tongues", and think it's a gift, then I pray that you, too, would have wisdom and discernment.

Carlton Pearson explained how he had to cast the demons out of a "spirit filled, tongue-talking Pastor's wife". If she were truly spirit-filled, she could not possibly be in need of an exorcism.

As James 3:12 says, "Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh."

I often wonder, if they were alive today, what the Apostles would say about the strong delusion sent to Christians in the form of the Charismatic Movement.

This Trojan Horse is entering many of the churches, and is slowly entering into my now former Church.

We were expected to study a book by a certain Reformed Charismatic. The dangers of this Movement were pointed out to one of our friends who is an elder there, because false tongues and prophecies violate sola scriptura.

My husband's warning was ignored, and the Reformed Charismatic is still being welcomed into their "Bible" study via his book on humility...an oxymoron, by the way.

How can one have humility, while boasting in having phony gifts of the Spirit, violating sola scriptura in the process, and all the while claiming that they're not violating sola scriptura (which is a lie, or at best, another delusion)?

One concern of mine is that unbelievers may have false conversions because they think they are "saved" because they think they "speak in tongues and prophesy", and yet without ever having heard the true gospel message.

I was in the Charismatic Movement for a year, when my husband was a teaching elder in the '80's.

I went along reluctantly, but "tested" these "gifts", and I now realize that modern day "tongues" are really just like chanting in mantras.

We joined that Movement because we thought they were so "alive", compared to the other churches. But I came to realize that it was a facade as compared to having real life in the Spirit that Christ really meant for us to have.

Try not saying a "tongue or a prophetic word", but instead meditate on *His* Word, draw near to Him only and not your "gifts", and see if you can hear His still small voice, instead of the clamour of voices that comes out of the Charismatic Movement.

Since you invited us to partake of these "gifts" publicly, I believe it is important to respond to you publicly about it.

And it does relate to the question "Does Satan Exist?" Carlton Pearson's experience with demons could use a response. What happened to that woman's mind (whom Pearson "exorcised") I believe is a result of speaking in phony tongues (mantras). I've seen it before in other women with glazed-over eyes.

The elders at the Charismatic church that we were involved in had to "exorcise" a woman there also. She had determined to speak in tongues 24/7 and as a result was losing her mind. It is ironic that her "gift" is the very thing that caused her to need a supposed exorcism.

She wasn't necessarily demonized. She may have just been driving herself crazy. But sometimes that can open you up to demonic activity.

In His Love,
Michele

Julius Mickel said...

What a massive thing to swallow, our pride!
How fearful we all should be of judging with wrong motives. This is the call, we are to judge rightly; with a heart for those we would correct. We point out error, we discipline for the good, not to attack, not to hurt, not to walk away a victor, but with a concern for the glory of God and the welfare of others.
Take the log out, THEN..THEN....THEM go to your brother and help him get the speck out, so if SC can do this with humility and love then he should still point out the wrong.
For some i think we must differentiate the office of Pastor (the life and giftings REQUIRED by scripture) and the believer.
I think Phil Johnson handled this well, for in his message you could certainly hear a major theme throughout, which was a great concern for the glory of God, the reverence of the pulpit (by the church and the world), and a clear heart for Pastors that are burdened by such people telling them 'this is what you gotta do in order to reach people'. To a faithful pastor who is struggling with such questions as 'Lord am i doing anyting wrong' this could be overwhelming.

So brother with care, choose your fights well--we wrestle not against flesh and blood....

Christine said...

Michele,

1 John 4:2 says
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus christ is come in the flesh is of God: and 1 John 4:3
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

1 Corinthians 14:32
And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

I control when i pray in tongues, it doesn't control me.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Corinth 14:33

Michele,
I encourage you to read all of 1 Corinthians 14.

Peace,
Christine

Bob said...

WOW!
SJC, my respect for you went through the roof. I stopped visiting this blog a year ago and now I think I wanna read more of what you have to say to fellow believers. This is a great day for Christianinty, especially in the eyes of the world.

Thank you for your humility and I ask God to give me the same in the areas where I need it.

I am sorry for the times I disagreed with you and flamed out more than I should have in my defense of MD.

SJ Camp said...

Julius
Thank you and amen. Always a wise thing to choose our battles carefully But then when engaging, let's do so in a manner befitting Christ.

And one point of clarification here that this thread should hear: the context of my post is when dealing with another brother in ministry. But false teachers trying to infiltrate the church with heresy should not be coddled or pacified. But dealt with directly as our Lord did in Matt. 23; or Paul did in 1 Tim. 1 or 2 Tim. 2; or as Peter did in 2 Peter 2.

But again, when we are talking about a genuine brother in the Lord Jesus Christ, then we should approach each other differently.

To All
As much as I think the discussion about spiritual gifts is an important one, this thread is not about that. Please honor the integrity of what the Lord is doing here and save that discussion for another post.

Grace and peace,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Bob
Your words were a joy to begin the day with. I am humbled by them.

How great is the Lord and His restorative grace!

Todd Pruitt said...

Steve,

Thanks for your vulnerability before your brothers and sisters. As a pastor one of my constant challenges is to take my own sin more seriously than I take the sins of others. I fail often. Your post sent me into a much needed search for planks in my own eye.

By the say, thanks for "My Sins, My Sins, My Savior." I am reduced to tears everytime I hear it.

Continued blessings upon you.

Danny said...

steve,
if you come upon a link to parson's sermons or teachings let me know or post it here. i am always interested powerful biblical preaching.

Chad V. said...

Steve

Your repentance from a prideful spirit is admirable. It is clear that you wish to address this issue with a sanctified heart. For that I commend you.

The scripture teaches also about separation from one who calls himself a brother but walks disorderly. I hope you remember this principle. 1 Cor 5:11, 1 Tim 1:20, etc. Don't let your humbled spirit over ride this critical biblical teaching.

Before you do anything else on this front Steve may I please ask you to listen to Phil Jonson's sermon entitled "Sound Words, Sound Doctrine" if you haven't already?

Danny said...

Chad V.
I listened to the Phil's sermon and i gotta tell you it made a lasting impression on me. Verses in the Bible should not be made into sexual humor. However, Phil seems to think that Mark should step down as pastor immediately(unless i heard that wrong). This to me shows a lack of grace or willingness to work with the guy. Piper has issues with MD and that crowd but he has chosen to work with them and help them grow.
I have a feeling that for Mark to be truly repentant he will have to make a trip to Sun Valley, CA and kiss someone's ring. The thing has gotten out of hand.
God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called. Phil thought his time was approaching only to be upstaged by a bunch of rowdies with their shirts untucked.

R W S said...

Wise and edifying words Steve. I think Mark has a hunger to grow and by communicating with him and having him come under men like Piper,Carson etc..it can only help . He has a great way in cutting through what others are saying and always bringing the topic to Christ and the gospel. I will continue to pray for you and Driscoll ,as I do others who wage the battle against the enemies of the gospel.May God be glorified in all we do. God bless.

SJ Camp said...

Chad V
Thank you for that link. I have heard that message.

Most of the content is not new my brother and I am well aware of all that Mark has taught having listened to virtually everything he has released in the past three years from books, mp3's, web articles, interviews, etc.

I thank the Lord for His work of grace concerning Mark. As I tried to say at the beginning of this article, I still have strong convictions about using unfettered speech in the pulpit absent of scatology and ribald language. That has not changed. But I needed to repent of the attitude and manner in which I dealt with those issues and Mark in particular.

Here is the best way I can explain this. I have had many people for the past three plus years that I have been blogging tell me that agreed with what I was saying, but that I should have more humility, graciousness, and charity in how I approach those truths. But it wasn't until the Holy Spirit deeply convicted me and gave me the grace for repentance that produced any change and godly fruit.

I would have done Mark and others here a more Christlike service if I had approached these concerns in humility and love; spent more time praying for him that the Lord would produce the change He desired in my brother, rather than writing long and biblical diatribe against him.

It wasn't profitable.

So learn from my sinful heart and foolishness: pray for Mark; encourage him with the Scriptures; treat him as a fellow servant of the Lord; do so with humility and grace; don't try to fix him; and then see how God works in his life in His timing.

Some may say, "Steve, you are going soft..." On the contrary. but we must approach these issues not just with truth, but truth clothed in character of Christ and for the right end results.

I hope this helps a bit more here brother. Thank you for your comment here.

In His grace,
Steve

Chad V. said...

Danny

I'm not going to argue for Phil, he can take care of himself. In your mid is there any reason anyone should be handed anyone over to Satan so that they may learn not to blaspheme? (1 Tim 1:20)

Steve
I'm not suggesting that anyone try to fix Driscoll.

You haven't answered my question about separation or addressed the concept of biblical discipline for those who call themselves brothers but walk disorderly. You definitely seem to be putting that aside. It's not charitable at all to disobey the bible's commands regarding these things. Discipline exists to purify the church, bring the offender to shame and hopefully thereby to repentance, and to cause others to fear to follow in the offender's foot steps.

I will pray for you Steve that the Lord will guide your steps.

The Lord be with you Steve.

Bob said...

Hang in there Steve !!

A 180 is hard (or was it a 120)?

This is a win-win for you and the cause of Christ but it is a lose-lose for you with some people.

I'm the 1st to admit that I like his teachings but at times I cringe and wanna crawl under my seat. But I know where his heart is and that's what matters.

Thanks so much for your transparency, I know that is very hard when you are so public.

SJ Camp said...

Chad V
I appreciate your love of the truth and for your compassionate responses here.

But discipline is for a local church to attend to, not the blogosphere. May I ask you to pray for Mark and his eldership; pray that they are ministering to each other in truth and grace. I have found Mark to be very gracious and teachable.

As to separation, Paul is not referring I believe to regenerate people struggling with sin; but one calls himself in name only a Christian (a carnal professor) who lives in continued unrepentant grievous sin which the church in Corinth was tolerating.

Why does the Apostle say not to each with such a one? Because that personified the intimacy of Christian fellowship in the Holy Spirit with one who most likely didn't even know the Lord but was being treated as if he did.

Yours for the Master's use,
Steve

J.R Dalberg said...

Thanks for your public display of seeking peace and your humility on your own tongue. I appreciated much of what Marc said on Nightline. I affirm much of his theology, just not much of his language (or at least his past language). I would like to see Marc do more in a public way of repentance for his own tongue, though I have heard of some kind of repentance. The church, the world and the cause of the gospel would be better served with a wider, and clearer repentance on Marc's part. On another note, I am trying find the music for "Christ Died for God", but can't seem to find it anywhere. Where can I find it? Blessings. Bob Dalberg

eric opsahl said...

Someone wrote:
“God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called.”

Actually God does CALL THE QUALIFIED to the office of Elder.

Tit 1:5 ¶ For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,
6 ¶ namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.
7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,
8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,
9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

Ashley said...

As a member of MHC I want to thank you for this post. Your note is a true encouragement. May the Lord bless you.

donsands said...

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!"

"The unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" is of great comfort to our souls. It's a wonderful blessing from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Campi & mark can be iron sharpening iron. It may still get heated, but hopefully with love and humble respect, always keeping our eyes on Christ, and His Word, trusting in His grace, and not our own goodness.

And we should never focus too steady on any brother in Christ. We have all learned that lesson, either from a brother falling, or ourselves falling. yet when we fall and hit the dirt hard, Christ will pick us up, and dust us off, and teach us, and so we grow in his graciousness and love.

I pray we would all be molded to become more gracious and loving as Christ our Lord was, and is. And of course, that we become even bolder in out stance for the gospel of grace, especially here in America.
The true Church is going to have a flood come upon us, from the false Church, and from the world. It's sort of already here.

Chad V. said...

eric opsahl

Precisely

Steve

Bob's comment doesn't reflect my attitude towards you.

You know my thoughts on this.


The Lord be with you Steve. Gotta go for now.

Chad V. said...

Steve

One last thing, for what ever it's worth to you. Of the posts I've read where you rebuked Driscoll, I never once got the impression that you were being proud. I think they were strong words spoken in a time where strong words are needed. They were to me the words of a man who was rightfully offended by the abuse of the pulpit and the defilement of the name of the Lord. The attitude of your heart may have been wrong (only you and the Lord know) but your words were right in my opinion.

I do hope that you can continue to take the same strong stands that you have in the past in a manner honoring to the Lord.

Julius Mickel said...

As far as 'seperation' goes, I think the context would include ALL who take the name of Christ, the seperation is part of church discipline so that (just like why we should call someone out, for the purpose of repentance). Although church discipline also weeds out the hypocrites.
Biblically speaking an elder is QUALIFIED before he's accepted and biblically speaking if he begins to fail in those areas and doesn't repent then YES the elders would be obligated to ask him to step down (and for some things possibly permanently), this only sounds ODD to those who are unfamiliar with biblical church discipline.

Phil Johnson made valid claims based upon scripture concerning pulpit ministry, You must first argue against the texts he used if you think he was wrong.

It's absolutely absurd to think that you need a 'type' of ministry in certain places. I guess most people have never lived or witnessed to 'rough' people and are impressed by someone who does and just buys into what they say 'you gotta do', this has never been the case in the past. Spurgeon was a church boy, but he could reach the drunks, the homeless etc, Edwards was also and he could reach Indians at a elementary understanding. Although i'm no fan of the man now, Most know of David Wilkerson a countryBOY reaching Nicky Cruz and others in gang-ridden NY and he refused to even use contemporary music, the examples are endless.

Our understanding of grace MUST be according to scripture. Search the scriptures as to the REQUIREMENTS of an elder (a great majority of churches don't uphold this) in othr words these are marks that God has put upon His ministers.
The reason such men (assuming they have right motives) would critique Driscoll or others is because they are seeking to honor God by testing men biblically (especially ministries) this is consistent with grace and love.
If there is true repentance then praise God (that's true humility) but nice replies and soft speech with apologies that are repeated over and over (and also defended) is not repentance.
I personally have been confused over how exactly Piper and Mahaney can hold Mark accountable (what's the extent of their influence and where would they find the time?)
Pipers 'Supremacy of God in preaching' is a stark contrast to Driscoll type preaching.
Let us please define grace, let us please know when it's lawful (and required) to judge; we live in an age that discipline and rebuke are perceived as unloving (what a shame if Christians don't understand this) ---> Perhaps it would be good to see a post on such a topic (when to judge, when not to and the spirit needed)

SJ Camp said...

donsends
Campi & Mark can be iron sharpening iron. It may still get heated, but hopefully with love and humble respect, always keeping our eyes on Christ, and His Word, trusting in His grace, and not our own goodness.

Well said.

Neither of I am confident will weaken essential convictions. But to approach issues and others in Christlikeness while speaking the truth in love.

RC Sproul had a great message on this today on biblical love I was listening to. He talked about biblical love and actions that would seek to demean to others, attack others, act rudely towards others is not Christlike love. It is pride and arrogant behavior.

Sproul was calling for a weakening of doctrine, but a strengthening of Christlike demeanor.

Jeremiah was a very powerful, strong, and uncompromised prophet - but he was also known as the weeping prophet. Are our hearts broken before they are confrontative?

Thank you Don...
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Chad V
One last thing, for what ever it's worth to you. Of the posts I've read where you rebuked Driscoll, I never once got the impression that you were being proud.

Thank you Chad, I greatly appreciate that.

To clarify: I didn't say that all my articles didn't have merit or all had the wrong demeanor. What I am referring to is that in some cases, I crossed the line visibly and could have approached those subjects with more humility, grace and Christian charity to the ones I was writing about.

Balance.

I haven't weakened those convictions; but I do think they needed to be tempered with Christlikeness and not my own agenda.

Does that make sense?

Here are a few questions I have been kicking around today on this very issue of standing up for the truth and doing so biblically while being clothed in the humility and grace and of the gospel.

1. How does my post glorify God and exalt Christ? Or am I seeking to only expand my own name and platform by addressing controversial issues - honoring myself?

2. How does it equip the body of Christ biblically to be better Bereans on any issue they face?

3. How does it convict and challenge me in my own life before I turn its truths on another? IOW, what do I need to repent of first before calling others to do so?

4. How does it bring truth and change to the one I am disagreeing with?

5. How does it edify and encourage - not just exhort?

6. How does it communicate real resolve?

7. How does it enable others to live more like Jesus as salt and light in their communities ready to serve their church and world?

8. Am I filled with the Holy Spirit as I write and unfold God's Word, or am I only giving knee-jerk reactions to what is shocking, unsavory and disturbing?

9. And lastly, am I reflecting the Lord Jesus Christ in what I have just written, confronted, analyzed and challenged as something He would find pleasure, delight and honor in?

What do you think...
I appreciate you brother.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Julius
I don't disagree with your words and I thank you for them.

My dear friend Jerry Bridges does a wonderful job defining grace and talking about its multifaceted implications.

Discipline is for the local church to do - not for us from a distance to declare.

Separation in and of itself is not church discipline. Matt. 18:15-20 is. For the purpose of all discipline for all believers is repentance, restoration and reconciliation; not just immediate excommunication.

Discipline for an elder is a bit different as well according to 1 Tim. 5:17-20. For example, you can't even bring an accusation against a pastor without two or three witnesses present.

Let's leave Mark to his elders, pray for the areas that are of concern, apply Scripture to the issues being addressed, confront biblically, endeavor to guard the unity of the Spirit, and then leave him to God and His sanctifying grace.

It is the kindness of God that leads to repentance - not amputating someone in a speech.

I appreciate you brother.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Ashley
Thank you so much for your comment. I am glad you found it to be an encouragement to you.

And welcome to COT too.
Steve

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad V. said...

Steve

I understand what you are saying.

I think those are great thoughts. Each of us should be considering those things at all times.

As far as being tempered with Christ-likeness.. Part of our being Christ like is following the biblical guidelines of separation. Julius Mickel makes some great points on that front in his comment.

I am not advocating that you should separate over secondary doctrines and the issues at hand aren't a "shibboleth"(Judges 12:6). What is at stake is far more grave and is on the order of primary issues. You said that the text in 1 Cor. that I cited dealt with grievous unrepentant sin. That is precisely what we are dealing with here.

I am very tempted to go into the parallels between the situation in Corinth and the situation at hand but so as not to weary you and drag this discussion on forever I wont. With your permission maybe I could email it to you. If you aren't comfortable with that I wont be offended.

Julius Mickel said...

Honestly Steve, i think the best thing to do is NOT comment on anything Driscoll for a season (even if it's a short period) good or bad.
As far as repentance goes in our lives it usually leaves us feeling quite vulnerable and we feel as those we shouldn't open our mouths.
In one sense pressing STEVE for more preciseness on what he disagrees with might be tempting him to fall back into what he had to repent of. What he might say may be right, but he might be wrong. (allow a little time for healing)
Forgive me if i did this, but i for one couldn't handle the temptation nor the temptation of pride with all these 'wow Steve you're so humble'
Praise God, you're not, nor am I (in and of ourselves)

Chad V. said...

Julius

That's great advice.

Steve

I hope our discussion hasn't tempted you to fall back into what you were repenting of. That was not my intent at all so if I have you have my apologies.

Steve, stay steadfast in the knowledge of our Lord.

SJ Camp said...

Julius
No one is saying here what you are suggesting.

But any genuine work of breaking by the Lord that produces a sincere humility in life of any believer should not be triffled with, but a cause for giving of thanks to our Lord.

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Steve
Psalm 51:17

SJ Camp said...

Chad V
Good word brother. I would be honored to have you share your thoughts here. I will leave the final decision in your hands.

Grace and peace,
Steve

Julius Mickel said...

Steve????
Did you misread what i just posted??
I wasn't accusing anyone of anything. Just clear caution to things we are all vulnerable to--please reread my post, brother.
I remember Piper begging Mahaney to not praise him so much because he did not find it helpful (not that rejoicing with brothers is wrong). Chad understood me correctly. (unless you were commenting to an earlier post?)

Chad V. said...

Steve

I've decided to withhold my remarks on 1 Cor 5 for now. I just can't seem to formulate it into a concise statement that will be a help to you. It's not coming out of my keyboard just right. It's better in my head than on my screen. Maybe this just isn't the right time.

Maybe we will meet speak again and I will better be able to express my thoughts.

Rachael Starke said...

Steve!

You may not remember me - I sang with you briefly at GCC back in the late 90s, and you were so kind to sing at my wedding.

I've checked in here periodically over the years since because you were a dear brother and friend, and I will admit now that much of what I read was frustrating and disappointing. Occasionally I was tempted to chime in, but God has been so good to help me fight my own battles with exhorting when I should be encouarging - they've been many, and not always victorious. God helped me choose to just be silent, check in every now and then, and pray, pray, pray.

It's been over two years that I've been praying for you and Mark. And today many of those prayers have been answered!

God is so, so good.

Mark is indeed a brother in Christ, with great gifts, graces, weaknesses and great sins, like us all. Usually the greatest strengths are right smack against the greatest weaknesses, are they not?

I am so encouraged now to pray even more for him. May the same God who is working so powerfully in your heart work in his, and in all those who are watching and criticizing both sides from the sidelines.

Dan S said...

I read this blog almost every day, but don't think I've ever left a comment. However I can't resist on this subject. For most of my 50 years I've held dogmatic opinions and beliefs about most everything. Lately, in an effort to self-test and balance my opinions, I have used one certain method. I simply put myself into the place of the one who I am critiquing, and mentally I replicate the words and actions of this one, and then I do two things: 1) I analyze how I would feel about myself and my effect on others after what I've just done, and 2) I consider what others' responses would be toward me. I can say this without hesitation, as I'd bet most of you would have to agree - If any one of us, who are not on ministry staff, asked our pastor for permission to address the congregation some Sunday morning (the pastor already knowing that we are actually saved and supposedly have some spiritual maturity), and we proceeded to speak from the pulpit using the same type of sickening unsanctified speech used by MD, our pastor would immediately interrupt us and not only help us off the platform, they would show us the door, for at least that Sunday, and we'd never be allowed back on the platform or allowed to participate in any part of official ministry, at least until we reformed. I absolutely know this to be true, and any of you men who have guts, will have to admit the same, unless you attend a false church. So why, here on this blog, is MD treated with kid gloves? Most of you seem to be more concerned with being "kind" to MD than you are with honoring the Holy One who bought you. Sorry, I just strongly disagree with many of you. I say, shun MD, until he truly repents. I don't give a rip what he thinks about me, or what any of his fans think about me. I do care about the glory of my God, and what He expects of me. Last time I checked, MD was not on the throne.

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SJ Camp said...

Dan S and Chad V
I delighted to have you both post here and share your views. I also try to run this blog in a manner that produces and fosters good biblical discussion AND where people don't have to worry about being deleted just because they might disagree with me.

With that said, These last two posts from both of you are not really in keeping with the spirit of this thread or its overall theme. But they do serve to illustrate what I was trying to address in part with my article - how to address biblically issues of faith in the right manner and demeanor.

A few brief thoughts for you to consider in approaching this subject about Mark:

1. Rightly Divide the Word

Comparing Mark's sometimes use of scatology and ribald language with the man in 1 Cor. 5 who is a "Christian" in name only (a carnal professor) and one who is openly committing incest/adultery is absurd.

You can cite passages such as Eph. 5:4; or Col. 3:8 which would be right and true. But the 1 Cor. 5 passage does not apply to MD.

Your use of the word defilement must also be guarded. Mark does cross the line in some of his messages - no question - and I more than anyone in the blogosphere have written about that for three plus years. But I did so some of the time with words that lacked humility and grace and Christian charity.

Mark's language doesn't defile the entire body; where do you find this in the Word of God? Did Peter's denial of Christ defile all of the Apostles? What about Thomas' doubting? Were all in the upper room defiled because of him? Even more so Judas. Because he sold out the Lord of glory for 30 pieces of silver were they all corrupted then?

Of course not. Be careful how you wield the Word to make your point.

Now it is true that Paul talks of that man in 1 Cor. 5 and their glorying that sin can effect the entire church. No question. It goes to the nature of the sin and the glorying in it that was his concern. To delight in someone else's faults as they were needed to be confronted by the Apostle.

A better example of this would be Isaiah. Did his "unclean lips" defile the entire temple? No. But he needed to repent and be forgiven.

2. Separation
Not even John MacArthur believes in the kind of separation you are prescribing here let alone the Scriptures do not teach it.

2 Cor. 6:14ff teaches one form of separation (do not be unequally yoked with a nonbeliever). Are you calling Mark a nonbeliever? Didn't think so.

Matt. 18:15-20 in matters of dealing with oughts against someone else where the sinning individual remains unrepentant through all four steps can be treated as a tax-gatherer. IOW, treat one as a nonbeliever. But that is after three previous steps that could take several months of care and circumspection to walk through.

BUT, that is for the local church to do. Not for you or I on a meta in the blogosphere.

So what kind of immediate separation are you saying that Scriptures teaches that applies to MD?

Lastly, to suggest that by me speaking positively about aspects of Mark's ministry and posting that here that I now tacitly are giving approval for the things that I have clearly said I don't affirm is just plain silly.

3. Bringing An Accusation About a Pastor
This is also most important. Paul tells Timothy that you can't even entertain an accusation, let alone publicly broadcast it, about an elder except in the presence of two or three witnesses.

Have you done that? Have you contacted his church to see if that has happened? Now you could argue that it has because of the many who have voiced concern over Mark's use of contemptible language while in the pulpit preaching. But it would not technically meet the biblical standard.

But if so, then you and I must leave it with his local church and the elders there to deal with.

You are left then with either contacting him directly OR praying for him OR contacting the elders at MHC directly. Have you done so?

Other than that, your words here have little import and meaning.

4. Humility and Christlikeness
May I encourage you brothers to put on meekness examining yourselves first (Gal. 6:1-3) before you comment with this kind of harsh tone again.

I can say this to you, because in part, this is what I was doing and needed to repent of. Learn from my sinful heart and do not follow in the same path I did for so long.

So you both don't miss it: the point of this article and thread is about repentance, grace, humility in Christ, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Prayerfully consider what I have shared here with you. Mark is our brother and a pastor. Let's treat him as such and not try to play the role of Holy Spirit.

Grace and peace to you,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Dan S said...

Steve,

I truly appreciate your kind response and I am in agreement that all of the points you brought up should be considered here. And I apologize for even continuing this discussion in lieu of what you said about this thread, so feel free to delete this if you like. But if for only your eyes to read, I will continue. I know this sounds really silly, with all the jokes about people claiming their own "humility", but I am truly one of the most humble and meek people you'd ever meet. No joke. But I can't help but feel an enormous amount of righteous anger when I read about the things that MD has said, even referring to our Lord in such a way as to basically accuse Him of being perverted. It's one thing for someone to say it who truly knows not the Lord. But for someone who claims to know Him and claims to be a beneficiary of His forgiving mercy and regenerating grace? Look at the anger that Christ Himself expressed at the Temple when it was being profaned by the merchants. He had holy zeal for His Father's house. And if I'm not mistaken, weren't there some Old Testament prophets who showed quite a bit of righteous anger when acting on behalf of the Lord at times? If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, why can we not show that same zealous anger now? I am not sinning in my anger. I don't hate MD. I hate his behavior and believe that he has no business representing the Lord as a pastor. What if many young men follow his example? And I certainly am not nearly as strong a theologian as you, but I have been a Christian for three and a half decades, and I know we're not supposed to give someone else assurance that they are saved, that is the Holy Spirit's job. While we cannot say MD is not saved, we also cannot say he is. If God has a grip on Mark's life, why does Mark put his "right" to use filthy language above God's right to command complete obedience from him? I would say Mark has an idol, which is himself. I stand by everything I said, as I know you do, and I would just say - watch - and see what type of fruit is exposed in the future. Just because Mark may use correct doctrine, still does not prove that he is not one of the many wolves that has snuck in. I have great respect for you Steve, but I would never sit down and have a meal with, or enter the church of, a man who trashes the Word and our Lord. The apology you made for your comments about Mark is between you and the Lord, so I would certainly not disparage that, but I still believe Mark deserves to be shunned. God bless you for your time.

Dan S said...

Steve, again, to answer one of your questions, I never contacted MD's church, but I did e-mail John Piper two or three times about this, to try to get a reason why anyone should support such a person as this. I truly wanted to understand. I never got a reply at all.

Christine said...

Steve,

I have something I would like to say, share the Word with MD:

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying,(or building up of the Body), that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth;keep the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3

Its the Word that sets people free. The Word is incorruptible Seed.
1 Peter 1:23 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

So shall My Word be, which goeth forth out of My mouth, it shall not return to Me void, but will accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing to which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

Steve, i would admonish Mark, that he must obey the scripture and keep sounds words.
God is no respector of persons.

Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Steve,
Preach the Word of God! Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
2 timothy 4:2

There are lots of scriptures about the tongue, I would encourage you to share these with him. God does require us to live a clean life before Him.

Be holy as I am Holy.

I watched the entire abc debate and i think mark did well, this is the first time i've ever heard him.

I hope this helps and Glorifies God.

A final thought,
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but will after their lusts, shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. 2 tim 4:3

Hope this helps,

Julius Mickel said...

well since it doesn't seem my caution or concern seems to apply to Steve, i'll add this.
Matthew Henry on I Cor 5 *****
And therefore on this occasion he tells them that if any man called a brother, any one professing Christianity, and being a member of a Christian church, were a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, that they should not keep company with him, nor so much as eat with such a one. They were to avoid all familiarity with him; they were to have no commerce with him; they were to have no commerce with him: but, that they might shame him, and bring him to repentance, must disclaim and shun him. Note, Christians are to avoid the familiar conversation of fellow-christians that are notoriously wicked, and under just censure for their flagitious practices. Such disgrace the Christian name. They may call themselves brethren in Christ, but they are not Christian brethren. They are only fit companions for the brethren in iniquity; and to such company they should be left, till they mend their ways and doings.
**********
though there is a specific case being dealt with, Paul is giving guidelines for normal church discipline as well. It would fit all who consistently refuse to repent. This would serve to humble a brother.

Mike Edwards said...

"I know this sounds really silly, with all the jokes about people claiming their own "humility", but I am truly one of the most humble and meek people you'd ever meet. No joke"

Yes--it sounds really silly. Wow.

SJ Camp said...

Rachel
Great to hear from you! Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words.

God isn't finished with any of us yet is He...

Your comments are always welcome here.

Steve

SJ Camp said...

Julius
Such disgrace the Christian name. They may call themselves brethren in Christ, but they are not Christian brethren. They are only fit companions for the brethren in iniquity; and to such company they should be left, till they mend their ways and doings.

Matthew Henry is making my point here my brother. They are not Christian brethren... Did you hear that?

Mark is our brother in Christ. And his local church of elders has not removed him from ministry nor declared him unfit to hold that office. You must honor that.

And again, his scatological speech which I don't condone, is not Paul's concern in 1 Cor. 5 - you are adding that to the text.

Please pray for Mark. Leave the work to the Lord and His sanctifying grace. He has been confronted; he has been challenged by the Word which he loves and serves. Trust that the Holy Spirit will take those truths and minister them to him.

I haven't arrived in my sanctification - have you?

Grace and peace,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Christine
Amen to it all... now, let's leave the results to the Lord - amen?

SJ Camp said...

Mike Edwards
Bingo!

SJ Camp said...

Dan S
I understand righteous anger and that is a good thing to have my brother. But it needs to be tempered with grace, humility, and Christian charity.

Why? Because we are sinners too and in need of that same grace and mercy every day. We are one sinner encouraging another sinner in Jesus to walk faithfully.

I know you must agree...

Carla said...

Dan S. wrote:

"I can't help but feel an enormous amount of righteous anger when I read about the things that MD has said, even referring to our Lord in such a way as to basically accuse Him of being perverted."

It should anger you. It should bother any Christian to hear the Lord spoken of in this way. It is even more understandable to feel this anger when the Lord is spoken of this way by one who occupies the office of a pastor.

The KEY issue here is how one responds to that anger. Just because someone says or does something wrong doesn't give YOU (I mean this in a general way, not you directly) free reign to respond in anger or in a sinful way. We are responsible for our actions AND our reactions. In fact, it takes far more effort to respond with grace and truth in what would be hopefully be an edifying and convicting way, than it does to respond in anger. I'm sure I don't need to mention that it is also a sin to respond in anger, but I'm going to mention it anyway.

Steve has made it abundantly clear that it was his reaction to what is clearly offensive, that the Holy Spirit has convicted him of.

This should be respected by fellow believers, period.

SJ Camp said...

Carla
Bingo!

Well said. So much of our over-the-top attitudes have been justified by under the banner of "righteous indignation " but we must be careful to temper those passionate convictions even if biblical and correct with humility, grace and charity.

Thank you for your comment.
Steve

James said...

Steve: What I find funny is that many of the most vocal critics of Driscoll claim that he is too conservative, and some others claim that he is too liberal (and note that I am using those terms very broadly).

You happen to be one of the latter. For the record, I came to a place a few years ago when I realized that I just don't care if someone uses what we call a "cuss" word. Those are man-made, cultural ideas. The bible tells us what we cannot say (using God's name in vain being the top of the list), and never mentions S-bombs or F-bombs. If something is truly a sin, it's a sin across cultures, like murder or adultery or theft. The fact that an S-bomb is considered sin in the US and not in non-English-speaking countries tells me that it's not really a sin. If it is, then the word "bloody" should not be used by American Christians, because it happens to be a bad word in the UK.

At any rate, I am glad to see you have gotten to see the heart of Mark Driscoll.

Bob said...

Steve,

You've done a great thing here. I admire your transparency at such a public level.

Much has been said in the comments section, probably too much.

Maybe it's time to close them off.

SJ Camp said...

James
Thank you sir. I appreciate your comment.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

To All
This has been a wonderful thread. Thanks to all of you for this well-spirited, encouraging, and biblical discussion.

Let's continue to pray for each other; measure all things by the Word of God; leave discipline issues to the local church; learn to approach one another on tough issues with graciousness, humility, and charity; and to seek to be confirmed to Christlikeness each.

Grace and peace,
Steve

SB said...

Appreciate you brother

Consider the Cost and Mercy in the Wilderness changed my life

nazarenepsalm113 said...

Steve would you care to comment on what Mark promotes here-
http://blog.marshillchurch.org/2008/11/30/question-21-can-i-perform-anal-sex-on-my-wife/
Peace
Tim

Danny said...

I would never nominate someone who thinks they are totally qualified for eldership. Pride and arrogance have no place in church leadership. You'll notice that Timothy identifies elders...probably guys who would never aspire to be elders. The quainty little quote is for those who need encouragement.

Someone wrote:
“God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called.”

Actually God does CALL THE QUALIFIED to the office of Elder.

Tit 1:5 ¶ For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,
6 ¶ namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.
7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,
8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,
9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

Chad V. said...

Steve

I just noticed that a comment I left is not here. I don't know if I left it on another string by accident or if it's just a blogger glitch. Here's what I had said.

I have deleted that comment, the tenor of which caused you to remark that it was outside of the spirit of the rules of your blog and was close to warranting deletion.

I deleted it, not because I take back my thoughts, but because that comment was really for you to read and respond to. You have responded and made your thoughts known. The comment has served it's purpose so I have deleted it for you. This is your house and I certainly don't want to violate your rules. However, the link left by nazarenepsalm113 I think illustrates my point perfectly.

SJ Camp said...

Chad V and Danny
I do not condone the what that link represents. There are much better ways to speak of those things biblically that edify, encourage and exhort us to Christlikness in all areas of our lives.

I have never changed my convictions about these things. Just the manner I would address them.

Grace and peace,
Your brother in the Lord

Dan S said...

Steve, I do understand the point you are making. But this issue has brought up more questions in my mind. In a situation where a pastor is clearly in grievous error, and the elders do nothing about it, possibly because they are of the same mindset, are we still to follow the course of gentle exhortation? Is it because we are to treat separate congregations as entities unto themselves that we cannot involve ourselves in? Are the following verses only to be put in practice by pastors and elders, with reference to their congregants:

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is breathed out by God,
And profitable for teaching,
For reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.

2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

1 Timothy 5:20
Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

Titus 2:15
Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

I'n not trying to be difficult here, just trying to understand.

James said...

Dear Danny:

You said "I would never nominate someone who thinks they are totally qualified for eldership. Pride and arrogance have no place in church leadership."

I'm not convinced that seeing one's qualifications is the same as pride. If God tells you something good about yourself, you're faced with either (a) doing what you believe to be prideful, or (b) calling God a liar.

Consider David's words in Psalms such as Psalm 7:

Psalm 7:3 O LORD my God, if I have done this, If there is injustice in my hands,
v.4 If I have rewarded evil to my friend, Or have plundered him who without cause was my adversary,
v.5 Let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it; And let him trample my life down to the ground And lay my glory in the dust. Selah.

v.8 The LORD judges the peoples; Vindicate me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me.
v.9 O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.
v.10 My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart.

David knows he can refer to himself and his attributes with terms such as righteous, upright, and integrity. Yet if such statements such as these were prideful, they wouldn't have wound up in Scripture.

Coram Deo said...

Campi,

How do you think you'd respond today if the young lady who wrote the letter below to Ingrid Schlueter were a member of your local congregation who had approached you for godly counsel about this issue and what responsibility - if any - do you believe Driscoll has to try to prevent this type collateral damage which results directly from the sex-saturated messages emanating from his pulpit?

In Christ,
CD

"Dear Mrs. Schlueter,

I wanted to thank you so much for your latest post exposing the foul-mouthed “pastor” Mark Driscoll. I am an 18 year old Christian young woman who has struggled with pornography. You have no idea what reading and watching Mark Driscoll’s material did for my spiritual life. I was instantly reminded by my sinful flesh just how much I enjoyed my despicable sin, and was repeatedly tempted so strongly that I had to stop reading his article. I should have been able to find refuge in a godly pastor’s words, not even more temptation. I should be made to think of Holy Scripture, not of the perverted images that I have a hard enough time trying to keep out of my mind.

Thank you again for all you do, and God bless!"

Julius Mickel said...

that's the type of offense i was speaking of!
Did you delete my comment (i posted from a library)
Not even sure Why unless it was too long or you just didn't like my pointedness?
I did not attempt to imply that MD fell under the situation in I Cor (i just didn't agree with your interpretation), to charge me like that is quite unfair. and to ask me have i arrived in my sanctification is a uncalled for shot at me.
It's not a matter of 'is he perfect?' for in that case we shall never be able to judge rightly anything, but a minister has to be judged as a minister and public sins or public offenses warrant public address especially when nothing changes (even if his church is fine with it, if like Phil we believe it's actually a depature from the qualifications of a minister then we must warn others to test this as well). Though there is the personal aspect, there's also the wider who's he affecting.
Phil Johnson was right on the money when he pointed out the effect this is having on other preachers. Would you agree with Phil's message or do you think he missed it (his interpretation and application)??

SJ Camp said...

Dan S,
Are the following verses only to be put in practice by pastors and elders, with reference to their congregants:

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is breathed out by God,
And profitable for teaching,
For reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.

2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

1 Timothy 5:20
Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

Titus 2:15
Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.


Very good question.

1. 1 Tim. 5:20 is for the local church. Some pastors feel they have the authority to just go about from church to church and act as judge and jury over other congregations - which is wrong. However, other church elder boards may appeal to the counsel of outside pastors by requesting their insight on certain matters. That is a different thing altogether.

2. Titus 2:15 is more general and universal-similar to your other passages mentioned.

If a local group of elders are entirely wrong on issues of essential doctrine then that church should be avoided entirely. (i.e. if they are Open Theists or Sabellianists.)

If on an issue like this one, we need to trust them in their counsel, ministry to and prayer over their pastor. Again, the one thing you can do is write them directly and see how that may encourage them in their counsel and leadership.

SJ Camp said...

CD
How do you think you'd respond today if the young lady who wrote the letter below to Ingrid Schlueter were a member of your local congregation who had approached you for godly counsel about this issue and what responsibility - if any - do you believe Driscoll has to try to prevent this type collateral damage which results directly from the sex-saturated messages emanating from his pulpit?

In Christ,
CD

"Dear Mrs. Schlueter,

I wanted to thank you so much for your latest post exposing the foul-mouthed “pastor” Mark Driscoll. I am an 18 year old Christian young woman who has struggled with pornography. You have no idea what reading and watching Mark Driscoll’s material did for my spiritual life. I was instantly reminded by my sinful flesh just how much I enjoyed my despicable sin, and was repeatedly tempted so strongly that I had to stop reading his article. I should have been able to find refuge in a godly pastor’s words, not even more temptation. I should be made to think of Holy Scripture, not of the perverted images that I have a hard enough time trying to keep out of my mind.


I would counsel her that this kind of material crosses the biblical line; not to read it; I would agree that she is correct of a right expectation to find refuge in a godly pastor's words and on the Scriptures, etc.

I would also assure her that I would try and contact the pastor responsible for this unfortunate material being publicly taught like this.

I dealt with this kind of thing right at the beginning of my article. I don't approve of it at all.

I will forward this onto Mark.

Dan S said...

Thank you Steve, for your time and answers. And thank you also for allowing us to dialog on this. Keep up the good work.

God bless you, brother!

Danny said...

James,
I will always fall on the side of scripture. My reason(opinion)has told me by experience that the guys in the front of the I-want-to-be-an-elder line most of the time are wolves. I can't imagine you haven't run into an elder who shouldn't be an elder. If you haven't I want to move my membership to your church. I know i'm a cynical fool. Have lost much faith in the Bride and it borders on sin and slander...may God help me.

James said...

Danny:

I too believe scripture should be the foundation for anything we believe, and for any answers we come up with. In this case, I presented Scripture to you, to demonstrate that it is not a given that one must be prideful in order to recognize his own qualifications.
Of course, if you find a Scripture that does say that we can rule out anyone who says they are qualified to be an elder, I'd love to see it.
James
www.middletree.net

Danny said...

James,
Point conceded. Guess I'm struggling with why God allows some wolves into positions of authority. Is it their sin or those who appoint's shortsightedness. Either way I don't think we properly apply the scriptures to which you refer. We should be more diligent in seeking out Godly leaders. In the church in which i grew up the deacons were elected based on who had the largest lawn mower for the church property.

Julius Mickel said...

Danny
Consider that a lot of harm has come through over-reaction, ,many of us may start to feel like Elijah did (that it was him all alone) but God cleared that one up!

Yes it's true there are very few good churches (i've recently went through the search process) even going to churchFinder websites (like 9marks or founders) doesn't mean they'll be healthy (this is very sad)(affliation and accountability aren't synonymous) . But praise God these guys along with www.anchoredintruth.org are beginning to make a dent in Our nation.
Jesus clearly warned us such wolves would come, we're to test them 'biblically', I like what i heard Paul Washer say once; He said that false teachers are judgments on the people (they get the hire their itching ears wanted) Who's to blame? Perhaps just the elder (he could have lied-even testing someone's conversion isn't failproof), could also include those who hired him, those who endorsed him, not to mention seminaries.
Lord please raise up more and more shepherds after your heart that will lead by example!

SJ Camp said...

Danny
One verse to consider in yours and James' discussion here is 1 Tim. 3:1:

"The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task."

Notice the two words: aspires and desires. They are two separate words in Greek.

The first word (oregetai) means to reach out or stretch one's self forward to grasp. It is an external function. IOW, not just a desire but an actual seeking after.

That second word (epithumia) means to have an overwhelming inward desire - to aspire. It is sometimes used in the negative sense for lust (2 Peter 1:4) - so context is very critical in helping understand its proper meaning (similar to James 1 where the same Greek word is used for tempt and trial - context is important).

This word then means the internal desire to be an elder. A desire that will not let them go, that has taken them captive, in wanting to serve the Lord and His people as an under-shepherd of Jesus Christ. It is a good thing. It is an excellent and noble thing. Why? Because the daily rigors of caring for God's people is not to be entered into lightly - it is a tireless task without applause and adulation from others. So the man of God must know convincingly that he is called to that office. It is not to be sought after with childish rashness or out of pride. But with moderate, holy, circumspect vigor.

So someone who is asserting to their pastors or elders that they have this "strong desire" to be an elder is desiring a good, noble, excellent thing. And should not be seen as prideful or so quickly labeled a wolf for claiming so. That is not in keeping with the text.

Lastly, calling someone a wolf (sometimes MD has been referred to that here) is not appropriate. The "wolf" biblically is one who tries to infiltrate a body of believers with unsound doctrine (heresy) and tries to subvert the very authority of God's Word and undermine the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ - neither of which Mark is guilty of.

So to all here, let's be careful on the general labels being tossed about here without much effort when dealing with our brother... Amen?

Hope this helps a bit to bring more clarity...

Steve

SJ Camp said...

One last thing: if that same man with humility feels he is qualified according to Scripture to serve in the office of elder - that is also a good thing. It is then incumbent upon the pastors and elders already serving in that local church to verify that calling with charity, humility and grace themselves.

How many fine men of God have been so weighed down with extra-biblical legalistic nonsense in pursuing the pastorate by those over them, that under the weight of such unprofitable scrutiny and criticism have left the process so discouraged and heart broken never to return again to aspire to that office.

Julius Mickel said...

Steve, i know statistics like that abound of ministers leaving the ministry.
Yet i'm more familiar with leaders being fired because they stood upon biblical principles. I'm not sure either how exactly a man called of God can be so discouraged that he never again fulfills the call of God over his life: I believe the true minister of God would have such a desire that they wouldn't (nor God allow them) be able to stay away indefinetly (even if it was for a season)- yet as concerns the majority the problem more falls on NOT upholding these biblical standards).
There has to be broader descriptions that apply to wolves as well (and i'm not saying MD is), other than correct doctrine (is it not possible to have correct doctrine and still lead the people astray by a life inconsistent with it?) The fruit of one's life says much of the gospel (say a ministers home life could pervert the gospel). As Jesus told the disciples 'do what they say, but don't do what they do..(due to their hypocrisy).
As concerns MD i think a great concern of many within the reformed camp is there attempt to point out that sometimes the 'method' DOES change the message, in what way are we representing our Holy Christ to a culture that already has a twisted Hollywood view of Jesus.

Danny said...

Steve,
I wasn't referring to anyone in particulare of being a wolf. MD is one of my heroes-certainly not him. I am thinking back through my childhood in fear mongering preaching and oppressive church government. Weighing all that with the fact that God is sovereign frustrates me that he would allow wolves in the sheep pin. I guess I should pray more for the church.

Julius Mickel said...

Danny brother
can i throw you something to consider? Maybe your view is quite valid, but it may be possible as with many believers is that they've never really considered ecclesiology, they've never came to a biblical understanding of what church should be, of what preaching should be. "well i like this type of church, well i like this type of preaching.." The question rather is, what does God want, what pleases Him? Then that should be what i want. (sometimes what man calls legalistic or compormise is actually what God calls biblical and necessary) Then over that we must clarify what's NOT important at all (which usually happen to be the things people look for first). hope this helps.

REM said...

Steve,
This was a profitable post and an example for all of us who name the name of Christ. Thanks for giving us a front row seat in order to be refreshed (Philemon 1:7). God's blessings to you sir.

James said...

Steve and Danny:

Thanks for clarifying the issue. Both your posts were very valuable and enlightening to me.
On a broader note, may I say that this mini-discussion, which started with my disagreement with a statement by Danny, was resolved exactly the right (biblical) way. When Jesus prayed for unity among believers, He wasn't naively saying there would never be disagreement. Praise God for you guys!
James
middletree.net
middletree.blogspot.com

The Real Family Guy said...

Steve,

I was very saddened and taken back by repositioning yourself as a supporter of Mark Driscoll and his ministry. With all of the truth that has exposed Mark for being a vulgar and irreverent "minister", I am VERY concerned about your continued ability to discern God's Word. You know better than to loosen your Biblical satndards for the sake of false unity.

SJ Camp said...

Real Family GuyThank you for your comment and the thoughts you expressed.

Let me try to clarify for you a bit further to your concern which I thought I had done in my article.

1. I am not sacrificing biblical truth for the sake of unity. On the contrary, I still support my concerns over some of the pulpit language MD uses.

2. However, my approach in dealing with these things in the past did not represent a Christlike attitude, humility, nor was it befitting genuine Christian charity. I needed to make that right.

3. To charge me here with not being biblically discerning I think is unfair. We are to speak the truth in love; and to do so in a manner that exalts biblical doctrine/theology and lowers needless straw man judgments.

4. Lastly, I am certain you would agree that just throwing someone under the evangelical bus is not helpful to the greater body of Christ. But taking the time to measure all things by the Word of God rightly divided on any issue is.

Mark is our brother in Christ. Let's treat him as such.

I hope this further clarifies for you my position.

Grace to you,
Steve
2 Cor. 13:11

Chad V. said...

John MacArthur from "The Rape of Solomon's Song Part 3".

When a speaker deliberately arouses lusts that cannot possibly be righteously fulfilled in unmarried college students, or when his personal illustrations fail to guard the privacy and honor of his own wife, that is far worse than merely inappropriate. When done repeatedly and with the demeanor of an immature bad-boy, such a practice reflects a major character defect that is spiritually disqualifying. Any man who makes such things the main trademark of his style is quite simply not above reproach.

guy said...

What in the world?
Where are my glasses?
Did I just read that?

Steve, you are a bigger man than I thought. I commend you for your post, that took guts. And more importantly, teachability and sensitivity to the Spirit's leading.

Can't you do anything about John MacArthur? Like remind him that Satan is the accuser of the brethren, so we don't need John MacArthur supplementing him in that role?

Maybe he could just focus on preaching more sermons in which there will be a secret Rapture before the Antichrist and the Illuminati run bonkers on the planet. And no one knows the time of Christ's return except those who notice when the rapture happens and count forward exactly seven years, but for some reason that doesn't count. Or do anything except hinder from a distance what God is doing in Seattle or darken counsel by words without knowledge?

As for him being the new Spurgeon -- don't make me laugh.

Hayden said...

Steve,

I guess that I am late to the party,(I just moved to Florida) but I wanted to praise the Lord with the rest of those who commented.

I think in the ensuing months since we have talked and 'debated' on the issue of Driscoll I have seen some of your concerns. So, the Lord has been working in me as well.

If you are ever in Florida near the Gainesville area, look me up and I will take you to coffee. I so enjoyed it when you ministered to the past church I was in, in Michigan.

Truth and Grace said...

I understand the deep desire for unity that we believers in Christ have; this is His Spirit working in us... Jesus prayed passionately about our being one and having love for one another in Jn 17. That being said, I don't believe Scripture teaches us to brush valid concerns about a brother's or sister's behavior under the carpet for the sake of unity. I'm not saying that is the case in this particular situation, but I do hope, Steve, that you will stay true to truth, with grace, even in this new feeling of connection with Mark re: his stand on ABC Nightline.

I have had some deep concerns regarding Driscoll and MH for some time, and they are different than what yours have been. Although I do share some of your concerns, what grieves me the most is what appears to be spiritual and church abuse at Mars Hill. The following is from my “About” page on my site, Freedom4Captives.wordpres.com :

Freedom for Captives is about liberating people from that which binds them. Isa. 61:1 is my calling, my mission in life, namely: “to bring Good News to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” My focus at this time is about exposing what I believe to be church and spiritual abuse occurring at Mars Hill Church, Seattle.

In this blog you will find postings which cover:
Mars Hill Church Abuse; Mark Driscoll; Spiritual Abuse; Church Abuse; Psychological Abuse; Former Members of Mars Hill; By-Laws; Controlling Personalities in the Church; Narcissistic Leaders & Other Character Disordered Leaders; My Brief Experience of MHC & Abusive Systems; “Christianized” Misogyny; “Wives Submit!”; “Obey Your Leaders!”; Membership Requirements; and more…

As a mental health counselor and a survivor of spiritual abuse, I perceive many signs of cult-like control/spiritual abuse: Controlling Pastor with “Yes Men” Elders; No Talk Rule; No Dissent; Emphasis on Submission/Obedience; Shunning of “Unrepentant” Former Members; Dis-fellowshipping Questioners/Critical Thinkers; By-Laws Removing Accountability of Pastor/Elders; Mind/Thought Control; Membership Covenant and Financial Giving Pledge Required; “Biblical” Counseling Only, if Referred Out, Must Sign Release Form (no confidentiality allowed); Kangaroo Court Firing of Two Elders Who Dared to Question; Extreme Gender Role Enforcement; Members Must Attend Accountability/”Community” Groups…

Similar lists of abusive churches and leaders are found in VanVonderen’s, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, and Dr. Enroth’s Churches That Abuse).

In Him Always,
Freedom

Freedom4Captives.wordpress.com

ForAllTruth said...

http://TinyURL.com/LetHimBeDamned

It is time to wake up and consider how a half truth gospel is subtly (yet very effectively) corrupting the church. John Piper is concerned about it. And he has spoken prophetically here in that even he doesn't know how much what he is teaching is leading those with spiritual ears to hear!

This discernment oriented video will cut through the sentimentality and stare truth right in the face and cause those who love the truth (i.e. Jesus) to accept it for what it is. What is truth? It is not just a question that Pontius Pilate had to ask but what all people (especially those who claim to follow Jesus) must ask!

http://tinyurl.com/LetHimBeDamned

elizberth dos santos said...

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