Monday, November 12, 2007

Ask Anything?

(This was originally posted over the weekend, then pulled for various reasons. I'm reposting with the comments closed. The purpose of this post is to draw attention to the difference between our modern pastors, and reverent, Godly leaders. )

I've considered hashing out my thoughts on this since I first heard about it maybe a couple/few weeks ago, but I've just had more important things to do. "Ask Anything" is a book/sermon/interactive blog project created by the evangelebrity (new word, I just made it up and yes you're free to use it anytime) Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church.

When I first heard about it, I honestly thought it was a joke. I thought it was a parody or a spoof of some of the more lamebrained-seeker-friendly-pragmatic-programmy-slick-marketing-type junk that the mega-churches are known for doing. As it turns out, it was no joke at all. So the more I thought about it, the more ironic it seemed that it was real.

Here is a man who has for years, generated his own controversy among the evangelical/emergent/emerging/resurgent/ing world by his off-color language and his involement/non-involvement in the whole emerging church trainwreck. He takes all this attention, confusion and controversy and runs with it with this idea. What better way to let folks find out what he really believes!? Right? What's more exciting than seeing your question in the top 9, is the idea that it's also going to be in the book! Right!?

Well, it might be a good way to answer some pressing questions if the whole thing didn't sound so game-show. You too can post the next doctrinal question on The Pulpit's Mic! I know it's probably just me and my uber-critical nature, but where I come from men of God don't use the pulpit to further their own ends & make a few bucks off of book sales. They're supposed to be approaching that high calling and sacred desk, with a reverance and fear that they rightly divide the word to bring glory to God and exhort His people, and hopefully convict a few unregenerated hearts. Like I said, it's probably just me. In fact, in my routine blog surfing over the last couple weeks I haven't seen a word of criticism about it (it may exist, I just haven't seen it), but have seen several who are simply gaga over the whole idea.

The thing is...

I watched the intro video where Driscoll explains what he's doing. I heard the condscending, insulting (he was just joking I'm sure which is why question [currently #7] is there - this is the sort of thing Driscoll does) way he described the folks who have questions about what he's all about. A friend listened to last Sunday's sermon* where apparently he did the same thing all over again - but surely he was just joking around and doesn't really think that lowly and mockingly of the people who have questions about him or his ministry, and who have posted at his Ask Anything site. He probably doesn't really believe that about anyone who posted a question. Right?

*(I've tried to download the sermon it several times, but the server times out every time and so I finally just gave up. If Driscoll didn't actually mock the questioners then someone will surely be along shortly to correct me on that).

Some people who are big fans of Driscoll think this is a wonderful idea.

Well, I disagree, for what it's worth. The problem that I see with this is that this is about Mark Driscoll riding his own wave of controversy and selling books, in the process. Sure he's going to preach some sermons (he does it every week anyway), and sure the answers might be good ones - they might even be great ones (unless of course we're talking about [currently] question #46 ). But is this really what a pastor is supposed to be doing? I mean really, when you think of the solid men of God in your own life who you have the utmost respect and admiration for, for the way they defend the faith, preach and teach the word, and equip those around them - is this the sort of thing they're doing? If not, why not and what are they so busy doing that they don't have time to be so savvy in our modern era?

Now I realize that Mark Driscoll is so techno-cutting-edge the rest of us look like cave trolls compared to him, and I realize that some even think he's a marketing genius. I'll leave that latter one alone for now, but it's this whole idea of being Mr. Cutting Edge Pastor that I wonder if a lot of folks are overly-dazzled by. I have to type it outloud and wonder if anyone who is so smitten by all this would have the same opinion if someone like Hybels or Warren or Osteen did the same thing. Or... would they be under massive criticism because their answers wouldn't be "orthodox" in the first place? I'm not even sure this is a fair comparison, but I have a hunch there'd be plenty of solid folks out there ripping them up for such a game-show type of thing, all the same. Yet, it's okay if Driscoll does it because... well because I don't know why. I guess if you're in "our camp" (read: call yourself Calvinistic/reformed, even if you deny limited atonement) you get a free pass? I don't know, it's all messed up as far as I can tell.

I do know that I'm glad my own pastor doesn't stir up controversy to begin with, nor does he have an audience demanding to know what in the world he really thinks/believes/preaches on certain topics.

I'm really glad he just preaches the word of God.