Monday, 8 September 2008

Two good things about Driscoll

The other day I promised to start giving an assessment of some of the things Mark Driscoll said last Monday.

The first two things to say about Mark Driscoll—and the only two things I'm going to say in this post—are that he really is on our team, and that he can pull a crowd. In fact, let's just say the first thing; the second is a self-evident truth.

In what sense on our team? Well, like most Sydney Anglicans, he is a four and a half point Calvinist. He believes in (1)Total Depravity, which means that sin has affected every part of our character and will. He believes in (2) Unconditional election, that God chooses us irrespective of any thing to do with our merit. He sort of believes in (3) Limited atonement, which means that he believes Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but that not everybody is predestined for eternal life (For more on that last one, see lots of Reformed theological discussions the world over since about 1630). He believes in (4) Irresistible grace—if God chooses you for sonship, you’re chosen; and lastly he believes in the (5) Perseverance of the Saints, which means that if you’re chosen by God, then you stay chosen. A wonderfully comforting doctrine, that last one. I’m paraphrasing what Driscoll himself said in his interview last Monday at St Andrew’s Cathedral.

Not only that, but he falls on the conservative evangelical side of all sorts of important discussions. He believes in penal substitutionary atonement; he believes that men ought to lead women, families, and churches and teach them God’s word. In most of the major contemporary reformed evangelical debates he is not only with us but out in front of us, leading and teaching things we believe to be true and provoking us because on at least some of these things, we keep flinching and pulling back from Biblical standards.

And as for pulling a crowd, 10 000ish Anglicans and friends in the Entertainment Centre counts. Beat it or join it (and don’t compare it unfavourably to some local popular Pentecostal congregations because that is prosperity gospel, not Bible teaching).

The man’s an honest to goodness friend. We should thank God for him and pray that he will stand and not fall.

There's a bit more to say under the headings ‘Mark Driscoll the Criminal Profiler’, and ‘Mark Driscoll the Big Bad Barry Hall’. Not today though.


Greg Colby said...

Gordon youm ay request that we not compare the pulling power of Driscoll to the pulling power of Hillsong Convention, however it is exactly the same thing...pulling power of personality. Al arge crowd does not make something right.

Gordon Cheng said...

Hi Greg, all true, though I believe an attractive personality is a gift of God. The question is whether you are going to use that for niceness and goodness, or evil. And my point 1 is suggesting that MD is using it for good—at least, from my 4 1/2 point Calvinist perspective!

GregColby said...

Fair enough. Gordon, what exactly is a 4.5 point calvanist? Which point do you only accept half way?

Greg Colby said...

BTW good call on the whole music thing. I'm an Anglican up in Newcastle (I can hear your evil thoughts Gordon and they make baby jesus cry!) and at an ordination service a little while back we had a large contingent of Sudanese people. They began to sing in their native language and style celebrating the ordination of one of their own people when at the Deans instructions the choir began to sing over them...I was embarrassed for the Sudanese and angry at such cultural elitism.

Gordon Cheng said...

Hi Greg

Like Mark (I believe) I don't subscribe to the idea of Limited Atonement so much as the idea of Particular Redemption—by which I mean that although Jesus blood' was sufficient to offer propitiation for the sins of the whole world (not just those who are saved), in fact his blood is only effective for those who are predestined by God to put their faith in him. So that's the half-point. Full 5 point Calvinists believe in Limited Atonement.

I don't think it is clear that Calvin himself was a five-point Calvinist. The five points of Calvinism are a later summary based on the deliberations of the Synod of Dort. Lots of info out there in google-land if you want to chase it up, I've never really bothered because frankly I think there are bigger fish to fry.

Gordon Cheng said...

I was embarrassed for the Sudanese and angry at such cultural elitism.


Make sure you say hi to my mate Arthur Copeman, rector of Kincumber, when you get a chance. He would have rejoiced in Sudanese singing.

Greg Colby said...

I'll defintely say
hi to Arthur.

Enjoying reading through your blog.

Anonymous said...

am looking forward to your other comments about driscoll, gordon.

particularly the "large swathes of what Mark said" that you thought were "pretty much wrong, and in big ways."

thanks for this post though - im very thankful to know driscoll is on our side, and really appreciate the "quick to listen, slow to criticize" approach. it's something im not always good at.

cardboardsword said...

Yes, thanks for this Gordon. Your summary of Driscoll's talks at St. Andrews was great, and I too am hanging out for your further thoughts on what he said.

Your approach to all this has been a great example to me - I was much quicker to criticise him a week ago. I'm glad he's on our side.

I'm glad to see an older brother who doesn't react with enmity to a challenge - it's a great example, and a great sign to us younger folk that there's still Life in the leadership. Not that I doubt that much, but with such criticisms about what seem to be the norms I think we can tend to wonder what went wrong before we came on the scene. Of course we're part of the problem (most of us see there's a problem I think), but we wonder where it came from in the first place.