With all the internet buzz surrounding Mark Driscoll, I thought I would weigh in.
I trust there’s no need for me to provide gobs of links to the NY Times, or blogs, or crushing expose articles from those who served in his church. There are so many people giving reasons for his resignation from ministry – but it may be short lived as he may only step away for six-weeks.
Lots of people point to a lack of biblical qualifications. Others point to an unwillingness to receive counsel. Others say his problems began when he and a few others changed their church leadership polity from eldership to an executive board model, brought in from the world of business theory.
But the real problem, as defined scripturally, began long before all of these surfaced. Mars Hill started in 1996 in Seattle, even though Christ had planted a body of believers there for generations. He had been gloriously at work saving sinners and forming them into His body of worshippers for over 100 years. For Mark and others to start a church where Christ already has His body is simply condemned in Scripture:
“Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause
dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which
you learned, and turn away from them.
For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but
of their own appetites; and by their smooth
and flattering speech they deceive
the hearts of the unsuspecting.”
The apostle of Jesus Christ commands Christians to turn away from those who cause dissensions and hindrances. “Dissensions” are not arguments, like Arminianism vs. Calvinism, but is a ‘standing apart” resulting in division within a community. That community is the body of Christ, of which Christ’s people are to be unified in one church in every locale.
Paul lists “dissensions” among the works of the flesh, coupled along with “factions” to describe actions done apart from the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:20). Then he mentions “hindrances, which are the fruit of dissensions. They are stumbling blocks (σκάνδαλα) in actions and teachings that cause people to stumble into sin and suffer loss in their walk with Christ, or, in the case of those without Christ, to be cast into hell.
In other words, men like Driscoll were empowered by a religious culture that applauds what Christ and His apostles detested: schism planting.
When Christians learned that a church had been started in Seattle, where Christ already had His body, they all should have “turned away” from it, and him. Every Christian in Seattle should have said, “HE DID WHAT?,” recognizing the disobedience to Rom. 16:17-18.
Then they could have shared in the apostle’s commendation:
“For the report of your obedience has reached to all;
therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I
want you to be wise in what is good
and innocent in what is evil.”