Thursday, September 18, 2008

Five reasons why Driscoll was heard...

This post is for my friends in the Antipodes, with regard to the 18 point critique by Mark Driscoll to the clergy of the diocese. I have now listened to half the sermon online, and looking forward to the second half.

The half I have listened to was fascinating. Naturally, when you are speaking about a place that you have not lived or ministered in, it was part penetrating truth, part over-generalizations, part misunderstanding. But all gutsy, and all worth listening to!

I won't break down the points and discuss them. That has been done. I've been trying to work out why it appears to have 'hit the mark'. I say that because I've heard most of the 18 criticisms before in various settings at various times. I've heard them from the mouths of bishops, priests and lay leaders. I've heard some of them in the coffee hour and in suppers after church. I've heard them from the mouth of friends, as well as cynics. I've read a few of the 18 in the Sydney Morning Herald and on the ABC. Heck, I've espoused many of the 18 at one point or another.

So what made this different?

Five reasons:

1. They were said all at one time at the one place (the Cathedral).
2. They were said with a sizable amount of the clergy of the diocese present and listening.
3. They were said with a specific reference to (and in defense of) the 'younger clergy' right there in front of the 'older clergy'.
4. They were said by someone who is at the same time young, 'successful', exotic and friendly. (If Don Carson or Kent Hughes had said it, it may not have felt so revolutionary?)
5. They were said without fear or qualification. (How are the #2s in #1 spots feeling right now?!)

The fact that the critique was made at one time and in one place made assessing the critique manageable by people on the ground. I know of some staff teams that going to critique the critique in their staff meetings, which is worthwhile for the sake of mission.

May say something more after I hear the second half.

Pic of St Andrews by OZinOH.


Michael Kellahan said...

Hi Justin
further to 4. - they were said by Mark Driscoll. Mark Driscoll has been an influential leader for many younger evangelicals long before he arrived in Sydney and gave that talk. I suspect he's the most listened to preacher by young leaders, MTC students etc. Podcasts, websites, books, and now speaking straight to Sydney. Doing it off the back of Engage & Burn Your Plastic Jesus which is a big endorsement of orthodoxy by KCC.

Martin Kemp said...

Yeah ... I think there is an 'x' factor wrapped up with Driscoll which is hard to pin down.

Part of the buzz was that things are a little out of control. There is a sense that Driscoll is 'dangerous':

1. He doesn't fit any of our preconceived categories, so we are left wondering whether he is 'safe' or not (which, practically, is our primary way of determining the appropriate influence of people here in Sydney. Who will be our next Archbishop? Whoever the Synod thinks is 'safe').

2. While we are struggling with this question, his influence starts to spread anyway. His podcasts dodge the usual lines of communication guarded by our diocesan overseers and key influencers.

3. He offers what seems like a legitimate alternative route for our young talent. If you can get an independent church together (and no one is stopping you), then there is the chance to be supported by the Acts 29 network rather than the Diocese.

4. Adding to this is the confusion caused by both the Diocese (inviting him to the MT&D conference) and KCC, both champions of orthodoxy. This support by people we trust means that he's not easily thrown on the scrapheap of weird cousins who we talk to from time to time but keep separate from our main family.
So do we now believe in guidance by prophetic visions? Is apostleship still a legitimate ministry gifting? Is four years of Moore College an inefficient use of time for some?

All this adds up to a situation where we're not sure what to do, and where were not sure what is going to happen! The methods used by the Diocese have come under severe criticism by someone who may just well convince many people to jump ship.

Fun times!

Megs said...

yikes, Justin, do you know about some of the AWFUL things Mark Driscoll has said about women? Truly scary...

Tom B said...

I think he's right about a lot of those points. The 2 that struck me as really worth pondering were the #2 in #1 spots, and the focus on listening to the 'youth'.

I know you've sometimes struggled with counseling older people. But as an older person (nearly 50 now), one of the great joys I have is learning from the wisdom and energy of younger people (like you, Justin) who have worthwhile messages. I had the pleasure of hearing (at St Thomas N Syd) a rather long sermon by Mark Driscoll, really an exposition of the book of Ruth, that was aimed at young men and women but was truly uplifting even for old married guys like me. I've also been challenged, encouraged, and rebuked by you, Wal, Scott P, Nigel F, Raj, Gavin(s)... well as I get older the list of younger influencers gets longer.

Wisdom and age are not correlated.

So, lots of merit in the concept of giving younger people more responsibility earlier. Even if sometimes they say things they later regret (like Mark D's comments on women and ministers wives).

I've also been in churches where there was clearly a #2 in a #1 spot due purely to seniority, and watched the tragic consequences. And when we're talking about leaders in churches, the consequences could not be more tragic. (BTW, this is not a purely Australian issue, and the churches I refer to are in the US).

Sorry for the long comment, I'm too tired to write a short one. But I'd like to encourage you to speak the truth, even if you're talking to some old guy like me. We don't get wiser just because we've survived for a while.

apodeictic said...

You say you listened online to Driscoll@ St Andrew's Cathedral. Can you please post the link as I'd be keen to listen to this. I've not been able to find his address anywhere on the internet. I've searched the Anglican Media Sydney website, St Andrew's Cathedral website, other blogs and now googled this, all unsuccessfully.

Justin said...

apodeictic -- Not sure where I got it from. I thought it was Syd Ang audio site.

apodeictic said...

Thanks. Found it now on the SydAng site (at least his one on "reaching the next generation", that is the one where he gives his 18 points).