Thursday, June 15, 2006

Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Part I

As I mentioned before, I was given a copy of Mark Driscoll's book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. last month. I read it pretty quickly and really enjoyed it. Yes, as others have made a point of, there was an uncomfortable account of a pastoral situation where the language was choice (see for example Tim Challies' comments in his review). That aside it was a great read and very motivating. But details to come later. I am in the process of rereading it since I think there is much that I need to take note of. I plan to comment on individual chapters and wrap it up at the end with a review. This may be boring to some, but I want to use this space for some mental processing.

The book is an account of the growth of Mars Hill Church in Seattle from a handful of people 10 years ago to over 4000 today, and planning for 10000. This is astounding enough. However, what makes this interesting is that Driscoll began in the emergent stream, which has since developed theologically liberal positions, but has parted company with these views, adopting calvinist soteriology (the Five Points), while at the same time engaging with culture.

Conservatives like me might be tempted to think that this engagement with culture has been a route to compromise. How else can we explain the massive growth of the church? (Underlying assumption: a calvinistic church must be a small church.) But Driscoll strongly believes that the key element of his ministry has been the fact that he has made the preaching of Jesus and his work the centre of his preaching and he has simply opened his Bible and "yelled at people". To me, that's what makes this book interesting. Is this really compromise? Or is it valid missionary engagement, becoming all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some (1 Co. 9:22, NIV)? I will think about this as we go along.

So, feel free to comment in the coming days, whether you have read the book or not. I look forward discussion!

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