Mark Driscoll and ‘Effemigate’

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The bad-boy of the New Calvanism has got the Christian blog-sphere all aflutter after a recent facebook post:

Whether Driscoll was just trying to join in Jon Acuff’s fun or not, this comment has provoked a huge response, and rightly so. The comment is entirely inappropriate, and enticing people to be gossipy is arguably sinful. I think Driscoll needs to repent.

Joy, of Joy in this Journey puts it well:

Mark Driscoll had no business asking people to share stories about effeminate male worship leaders. This question would be absolutely inappropriate in a private conversation, let alone on a public Facebook wall. In doing so, he encouraged people to publicly malign, back-stab and cut down their own brothers in Christ. He asked people to engage in gossip about men who have put themselves out front, shared their musical talents, and given time and effort into church ministry.

This is sin.

…It is a clear violation of the Ten Commandments. “No lies about your neighbor.” (Deuteronomy 5:20)

…It breaks the instruction given in Ephesians 4:29-32 to only use words that build each other up and give grace to those who hear, to put away slander and malice, and to be kind to one another.

…It caused over 600 people to comment, potentially sinning with their words. (I read some of the comments, and many were full of hatred, spite, and meanness.) Matthew 18:7 says,“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”

Whether or not you believe that men should dress and act a certain way, you cannot dispute the clear commands to Christians to speak kind grace-filled words. We are to use our words to build up, not tear down. Romans 1:29 and 2 Corinthians 12:20 and 1 Timothy  5:13 all state that gossip is a sin, included in lists alongside envy, murder, deceit, jealousy, and anger.

What I really appreciate about Joy’s post is that in her passion and anger and rebuke, she herself doesn’t sin. Far too many of the replies I’m seeing are lacking the requisite humility, grace and love that should lace even passionate brotherly rebuke. However, I was very saddened by the defensive response of Matthew (Jesus needs new PR), when criticised about the level of sarcasm in the rebuke posted on his site.

Driscoll is certainly a divisive figure, and in this instance, no matter one’s views of gender roles in the church, he is in the wrong and ought to recognise his error. At the same time, we who call a Christian brother or sister must be humble enough to examine ourselves and see that our rebuke is in love, grace and humility. Remember what Jesus said about when Christian come together to rebuke and correct a brother:

 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
(Matthew 18:20 ESV)

Is the tone and language we use to correct someone the kind of thing we ought to be using with Jesus in our midst?

There is nothing wrong with opposition, disagreement, rebuke and debate, but please, let it be done graciously. And Mark, for the sake of the gospel, I urge you to please remove the comment [update 11/07/11 - the comment has been removed but no clarification or apology that I can see] and repent of it.

[update 13/07/11: Driscoll has responded to the incident here. While stopping short at an apology, it's a good step, and he's obviously recognised the recklessness of his comment, and has good people keeping him accountable]

Update 10/7/11:

I tried to post this reply to Matthew in regards to the discussion at Jesus needs new PR:

Matthew, while your response has grieved me and weighed heavy on my heart overnight, I have also spent some time examining myself and I recognise my own error here. While I standby my original comment, Dianne replied to it and that discussion was where my comments should have stayed. It was arrogant and lacking in humility to repeat my point in reply to other comments in this thread. I was wrong to do that, and I apologise, not only because I shouldn’t have acted so, but in it, it caused unnecessary antagonism and argument. I trust you will accept my apology.

 

Update 11/7/11:

Given that my comments have stopped showing up at Jesus needs new PR, I tweeted a copy of my apology to Matthew to which he replied with a DM:

Please stop Tweeting me. Thank you.

For the record, here are the tweets I sent him. Needless to say, I’m very disappointed with such a response (after all, he claims to love his twitter/blog community – does love not include forgiveness?). I’m still truly bewildered that suggesting the need for grace, love and humility seems to have appeared to him as closed-minded fundamentalist ‘drivel’ which he would be wasting his time discussing. That he appears to have consequently rejected my apology is actually quite hurtful. How such a tiny issue could descend to this is something I’m still trying to figure out… If there is further error on my part, for which I have not apologised, please tell me.

Matthew, if you’re reading this, can we please, as Ephesians 4 says, put away slander and malice and use words that build up instead?

[Get Matthew's latest book 'Churched'  in audio format for free at the moment from Christian Audio - I've read some great reviews, so I'm looking forward to listening at the gym]

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8 Responses to Mark Driscoll and ‘Effemigate’

  1. Joy says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful post, and for linking to my post.

  2. Bernard says:

    It seems more people are gossiping about Mark Driscoll's blog post than they are about effeminate worship leaders.

    • AndrewFinden says:

      There have been some very poor (and hypocritical) replies, and, I suspect a certain amount of caricature of his views, however I don't think it's gossip to call someone out for making a comment they shouldn't have made.

  3. [...] will mention Driscoll – and no doubt the inference was already obvious. Following his inappropriate facebook comment I’ve read a lot of comments about his views lately, and I suspect there is a tendency for [...]

  4. Ben Lemery says:

    Unfortunately MPT does this continually to commenters on his blog. That's all I will say about that.

    Good thoughts on your blog. You show the spread between liberal Christian and more fundamentalist points of view.

  5. [...] reading… deep breath now… , JesusNeedsNewPR, @TylerLClark, the rev, JoyInThisJourney, ThingsFindoThinks, [...]

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