Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Above All Earthly Powers": MP3s and Perspectives

Although the official site for the 2006 Desiring God National Conference says that messages are coming soon, I downloaded them earlier here. Transcripts are also available. You can also read summaries and reviews from conference attendees: Challies, Mahaney, Aniol.


Wendy said...

Just read Aniol's blog. He reports like it is fact that Driscoll curses in the pulpit. I hear that so often with no substantiating facts to support it. I've attended Mars Hill for the last 4 years, and I have NEVER heard Mark Driscoll curse at all, let alone from the pulpit.

Ben said...

Thanks Wendy. For what it's worth, I've listened to a couple dozen sermons, and I can't recall any cursing either. You're right, though, that this is reported fairly often as unassailable fact.

I know that his preaching is sprinkled with colorful language that falls short of cursing, but perhaps not of vulgarity. His writing definitely contains the latter. Do you know where his reputation as the "cussing pastor" comes from though?

Wendy said...

"Cussing pastor" was a term used of Mark in Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. It was a passing comment made based on Miller's time with Mark many years ago (I think very early on in the history of Mars Hill). Miller has since said he regrets refering to Mark that way since Mark is now mistakenly labeled that way.

Also, did you see Mark's post on his email exchange with Dr. Piper at www.resurgence.com? It's beautiful. It affirms for me why I willingly submit to the authority of Driscoll as my elder (God-given authority structure in the local church) and seek wisdom from Piper as my elder (grey-haired wise older man with much to teach me).

Josh said...

Carson's message from John 17 is excellent. I'm going to listen to it again right now!

Ben said...

I did see it, Wendy. Seems to me that it's a pretty good example of how to handle differences.

Clearly I have both appreciation for and differences with Driscoll. I love the fact that he's reaching people outside the traditional target audiences (suburban and rural traditional families) of American Christianity.

I think there's some legitimate criticism of his pulpit and authorial persona and his methodology. It seems that the real fulcrum of discussion is going to be at the point of what aspects of culture are inherently incompatible with authentic Christianity and are unredeemable. In other words, what elements of culture are unredeemable because they contradict the Christian message?

I don't entirely know how to answer that question. I'm not sure anyone does. What is a bit surprising to me is that many people seem to think that the status quo of traditional American fundamentalist-evangelical Christianity, particularly its dismal pattern of evangelism (and I'm not exempting myself), is preferable to Driscoll's approach. It seems as if we're more afraid of making a bad judgment call in our relationship to contemporary culture than we are of disengagement.

I'm sure you must have thought through many of these things, so I'm not suggesting that I have some new enlightenment.

Wendy said...

I agree with your statements. In my opinion, the call to engage with culture is as threatening to the religious status quo today as it was when Jesus did the same in the gospels. It calls us to think deeply about EVERYTHING we say and do beyond specific Scriptural absolutes. And that's a very uncomfortable position to be. It pushes us repeatedly out of our comfort zone, and that too is VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. I'd never argue that Mars Hill has it exactly right. I am WELL aware of the ways in which we've failed. We have to constantly think through why we do what we do and evaluate new circumstances in light of Scripture. But the easy way out is to write it all off.

What has disturbed me most over my years at Mars Hill is realizing how much of my "convictions" from my fundamentalist upbringing were really defined by my comfort zone rather than Scripture itself. My Scriptural convictions are much narrower now, but much more strongly held as well. Hope that makes sense.

Ben said...


I'm in the middle of Carson right now, and I totally agree with you. Just past the point where he says he's from a family of birdwatchers even though "I'm sure that wouldn't impress Mark Driscoll." Great line.

Carson's talk is the complete antithesis of someone I heard today. I'm paraphrasing: "I'm going to be sick if I hear one more time that 'it's all about Jesus.' Of course it's not. Everybody knows it’s not all about Jesus because nobody feels that way."


Ben said...

Wendy wrote:
"It calls us to think deeply about EVERYTHING we say and do beyond specific Scriptural absolutes."

Exactly. And I would add that we need to think deeply about both our motivations for our words and actions and their outcomes and implications--both intended and unintended.

Bruce McKanna said...

Um, Ben? I see in your comments above that you're starting to use the phraseology of "redeeming the culture"? What's happened to you? [tongue firmly in cheek]

I'm only up through Keller in the DG conference audio, but I'm interested to see if there will be any discussion of his thesis (that we need a new kind of gospel presentation for the times in which we live) on this blog or others in the fundieblogosphere.

Wendy said...

Ben said: "And I would add that we need to think deeply about both our motivations for our words and actions and their outcomes and implications--both intended and unintended."

That makes sense, but can you expound on this idea?

Ben said...


As I typed that I wondered if someone would call me on it, but the truth is that I didn't think anyone would be reading closely enough to care at this state of the thread. Should've known I couldn't sneak it by you. ;-)

My intent was to adopt for the sake of the conversation the terminology Driscoll uses. I would not share his ambition to redeem culture, and my use of the terminology is limited to the sense in which some elements of culture are compatible with Christianity and some are not. It seems to me (and my understanding may be wholly inadequate) that it's unavoidable that some elements of culture will seep into our life and ministry as a church. To that degree they are "redeemable," even though I know my usage is different from the prevalent evangelical/missional usage.

Ben said...

Oh, and I've got to run now, but I'll try to get back to your question tonight or Monday, Wendy.

Ben said...


By motivations I mean that we need to take care that we're making decisions about culture based on more than what we like or are comfortable with. Obviously, that cuts both ways.

By consequences I mean that your point about thinking deeply necessarily involves serious consideration to the long-term implications of our choices. In other words, what effects do our methods or our "packaging" for truth have on the message of truth? The unintended consequences of our packaging might contradict the message.

I'm quite sure we'll never come to consensus or anything close to it, but I think it's important that we listen seriously to the arguments of those who are different from us--to the right or the left--before we start fabricating refutations in our minds.

Wendy said...

Makes sense. However, alot of us WERE the right and feel like we are well aware of the motivations since we lived there so long. On the other hand, one act between 5 different believers can have 5 different motivations.