Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Competing Values?

Sometimes, what conclusion a person reaches on a particular issue is less important than how the conclusion is reached. Here's an example of what I mean:

I'm curious to hear which values on display in this video strike you as most prominent in the arguments of the three participants.


brian said...

Besides the value of pragmatism over biblical exposition, the dominant value on display that struck me was the fascination with the "here and now". Where's the connection to church history and all those churches who were not multi-site, and therefore according to Driscoll, not missional? And what about the really off-the-wall view of MacDonald that he doesn't want any of his stuff on air after he's gone. Very telling comment, particularly if their teaching is so connected to cultural relevance that it lacks any timeless quality. Not to mention the fact: where would we be without the writings and sermons of those gone before?

Whereas the works of so many great theologians (not to mention other musicians, artists, and writers) were not fully appreciated until after their passing, these guys expect their work to be most appreciated NOW.

Perhaps they have their reward.

Shayne McAllister said...

I agree with Dever's conclusion, but I do think his argument was complicated by him asking questions and then getting surprising answers. I mean, who knew Mars Hill would shut down as a muli-site operation when Driscoll dies? I found myself cheering for Dever, and being thrown for a loop by some of the answers.

These guys have all been used to reach a lot of lives. Two of them feel that the best way to reach more lives is for them to do the preaching. Dever seems to think it could be done by anyone, which is a little more humble in my book.

Larry said...

Two things struck me from this, neither having to do with multi-site (on which I mostly side with Dever).

First, was the difference in tone between this and the conversation between Driscoll, Chan, and Harris. I know this is a different topic, but this seemed much different in tone, and not in a good way.

Second, the difference in tone between Dever, Driscoll, and MacDonald. Dever seemed thoughtful and willing to engage. Driscoll, and particularly MacDonald, seemed much more intense, almost desiring to demagogue it. I noticed some of the commenters at TGC seem to agree with me on that. (But don't tell anyone.)

I also thought it was pretty interesting how quickly the idea of what ekklesia means was dispensed with rather than interacted with.

Larry said...

I mean, who knew Mars Hill would shut down as a muli-site operation when Driscoll dies?

I did. :D I had heard that or read that somewhere a while back, but I don't remember where. It is, I suppose, a sort of long term church planting, and the Albuquerque site seems to have grown a lot, but I wonder about the wisdom of it.

Reforming Baptist said...

The fascination with here and now bothered me too. All preaching should be timeless. Driscolls is not much of the time...his illustrations, his jokes are all relevant to his subculture that he's trying to reach. They have a shelf life of one or two years. John MacArthur's preaching for example, will have a shelf life for as long as preaching is being done.

The multisite idea is only possible because of technology and is not necessary because it was impossible to do in the book of Acts. Since MacDonald did admit that it is his influence that draws people in the Chicago area, it will also be his lack of influence when he dies that will deminish the numbers at the multisite campuses. Driscoll is a celebrity...bottom line. That is why people come. Ya ya ya, they do all the missional stuff with small groups. Good for them, but it is his rockstar status that makes the multisite thing possible. It's a fad and it will die eventually.

Ben said...

"It's a fad and it will die eventually."

Bingo. For related info see "Church, Emerging"

Shayne, I'm thoroughly unconvinced by the notion of multi-site campuses morphing into independent churches and thriving after the passing of the central figure. That's a nice idea in theory, but I'm not inclined to expect that people whose tastes for personal charisma have been nurtured and coddled will transition well into a new era. This is not a prudent church planting strategy. Dever was kind.

For related info on that, see "Ministry, Youth; and Alexander the Great, Successors to"

Shayne McAllister said...

Ben, I agree. I think he was being too kind in a way. I wish he had pushed back a little more, but he still did a great job.

I wonder if congregationalism has aided Dever in knowing how to actually convince people of his position through sharp questioning and reason, while Driscoll's top-down approach also shone through.

Ben said...

Shayne, perhaps I should have said, "more kind than I would have been able to remain."

Bruce said...

No, preaching need not be timeless. If it is truly connecting the ancient word with a particular congregation, the preaching will be rooted in a time and place. In fact, that's part of the argument against multi-site-- when you're broadcasting one preacher to congregations all over the country, it's just a generic theological download. It may be true, but doesn't reflect genuine biblical shepherding and congregational life.

Sure, we may be able to appreciate the sermons preached in centuries past, but we would not expect Spurgeon, if he were alive today, to preach exactly the way he did then, in England.

If a preacher's sermons were timeless (and placeless), I'd say he probably isn't really making any significant application in his sermons at all.

Mark said...

An interesting discussion...what stands out to me is that Dever's genuine attempt at an exegetical conversation was constantly rebuffed with pragmatism. Also, I was impressed with Dever's unflappability. It was like a learned professor dealing with two sophomores.

Anonymous said...

Not a very enjoyable conversation to watch.

The "watch us throw down as bros in the locker room" shtick just wasn't that helpful in this case.

Perhaps mostly because what is needed in this debate -- about an idea/strategy -- is careful interaction, precise definitions, etc. Seemed like Dever was trying for that, but no one else was biting.

All the casual, brief sound bites just added confusion.

For example: Does Macdonald want all of his recorded sermons and teaching destroyed when he dies? Or, does he just want it pulled off daily rotation on radio (because radio is an "in the moment" kind of medium). Notice he didn't say he wants all of his books burned.

Instead of giving answers to such questions, though, he just came off as thinking he was smarter and better than J. Vernon Mcgee. And, who cares whether he is or isn't?

Also, some of Driscoll's answers sounded like pure self-delusion. But, who knows, if he was being careful instead of putting arms on the table to show who's the coolest/toughest, maybe he could have explained some thinking/strategy.

All that said, I've got to say that I can't agree with Reforming Baptist's assessment of Macarthur's timelessness either. He's definitely a late 20th century middle class white guy from the valley.


tenjuices said...

what struck me was the discussion of how a newer teacher was worthy of 200-300 people, a somewhat experienced or better preacher was worthy of 1000 person audience, and topnotch preachers or teachers get the big house. That doesn't quite sit right. Did the NT preachers have to work their way up to big crowds? It seems like a popularity thing not a faithfulness to the text and Spirit. Did the prophets have large crowds? It doesn't seem right.