I’m Not Gonna Rebuke Mark Driscoll, Or Reference Luke 27 For How To Deal With Famous Christians

For heavens sake this post will offer no opinion on whether Mark Driscoll is a bully. So read on and fear no rant against Mark. 

Friday Matthew Paul Turner published a guest blog about Mark Driscoll’s recent facebook comment about effeminate worship leaders. I’ll save you the trouble – the guest poster did not find the comment cute. Yesterday Rachel Held Evans wrote a post about standing up to Mark Driscoll for being a bully, and called for others to stand with her by contacting the church about their pastor’s antics.

From when I last checked, Rachel’s post was nearing 500 comments. A below average day for this blog, but apparently big traffic for Rachel.

Annoyingly enough, the Bible doesn’t give clear instructions on how to deal with Christian who are in the public eye, let alone ones who are doing damaging things whilst in that limelight. And I don’t quite know how to handle this.

I certainly can see why so many Christians are angry about what Mark has said, not just this one time, but others as well. And certainly in recent years there have been plenty of things done very publicly by Christians that outright embarrass and damage our collective image. Many have taken to the streets trying to proclaim “hey we’re not like those guys!” in the hopes that Christians may have credibility once again. I practically wore that t-shirt at one point in my life.

But I think we need to ask some good old fashioned questions: What do we stand to gain from publicly rebuking someone like Mark Driscoll? Making him look bad and making “us” (whoever that us may be) look good? Making Christianity not look so oppressive and insensitive? We also have to ask what we stand to lose. Looking like just another group of Christians offended by the outrage-of-the-week? Looking like we’ll tear anyone apart, including one of our own? Looking like we can’t even handle our own family feuds without making so much noise that the neighbors get concerned?

I don’t know. Either way we lose. Though Mark’s said some things that don’t sit well with me, I also get the impression from the New Testament that we are to resolve issues internally for obvious reasons. And so maybe we should just think on it for a bit before we fire off angry e-mails and tweets.

One thing I’ve learned is that you want someone to change and you come at them expecting them to change – well you’ll be waiting for a long time till you’re satisfied. I imagine Mark’s caught wind by now of his name being thrown around, and I imagine it immediately put him at odds with Rachel et al, rather than immediately humbling him. All I do know is that these sorts of matters all kinds of complicated when we don’t actually know the person, and the Bible doesn’t tell us how to rebuke public figures.

Some things deserve a strong reaction, but those things also deserve waiting for a bit before more damage is inflicted.

What’s your response to the mass public rebuking of Mark Driscoll? Are you uncomfortable with publicly rebuking another believer? What should the Christian protocol be were it outlined in Luke 27? 

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17 Responses to I’m Not Gonna Rebuke Mark Driscoll, Or Reference Luke 27 For How To Deal With Famous Christians

  1. Several thoughts Charlie: First, take a gander at this post by Jason Wert. http://www.jcwert.com/2011/07/11/its-not-about-jesus-its-about-politics/ I think Jason has said something worth thinking about. Two, I think it is wrong to take this public. While I don’t always agree with what Mark says (who does with me also?), I also don’t agree with all MPT says. Nor I’m sure Rachel (even though I have read nothing by her). i see nothing gained by this public display of non-affection. Aren’t there more important things to deal with than this? Way to make us think Charlie.

  2. Darius says:

    If he had said (or done) something worthy of public rebuke, then he would deserve it*. In this case, everyone needs to take a chill pill. While Driscoll beats the “men should be men” drum a little more than I would, he HAS recognized a big problem in our society where adult males are more and more effeminate and juvenile in their behavior and lifestyle. Men SHOULD be men, and women SHOULD be women. The Bible clearly supports this, even Paul makes mention of this issue several times.

    *To the bigger question you’re probing, I think the Bible shows that it is sometimes okay to publicly rebuke a brother, and not just after the other Matthew 18 steps have been taken. Paul, for example, took Peter to task very publicly. I think the principle that should be taken is this (with exceptions, of course): if the sin is a public sin, a public rebuke is usually necessary… particularly if the name of Christ is at stake. Peter’s behavior with the Jews versus his behavior with Gentiles in Galatians 2 was leading many astray into a legalistic gospel, so Paul needed to do something fast, harsh, and public to overcome the damage done. If Peter had been doing something wrong privately, then Paul should have (and likely would have) followed Jesus’ instructions from Matthew 18.

    In today’s society, so much is very public that public rebukes are necessary… especially if someone is undermining the Gospel. Not to open up this rabbit hole, but that is why so many Christians stood up publicly against Rob Bell’s book… it was undermining the Gospel and attacking Christian believers around the world. Several of the authors that Rob Bell promoted in his books even said as much, that they were surprised by the scornful vitriol and attacks by Bell against other Christians. To bring it back to Driscoll, even if one disagrees with his view that male worship leaders should be masculine and not effeminate in their conduct, nothing he said or implied there undermines the Gospel in any way. It may be more culturally-informed than some would want, but the Gospel is still secure.

    • thanks Darius. Somehow I didn’t consider how Paul rebuked Peter – I don’t think I realized it was so public. So yes something needed to be done, but that doesn’t give us license to run around and rebuke anyone who does something little. I agree that with how public our world is that public rebukes can be necessary – I think it’s all about figuring when and which battles to fight. I don’t know if this particular one about Mark Driscoll is worth it – obviously it is to some.

  3. Ummm, just curious, aren’t you basically publicly rebuking MPT and RHE for publicly rebuiking MD?

    As an aside, I’m so freaking tired of the liberal / conservative “title wars” that I pretty much turn off anybody that uses those words in any deprecating fashion at all, and almost turn off anybody that uses them at all. I do NOT have to be either one, yet those are the predominant litmus tests for who’s going to heaven and hell.

    • I thought about including something about how I’m not rebuking a rebuke, because my whole point is I don’t know how to do a public rebuke – I’m trying to point out its messy and complicated. I can certainly understand why they took the course they did, so I’m not really faulting them for it.

      I agree the title wars are getting old, and I am doing my best to not engage even them even though I’m on the more progressive side.

  4. Larry Hughes says:

    It is hard not to rebuke one that has offended others. It is best to let them hang their own selves which they will do eventually and their true self surfaces. I hate to say it but I too some times rebuke a bloger’s statement if I think it was not inspired by scriptures. Perhaps that is very wrong of me but others are always welcome to dissagree with me if I qoute scriptures wrongly lest I mislead others.

    As I can recall, the Apostle John did quite a bit of openly rebuking others that failed to rightly present the scriptures to others.

    • the occasional rebuke can turn into what I fear it may already be – people just attacking each other – disagreements become personal and it becomes a battle between two parties that becomes less and less about the issue that started it in the first place.

  5. David says:

    I think that we go to them if it is possible. If not let them have it. (Which I have been know to do!) I don’t really care what any of the people that you mentioned have to say – most of it is just noise, and not all the godly. I’d be a lot more interested if they were prophesying, casting out demons and healing the sick while they fed the poor and set the captives free.

  6. Amy says:

    I didn’t even know about the Mark Driscoll drama with Google+ and the new Harry Potter movie. I read this blog to get all my news. Honestly, I don’t care about any of this stuff. My friend has cancer, my mom has a foot infection, and you don’t have a job. Why doesn’t someone blog about that? And when they do why doesn’t it get 500 comments?

  7. anonymous says:

    I personally believe that you should only rebuke someone if they are in your sphere of influence. Rebuking someone you may never meet, as I know I will never meet Billy Graham or Robert Schueller, I am not going to blog about them That is, unless close friends are being swayed by their teachings and I have to trust that my friends have a brain to think for themselves. I do not see anyone blogging about the error of the Christadelphians. Why? Because you will never meet them publicly. This is a cult that exists in other parts of the world, which I will probably never face publicly. But if it’s a issue like Paul had with Peter in Galatians, I say, by all means, rebuke the brother. If I am going to rebuke celebrity status Christians, then maybe I should put on my Star Wars underoos and start having slumber parties, because I believe it is on junior high level.

    • it does feel very immature. I’m not calling Rachel Held Evans or anyone immature – but the whole back and forth thing just feels like a pillow fight gone wrong because someone took offense. I definitely see what you mean about not rebuking if you’ve never met them.

  8. AndrewFinden says:

    I suspect the issue is pride – not all of the rebuke towards Driscoll was, IMO, done in humility and with a view to offer forgiveness, but sometimes out of pride and superiority. Some of it was snarky, which is never good for conflict resolution. Some people got even more indignant when it was pointed out that their manner of rebuke was perhaps not appropriate – refusing to examine themselves I think does betray pride – and perhaps the kind of thing Jesus’ whole log – splinter analogy was getting at..

    • I find that many, many people have no idea how to actually go about resolving conflicts. I’m blessed in that I work in a field where we teach proper skills in this art, but it’s clear people just don’t know how to argue or disagree. For trying to get what they want they do everything in the book to ensure they won’t get it. Anyway…

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