Driscoll! How Many Divisions Has He Got?

There’s an interesting contrast that was pointed out by Ian Clary (via Trevin Wax) regarding how Mark Driscoll treats theological disagreements:

“There is a conciliatory air between those involved. It seems that the interviewers have already decided on Jakes’ orthodoxy before interviewing him. Driscoll promised us, when the controversy first broke, that he would be hard on Jakes on the Trinity–but Driscoll was much harder on Justin Brierly over complimentarianism than he is on Jakes. While he thankfully asked a number of creed-oriented questions, he didn’t push Jakes on his unclear statements.”

So here we have Driscoll in conversation about the Trinity – a doctrine that describes the very nature of God – and he lobs a few softball questions at Jakes about the matter. Of course Driscoll’s position on this was telegraphed some time ago. We were exhorted to withhold judgment on Jakes’ view of the Trinity until Driscoll had the chance to properly interrogate Jakes’ views.

Of course there’s a greater reason to link to The Hatchet’s excellent earlier post on the Driscoll-Jakes encounter. Mr. The Hatchet draws a similar contrast as the one drawn in the quote above. In this case it’s between Jakes and Shack author, William Young. In one case Driscoll reads a man’s words and is ready to get the pitchforks and convene the heresy trial. Young is some kind of Servetus to Driscoll’s Calvin, and he’s ready to condemn:

Jakes on the other hand is able to flub the question and basically say, if by ‘Trinity’ you mean something totally different than what is historically taught as being the ‘Trinity’ then sure, I affirm this doctrine. William Young gets torn to shreds in the above clip (by the same standard the Narnia books affirm animism) as Justin Brierly did for disagreeing with complementarianism. Oddly though, we can find clips where Driscoll will speak well of egalitarians and various non-Reformed groups:

So other than those who Driscoll labels as “liberal” everyone, even those with “woman pastors” are not worthy of “drive-bys” and “loved” by Driscoll even. But notice how Driscoll characterizes them – the leaders of these movements are “friends” and “good guys” – the leaders of these various “teams” are given a pass. Driscoll also says that Brian McLaren is a good guy – even one of the guys who Driscoll who thinks is “dangerous” gets a pass. When a little-known author or some British evangelical journalist disagrees with Driscoll though, they are in big trouble, teaching heresy or weak.

This seems to be the standard with which Driscoll works, if you are a “leader” in some regard (typically a big-league pastor), then you get  the kid gloves treatment. The history buffs reading this post no doubt get the reference, it’s from Stalin who once said, “The Pope! How many divisions has he got?” When asked about whether the Pope could be used to sway Russian Catholics. Without any kind of military power, the Pope’s authority or influence or moral suasion was useless. Driscoll is increasingly using a similar standard, a pastor’s merit is determined by how many people he has in the pews every Sunday. Brierly is a layperson journalist, Young was some random guy with one self-published book, they had no followers (despite the latter’s brief popularity as an author).

If we want more evidence, let’s look at how Driscoll regards pastors who do not aggressively seek to increase their influence and power and add to their “divisions” by aping Driscoll’s approaches to church:

And again, this time with Francis Chan’s decision to walk away from his large-ish church:

In each case Driscoll seems to find it inconceivable that anyone would want to do anything less than have the largest church possible, numeric superiority (or the number of divisions) seems to be the most important qualifier.

Let’s clarify something here: I am not against churches growing or against someone having a large number of followers. The problem here is not necessarily that Mars Hill is big, but that Driscoll has one set of rules for judging the actions and convictions of megachurch megastar pastors and another set of rules for all the other plebians out there who might have an opinion. People like William Young, Justin Brierly or even Wenatchee The Hatchet or me for that matter are beneath Driscoll’s contempt because we don’t have thousands of people buying books with our names on them.