Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A tiny slap on the wrist for Mark Driscoll

The excellent Dr Carson has come to the defence of those who need no defence - British gospel ministers.  You can read the whole of his piece here.  But for your delight and delectation - as they used to say - I post a little extract below:

  • In light of my friend Mark Driscoll's recent comments about pastoral ministry in Great Britain, I wanted to share a few of my own reflections on the diverse ministries that have prospered, or floundered, there. Between 1972 and 1996, I spent nine full years there, scattered over that range of years; and since then, I have been in the UK between two and six times every year. I am neither boasting nor complaining; I'm merely establishing that my knowledge of the country is not entirely superficial. I have no reason to doubt Mark's sincere concern for the gospel in the UK and for young ministers there. Nevertheless, you might be interested in hearing another perspective...

  •  (5) But there is a bigger issue. We must not equate courage with success, or even youth with success. We must avoid ever leaving the impression that these equations are valid. I have spent too much time in places like Japan, or in parts of the Muslim world, where courage is not measured on the world stage, where a single convert is reckoned a mighty trophy of grace. I am grateful beyond words for the multiplication of churches in Acts 29, but I am no less grateful for Baptist ministers like my Dad, men who labored very hard and saw very little fruit for decades in French Canada, many of whom went to prison (their sentences totaled eight years between 1950 and 1952). I find no ground for concluding that the missionaries in Japan in the 20th century were less godly, less courageous, less faithful, than the missionaries in (what became) South Korea, with its congregations of tens of thousands. At the final Great Assize, God will take into account not only all that was and is, but also what might have been under different circumstances (Matt 11:20ff). Just as the widow who gave her mite may be reckoned to have given more than many multi-millionaires, so, I suspect, some ministers in Japan, or Yorkshire, will receive greater praise on that last day than those who served faithfully in a corner of the world where there was more fruit. Moreover, the measure of faithful service is sometimes explicitly tied in Scripture not to the quantity of fruit, measured in numbers, but to such virtues as self-control, measured by the use of one's tongue (James 3:1-6).

Note, will you, two things.

First, Dr. Carson calls Driscoll 'my friend'.  That not only establishes a friendly tone, it appeals to Driscoll who has said that he willingly takes criticism from friends.  Good; now, let's seen the evidence.

Second: note how direct Carson is in the last paragraph I've quoted: 'The measure of faithful service is sometimes explicitly tied in Scripture... to virtues such as self-control, measured by the use of one's tongue.'  Ouch!

Come on, Mark - time to stop laughing, stop preening, and put a double guard on your tongue.  

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