Monday, August 22, 2011

Mark Driscoll Fires His First Shot - The Cessationist Stink (Part 1)

The entire internet nearly blew up over the last week with all the shots fired in the latest theological debates in cyberspace. Some of the issues being raised are too important to ignore and the public nature of the debate makes it pointless trying to leave the major characters nameless. It is also a busy time for me as I prepare for two sermons and a debate all in the Danish language.

I will be preaching at Christianskirken in Århus this thursday 25th August at 7:30pm. They have asked me to preach about following Jesus in modern Denmark so I will be preaching out of Ezekiel 36:25-27 and the fact that we cannot follow Jesus unless we are born again. The sermon will be in Danish. The address for the meeting is Christiansgården, Frederikshaldsgade 15, 8200 Århus N, Denmark. More announcements will follow later regarding the upcoming evolution debate and evangelism lecture.

But for now, I will start unpacking two major debates currently in process that do overlap to a certain extent. I am unsure as to which of these shots was fired first and/or whether one was a response to the other. But what has come out of all of this is the need to better understand what cessationists really believe (whichever side of the fence you are on), the need to understand the inherent dangers that can swirl around even the most conservative of charismatic leaning people, and the deep ditches that line the sides of the exciting highway or resurgent reformed theology. For those who have not been perusing the latest offerings from Mark Driscoll, John Macarthur, Phil Johnson, and Frank Turk then you are going to love the assortment of articles and videos that will be posted here over the next two weeks. Much of it is pure gold from great Christian minds that needs to be shared with the widest possible audience. So, aside from a smattering of personal input, the next fortnight is going to cover much of what has happened thus far.

To whet your appetites today, I am posting the recent sermon from Mark Driscoll that provoked a lot of response from those of the "cessationist" persuasion. Cessationism is a position that evokes a lot of emotion but I am hoping that those of you who feel this way can rein it in for a few days so that perhaps you will get a clearer understanding of what cessationism actually holds to and what it doesn't hold to - you might be surprised. For what it is worth, Mark Driscoll is a guy that I like a lot with an immature streak that tends to upset me (this does not absolve my own immaturity but neither does Driscoll's public profile leave space for it). As what all too often happens with Mark, the following sermon travels along nicely and then takes a sharp turn at the 27 minute mark. What Driscoll says here is problematic on several levels, not least of which is that it is an innaccurate assessment of cessationism - a camp I do not belong to but have strong sympathies for. Have a look if you have the inclination and we'll discuss it further over the coming days:

Go On To Part 2


Glen Richards said...

Cameron, this post has me most interested. Looking forward to the next 2 weeks.

I have come from a very charismatic background (and still can't deny some of the very real 'Holy Spirit' moments in my life) - but have (esp. over the last few years) been 'waking' to this 'other side' through people like Chuck Missler, Ray Comfort, and most recently to 'Reformed Theology' via this blog.

I didn't know the term 'Cessationism' till reading this post - but I'm very familiar with the subject (superficially).

I like a lot of what Mark had to say in the video you posted - it kinda felt balanced to my way of thinking - considering what I've been learning over the last few years... but... I took special note of what was said at the 27 minute mark. Looking forward to where this series will go, and what I'll learn.



DaveTea said...

Dialogue between the two camps is essential if we're ever going to move forward on this issue. I'm sure most charismatics don't properly understand cessationism and visa versa. Driscoll used to describe himself as 'charismatic with a seatbelt', which I quite liked and would be happy to describe myself as such. However, what is essential is that our beliefs are firmly rooted in the scriptures. Personally I'm not convinced from the scriptures that cessationism is correct; likewise, there are many things that happen within charismatic circles that I can't accept either. It's essential that we keep on 'the narrow path' lest we fall into either the ditch of quenching the Spirit or the ditch of Charismania.

McMurdo said...

Listened to this, and Mark Driscoll makes some great points.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Mark 16:15-18

Funny how everyone quotes the first bit of this verse, but hardly anyone mentions the bit after it.

My fear is that people will get so upset by Mark's criticism, that they ignore some of the great, valid points he makes.

" reformed guys don’t know what to do with the Holy Spirit, so you say the word ‘Gospel’ a lot..."

"I’ve seen really strong fundamental churches where they don’t want anything to do with lost, broken sinful people in their neighbourhood, but they are very excited to send people round the world to go love those same people as long as they don’t have to sit next to those people on Sunday..."

"The knock on us is that we don’t have converts and rather than defending ourselves we should preach the gospel, we should love people, plant churches, plant churches and see if some elect people don’t find their way to our work. I know most of the major reformed leaders and I love them dearly. There is not a lot of conversion going on."