Mark Driscoll: MacArthur had the right idea, just the wrong people

After crashing John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference, where thousands (if not millions) of faithful Christians were condemned to an eternity in hell as horrendously deceived heretics, Mark Driscoll seems to have decided that he too should get in on the condemning to hell action. Mark has decided that its pacifists, in particular those who teach that Jesus’ teaching is pacifist, who will be slaughtered by Jesus, The King of Peace upon his return in triumph.

October 25, 2013  By 13 Comments

I’ve been condemned to hell twice in the last week and a half, and I still have the weekend ahead of me. I’m sure I’ll get another 6-7 emails from readers who think I’m doomed, so it’s not shaping up to be a good week for my eternal salvation. In case you weren’t on the internet over this past week, an interesting thing happened. First, John MacArthur condemned thousands of charismatic Christians to hell for blasphemy of the holy spirit at his conference, Strange Fire. Our good ole friend, Mark Driscoll crashed the party in a publicity stunt for his new book, while clothing the stunt as an effort for peace.

Apparently, Mark wasn’t upset that MacArthur was condemning thousands of Christians to hell– he was just pissed because he didn’t think of it first.

Mark, deciding to get in on the send-people-to-hell action, went home and penned a blog post that also condemned thousands of Christians to an eternity of getting snapped with rubber bands wile listening to fingernails on a chalk board and being slow roasted over an open fire. Not to be outdone, Mark stamped an interesting group of Christians hellbound– one that would include some shocking names, including: Jesus, his disciples, all the Christians in the first 400 years of Christianity, Martin Luther King, nearly every Christian martyr in history, and well, me too.

At least I got lumped in with good company this time.

Those Mark thinks are going to be slaughtered by Jesus?

People who teach nonviolent love of enemies.

In his post (which you can read in entirety, here) Mark engages in some of the worst exegesis I’ve ever seen regarding the issue of nonviolence in an attempt to throw some red meat to his audience, arguing that those of us who believe in Christian nonviolence have made Jesus into a “pansy and a pacifist”. Mark builds his argument through citing Old Testament violence, completely skipping the nonviolent commands of Jesus and Paul, and moves straight to a shitty exegesis of the end times.

Which, really isn’t his fault– he’s just a product of a violent education. Mark attended a seminary where all professors are required to sign that they believe in a violent eschatological sequence, a theological framework that I’ve covered at great length in previous posts. Jesus taught that violence only begets more violence, so it naturally flows that pro-violent seminaries produce violent Bible teachers.

Instead of simply stating that he rejects this aspect of the teachings of Jesus, Mark takes it a step further– condemning those of us who affirm and teach this hallmark of God’s kingdom as false teachers who will one day be slaughtered by the Prince of Peace himself.

Mark writes:

“Jesus is not a pansy or a pacifist; he’s patient. He has a long wick, but the anger of his wrath is burning. Once the wick is burned up, he is saddling up on a white horse and coming to slaughter his enemies and usher in his kingdom. Blood will flow… Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist. Jesus is no one to mess with.

Apparently Pastor Mark is a go-big-or-go-home kinda guy, because by his argument, when Jesus comes back he’d have to slay himself– because Jesus not only taught nonviolence but said that embracing nonviolence is necessary in order to be called “children of your father in heaven”.

I guess that would make Jesus the false teacher of all false teachers.

Thankfully, some of the other “false teachers” out there didn’t take Mark’s post lightly, and have responded with some fantastic pieces that are a little more intellectually honest than Mark’s (ok, a lot more). Here’s a quick plug of the two best responses, which I hope you’ll read each entirely:

Greg Boyd: Greg is basically the most brilliant Bible teacher I know. If you only read one of the resources here, this is the one. In it, Greg reminds us of what I’ve written about previously: Jesus overturned the OT laws on violence, and replaced them with a new ethic of total nonviolence:

“In fact, this “eye for eye” principle is called the lex tallionis (law of retaliation), and it’s at the foundation of all the laws of the OT that require violence against perpetrators. Yet Jesus repudiates this principle and replaces it with his teaching to never “resist [anthistēmi] an evil person” (which, by the way, means that we aren’t to respond to aggression with aggression, not that we’re to do nothing).”
Secondly, Preston Sprinkle from Eternity Bible College who recently wrote a book on Christian Nonviolence, wrote an especially solid piece. Sprinkle in part, says:

“Mark rightly distinguishes between “killing” and “murder” in the Old Testament, but then he heroically leaps over biblical books in a single bound. After summarizing the “bloody Old Testament” as supporting “lawful taking of life, such as self-defense, capital punishment, and just war,” Mark jumps past the Sermon on the Mount, the life of Christ, Jesus’s prohibitions against violence in the gospels, and Paul’s commands against violence in Romans 12, finally landing on Romans 13 for a quick touch and go before he flies over the rest of Paul’s letters, Hebrews, and 1 Peter, ultimately arriving to the book of Revelation.”

I find it ironic that Mark would show up at the Strange Fire conference in apparent protest over the condemnation of thousands of Christians to hell– and then ran home to condemn thousands of Christians to hell.

I guess Mark and Johny Mac agree on principle, but just disagree on which Christians should be consigned to the eternal torment of the Evangelical version of hell.

Pastor Marky Mark would do well to re-check his scriptures re-discover the radical message of Jesus– where embracing nonviolence doesn’t make one a “pansy”, but a “child of our father in heaven”.

In the end, Mark and I do agree on something. In a follow up piece he released today regarding the publicity stunt, he said that we live in a culture that is progressively opposed to biblical truth. I agree.

Biblical truth is that we are called to emulate Jesus through a radical, nonviolent love of enemies, and the vast majority of American Christianity is diabolically opposed to that truth.

I pray Pastor Mark, and all those who reject this essential teaching of Jesus, will repent.

5 thoughts on “Mark Driscoll: MacArthur had the right idea, just the wrong people

  1. Hey Greg. Interesting post. Couple of observations:

    1. What sort of juice is MD drinking that convinces him that this pacifist issue is a salvation matter? His statement at the end is beyond ridiculous and puts him squarely in the swivel-eyed loon category.

    2. I think that we have possibly over-thought this whole thing, along with Jesus’s teaching regarding lust (and adultery), and sin perpetrated by hands/feet/eyes. I think more along the lines that Jesus was doing a compare and contrast between life under the OT and the Kingdom.

    So extreme are his examples, such as cutting off limbs, gouging out eyes, walking the extra mile, turning the other cheek, loving your enemies, forgiving 70 x 7 times, committing adultery by thought alone etc that I honestly don’t think he wants us to take him literally. He is saying that so much higher is the life I am giving you than the old legal system that enslaved you. He knows that none of this can be accomplished in our own strength, but has to be achieved through the outworking and equipping of the indwelling Holy Spirit. THEN, should we be faced with very difficult circumstances, we will be enabled by power from above to meet the challenge in a way that brings God the glory.

    Also, I’m not sure I totally agree with Boyd either. If I was confronted with a deranged junky intent on stealing from me and perhaps killing me and my family in the process, I’d swing the bat, hopefully not kill him and visit him every week in jail 🙂 But then who really knows how the Holy Spirit would lead in such a situation. Maybe I would give him a hug!

  2. Oh, and the throwaway lines about people being ‘condemned to hell’ by someone’s preaching is pretty hysterical. There’s only One who undertakes that role.

    Another random thought – if Jesus says that we should love our enemies, why is it that at the Last Day, all God’s enemies are either destroyed (if you go with scripture) or tortured forever (if you go with wonky Greek-influenced tradition) 😉 You’d think that if we are to forgive ours, then God should do the same surely. Better stop now else I’ll be convincing myself to turn to universalism.

    Any thoughts from the deep (and shallower) thinkers out there?

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