Mark Driscoll has been quite influential in recent years. And anyone who is influential is controversial. Reading one of his books today, I came across his chapter, “eat, drink, and be a merry missionary.” After illustrating his own difficulty with this concept, he explains quite clearly what he is advocating.
“I am advocating not sin but freedom. That freedom is denied by many traditions and theological systems because they fear that some people will use their freedom to sin against Christ. But rules, regulations, and the pursuit of outward morality are ultimately incapable of preventing sin. They can only, at best, rearrange the flesh and get people to stop drinking, smoking, and having sex, only to start being proud of their morality. Jesus’ love for us and our love for him are, frankly, the only tethers that will keep us from abusing our freedom, yet they will enable us to venture as far into the culture and into relationships with lost people as Jesus did, because we go with him.
“So reformission requires that God’s people understand their mission with razor-sharp clarity. The mission is to be close to Jesus. This transforms our hearts to love what he loves, hate what he hates, and to pursue relationships with lost people in hopes of connecting with them and, subsequently, connecting them with him. This actually protects us from sin, because the way to avoid sin is not to avoid sinners but to stick close to Jesus” (Mark Driscoll in The Radical Reformission, p. 40).
Doing this kind of thing requires a closeness with Christ that many Christians never bother to cultivate.
I think he’s right.