What is Mark Driscoll advocating, anyway?

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.

3 thoughts on “What is Mark Driscoll advocating, anyway?

  1. I also agree, believing whole heartedly in the “truth who sets us free.” This is, of course, a freedom to sin – but a freedom from sin.

    The key is “to stick close to Jesus,” otherwise our remaining sinful nature will naturally be drawn back to sin.

    Stick close to Jesus and enjoy freedom in Christ.

  2. Yep.

    And I understand why those “traditions and theological systems” have developed the rules and the barriers. We have all seen seemingly well-intentioned “evangelists,” engage lost people only to become like them.

    When the “salt” starts to taste like the very item it’s designed to flavor, then there’s a problem.

    Still, drawing the fences to keep the salt pure often makes it completely useless.

  3. Two things I think:

    First, some people have a way-oversimplified idea of sin. Sin = Licentiousness and Righteous = Strictness. But the devil is strict. Being all wound up with rules is not “over-righteousness”, it is as wicked as getting fall-down drunk. Probably more so, since the drunk doesn’t have any pretensions about it.

    Second, Doug Wilson had a good blog post about Steve’s point in the comments earlier this week. His basic point was that we need to love and accept some sinners because they are trying to flee from their sin and don’t have anywhere else to go. But we need to fight fiercely against others because they want to drag people out of the Church and into Hell. It’s the difference between the non-Christian kid who hangs around your house because you have a warm family and the one who hangs around because you have a daughter.

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