The modern Evangelical Church is all about the numbers:
- Souls saved
- Number of missionaries supported
- Number of ministries
- Number of staff members
- Number of preacher boys/missionaries called under a pastor’s ministry
The thinking goes, the more you have of any of the above the more successful you are. Once a certain level of success is achieved your critics are supposed to shut up. After all……….what are THEIR numbers? This is really a religious version of “how big is your penis.”
I used to tell people “when you have as many eggs in your basket as I do in mine then you can criticize me.” I pastored mostly small Churches but I did pastor one Church, that grew to several hundred people, which made it one of the largest Churches in the rural area we lived in. My critics were many. I considered them jealous of my success, and I don’t doubt some of them were. I thought myself immune to criticism since I had a bigger, better Church than my critics. My egg basket was full but theirs was not.
Frank Viola, of house-Church fame, has written a book titled Reimagining Church. Viola has made a mighty fine career out of criticizing and critiquing the Church. On Viola’s blog he mentions a critique of the Reimagining Church book and he also mentions a critique by famed Mark Driscoll (pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle) of his previous book Pagan Christianity.
The second response is to Mark Driscoll. I don’t know Mark. We’ve never spoken nor written to one another. But we have a number of mutual friends. While we’ve never met, I admire what Mark has done in preaching the gospel to many young people in the Northwest USA – a very difficult place to have a Christian witness. I am thankful for this and believe that God is using him.
(For those who would be critical of Mark, please ponder this question: Have you done more than he has in preaching the gospel to the lost? If not, then consider dropping your critical attitude and remarks. We all have one Judge to whom we are accountable. As the New Testament repeats, it’s not our place to judge another man’s servant (Romans 14:4; 1 Corinthians 4:3-5; James 4:11).
Apparently Mark published a critique of Pagan Christianity some months back. I had no idea it existed except for the fact that people began telling me about it and asking if Mark had contacted me. Honestly, I wish Mark had come to me and George to openly dialogue about our book before he reviewed it.
Note the second paragraph.
Have you done more than he has? Then shut up. (New Living Bible Translation)
Of course this thinking pervades American culture. We see it sports and the corporate world. How many championship rings so YOU have? How much has YOUR stock gone up?
It’s just that Evangelicals have turned this into an art form.
I don’t care how big or small Mark Driscoll’s Church is…….nor do I care about how he has done in preaching the gospel to the lost. (which I think is probably not much as one might be led to think since he generally preaches to CHRISTIANS and with his outside preaching gigs preaching to CHRISTIANS I doubt he has a lot of time to reach the lost. It’s simple to confirm. “Mark how many people have you personally won to Jesus this year?” Ah, that’s what I thought.
Mark Driscoll remains a crude, arrogant,misogynist, in everyone’s business, Calvinist. While he may not be a cultural fundamentalist, he is a theological fundamentalist. It astounds me that he can attract thousands of people to hear his preaching, but I suspect that might have a lot more to do with other things like music and the Church subculture.
So, no there are no eggs in my basket. Dammit, I don’t even have a basket.
But, I know what Mark Driscoll is.
I was one.