And rather than leave it and my response lost in the comment section, I thought I'd bring it forward.
In February, Wenatchee the Hatchet brought a quote to my attention and I made a post about it here:
"Driscoll uses the Bible as a Sock Puppet..."
Quite frankly, I'm surprised that Nick Bulbeck even found my little blog in the great cybernet wilderness. But I'm quite honored that he did. And he left a comment that I want to copy and paste in this post.
I could have just responded in the comment section but it was a long way back (in blog months) and both what he said and what I said would be lost and benefit no one. Plus, those who have interesting bits to add that we could have benefited from, well, we would have never known what they had to say.
Here is Nick's comment in full:
Mara - thankyou for your kind words, though the quote is not completely accurate - I wrote that Mark Driscoll isn't a teacher, but "is merely adept at using the Bible as a sock-puppet that always agrees with him".
May I clarify further? Namely, by saying that Driscoll is by no means unique in that respect. Ironically, many of the anonymous heresy spotters out there (who, perhaps, sit in their nan's basements blogging in their pyjamas, as the saying goes) do likewise. Not only that, but when I first properly discovered bible teaching 25 years ago, I was the same; I became a drooling and self-righteous fundamentalist, eager to "correct" the doctrine of my more gracious, patient and Christ-like christian friends.
As it happens, I'm only a couple of years older than Mark Driscoll and he and I both therefore discovered the bible at about the same time, though thousands of miles apart. And if I had been a strong personality with a clear leadership gift, then I too might have amassed a band of loyal followers and become a pastor before I ever learned to be a disciple.
Yes, I believe some of Driscoll's influence is unhealthy and must not go unchallenged. But I am not, in myself, better than he is; there, but for the grace of God, go I.
A couple of things first.
I totally agree that Driscoll is not unique in doing the sock puppet thing. He's just offended me more than most others for reasons I may or many not get into later.
I also greatly agree with the fact Nick pointed out that in order to be a good pastor, you must first learn to be a disciple. Driscoll skipped that stage to the hurt of himself and those he "pastors".
Another thing I would add is that if a person actually had the gifting of the office of a teacher, even with minimal training, that person would not make the blatant errors in teaching that Driscoll makes.
Now to the thing I really wanted to add. To me, this goes beyond even discovering proper Bible teaching, though that plays a prominent role in all of this. Because even the most 'proper' teaching of scriptures can go a muck. The best example I can give is the Pharisees in the day of Jesus. They knew the scriptures inside and out. But still, human error and tradition made them not recognize the Messiah when He came.
The point, even beyond proper Bible teaching is... Seeking God through prayer and the Scriptures. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. Driscoll screws up major royale in thinking that God thinks the way that he does.
And as Nick pointed out about Bible teaching, Driscoll is "by no means unique in that respect". We all do it to a degree. We think that God thinks like us. The point, though, is to recognize this as one of our human failings. When we reach out to God and His Book we must keep this always before us. And along with this, we should reach out to each other and compare notes. There is no one person who totally gets all of Who God is and What He is all about.
Sometimes I use this illustration, but not often because it is borrowed from Eastern thought and therefore soundly rejected by many. But it is still the best picture I know.
It's the story of The Blind Men and the Elephant. Each of the blind men touched a different part of the elephant and came to different conclusions of what it was. This is how we are with God. And while I hold to the Christian view, I see this also happening within the Christian circles. Each person or group has some sort of revelation of Who God is. They have managed to touch some part of God, and rather than realizing that what they understand is only a small part of the whole, they build a temple on this one aspect of God and shun and criticize all others rather than compare notes.
One of the reasons that Driscoll has gotten on my bad side is this:
He has decided a certain aspect of God, or in particular, a certain interpretation of the Song of Solomon is the one and only way to view both God and the Songs. Instead of realizing that he has only touched on a small area of what the the Songs are about, he has criticized, insulted, and mocked everyone and everything that doesn't agree with his narrow view and has run head long into deep error by not being willing to consider that perhaps others also have an understanding that brings the picture of the Whole better into focus.
So yes, this is why the "Sock Puppet" quote struck such a chord with me. The way certain men put forth their puny opinion on Bible interpretation as God breathed, all encompassing fact and then holds people accountable to their narrow and misguided interpretations, well, this really gets my goat.
Nick or anyone else?