I have been really impressed with the ministry of Mars Hill in Seattle since 2009 – I ran across a sermon back then in a series called Doctrine…I’d never heard a pastor preach like Driscoll (from Mars Hill) preached…and I loved it.
Since then, I’ve began liking some of the other pastors that are similar to Driscoll – guys like Matt Chandler from The Village Church in Dallas. And recently, I learning to love the work of David Platt and Francis Chan – some other guys in the mix are JR Vassar from Apostles in NY, and Darrin Patrick from Journey in St. Louis.
These men are doing their best to represent Jesus – to preach the Gospel – to love the people that God has called them to lead. Some of them, by nature, are a little more brash than others (Driscoll and Chandler)…and while this absolutely attracts and motivates some, it brings out the worst in others.
Vassar and Platt don’t seem to be as brash as Chandler and Driscoll – actually, none of them are as brash as Mark – and its his brashness and leadership style that seems to get him in the most trouble…and leads many people to hate him…I would imagine that all of these men, and those that choose to preach the gospel unapologetically are going to be looked on with disdain; however, I’ve also found this to be true: it doesn’t matter how sweetly and gently they preach The Word – when you preach it the way it is, you will be hated. I feel the need to say that again…if someone chooses to preach the gospel, they are going to be hated.
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you… -Jesus [John 15:18]
Tonight I was reading an article from people that are angry at the stance that these men (and men like them) are taking – they are being true to scripture – whether it is presented like Driscoll or like Chan. And in the end, Truth is Truth. The most perfect teacher to walk the face of the earth angered people – He turned people away (either because they didn’t like His message or because they didn’t want to accept the challenge of following Him); He angered people and people hated Him because his message was different than anything else – the exclusivity and inclusivity of His message was and still is counter cultural.
This realization hit me hard tonight – like a shot to the chest. This is what Jesus is calling me to do – to preach The Word…The Word in all of It’s counter cultural, exclusive and inclusive, people enraging and soul saving Truth. Most of those that read this post may not be fans of Driscoll or Mars Hill, and that’s okay. You may not know who any of the other pastors are, and that’s okay too. You may completely disagree with their approach to leading churches and preaching the gospel, and that’s also just fine. I’m not hear to try to make you think one person’s way of presenting The Truth is better than someone else’s..but I am trying to drive the point home that if you want to serve Jesus – if you want to lead and serve His church – if you want to preach and teach the gospel…Prepare to be hated.
Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!-Jesus [Matt. 10:16-27]