What Reformed Churches Can Learn From Mark Driscoll

…A new megachurch in Lynden was drawing out the boomers from classic Reformed churches by the thousands. This church purchased the local shopping mall and created the closest thing as they could achieve, in appearance and message, to Rick Warren’s Saddleback church, abandoning anything that reminded their members of their Reformed past. It was light, easy-going, unstructured, entertainment Christianity—at its best.

There was, at that time, across the spectrum, circa 2005, a reaction to anything in Christianity that was structured or formal. People loathed visiting a church with a pastor in a suit and old music. There was something psychologically repulsive that happened for people when they walked into a church and looked at anything formal, especially if the music did not achieve the rated quality of a good experience.

But it wasn’t just the look, it was the “sound” too. As a pastor, I had a hard time grasping what was driving people in every direction. The sad reality was, in many traditional churches across America, there had been, over the years, a lot of angry, legal preachers who turned the Christian pulpit into brow-beating sessions on how bad the culture had become. This created an “us versus them” kind of ministry that offered little hope of the gospel to free people from sin. Preaching became a giant exercise in the advancement of self-righteousness in the particular legal emphases of that ministry.

The prop was the law of God itself. The minister could gain control of the people through the power of guilt and shame by making them feel that they were never doing enough for the kingdom of God. As the pastor assured them, at least they were on the right side of the fence so long as they stayed under his ministry. But these kinds of legal ministries have breaking points and people snap, as they run somewhere else to get away from it all.

Mark Driscoll and The Power of Shame

This was the perfect moment for Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill church to capitalize on the problem. Generation X had little toleration for the Saddleback model; it was viewed as their parent’s vision for the church as an escape from perceived abuse. Driscoll, however, was able to create a strange paradox in mixing both worlds. He used ancient symbols, creating the sense of an authentic Christianity, while still being able to strip away the churchiness that drove young people away from the church to begin with. Read more»

Chris Gordon | What Reformed Churches Can Learn From Mark Driscoll | AGR Live | 28 July 2021

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