Not sure how many people are reading these posts, but for anyone who is, I'm requesting help.
If you look at my "Current Reads" section, you'll find that one book I'm reading is called "Radical Reformission". I was drawn to the book because of an interview that White Horse Inn did with Mark Driscoll a few weeks ago.
If you're familiar with the book, you'll understand what I'm about to say.... "OUTSIDE OF MY BOX!"
I'm about half way through the book and I'm left with many questions. Maybe he'll answer these as I continue to read, but I want to form somewhat of a dialogue on my blog to see what responses I can get from you, my readers. Let me take you briefly through what I've learned so far from Driscoll.
(note: I'm not saying I agree or disagree with him, it's merely what I'm learning about his philosophy of ministry)
Everything in his book is pointing to evangelism/magnifying Christ most effectively in this world - focusing on the incarnation. Driscoll explains that evangelism is more broad than simply going to ask someone to pray the "sinner's prayer". Although, he acknowledges that there are instances in Scripture that people did come to Christ in that fashion. However, there are more instances where relationships grew between Christians and the world because Christians integrated themselves to the culture in which they lived - Jesus being the primary example (incarnation). Because of this, we need to be IN the world, but not OF the world. So, we separate ourselves from SIN. But, Christians too often describe a certain type of culture to be sin. One of Driscoll's points would be that we can participate in culture by getting tattoos and some Christians can even have the biblical freedom to smoke or own a bar (since these practices are not explicitly forbidden in Scripture for all believers in all times) as long as their desire is to magnify Christ and they don't abuse their freedom.
The pull of this philosophy is the apparent freedom that's proclaimed. I'm sure questions are already popping into your head with the things mentioned above. But, there's even more questions that I have relating to the church.
I believe that most (if not all) of my readers would agree that the local church is comprised of both believers and unbelievers. However, a point of divergence with Driscoll might come when you read about his church having Christians and knowingly non-Christians participate in his church. Having said that, he doesn't allow non-Christians to take specific leadership roles like pastor or deacon; however, a non-Christian could potentially lead or participate in other things (ex: lead a hiking trip). At this point, the dominos seem to fall. And, at this point, I'm asking questions:
1. How does this fit with a church discipline model? An unbeliever is constantly living in defiance against God. Based on that reality, they shouldn't be a part of the church.
2. 1 Corinthians 5:12 seems to make it clear that an unbeliever is supposed to be considered an "outsider".
3. What is the purpose of a church gathering together on a Sunday morning? Is it's primary concern evangelism? Discipleship? Both? What's primary and what's secondary? Does it ever change?
My understanding of the church is that it consists primarily of believers desiring to draw closer to Christ and reach others for Him. However, the church needs to have it's own culture focused on obedience to Christ. We can have different types of ethnic groups, music styles, and cultural influences in a church without sacrificing the Truth; however, our implementation of worship in our gathering is based not primarily on the unbelievers who are walking into the church or even in our community at large. We base it on the unity that God has placed in our church body currently. And, as more people take part in the church, things will change. But, the Truth must remain.
I believe that Driscoll and I agree completely on the last line. Who knows, maybe we agree more than I think we do. I love his passion and the risks he's taking for the Kingdom. But, I definitely see some holes that I'd like clarification on. So, if anyone has any thoughts, please comment.