Manly preaching...

I've been reading about a pastor named Mark Driscoll who rebukes emergent church leader Brain McLaren for equivocating on homosexuality. Driscoll pastors a church in Seattle. So, I followed a link to his church's site and then another link to Driscoll preaching on Google video.

Well, brothers and sisters, I'm not a fan of canned sermons. I don't listen to tapes. I don't watch videos. It's rare that I'm impressed by the preaching of dudes in untucked shirts. But this sermon was powerful. If this sermon is representative of his approach to pastoral minmistry, Mark Driscoll will be a force for Christ in years to come.

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I've been listening to Pastor Driscoll's sermons from 1 Corinthians, and I've been quite impressed. I've also appreciated their Film and Theology studies. Very good, and very helpful.

I find your "untucked shirts" comment rather odd.

>I find your "untucked shirts" comment rather odd.

Why?

I agree, this was a very effective and powerful sermon. Thanks for the video link.

Also, I actually find the dudes in "untucked shirts" comment very funny. I was at a seeker sensitive church the other day for a baptism...the pastor not only had his shirt untucked but also pre-fab rips in his jeans...I couldn't tell if his message was any good because I was distracted by the jeans...

I take back the "untucked shirt" comment. I'm not a member of a formal church or a seeker church. I am a member of a Bible preaching church. We aren't bothered by what the preacher wears.

Jack, consider this Michael Horton comment: "If you don't believe that the most important thing that happens on Sunday morning is that GOD shows up and summons His people to His throne, and blesses them, and gives them His law, gives them His Gospel, [and] if you don't believe that the most important thing that happens there is that through the office of the ministry, God is taking His people in hand in judgment and justification, then it really does become all about me and me connecting with the people, dressing down, and being one of the guys coming down out of the pulpit [and] walking around the crowd... My charisma rather than my office becomes what it is all about, and now I share my thoughts informally instead of declaring God's word formally."

Jack
I can agree with that. Do you have to have a preacher in a robe, or will a business suit do?

If only more men in robes and suits would preach like that...

And Jack (the jackspipe Jack), the Horton comment really must be applied in both directions. If worship is about God meeting with his people (and it is), then no amount of formal dress will produce that result and no amount of informal dress will prevent it. Mark Driscoll pulls no punches as he preaches to the people who are sitting in front of him. This is not about easy, comfortable, sensitive softness. If having an untucked shirt allows this man to preach with authority and piercing conviction to the people in front of him (in other words, to see God "taking His people in hand in judgment and justification"), then let him do it. Putting a suit on effeminate preaching will not make it better, and untucking the shirt of manly preaching will not diminish its power.

Another way of thinking about it is this: When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, did he look, smell and sound like a professional priest or a fisherman?

First, there is no description given of his dress that I know of. Priests always wore garb. Second, of course, I would rather hear Mark Driscoll in an untucked shirt than a Unitarian or a Quaker in a business suit. Third, we can then reduce this to the level of absurdity: perhaps the pastor in a warm climate should show up in a Speedo and a tank top so that he can relate to his hearers. Horton's point is that the pastor represents God. He isn't one of the boys on Sunday; he has an office. And so anything that obscures that office, which is a strong temptation in our uber-casual culture, should be avoided. Let's face it, the casual trend in churches didn't happen becuase of Scriptural reflection, it has happened because the church is following the culture. I guess I've been persuaded by High Presbyterians that a robe is the appropriate attire for a pastor, because clothes show social status. If a robe is worn, it doesn't matter whether he wears a suit or jeans under it. The office is clear.

When the confusion over our two "Jacks" has even my brother, David, flummoxed, it's time to clean things up. So, to our two beloved "Jacks," here are some suggestions: Jack Freeman could be "Jumpin Jack Flash" or "He of the Back Hair Razor,"and the other Jack could be "He of the Pipe," "Jack's Pipe," or for a southern flavor, how about "JimmieJohn?"

Dear Jacks,

Yes. I've thought for months now that the hair belonged to the pipe.

Your brother in Christ,

David

I have now fixed the problem. Please don't thank me, just send money.

Let's try that one more time.

Let me get this straight: after listening to that powerful and convicting sermon, the only thing you guys have to talk about is whether the preacher's shirt is tucked in? We're in worse shape than I thought.

He of the Pipe,

You are right: Your Speedo illustration is absurd.

You are correct to say that clothes show social status. To be fair with men like Mark Driscoll, we should assume that they understand that and that it forms a large part of their rationale. In other words, in this culture (not Puritan England or New England, not Calvin's Geneva) a robe is incomprehensible and produces more distance than is helpful.

A good parallel is the appropriate dress of a missionary (thanks, Joseph). We are all familiar with Hudson Taylor's adoption of Chinese dress, for instance. Was he right to do so? Or should he have remained at a huge distance from the Chinese culturally by remaining in Western dress?

Obviously, if Chinese dress violated Biblical principles, it would have been wrong (your Speedo example). But it would not be wrong to adapt to the cultural forms as much as possible. (An interesting case, however, is Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, et al, who stood completely naked on the sandbar when they were attempting first contact with the Waodani. Were they right or wrong?)

By the way, I am writing as a man who is very serious about piercing God's people with the Word, upholding the greatness and glory of God, cultivating in myself and God's people the fear of God, and creating a Biblical culture. I simply believe that we must do those things in a culturally appropriate ways.

"Let me get this straight: after listening to that powerful and convicting sermon, the only thing you guys have to talk about is whether the preacher's shirt is tucked in?"

One of the earlier commenters asked what the problem with an untucked shirt was, and the comments went in this direction. It happens on blogs. They're free-flowing.

Stephen, I can't speak to other cultures, except that I see a difference in worship and non-worship situations. I don't expect a pastor to go to the beach wearing a robe. Somewhere along the line, we've gotten this idea that people wearing robes must be stiff robots, whereas the casual look means you are willing to get real with everyone. I just don't see the connection, nor do I see the issue with robes being "incomprehensible." I don't hang around with anyone who wears a robe, or even a suit for that matter.

This is Jack ( Jumpin Jack Flash") What fun it is to get everyone fired up!

I have been following Mark Driscoll ever since "Leadership" did a great article on him and then I read his testimony from the site that is now defunct, "christiancounterculture.com" Though in our late 40's, we attend one of those churches with a pastor in jeans and untucked shirts. Even our teens beg not to miss church where incredible worship goes on and so does preaching of the word. I think we will be saying "good-bye" to the suit and tie church in the next 30 years and that is just fine with me - just that in everyway and everywhere Christ is preached, His Word correctly broken, and the lost meet Him!
meg I.

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