(Tim, w/ thanks to Craig) Several years ago at the Acts 29 Lead Pastors Conference in Boulder, I heard Mark Driscoll talk about the irony of being invited to preach in the Crystal Cathedral and being embraced by its founding pastor, Robert Schuller.
Why would they want bad-boy Mark when they know he's going to punch them in the face with the Word, right?
Mark talked to sixty of us or so about how he'd not back down or compromise. He'd give it to them straight and see what happened. Robert Schuller posed no threat to his integrity.
So I was interested to be sent a link to his sermon given this past Lord's Day at the Crystal Cathedral. But before preaching, the prince of positivism, Robert Schuller, did a short interview to elicit Mark's credentials for speaking to his cosseted congregation in behalf of the Holy Spirit:
Robert Schuller: Your church has how many members?
Mark Driscoll: It's grown to be upwards of 10,000 per week.
Robert Schuller: How many services?
Mark Driscoll: Uh, twenty-something.
Robert Schuller: Really?
Mark Driscoll: Yeah, we do video as well. I don't know--I wish I knew. I know I should know, but I don't. I... I preach, and then things happen--it's wonderful.
This was the real sermon--that numbers and growth and success mark the path taken by the Spirit of God. Make no mistake about it.
But there was a second sermon Mark gave all by himself.
Before you watch or read or buy it, let me ask those of you who know something about the congregations of the Hour of Power or the Crystal Cathedral, if you were a preacher of the Word of God with the duty to cure souls through your proclamation of the Gospel, how would you have approached that responsibility in the Crystal Cathedral's pulpit last Sunday? Would you have mentioned pride? Greed? Immorality? The hatred of the rich and famous for our Lord Jesus Christ? The jealousy of the religious leaders which led them to hound Jesus to death on a cross? Would you have spoken of depravity? Of the Judgment Seat of God? Of Hell?
Would you have said anything--anything at all--about repentance?
In his sermon, Mark said the reason Jesus "was opposed" was his claim to be God. But the Gospels tell us over and over again that the rich and influential opposed Jesus because of jealousy and envy.
None of these themes were mentioned at the Crystal Cathedral last Sunday. Instead, it was all very positive.
Let's pray that a new reformation is not dawning on Mark Driscoll. Amongst evangelicals, Doug Wilson regularly warns us, "the suits" always win.
Now for Mark's closing prayer:
Let me pray for you. Father God, I do ask that the Holy Spirit would open the hearts and the minds of those who would hear about Jesus. Some, Father, have never heard about Jesus. I pray that this news would be good news for them. That God has come to seek and to save and to love and to heal and to serve. God, for those who have heard it many times, I pray it would not just be information but transformation. I pray, Lord God, that today You would give us the spirit to believe freshly in the person and work of Jesus, to share in His resurrection life, to, by grace, be as people with joy and purpose and passion and pleasure and enthusiasm and hope and joy that never ends. And Lord God, for those who have heard this but never responded, they know a lot about Jesus but they don't know Jesus. Holy Spirit, I am humbly asking that You would allow them to meet Jesus right now. We ask this, Lord Jesus, in Your good name, Amen.