Agonizomai: Sermon of the Week<br>Jesus' Birth Prophesied

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sermon of the Week
Jesus' Birth Prophesied

So here is Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. Driscoll is a sometimes controversial figure whose actions and attitudes have been questioned by people that I respect, like John MacArthur and Phil Johnson - but who is also accepted and embraced, without public reservation, by men like John Piper and D.A. Carson, whom I also respect.

So what is a person to do? Well - a person is to do what we are all called to do all the time. We are to test what teachers say and assess what they do using the Bible as the basis and authority of our judgment. I don't follow MacArthur or Johnson, neither do I follow Piper or Carson - and I do not follow Driscoll, though all of them may be helpful from time to time. Like all Christians I strive to follow Christ and I hear from Him, by the indwelling Spirit, through the Word. They testify to each other.

Taking this sermon as I find it I can say that I immediately perceive that Driscoll is doing a very fine balancing act between recognizing the intelligence of his audience and their cultural ignorance of things Biblical. Amazingly, there is a whole generation out there to whom the name of Jesus is a novelty, and who have no idea what the Christian faith is really all about. Its not that they have a wrong idea, but that they have NO idea.

So Driscoll is found explaining more graphically some things that people in my generation or in traditional Christian surroundings at least THINK they understand. I note that and I applaud it. Many of the people in his church are coming from a culture of absolute apathy and ignorance concerning matters Christian.

The good news is that, if they listen to sermons like this they will not remain ignorant for long. They will, if not grow, at least lose their excuse for their lack of a good foundation. And that is all that any good preaching is able to afford to those who sit under it. Some will grow in grace, being fed on the Truth and others will add to their condemnation by resisting it. And the preacher's job isn't to prejudge which will be which.

I have deplored some of Driscoll's material in the past for its utterly inappropriate and inexcusable inclusion of ribald and carnal language in some sermons. This is not just hearsay. I was asked to listen to sermons from Driscoll in the past because the person I was corresponding with was sure that I would find nothing objectionable. I picked a sermon at random and found four things in it that ought never to be found on the lips of any servant of God, let alone one preaching the Word from a pulpit. This left a lasting and negative impression on me.

But I must always speak as I find. And I find this sermon to be informative and to contain a proper balance between law and gospel. The hope of Christ is front and center and the admonishments about sin are not glossed over. And I found no major areas of doctrinal error or any use inappropriate words or themes. In fact, I was informed, enlightened and grown by what I heard. So, for what it's worth and out of respect for my friend Nick, I offer the above comments in conjunction with the following from Mark Driscoll. Give it a fair hearing....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked this a lot. He constantly pointed the listeners to Jesus and the gospel. He was very encouraging, reminding us that with God all things are possible. He painted a realistic picture of who Mary was, and he's not afraid to speak up against false religions. His preaching in this sermon imparted hope, and every age group and both genders could relate to what he was saying about trust and hope in the Lord. This is the goal- to put our trust in the Lord in all things.

11:59 pm  

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