I hopped onto the treadmill this morning and watched an interview with Mark Driscoll, the founding pastor of Mars Hill church and one of the most popular preachers in the world today. I quickly checked out his church’s website, where the following was written about him:
With a skillful mix of bold presentation, accessible teaching, and compassion for those who are hurting the most—in particular, women who are victims of sexual and physical abuse and assault—Pastor Mark has taken biblical Christianity into cultural corners rarely explored by evangelicals. He has been grilled by Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters on The View, gone head-to-head with Piers Morgan on CNN, debated the existence of evil with Deepak Chopra on ABC’s Nightline, bantered with the gang on Fox and Friends, and explained biblical sexuality on Loveline with Dr. Drew….Most importantly, Pastor Mark is a husband to Grace and a father to the “fab five” Driscoll kids. He’s grateful to be a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody.
No question – Mark Driscoll is a controversial figure and I’ve read various reports about his ministry and his doctrine. However, this morning, while being interviewed, he said something that really struck me.
“Our culture is all about tolerance but Christianity is all about repentance.“
I didn’t really hear anything beyond this statement and I’ve mulled over it all day. Driscoll succinctly articulated a truth that I have wrestled with for years – the distinction between what is cultural and what is biblical. More directly, I would say that I have struggled with what it really looks like to live ” in the world but not of it.” I don’t believe that it’s any more difficult to be a Christian these days than it has been in past generations – I just know that personally, it’s a daily battle to fight the pervasive onslaught of the “everything’s OK as long as you don’t hurt anyone” mentality. No question – it’s a slippery slope that is easy to slide down.
Culture changes but the Word of God endures forever (1 Peter 1.25) and according to God,every behavior is not OK. In His wisdom and love, God has given us His Word to help us discern what is wise and what is foolish. He created us with free will (for He does not force us to repentance) that needs to be surrendered to absolute truth, not relative feelings or weak convictions that intensify or weaken as circumstances change.
What a dangerous world we would live in if everyone lived by his/her subjective truth.
God doesn’t mince words – He wants our heart.
He wants each of us to repent and turn and follow Him. As as my grandson once said to me, “Nana, repentance is when you’re sorry enough to stop.” John Piper says this about repentance:
The first spiritual step on the Calvary road of radical obedience to Jesus is repentance. Repentance includes remorse for inward corruption and sin. Repentance is not only remorse. It is a change of mind and heart about sin and righteousness and about Christ. It is a turning from the broken cisterns of the world to the fountain of life.”
Repentance is where “I” am no longer the center of my life – God is….and my desire becomes to learn of God’s ways, rather than be committed to my own ways of getting through life.
Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51.10 NKJV