Sunday, October 01, 2006

DG: Session #4: The Supremacy of Christ and the Church in a Postmodern World (Mark Driscoll)

Piper’s introduction: No one has gotten me in more trouble for inviting them to be a part of something. But, I am very glad to have him here.


Jesus was born of a virgin in relative obscurity until about age 30 when he began a public ministry. In the wake of the this man is an astonishing legacy – no one has impacted the world more than Him.

He is the most famous person ever. He is everywhere. Southpark. The Simpsons. Even Popular Mechanics – where we learned he looked very like a guy you could beat up. Jesus is my homeboy – Madonna, Ben Affleck, and others!

The cross – is the most legendary and famous symbol in the world. Madonna’s Confessions Tour had Madonna being crucified at the end of every show on a disco cross.

Apparently, the world is interested in Jesus. What distinguishes emergent from young reformed types is their view of Jesus.

The Incarnation of Jesus

This popular among emergent Christians – the humanity of Jesus is stressed. The Gospels take a preeminence. We believe in the incarnation of Jesus, but we cannot only believe in the incarnation of Jesus. Jesus came into culture and community. If we only view Jesus in His incarnation we are left with someone who is not God. This kind of Jesus has product in his hair, wears a dress, you can beat up, eats vegetables. This results in an effeminate church. That is a problem.

In the reformed model, passages like Isaiah 6 are taken into consideration also, or John 12 and the glory of Christ. Those of us who love the exaltation of Christ, know that God the Son came into human history as the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is lacking is a robust combination of both incarnation and exaltation. We must avoid reductionism. Both extremes must be avoided: the superman Jesus and the pseudo-homosexual Jesus.

But if we read the Gospels we keep these things in balance.

We understand if we are to live a life like Christ, we need the Holy Spirit. If we hold to the Incarnation and Exaltation of Jesus, we learn how to live.

The humility of Jesus in His incarnation and the authority of Jesus in His exaltation – that is what we need.

We need to add to the Gospels the book of Revelation – it is the revelation of Jesus Christ. It is not about having a bar code on your head that gets run though the scanner at the grocery store. The most talked about piece of furniture in heaven is the throne. I can sing songs to the picture of Jesus given in Revelation without feeling mildly gay.

The Missiology

We must contextualize like the incarnation – contend for the exaltation. Jude 3 says to contend for the faith. There is one faith, delivered once, regardless of race, degrees, background, etc. That faith must be contended for! Some of you are like drug dogs at the airport – you can smell an Arminian coming.

  1. We contend for the meta-narrative (the Bible) that is over all. Only way we can make sense of life. But, as a preacher you must tell the story of the bible and set each passage in this broader context. You need to plug each passage into the big story.
  2. The sovereignty of God must be defended against open theism.
  3. We must contend for the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. We are a nation of theological wingnuts. For example, Rob Bell, wrote Velvet Elvis. In book: he argues that you can pull a few bricks out of the wall… like the virgin birth. He says he believes in it, but don’t mess with it.
  4. We must contend against pelagianism… the idea that we are not wicked from our mother’s womb. Children would kill you if they had the size – they just lack ability! They had best be careful these Pelagians, or else they will start a new religion.
  5. We must contend for penal substitutionary atonement. This is the best part of the book, why would want to change this! But the Bible says we are sinners and God is against sinners. We need to be saved from God! His wrath. His justice. I preached on this at Mars Hill and a guy got up on stage and tried to fight me. Some people don’t like this. Leave the results to God. We sleep like Calvinists: “I yelled. God’s in charge. Nighty Night.” Christ died for sinners. If we lose this we lose Christianity. There is nothing compassionate about denying the substitutionary atonement of Christ to a lost world.
  6. We must contend for the exclusivity of Jesus. He is superior to all who have ever lived. Some say there are other ways to God… that is very unkind. I would much rather have people offended now and blessed in heaven. Jesus died for the salvation of the lost – we dare not toy with it. Oprah has the biggest cult in America made up of housewives. There is only one way to God.
  7. We must contend for gender – male and female. That means men and women are different and there are role distinctions in the home, the church, etc. We pray to God as Father. If you change your Dad’s name, things don’t go well for you.
  8. We must contend for the doctrine of hell. “But people don’t like hell!” They’re not supposed to! Jesus speaks of hell more than anyone. Nobody is arguing against eternal life – “we don’t believe heaven is forever.” If one lasts forever, they both last forever. Everybody believes in hell. The marketers sell hell all the time. Fat hell. Sex hell. Take this medication. Go the seminar. Buy this. These will get you out of your hell. These are false saviours.
  9. We must contend for Kingdom is in priority over culture. What we are seeing is an over-realized eschatology. Post-modern addiction with the present makes everything relate to now. Look at the Corinthian church – it is today in the emergent church. They are largely reacting to the under-realized eschatology of Dispensationalism. This is the problem of Thessalonica. Sold their stuff with SPF20 on and waited for Jesus to come back in 15 minutes. What is the kingdom? Where the rule of the King is. Let’s talk more about the King than the Kingdom.

III. Contextualize the doctrine.

This is where many of us would part ways. In incarnation, Jesus comes as a missionary. We like this with missionaries in China, but not always with our neighbour across the street. What does it look like to reach Seattle rock sub-culture? The epistles are written in many ways to help answer these questions. 1 Corinthians 9 tells us we must be contextualizing.

“I became all things to all men…” (I know some of you are Calvinists and you are thinking “all” does not mean “all” here… yes, it does.) Do you really care about the Gospel? Then you will contextualize! You will do what you can so that as many people as possible will meet Jesus.

Those that over-contextualize forget the Gospel. Those that have the Gospel may be failing to give it!

We hold to Truth – in one closed hand. We also hold in an open hand – timely contextualization. Good missionaries have two hands…

Creative without Truth – can lead to heresy. I am arguing for relevantism – not relativism. Are you arguing for the nasty “S” word – seeker sensitive. No. I am asking for seeker-sensibility. Sometimes the foreign tongue we speak is Latin and Greek and theological nomenclature – just explain things so people can understand it!

Timothy was going to people who cared about circumcision – he had to get circumcised. Titus was going to those who didn’t care – and Titus won!

There are things in culture we must receive, some we must reject, and some we must redeem.

Is this a new wave of doctrine? Yes, dear friends, we are on the cutting edge of the 16th century! There were many new Christians in France as a result of Calvin’s missionary work. From 5 churches to over 2000 in 7 years. The Gospel is the Power of God.