It seems I have been in good company with my recent emphasis on the spiritual gifts. Mark Driscoll has just finished a six-part series on the gifts at Mars Hill Church, which is helpful as I am looking to recommend materials to you, my ever-patient readers. Those of you who have been around a long time know that although perhaps few obsessions of mine have been as long-lasting as this one on the charismatic, ALL my obsessions have a habit of coming to an end. I honestly feel that we will soon be moving on from this controversial, but to my mind, vital subject. The Blogging the Gifts series will be completed soon, and I feel the need to share more materials with you that I have found helpful over the years as I have come to grips with what the Bible actually says about all of this.
So, what of these Mark Driscoll sermons? First, remember they are sermons preached to a church with lots of visitors and new Christians. Don’t expect lots of interaction with opposing views—arguably that is not the best use of valuable sermon time anyway! But what you will get is Driscoll’s unique perspective on this issue powerfully pressed home and delivered with all the humor and strength of character that we all love. For those who haven’t heard Driscoll preach, but have heard the rumors, let me put you straight—you’ve heard wrong! He doesn’t cuss at all in these messages, and barely mentions sex. They really are well worth a listen. As is usual with this subject, the nuances of different people’s perspectives means that you will not agree with everything (I certainly didn’t), but you may well disagree with different bits than I did!
Mark describes what he feels are four distinct positions people take on the subject:
- Cessationist — which he dispatches very quickly.
- Charismatic — under which he places this subgroup:
- Charismaniacs — where he says that they effectively have a lower view of the Bible and undervalue it, at least in practice, even if they don’t say so. He uses a great deal of humor here, which doesn’t come out well in the transcript. He asks, “How do you know if you are in a charismaniac church?”
- If the husband and wife are co-pastors and she has big hair and he has a charisma hair cut, a goatee, and a white suit!
- When the pastor smacks people on the head and they fall to the ground.
- If the name has the name “shekinah” or something similar in it, and especially if there are a lot of flames in the logo (Pyromaniacs—watch out!)
- If they hand out praise flags or tambourines on the way in!
Driscoll describes himself as “charismatic with a seat belt” – which is a fantastic line!
He doesn’t mention third wave, but seems to be arguing for that position, which is a nuanced version of the charismatic position. Driscoll clearly believes in an active God, and describes some dramatic prophetic-type experiences he has had personally. He believes, however, that all Christians are baptized in the Spirit when they are saved, and therefore doesn’t mention any kind of second blessing. This is perhaps not surprising considering he states that personally he does not speak in tongues, although some members of the Mars Hill pastoral staff do.
It is interesting how tongues are emphasized much less among most of those who take a more gradualist approach to the Spirit, i.e. he is with us always and inspires the more “natural” gifts in almost the same way he does the more supernatural; he is available for us, but not in a dramatic crisis-like manner. In fact, the so-called three waves seem to progressively de-emphasize tongues. The first makes it essential, the second important, and the third an optional extra. Perhaps in the fourth wave there will be no tongues whatsoever! Personally, I am happier with a 2.0 or 2.5 position, but I do respect Driscoll’s reasons for his position.
Anyway, I do think these sermons are all well worth a listen, and I enjoyed them very much, so in true blogger fashion, here they are in reverse order:
Spiritual Gifts Part 5
Pastor Mark Driscoll wades deep into the controversial and hotly debated issues of speaking in tongues and prophecy. As with all spiritual gifts, tongues and prophecy must be tempered by spiritual maturity, love, and a desire to humbly serve Christ.
Spiritual Gifts Part 4
Week 4 of a 7-week study of the spiritual gifts. This week we depart from the book of 1 Corinthians to examine the gifts of encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy, and hospitality.
Spiritual Gifts Part 2
An examination of the gifts of faith, healing, miracles, and discernment. All of these gifts are inextricably linked to the freedom of God to act according to his will. The purpose of these and all gifts is to point to Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Gifts Part 1
1 Corinthians 12:1-8; 12:11—Jesus said that one day Christians would do even greater ministry than he did by the empowerment and gifting of the Holy Spirit. This gifting, however, is often misunderstood. Paul provides clear teaching on the purpose, nature, and goal of “spiritual gifts.”