Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur and John Piper Meet God

Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur and John Piper Meet God November 7, 2013
mark driscoll john macarthur and john piper meet god cartoon nakedpastor david hayward
“Driscoll, MacArthur and Piper Meet God” (by nakedpastor David Hayward)

Whenever a theologian or preacher says, “You’re going to be surprised when you get to Heaven”, I often wonder if they think that about themselves.

This cartoon isn’t about whether there is a God or not, or whether or not this God is male or female, or whether or not there is a heaven. It is about whether or not the prominent preachers and theologians of our day consider the possibility that they might be wrong or only partially right and that there’s still a lot to learn.

Barth believed humility and joy were the most valuable virtues for a theologian. Instead, superiority and severity seem to be the favored features of theology today.

Come and grow in a humble and joyful environment… The Lasting Supper.

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  • Mark

    Three of my least favorite celebrity pastors. And the joke’s on me, ’cause I’m supposed to love them anyway.

  • Doug

    While I don’t like the whole concept of “celebrity pastors” — and there are lots of them today — It does bug me that mainline Protestant Christianity in Canada and the U.S. doesn’t have one single notable spokesperson. The nearest would be Marcus Borg, but he’s not a preacher. Where are the voices of theological sanity out there? (Please don’t mention Bishop Spong; he’s way too far out in left field even for me, and I consider myself a liberal.)

  • klhayes

    If only…lol

  • Seamus King

    I’d add “hubris” to the list in that last sentence, David.

  • The horrendous recent assertions of John MacArthur prompted me to start a series of posts where I expose Calvinism as what it really is:

    I will be as rigorous as I can and I really hope this will (modestly) contribute to stopping the progression of this heinous and odious theology.

  • Criss Forshay

    Um… Nadia Bolz-Weber is pretty darn notable.

  • Sleeping Realities

    Maybe because liberalism promotes ideas above personalities?

  • Conversations in public often go over my family’s head: since we don’t watch sports or commercials, lots of allusions and topics of conversation are beyond us. At least Naked Pastor helps me look up buffoons that I would otherwise be oblivious to.

  • JenellYB

    Maybe because in contrast to the conservative evangelicals, there is not the massive media industry operating vast television and radio broadcast networks and commercial marketing programs operating under the guise of “ministries.” That form of “religion” is an entertainment industry in which standard form for preachers, teachers, and speakers IS to package and promote themselves in a constant competition for top celebrity status, on such venues as TBN, just as aspiring popular music groups and singers are over on MTV. It is all about “celebrity” status, period.
    And the “audience”, the “market” for what they are peddling, are those that want that, obviously, and aren’t interested in anything more substantial, reasonable, or ‘real.’ I am not being merely petty in saying that of them, I actually know some that follow that kind of religion, know personally how really superficial, shallow, they are. I listen to how they talk about matters of faith, religion, what they watch on their favorite religious tv programs, often listening as well to their radios playing their favored “Christian music” radio stations in the background, what are in the lyrics. They are honestly, in my observations having been around them, being around them, as family and aquaintances, very much like I knew many of them to be as tween-agers, then teen-agers, then young adults, following a shallow pop culture of their peer group, and pop Christian happens to be where they are right now. I am not being pessimistic, but real, in saying, we/you are NOT going to reach them, it just isn’t going to happen.
    The kind of reasonable, sound THINKING theology and religious/faith ideas those of us as are here talking about, simply doesn’t lend itself to a pop culture. It has never and can never compete on the level of shallow entertainment. And that is honestly as it should be.
    The voices of theological sanity, sound theology and common sense reasoning about matters of faith are out there, I find them, others here find them, as we seek them out such as here on the net. And maybe that is the key right there. Those moved to seek deeper truths, in whom something inside hungers and thirsts, WILL SEEK for will satisfy that hunger, that thirst. I know it was so for me, as I experienced growing awareness, increasing urgency within myself to seek something real in spiritual matters.
    This kind of faith, perspective on religion, simply doesn’t lend itself to mass, commercialized marketing, a vast industry that is a money-making machine. There are some good, thoughtful Progressive writers doing blogs and ‘little books’ and those of us that follow such stuff here on the web find them. But as I see it, few are really putting anything really substantial out there, I mean here in the way of serious books, with serious backing and support that might get them into the mainstream. Too many progressive Christian books I see, even if I find them agreeable, are imo just too shallow and narrow, as if trying to appeal to the same kind of shallow interests groups as those of of the mass pop Christian evangelical culture. Maybe because we’ve all been raised with that, for many of us having traditional church backgrounds. Even at a young age, even in church as a child and then young adult and later as a mature adult, I remember feeling uncomfortable with the ‘level’ to which everything, from SS literature to popular books, were always written. Simplistic. Even juvenile and as if being written “down to” children, or people with child-like minds. Fluff. Cotton candy. Tasty, but without much substance, depth, or breadth. Why is that so? Are we afraid to present meat, writing with substance, that takes some serious chewing? That demands mature adult mental processing?

  • JenellYB

    You know, in after thought to all I just wrote, it occurs to me maybe the bottom line is, so many seem to be somehow adverse to actually tying matters of theology and faith to REALITY. There is more talk among progressive about the false division between religion and secular, faith and reason, spirituality and reality, than among evangelicals, but, I don’t see that many are really seriously trying to do that in what is being put out there. A few are, but not many. For example, our passion for social justice, caring for the poor. we tend to still focus on such matters from a perspective of a moral imperative, than how such matters actually fit into any reality of a functional society and culture and even economy. And it really does. When you look at the 10 commandments, for example, what is there? Not merely arbitrary rules for what to do and don’t do, but the kinds of things important to maintaining a functional, peaceful, stable society. Maybe the idea of trying to keep the secular outside the doors of religion and church needs to get turned around, that division between religious and secular torn down, stop worrying about the secular creeping into the sacred, the religion, but rather, taking the sacred, the religion, out into the secular.

  • B James Harder

    This is so relevant to my own journey of spiritual understanding and experience. From an evangelical, conservative upbringing I’ve traveled through the spectrum of Christianity and ended up a Quaker. One of the main reasons I did so was because of a paragraph in the Advice and Queries which make up the first chapter of the British Quaker Book of Faith and Practice. The last sentence is a firm favourite of mine.

    “17. Do you respect that of God in everyone though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern? Each of us has a particular experience of God and each must find the way to be true to it. When words are strange or disturbing to you, try to sense where they come from and what has nourished the lives of others. Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people’s opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language. Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.”

  • CurtisMSP

    God is always present as the outsider. If an American evangelical were to encounter God, as the image depicts, God would certainly be a lesbian. A Muslim lesbian.

  • CurtisMSP

    That’s the one that came to my mind. Plus, I would add notable bishops of major denominations, several of them have had a prominent public presence: Desmond Tutu, Rowan Williams, Eugene Robinson, Katharine Schori, Mark Hanson, Elizabeth Eaton.

    Most people would recognize some of those names or faces, and their public statements can be quite influential.

  • Shawn Spjut

    A total George Burns “God” and Paul Young, ‘The Shack’ moments for all of us LOL. I think the line in heaven marked, ‘STAND HERE IF YOU MISSED TEN OR MORE QUESTIONS” will be a very long line indeed.

  • Teresa Riley

    Right! The real question is: are we loving these three brothers by posting a cartoon about them? Brothers, neighbors… or enemies, we’re supposed to practice what we preach — right?

  • Criss Forshay

    A Muslim transgender lesbian with a physical disability and mental illness?

  • Oh Teresa… I would hope my three brothers would get a chuckle out of this themselves. If they don’t then they need to lighten up. This is all in good fun. But it is addressing a serious issue I have with their theology of women.

  • Teresa Riley

    Yep, I get that. And it’s your prerogative to address that issue with them however you want. I would address it personally or in a way that honors what they believe to be their work/passion/call even if I don’t agree with it. It’s not about lightening up so much as it’s about being humble myself…

  • I can agree with that. I always write my critiques in such a way that is honoring while being honest. I use humor. But I want to be clear about what I think is wrong or damaging about their beliefs and behaviors. That’s being a brother, in my opinion. I always imagine myself meeting these people face to face and being able to be comfortable with them and they with me.

  • Gary

    Wouldn’t that be a hoot? In fact…I think it would be perfect if God would present him/herself as whatever each of us least expects. LOL Would be a great first step to teaching us the essence of truth.

  • Mark

    Our son’s family are members of a community church (Southern Baptist, more or less), where, last Sunday, the pastor preached on putting faith into practice, and pointed out that there are about 250 orphans living in our area. He said a group of churches had organized to try to get all these kids adopted, and asked the congregation to start searching their hearts to see if they couldn’t consider adopting one of these children. I’m not a fan of his theology, but I can’t say he isn’t putting his faith into practice. And yes, apparently, he and his wife and family of teenagers is seriously considering pursuing adoption.

  • I’m not really addressing this to you in particular, but just to religious people in general.
    Taking the religion out into the secular is fine as long as you can back up what you taking out with good secular arguments. For example, if your religion tells you to help your fellow man, you can take that commandment out into the secular because you can also say that society works better and is more just when we look after each other. Religion can then be an extra motivating factor for doing good things.
    On the other hand, if your religion tells you things that can’t be backed up with good secular arguments (like putting to death or shunning certain “undesirables”) then those religious aspects should be kept out of the larger secular world. Just use discernment about what religious aspects you want to take out of the box (or bible).

  • Colleen Kristich

    On food stamps. and Obamacare.

  • Sam_the_Geek

    I think that was the premise of a Star Trek episode!

  • klhayes

    How would this be dishonoring them? Are they offended by the idea of a female God? I find that offensive.

  • Andrew_Nichols

    I think that the biggest truth would shock most western Christians brought up by racist pictures of a blue eyed blonde aryan Jesus. Our Saviour on Earth was almost certainly a dark skinned woolly headed north african.The First Century Hebrews descendants are more likely to be found in the Palestinan community that what we are led to believe.

  • Dave Warnock

    Isn’t nakedpastor honoring what they believe by showing them in the presence of God rather than by condemning them?


  • Teresa Riley

    To me it’s about the royal law of love. If I wanted to critique these guys publically I would ask myself “is THIS exactly how I would want to be addressed if someone were to disagree with my theology?” If so, great! If not, I wouldn’t do it. It’s that simple.

    I agree with this: “It is about whether or not the prominent preachers and theologians of our day consider the possibility that they might be wrong or only partially right and that there’s still a lot to learn.”

    But I think that’s true on both sides. Are WE willing to say THEY might be right and we might be wrong?…or at least partially wrong etc?

  • ChrisWileman

    We have a bit of a conundrum here Teresa, because aren’t you doing to Nakedpastor exactly what you’re inferring he should not do??

    I for one am thankful for the lighthearted way he addresses these “famous” Pastors. And the really rigid doctrines that they use to allow or kick people out of their clubs!

    Didn’t St. Paul himself tell a bunch of legalistic Teachers that they should go the whole way and EMASCULATE themselves??? Paul didn’t even draw a cute cartoon!

  • Oooo i like how you think chriswileman

  • Teresa Riley

    Hi Chris,

    Hopefully not…. All of my responses were about how we might address these pastors in a more loving way. If Nakedpastor feels this IS a loving response, that’s great. Further, if he feels God is calling him to out these three guys in this way or that he is simply being like St. Paul, i’m fine with that too. I’m a little confused why you think this is a “lighthearted” way of addressing pastors you think are in the wrong…but that’s ok. You don’t have to explain.I only threw in my two cents because this is a forum where comments are welcome and because people responded to my initial post.

  • Dave Warnock

    Hi Teresa,
    1st the Royal law of love. I would suggest that we consider the example of Jesus to religous leaders who were oppressing the ordinary faithfuil people by adding laws and rules. Few people would want to be addressed in that way, yet few would not describe Jesus as the ultimate example of love.
    For me this is a matter of Justice for the oppressed. Again Jesus was pretty clear on the for Justice and setting people free. If these men want to teach male headship and female submission and can do so without oppressing anyone then fine, however, there are so many examples of their teaching being used to control, restrict, oppress people that it needs to be challenged.

  • Teresa Riley

    Hi Dave –
    Good stuff. I actually agree with you about Jesus showing love to the religious leaders when harshly addressing them. However, His confrontations were Spirit led. He was without sin…so we know that, right? My question isn’t about whether or not these guys should be addressed in a harsh manner. It’s more about if the holy spirit is leading this WAY of confrontation – one that is directed at the world not the pastors and one that includes a cartoon with 3 pastors names and a bunch of comments essentially saying “haha got cha” …. That doesn’t feel spirit led to me, but if Nakedpastor says he was led to do it, fine. I’m happy to be wrong! The reason I initially responded is because I see this a lot. . One side shares arguments that they think prove THEY’re right and how wrong the other side really is..and when they get enough of a following to make a good one at others expense – they do. My point is that even if we’re right about our theology of women (which we can’t prove btw) there’s a way to address these pastors and there’s a way not to. I’m thinking that ganging up on them from behind computer screens is the way not to…To do that makes us look as bad as them

  • Dave Warnock

    Hi Teresa,

    Ah, I understand where you are coming from more now In my experience trying to address these issues in private is impossible. These public figures are well protected by “yes” people and do respond to anything unless there is a huge groundswell of opinion (and even then there are too many examples of them closing ranks and supporting each other).
    Plus people (particularly in this case women) who are feeling oppressed by this teaching can find public support very helpful. My focus will be on the oppressed rather than the pastoral care of the oppressor (who anyway would mostly reject it from me anyway).
    There is also a huge difference in tone between the hate used by some people and what Nated Pastor is doing here, I don’t see it in anyway as making him or commentors look as bad as the patriarchy views.

  • Teresa Riley

    yep, I have a similar heart & I’ve run into the yes people too. (Although I will say I called and got in for an appointment with John Piper within a week a few years ago.) Anyway, to me it’s about being spirit led. We can come against oppressors all we want, but if we’re doing it in our own power/wisdom, it’s not going to be fruitful ( “apart from me you can do nothing…” right? ) Also, we can come against the IDEAS they support without putting names out there (especially when we aren’t in personal relationships with them) and make our impact online that way. When we put names out there we are creating division rather than unity. Unless we’re specifically led (which Nakedpastor might be… but he hasn’t claimed that yet) we should seek to expose the idea without hurting the brother/neighbor/enemy. Besides all that, we can do public support for the oppressed in other ways…

  • Dave Warnock

    I believe the Spirit does not just lead individually and privately. The Spirit grows and disciples desires for freedom, equality, justice all happens in personal encounter, through worship, through Biblical encounter (in lots of ways) etc.
    I can’t easily offer face to face meetings being on the other side of the Atlantic, however, these “celebrity” preachers impact people in the Churches and communities I serve. Responding generically is frequently not enough. It certainly does not help people enough to avoid teaching that will be hurtful.

  • Gun Nordström

    A serious issue inbedded in this cartoon. After “Well hello boys” I feel God continues saying: ” As long as you are abusing my sisters, you have not harmonized your inner male/female (yin/yang) energies and are thus unable to see me in everyone (male or female)”
    Jesus might think: ” You are seeing me with the crown of thorn and are crucifying me every year. I was brutally murdered as the preachers didn’t want to hear the truth about their life style. I find you are still believing that God needs sacrifies in order to be graceful. I was telling you that we are all children of God. By seeking inwardly this will be revealed and you will be “back home” living in harmony feeling the eternal love as the energy of life.
    The Spirit is laughing secretly because it knows that the three men might be born as girls next life as God’s grace is great, allowing us to grow up as soon as we freely are willing to.

  • Oswald Carnes

    And pregnant. She will arrive in a Prius with flashy rims.

  • Skotiad

    Maybe you didn’t get the memo:
    The “inclusive” churches are in huge membership decline, have been for 50 years, still hemorrhaging today. Guys like Borg and (publicity) Spong(e) made it possible, Spong(e) saw his diocese numbers cut in half, yet the religious left regards him as a god.
    Give yourselves 30 years, there won’t be any mainline spokesmen because there won’t be a mainline. Probably some United Church of America, with all the mainlines folded up into one squishy Bart-Ehrman-reading herd that can hold its annual convention in a Motel 6.

    “Inclusive” works out as “no one wants to be included.” A sermon on gay rights and carbon footprints and reaching out to drag queens, oops, I mean, transgenders just doesn’t strike most thinking humans as Christianity. Because it isn’t.

  • Skotiad

    But has neither.