Driscoll on the Emergent Movement

In his spiritual and ecclesial autobiography, Mark Driscoll narrates the life of the church he pastors, Mars Hill in Seattle. The book, Confessions of a Reformission Rev. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), is a provocative, humorous, rude, valuable, odd, and instructive story about building a church in a postmodern culture. No doubt, everyone will be offended by or disagree with at least some aspect of the book. It is not lightweight reading; it is not a book that will win the “Shine Jesus Shine” or “Kumbaya” award. But it is worth the read.

One helpful area of the book is where Driscoll evaluates the Emergent church. Though Driscoll was associated with Emergent in the mid-1990s, he has distanced himself from them because of the growing trends in Emergent: “the rejection of Jesus’ death on the cross as a penal substitute for our sins; resistance to openly denouncing homosexual acts as sinful; the questioning of a literal eternal torment in hell, which is a denial that holds up only until, in an ironic bummer, you die and find yourself in hell; the rejection of God’s sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, as if God were a junior-college professor who knows only bits and pieces of trivia; the rejection of biblically defined gender roles, thereby contributing to the ‘mantropy’ epidemic among young guys now fretting over the best kind of looffah for their skin type and the number of women in the military dying to save their Bed, Bath, and Beyond from terrorist attacks…” (p. 22).

This evaluation of Emergent by Driscoll is profound and spot-on: “The emergent church is the latest version of liberalism. The only difference is that the old liberalism accommodated modernity and the new liberalism accommodates postmodernity” (p. 21).

You’ll hate to say it, but you just may love the book!

shane lems

sunnyside wa