I received my subscription copy of Christianity magazine yesterday, complete with the now infamous interview with Mark Driscoll, about which I wrote on Friday. In addition to the well-publicised insults to British Christian ministers, a couple more things took my breath away.
Justin Brierley pushes Driscoll about some of his more controversial statements, including the one where he said he couldn’t worship a Jesus he could beat up. Brierley points out that Jesus was beaten up – namely his suffering and death on the Cross. But that’s actually OK and manly for Driscoll, because that was like the valour of a soldier. (He forgets that a soldier would have been trying to dish out pain and suffering on his enemies, which I guess he might like, but there’s not exactly any evidence for Jesus doing that.)
But more, he then goes on to the Second Coming and says that the purpose of Jesus coming again is precisely so that he can ‘give a beating’. Well – yes, Jesus will judge and condemn sin, there will be eternal punishment for the unrepentant (although I disagree with him that it is an eternal, conscious torment – that doesn’t take apocalyptic language seriously). But to frame it in terms of Jesus coming to give people a beating is not going to put the right kind of fear of God into people, is it?
The second observation I had is where Driscoll refers to those who do not believe in penal substitution. Now let me make it clear that I believe in substitutionary atonement, but I am aware of the dangers in how it is framed and explained. I want nothing to do with those in the ‘Young, Restless and Reformed’ camp who explicitly talk of the Cross as a place where God killed Jesus. That says it all about the worst of this teaching.
However, what made my jaw head for the Southern Hemisphere was Driscoll’s supposed reason for why people reject penal substitution. Is it about concepts of justice or love? No! People reject it because – wait for it – it’s too … masculine.
So now you know.
This is your poetry consultant with a medical intervention by Aussie poet Gwen Harwood – to counteract the effects of reading Christianity Today article:
Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising – Psalm 139
In the twinkling of an eye,
a moment, all is changed:
on a small radiant screen
(honeydew melon green)
are my scintillating bones.
Still in my flesh I see
the God who goes with me,
glowing with radioactive
isotopes. This is what he
at last allows a mortal
eye to behold: the grand
supporting frame complete
(but for the wisdom teeth),
the friend who lives beneath
with light. Each glittering bone
assures me: you are known.
Thanks, Pam! Fortunately I’ve taken my blood pressure medication this morning (and yesterday)!
Actually, perhaps I should have made clearer by including a link: the magazine in question is Christianity Magazine, a British not the American Christianity Today.
The full interview has been released on http://goo.gl/e0kjc as long as taken BP meds.