Blame Muscular Christianity for Driscoll Fiasco

If you even nominally follow the world of evangelical Christianity, you already know that superstar pastor Mark Driscoll has stepped down for an indefinite period of time from his pastoral role at Mars Hill Church, the megachurch in Seattle that he co-founded. Even from an outsider’s perspective, Driscoll’s gradual fall from grace has been painful to watch.

Driscoll, of course, has always been controversial, which to his followers is part of his allure. But with the exception of his most stalwart defenders, recently his actions and overall persona have become almost impossible to defend. Here on RD Becky Garrison recounted Driscoll’s misdeeds, from the charges of plagiarism, to his gaming of the New York Times Bestseller List, to his reputation as a hyper-masculine misogynist and homophobe with an authoritarian leadership style.

[T]he scheme itself is part of an overall ethos that seeks to proselytize “by every means available.” What’s important, in other words, is that people hear “about Jesus”—however that might happen.

Thus it was not surprising when Driscoll announced this past weekend that he would temporarily step down from his leadership role, as formal ecclesiastical charges against him are investigated.

The whole process is, I’m sure, a sad episode for current and former supporters, as it is a happy one of the legion of Driscoll-haters out there—and there are many of the latter. Whether one is for or against Driscoll, popular opinion seems to view his downfall under the categories of “moral” and “spiritual” failure. Hence, in order to steer things back in the right direction, the best course of action is one of rebuke and, ultimately, removal, which is the course taken by Acts 29 and now Mars Hill Church—just as his critics have wanted.

There’s of course something to that line of thought, but it seems too easy. Specifically, it puts all the focus on Driscoll and ignores the culture that produced him in the first place. Partly through the shrewd use of media, evangelical culture, especially, tends to elevate its leaders to almost divine status, in many cases setting them up for an inevitable fall.

Driscoll’s fall is, in this sense, not surprising in the least, as he joins the ranks of other fallen stars, such as Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and, more recently, Ted Haggard. More could be mentioned, and others likely wait in the wings. But it’s also not surprising that so much investment in one person would eventually lead to that person acting, at the very least, in an authoritarian fashion. It shouldn’t even need to be pointed out that that’s what power tends to do to people—too much of it anyway.

I would also suggest, however, that many of Driscoll’s actions are inseparable from the overall belief system behind it, which is not particular to Driscoll and largely shared among large swaths of evangelical Christianity. For instance, should it really be all that shocking when hyper-missional churches, such as Mars Hill Church and those affiliated with Acts 29, use means that otherwise may be deemed suspect, for the ultimate end of reaching and saving “the lost”? Thus when Driscoll and his church were accused of gaming the system to catapult Real Marriage to best-seller status, Mars Hill’s Justin Dean justified the campaign as follows:

Mars Hill has made marketing investments for book releases and sermon series, along with album releases, events, and church plants, much like many other churches, authors, and publishers who want to reach a large audience. We will explore any opportunity that helps us to get that message out, while striving to remain above reproach in the process. Whether we’re talking about technology, music, marketing, or whatever, we want to tell lots of people about Jesus by every means available.

The end, here, clearly justifies the means, and although Driscoll certainly had a hand in the scheme, the scheme itself is part of an overall ethos that seeks to proselytize “by every means available.” What’s important, in other words, is that people hear “about Jesus”—however that might happen.

Likewise, although in its statement of “doctrinal distinctives” Acts 29 states that both men and women possess “the same moral dignity and value, and have equal access to God through faith in Christ,” it also stresses that “God has given to the man primary responsibility to lead his wife and family in accordance with the servant-leadership and sacrificial love characterised by Jesus Christ.”

This “principle of male headship” extends to the church, as well:

The Elders/Pastors of each local church have been granted authority under the headship of Jesus Christ to provide oversight and to teach/preach the Word of God in corporate assembly for the building up of the body. The office of Elder/Pastor is restricted to men.

Although Acts 29 stresses that “male headship” should not be confused with “domineering control,” it’s no anomaly that given the terms such control is the real result, historically and in the present. Nor is it an anomaly when the imaginary of “male headship” expresses itself in overtly misogynstic and homophobic terms, as in Driscoll’s case. It’s a logical result of a “ministry” that grounds itself in inequality, and it would, unfortunately, be easy to draw up similar instances.

All of which is to say, any criticism of Driscoll should also be directed at the system that allowed him to emerge in the first place. Driscoll may certainly be an extreme case among evangelical leaders and evangelical culture more generally, but we should not understand him as an exception.

We—though evangelicals in particular—should, rather, seek to understand how particular beliefs give rise and lend support to a certain ethos and specific actions, even if the latter don’t always manifest themselves at the individual level. The problem is, in other words, larger than Driscoll, so any attempt to remedy his “moral” and “spiritual” failings should take a broader view. Doing anything less risks perpetuating the worst aspects of Driscoll’s legacy.

  • Eric

    Spot on, but given the headline, I expected a bit more about the historical legacy of “Muscular Christianity” as part of the system that produces Driscoll and paler imitations of him.

  • DKeane123

    Agreed – was thinking the same

  • cranefly

    Which is to say, he was bad enough before we found out he was also corrupt.

  • Mark Byron

    A lack of humility is often the downfall of problematic pastors and also a lack of understanding of what a servant-leader looks like. A macho pop-culture aware style put Driscoll on the map, but that macho style lead to hyper-competitiveness and an “I am God’s chosen” meme that ran off his staff. You can have folks with similar theology not run afoul of those things (John Piper and Tim Keller come to mind) but they have gentler personae than Driscoll.

  • Dr. Todd Collier

    So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of
    the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to
    harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three
    times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is
    sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore
    I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ
    may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (ESV) It would appear that Mr. Driscoll’s problems are as old (at least) as the apostles. I do not think it is a result of doctrine, but a result of simply who we are as human beings.

  • Churchlady320

    Are there any evangelists out there NOT working more for Mammon than justice? More for inclusiveness and compassion than for judgment against others? This story is getting awfully old.

  • BeeSmart

    On the political side one could say that Pres. Obama is a parallel case of semi-cultism. The same forces of hubris and unwarranted worship seem more dangerous in the political world since a President is infinitely more powerful then a mega-church pastor. While it is sad top see the feet of clay of a preacher of the Word it is little more then a confirmation that “pride goeth before the fall.” Politicians seem to never “get it” and roll on causing all kinds of problems.

  • phatkhat

    At least politicians have to be reconfirmed by the voters (and, of course, the Koch brothers and their buddies) every x-number of years. That puts some control on them. Church leaders have no such built in controls upon them.

  • Frank6548

    Despite Marks failings his teachings are biblical and authoritative.

  • Frank6548


  • Frank6548

    Of course they do. If no one shows up the preacher is out if a job.

  • BeeSmart

    Seems our current mega-preacher has some modicum of control The Bakers and others were ousted faster then the election cycle would have allowed. You can fool some of the people all time — you know the rest.

  • phatkhat

    Ah, yes. Drag your anti-Obama politics into it, why don’t you? And no, I’m no fan of Obama – he’s far too conservative for my taste.

  • phatkhat

    True. But outside the TeaParty/conspiracy nutjob circles, fear isn’t the overarching reason for voting for a particular candidate. It plays a huge role in religion. I know this because I was once a fundy nutjob myself.

  • phatkhat

    In your opinion, because his teachings happen to agree with it.

  • Christopher

    I really like the picture. Christ was a day laborer doing physical work most of His life and yet most pictures have Him looking like an nerdy wimpy office worker. Thanks.

    He does look a bit all powerful does he not? I like it!

  • Christopher

    I like this comment. Very there but by the grace of God go I.

  • Frank6548

    It has nothing to do with my opinion and everything to do with what God says in Scripture.

  • Christopher

    The “Sacred compact” of Social Security…the Opiate of the people.

  • Christopher

    I agree. He conserves the national debt, the IRS, the Socialist Security Fraud, the BLM, the NSA, the CIA, etc. Far to conservative for me too. We need to stop conserving the government as is. We need a classical liberal again like Thomas Jefferson to throw off the chains of oppressive government and take us back toward liberty. Away from the tyranny of the Twin Party system.

  • Christopher

    “We tortured some folks.” Was that a conspiracy or did that happen?

  • BeeSmart

    He is the current President. The same could have been stated about others he just happens to be the man of the moment. And he has been compared by supporters to a messianic figure. To be honest he has not seemed to have bought into his ardent supporters exaggerated view of himself. My comment was NOT an indictment of Obama but a comment on his “supporters” and their emotional commitment and common link to religious fans of particular preachers.

  • phatkhat

    Or what some writers in ancient times wanted god to say.

  • phatkhat

    Jesus – the real one, not the one created by his followers after his death – was probably muscular, yes. He was probably also short and swarthy.

  • phatkhat

    There is only one party with two faces. Both faces dance on the strings of the puppeteers like the Kochs. Your Tea Party is a tool of the Kochs.

  • phatkhat

    Obama supporters, Paul supporters, Palin supporters. All like peas in a pod. I voted for Obama once. Couldn’t bring myself to do it twice. But I damn sure didn’t vote for Mr. Moneybags, either.

  • phatkhat

    Wait until you need it because Wall St. squandered your 401K like they did mine.

  • Christopher

    Very good chance of that. I agree.

  • phatkhat

    The US has tortured plenty of folks. No conspiracy there. But I’m not sure which torturees you refer to.

  • Christopher

    I am not a member of the Teaparty. They are far too Socialist for me. The Republicans are indeed two-faced. While the Democrats have but one face in their march toward the Religion of Marxism…Comrade?

  • BeeSmart

    Is George Soros included in the demons who act as puppeteers? Maybe groups like Media Matters are just benign distributors of the truth.

    All politically active individuals and organizations risk the wrath of political “experts’ from either party.

  • Christopher

    I cannot even ask for it. I do not have a Social Security Number. Neither do my children or grandchildren. I am not allowed by my faith to participate in theft from the children of this nation. It is Satan’s religion to me and to participate is to eternally damn myself.

    Nemo praesumitur esse immemor suae aeternae salutis, et maxime in articulo mortis. No man is presumed to be forgetful of his eternal welfare, and particularly at the point of death. 6 Co. 76.

    I am truly sorry the Wall Streeters screwed you. They screwed my brothers and many good friends or mine. I knew what they were so I avoided the natural consequences of what comes about with association with thieves. I warned my brothers and friends but they did not listen and called me a conspiracy nut. They lost millions. The Wall Streeters are indeed evil men. Children of Satan IMHO.

  • Christopher

    That was how Obama announced to the world that he would not be prosecuting the CIA agents that tortured “folks” working older Mengele W. Bush. Obama said it would be “sanctimonious” of us to arrest and prosecute war criminals. The Twin party system protection racket. Puppet-in-Chief Obama protecting former Puppet=in-Cheif Mengele W. Bush.

  • phatkhat

    Oh, that’s right. Someone told me you were some sort of Mormon extremist/sovereign citizen type. Well, just call me Comrade! Anyone left of Attila the Hun is Comrade to you, I’m sure.

  • phatkhat

    Well, I won’t waste any more of my time – or yours – commenting on your posts. I recall now that another commenter told me where you are coming from. As an atheist and, yes, socialist, I can’t begin to comprehend your POV.

  • Christopher

    I’m not a Mormon and never have been. We are all sovereign Americans. SCOTUS made that very clear repeatedly. Didn’t you know?

    I didn’t call you Comrade. I put a question make after it. I despise all tyrants and Attila was one. I oppose forcing people. That is Satan’s way. Free choice is Christ’s plan. I am a Freeman like Thomas Jefferson but without the slaves and not so smart.

  • phatkhat

    Well, on this, I totally agree with you. Alas, it’s what POTUSes do. They always pardon the previous occupants of their crimes. I despise Obama, but not as much as I despised Bush/Cheney. If I believed in devils, I’d surely believe they are all possessed.

  • Christopher

    I comprehend your POV very well. You want to force me to pay tithing into your religion using the IRS as your enforcer.

    I would never do that to you. I find it immoral. I would never try to force you to pay from my religious beliefs. But you would do that to me.

  • Brian Macintyre

    As Jesus is never physically described in the NT, there’s hardly any point in contrasting “the real one” with “the one created by his followers” is there? Later artists had to draw upon their own imagination. I’ve known carpenters who weren’t overly muscular – the above picture seems to be of a genetically-gifted steroid-abusing bodybuilder, a body type only possible in the last few decades. And while I grant you that a first century Mediterranean Jew would have been swarthy, I don’t know how you could know that he was “probably short”.

  • phatkhat

    God/gods are tyrants. The Abrahamic god is a vengeful, petty, misogynistic tyrant. Free choice? Knuckle under or burn? LOL. That’s why I left religion behind and now have actual choices.

  • Rick

    Ya, and he probably had a real nice tan and probably whistled at the cute girls as they walked by. WTF! Does it really matter what he looked like? A bit superficial I would say.

  • phatkhat

    The US government is NOT a religion. And paying taxes is a fair way (as long as everyone pays their FAIR share) to provide the infrastructure that civilization requires. Even Jesus said to “render unto Caesar”. Where would we be without an infrastructure paid for by taxes and open to use by all?

    And yes, we need a safety net. The churches cannot support all those who are in need, no matter how much they would like to. And there are NOT enough jobs to go around.

    YOU may not want to “force” others, but there are a great many religious people who want to do just that. And I’m not convinced that you don’t, as well. In any case, you can’t cop out of society by claiming religious exemptions, and you shouldn’t be able to.

  • Christopher

    Oddly enough I often have a lot in common with Socialist Democrats. I worked with them against the USA PATRIOT ACT. One elected female Democrat was so shocked I was side by side with her in front of the Federal Court House that she told the News Media that “Pigs must be flying.” We really laughed together about that. The former head of the ACLU in this State was a dear friend.

    Your hatred of Republicans is ALWAYS justified. I agree with you about Obama and Bush. Bush was indeed worse. I have no doubts that he was personally involved in the planning of 9/11. Yes I believe Bush is that evil.

    Would you like a Tin Foil Hat? I makes them in my mother’s basement with Igor. They keeps the Republican Mind Benders away my precious.

  • phatkhat

    Eh. Have you ever been to the “holy land” and visited the ancient sites? You will need to duck your head.

  • phatkhat

    I was answering Christopher’s comment on his appearance. So tell that to Christopher.

  • Christopher

    My God was such a tyrant He died for me. He came to my daughter personally and comforted her when she was afraid about her momma being very sick. He brought my youngest son back for the dead when he was killed in an accident. I held him as his life left and then returned. It was amazing. He healed my eldest son’s broken neck in what even the doctors called a miracle. He tells me that Liberty is the MOST important of His religious doctrines and that all other doctrines are less than the doctrine of liberty. That is the God I worship because His main goal is that I have the liberty to make my own choices. The consequences of those choices are natural not punishments from God. Lie warning a child that the street is dangerous or the stove is hot. He works with other Gods that are both male and female so that I can be free eternally. Pretty cool God…isn’t He?

  • phatkhat

    ROFLMAO at the tinfoil hat!

    Bush’s evil is in his genes. It runs in the family. But I still believe that Cheney was the evil genius, along with Karl Rove, in the Bush White House. I really don’t think George is all that bright.

    And yes, the Patriot Act is the worst thing that EVER happened to the US, and it has ushered in all manner of abuse from a militarized police force to NSA spying.

    At least we agree that TJ was a great man, despite some shortcomings, like being a slaveholder. But he wasn’t all that religious, either. In TJ’s day, however, it was a lot easier to make your own way than it is now. And even TJ knew that taxes were necessary, and that there was, indeed, such a thing as the “general welfare”. It would be interesting to bring him back and see his take on life today, given what we have to work with.

  • phatkhat

    Well, you do seem to have an interesting take on theology. I don’t believe in the supernatural. But If there is a goddess, it must be Bastet. >^..^<

  • Andre M

    You’re battling all RD’s weirdos today, phatkhat.

  • Christopher

    Infrastructure is not paid for by income taxes. Why don’t socialists understand this? It is paid to the Wall Streeters, the ones that screwed you, that hold the national debt.

    “100% of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the Federal Debt… all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services taxpayers expect from government.” –1984 Grace Commission report submitted to President Ronald Reagan

    The U.S. government is NOT a religion. It has, however, established a religion. My arguments on this have been reviewed by RUTGERS JOURNAL OF LAW & RELIGION and they wrote that my “argument is compelling and could prove successful, depending upon the court’s interpretation of ‘religion’ and its understanding of Socialist and Marxist values.”

    And that was before the Hobby Lobby ruling that was a great victory for me personally justifying my legal position I have held since 1997 AD.

    In the USA we are Caesar. We are sovereigns without subjects. SCOTUS repeatedly said so. We are, therefore, to render unto ourselves that which is our own. If you CHOOSE to be a subject to government servants that is your choice. I choose to be what the Founders and the Supreme Court said I am. A sovereign without subjects.

    The Amish care for their own. Over 100 religions are exempt from the Social Security religion of the “Sacred Trust” because they take care of their own. The Social Security safety net is YOUR religious safety net. Mine is covered by my Fellowship. I just don’t want to pay for your safety net. I already pay for mine voluntarily and do not require you pay into mine.

    You are right. Many religious people, like you (atheism is a religion, legally speaking, because it has an “ultimate reality” as does Marxism) want to “force” others. I do not support such religions like Marxism, Naziism, Socialism, Catholicism, Protestantism etc. I support my religion, as is my right.

    You are in error. You can cop out. I don’t have a SSN or a driver’s license or pay income taxes. Hobby Lobby and O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal copped out of laws that apply to you. In fact SCOTUS said this about my favorite law:

    “RFRA is not so confined. Sweeping coverage ensures its intrusion at every level of government, displacing laws and prohibiting official actions of almost every description and regardless of subject matter.”

    I can cop out. Congress passed a law that allows for it. I copped out long before the law was even available knowing God would protect me. He did.

    I REFUSE to pay for your religion’s safety net. Why do you object?

  • phatkhat

    LOL. At least Christopher is not rude like so many of them are. I actually agree with him on some points – just not about what the remedy is for the ills.

  • phatkhat

    What you are advocating, simply put, is anarchy. No thanks. I have no desire to live in Somalia.

  • Andre M

    Christopher said some pretty horrifying things to me when he thought I was a woman.

  • Christopher

    I have been involved in politics since I was 8. I have been accused of being every name in the book by every side because my beliefs are unique. I have dyslexia and graduated with a GED. So making fun of myself is easy.

    I love your name. One of my nicknames is PhatD4ddy.

    Genes indeed. His family line is a long line of Fascists. And George was just a Puppet-In-Cheif. None too bright is an understatement. And I think Rick Perry may be LESS intelligent if that is possible. Gos save us from him.

    TJ was EXTREMELY religious. His religion, like Ben Franklin’s religion, was liberty. There God is my God. “Rebellion to tyrants is obedient to God.”

    It was easier to make your own way because the government did not crush the little guy and did not have an established religion of Socialism.

    The General Welfare clause is of particular interest to me. I have done hundreds of hours of research on it. “General welfare” was verbicided by FDR. It did not mean “poor relief” until 1904 AD:

    Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary comprised of the 1864, 1879 and 1884 issues updated and revised and published in 1904 and the Revised 1913 edition defines “welfare” with no obvious substantial change in its meaning except that the distinction between “applied to persons” and “applied to states” has been removed. This is an important distinction as both of the Constitution’s “general Welfare” clauses are only “applied to states” and not to “persons.” The definitions of welfare is as follows:

    1904 edition:
    Welfare, n. [Well + fare to go, to proceed, to happen.] Well-doing or well being in any respect; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life; exemption from any evil or calamity; prosperity; happiness.

    Webster’s 1913 Revised Unabridged Dictionary:
    Wel”fare`, n. [Well + fare to go, to proceed, to happen.] Well-doing or well being in any respect; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life; exemption from any evil or calamity; prosperity; happiness.

    In a letter to Henry Lee, James Madison wrote: “I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution… What a metamorphosis would be produced in the code of law if all its ancient phraseology were to be taken in the modern sense.”

    I would love to sit down with TJ and you and have lunch and discuss things. What a wonderful dream.

  • Christopher

    My favorite is Freyja.

    My granddaughter’s name is Valkyrie.

    Hail Thor! Hail Odin! I will meet you with my family once again in Valhalla where the brave shall live forever.

  • Christopher

    Anarchy? Did the Founders of the USA like TJ and Franklin and Sam Adams create a government of anarchy? I think not.

    Was there an income tax before that Marxist Lincoln? NOPE!

    Was the debt money before that Marxist Lincoln? NOPE

    Was there Social Security before FDR and 1930? NOPE.

    Were there driver’s licenses before 1910? NOPE.

    Was there mandatory government free education in any USA State before the Communist Manifesto was published? NOPE.

    Was the USA an anarchical government. NEVER!

    I am not a conspiracy theorist. The super rich told us what they were going to do and they have done it. I have just taken the time to read what they wrote.

  • phatkhat

    Yes, I understand the concept of “general welfare” as not referring to “public assistance”. It refers to that which the people hold for the good of all – like public parks, schools, roads, defense, etc. (And I mean “defense”, not what the military generally does today.) However, I do not think it rules OUT a safety net, either. Taking care of children is an investment in the future, and if their parents are unable to feed them, someone has to. And not everyone is able to work. Some people never are able to save enough for their declining years.

    You may belong to some benevolent society or other that is supposed to take care of you in a pinch. What happens if too many of you are in a pinch at once?

    The FFs operated in a different world than the one which we inhabit. Land was there for the taking (You might have to run off the original occupants, but they weren’t regarded as human any more than the black slaves were.) You could carve out a living by working hard. Now, hard work is a guarantee of nothing, and no one is giving away land. It was largely an agrarian society in the 1700s, totally unlike what we have today. That’s why the Constitution can be amended. They knew society would evolve and change over time.

  • phatkhat

    If everyone does their own thing, and refuses to support government, then we have anarchy. And even in the earliest days of the nation, there were taxes.

    Das Kapital, Marx’s seminal work, was written two years after Lincoln’s death. I seriously don’t think Lincoln was a Marxist, LOL.

    There may not have been drivers’ licenses before 1910 because there were so few cars it wasn’t necessary to regulate them. Can you imagine the mayhem now if there were no limitations on driving?

    Social Security was a response to the horrible poverty old people were in during and after the depression. It was intended to keep elderly and disabled people afloat – not rich, but at least able to eat and stay warm. I truly don’t know what my mom would have done without it. Or what my husband and I would do without it – even though, at 68, he still works full time because the SS isn’t nearly enough.

    I totally support public education. Otherwise, we will have a patchwork of substandard schools teaching creationism, homeschooling teaching fundieism, and expensive private schools. We already have capitulated too much to anti-science forces in regards to curriculum. (And Texas wanted to delete our hero TJ from their history texts, LOL, because he didn’t fit their religious views.)

  • phatkhat

    Oh, dear. D’you think he thinks I’m a guy? LOL!!

  • Andre M

    He’s being relatively decent towards you… he very well might!

    I will admit my attempts to get under his skin didn’t help much, but it doesn’t excuse him assuming I was an abused woman for talking back to him and that feminists like me need a “heavy hand.”

  • Steve Bailey

    There are aspects of American Evangelical Christianity that are a stench in the nostrils of God. The milieu out of which Driscoll and his followers come is one of them. There is very little Biblical insight and wisdom, and a lot of value placed on manipulation and control. The statement quoted above about “elders/pastors” as an office restricted to men is ludicrous and unbiblical when considered in the context of honouring the ‘whole counsel of God’ – something which a lot of Evangelical Christianity, to its detriment, does not recognize or practice. A lot of American Christianity needs to repent of its current practices and emphases before the whole Christian Gospel becomes totally irrelevant to Americans. It’s ironic that these attempts to persuade people to ‘come to Jesus’ are both anti-Gospel and a major deterrent to people to take a new life in Christ and the Reign of God among us as serious life options.

  • Steve Bailey

    I can say, with a great deal of confidence, that his teachings are not biblical and authoritative and need to be confronted for the distortions that they are.

  • phatkhat

    Eh, well, he was answering my posts instantly, and has posted nothing since I outed myself as female. Hmm. Maybe… But I thought my Bastet avy was pretty obviously female-ish.

  • Christopher

    You wondered what happened to the greatness of the USA. Jefferson told us what would happen. It did:

    I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. –Thomas Jefferson

    Schools? Yes. Not federally funded though.There is no such Federal authority.

    Parks? State and local but there is nothing in the Federal Constitution that allows for such things except in Federal Territory.

    I love you. “Defense.” That is RIGHT. Not for foreign invasions.

    Again TJ was right: “Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path to destruction.” –Thomas Jefferson.

    I don’t think it rules out a STATE safety net. I could not be a part of even that, but the original Constitution allowed for State religions. That is one of the reasons why we have such a different nation and it is now so tyrannical. In fact almost every one of the original 13 had religious requirements. States could outlaw Buddhism or keep Catholics from running for office or Mormons from being polygamist. They could tax to support a religion chosen by the State. The Feds could not.

    You wrote: “Some people never are able to save enough for their declining years.” As an atheist don’t you believe in “Natural Selection”? Why should I support people that made poor choices? I am not an ant supporting a grasshopper. Why would you force me to help such people? I don’t demand State Farm pay out my AllState life insurance policy. Would you?

    TJ gave me good advice and I fought for it: “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.” –Thomas Jefferson

    What happens to Social Security (over10 trillion FRNS in debt.) when the government cannot print enough notes. What happens when the Serf taxpayers are just One to One with the Social Security recipients because Feminists don’t have children any more? The Ponzi scheme pyramid WILL fail. That will happen in my lifetime. How many government have gone bankrupt in the last 100 years? My Safety Net is more secure than yours.

    Do you believe one gigantic failure will be better than a bunch of small ones?

    And so because people moved toward a Socialist State they are reaping the fruit of the trees they planted. Come On ATHEIST. I like you but you are watching Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest right in front of your eyes. I certainly am enjoying watching it and I am not even a believer.

  • Frank6548

    My confidence is in scripture which supports Marks teachings.

  • Andre M

    Well, that’s, like, your *opinion*, man.

  • Philip Finn

    “…evangelical culture, especially, tends to elevate its leaders to almost divine status…”
    Actually, it is the Abrahamic religions’ concept of male “in loco Dei” on behalf of a male G-d that remains one of religion’s “primal fault(s)” which will continue to “elevate it’s leaders to almost divine status” until the phenomena, the fault itself, is finally solved – not subject to apologetics or other pseudo-intellectual band-aids, but SOLVED, that is, made both rationally and spiritually sustainable.
    As to the matter of “Muscular Christianity” being just another example of people fashioning a god in their own image and likeness (or perhaps in this case, their wanna-be), well, that’s for another discussion…

  • Philip Finn

    It is a good example of how much religion negatively influences culture. They don’t call it “messianic” for nothing. People learn the vocabulary and concepts as children in church long before they have taken 6th grade social studies. And now, everybody, even popes, are treated with what we like to call, “Rock Star” status – even though we seemed to have forgotten that it’s a functional modern example of “idolatry”…if anyone remembers what that was…

  • Philip Finn

    You’re wasting your time, phatkhat…

  • Steve Bailey

    Please explain. Where is the Scriptural support?

  • phatkhat

    I know. But I’ve never known a sovereign before, and it’s kind of interesting. I won’t change his mind any more than he will change mine, but the viewpoints are interesting, to say the least. Hard to get my head around, but interesting.

  • SadPanda

    Is that an atheist stirring?

  • Shelbyness

    I guess it depends on what bible you consider legitimate.

  • ortcutt

    Some aspects of Muscular Christianity were born from the observation, true in the 19th Century as today, that women attend church and engage in church activities in greater numbers than men. So, in the 19th Century, we got things like YMCA sports designed to provide Christian activities that appeal to men. The macho Jesus and macho pastor thing is different though and seems to be a more recent phenomenon and I don’t really know where that derives from.

  • Jim Reed

    We have been having a kind of a culture war. Christianity in America is splitting into two Christianities, conservative and progressive. Conservative Christianity believes all the traditional Bible beliefs such as heaven and hell, the trinity, and some version of rapture and end times. They have recurited experts to help them do apolegetics as needed to continue the traditional beliefs in a world where science is advancing at a faster rate than ever.

    On the other side you have progressive Christianity. In this version all beliefs are now optional. You don’t have to believe in a literal heaven and hell, the creeds are optional, and other variations can be substituted for the traditional trinity beliefs. The divide between these two Christianities was hidden for a few decades because progressives didn’t quite have the courage to make the final split. They were perhaps embarassed by the conservatives, and they helped them with their apologetics, or at least tried to. Now the gap is just growing too wide, and so the progressives are finally in the process of making a real split.

    This might ultimately be the end of Christianity as we know it, but that should turn out for the best in the long run. The old system is no longer workable.

  • Lamont Cranston

    If he would whistle at cute girls why did he live with 12 other guys?

  • Lamont Cranston

    Please be advised that when conversing with Frank6548 you are talking with an admitted pedophile.

  • Rmj

    You do understand that many Protestant churches have, for centuries, disregarded the creeds which they associate with Roman Catholic practice?

    So setting aside creeds is a very old practice, not a new one.

    Apologetics, too, is as old as 3rd century Christianity itself. Everybody does it.

    Much of the “literal heaven and hell” is of recent vintage, too (well, recent within a 2000+ year history of Xianity). Dante’s hell was clearly metaphorical, but no one derided it (at the time) as heresy. Julian of Norwich foresaw a salvation in which ‘all things shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well,” and in which God was both Father and Mother. And when she pointed out to Jesus, in her vision, that this “all things shall be well” stuff kinda sorta ran up against the vision of judgment of the non-believer that the Church taught, Jesus just repeated himself.

    So the question of which beliefs were optional is as old as Xianity itself. If the Reformation proved nothing else, it established that fact.

    Much of the split now is post-Enlightenment but, more particularly, post scholarly Biblical studies. There is a growing divide, but again, no more so than when Luther and Calvin were squabbling with Rome, and with each other; or than when Elizabeth had to struggle to establish both her throne and the Church of England.

    So it goes, in other words.

  • Andre M

    Eh? What’s this?

  • Jim Reed

    The change that I see in my lifetime is the deepening of the understanding that according to the way the Bible is written, there was no actual man Jesus of Nazareth. His story is the development of myth to literal belief at the end of the first century, and ideas developing through the next few centuries.

    You can see this in the earlier writings of the new testament which was Paul’s epistles. They have no knowledge of any of the gospel stories that were written several decades later. When Paul was writing there was no record of the miracles of Jesus, or his teachings, or deeds, or anything about his “life”. That was all made up several decades later. Paul was writing in the middle of the first century.

    This concept of no actual Jesus might have been out there at some level 50 years ago, but it would never have been taken seriously by anyone I was familiar with. Now it seems to be more understood that it is a concept that can’t just be dismissed, and the apologetics that has been around since at least the beginnings of Christianity is more understood to be a mental tool with little or no connection to any historical reality.

  • Lamont Cranston

    It’s true. Frank6548 somehow found yahoo e-mail address I use for junk e-mail and flooded it with the most vile images you can imagine. He also included a long rant about how the number that appears after his name is a code that reveals exactly how many children he’s abused, and where he did it, and bunch of other stuff that makes sense only to the insane or the damned. I turned it over to the police but apparently they haven’t been able to track him down.

  • Andre M

    Uh…. Wow. D:

  • Jim Reed

    You can’t fix that problem unless the religion makes some kind of connection to God, and that can’t be done until God makes some kind of effort to work with Abrahamic religions. You can’t blame the religious leaders. This is all on God.

  • Frank6548

    Lamont has to lie. Otherwise he has nothing to say.

  • Frank6548

    No opinion needed. Scripture is clear.

  • Andre M

    If scripture were clear, there wouldn’t be a thousand different opinions about it.

  • Frank6548

    Terrible logic. People see what they want to see more often then what’s there.

  • Andre M

    You see what you want to see, Frank.

  • Jim Reed

    If you take that approach you might end up listening to preachers like Driscoll.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    Your opinion of who says what where, brought forward in support of your opinion that Driscoll’s teachings are Biblical and authoritative.

    Don’t you get dizzy, spinning around in that single little circle, Frank?


  • Frank6548

    I am not the dizzy one in this conversation.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    Why would you think a person defending God from some letter-writing namenumber is an atheist?

    Surely the person denying God is Frank6548, who feels called to speak in God’s place.


  • David Lloyd-Jones

    Well, you’re definitely the one with the circular logic. Your opinion, and nothing else, supports your opinion.

    Ecclesiastes 3, your text of the day, no doubt.


  • Frank6548

    I’d be less willing if I were you to so publicly display your ignorance. BUT hey that’s just me.

  • Yes.

  • You know his personal opinions?

  • True.

  • The Bible is the word of God.

  • The most clearly written laws still require a Supreme Court. Confusion lies not in the author, but in the readers.

  • Driscoll preaches from the Bible. Seen it and heard it many times. Available on YouTube and podcasts, now. The scriptures support what he teaches because he teaches Scripture. Are there many examples of him teaching from other texts? I have not seen them.

  • phatkhat

    Actually, yes. He flaunts them here regularly.

  • phatkhat

    Prove it. (And not by using the Bible itself – we all know what a logical fallacy doing that is.)

  • Andre M

    How do you know an author wasn’t confused?

  • The kettle is black, sir.

  • I don’t, but I believe the BIble to be the word of God, wholly true and infallible.

  • No. Seek it for yourself. Your pride will not allow anyone else to reveal truth to you that you have not already discovered for yourself.

  • phatkhat