Living in the boonies as I do, I frequently have to drive an hour or more to visit people in the hospital. Often I take the time to use my mp3 player. As I drove to Tyler today, Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle was up.Â His message on Nehemiah 6 dealt with Diversion, Deception and Discouragement. Since he’s preaching through Nehemiah, such a message was to be expected. It sounded like he was living it himself.
Mark told of the huge amount of criticism he’s been getting throughout the years. Just recently he’s gottenÂ in trouble for talking exclusively of men in ministry. He feels like a ton of bricks has been dropped on his head for his position. He’s also heard that a whole denomination is investigating him – though he is not part of it or any other denomination.
When it comes to women in ministry, I think that’s one of the things my United Methodist Church has read the bible correctly on. When Mark makes comments reflected male only leadership in the church it stands out like a sore thumb to me. But I still listen to Mark Driscoll, find most of his stuff of value, pray forÂ him, and thank God for putting him and his church on the front lines there in Seattle.Â (Listen to him, I think you’ll him.)
If I only listened to people with whom I agree 100% I wouldn’t listen to much of anyone. I know that if 100% agreement – or being right on everything – were the criteria, no one would be listening to me. While discernment may be a lost art, it is essential for Christians, whether in leadership or not. We must be able to measure what we hear by the Bible (I even heard Mark Driscoll say that very thing today). I want my people measuring what I say by the bible. Now if they don’t read their bibles for themselves, or listen only to me, or don’t bring their bibles to church with them, that’ll be kind of difficult.
Pray for us preachers and church leaders. We’re out there trying to obey God. While we hopefully get it right more often than not, chances are pretty good we’ll get at least some things wrong. When you see us face to face, offer us some grace. We need it.