The Search for Solid Preaching: Mark Driscoll and the Emerging Church

Wow, two posts related my aural habits in one day.

I am constantly on the lookout for solid preaching that I can listen to for edification and learning. Part of that is filled at church, but it is nice to hear some different styles and personalities too. One preacher that I have been listening to for nearly a decade is Tom Nelson of Denton Bible Church. If you are looking for solid, verse by verse, expositional preaching than he is a good one to check out. There are not very many pastors who would be able to preach through the entire book Romans for months and make the difficult theological ideas presented in the book accessible to laity, but he did it with gusto. I also highly recommend his series on the cultural shift that happened in the 1960s. That sermon series is full of incredible history, philosophy, and strong Scriptural principles.

Now, the next pastor I am about to recommend is a bit more controversial. Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, is often pegged as being a part of the “emerging church” movement. This throws him in with the likes of the heretical (to put it truthfully) Rob Bell. I confess to being leery of Mark Driscoll for this very reason. I decided to check out the Mars Hill Church website out of curiosity and to see if I could learn anything about the emerging church movement. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on their doctrinal statement and found my head nodding in agreement with what I was reading. As I was trying to learn more about the church and where they fit in the emerging church movement I stumbled upon the following video which helped clear up a lot for me.

Since getting an Ipod last fall, Mark Dricoll’s sermon podcasts have become a regular feature on my Ipod. I usually listen to the sermons when I am running or when I am driving. When I first started listening, he was preaching a series on the Song of Songs called “The Peasant Princess” (interestingly enough, Tom Nelson also did a series on SoS in the early 90s that is very good as well). I was very curious to see how he would handle perhaps the least taught book in the history of the church. Needless to say, he was very frank in his discussions about sex, dating, marriage, and relationships. It is nice to hear a pastor who is not afraid to tackle hard issues like those in a frank manner.

Here is a clip from the series:

He has since started preaching verse by verse through Peter’s epistles. Now, this evening I was perusing YouTube and stumbled upon the following video where Mark Driscoll confronted the popular book “The Shack” and calls it what it is, heresy.

Here is that clip:

I share these things with you to urge you not to be too quick to judge a church/pastor by the label applied to them. Often the label “emerging” is associated with soft theology at best and heresy at worst. Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church have an incredible ministry in Seattle where they have found a way to achieve the difficult balance between being relevant to their culture while maintaining solid Biblical theology and teaching. You may not like his style or his methods, but his theology is solid and the church is reaching out to the most un-churched city in America.

In conclusion, if you are looking for some solid preaching to put on your Ipod/Mp3 player, than check out Tom Nelson or Mark Driscoll. They have radically different styles, but they are both solid in their theology and they pastor growing churches that are reaching a lost and dying world with the Gospel.

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One thought on “The Search for Solid Preaching: Mark Driscoll and the Emerging Church

  1. I didn’t trust Driscoll for a long time because I thought that he pastored at Rob Bells church! Holy Cow, different churches with the same name. That clears up a lot.
    I enjoy hearing of emergent pastors who arent paving the way toward the great falling away, and there are a few.
    Pretty brave to invoke the graven image thing, that is pretty passe in modern times.
    This was sort of a “Yay!” “Boo!” moment for me, however.
    When it comes time for him to say SUBMIT to, he says to RESPECT, LISTEN to, or to HONOR. These are important aspects to submission, and a practical approach on how to submit, but at the end of the day, it IS a chain of command.
    I would have been tougher on the churches that have female pastors, however. Not that it has much to do with the sex of the teacher, but it undermines scripture. If the prohibition of females from pastoring was merely cultural, then you pave the way for the homosexual to be a pastor next, as long as culture is ok with it.
    Anyway, had a kid show me the book “The Shack” on the way to MEPS last year, and I used it as a springboard to share the gospel (along with my admonition that God does not shapeshift into anything our hearts desire, as he is not a pining teenager in love with us; we must shift to meet who He actually is, a sovereign just and merciful King).
    The cool thing about pop Jesus culture is that it can be used as a springboard for the true gospel by those who still recognize it.
    I am a Chaplain Candidate attending Liberty online here in AR, swearing in Thursday and with the 217th. Hope to meet you soon!

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