Mark Driscoll was recently in Australia, and when I listened to what he had to say about the Austrialian church, I was quite alarmed. He prefaced his talk saying that he was going to give 18 points about what was wrong with the church in Australia, but what it turned into as I listened was an American guy beating Australia saying that America knows better than Australia how to do church. I had to stop listening after the fifth point because the points were bcoming redundant and making me increasingly frustrated. Here are the first five points with my commentary on them below.
1. The Bible guys are not the missional guys which leads to irrelevence. In other words, he said that there is a difference between being faithful and being fruitful. He mentioned that there is a difference between knowing “our theological systems are straight” and “to be fruitful.” In the talk, the only way I could understand what being fruitful meant was that you get a lot of people inside a church. The funny thing is that Jesus rarely preached inside of a synagogue, and when he did, it was usually a critique. Second, Jesus pushed more people away overall than he gained as followers. Is Jesus not being faithful to God on earth?
2. The second thing he mentioned is that “socialism is bad” as is the “influence of Great Britain.” His answer? Be more entrepreneruial. Basically he suggesting “cutting” all the weakest pastors. How does he define weakness? Again, I can only gather that it came from above: numbers in the church.
3. The third thing was rewarding “good pastors.” He called it a merit based system. I can’t even begin to tell you what is wrong with this. First, this makes church into nothing more than a business with some guys at the top looking at numbers rather than people and evaluating evangelism based on how many people come into the church. Is anyone else upset by this?
4. Australian young men are immature. How does he define immature? Well, they live with their parents until they are 25. It seems as though I am immature because I still live my parents and I am 22. I am getting my fifth year credential and then I might live here even longer if need be. Driscoll seems to be defining maturity and masculinity with individuality. I would suggest that Driscoll search the scriptures a bit more on this subject and check his cultural and sociological baggage at the door. He is basicallly calling all of Asia immature because their cultural values are different than ours. This is a big problem with Americans going to other countries and “diagonosing” problems there.
5. Church planting is not wide-spread or welcome. He suggested they need more “pioneers.” While this may be true, the way he described again is such an American way of understanding church planting. Certain countries look to their denominations for understanding and this is not bad or wrong, it is just different. Again, he seems to think that “new” is better than established denominational traditions.
All in all, Driscoll needs to be careful how quickly he is condemning things because they are different than America. He needs to seperate his theology from his country.