I’m not an Acts 29 insider, and I don’t know anyone working for Mars Hill. So my perspective is not from the front row, or even mid-row on the mezzanine. Back in the 70’s, when Three Rivers stadium housed both the Steelers and Pirates in my hometown, the upper seats were called the Peanut Gallery. That’s my view, the Peanut Gallery.
But I do know something about being under criticism and having blogs light up around one’s name. I’ve seen how it brings out both the best and worst in people. I’ve seen how it brings out the best and worst in me.
I expect there’s some folk out there who may use the platform they have (blogs, social media, etc.) to gloat, as if the separation between Acts 29 and Mark Driscoll is the fulfillment of all they foresaw. I think this is an unbiblical response, and I pray that God guides your conscience, even as He brings your writing gift under the care of a wise pastor. But there’s a larger group on my heart to address; those who join me in the Peanut Gallery who are saddened by these events and wondering over how to think biblically and carefully about what Mark Driscoll really needs. To you I offer a little food for thought.
Mark Driscoll needs us to remember the Golden Rule. Jesus said, “And as you wish that others would do for you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31). Just imagine you were a guy caught in some pattern of foolishness that, for whatever reason, you did not see clearly. How would you want strangers relating to you? Whatever your answer to that question is, just turn it around and do it with Driscoll. I have a feeling that for most of us, the answer may be to just mind our own business.
Remember, God has fixed most of us in the Peanut Gallery for this episode, a seat where we can barely see the numbers on the players jerseys. So do for Driscoll what you would want uninformed people to do for you. I wonder how our commentary might be changed if the Golden Rule was posted across the top of our computer.
Mark Driscoll needs our humility. I’m not talking about immediately assigning Driscoll as a case study whose example of pride should be examined and avoided. I don’t know Mark Driscoll, and I’m not going to speculate on whether his pride-o-meter is set at ‘moderate’ or ‘look-out!” (1 Cor 10:12). I know mine often seems to be set at a permanent ‘look-out’, and that the only difference between me and a card-carrying egomaniac is the presence of amazing grace. Paul said, it’s “by the grace of God I am what I am (1 Cor 15:10)”, and I think the principal parties in this saga need us to keep that in view. Are we immune to whatever temptations created this mess? Hardly.
Mark Driscoll needs our prayers. It’s evident that there’s a large fan oscillating at Mars Hill with pungent stuff all over it. A church needs help, elders need help, and Driscoll needs help. We can’t do much from the Peanut Gallery, but we sure can pray. I’m not suggesting the obligatory prayer for the situation just before we log on and go post-hopping. I’m talking about the concentrated prayer of God’s people who are grieved over these failings and fallings, and would be delighted by God granting repentance, or clarity, or courage, or whatever honors him.
In fact, pray specifically for those on the field who are now bringing biblical and appropriate evaluation to Mark Driscoll.Let the players play and the Peanut Gallery pray. In fact maybe we should even call a fast for Mark Driscoll and the good folk of Mars Hill – suspend the sackcloth and ashes but cry out together for their future. Think of it as a way we could “bear one another’s’ burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal 6:2)”.
I don’t have the answers, but here’s a question: What would happen if we chose to do this one differently? What would happen if those who have benefitted from Driscoll, or have been touched in some way by the ministry of Mars Hill, united across the world to pray and fast for our brothers and sisters? I mean tangibly demonstrated that we really do believe that “If one member suffers, (we) all suffer together (1 Cor 12:26). I’m not sure, but I wonder whether it might help Mars Hill more and hurt the Body of Christ less.
I think Mark Driscoll needs that right now.