Superbowl Vs. Church Service

Delight in Truth has been a critic of Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll on select topics, but not today. Today I commend the Seattle  pastor for standing up to overwhelming pressure to cancel his church’s afternoon and evening services in favor of the Superbowl.

He decided to go ahead and hold AND preach the 4 pm (Pacific Time) service, smack in the middle of the Superbowl. What makes this even more noteworthy is the fact that Seattle’s favorite team, the Seahawks were playing.

Said Driscoll:

“I fully expect it will feel like we missed the rapture, as many saints will not be in the room.”

This is the sad reality. Many saints were not at church Sunday because many churches across the US have cancelled afternoon worship to make room for assisting at another kind of worship. The sanctuary for this type of worship is the football stadium, while the gods are the game, the athletes and the depraved performers of the halftime show. The worshipers are non other than the crazed fans in the stadium and living rooms across this country.

Proponents of service cancellation have their arguments. There are no Bible verses telling us that we have to attend every church service. There are no verses telling us what time we should worship. There is no Scripture telling us we will lose our reward for missing a church service.


But there is a commandment saying “You shall have no other gods before me… You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God” (Ex 20: 3,5)

Cancelling worship service in order to watch how others delight in the vices of this world says a lot about where the lukewarm Christian’s heart is.  It says that we love the things of this world and possibly love the world itself. If you love a thing of the world to the point that you are addicted to it, you love the world. It is a painful truth which may be difficult to accept.

But there is good news also.

We had youth night at church on Superbowl evening. And to my delight and surely, to the Lord’s delight the youth showed up to worship God. The true God.

And it was an opportunity to remember this Scripture:

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

Strange Fire Was… Strange

Strange Fire

The Strange Fire conference led by John MacArthur at Grace Community Church has concluded.

And it was a bit strange.

Pentecostal and Charismatic indictment was in order.  Any manifestation of the miraculous spiritual gifts (even biblical) was put in the same category as mysticism.  That’s too bad.

The conference had its lighter moments too, especially when neo-Calvinist charismatic and controversial pastor Mark Driscoll showed up and set up shop on campus with a bunch of his new books.  He was kicked (ahem, gently asked) out.  Todd Friel of Wretched also had a great line in one of the sessions: “This conference is called Strange Fire, maybe next year’s conference will be called Strange Water, about that infant baptism stuff…” 🙂 That was a jab at MacArthur who was joined by the cessationist infant baptizing crowd in this endeavor.

On a more serious note, the conference did nothing but drive a wider wedge between people who love the Lord. Initially, MacArthur asked the “faithful Pentecostals” to join him and denounce Word of Faith, Toronto Blessing, New Apostolic Reformation and Bill Johnson type of charismatism, but then he turned around and slammed anyone who is not a cessationist with respect to spiritual gifts and miracles in the strongest possible terms.

So the conference failed on that front. Instead of winning over on his side those of us who continue to believe in the miraculous gifts as described in 1 Corinthians 14 and practiced biblically, MacArthur slammed us as demonic and mystic. Typical cessationist approach.

Well balanced and well-respected pastors and theologians like John Piper and Sam Storms were criticized from the pulpit. Again, for something that is black on white in the Bible.

There was however, a bright spot in the conference: Conrad Mbewe, the so-called Spurgeon of Africa. He is a reformed preacher used by God in a mighty way in Africa to denounce the prosperity gospel and charismatic abuses. He was the only speaker who actually differentiated between those involved in charismatic abuses and continuationists who are grounded in Scripture. He made the point that the latter are fewer and fewer in Africa.  He used to have university colleagues in Pentecostal circles, and they would exchange doctrinal points and Bible study experience.

That’s right, Bible study among Pentecostals and Charismatics.  It is sad that such a concept is rare now-a-days.

That is where the baby is found in the murky bath water.  There are still those of us who study the Word of God and are committed to its prescriptions, and continue to believe in the gifts of tongues and prophecy.

The Body of Christ should not be divided over secondary issues like continuation of spiritual gifts.  We should denounce heretical theology and manifestations found in some charismatic circles, but accept those believers who are grounded in the Bible and have experienced the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit.

photo: the Christian Post

Was Mark Driscoll Right in Calling Out Obama’s Faith?

On Inauguration Day, Pastor Mark Driscoll tweeted this controversial quote:

“Praying for our president, who today will place his hands on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.”

Driscoll took a big risk in tweeting this direct attack on the president’s faith. Since then, a multitude of progressives, atheists, and liberal Christian leaders have been ripping Driscoll to pieces over the tweet, but also other well respected Christian figures have labeled it as insensitive.

Regardless how one feels about Driscoll and his tweeting, is there truth in the message?

Obama is a professing Christian who believes in Jesus as a “role model” based on how he describes his Christianity. Christian author and theologian A.W. Pink would call him a professor based on the way Pink describes people like Obama in his 1300 page “Exposition on Hebrews.”

The President takes a number of unbliblical positions on important social issues which validates the first part of the quote:

1. He supports the abortion platform vehemently, despite multiple biblical passages demonstrating that unborn babies are persons who feel joy, who can be filled with the Holy Spirit, and their life and servitude is planned out by God before they are born. Obama previously said he would not want to punish his daughter with a baby if she made a mistake and became pregnant. He may have hinted that pre-marital sex is ok, as long she takes the necessary precautions not to get pregnant.

2. He supports the gay agenda despite multiple Bible texts which speak against homosexuality.

3. He accepts an unbiblical view of marriage by supporting same sex marriage.

4. In a TV interview Obama made clear that he embraces the idea that all religions lead to heaven and that Jesus is not the only way to salvation. He makes clear that following the moral code of other religions can lead to salvation, which is really a salvation by works and not by grace through faith.  Such statements are against the Bible, further supporting Driscoll’s claim that he does not believe the Bible.

As for the second part of the quote, Driscoll knows the issues listed above and that is why he states that the president probably does not know the God, Jesus Himself, revealed in the Bible, Who stated the He is “the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through [Him]” (John 4:16). The president disagrees with this statement, and this leads me to conclude that he believes in a different god than the One revealed in the Bible.

No one can be sure about anyone’s salvation but we can make educated guesses based on the things they say and do, in other words are the fruits of the Spirit in their life…?

Is president Obama a Christian? Yes, he is a professing Christian.

Is he a born-again Christian? No.

Was Mark Driscoll insensitive in this tweet?  Probably.

Was Driscoll correct in his assessment? Yes.

Truth is controversial. Truth hurts sometimes.

image credit

image credit

Delight in Truth: Most Viewed Posts and Pages

These have been the most read articles on Delight in Truth through January 22, 2013:

Rick Warren on Homosexuality: “not everything natural is good…”

What Would it Be Like to Hold Baby Jesus?


Perspective on Halloween

Theology 101: What is Double Predestination?

Mark Driscoll’s “Puff or Pass?” on Recreational Marijuana

Come, and you will enjoy… great “worship!”

Mark Driscoll’s “Puff or Pass?” On Recreational Marijuana

Mark Driscoll, controversial pastor of Seattle-based Mars Hill Megachurch marks the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in Washington with the publication of a brochure that asks the question “Should Christians smoke pot or not?”

Previously labeled by some as the “cussing” pastor due to the strong language used in some sermons and for showing unedited R-rated movies in his congregation, Driscoll now tosses up the equivalent of “Should Christians get high or not?” or “Should Christians dip into the habits of this world or not?”

He states that up until now his answer was always NO to marijuana based on Romans 13, explaining that it was an illegal drug.

But now… recreational marijuana is legal in Seattle!

Apparently that changes everything! 🙂

His 38 page brochure introduces the issue of smoking pot by making the following comparison:

“Some things are neither illegal (forbidden by government in laws) nor sinful (forbidden by God in Scripture), but they are unwise. For example, eating a cereal box instead of the food it contains is not illegal or sinful—it’s just foolish. This explains why the Bible speaks not only of sin, but also folly, particularly in places such as the book of Proverbs. There are innumerable things that won’t get you arrested or brought under church discipline, but they are just foolish and unwise…”

At the end of the brochure he endorses a position where he advocates against the use of recreational marijuana and is open for its medicinal uses (without questioning the motives for such medicinal use because he is not a medical doctor).

My main concern is not with his position.  It is with the fact that he does not label “getting high” as a sin, unlike pastor Douglas Wilson who labels it sin (quoted extensively in the brochure).  By implying that marijuana use is unwise, but not necessarily sinful, he leaves the door open for someone to think that getting high on pot may be OK.  This is especially problematic given the population of troubled kids that he ministers to.

He states he would strongly urge his 5 children not to use pot.  But I would have loved to see him make a strong statement forbidding his kids from getting high because it is sinful behavior, based on biblical principles:

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

The word sorcery in verse 20 is translated from the greek word pharmakeia.  It refers specifically to the use and administration of mind altering drugs for the purpose of getting high or inducing trance.

Also, we cannot engage in sinful behavior as the world does:  “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2) NLT.

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, propofol, etc are inanimate objects that do not constitute sin in themselves… but the motives, cravings, effects and behavioral changes associated with their recreational use constitute sin.

Given the mind altering properties of marijuana, the sinful behavior associated with it, the main motives for its use, and the sinful situations used in, the godly answer to Driscoll’s question “Puff or Pass?” is definitely “Pass.”