Book Review: Puff or Pass by Mark Driscoll

Puff or passA few weeks ago Mars Hill Church released a free ebook called Puff or Pass: Should Christians Smoke Pot or Not? by Mark Driscoll (click here to read the introduction and download the entire ebook). I don’t remember how I ran across this ebook, but I’m glad I did. With marijuana being legalized in a few states and the probability that we will see that happen in other states as well, I believe it’s important for Christians, especially those of us in church leadership, to have a handle on this issue and be ready to give a solid answer on marijuana. For instance, if marijuana becomes legal in your state, how will you respond when someone ask you what does the Bible say about marijuana? If your answer is “because the Bible says doing marijuana is a sin” than you need to read this ebook. That’s not the best answer and doesn’t address the issue in a way that communicates Biblical principles to someone.

What I loved about this short ebook is the way Driscoll addresses the issue. He doesn’t try to give a quick Bible answer and run from the complexity of questions that may come next, like should it be used for medical purposes. Instead, he addresses the issue with Bible principles, such as drugs harm your body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit and believers shouldn’t be controlled by anything other than the Spirit. However, Driscoll does feel that medical use of marijuana may be permissible (page 36). I personally I’m not sure where I stand on the medical use of marijuana. I believe the recreational use of it is wrong, but need to do more research and thinking before I come to a conclusion on it’s medical use. I appreciate Driscoll’s humility in this book as he explains he is not a medical doctor so he doesn’t feel comfortable discussing the medical benefits.

Two things stood out to me as I read this ebook that make it a book that I highly recommend. First, Driscoll did his research. The whole first part of this book is statistics. Driscoll shares the stats on marijuana from about every angle possible. When we are discussing a topic like this, it’s important to know the facts and Driscoll make sure those are communicated upfront. Second, Driscoll doesn’t just give an answer and run, but he shares multiple viewpoints that exists among evangelicals when it comes to this issue of marijuana. He basically asks two questions: Should marijuana be legal (the legal question) and should Christians use marijuana (the morality question)? To each of these questions Driscoll shares three options most evangelicals take.

I recommend this ebook to every Christian, especially pastors, student pastors, and anyone in church or para-church ministry. It’s a short, easy to read book that you can get through in one setting. To download this ebook for free just go to this post on the Resurgence website.

Good Friday Film

Above is a short clip of Mark Driscoll talking about the Good Friday film his church, Mars Hill, produced last year. I downloaded the film and tonight watched it for the first time. I have been hearing many things about the video and wanted to check it out for myself. I have found myself struggling with apathy, indifference, and a somewhat cold heart lately and tonight I needed a fresh look at the cross and needed my heart broke. God used this film to do just that. I would highly recommend everyone to take about 45 minutes and watch this short film. To download it for free go to this site http://www.whokilledgod.com and scroll down to the bottom and sign up. It’s simple, takes a few second and is well worth it!

So what did I think about this film? Well if I had to rate it between 1 and 10 with 1 being bad and 10 being excellent I would have to say a 10! This film really portrays the events leading up to the cross and well as the crucifixion in a very Biblical based way. The entire script was taken directly from Scripture. One thing I loved about the film was how they portrayed Jesus and His disciples. They were not nice looking men, but were men who were worn and torn. They talked to each other in very common terms. The way the film was made was excellent as well. It was very dark and gruesome which we know this time of Christ’s death was a very dark and gruesome thing. I believe Mars Hill was very faithful to Scripture in not just the script of this film, but in the overall setting of it.

One one negative thing to say which really is not anything negative about the film, but about how I would use the film. I would show this film in a heartbeat to an adult audience, but would hesitate to show it to students. Part of me would be ok with showing it to students because students today are seeing dark and gruesome things on movies all the time so I do not believe the darkness or gruesomeness would bother them. I believe we tend to protect our students so much that the world is winning them over easily. If we are trying to compete with the voice of the world in students life we need to step it up and scream louder! This film, I believe, is a way we can do just that!

Overall I loved the film and God used it in getting my attention tonight. Like him or not, Mark Driscoll stands firm on doctrine and I am grateful that he, and his church, put together a film that is theologically and doctrinally sound to impact people.

Four Lanes of the Emerging Church: Which One Are You In?

My professor, Dr. Time White (www.drtimwhite.com), showed us this video today in my Bible Doctrine 2 module and it cleared up a lot of questions and confusion I had with the whole emerging vs. emergent church movement. When the majority of us hear those two words we think they are the same thing and a lot of people use them interchangeably. We need to be extremely careful how we use these words because there two parties are going down two very different paths. I hope you will see by the end of this post the difference between being in the emerging church movement or the emergent church movement.

In this video, Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church (www.marshillchurch.org), presents the four “lanes” that are in the emergent church movement. Now, I know there are many Christians and people in ministry who don’t want to be even close to the emergent circle, but I have figured out that if you are trying new methods and new ways of ministry in your church you are in one form or the other emerging. At the end of this post I hope you will see what “lane” you fit best in, if you are ok with being in the emerging movement at all, and will better understand the views of other believers around you. Yes, even emergent and emerging people can be saved for all the legalistic people out there.

First, Driscoll talks about the emerging evangelicals. These are people who believe all the major doctrines of the Bible and our basically evangelical. While holding to their evangelical claims, they are trying new methods and want to be relevant as a Church to the culture. Dricolls brings up a good point in saying they tend to be ok with women pastors, which I do not agree with because of 1 Timothy 3:2 when it says “husband of one wife” which clearly shows that a pastor must be a man. This group is “not trying to change Christianity” says Driscoll, but are just “trying to make church more relevant.

Secondly, Driscolls talks about the House Church Evangelicals. This group wants to get rid of buildings, pastors, etc. to stop having “big church” and have “small church.” They meet in coffee shops, houses, etc. and keep it smaller in number. They believe it works well, but like Driscoll says, it does work well in countries where it church is outlawed and they have to meet in houses. I agree with Driscoll that this approach does not work best in this culture. They will tend to say this is a “Biblical approach,” but as Driscoll says in Acts 2, where this group will hold to, they meet did meet from “house to house,” but then they meet at the Temple Court in a large group for worship. This house church movement is not only effective, but not that Biblical. Now this approach for small groups is perfect! Like Driscoll says, Mars Hill Church is set up where they meet in houses for small groups throughout the week and then on Sundays meet as a large group for worship. Many other churches are doing this and I believe this is a very effective, Biblical way to do church and build a good community of believers. Too many churches are stuck on doing Sunday Morning, Sunday Night, Wednesday Night, and a hour long Sunday School hour. I believe this is a ineffective way to do church in this culture. I think meeting together for cooperative worship on Sundays or whenever you do it is necessary and commanded. I believe small groups sometime during the week is a must, It gives people a change to study deeper into the word in smaller groups and build better relationships.

Thirdly, Driscoll talks about the emerging reformers. This is the group Driscoll belongs to and he describes it very well. This group holds to most of the evangelical doctrines, but are more reformed in there theology. They tend to be reformed as in Calvinism and are more charismatic in their worship believing the sign gifts are still in operation today. That is the only thing about this group I really disagree with. I can semi-agree with reformed theology, but not all the way, but cannot agree with sign gifts still being used today. I believe the sign gifts are not needed today because the full revelation, God’s Word, is complete and we have it and the whole reason for sign gifts was for Jews because they required a sign. The issue of tongues is another whole issue I will discuss in another post sometime, but I just wanted to let you know that was the only area really I disagree with when it comes to emerging reformers. This groups loves the reformed theology and theologians. They love John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, etc. I agree with this lane practically and love what they are doing, but when it comes to their core theology I disagree just a little bit.

Lastly. Driscoll talks about the emergent liberals. As Driscoll said, this group is questioning all the main doctrines of the Bible. Like Driscoll says, “they are asking doctrines that should not be questions and definitely as pastors.” I agree and respect Driscoll for taking a stand on this. The core doctrines of the Bible, not preference, but core doctrines we must not question and hold to no matter what! The emergent village is a group that is in this “lane” and this is a dangerous round too many people are going down. Like Driscoll says, “if the Bible lied about Jesus, we lost everything!” We cannot dismiss or question the main doctrines that are clearly given to us in the Bible. If we loose and let go of these doctrines, we loose our faith. Guys such as Brian Mclaren (www.brianmclaren.net) and Rob Bell (www.robbell.com) in this group and are, in my opinion, teaching false Gospel and false theology.

In conslusion you might be wondering where do I stand and what “lane” I am in. When I look at these four “lanes” I cannot really fit myself in any of them 100%. Let me explain. I will not and cannot agree with the emergent liberals. I believe the doctrines of the Bible should not be questioned and should be stood upon with all faith. I do not agree and cannot work in the house church evangelical circle. I believe there motives and heart is in the right place, but I don’t think we need to change church, but more the less change the methods of how we do church. So that leaves emerging evangelical and emerging reformers. I would say I am a mix between these two and hold to each of them while letting go of a few things from each. For example, I love what they both are doing. They are both holding onto the doctrines of the Bible and not letting those go, but are trying new methods and making church more relevant. This is the prime example of changing the method, but keeping the message of the Gospel the same! I gree with both groups as they do this and do this myself. Methods need to change for the age, gender, culture, etc. but always keeping the same message of the Gospel! With each of these two groups I let go of a little like for emerging evangelicals I do not believe in woman pastors. For the emergent reformers, I disagree about there stance on sign gifts and believe they are not operative today. Also, I do not agree fully with reformed theology. But I believe each group as good stuff and some stuff I just don’t hold to. So not sure what you would consider me, but if I had to come up with some title it would be a emerging dispensationlists. I agree with some reform theology, but hold more to dispensationalism so will fall more on that side. But I love the emerging movement about holding to doctrine, but changing our methods and trying to become more relevant.

So where are you? Do you even want to be lumped in with the emerging movements? I would say don’t be scared to be considered to be a emerging person. The idea is good and effective. We need to consider our methods and see how we can reach more and be more effective while holding to the Gospel. I hope this post helped you understand a little more about the emerging vs. emergent movements and maybe helped you understand where you fit into all this. Ministry is important and the Gospel needs to be spread. Let’s stop arguing and debating so we can work together to spread the Gospel and build up each other in the faith!

For more info on the emerging and emergent church, check out Mark Driscoll’s chapter on it in his book Religion Saves: Plus Nine Other Misconceptions. Great book I am reading right now.