On megastars and small-time ministers

The entire congregation of Our Saviour Lutheran Church, plus visitors. I'm not a megastar.

As has become well known, Mark Driscoll has managed to be very rude about Christian ministers in the UK. The essence of his criticism is that there are no nationally famous young “Bible teachers” in this country, and so we are a lot of cowards who aren’t telling the truth.

I have no doubt that there are plenty of cowards who aren’t telling the truth here, as anywhere. I suspect one or two may even be lurking in Washington State (Driscoll works in Seattle). But I would contend that the proportion of cowards amongst the anonymous small-timers is unlikely to be significantly higher than amongst the megastar peers of Driscoll.

In fact, in the light of what the Bible has to say about the nature of sin, I would even contend that cowardice is positively helpful if you want to be famous and grow a large church. It is the coward who preaches to itching ears what they want to hear, often becoming popular in the process. It is the coward who can only believe in the veracity of his message and the genuineness of his call if it is affirmed by the approval of crowds.

By contrast, it takes great courage to preach sin and salvation in a culture that doesn’t believe in the former or the need for the latter, and to be condemned to unpopularity or (even worse) oblivion. It takes great courage to confess the reality of the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church”, which the gates of hell cannot overcome, when leading a dwindling and ageing congregation. It takes great courage to be a small-time nonentity, faithful to the Lord and His flock, because there is nothing else to commend it than the promises of God’s word.

[Disclaimer: I’m not making any claims here about whether or not Mark Driscoll himself is a coward. Only that he’s both wrong-headed and wrong on this point.]