In my daily update from Google Alerts on Calvinism came a link to an Emergent dude (“minister” seems to be the wrong term) who comments on the recent further shenanigans at Mark Driscoll’s network (“church” seems to be the wrong term). I gather that another case of discipline has revealed another round of hip servant-leaders with a heavy hand and despotic disposition. The blogger, Tony Jones, believes that he detects a pattern.
I am posting it because I think it’s a cautionary tale. I think, as my headline indicates, that the particular theology that Mark Driscoll has embraced since he left the emergent posse (n.b., he was not a Calvinist when I met him in 1998) is untenable. John Piper excommunicates his son, C.J. Mahaney is removed from leadership because he is jerk to his colleagues, and now it turns out that Mark Driscoll has fired pastors and elders who had the gall to question his leadership.
Jones ends by hoping that these celebrity-servants will find a theology different from Calvinism, one that is “more open, loving, and progressive.” Yikes! Progressive!!?? Doesn’t Tony watch Glen Beck?
If only we lived in a world where discussions of Calvinism were not limited to the five-points (or even merely the one of God’s sovereignty). But that is not where we are. The Young and Restless Ones, with their Gospel Coalition enablers, have reduced “Reformed” to three or four points of theology and all the religious affections that Jonathan Edwards could fathom. What is missing is attention to the whole counsel of God, which includes teaching on the sacraments and church office, for starters. Chances are that if Driscoll, Mahaney, and Piper were in communions reformed according to the word where they received assessment and review from presbyters, they might not have the problems that Tony Jones notes. But if you have to go to classis or presbytery four times a year, you might not have time for the conferences, interviews, and books. Which suggests that the cure for celebrity pastors is Reformed Protestantism.
But as long as Calvinism is popular because of celebrity pastors and the politics that comes with it (just see the Larry Sanders Show), the branch of Protestantism associated with cities in Switzerland will be associated erroneously with the genuine errors of Baptists and charismatics.