Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question 3: A Prologue and Rant by Mark Driscoll

Hundreds of readers have posted comments about Brian McLaren's article on forming a pastoral response to the "homosexual question." One such reader was Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. As "one of the 50 most influential pastors in America" and an outspoken critic of the emergent movement, we thought others would like to read Driscoll's comments.

Well, it seems that Brian McLaren and the Emergent crowd are emerging into homo-evangelicals.

Before I begin my rant, let me first defend myself. First, the guy who was among the first to share the gospel with me was a gay guy who was a friend. Second, I planted a church in my 20s in one of America's least churched cities where the gay pride parade is much bigger than the march for Jesus. Third, my church is filled with people struggling with same sex attraction and gay couples do attend and we tell them about the transforming power of Jesus. Fourth, I am not a religious right wingnut. In fact, when James Dobson came to town to hold the anti-gay rally, we took a lot of heat for being among the biggest churches in the state, the largest evangelical church in our city, and not promoting the event in our church because we felt it would come off as unloving to the gay community. The men who hosted the event are all godly men and good friends and I've taken a few blows for not standing with them on this issue. Fifth, I am myself a devoted heterosexual male lesbian who has been in a monogamous marriage with my high school sweetheart since I was 21 and personally know the pain of being a marginalized sexual minority as a male lesbian.

And now the rant.

For me, the concern started when McLaren in the February 7, 2005 issue of Time Magazine said, "Asked at a conference last spring what he thought about gay marriage, Brian McLaren replied, ?You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that there's no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.'" Sadly, by failing to answer, McLaren was unwilling to say what the Bible says and in so doing really hurt God's feelings and broke his heart.

Then, Brian's Tonto Doug Pagitt, an old acquaintance of mine, wrote the following in a book he and I both contributed to called Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches edited by Robert Webber and due out this spring:

"The question of humanity is inexorably link to sexuality and gender. Issues of sexuality can be among the most complex and convoluted we need to deal with. It seems to me that the theology of our history does not deal sufficiently with these issues for our day. I do not mean this a critique, but as an acknowledgement that our times are different. I do not mean that we are a more or less sexual culture, but one that knows more about the genetic, social and cultural issues surrounding sexuality and gender than any previous culture. Christianity will be impotent to lead a conversation on sexuality and gender if we do not boldly integrate our current understandings of humanity with our theology. This will require us to not only draw new conclusions about sexuality but will force to consider new ways of being sexual."
January 27, 2006

Displaying 1–10 of 103 comments

Chris Seay

February 13, 2006  11:11am

I just read several posts that barely resemble dialogue between two of my friends (and scores of other polarizing responses to what should be a conversation that edifies the church) and I cannot remember a time that I felt more disgusted. This conversation sounds every bit as dysfunctional and self-centered as the not so friendly dialogue on CNN's crossfire. It's like Mark didn't take the time to really read Brian's words and responded to everything he did not say. It pisses me off for two reasons: 1) We are conversing in a way that only polarizes people and opinions and this is a big mistake. We should be having a thoughtful and passionate midrash about this and many other issues with the humility that says we have something to learn. If you don't have something to learn about this issue you are utterly arrogant and completely un- teachable. Listen. 2) This issue is real for people and it is only wise to have the patience to wait for people to genuinely meet Christ and ask the gay question sincerely. If someone is baiting you into a fight do not take the bait. Instead, talk about Jesus, and extend a hand of love. If you follow this path (and I have many times) you can focus on the gospel instead of morality. Then when the gospel is central, morality will eventually become an issue. My friend Mark Driscoll has done a disservice to the church with personal attacks and unfair characterizations. If you have been sucked in and taken sides with personalities then you have betrayed the essence of the gospel as well. I spent the last six months working on a book retelling the last week of Christ's life as told by John. Legend tells us that in John's later years as his health was failing he would repeat a singular phrase hundreds of times a day to everyone who would listen, saying "My little children, love one another". It is time to listen to the beloved disciple lest the behavior of Christ followers in the blogosphere become a black eye on Christ's beloved bride. -Chris Seay

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January 31, 2006  9:11am

I wish evangelicals were as rabid about racism and poverty as they are over the homosexual issue. But I guess that would take some of us out of our comfort zones. Should a racist and social darwinist be allowed to pastor a church? be a member of a church? partake of Eucharist? Because these issues don't get as much attention as the homosexual issue I wonder if what is driving this is homophobia or a serious passion for truth and justice? One wonders...

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Matthew Kruse

January 30, 2006  7:24pm

Regarding Mark's use of sarcasm... I believe that the Scriptures are clear that sarcasm can be a fitting, godly tool when directed at leaders who should know better than to lead the people of God away from His truth. You can't miss this, for example, in Jesus' stinging, sarcastic rebukes of the Pharisees and Paul's same treatment of the Judaizers. I am pretty sure that that Mark would not take this same tact if he was dealing with a person who was stuggling with same sex attraction, but his ranting here is in the context of and directed at fellow Christian leaders, McLaren and friends, who are getting flat out silly/scary with some of this stuff... and so his sarcasm might be necessary and is certainly potentially defensible. I am most troubled by the quote "This will require us to not only draw new conclusions about sexuality but will force to consider new ways of being sexual." Are we really allowed to consider ways of being sexual that are outside of the realm of obedience to God? Has God not been crystal clear in His Word that any and all sexual activity outside of a convental committment of marriage between a man and a woman, are simply sinful? Certainly that includes much more than just homosexuality, but it does include homosexuality as well.

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Mark Riddle

January 30, 2006  6:58pm

I'm at a loss with this whole thing. This is sad. This is what the leaders of our churches are talking about today. The two perspectives are not that far apart, but in the absence of understanding each other, comes judgement. That's what I hear here. Judgement. But not judgement born from love. no. this is something else. This is judgement born from fear, alienation, hatred and the worst parts of us as people. God forgive us all.

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January 30, 2006  6:54pm

Hmmm... I would say that Mark doesn't hate homosexuals. The fact that he said "All this is just gay" was a play on words. What did gay mean originally? Happy or joyous. What did it come to mean? Homosexual. What does it mean for most people today? Stupid, ignorant, irrelevant. Who thinks Mark meant option number three? Also, sin MUST be pointed out. Don't you think the woman at the well felt shame? Suppose a man you've never met begins telling you all of your sins and chatting with you about them. Would you be ashamed? Would you feel guilty? As far as comments about poverty and injustice go, no one disagrees with you there. Homosexuality is no more deserving of condemnation than say, adultery or stealing. Whenever the "Liar Parade" marches down my street, I'll protest too. Whenever I meet someone who is steeped in alcoholism or drug abuse, I'll tell them what the Bible says: repent! Flee to Jesus Christ! Whenever I meet the poor and destitute, I will help get them food and clothing and will minister to both their physical and spiritual needs. And when I meet a practicing homosexual who dishonors God and His Word, I will...share a coffee? Apologize for people like Al Mohler standing up on Larry King? NO. I will tell them that while they may hate me, and they may hate my message, the only thing that will satisfy them is to run to Christ and repent of their sin against God. In short: Just because Americans don't call out adultery as much as we should doesn't mean we should lower the bar in reference to homosexuality. We should raise the bar for both and declare the exlcusivity and necessity of Christ. ...Other than that I have no strong opinions.

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tim lyles

January 30, 2006  4:57pm

I have somehow missed his "fantastic sense of humor" and "deep knowledge and devotion to God's Word". I can't believe he quoted 1 Peter 3:15, because he's obviously whited-out the "but do this with gentleness and respect" part. Just another case of some church leader making doctrinal position more important than the way one actually behaves and lives.

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Chris Dugan

January 30, 2006  3:34pm

Your post is spot on Mark. There is nothing "nuanced or layered" about homosexuality. There is not "evidence" that we need to wait on science for in order to get our answers on the subject. Homosexuality is a sin. So is murder. So is adultery. So is stealing. So is hate. So by declaring it as such we aren't "hating" anyone or saying we are perfect, we are just calling something for what it is—as made abundantly clear in the totality of the Scriptures. By Brian copping out and not giving an honest answer to the question the problem is only being exasperated. This "post-modern" generation needs answers and not more ambigious, relativistic gobbledy-gook. I don't think we "scare" anyone away by following the courage of our convictions either. I think answering truthfully, even bluntly (though lovingly) about issues like homosexuality might be the most effective thing anyway.

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January 30, 2006  3:28pm

Rick...or whoever said Driscoll is fat. As another person already said, Driscoll can adequately defend himself. Having said that, you have NO CLUE of what you speak in commenting on Mark's weight. Mark is in great shape...go to his church, if you doubt. Stop making stupid're grabbing at straws. As a general comment, about 90% of the rants on Mark's rant are way overboard on the "assumptions-meter". Heck...maybe you could tell me the color of my eyes, what I'm reading and how many times a week I beat my kids by just reading this posting. -note the sarcasm before calling CPS-

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January 30, 2006  2:59pm

I'm not a christian, and as this is what it turns people into, i'm very glad of that. I'm appalled at the way you treat each other. i have the read the stories of Jesus in the gospels. His ire is always directed at those who think they know the law, and who then try to use the law to remind others how inadequate and worthless they were. Jesus' harshest words were always and only towards those whose words and actions were hurting the widow, the orphan, the homeless, the poor. Sexuality matters. No doubt about it. But i have a hunch that if the church put all its energy towards loving the widow, the orphan, the homeless and the poor, in the same practical way that Jesus did, then the conversation about sexuality would get itself right in the background. Or at least you'd have a right to start talking about. Jesus is worth following. The God you speak of here isn't. Grow up, boys. The world has had enough of this.

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January 30, 2006  2:21pm

Tim: While I do believe that all sin is equally heinous in God's eyes, I am convinced from Romans chapter 1 and elsewhere, that the snare of homosexuality is especially dangerous to the soul. God, through Paul, seems to differentiate this sin from others. Nowhere does God say that people are "given over" due to their greed. It seems to be the pinnacle of self-worship and the denial of God. And while we are to do what we can, poverty is not a sin in and of itself. Poverty has kept me on my knees and relying on God. It was a sanctifying power used by God. I can't tell you why or to what degree, just that it's discussed with a greater severity in scripture. This may be demonstrated by the fact that it's so difficult to come free of that lifestyle as where greed can be conquered instantaneously. The scriptures call us to redeem society one soul at a time. We're not instructed to set social wrongs to rights. The church is to equip the saints to go out and redeem the world. If the concept is stretched to its extreme for the sake of example, Sunday morning services and the pastor are not the main form of evangelism. Saints gather to be equipped by the Word. Then, they go out and share the gospel to the world. One pastor once commented that if you invite someone to church in order that they will hear the gospel, and you haven't preached the gospel to them first, you don't have a proper role of the church. An unbeliever attending the church can be like reading someone else's mail. If this model is true, then seeker-ism, emergant-ism and "relevance" are all illogical and ill-founded. It's like modifying your family reunion, so your new neighbors feel welcome. Most churches preach sermon-ettes for Christian-ettes. Verse by verse, expository preaching is the only way to grow to maturity in Christ and not by having a church and pastor who can make un-repentant sinners feel comfortable at every service or with every message.

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