New Christians VS. Vintage Jesus (Part 3)
Mark Driscoll responds.

I want to thank Chad Hall for taking the time to read the book and giving me some helpful feedback in his review. I also appreciate the opportunity to respond and will seek to do so graciously.

(Read Chad Hall's review here.)

First, the accusation that I am humble is scandalous. I have said some things over the years that I regret. Meditating on the fact that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, God shook me deeply. Today I am, as a friend says, a proud man pursuing humility by the grace of God. I appreciate Chad's insight that humility is knowing one's place in God's plan because I find it helpful and truthful.

Second, as a loving push back, I would say that my goal in the book was not to say anything new, but rather to say things that are timeless in timely ways. Admittedly, the person who graduated from seminary ten years ago and is now in ministry like Chad, might not resonate as deeply with Vintage Jesus as the twenty-something who is as lost as Dick Cheney in the woods - which was the primary audience I had in mind when I wrote. The feedback I am getting from younger, less theologically trained people is very encouraging and the sales of the book to young folks have remained strong by God's grace.

Third, the book is the first in an ongoing series and establishes the big anchor concepts of our faith that will be explored in greater detail in forthcoming books. All of them can be found at and yes, that is a shameless advertising plug. The next in the series is Death By Love, which is a series of pastoral letters to people I know and love explaining how twelve aspects of the atonement apply to them. So, for example, the expiation chapter is a letter to a dear female friend who was raped. The propitiation chapter is written to a suicidal non-Christian who molested a child and was convicted in court. My guess is that the style and stories will provide a glimpse into the pain of pastoral ministry and may be more what Chad was hoping for. I will make sure to send him a copy.

Fourth, I am always looking to be a better servant of Jesus. So, without being trite, the review is helpful. I'm publishing six books this year alone along with a lot of articles in addition to pastoral ministry, church planting, raising five kids, and more, and Chad has helped me remember to do my best with every project and for that I am grateful. In going back over Vintage Jesus, I still believe it is a great book that packs a ton into a fun and readable format. But I also see how I could have served people even better, and I aspire to so in future books. In the meantime, I'll be drinking flat Coke for Jesus and rejoicing in the fact that at least the truth was present in Vintage Jesus as it gives the Holy Spirit something to work with.

July 18, 2008

Displaying 1–10 of 22 comments

Steve Cuss

July 30, 2008  12:26pm

Mark, I've never met you, but this whole post was you at your best. thanks my favorite quote, "First, the accusation that I am humble is scandalous." Steve

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Michael Williams

July 22, 2008  3:44pm

It's great to hear that you are striving for humility Mark. Repentance often requires examining past actions and going back as needed to those that you have sinned against and humbly asking for their forgiveness and if you've sinned against them before others then repenting to them as well. I know you know this, but I hope you'll do it too.

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July 22, 2008  11:25am

I definitely agree that Tony's response in this debate, moreso than Driscoll's, shows just how much the "overemotional pseudo-intellectual" stereotype is true for emergents. As a 25 yr old who has also been in Christian colleges and (for grad school) a very secular university, I have experienced emerging Xty in all way shape and form, and none of it is very intellectually satisfying. This is ironic, of course, because a major conceit of emergent is their elevation of discourse/conversation/dialogue, which you'd think would be grounded in firm intellectual principles. Unfortunately the "discourse" produced by emergent authors like Jones is rarely much more helpful than an undergrad dormroom conversation about predestination is... good for relationships but not so much for an enlightened understanding of anything.

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July 21, 2008  10:54am

i think the two different responses to two very different opinions of the authors are quite revealing. i would agree that driscoll got the "easier" review to respond to - chad was unsatisfied with many elements of his book, but didn't go on the attack as he did with tony. that being said, getting the "tougher" review gave tony the greater opportunity to demonstrate his character in how he responded to the harsher criticisms. i'm not sure he grasped that opportunity. i'm 24, have attended 1 Bible and 2 secular colleges in both artistic and academic streams, and am an artist by trade - i can barely stretch out my legs without hitting a young emergent. and what confuses me the most about the movement is the fervour for empirical knowledge, intellectualism, and academic credentials that rarely seems to show its head in the emergent-traditional debate. mr. jones had a huge opportunity to respond to a less-than-intellectual review with the manner of reasoned, calm, intellectually "correct" academic response that so many emergents claim to have the goods on. instead, he responded to a rather emotional review in kind, and only gave credence to the stereotype of emergents being a bunch of overemotional pseudo-intellectuals, the emo kids of the Church. he's certainly not the first person laying claim to the emergent title who i've seen or heard do that. this seems to me a common problem that not only emergents are having a lot of trouble with: reconciling the heart with the mind in the struggle not only to grasp the truth but to convey it. the emergents seem, while striving for high levels of intellectualism, to be afraid of appearing overly academic (i.e. stuffy), while the traditionals seem to be striving to reach people's hearts while being afraid of appearing overly emotional and touchy-feely. well gosh, when i put it that way, the problem hardly sounds new, eh?

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July 21, 2008  10:44am

is it just me or does the one person that comes off sounding bad here is Chad Hall? perhaps Chad should respond? i'm not agreeing or disagreeing per se, but just observing.... grace and peace

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July 18, 2008  4:32pm

Honest conversation and accountability . . . the internet–a wonderful thing! Greg from Faith First Fitness

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July 18, 2008  1:45pm

Todd, lovely. I don't follow "the ooze" and never have, and I don't know about what other websites carry your soundbites...your biases are showing. Actually, my reference to this moment means exactly that "this moment" (i.e. this particular outing on UrL) LIke I said, I think it's great if Mark is demonstrating a turn around in his tone. So I'm glad you and I agree. It's clear you've made up your mind about Tony Jones. In all seriousness, I'm glad he can be a catalyst for your own confidence and strength of conviction. Like I've said on here and elsewhere...I don't mind critiques of anyone. Just make sure they are fair and about the actual content–not attributing motives, etc. The issues taken up in these threads demonstrate my point

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Jonathan Stone

July 18, 2008  1:35pm

Paul, thanks for the encouragement. Maybe before long Chad and Tony and Mark will be on here repenting and reconciling and talking about how they admire each other! :)

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Paul Dalach

July 18, 2008  11:27am

Mark's response...appropriate to the review given to him. Tony's a different response because there was a different challenge. I agree with Tony, but the format of his response, I think, was not sinful or disqualifying. Jonathan, It took some stones (pun intended...sorry for any potential offense, I couldn't pass it up!) to repent like you did publicly. What you did is a rarity for the blogsphere. Just a forewarning though...Driscoll's tone and form of content has matured in recent times (not nearly so many shocker moments), but from what I can tell, and I don't want to speak too much for someone who can very well speak for himself, he hasn't changed his theology or his sometimes sarcastic call for certain people groups to see the tentativeness of their positions (to put it mildly). (For the record, I actually like his edgyiness, at least nostalgically. I'm one of those loser, young, argumentative white guys who needed to step up, put on a cup, and get back in the game. When I started interacting with Driscoll's preaching, I was throwing a spiritual temper tantrum and about to give up on God and people. God used him to kinda shocked me out of it. I've had to recover from some brashness habits he encouraged (and since repented of in Rebel's guide Joy in Humility), but overall he's been a godsend.) Wow...I kinda feel exposed now...naked and vulnerable in a big, chill blog-world without an argument robe to put on!(smiles)

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July 18, 2008  10:48am

What do you know?! Chad was wrong! Tony seems so humble in his response, and Mark ... well since he really had nothing to be gracious about (as Nathan pointed out, his book got called boring, Tony was called an arrogant intellectual) his response was...nice.

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