I just finished this book yesterday called Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll, the pastor of the infamous Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. I was strangely surprised by what I thought of it for a number of reasons. First, what he is suggesting doesn’t seem to fit nicely into a tidy denominational box. They are credo baptist but not traditional baptists because they encourage drinking, feasting, and condone smoking. They don’t fit into a presbyterian box because of the worship style and the baptism thing. They don’t fit into the traditional style of church because of their views on “being in the world and not of it”, causes them to avoid disapproval of the goth, pierced, tatooed, etc and while you’d think this is more of a characteristic of the postmodern egalitarian”emerging” churches, Driscoll very boldly lays the smackdown on such churches and their pandering to postmodernism. I think I might define him as perhaps a Seattle hip John Piper. He talks in his book about the avoidance of most churches from association with the less enticing portions and groups of society and reminds the reader of Jesus’ regular associating with the protitutes, tax collecters, and other unacceptable ‘gentile’ folk. He doesn’t soften the gospel to argue that it needs to not call sin sin, but he does seem to understand better than a lot of traditional Christians, that what Paul was doing on Mars Hill was using his knowledge of Athens’ popular culture to position Christ as the fulfillment and answer to all of the futile questioning of Greek philosophy. He recognizes that all cultures have their answers to why things are the way they are, but Christianity only answers them perfectly. Thus, he suggests in his book, our method for spreading the gospel is to take people seriously in their current context but also show them how their current answers will eventually leave them empty handed. While more is covered, this is the general emphasis of his book. While I expected to find a plethora of things I disagreed with, I was strangely disappointed. I did come away with a number of questions I will have to think abou more, but generally speaking, he seems to be on track to doing great things.
As I sidenote, I was surprised to discover a number of strange connections to church here. Ben Merkle is footnoted for a Credenda Article on Beer and while I attended Mars Hill last Sunday, I noticed that about a tenth of their bookstore was devoted to Doug Wilson’s Christian family books.
If you want to hear more about their ministries, search for Acts 29 Network (church planting), the Agathos Foundation (African Missions incl. AIDS relief), and the Paradox Theatre.