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Concluding Thoughts January 31, 2007

Posted by larrylaz in Random Musings.
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Joe,

Thanks for your (lengthy) insights on cultural engagement.  I think you are certainly right that there are many areas in the Christian life in which we have freedom, and we must be careful to guard ourselves from enacting rules which would strip the freedom we have in Christ.

For some time I have said that the main question to ask about the “neutral” areas of Christian freedom (like movies and clothes, etc.) is to ask “What’s right about it?” instead of “What’s wrong with it?”  This is, I trust, what you were getting at when you said that we must ask ourselves how such and such a thing will help us to win the race.

The problem is that many people do not ask “What’s right?” about their music or their TV or their clothes or anything?  They live life asking only what’s wrong with it, as if they are content to “do” as little as they can in order to sufficiently appease God so that He will not send them to hell.  Surely that is not running the race in such a way as to win the prize.  If Christ has truly ravished our hearts, we will want to bring every area of our lives into conformity to His will.  We may not succeed perfectly in doing this, but that is the goal towards which we are striving for.

I am not in a place to judge Mark Driscoll’s life to find out why he is as “engaged” in the culture as he is.  Does he do it only so that others might be saved through his being able to “engage” with them on their level?  Does he do it because he has a love for the things of this world which he is not putting to death sufficiently?  I really have no way of knowing.  I only know that personally, I am not strong enough to even have a TV, let alone watch something as sexually provocative as MTV.  Driscoll seems to have no problem with that.  Is it that he is stronger than me, or is that he has been infected by the culture so much that he is not even able to tell how it affects him?  Surely I do not have the answer.

I do know that it is very possible to be culturally engaging without subjecting yourself to filth from the entertainment industry.  John Piper ministers to many people in the same age range as Driscoll; one trip to a DG conference reveals that pretty clearly.  He is “relevant” not because he can talk about the coolest TV shows, movies and music stars, but because he speaks a timeless message that is the satisfaction of every human heart’s desires.  Yes, that message needs to be put into words and sentences that connect with a particular cultural context, but I do not think that the possession of a TV, nor the naming of the latest stars, is needed to do that.

Matthew 5:17-19 is calling, brother.  If you want to muse out loud on something for the sake of the blog, how about looking at those verses?  It is a tough text, so I cannot spend too much more time pondering Driscoll’s strengths and weaknesses.  It is sufficient to say that, like all of us, he has both.  Where his weaknesses are is for him to discern, not me.  I have enough of my own to think about.

Larry

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