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Reflections on The Upward thrust and Fall of Mars Hill – Baptist Information World

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Research  |  December 6, 2021
When I used to be in school within the mid-2000s, I wolfed books through pastors and writers who have been categorised “Emergent.” Popping out of my Southern Baptist upbringing, I used to be interested in expressions of Christianity that appeared to interact tradition now not as an enemy, however as a chance for better contextualization of the gospel.
It gave the impression that a lot of the kinetic power in the back of this Emergent motion used to be popping out of the Pacific Northwest. Donald Miller, who lived in Portland, Ore., wrote his ebook Blue Like Jazz. I used to be so captured through his frank and fair reflections on religion that I jumped on the alternative after my freshman 12 months of school to do an internship in Portland with a fledgling ministry group.
My internship used to be to paintings with a ministry to the unhoused primarily based out of a small church get started. We worshiped in a film theater, and we hosted nightly occasions the place we washed the ft of and equipped loose haircuts for the unhoused at the streets of Portland. Our small congregation used to be a part of a quasi-denominational frame of church buildings referred to as the Acts 29 Community, a gaggle of theologically Reformed church planters.
As a part of the internship, the opposite intern and I got a ebook to learn written through one of the crucial major leaders of the Acts 29 Community. The ebook used to be The Radical Reformission through Mark Driscoll. In it, Driscoll lays out his non-public sense of undertaking and calling for church buildings to be puts of deep doctrinal reality and in addition edgy reports of cultural engagement.
“I used to be discerning a decision to ministry on the time, and Driscoll’s concrete sure bet used to be interesting at a time in my lifestyles once I felt out at sea driving the waves of doubt and confusion.”
I used to be discerning a decision to ministry on the time, and Driscoll’s concrete sure bet used to be interesting at a time in my lifestyles once I felt out at sea driving the waves of doubt and confusion.
For the following couple of years, I adopted Driscoll’s ministry as it all started to blow up on YouTube. Pals would ship me clips of his sermons, and we might gawk at his audacity to scream at his congregation and curse whilst preaching. On the other hand, his fervency all the time appeared to rise up out of a passionate adherence to the gospel and, subsequently, we felt his outbursts and vitriolic language have been merely expressions of his fervency for reality and righteousness. In different phrases: The ends justified the method.
As my theological horizons started to amplify, I began to look Driscoll’s sermons in a brand new gentle. I may now not sq. away his “prize-fighter” model of Jesus with the Lamb of God. I heard too many tales of ladies who have been became clear of the gospel as a result of Driscoll’s rants about “Femi-Nazis.” Sooner or later, through the grace of God, I discovered different voices that led me deeper into the best way of Jesus.
Mark Driscoll preaching at Mars Hill Church (flickr)
Which is why I’ve listened with heightened pastime to the new podcast from Christianity Lately referred to as The Upward thrust and Fall of Mars Hill. For individuals who is probably not conscious, The Upward thrust and Fall of Mars Hill catalogues the tale of Driscoll, the church he based in Seattle (Mars Hill), its speedy enlargement and its much more speedy ultimate after Driscoll used to be discovered to have fostered an abusive and noxious management setting.
The general episode just lately posted brought about me to mirror at the revel in of taking note of this tale of a church’s speedy enlargement and surprising crumbling.
The podcast has now not been with out controversy, and I feel one of the complaint has been unfair. Some other people have taken umbrage at the truth that the podcast highlights one of the sure reports many had at Mars Hill. One episode includes a gorgeous tale of a father baptizing his daughter. Twitter exploded with indignation that the podcast used to be one way or the other giving credence to Driscoll’s poisonous theology. However I feel the ones criticisms display an lack of know-how of the cultural contexts that give upward thrust to leaders like Driscoll.
We want to pay attention the ones tales of authentic ministry as a result of they function a caution to people who are lately embedded in church settings. None folks are immune from being blinded through the great things going down round us to the purpose the place we shrug off perhaps poisonous conduct from our leaders or ourselves.
As a result of if the one lesson I remove from The Upward thrust and Fall of Mars Hill is, “Woo. Thank God I’m not anything like Mark Driscoll,” then I’m no higher than the Pharisee status within the Temple with gratitude that I’m really not like that tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).
As a substitute, all of us will have to strive against with what we feature inside ourselves and be keen to inspect (deconstruct) our personal theologies and views on management. None folks are immune from falling into the entice of turning into a poisonous chief or taking part within the poisonous tradition of a church or hitching our wagon to poisonous theology as a result of we’ve one way or the other satisfied ourselves that the ends justify the method.
Of their ebook A Church Referred to as Tov, father and daughter Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer write about how church buildings transform puts of goodness (the Hebrew phrase for “excellent” is tov) as an alternative of injury. They draw from high-profile examples of poisonous management equivalent to Invoice Hybels or James MacDonald, however during the ebook they warn that the indicators that led to those downfalls are pitfalls for all folks. They write: “When leaders achieve persistent, persistent itself turns into an agent that can scale back the chief’s capability for empathy and compassion, particularly towards those that are powerless (like ladies, in lots of church buildings). This type of self-centered hubris would possibly motive the private persona of the power-shaped pastor to lose touch with the very essence of Christianity.”
It’s now not that the podcast has been with out faults. I want The Upward thrust and Fall of Mars Hill had long gone a lot additional in deconstructing the tactics Mark Driscoll’s theology arose out of a patriarchal type of Calvinism that leads many down a trail of theological conceitedness this is continuously disguised as “biblical Christianity.”
“Mark Driscoll’s theology arose out of a patriarchal type of Calvinism that leads many down a trail of theological conceitedness this is continuously disguised as ‘biblical Christianity.’”
I want the podcast had finished extra to discuss how Driscoll’s consistent mocking of the rest outdoor conventional gender roles got here from a spot of deep and sinful homophobia and transphobia.
I want the podcast had finished extra to inspect the tactics Driscoll repeatedly preached the parable of redemptive violence and used struggle imagery in destructive and unwise tactics. I want all of the ones issues and extra.
But, I’m thankful for The Upward thrust and Fall of Mars Hill as it has jogged my memory of the utter necessity of cyclically deconstructing my very own theology and my very own sense of calling.
Might I by no means be stuck within the traps of persistent and popularity.
Might I by no means be the supply of my neighbor’s non secular trauma.
And would possibly I by no means forestall pursuing the grace of the thriller of God at paintings in damaged puts, at paintings in me.
Tyler Tankersley
Tyler Tankersley serves as senior pastor of Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. He’s a graduate of Central Baptist Theological Seminary. 
 
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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

Embracing True Friendship: The Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother

Friendship is a valuable asset that enriches our lives by providing companionship, support, and a shoulder to cry on. But have you ever had a buddy who goes above and beyond—someone who remains closer than a brother? In a world where relationships can be fickle, a friend who sticks by us through thick and thin is a rare and priceless gift.

More Than Just Blood Ties

Consider the tie between siblings, which is based on blood and shared history. Consider a buddy who is more than just a family member. “One who has untrustworthy friends soon comes to ruin,” says Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This verse describes a friendship that goes beyond basic conditions. It’s a bond founded on trust, loyalty, and real concern for one another.

Continuous Support

Consider a buddy who is present not only during happy times but also during difficult times. This type of friend is unconcerned about changing circumstances or personal gain. They provide their presence, encouragement, and steadfast support.

Jesus expresses the core of such friendship in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. This selfless affection serves as the foundation for a lasting connection.

Journeys Together

Consider a friend you’ve shared many stages of life with—the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This shared experience forges a link that extends beyond surface-level exchanges. The value of companionship is brilliantly captured in Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 (NIV): “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother is someone who goes beside us through life’s ups and downs, lending a solid hand and an ear to listen.

A Mirror of God’s Love

As a symbol of God’s love for us, consider the buddy who sticks closer than a brother. God Himself offers an unbroken, unchanging, and everlasting companionship. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” says the Bible in Romans 8:38–39.

God’s love is the ultimate paradigm of true friendship—a love that is not conditional but remains faithful regardless of what happens.

Conclusion: Value true friendship.

A friend who sticks closer to you than a sibling is a treasure to be treasured. This type of friendship is founded on love, trust, and mutual care rather than convenience or shared interests. May we seek to be that sort of friend to others in our lives, just as God offers us His unfailing love.

In a world where relationships can be fleeting, let us create friendships that will endure. Let us be the sort of friends who are present in both joy and sadness, who offer unconditional support, and who mirror God’s unfailing love. We are reminded of the beauty of true friendship, which clings closer than a brother, as we welcome and cherish these unique and valuable ties.

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The Just God

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The Just God

The Just God: The Divine Balance of Justice and Mercy

The concept of justice is intertwined with the fabric of human society. We seek justice, responsibility, and reparation for wrongs done. But have you ever pondered a God who is not only just but also perfectly just? The Just God is a lighthouse of truth and righteousness, providing a profound awareness of justice and kindness that transcends human comprehension.

Justice in Pursuit

Consider a world where wrongdoers go unpunished and the disadvantaged have no recourse. The pursuit of justice is a natural human goal that reflects a feeling of rightness and order. And if we as humans value justice, how much more should the Creator of the universe, who is completely just?

According to Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV), “He is the rock; his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. He is a loyal God who does no wrong, who is straight and just. This verse reveals God’s character, which is characterized by unwavering justice.

Justice and Mercy in Balance

Consider yourself in front of a judge who holds you accountable for every action and decision you make. Imagine that same judge showing mercy and giving you a second opportunity despite the evidence against you. The just God is kind as well as just.

This delicate balance is captured in Psalm 103:10–11 (NIV): “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our iniquities. For his love for people who fear him is as high as the skies are above the earth. God’s justice is balanced by his unending love and kindness.

The Redemption of Justice

Consider a debt that you will never be able to repay—a debt of mistakes and wrongs that weigh heavy on your soul. In His perfect justice, the just God provides a solution. God provides a mechanism for justice to be served and redemption to be offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Romans 3:23–24 (NIV), “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This is an example of justice being met via the redemptive act of Christ’s sacrifice.

A Call to Justice

Consider a society in which justice is not simply a notion but a way of life. In our interactions with others, the just God calls us to exemplify justice. Micah 6:8 (NIV) states unequivocally, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. What does the Lord expect of you? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Living justly entails treating people with fairness, compassion, and respect, as the character of the just God requires.

Finishing: Adoring the Just God

The Just God asks us to comprehend the breadth of His justice—a justice that supports truth, requires accountability, and strikes a balance between mercy and justice. God’s justice and mercy merge in the person of Jesus Christ, offering us redemption and restoration.

May we turn to the just God as our ultimate standard as we traverse a world that frequently grapples with issues of fairness. May we seek His wisdom and counsel in order to live justly and treat others with love and justice. We find not only a paradigm of perfect justice but also an invitation to experience the transformative power of His kindness when we embrace the Just God.

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The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Pathway to Achievement

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The Joy of Serving Others: A Pathway to Fulfillment

The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Highway to Contentment

Have you ever ever felt the nice and cozy glow that effects from lending a serving to hand to a stranger, the enjoyment that lasts for days after the act of kindness? That emotion offers a way of the pride of serving to others. The straightforward act of serving to can give us a sense of function and pleasure in contrast to the rest in a society that incessantly pushes us to place our consideration on ourselves.

The Want to Serve

Believe a society the place everybody labored to fortify the lives of people of their instant neighborhood. The need to lend a serving to hand, proportion a load, and supply comfort is on the core of carrier. The instance used to be established through Jesus Himself when he stated, “For even the Son of Guy didn’t come to be served, however to serve, and to provide his lifestyles as a ransom for plenty of.” (NIV, Mark 10:45)

Serving others is extra than just a nice deed; it is a way to emulate the compassion and love that Christ proven for us.

Discovering Pleasure in Selfless Giving

Believe spending time with the aged or going to a neighborhood refuge to hear their stories and cause them to really feel essential. Those tiny acts of kindness won’t appear to be a lot, however they be capable to make any person’s day higher, create relationships, and toughen a sense of group.

A better feeling of pleasure emerges after we set aside our personal issues and be aware of the wishes of others. The Bible admonishes us, “Every of you can use no matter present you’ve gotten won to serve others, as trustworthy stewards of God’s grace in its more than a few paperwork.” (NIV) 1 Peter 4:10 We specific the particular talents God has given us through serving others, and it’s in those deeds of carrier that we discover authentic pleasure.

Have an effect on Unmeasurable

Take into consideration the impact if all of us realized to experience serving to others. If we take a bit spoil from our tense schedules to lend a hand a neighbor, supply a sympathetic ear, or donate cash to a reason we reinforce. Small acts of kindness have the facility to unfold, sparking a sequence response of generosity and optimistic exchange.

In step with the NIV translation of Matthew 25:40, Jesus stated, “Actually I inform you, no matter you probably did for this sort of least of those brothers and sisters of mine, you probably did for me.” No longer simplest can we fortify the lives of other folks we serve, however we additionally perform Jesus’ command to like and deal with the ones round us.

Development Relationships and Connections

Believe the sensation of camaraderie that comes from cooperating with others to reach a shared purpose. Folks come in combination via carrier, growing ties and friendships that differently won’t have took place. It serves as a reminder that we’re all part of a broader group, and that group would possibly take pleasure in the acts we do.

Serving others permits us to peer the arena from many angles and to realize the demanding situations and victories of other folks round us. Our lives are enriched and {our relationships} are deepened through this sensitivity.

Conclusion: Discovering Contentment Via Carrier

Every people has a skill that is able to be opened: the pleasure of serving to others. It serves as a reminder that our lives are meant to be about extra than just our personal pursuits; they’re an opportunity to fortify the lives of others.

Let’s thus embody the pride of serving to others, if it is by means of deeds of kindness, volunteering, or simply being conscious about their wishes. The easy act of serving would possibly supply mild and hope in a global that every so often turns out overwhelming. As we emulate Christ and prolong ourselves in love, we no longer simplest exchange the lives of others but additionally revel in a deep feeling of success and enjoyment that overflows into our personal hearts.

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