Everyone is well aware of my outspoken views and opinions on Mark Driscoll. I've always been aware of Driscoll's ministry from a distance but have never really got into it in much depth. However our paths became crossed when firstly my parent's church began to have a lot more to do with Mark Driscoll and his "style" of ministry - and then of course the announcement that Mark Driscoll was coming to "Together on a Mission 2008" - effectively ensuring I wouldn't be. However ...
No I am not changing my mind. I've still got no desire to hear Mark Driscoll live particularly although I am beginning to appreciate benefits to what he has to bring to the church. I read his interview for the Newfrontiers magazine with interest. The questions (as always) are so telling. For example, what would you say if you were asked; "Given your vantage point, what would you predict for the development of evangelicalism in the West over the coming 20 years?". In light of all I am learning about the true New Covenant from Rob Rufus's teaching (as well as Terry Virgo, Bill Johnson, Larry Tomczak and others) - I would agree with Driscoll's first point about the gospel. But then he says this;
"And call for dudes to act dudely".
And suddenly I know why I am not going to Brighton for the whole week. However gifted and useful to the Church Mark Driscoll maybe, I really don't want to grow and model myself on the kind of manhood he is propagating. I would rather learn from a website like; "After God's Own Heart" - and the plenty of positive male role models there are in the church who AREN'T ashamed to participate in all the activities that Driscoll would see as "un-dudely" (such as crying, singing intimate love songs to Jesus Christ and generally being quite comfortable with displaying affections and emotions).
That being said!
I have realised that I cannot miss being in the awesome atmosphere that is Brighton just because of one speaker. I got an amazing text today from my dear friend Luke which blessed me beyond words. The fact that he was courageous enough to text me what He believed was on God's heart challenged me. Newfrontiers is a people I need to be part of and among! They are the most faith-building people I have been privilidged to meet! I can't miss that. I can't miss the God-honouring worship that Kate Simmonds will lead us in.
So although we're not going to book for the entire week at the conference I have in fact booked the week off and we will probably be in and around Brighton. If there's room we will probably go for a few day visits and get to experience a taste of the worship and the Newfrontiers apostolic and prophetic speakers. I first thought when I heard about Mark Driscoll going to Brighton - that 2008 would be conference-less for myself. However in the lavish grace and providence of God that's no longer the case! But I still can't miss at least being at Brighton ... it's been too foundational in my life and to miss it - is a price to great to pay! I've got no shame in admitting I was wrong in declaring I wouldn't darken Brighton's doors while Driscoll was in town! I was wrong. If the manifest Presence of God is going to be welcomed and valued above all other factors then it doesn't matter WHO'S in town!
See you there Luke! And thanks again for being the voice of God's love to me today through prophecy when I needed it most! :-)