Friday, March 14, 2008

Re-Thinking Brighton

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! :-)


jul said...

I was really challenged by something Rob talked about recently saying 'some people can't watch that stuff but I can' or something like that. Of course not referring to Mark Driscoll necessarily but probably to the wing of slightly crazier charismania haha, but still, I was really challenged. I'm one of those people who usually ends up yelling at the t.v. or radio until I can't take it anymore when really if I'm a mature (maturing?) believer I should be able to humbly take the good and leave the rest right? I so appreciate your humility in all this. You've really grown in that this past year quite a lot!

And I know you will be blessed in Brighton, as will Mark Driscoll...

janelle said...

Thanks for your humility Dan. Acknowledging that you may have been wrong publicly is not easy to do!

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks for your wonderful encouragements girls!! Julie, I know exactly what you were referring to in that Rob sermon! I found it really challenging! Since we all first encountered his presentation of the gospel of grace - I've been on a "grace diet" and have totally abandoned any teaching that even hints of legalism - even teaching of Ern Baxter's that I am suspicious may include some law. But it was so good to hear Rob calmly say that it is "okay" - to just take the good and "spit out the bones"!!

Like you, I get FAR too emotionally involved in preaching! If it is a CD or DVD I end up shouting at the screen (or a Mark Driscoll interview ;)) and find my blood pressure is generally far too high! I think another mark of growing in faith will be to take this on board - and to be able to discard what is wrong and yet benefit from the good.

Thanks to you both for encouraging and pointing out signs of growth (I was about to say evidences of grace! ha ha you can take Dan out of SGM but you can't take SGM out of Dan!! ;) ... joke!) - again there's another reason why Church is so great. If we live as isolationist Christians never allowing people to get close to us, then we do grow with a distorted view of ourselves - either thinking of ourselves more highly or more badly than we ought!

James B said...

Awesome - this is a good point! I too was thinking about missing TOAM 08 but its true. No one is making us go to Mark Driscoll's sessions! It's not worth missing the worship and the manifest Presence of God and the prophecies and stuff just because of one speaker! I've seen plenty of other people walk out after the worship if there's a speaker they didn't like. I am sure I saw some conversative's leave before Rob Rufus's sessions! ;)

But you are right - it's too great a price to pay to miss the whole conference! Thanks for sharing what God is doing and saying to your heart at ths time! It means a lot!

Anonymous said...

Ha so if you have no interest in acting "dudely" then I am guessing you won't be interested in my friend C J's latest post - the greatest basketball player of all time;


Nick Cameron said...

Just a thought but aren't we supposed to become more Christ-like and in my Bible I see Jesus - yes 100% man and 100% God - who showed emotion - wept, got angry, filled with compassion, care and love - Dan - don't worry about what anyone says - you model yourself on Jesus......
Go for it bro!
Nick x

Luke Wood said...

Wow! I wasn't expecting that!

Thanks for your kind words Dan, I'm so pleased you'll be there, at least for some of it. I'm personally so excited about what God is going to do with us at Brighton this year, there is such a yearning for him to break out!

Like you, I get excited about being part of a family of churches on a mission together!