Mark Driscoll and the Regulative Principle

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Sola Gratia

Puritan Board Freshman
So, I listened to his sermon on the Regulative principle found here :Regulative Principle | Mars Hill Church . Unfortunately this only served to confuse me. Driscoll claims to be reformed, but I thought part of being reformed was acceptance of the regulative principle. Also, what about things like announcements? I assume that they would fall under things that we can infer from Scripture, but what in the Bible would illustrate that?

Thanks
 

matt01

Puritan Board Senior
I am not able to listen to the sermon, so maybe I am missing something. What are you referring to in respect to announcements? I didn"t realize that announcements were innapropriate.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Annoucements aren't actually part of the worship service, so they don't fall under the RPW. It would be like asking where fellowship meals fall under the RPW.
 

Sola Gratia

Puritan Board Freshman
Annoucements aren't actually part of the worship service, so I don't see them falling under the RPW. It would be like asking where fellowship meals fall under the RPW.

I was using announcements (which he mentioned) as an example of the type of things he was talking about. He lists many things he finds to be wrong with the Regulative Principle, but most have to do with things that are similar to announcements. Although he also condemns the RPW because we don't do everything in one service - such as raising hands, dancing, etc. as well as some other critiques. Honestly the whole sermon confused me :(
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Annoucements aren't actually part of the worship service, so I don't see them falling under the RPW. It would be like asking where fellowship meals fall under the RPW.

I was using announcements (which he mentioned) as an example of the type of things he was talking about. He lists many things he finds to be wrong with the Regulative Principle, but most have to do with things that are similar to announcements. Although he also condemns the RPW because we don't do everything in one service - such as raising hands, dancing, etc. as well as some other critiques. Honestly the whole sermon confused me :(

I am going to do my best to be charitable towards Driscoll, so all I will say is that he is not Confessional and I'd strongly advise that if you are interested in learning about the RPW, there are numerous superior sources.
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
Hyatt,
There are several questions in your post. I'll add a few things to the mix. While a brother, as far as I know, Mark Driscoll seems to be an amalgamation of competing theologies. I wouldn't look at his work other than his personal opinion on the matter. He certainly does not hold to a historic view of the RPW as evidenced by his own ministry. While one could argue what items are circumstance and what items are essential, it would seem that Mark D does not have a robust understanding of the premises that underlie the RPW:

1- God has the right to govern his church
2- He has given us instruction on the matter

Another, competing "view" of the RPW is that of Dr. John Frame (professor @ RTS Florida, formerly of Westminster Cali, I think). I saw an email correspondence between Dr. Frame and another prof @ WSC. Right out of the box, Dr. Frame said he didn't agree with a key tenet of Reformed Theology; that the RPW applies to the corporate worship of
God's people and that Sunday (and presumably, the "ordinary means of grace" attached to the corporate gathering on the Lord's Day) only. Dr. Frame argues that everyday is to be under the RPW, which 1) makes the Lord's Day no more special that Monday @ work and 2) lessens the confines of the principle as no one could be "on" 24/7.
In conclusion, there are much better sources on the RPW than that of Mr. Driscoll..............
 

Sola Gratia

Puritan Board Freshman
I am actually working through the Westminster Standards in-depth right now. Also, he does claim to be reformed and says that he has a commitment to reformed theology. That is why it confused me, because he was denying what I understand reformed theology to entail. There is just so much information everywhere all the time that I end up confused. Mostly because my degree in religion came from a quite liberal perspective which I embraced until recently and I think I am feeling overwhelmed. :lol: Then I was reading about damnable heresy on here and that confused me more. Am I to be damned for not understanding much of what was being called damnable heresy? That scares me.
 

Sola Gratia

Puritan Board Freshman
I am actually working through the Westminster Standards in-depth right now. Also, he does claim to be reformed and says that he has a commitment to reformed theology. That is why it confused me, because he was denying what I understand reformed theology to entail. There is just so much information everywhere all the time that I end up confused. Mostly because my degree in religion came from a quite liberal perspective which I embraced until recently and I think I am feeling overwhelmed. :lol: Then I was reading about damnable heresy on here and that confused me more. Am I to be damned for not understanding much of what was being called damnable heresy? That scares me.
Being "not Reformed" is not, in itself, damnable heresy. That's just silliness. I have plenty of Calvinistic friends who, at least in the historical understanding, are not "Reformed." They are my brethren. I can rejoice that there ministers preach the Gospel. I can rejoice that they do not embrace Romanism. Does it grieve me that we don't all embrace the Westminster Standards? Sure. But it is also understandable. Mr. Driscoll seems, soteriologically, to be solid in that particular understanding, and, while I am uncomfortable with many things he has publicly taught, I do not consider the man a heretic by any stretch. That said, simply claiming to be Reformed does not a Reformed person make.

With reference to damnable heresy I must admit that I was wondering off into another topic. They were talking about things like the Trinity, which I believe in, but in terms and ways I had never heard before. Because I do not understand the nuances being discussed, does that make me fall into damnable heresy? They said not holding to inerrancy was damnable heresy too, which worried me because while I hold to it now I did not before. Like I said, I think I may be over my head. The things we talked about in college were process theology, open theism, Tielhard de Chardin, Westcott and Hort, the JEDP theory. I'm lost on the more "conservative" teachings of the faith because I've just come back to them :(
 

davenporter

Puritan Board Freshman
With reference to damnable heresy I must admit that I was wondering off into another topic. They were talking about things like the Trinity, which I believe in, but in terms and ways I had never heard before. Because I do not understand the nuances being discussed, does that make me fall into damnable heresy? They said not holding to inerrancy was damnable heresy too, which worried me because while I hold to it now I did not before. Like I said, I think I may be over my head. The things we talked about in college were process theology, open theism, Tielhard de Chardin, Westcott and Hort, the JEDP theory. I'm lost on the more "conservative" teachings of the faith because I've just come back to them :(

Brother, of course theology is crucial, as you sure understand, but that doesn't mean that you're not saved if you're not 100% orthodox in all of your theology. All of us are subject to error. We are saved by God's grace and that is a gift. You aren't saved by your perfect theology, for if you were, no one would be saved!

Yes, if we're regenerate, we will strive to immerse our minds in the Word of God, but that doesn't mean you will have it all perfect instantly. That's what Heaven is for. I think you can relax in God's grace; the fact that you care so much about understanding the truth of God seems to be a sign of good fruit! Trust in the gospel of Christ -- not in your knowledge and your theology. And then, in the peace He gives you, learn from Him -- His yoke is easy and His burden is light!

You can work through these issues one at a time, and that will be more beneficial than trying to figure them all out at once!
 

sevenzedek

Puritan Board Junior
Yes, if we're regenerate, we will strive to immerse our minds in the Word of God, but that doesn't mean you will have it all perfect instantly.

My old church members at the the Pentecostal Church of God where I first started following Christ would say amen to that! I wasn't perfect then, and I am not there yet. As THEY used to say so many times, "I'm not what I should be, but I ain't what used to be... hayek kwai ouse ianbehix—blah blah blah..." I can still say that; except for the last part. I'm still reforming.
 

ch0zen

Puritan Board Freshman
Driscoll has taken some big steps away from a traditional ''reformed'' teachings and practices. Again just adding weight to what other people are saying... he is good to listen to for his opinion, and even some effective communication tools, but as far as reformed theology is concerned in my opinion he's not the best person to listen to. (as im sure you're already aware).

---- but I thought part of being reformed was acceptance of the regulative principle.

my question is... are RPW and Reformed Theology completely inseparable? is there another thread on this?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
are RPW and Reformed Theology completely inseparable?
In brief, the answer is "Yes". The system of doctrine in the Reformed Confessions has the RPW spread throughout. It entails not only the Reformed understanding of the depravity of man and the fact that he is wont to worship God in idolatrous ways but, accordingly, an understanding of the Second Commandment and the care with which God protects worship of Himself.
 

MightyManfred

Puritan Board Freshman
Annoucements aren't actually part of the worship service, so I don't see them falling under the RPW. It would be like asking where fellowship meals fall under the RPW.

I was using announcements (which he mentioned) as an example of the type of things he was talking about. He lists many things he finds to be wrong with the Regulative Principle, but most have to do with things that are similar to announcements. Although he also condemns the RPW because we don't do everything in one service - such as raising hands, dancing, etc. as well as some other critiques. Honestly the whole sermon confused me :(

I think Driscoll's major aim is to confuse people who read the Bible and mislead those who don't.
 

sevenzedek

Puritan Board Junior
Annoucements aren't actually part of the worship service, so I don't see them falling under the RPW. It would be like asking where fellowship meals fall under the RPW.

I was using announcements (which he mentioned) as an example of the type of things he was talking about. He lists many things he finds to be wrong with the Regulative Principle, but most have to do with things that are similar to announcements. Although he also condemns the RPW because we don't do everything in one service - such as raising hands, dancing, etc. as well as some other critiques. Honestly the whole sermon confused me :(

I think Driscoll's major aim is to confuse people who read the Bible and mislead those who don't.

Can you back this statement up with any evidence?
 

davenporter

Puritan Board Freshman
I think Driscoll's major aim is to confuse people who read the Bible and mislead those who don't.

I don't think that's charitable or true. I honestly just think he's really confused and he has a serious pride problem (and over-contextualization problem). And some ecclesiastical and doctrinal problems, but I think those stem from the pride problem. God has used Driscoll to do a lot of good. Yes, Driscoll also has done some ill, but in general, he has done more to bring people to a better understanding of the Bible than they would otherwise have. Solid Christians won't be confused by him (probably because they would stop listening to him! :), but less solid Christians would be brought into at least a better-than-Arminian soteriology and encouragement to read and study the Bible for themselves. I really think that the crowd he reaches is the more evangelical (rather than Reformed) crowd and he brings them closer to our camp. Granted, it would be going backwards for anyone on this board to go back to him, but I don't think that will be a problem for most of us...

Driscoll does have some dangerous teachings that we need to watch out for, but as far as I can tell he is still an evangelical brother (if not Reformed in any sense of the word -- he's not even a 5-pointer), and we should treat him as such.
 

thbslawson

Puritan Board Freshman
Annoucements aren't actually part of the worship service, so I don't see them falling under the RPW. It would be like asking where fellowship meals fall under the RPW.

I was using announcements (which he mentioned) as an example of the type of things he was talking about. He lists many things he finds to be wrong with the Regulative Principle, but most have to do with things that are similar to announcements. Although he also condemns the RPW because we don't do everything in one service - such as raising hands, dancing, etc. as well as some other critiques. Honestly the whole sermon confused me :(

I think Driscoll's major aim is to confuse people who read the Bible and mislead those who don't.

That's very uncharitable.
 

John Carpenter

Puritan Board Freshman
You've accused a pastor of serious sin ("a serious pride problem") and doctrinal error ("some dangerous teachings"). Either document how you know those statements to be true or simply don't make them. If you have problems with particular teachings and practices, name them and deal with them specifically. Throwing around such broad accusations without substantiation is inappropriate.
 

John Carpenter

Puritan Board Freshman
There's no evidence there that Driscoll has anything other than an orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. In the quote provided, Driscoll shies away from the traditional terms "begotten" because he feels it implies a definite beginning. While I'd reject his conclusion about "begotten" because it has always been qualified as "eternally begotten", Driscoll's concern is to preserve the eternality and thus full divinity of the Son, which is a properly Trinitarian concern. So, if that's the best you have, then there is no reason to question the orthodoxy of Mark Driscoll at this time.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Driscoll is "reformed" in the "soteriologically Calvinist" sense (and some would raise questions about even that) and that's about it. That's a legitimate use of the word, though.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
There's no evidence there that Driscoll has anything other than an orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. In the quote provided, Driscoll shies away from the traditional terms "begotten" because he feels it implies a definite beginning. While I'd reject his conclusion about "begotten" because it has always been qualified as "eternally begotten", Driscoll's concern is to preserve the eternality and thus full divinity of the Son, which is a properly Trinitarian concern. So, if that's the best you have, then there is no reason to question the orthodoxy of Mark Driscoll at this time.

When a man both rejects the orthodox terminology on a facile basis that the term "begotten" plays into the hands of the Arians and, in the same breath, rejects Eternal Procession, I would say that's reason enough to warn others to avoid listening to him. He basically gave T.D. Jakes a "pass" on his modalism.

There's more to protecting the Trinity than protecting the eternality of the Son, there's also the need to preserve the distinction between the persons. I'm not interested in the promotion of any notions on my board that downplays the importance of these historic definitions.
 

MightyManfred

Puritan Board Freshman
Annoucements aren't actually part of the worship service, so I don't see them falling under the RPW. It would be like asking where fellowship meals fall under the RPW.

I was using announcements (which he mentioned) as an example of the type of things he was talking about. He lists many things he finds to be wrong with the Regulative Principle, but most have to do with things that are similar to announcements. Although he also condemns the RPW because we don't do everything in one service - such as raising hands, dancing, etc. as well as some other critiques. Honestly the whole sermon confused me :(

I think Driscoll's major aim is to confuse people who read the Bible and mislead those who don't.

That's very uncharitable.

Driscoll has been very uncharitable in his lordship authoritarian rule over his flock, his harsh language from the pulpit, his false visions from God about sin in his flock (while preaching!), his building up those who lead people astray with modalism, prosperity gospel, and seeker-sensitive none sense. He demeans the character of Christ in his books and sermons with his language, dress, and behavior. His leadership in Acts 29 turned into a business that crushed as many churches as it "helped".

I do not sit in judgment on his status before the Lord, but I will not give him a break.
 

MightyManfred

Puritan Board Freshman
Driscoll is "reformed" in the "soteriologically Calvinist" sense (and some would raise questions about even that) and that's about it. That's a legitimate use of the word, though.

To be Reformed, one must hold to the 5 solas. Being a Calvinist (which requires holding to all 5 points) does not make one Reformed. Driscoll is not a Calvinist - by his own mouth, he is a 4-pointer. One of the hallmarks of Reformed theology is the regulative principle of worship, which flows out of Sola Scriptura. One cannot legitimately claim to be Reformed if he is not holding to this principle.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Driscoll is "reformed" in the "soteriologically Calvinist" sense (and some would raise questions about even that) and that's about it. That's a legitimate use of the word, though.

To be Reformed, one must hold to the 5 solas. Being a Calvinist (which requires holding to all 5 points) does not make one Reformed. Driscoll is not a Calvinist - by his own mouth, he is a 4-pointer. One of the hallmarks of Reformed theology is the regulative principle of worship, which flows out of Sola Scriptura. One cannot legitimately claim to be Reformed if he is not holding to this principle.

Okay, then.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Driscoll is "reformed" in the "soteriologically Calvinist" sense (and some would raise questions about even that) and that's about it. That's a legitimate use of the word, though.

To be Reformed, one must hold to the 5 solas. Being a Calvinist (which requires holding to all 5 points) does not make one Reformed. Driscoll is not a Calvinist - by his own mouth, he is a 4-pointer. One of the hallmarks of Reformed theology is the regulative principle of worship, which flows out of Sola Scriptura. One cannot legitimately claim to be Reformed if he is not holding to this principle.

I think one could just as easily contend that one cannot legitimately claim to be "reformed" without holding to paedobaptism, but I digress.
 

John Carpenter

Puritan Board Freshman
Actually, Driscoll holds to the 5 points, he only emphasizes the potential sufficiency of the death of Christ for all. I think he's wrong to do so but it doesn't disqualify him from being considered Reformed.
One could make a good case that since paedobaptism isn't taught or described in scripture that it is a violation of the regulative principle and therefore someone who practices it isn't really Reformed! :)
 
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