I know this topic is already storming on Christian blogs. I bet I am a little late to the discussion because I took a break from the internet this weekend. I did see Mark’s post on his blog and found it to be pretty calm and rational. You can clearly tell that he has someone editing his stuff now, which is a good thing. I do not want to write a major novel on this topic, because it make my blood pressure boil but I do want to point out a few things.
1. Christians should really question how we will be able to engage in winsome, generous, friendly dialouge with un-believers. I am once again saddened and discouraged by the manipulative, unthoughtful responses to this whole issue I have seen on blogs. Things such as, “well MD has been a jerk in the past so he deserves it,” or “firestorms seem to follow MD so it is once again his fault.” Both of these lines of reasoning are ridiculous and betray people’s inability to step outside of their prejudices and think critically about a situation. All of this to say if we slaughter and unfairly malign a fellow believer because we do not like their theology, how do we discuss issues like abortion, morality, marriage, truth with those who hate Christianity? I just do not get it. All of this is highlighted by my second point.
2. Even remotely implying, insinuating, or even whispering about gender issues in Evangelical circles will bring great condemnation by someone. This issue just always has a way of flaming up and out of control. For some people this issue just blinds them, and once they hear anything about it they go nuts, and lose all ability to think and listen. It is like talking race with Al Sharpton; once he hears a few key words he just shuts down and goes into ideologue mode.
It is sad especially in this situation, since Driscoll was not even talking about Egals/Comps he was just speaking about church planting. Granted, his understanding of church planting has a built in framework of Complementarianism, but his primary point was talking about what he believed it took for a church plant to thrive. And from what I understand this is exactly what all of the speakers were asked to do at the conference; give their advice and wisdom on what it took to plant a church. I just wish people could calm down with this stuff and realize that Driscoll was not even in the same time zone at the time and simply made a short sermon video on church planting, not because he wanted to propagandize to a bunch of church planters, but because he was ASKED to by the directors of this conference. I would say shame on the directors of this conference for inviting someone to present their ideas, and then censoring them just because one of the other speakers did not like what was said.
3. Last what Hybels did was wrong. No I am not a “Whatever Driscoll says is right, and I can not think for myself kool-aid drinker” and those that play this card are just looking for a way to make people who disagree with them feel marginalized like a little lemming. Anytime you take someone’s main point and extrapolate out of that something they did not say, or do not even believe then you are being unfair and misleading as to what they really believe. Just think back the last time you had a fight with your spouse and one of you latched on to one phrase and turned it into something it was not. Driscoll was talking about church planting, not spiritual gifts and how they relate to genders. Besides even that is a misrepresntation of the complementarian/egalitarian issue. Since it is not an argument of GIFTS but OFFICE. Hybels has been around the block long enough, and is smart enough to know the difference.
Last Last point. “The in the same building test” I absolutely believe that if Driscoll had spoken in person, right before Hybels and they had been in the same green room before and after, Hybels would not have been so quick to utter his remark. I call this the “in the same building test” much of this applies to blogging, things that are said on blogs would not often be said over a cup of coffee. So if you want to quickly jump to the defense of Hybels I would just ask you to think about if Driscoll and been present would Hybels been so quick to throw this comment out there? Maybe but it would have taken a lot more gall to go backstage afterward and look him in the eye.