The headlines read: “Mark Driscoll: Christians Facing Darker Days; ‘The Church Is Dying‘” and, “Mark Driscoll Pulls Up to Church Service in Hearse to Ask, ‘Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future?‘”
I have to laugh at his antics (or I’ll scream), but then, it isn’t just Driscoll. Many, many (but not all) pastors of megachurches, medium churches, and small churches have begun spouting “doom and gloom” propaganda from the pulpit lately (lately?). Gee, and I thought Christians were to be prepared to give an answer for the hope they have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15).
What’s the problem? Did “Back to Church Sunday” not work out this year? Obama is still in office, so maybe that’s the point of contention? Or is the beauty of this autumn just too much for these guys? Has the world not become a utopia like they hoped, and this is their little way of burdening people to try harder? Are pastors’ book sales (and major source of income, I might add) down, as the second article states right up front that Driscoll’s performance was partially to promote his new book?
It’s like they all jumped on the same bandwagon of guilt and fear-mongering, brought to you by the month of October, to remind people why they need to be in church. Because that’s where the pastor is, and he/she cannot “minister” to you unless you are there. Besides you petty human/layperson could never meet with God outside of a church. Just ask all those martyrs isolated and in jail, or all those sick Christians in hospitals or confined to their homes (this sentence should be read with dripping sarcasm in mind) if God is near them.
What irritates me the most about these theatrics is they are coming from those who were allegedly specially trained in the Bible; those who have taken oaths to uphold the Bible. Instead, these tactics make it look as if they were trained in oratorical manipulation (politics), rather than God’s word. The Bible actually speaks against manipulation and fear-mongering (see links below).
Showing up for church in a hearse has some added possible connotations as well. Old Testament prophets were sometimes known for being rather dramatic in their displays to bring people back to God (see Hosea 1; Ezekiel 4, 5, and 12, or Jeremiah 27). I cannot help but see an attempt to mimic this in Driscoll’s choice of vehicle, and the implications bother me. A lot.
What does the Bible say about fear?
What Does the Bible say about manipulating others?
Emotional Manipulation in the Church by MyFathersHouse
On Biblical Leadership, Submission, Control, and Authority by MyFathersHouse
Is a Controlling, Manipulative, Passive-Aggressive Christian an Oxymoron? by MyFathersHouse