Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #233 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Corinthians 16 today and our focus is on Lessons From Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church + Does Opposition and Resistance Mean That God’s is Not With You?.. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new in listeners in Lagos, Nigeria, Oyo, Nigeria, parts unknown, Russia, Uttar Pradesh, India, Oslo, Norway, Nairobi, Kenya, parts unknown, Italy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Beaumont, Texas, Orlando, Florida, Cleveland, Ohio, Champagne, Illinois and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Two short episodes this weekend as I try and atone for my verbosity over the past two episodes. Today we conclude 1 Corinthians and discuss two things that could be their own podcast.
Speaking of podcasts, I have been listening to Christianity Today’s podcast called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill church – it is all about how Pastor Mark Driscoll and others planted a church in Seattle, one of the most unchristian cities in America, and that church grew from a handful of people to over 10,000 in just a few years. Very sadly, things went awry and that church which had seemingly strong beginnings has disintegrated to basically nothing today, and Mark Driscoll resigned as pastor in 2017. The CT podcast chronicles the explosive growth of Mars Hill church and the several fatal flaws in Mark Driscoll’s leadership. To my knowledge, he did not have a moral failure in the traditional sense (like an affair, a sex scandal, drug abuse, theft, alcoholism, etc.) but according to many former leaders and members of Mars Hill, Driscoll was something akin to a bully in his leadership – it had to be his way. A few years ago, when speaking at a pastor’s conference, he said this:
Too many guys waste too much time trying to move stiff-necked, stubborn, obstinate people….There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus and by God’s grace it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done.You either get on the bus or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options; but the bus ain’t gonna stop…I’m just a guy who is like, “Look, we love ya, but, this is what we’re doing.” There’s a few kinda people. There’s people who get in the way of the bus.They gotta get run over. There are people who wanna take turns driving the bus. They gotta get thrown off. ‘Cause they wanna go somewhere else. … Yesterday we fired two elders for the first time in the history of Mars Hill last night. They’re off the bus, under the bus. They were off mission so now they’re unemployed. I mean this will be the defining issue as to whether or not you succeed or fail.
That is a graphic statement that is quite metaphorical – he is not talking about literal dead bodies, but fired pastors and leaders that were forced out at Mars Hill when they didn’t agree with his vision. Those fired leaders have been metaphorically run over by the “Mars Hill” bus, and Driscoll was trying to tell eager young pastors that this sort of decision was the difference between success and failure as a pastor. Honestly, this angers me because it is so far from what a biblical pastor – a follower of Jesus should say. We won’t explore this issue in depth today, but Paul gives us an instruction in 1 Corinthians 16 that applies to this situation and all situations:
13 Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. 14 Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Yes, be alert, yes – stand firm courageously contending for the truths of God’s Word. Yes, be strong and courageous. BUT, says Paul, Do EVERYTHING in love. When I hear Mark Driscoll talking repeatedly about running over people with his bus – even though it is a metaphorical bus – I hear somebody who has strayed far, far away from doing everything in love. May we NOT stray from this command, remembering that when we lack love in our character, habits and actions – we are NOTHING, says Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.
Next topic: Over 20 years ago, I was serving in my second church, and was a youth pastor at the time. Times were tough at that church – there was much division. The youth group had grown rapidly, and some of the church loved that, and some didn’t love it as much. The pastor was in the process of converting to Catholicism, and he would shortly leave. I thought God might be calling me to leave, and I sat down in a closet sized room in that church and opened God’s Word – almost randomly, and came to this passage:
8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a wide door for effective ministry has opened for me—yet many oppose me. 1 Corinthians 16:8-9
I don’t recall if that was the first verse I read, because it has been over 2 decades, but I know that God caused those Words to burn on the page, so to speak, and burn in my heart, and I sensed God was telling me to stay on for a time, and continue discipling the youth group. This passage shows us that we must be careful to interpret God’s will based on circumstances. The opposition Paul was facing did NOT mean that God wasn’t with Him, did NOT mean that God was calling Him to leave, and did NOT mean that Paul’s ministry wouldn’t be fruitful and effective. Indeed, as Paul notes – even though opposition was on every side, God had opened a door for EFFECTIVE ministry. Friends, effective and fruitful ministry can happen in the face of trials, tribulations, turmoils and oppositions. Trust God, and don’t be led by circumstances. Let’s read our passage.
Bible Memory verses for the month of August: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
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