Just after the Elephant Room 2 conference, Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill church) wrote the above comment on his Twitter account. In case you can’t see the image, it reads: No one ever made a monumnet to a critic. He was more than likely responding to the firestorm that occured after the event. It was no small thing. Driscoll considers Jakes a brother because apparently Jakes is not a modalist. I certainly disagree and have made that clear in earlier posts, but let’s assume for a moment that TD Jakes holds to an orthodox view of the Trinity. I’d still consider him a wolf. Reason being that Jakes is still arguably the loudest voice in the Word of Faith, a movement that both Driscoll and MacDonald have been “critical” of in the past. It is another gospel. It relaxes the ears of listeners as it promises wealth and health for obedience toward God that manifests itself in the giving of a “seed offering” (ie money) to the one preaching the message. In other words, you give money to the church and God will make you wealthy and healthy. Sounds legit. Not.
That aside, Mark Driscoll seems to bang on the same ad hominem gong that his peers often play too. An ad hominem argument is a personal attack against someone that allows the one making it to not actually address an issue. For instance, let’s say that a friend and I were having a discussion and I told him, “Your position is invalid because Scripture plainly teaches here in A that B is the case.” Now imagine if my friend’s response was, “Yah, but you’re not a pastor. You don’t have a large congregation. You just write articles. You are just a ‘blogger.'” Instead of this friend responding to the Scripture and explanation, he disregarded my argument and consequently any future arguments by attacking who I was. His assumption is that I could never say anything good, and so an argument, no matter how sound and solid would be just wasted breath. It usually, if not always translates to: I can’t answer. As mentioned before, this has been a common theme lately. Steven Furtick released a video months ago entitled, “Hey Haters” in which he harshly criticizes his critics. The Elephant Room guys have been pretty vocal about bloggers, saying they are nothing but guys with no girlfriends, lives, etc. David Hughes of Church By the Glades has created an acronym from the word “blog” saying that it stands for “Basement Living Opinion Giving.” In other words, bloggers are just guys that live in the basement of their parent’s houses. This was even evident with the whole Ergun Caner situation that occured where he was caught lying big time about his past. He called his critics “haters,” “stalkers,” and of course, “bloggers.” I still find it ironic that almost all people who bash bloggers also have blogs themselves. Just recently, the issue of race has come up, and many white people who are theologically critical are finding out that their arguments fall on deaf ears because they aren’t black. Anyhow, in each of these cases, these men want to throw an ad hominem filter on people so that you won’t listen to arguments that might be well grounded in Scripture. It’s like telling people that a well is poison even though it isn’t. That news will cause people to avoid the well and not consider going near it.
What is so ironic about Mark’s statement is that he is being a critic of critics. So in an attempt to speak against critics, he contradicts himself. He is attempting to cast a negative light upon critics, and is standing under the same bulb. And is his criticism even true? Of course not. I can think of a “critic” and “hater” who lived a long time ago that is still remembered today. Athanasius of Alexandria lived in the 3rd and 4th century. He was critical of the Arian heresy which proposed that God was not triune and that Christ had not always existed, that He was created at some point. Thanks to Athanasius, we now have what is known as the “Athanasian creed” that confesses the orthodox view of the Trinity. It’s still confessed today, over 1,500 years later. That’s not really a monument I guess, despite the fact that there are monuments to him spread throughout various Roman Catholic churches and even the Eastern Orthodox church has a hymn they sing to him. Now, I’m not about to put an Athaniasius statue in my house and sing a song to him, asking him to beg Jesus on my behalf. But I think we can safely say this guy did some awesome things, being critical of others, and is still remembered for it. Can you think of others?
There’s Augustine who spoke against the Pelagian heresy that maintained that a man has the ability to not sin and can freely choose to obey God. There is Martin Luther who criticized Erasmus and the Roman Catholic church. I think his criticisms are still around today, especially amongst Lutherans. Then there is also Protestant guys like John Calvin, who were critics of the church and wanted to bring reform. Lastly, and more importantly, Jesus and the apostles, as well as the prophets in the Old Testament were extremely critical of those who perverted the Word of God. And their arguments were founded in the Word of God, not personal opinions. Here are some examples:
Their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, Devastation and destruction are in their highways.
Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, “Bring now, that we may drink!”
“You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, 10 and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? 11 “Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.” And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand.
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.
2 Timothy 2:16-18
I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.
3 John 9-10
Lastly, here are some ad hominems we can find in Scripture:
To John the Baptist:
“For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’
But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”
“The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
A blind man made to see by Jesus:
They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.
To the apostles at Pentecost:
But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”