A “Minstrel Free” Zone ***UPDATED***


Chicago was a virtual “pulpit pimp/minstrel free” zone this past week (well, parts of Chicago, anyway) because The Gospel Coalition brought sound biblical teachers to the city! Men like Driscoll, Carter, Anyabwile, Carson, Dever, Piper, and many more descended on the Windy City to present the pure Gospel – devoid of fluff, “kick your neighbor in the gut and say…”, sacrificial conference offerings, and other mess:

The Gospel Coalition – The Gospel for All of Life

We are a fellowship of evangelical churches deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures. We have become deeply concerned about some movements within traditional evangelicalism that seem to be diminishing the church’s life and leading us away from our historic beliefs and practices.

[…] We have committed ourselves to invigorating churches with new hope and compelling joy based on the promises received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. 

The sermons are simply too plentiful to add to my Sermon RSS feed Section (on the right side of this page), so please bookmark this article so that you can return to access the sound preaching recorded at this year’s conference:

The Gospel Coalition – Conference Resources

Also, for those of you who use Twitter (and I am slowing becoming proficient in the art of “tweeting”), you can follow many of these pastors yourself (which is how I found out about the conference in the first place).

***UPDATED*** Thanks to those of you who alerted me of Mark Driscoll’s “preaching style” (i.e. His crudeness). I humbly accept your godly rebuke. Unfortunately I just learned of Driscoll’s afinity for lewd preaching last night (I read MacArthurs article “The Rape of Solomon’s Song). I have tremendous respect for Pastor John, and I will not endorse Driscoll’s preaching as pure gospel. Again, thanks for caring enough to weigh in…


13 Responses to “A “Minstrel Free” Zone ***UPDATED***”

  1. 1 Meg April 25, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Dear speaking Truth,

    I am not aware of this coalition. My question is if they have a daily radio or some newsletter of sermons there?

    Thanks 🙂

  2. 2 Holland April 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Driscoll? Sound biblical doctrine? Instead of a pastor spiritually lifting up the Body of Christ to a higher standard, Mark Driscoll is dragging the Church through the gutter.

    From lighthousetrails:

    “I am astonished that evangelical pastors would highlight a pastor not only known for his crudeness and careless handling of Scripture, but a pastor who also credits foul-mouthed comedian Chris Rock with teaching him how to preach,” stated Cathy Mickels, former Washington state president of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum and co-author of Spiritual Junk Food: The Dumbing Down of Christian Youth.

    In response to those who will claim Driscoll is doctrinally sound, Mickels states, “Since when is it doctrinally sound to refer to Jesus as some ‘dude’ who tells ‘knock-knock jokes’?” Since when does Biblical doctrine tolerate the description of the Old Testament as ‘a red-neck hillbilly comedy’ containing mocking comments about Noah and Jeremiah?”

    Quoting from Driscoll’s book, Confessions of a Reformission Rev, Mickels states, “It also appears Mark Driscoll discovered early on that talking about sex could help him build his church. In fact, Driscoll wrote, ‘I assumed the students and singles were all pretty horney, so I went out on a limb… Each week I extolled the virtues of marriage, … oral sex, sacred stripping and sex outdoors…This helped us a lot because apparently a pastor using words like penis and oral sex is unusual, and before you could say aluminum pole in the bedroom, attendance began to climb steadily to more than two hundred people a week.'”

    Likewise, Mickels said, “His recent sex advice to Christian married couples is sure to draw attention, but it sounds more like counseling from Dr. Ruth than an evangelical pastor.” (See http://blog.marshillchurch.org/2008/11/30/)

    The memo details that in one of Mark Driscoll’s most recent projects, he undermines and corrupts gospel truth. For example, Christ said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again,” but according to Mickels, without shame this pastor recklessly undermines the words of Jesus for the title of his new book called, PORN-AGAIN Christian. Mickels asked, “Who would tamper with the words of Christ and then use them as an introduction to a discussion on the perverted world of pornography?”

    “It is just as puzzling,” observes Mickels, “why a pastor, who warns young men about the dangers of pornography, admits to frequenting a barbershop Driscoll describes as ‘providing the finest selection of waiting area pornography in our city.'”

    Mickels concludes, “Instead of a pastor spiritually lifting up the Body of Christ to a higher standard, Mark Driscoll is dragging the Church through the gutter. Is it any wonder we are losing spiritual ground in this country?”


  3. 3 DoubleGrace April 25, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t consider Driscoll to be a preacher of the “pure” gospel, as he ofter sullies it with his crude, wordly handling of sex and sexual terminology. He overemphasizes it.



    John MacArthur: The Rape of Solomon’s Song

    Article from here, by John MacArthur

    “Apparently the shortest route to relevance in church ministry right now is for the pastor to talk about sex in garishly explicit terms during the Sunday morning service. If he can shock parishioners with crude words and sophomoric humor, so much the better. The defenders of this trend solemnly inform us that without such a strategy it is well-nigh impossible to connect with today’s “culture.” (In contemporary evangelicalism that term has become a convenient label for just about everything that is uncultured and uncouth.)

    Sermons about sex have suddenly become a bigger fad in the evangelical world than the prayer of Jabez ever was. Everywhere, it seems, churches are featuring special series on the subject. Some of them advertise with suggestive billboards purposely designed to offend their communities’ conservative sensibilities.

    Quite a few pastors have earned widespread media coverage by issuing “sex challenges” to church members. These are schemes that make daily sex obligatory for married couples over a specified time—usually between seven and forty days. (How people are made accountable for this is a question I’m afraid to raise.)

    I would be the last to suggest that preachers should totally avoid the topic of sex. Scripture has quite a lot to say about the subject, starting with God’s first words to Adam and Eve (”Be fruitful and multiply”—Genesis 1:22). God’s law has numerous commands that govern sexual behavior, and the New Testament repeatedly reaffirms the Old Testament standard of sexual purity. Finally, in the closing chapters of Scripture we are told that sexually immoral people will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). So there’s simply no way to preach the whole counsel of God without mentioning sex.

    But the language Scripture employs when dealing with the physical relationship between husband and wife is always careful—often plain, sometimes poetic, usually delicate, frequently muted by euphemisms, and never fully explicit. There is no hint of sophomoric lewdness in the Bible, even when the prophet’s clear purpose is to shock (such as when Ezekiel 23:20 likens Israel’s apostasy to an act of gross fornication motivated by the lust of bestiality). When an act of adultery is part of the narrative (such as David’s sin with Bathsheba), it is never described in way that would gratify a lascivious imagination or arouse lustful thoughts.

    The message of Scripture regarding sex is simple and consistent throughout: total physical intimacy within marriage is pure and ought to be enjoyed (Hebrews 13:4); but remove the marriage covenant from the equation and all sexual activity (including that which occurs only in the imagination) is nothing but fornication, a serious sin that is especially defiling and shameful—so much so that merely talking about it inappropriately is a disgrace (Ephesians 5:12).

    Above all, Scripture never stoops to the lurid level of contemporary sex education. The Bible has no counterpart to the Hindu Kama Sutra (an ancient Sanskrit sex manual supposedly transmitted by Hindu deities.) Nothing in Scripture gives any vivid how-to instructions regarding the physical relationship within marriage.

    That includes the Song of Solomon.

    In fact, Solomon’s love-poem epitomizes the exact opposite approach. It is, of course, a lengthy poem about courtship and marital love. It is filled with euphemisms and word pictures. Its whole point is gently, subtly, and elegantly to express the emotional and physical intimacy of marital love—in language suitable for any audience.

    But it has become popular in certain circles to employ extremely graphic descriptions of physical intimacy as a way of expounding on the euphemisms in Solomon’s poem. As this trend develops, each new speaker seems to find something more shocking in the metaphors than any of his predecessors ever imagined.

    Thus we are told that the Shulammite’s poetic language invoking the delights of an apple tree (Song 2:3) is a metaphor for oral sex. The comfort and delight of a simple embrace (2:6) is not what it seems to be at all. Apparently it’s impossible to describe what that verse really means without mentioning certain unmentionable body parts.

    We’re assured moreover that the shocking hidden meanings of these texts aren’t merely descriptive; they are prescriptive. The secret gnosis of Solomon’s Song portray obligatory acts wives must do if this is what satisfies their husbands, regardless of the wife’s own desire or conscience. I was recently given a recording of one of these messages, where the speaker said, “Ladies, let me assure you of this: if you think you’re being dirty, he’s pretty happy.”

    Such pronouncements are usually made amid raucous laughter, but evidently we are expected to take them seriously. When the laughter died away, that speaker added, “Jesus Christ commands you to do this.”

    That approach is not exegesis; it is exploitation. It is contrary to the literary style of the book itself. It is spiritually tantamount to an act of rape. It tears the beautiful poetic dress off Song of Solomon, strips that portion of Scripture of its dignity, and holds it up to be laughed at and leered at in a carnal way.

    Mark Driscoll has boldly led the parade down this carnal path. He is by far the best-known and most prolific popular proponent of handling the Song of Solomon that way. He has said repeatedly that this is his favorite passage of Scripture, and he has come back to it again and again in recent years, culminating in a highly publicized series released on video via the Internet last year.

    I keep encountering young pastors who are now following that same example, and I’m rather surprised that the trend has been so well received in the church with practically no significant critics raising any serious objections. So we’re going to analyze and critique this approach to Song of Solomon over the next couple of days, including a look at some specific examples where the line of propriety has clearly been breached.”

  4. 4 Holland April 25, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    ST, thanks for the update. You say you have tremendous respect for Macarthur which I understand, however be on guard. I’m not saying anything negative regarding John but churches are heavily infiltrated by change agents (Driscoll is one of the many examples)

    Concerning false teachers John stated himself:

    they are dangerous when they tell truth because often they cannot be distinguished from true teachers. The key to being a successful false teacher is to tell as much of the truth as possible”(MacArthur’s Bible Study Guide, Joy And Godliness, p. 17);

    Just read this and keep it in the back of your mind so there won’t be any surprises when or if this turns out to be true.

    The Transformation of John Macarthur’s Grace Community Church &
    the master’s academy international


  5. 5 Douglas K. Adu-Boahen April 25, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Well for a start, Driscoll has sound doctrine – he just doesn’t implement that sound doctrine full-circle and so he comes up with stuff like his series on the Song of Solomon. Overall, my view of him has changed from one of general support to one of general disdain.

    That said, the Gospel Coalition Conference was definitely wonderful last week. I especially enjoyed Dr. Piper’s message – excellent! I missed a number of the sessions, so I have some catching up to do…

  6. 6 Matt Hartzell April 26, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I don’t think you should dismiss Driscoll so quickly. His theology is quite sound and his understanding of the current culture is quite extensive.

    Furthermore, he has been welcomed to speak at numerous events by and shared the stage with such godly reformed speakers such as Tim Keller, Don Carson, John Piper, Daniel Akin and Albert Moehler.

    Driscoll ministers to a certain “cultural context”. His “style” might not be welcome at a conference of rural home-school moms, but his message is pure, undiluted, Christ-centered, life transforming, for our good and His Glory, Gospel.

    Before you pass judgment, listen to a few of his messages or read a book or two of his.

    There are those who overly criticize Driscoll who would dismiss this very blog for its use of the term “pimp” as yet another example of Driscoll’s negative influence.

    In Matthew 7:20 our Lord tells us that we will know them by their fruits. From both the fruit Driscoll’s teaching in my own life and by the accounts of those around him, Mark passes this test.

    • 7 speaking truth April 26, 2009 at 6:24 pm

      Matt – I’m not dismissing Driscoll so quickly, I’m merely taking more time to research his perspective on scripture. You’re right, he has shared the stage with many men that I respect, but I haven’t succinctly listened to enough of his sermons (like I have Baucham, Piper, MacArthur, Washer and others). I’m not to sympathetic to the seeker movement (not saying that Driscoll is) but I understand the importance of making the Gospel message “reachable” across all dynamics. I just wince when the Gospel message is tainted in the process (again, not accusing Driscoll of that).

      Thanks for the note Mark – just know that I’m doing more research…

  7. 8 pierced April 26, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks for this posting IST – Mark Driscoll’s name was vaguely familiar, but didn’t know much about him. Your posting sent me searching – and I found a blog on an interesting discourse between Piper and Driscoll at a Resurgence Conference in Seattle.

    The link below is from Voice of the Sheep.


  8. 9 Pastor Jim April 27, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Hey ST
    GREAT to meet you by the way!
    Interesting ‘ments above. Definitely a lightning rod issue and one you should – over time and all the OTHER books you are reading – find a place to land.
    I tend to take the view that the blogging world, media and such don’t give me enough ammo to shoot down anybody who keeps company with dozens of godly men I respect. Nor does it give me a clue as to what it is like on the frontlines of downtown Seattle. If Piper and others like him will share conference time and hold him accountable and he’s teachable, then I’m not going to ring him upside the head.
    I think I said once on Broken Pastor that ‘I like this guy and a lot of what he says.’ emphasis on a lot – not all. Funny how most Christians don’t extend Christ’s awesome grace to one another.

    • 10 speaking truth April 27, 2009 at 8:58 am

      Same here, Pastor Jim – we enjoyed spending the Lord’s Day with you and your congregation. Lord willing, you’ll see us again soon. REgarding Driscoll, I agree that he deserves more investigation – and I will take the time to read his works and listen to his sermons for myself before making a person endorsement or rebuke – just as I have listened to Piper, MacArthur, Washer, et al. Even MacArthur in his critique of Driscoll’s Solomon Song sermon didn’t summarily dismiss him…

  9. 11 Lady D April 27, 2009 at 10:09 am

    IST, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Cathy Mickels personally and she is a defender of the faith. She has watched her city go down hill since Mark Driscoll has begun to preach the “ungospel” to the world. Mr. Driscoll may have shared the stage with some godly men, but so far he failed to follow their examples.
    I went to his church’s website and there are links to some very ungodly websites that use the word Chrisitan like it somehow redeems their filth. He is using the pulpit for his pleasure and people are and will pay a price for listening to him. The faith of many are being shipwrecked.
    It’s very sad indeed, this young man needs to be taken to the woodshed after his mouth has been washed out with soap~

  10. 12 Holland April 27, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    A precious reminder for all of us:

    1 Peter 1

    13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be
    sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to
    be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus
    14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves
    according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
    15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye
    holy in all manner of conversation;
    16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

  11. 13 Lady D April 28, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Amen Holland, amen~

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