To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in us. C.S Lewis
A recent news headline involving controversial Pastor Mark Driscoll involves some of his work containing ‘plagiarized’ pieces. Although his publisher, Tyndale Publishers have investigated and found the work to be in proper order and Logos publisher have pulled various pieces to investigate further, and his church, Mars Hill, has issued an admission that some things have not been attributed correctly (in their opinion the fault of the researcher not documenting things properly) have made it clear it is accidental, the crusade to slay Mark Driscoll and his ministry continues. And most of it is by other Christians. I don’t understand.
I don’t understand the quick judgment, nor do I understand the escalation to name calling and cruelty. I’ve engaged on a few forums about the situation and was told everything from I didn’t understand intellectual property, (too stupid), to being told I should make my ‘attacks’ on Mark Driscoll himself. But, my posts have not been attacks they are simply a call to hold to some biblical behavior.
First of all, I am reminded of Jesus’s words, that the person without sin should cast the first stone at the adulterous woman. I reckon in today’s world that still works. And no one is without sin. (John 8:7) Also, Matthew 7:1 Judge not that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Do we not take this seriously? Or are we willing to judge and be judged by how we judged others? Do we forget we’re all made by the same creator with the same free will and the same ability to sin?
Matthew 7:3-6 why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye.”
Someone suggested that I think that we should just ‘smile’ at Mark Driscoll because he is a pastor and he should not be held accountable. That is absolutely the wrong assumption to make. I believe he should be held accountable, but there is a way to do it which is also explained in the Bible.
The Bible is amazing. There is nothing in life we cannot find how to handle in the words contained in that book. First of all, if we check Matthew 18:15-17 we find steps to handle a situation if we’ve been wronged. Does it indicate we should go on a smear campaign and shout our accusations from the roof – or in this case on the internet? Nope. We’re supposed to go in private and talk to the person. Obviously, if a person feels wronged in this case (if their work were plagiarized, or if they feel like Mark should be held to a higher standard and it’s their job to do it) they should write him an email or letter. Taking your accusations, especially when you have no proof, and more so when it doesn’t involve you, is wrong.
To be sure Mark Driscoll as a teacher should be held to a higher standard. All teachers are. In James 3:1 we are warned to not become teachers because teachers will be judged with greater strictness. But, that’s God’s job, not ours. And, further in James 2:13 it states, “Judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy…”
The internet is really a wild place. To have a rational discussion is almost impossible. Immediately, after encouraging folks to either write to Mark directly, to cease judging I was told I didn’t understand the situation, I was attacking people, and I was stupid. A person who also took the stance that I did was called an idiot. I have been attacked like that before, and perhaps I should learn my lesson, but I’m concerned (overly so perhaps) that Christians live Christ like lives, even online. The world is watching. And, I have an over developed sense of justice I guess, and it’s my hope that Christians will want to do the right thing.
“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law, and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:11
I understand that we are also supposed to watch over our brothers and sisters and I certainly hope if someone sees/thinks I’ve slipped into sin they will talk with me about it. But, that’s just it, talk to me, don’t put it all over the internet. Of course I’m not a famous anybody so there’s no glamor in taking me down.
Mark Driscoll doesn’t think he’s anybody special either, his tag line is, “A nobody trying to tell everybody about a somebody.” And he has reached thousands for Christ.
So I ask myself, in this online battle of judging, name calling, and unfounded accusations who’s the winner? Not Jesus.
By Linda Mae Baldwin | Freelance writer