May 25, 2009

Should We Sacrifice Doctrinal Precision for the Sake of the Gospel?

Last year about this time, I was listening to some sermons by Mark Driscoll (if you do not know who he is check out these two articles: Wikipedia, Theopedia) and repeatedly say “Jesus is our God.”  Something about that phrase rubbed me the wrong way.  I recognize that Jesus is God, but all at the same time time, He is not the fullness of God and if someone wasn’t aware of what was going on, it might lead them into a form of modalism.  So, I wrote Mark Driscoll expressing my concern about this, not really expecting a reply.  A couple of weeks later I received a reply from him, rebuking me and telling me to put down the books and get out and witness to someone.  While there is the sting of truth to that rebuke, since most times I would rather spend time with books than people, it still upset me a little.  It upset me because it seemed like Driscoll was sacrificing doctrinal precision, and about who God is no less, for the sake of spreading the Gospel.  Anyone that reads this, what do you think?


  1. I don't know everything that you said or everythng Pastor Mark said in my response may not be 100% on target. I have to admit, though, from what you have here I would have to sidewith Pastor Mark.

    I would also have to challenge your statement that "He is not the fullnes of God". (Colossians 2:9 seems to assert otherwise). Also, saying "Jesus is our God" is not really modalism. Modalism stemmed out of an entirely different conversation.

    Furthermore, I am not so certain that Christianity would go to seed if Pastor Mark's statements were embraced. Do we need to also proclaim Father God and that the Holy Spirit is God? You bet. But in certain context we would need to say Jesus is our God.

    To sum up I do think you are straining at gnats here.

  2. Also I may add another question alongside your title.

    Should we sacrifice doctrinal precision for the sake of the gospel?

    How about asking this too...

    Should we sacrifice the gospel for the sake of doctrinal precision?

  3. Your assessment is fair enough. Something about it still feels wrong to me, but as you probably know by now, I do have a tendency to strain at gnats. Just for the sake of understanding I have a question: if Jesus = God, does God = Jesus? Because that is where I see the problem.

    And if I even have to answer the second question in the second post, then we have problems my friend...

  4. Please don't take that last statement the wrong way. I just hope that you wouldn't think that I would minimize the Gospel for the sake of doctrine. There should be a balance, I think, sacrificing neither of the two.

  5. David,

    God does not equal Jesus. But Jesus does equal God. Again, I did not listen to Driscoll's sermon, your letter, or his response. However, from what I can see Driscoll is not saying God=Jesus. Saying Jesus is our God is not saying God is our Jesus.

    Also, I know that you understand the ludicrisoy of the second question. My point in making that question is to say that both questions are a ludicrous and a little unfair.

    Two questions for you.
    1) How doctrinally precise are you suggesting?
    2) What are you doing to cultivate the truth of Driscoll's rebuke in your life?

  6. As for your first question, I am not sure how doctrinally precise we should be in our presentation of Christ and His Gospel, and that was the point of this blog post, but I think I messed up on getting to that.

    Your second question, I am not sure about. Especially in the last 6 months, I have spent more time with my nose in books than I have for a while. However, I have also made more attempts at sharing the Gospel than I have in my Christian life (besides the twice weekly that I did while the YP @ MC), which isn't saying much...

    To tell you the truth, in many ways, I am just afraid of being around people and especially to talk to them. It is one thing to do it from a stage or a pulpit, where I am removed from them and don't actually have to interact with them. It is another to be involved in their lives and speak the Gospel to them through that. I want to be like that, though...


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