Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mark Driscoll (of Mars Hill Church) - coming to Belfast later this year

(NB: If you're reading this on Facebook, the original post is from my blog). Set aside all of your (perhaps valid) perceptions of US evangelists - the ones on tv with the scrolling information along the bottom with their credit card hotline numbers, who beg for donations and infer that they can arrange for a Divine blessing for every £ or $ you send them.

Mark Driscoll, of Mars Hill Church, is based in Seattle and has been described as "the fierce new face of American evangelism". He has become well-known around the world (thanks to the internet age, where he generates the occasional bit of controversy) for a frank and pull-no-punches preaching style, and is making his first visit to Northern Ireland for this year's annual Mandate event in Belfast on 13 November. Having been raised in wee rural halls, I tend to avoid big things like Mandate, but I hope to go this year to hear him preach.

His books, Vintage Jesus, Vintage Church and Doctrine - What Christians Should Believe - give a solid foundation about the Person we should follow, what Christians should believe, and how the local church should operate.

In particular, Mark Driscoll draws the listener's attention to Jesus. That might sound like a strange thing to say, but if you tune in to what's being said and sung in many churches today, you might conclude that the faith being presented should be called God-ianity. They might be unconsciously drifting that direction - but they should be into Christ-ianity. On the radio just this morning I heard a local minister downplaying the uniqueness of Christ. In his many online sermons I've heard and watched, Mark Driscoll's aim is (as Hebrews 12 says) to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith".

There's a huge back catalogue of Driscoll sermons on the website, and I often listen to them when I'm working at my desk - far better than Stephen Nolan! I get through maybe 4 or 5 of them every week. Some traditional Ulster folk (a solid, reliable and cautious breed which I count myself among) will find Driscoll's style a bit uncomfortable at first, but the substance of what he says, and all without notes, more than compensates.

Here are two recent sermon clips from a series he preached entitled "Luke's Gospel - Investigating the Man who is God"

There are hundreds more clips and sermons on the MarsHillChurch YouTube channel - take some time and enjoy them.