Great Question

Why do we give some of these guys (like Rob Bell, Joel Osteen, Mark Driscoll) such a hard time (and I am in Rob Bellthis boat), when they seem to be the only ones at least and trying and in some ways successfully “engaging the culture” we live in? The original question posed by Anthony was:

Question: how come people who claim to have the best theology to deal with transforming and reaching “the culture” seem the be the most ill-equipped, uncreative, and unsuccessful at actually speaking to “the culture?”

I would have to say that I think Driscoll stands outside of Anthony’s critique – at least to some degree.  I included him because he takes alot of hits (at least it seems) from some of his Reformed brothers and sisters.  Thoughts, comments, suggestions?Check out the original post over at Anthony Bradley’s blog.


6 thoughts on “Great Question

  1. I largely agree with what Anthony says in his post. I would throw in one caution though, and I really don’t want to sound like one of those ‘spiritual watchdog’ types, but it seems a times that the engagement of culture can be elevated to a place that scripture doesn’t elevate it to. I believe cultural engagement is extremely important and that we are naive to ignore it and so I applaud Rob Bell’s engagement BUT that doesn’t cover over the issues I might have with some parts of the message he brings. So applaud the cultural engagement as it deserves but don’t let it become so dominant that one can no longer humbly critique the message presented – that could mean giving them a hard time about their content, in a gracious, humble and informed manner of course, but a hard time nonetheless.


  2. OK… so they are reaching the culture. But with what? They can reach all they want if it is not with truth than who cares. Maybe the problem is they are too creative and are therefore perverting the truth (Osteen, Robertson, and others certainly are, and I am sure others on that list are as well). The point is not to reach the culture just to say you reached it… the point is to announce good news (truth) that is good and not dumbed down and worthless. We do need to be better but we should not sell out the truth just to “reach” people.


  3. You’re right on Dave. That’s where I think Driscoll fits on that list – he does a fairly good job engaging culture, but with solid gospel/biblical truth, and he does so on a fairly public stage (at least, for a Seattle public stage). I think what is important to consider is if there are ways these other guys are engaging culture that those with the more refined and reformed theologies can and should learn from, and even emulate.


  4. I feel a little like I need to clarify my thoughts re: these guys – Rob Bell in particular. I am not suggesting that we approve of them and emulate them without thinking critically over the content of their communication. What I do resonate with is the seemingly little significance the guys with the “right” content have when it comes to engaging culture.

    Does that make sense? Stephen and Dave, I am right on track with your comments. I think its safe to say that we would applaud the engagement, and interact critically with the content – right?


  5. Yes. The difficult thing is that when we “interact critically with… content” we may find that some of the specifics about cultural “engagement” are not worthy of “applaud.” We do need to engage, and sometimes that means pushing against.


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