All about Jesus

Vintage Jesus

Vintage Jesus (2007) is Driscoll’s book that purports to be about Jesus Christ.  But the book presents a false and irreverent view of Jesus Christ our Lord. As we show in this article, a feature of Driscoll’s ‘ministry’ is that he seldom refers to Jesus’ titles of ‘Lord’ and ‘Christ’, conferred on Him by God the Father. According to the apostle Peter at Pentecost, ‘God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ’ (Acts 2.36). So the rightful title of the risen Jesus is the ‘Lord Jesus Christ’. The risen Christ is exalted to the right hand of God in the majestic glory. Jesus Christ the Lord, is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, worshipped by the hosts of heaven.

But Driscoll makes a point of almost exclusively using the Lord’s personal name, ‘Jesus’, in his preaching and writing. Driscoll says in his sermon ‘Why should we worship Jesus’ (Part 7 of the Vintage Jesus series).

‘We’re Christians, we worship Jesus. I don’t say “God” or “Lord” or the big guy in the sky, I don’t say that kind of stuff…’ [see embedded video]

And this is because Driscoll sees Jesus Christ as a normal guy, a normal average dude. He writes: ‘Jesus was a dude.’ He says:

‘If we had seen Jesus as a man, we would have seen a normal guy carrying his lunch box in one hand and tool box in the other heading off to work. He did the normal things that actual people do, like farting, going to the bathroom, and blowing boogers from his nose… In sum, Jesus looked like a normal average dude.’[1]

Notice the vulgarity of Driscoll’s mind. Of all the normal things people do, like eating and sleeping and talking and walking, he mentions that Jesus Christ farted and blew boogers from his nose.  In Vintage Jesus Driscoll presents a picture of Jesus as a very funny dude who enjoyed a good joke. He writes:

‘In reading the Gospels, you get the picture that Jesus was actually a pretty fun guy because he got invited to a lot of parties with some pretty wild people and crowds gathered around him because they enjoyed his company’.[2]

He asserts that Jesus could ‘occasionally tell a decent joke… My suspicion is that both Jesus and his comedic timing were perfect.’[3] He surmises that Jesus’ jokes made the disciples ‘double over in laughter’, and that at least once Jesus ‘laughed so deeply that he snorted… Tragically, very little has been written on the humour of Jesus Christ… ’[4] Driscoll suggests an irreverent view of Jesus as a fun loving party man that loved telling jokes.

A feature of Driscoll’s irreverent approach is that he virtually exclusively uses our Lord’s personal name in his writings and sermons. In chapter 8 of Vintage Jesus, ‘Where is Jesus today’, Driscoll says that the Apostle John’s ‘report of Ultimate Fighter Jesus in glorious exaltation is recorded in Revelation 19.11-16. There, Jesus is not revealed as a glass-jawed hippie wearing a dress. Rather, he is an Ultimate Fighter warrior king with a tattoo down his leg who rides into battle against Satan, sin and death on a trusty horse, just like every decent Western from Pecos Bill to the Rifleman, the Cisco Kid, the Lone Ranger, Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill Hickok.’[5] He says that Revelation is ‘an incredibly important book because it is a book about Jesus… that reveals to us the picture of Jesus in heaven today, as opposed to on the earth yesterday.’[6] He goes on to explain:

‘Today, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father… From his throne in heaven at the right hand of God the Father, Jesus Christ is presently ruling and reigning as Sovereign, King and Lord.’[7]

In the rest of the chapter 8 on the exalted Christ, Driscoll uses the personal name of Jesus over 50 times.

In chapter 9, ‘Why should we worship Jesus?’ Driscoll uses the name ‘Jesus’ 50 times, ‘Jesus Christ’ 4 times, and the word ‘Lord’ not once, although he does quote Isaiah 6.1-3, in which the word ‘Lord’ appears twice.

In chapter 12, ‘What will Jesus do upon his return?’ the name ‘Jesus’ is used 71 times, and ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ once. An examination of just one page from this chapter illustrates this point. Here is a synopsis of page 223: ‘According to Jesus, no one is getting to heaven except through him… faith in Jesus alone… a Christian is in fact a conversion to both Jesus and Jesus’ mission. Not only are we to be converted from worship of people and things other than Jesus to the worship of Jesus, but that worship includes a conversion to Jesus’ mission… we are commissioned to serve him on earth and bear what Jesus called good, lasting fruit… we are saved by the works of Jesus’ sinless life… They have wrongly believed that once they have trusted in Jesus they are free to have their own mission… Every Christian will face a day of judgement before Jesus. …judgement was rendered at the cross of Jesus… we trusted in Jesus’ finished work… lived and labored for Jesus’ mission. Every Christian will stand before Jesus… lived their life in faithfulness to Jesus… because Jesus is just.’ The name ‘Jesus’ is used 17 times, but the words ‘Lord’ and ‘Christ’ are not used at all.

 The video

The embedded video shows some extracts from Driscoll sermons. In his sermon, ‘Why should we worship Jesus’, Driscoll says that he worships Jesus and does not say ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ and the big guy in the sky and that kind of stuff. He is up front that he does not use the word ‘Lord’. Again we see that he refers to the Christ of God in the most irreverent way. He presents a picture of Jesus as a fun loving dude who loved going to parties, made jokes with his disciples, and was very funny for he had a perfect sense of comedic timing.

Here we must point out that Driscoll’s casual approach stands in total contradiction of Scripture, which emphasises the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The apostles almost invariably referred to the risen Christ as the Lord Jesus Christ. The letters of the Apostle Paul to the churches virtually all open and close with reference to the Lordship of Christ, as we see below.

 The Lordship of Jesus Christ

The Bible teaches the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The central message of the Bible is that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’.  At the birth of Jesus, the angelic message from heaven was: ‘For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:11).

In his sermon on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter declared that God has made the crucified Jesus both Lord and Christ. The risen Christ is exalted to the right hand of God in the majestic glory (Acts 2.33).

‘Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Philippians 2.9-11).

The risen Christ, ‘is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords’ (1 Timothy 6.15), seated on the throne in Heaven.  All true believers refer to their Lord, the Absolute Monarch, by His rightful title, the Lord Jesus Christ.  And when we confess that Jesus is Lord, we glorify God the Father.

Lordship is inseparably linked to the name of Jesus. The apostle Paul uses the word ‘Christ’ over 400 times in his letters, the word ‘Lord’ over 250 times, the term ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ appears over 90 times. The name ‘Jesus’ on its own appears only 13 times.  The apostle Peter, in his two epistles, used ‘Christ’ 29 times, (7 are references to the ‘Lord Jesus Christ’), ‘Lord’ on its own 12 times, and the name ‘Jesus’ on its own not once.

Lordship was at the very heart of Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross. Paul makes this clear: ‘For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.  Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died, and rose and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living’ (Romans 14.8-9).

The Lordship of Jesus Christ demands reverent worship, for we are worshipping the Second Person of the Glorious Godhead, the One who has created all things. Heaven resounds with worship of the Lamb of God. Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, worship Jesus Christ, the Lord. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Revelation 5.11-13).

 Jesus Christ is Lord in Scripture

The letters of the Apostles Paul and Peter show their reverence and awe as they refer to the risen Christ as the Lord Jesus Christ. Below are verses taken from the opening and closing greetings of the Apostles’ letters to the New Testament churches.

 Romans

Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, (Romans 1.1-3)

Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, (Romans 15.30)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Romans 16.24).

1 Corinthians

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1.2-3).

If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (1 Corinthians 16.22-23)

2 Corinthians

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To thechurchofGodwhich is atCorinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (2 Corinthians 1.1-3)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13.14)

Galatians

To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1.2-5)

From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. (Galatians 6. 17-18)

 Ephesians

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are inEphesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 1.1-3).

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. (Ephesians 6.23-24)

Philippians

Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are inPhilippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1.1-2)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Philippians 4.23)

Colossians

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Colossians 1.2-3)

 1 Thessalonians

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, (1 Thessalonians 1.1-3)

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ… The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (1 Thessalonians 5.23, 28)

2 Thessalonians

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1.1-2)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (2 Thessalonians 3.18)

1 Timothy

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Saviour and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Timothy 1.1-2)

That you [Timothy] keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honour and everlasting power. Amen. (1 Timothy 6.14-16)

 2 Timothy

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (2 Timothy 1.1-2)

The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. (2 Timothy 4.22)

Titus

To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 1.4)

Philemon

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, (Philemon 3-5)

 1 Peter

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1.3)

 2 Peter

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, (2 Peter 1.1-2)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3.18)

 Conclusion

It was unthinkable that the apostles Paul and Peter would refer to the Christ the King, seated at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven, simply as ‘Jesus’, as is the practice of Mark Driscoll. They saw Jesus not as a dude, like Driscoll, but as the risen Lord. So what is the significance of the fact that Driscoll chooses to ignore the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Why is Driscoll so reluctant to refer to Jesus Christ as Lord? Surely, this is but further confirmation that he is a false teacher who is using the gospel for his own purposes. As a skilful false teacher, he takes delight in creating an irreverent, flippant image of Jesus in the mind of his readers and hearers. He wants to cultivate in his audience a flippant approach to Jesus, so that there is no fear of God before their eyes, so that they see Jesus as their pal, as a dude, a regular guy who enjoys parties and tells good jokes.

Driscoll’s false, blasphemous image of Jesus is compounded by the fact that some of what he says is doctrinally correct. It is the attitude and tone with which he speaks about the things of God that is so deeply irreverent. There is no fear of God before his eyes. When speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ, his tone is invariably crude, jokey and flippant, as he seeks to raise a laugh when dealing with holy things.

We do well to remember that ‘God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ’ (Acts 2.36). All true believers rejoice in referring to their Saviour, the risen Jesus, by his rightful title—the ‘Lord Jesus Christ’.

You can learn more about Mark Driscoll’s ministry in the book, The New Calvinists (2014), published by The Wakeman Trust and Belmont House Publishing. The book is available from belmonthousebooks.com/

 


[1] Mark Driscoll, Vintage Jesus, 2007, p32

[2] Mark Driscoll, Vintage Jesus, 2007, p39

[3] Ibid. pp39-40

[4] Ibid. p40

[5] Mark Driscoll, Vintage Jesus, 2007, p150

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid. pp152-153

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