Molly Worthen writes in the New York Times about Mark Driscoll’s ministry and its place within the revival of Calvinism among evangelicals. I think Worthen does some good reporting here, though her assessment of Driscoll’s theology is pretty negative.
“What is new about Driscoll is that he has resurrected a particular strain of fire and brimstone, one that most Americans assume died out with the Puritans: Calvinism, a theology that makes Pat Robertson seem warm and fuzzy. . . His message seems radically unfashionable, even un-American: you are not captain of your soul or master of your fate but a depraved worm whose hard work and good deeds will get you nowhere, because God marked you for heaven or condemned you to hell before the beginning of time. Yet a significant number of young people in Seattle â€” and nationwide â€” say this is exactly what they want to hear. Calvinism has somehow become cool. . .”
Worthen even slips in a personal jab at Driscoll at the end of her piece:
“Driscoll’s New Calvinism underscores a curious fact: the doctrine of total human depravity has always had a funny way of emboldening, rather than humbling, its adherents.”
The article talks not only about Driscoll’s Calvinism, but also about the fact that he is a complementarian (Mark it down as perhaps the first and last time you’ll see the word “complementarianism” in a New York Times article!). I think Worthen and the wider culture are scandalized by both of these. There’s nothing more politically incorrect than to say that humans don’t have libertarian free will and that wives should submit to their husbands.
And therein is the paradox of Driscoll that Worthen is grappling with. On the one hand Driscoll is the coolest and most relevant personality one can imagine, and on the other hand he holds to a retrograde, Puritan, patriarchal theology. This is a fascinating read, and I encourage you to check it out.
(HT: Justin Taylor)