Last week a friend gave me a copy of Mark Driscoll’s Confessions of a Reformission Rev. (not to be confused with Augustine’s Confessions). Driscoll doesn’t take himself, or anyone else, too seriously. At times, he’s caustic enough to peal the paint of a barn, but he’s also usually dead on. I’m not too far into the book yet, but today I read a paragraph that, even if I stopped on pg. 44, would make the book worth the price:
In the end [after studying through the Gospel of John and the Revelation of John], I realized that we labor with the exalted Christ, which gives us authority to proclaim the gospel of freedom. And we labor like the incarnated Christ, which gives us humility and grace to creatively demonstrate and proclaim the love of Christ to fellow sinners in our culture.
That’s just an awesome way of saying it. It’s downright deadly to the witness of the church when we neglect either of those two strands of truth. If we fail to labor with the exalted Christ, we either do it in our own power and authority (which is doomed to failure) or we do it with no power or authority (which communicates to the world that what we have to say isn’t all that important). The later seems to be the issue with the liberal mainliners, the new left evangelicalism and some within the emerging church movement. They enter into culture and people’s lives, but they’ve lost the message and the authority.
On the other hand, when we fail to labor like the incarnated Christ we display an arrogance and lovelessness that is altogether incompatible with our identification with Christ. This, I believe, is the error of the fundamentalists and the evangelical right. Too often they (maybe “we”) stand on the street corners with our bullhorns and scream with authority, but not with the gentleness and transparent love Christ displayed.
Which do you tend to drift towards? How can you fix it!?