Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Did Jesus Really Say That?

In a recent podcast, Mark Driscoll was defending his use of coarse language and humor by pointing out that, at times, Jesus also used such language. He refers to an instance where Jesus tells his opponents that, “their moms shagged the devil.” This is a line that he also repeats in his new book Vintage Jesus. Now is that what Jesus really said? Specifically, what Jesus said was “You are of your father the devil.” In the context of John chapter 8, Jesus is in conflict with his opponents in regards to his origins. Jesus refers to his relationship with his Father (whom he relates to God). They claim that their Father is God as well. Jesus says that how one relates to God reveals to whom they are related. If God were truly the Father of his opponents, then his opponents would love him. But their actions reveal whom they are truly related to and since they are plotting murder and lying, they belong to their father, the Devil. Now, Driscoll takes this to its shocking conclusion that Jesus says, “Your mom shagged the devil.” Here I think Mark is being shocking for the sake of shock. Jesus does not in any way imply that the mothers of these opponents of his had sexual relations with Satan. If that were true, and I take this to its logical implication, then Jesus, by referring to God as his Father, implies that God the Father shagged Jesus’ mother.

What did Jesus really mean by referring to his opponents as belonging to “their father the devil”? Jesus uses terms “father” and “children” in this passage in an ethical sense. They claimed to be children of God, not in a physical sense of being produced from a sexual relationship between their mothers and God but because they were members of the house of Israel and followed God their Father. Jesus states that their actions and intents actually show them to be more obedient to the devil, because nothing of the heavenly Father’s character is to be seen in them. The father/son relationship in this sense is referring more to whom you are identified with than with whom your mother was having relations. If Driscoll were correct, then every time Jesus refers to himself as the Son of God, wouldn’t Jesus be saying that God had relations with his mother?

As always, if you are going to be a shock jock, at least get the reference and the context correct.

(Brief shout out to F. F. Bruce for some commentary back up).


The MAN Fan Club said...

Sounds like something Eddy Izzard might say.


the MAN

RS said...

I agree...

jon said...

You know, for as much scrutiny as the Acts 29 network is already under, statements like this from Driscoll certainly don't earn them much respect from traditional conservatives. It's a shame that some of those guys seem to flaunt their spiritual freedom. It can really dimenish their cause. What a ignorant statement to make.

RS said...

ok...being the a29 guy, I have to back up the truck and balance this out, Jon. I understand what you're saying, but while Vic is right...and this is NOT what Jesus is really saying, we have to respect Driscoll's context, just like we would respect the bible's context.

I re-read that section of the book and it was basically Driscoll using hyperbole to make his point about Jesus offending folks. While the intended comment was offensive enough to Jesus' listeners, Driscoll simply cites one additional inference Jesus' listeners' could have made...and exploited it for the comedic purposes of his readers.

Ultimately, this book isn't meant to be a commentary...and it IS meant to provide a little entertainment to the average male reader that doesn't like reading books. I can't really see too much harm in this as long as he does not claim it as serious exegesis (and he doesn't).

As for earning the "respect from traditional conservatives"...I'm not really concerned with such things. For one, I don't want Driscoll (or anyone for that matter) to walk on egg shells when they've already been successful reaching a largely unreached culture while being themselves.

Second, if one WERE concerned with such things, you can't get much more traditionally conservative than J.I Packer...and he wrote a rather glowing recommendation for the book.

Anyway...I agree with the technical nature of what Vic said...but to view this one little phrase as some sort of justification for scrutiny of a29 or driscoll or a case of a man flaunting his freedom seems to be a stretch at best.

At worst, to say that men are flaunting their spiritual freedom is to accuse them of sin in the course of their actions. I hope you're not saying that? These are brothers, after all...and I consider you a good brother and a good man, Jon...so I only ask this with respect...believing you love Jesus and His Gospel.


jon said...

Rick, I understand what you are saying. I'm certainly not a critic of Acts 29. In fact, I'm more of a fan. My concern was that a statement like this could have resulted in a step backwards for the network after recent support from those such as Packer and John Piper. In fairness to Driscoll, I have not read how he uses the phrase in his book. What I gathered from this post, however, indicates that Driscoll also made this statement to justify the use of coarse talk. I meant to express more of a grimace than an attack. My apologies.

billy v said...

Once again Rick, you know my stance on Acts 29 and Driscoll and all of that. I was taking issue once again with what was being said in the context in which it was said. WE can't excuse Mark because this was "not a commentary" nor can we excuse this as entertainment. Mark used better examples and should have stuck with them (Phil. 3; Gal. 5; Isaiah and filthy rags). When I listened to the podcast, Mark was defending his use of coarse language and some offensive remarks because God mocks the "religious" and others who blatantly defy him. Thus, Mark can do it. I just think it is dangerous (and exegetically unsound) to even imply that Jesus might have said that. Mark can do better exegesis that that. I've called out MBC leaders for their poor exegesis (tactfully to their face). That is my point. I've defended the Acts 29 church planters in MO and their strong exegetical skills and their stance on the truth of the Scriptures. I'm just calling out an example where a good preacher and a cultural revolutionary employed poor exegesis. And if you know me, that drives me crazy.