The discussion at the pseudo-fundamentalist blog Sharper Iron over the “corrupt communication” (Eph. 4:29) of Mark Driscoll has wound down. Passions ran high in a few cases. Men can disagree sharply and charitably. Unfortunately some men have lost or sacrificed this commendable way to interact on issues with men whom they disagree with.
We all agree the Bible is our final authority. What does the Bible say?
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers,” (Eph. 4:29).Let the Bible say what it says without the trappings of logic or Driscoll’s attempts to twist it to cover his corrupt and profane speech with a veneer of Divine authority. The irreverent speech of Mark Driscoll irrefutably fails the test of Scripture! Dr. J. Vernon McGee wrote,
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks,” (Eph. 5:3-4).
“Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you,” (Titus 2:6-8).
“Corrupt communication means filthy speech-that is rotten or putrid...The speech of the believer should be on the high plane of instructing and communicating encouragement to other believers. You can have fun and enjoy life, humor has its place, but our humor should not be filthy or dirty.”There are far better choices to learn from and/or follow as an example (Phil. 3:17) than Mark Driscoll.
Mark Driscoll is a sincere brother in Christ, but his shock methods are misguided and in the opinion of many harmful to the cause of Christ. He listens to the counsel and admonitions of men like John Piper. Driscoll, however, still clings to his offensive speech, which he repeated at the Desiring God conference. Several noted that in his lecture he repeated his pattern of twisting the Scriptures to cover his corrupt and profane speech with a veneer of Divine authority. The same misuse of Scripture that Nathan Busenitz addresses in his critique of Driscoll’s Harsh Language.
The Bible mandates the course of action for unfortunate cases such as this one.
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us...And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15).Commentary on 2 Thess. 3
“The situation with which we are dealing…is a time when professing Christians are consistently violating a command on some point. Furthermore, having been confronted about that activity, they refuse to repent. The Scripture offers clear teaching on this point. Even then, the goal of separation is not only the purity of the church but also restoration of the brother. . . . Separation from disobedient brethren can involve personal separation (a brother refusing to forsake some form of worldliness) or ecclesiastical separation (refusing to forsake some form of false teaching or unscriptural practice). (Mark Sidwell, The Dividing Line: Understanding and Applying Biblical Separation, pp. 55-56.
Do not have fellowship with those who will not listen to the Word of God. Paul is claiming for his epistle that it is the Word of God and to be heeded as a command of God. Have your fellowship with those who are in obedience to the Word of God and who are living according to its standards. (John F. Walvoord, The Thessalonian Epistles, p. 156.)
Paul is telling the church members what action they should take, not asking for an opportunity of taking action himself. “Note that man” means more than simply “notice” him. It means “mark him out,”. . . . The treatment of such a person is withdrawal of fellowship. The treatment is primarily intended to bring him back to his rightful position. At the same time it is punishment. It is noteworthy that Paul puts the injunction not to treat him as an enemy before that to admonish him. He is eager to protect the brother's standing, and to see to it that what is done to him is from the best of motives, and that it secures the desired result. (The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians, p. 258-259.)Dr. Ernest Pickering in his classic book Biblical Separation (pp.221-222) wrote:
When our brethren do things that are wrong--caused by an incomplete knowledge of or deliberate disobedience to some teaching of Scripture--we should not merely continue fellowship with them as those who have done nothing wrong, but we should warn them, remonstrate with them and seek to recover them to a Biblical position. . . . If one should ask, Does 2 Thessalonians 3 teach secondary separation?--then the response would have to be given, It depends on what you mean by secondary separation. . . . It is the principle of refusing to condone, honor or utilize persons who continually and knowingly are following a course of action which is harmful to other believers and to the welfare of the churches.