As my wife and I walked from the parking lot into the Expo Center on Tuesday morning, we were confronted by a man on the sidewalk who was handing out fliers. That is not an unusual occurrence during the convention, so I took a copy of what he was distributing. As a reader, if something has words on it, I immediately start reading. That can be a hazardous habit—especially when walking or driving. As I successfully avoided running into things while I walked and skimmed, I realized the nature of the document I was reading. It was a slanderous diatribe by a group called the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association directed at Mark Driscoll. I am very familiar with Driscoll’s ministry, his theology, and his past penchant for the use of shocking (sometimes immoral) language. I agree with one of his mentors, John Piper, that such language is wrong and entirely out of place in pastoral ministry. I also understand that, when confronted by men like Piper, Driscoll has repented of using such language. Of course, none of that was pointed out in the paper that was handed to me. Instead, much of the language for which he has since repented was published as if Driscoll is continually saying it to this day. Additionally, Driscoll and his past behavior were linked to Dr. Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Ed Stetzer, Director of LifeWay Research. The paper sought to drag these fine men’s names through the mudhole of Driscoll’s past sins that it created. Knowing the backstory, I was able to see the theme of the paper while skimming and walking into the Expo Center. Before we reached the convention hall, I had successfully deposited it where it belonged—the trash can.
But then came the regretful moment. No sooner had we reached our seats than my wife remembered that she had left her sweater in the car. As I walked out to get it for her, I told myself to avoid the man with the papers. I did not want to engage him because I know me—and James 3:8-9 was rolling around in my head. I tried to avoid him. But he practically ran up to me to insure I had one of his destructive papers. I told him that I had already received one and did not need another (whew, passed that test… but not for long). He immediately replied, “Well, what did you think?” Regretfully, I told him—and not in a constructively exhortatory manner. Fortunately, conviction grabbed me before I could respond to his implication that I must be a pervert for “supporting” the “perverted” Mark Driscoll. Thank God for restraint in the midst of regret.