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03 June, 2009 / theexpositor

Piper, Driscoll, MacArthur, language, ministry

from a story at Christian

Driscoll’s interpretation of what many Christians view as delicate love poems shocked church leaders.

John MacArthur, a prominent evangelical minister, released a series of blogs in Pulpit Magazine rejecting Driscoll talking about sex in “garishly explicit terms” at church.

“It’s frankly hard to think of a more appalling misuse of Scripture than turning the Song of Solomon into soft porn,” MacArthur wrote in a blog titled “The Rape of Solomon’s Song” in April.

“When people can no longer read that portion of Scripture without pornographic imagery entering their minds, the beauty of the book has been corrupted, its description of righteous love perverted, and its role in sanctifying and elevating the marriage relationship deflected,” he added. “That preachers would do this in public worship services is unconscionable.”

During a pastors conference last month, Piper was asked indirectly to respond to the issue, especially given the close relationship he has with Driscoll.

Piper stressed that he would never encourage anyone to use “course, filthy, ugly, trashy” language in order to relate to a younger unchurched crowd.

He said he has already confronted Driscoll – who is theologically conservative and culturally liberal and who ironically learned much of the Bible from listening to MacArthur’s sermons – on some of the controversies and has told him to clean this up.

“I’m getting in his face,” Piper explained, noting that the Seattle pastor is growing.

The Baptist theologian said he is not going to go as far as MacArthur in deeming Driscoll unfit for ministry. He’s cutting Driscoll some slack because of the mission work he’s accomplishing.

“He’s walking a very fine line because he is rock solid doctrinally and he is accomplishing things in Seattle nobody is accomplishing in winning [people] to Jesus Christ,” Piper, who has stated before that he loves Driscoll’s theology, said during the Basics Conference in Ohio.

“You don’t need to go as far as you’ve gone sometimes with your language but I understand what you’re doing missiologically there and I have a lot of sympathy … because I’d like to see those people saved,” he added.

Even before MacArthur’s public statements, Driscoll had responded to some of the concerns conservatives have expressed, hoping to keep the dialogue gracious and be at peace with fellow believers.

Having become a hot topic of debate over the last few years, Driscoll stated, “The worst thing in the world would be that somehow I became the center of discussion when the entirety of my ministry and, to be totally honest with you, the burning passion in my heart is Jesus.”

“He saved me … he’s my Lord, my God, my Savior,” Driscoll said in a video response released by Jonathan Christman, pastoral assistant at Heritage Baptist Church in Owensboro, Ky.

“And my job is to talk about him.”