Ah, I’ve Always Wondered What the Church’s Job Was
Texts: Isaiah 51:1-6, Matthew 16:13-20
Rev. Dr. John E. Manzo
August 24, 2014
Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle was removed from Acts 29, a church planting network he helped to found. Mars Hill is really not only one church, but is now in five states with fifteen locations. He is an incredibly polarizing figure. He purchased his own books to get on best seller lists, and has been accused of plagiarism. Additionally, his misogyny is almost legendary in all bad ways.
There is one thing that stands out about Mark Driscoll, however. He’s mean.
John Hagee is the pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. Like Driscoll, a mega-church pastor. In a sermon recently he talked about how horrible poor people were and he distorted a Scripture passage to proof-text his point. He regularly speaks about how people who disagree with his opinions are counterfeit Christians and speaks regularly of the end times and delights in telling his listeners about the torment the ungodly people are going to experience.
There is one thing that stands out about John Hagee, however. He’s mean.
There is also Archbishop John Myers of Newark, New Jersey. In his time he has admonished priests who give Holy Communion to pro-choice parishioners and divorced Catholics who remarry without getting an annulment. Refused to let diocesan teachers attend a national meeting for Catholic educators because one of the speakers was known to favor ordination of women and fired a parochial school teacher for permitting a debate on ordination of women.
Supported the Cardinal Newman Society. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb. (since retired), one of its stalwarts, has threatened to excommunicate Catholics who belong to liberal church organizations such as Call to Action. He is currently adding on to an already huge retirement home and charging it to the Archdiocese of Newark. Despite the controversy surrounding this, he has not relented in this.
I know a good many people who know Myers and there is one thing that stands out about him. He’s mean. No one I know who actually has dealt with Myers has ever accused him of having a heart.
I know. Someone’s going to say I’m picking on ‘conservative’ clergy. These people may call themselves whatever they want, they’re just mean guys who have used Jesus and ideology to say and do mean things to people. There are people just as conservative as them who are good people, great people in fact. These guys are just plain mean.
When we are mean and say we are merely professing the truth in love or preaching the true Gospel, we are missing the point. Being mean and hateful and doing it in the name of Jesus is merely behaving badly and blaming it on God and that is shameful. What they are doing, and have done, is turn people AWAY from God. God is a God of love and love brings people together. Love is patient and kind. These guys are neither. It’s time we remind people that these are folks who may have had some good moments, but in their lust for power and glory have lost sight of the God who calls them to love. I hope their hearts can be melted. Meanwhile, they deserve to be ignored.