Driscoll’s apologetic

Mark Driscoll has been invited to write occasional columns for the Washington Post. In his first he was asked how to best present the gospel to atheists and skeptics.

His answer, as his answers always are, was beautifully Christocentric.

Q: What makes the best ‘case for God’ to a skeptic or non-believer, an open-minded seeker, and to a person of faith and Why?


Christianity is not first and foremost about a sacred place to pilgrimage to, a philosophical system to ponder, a moral code to live, a religious tradition to honor, or an impersonal god to experience. Rather, Christianity is about a person who claimed to be the only God and said he would prove his unprecedented claim by living without sin, dying for sinners, and conquering death through resurrection.

It’s a nice opener. The gospel in a nutshell. And he doesn’t shy away from addressing other areas, but he starts with Jesus. And that’s worthy of respect. More respect than others who like to sit on their blogs and throw stones because they don’t like his sense of humour…

His conclusion is helpful too…

“And so while there is no “best case” for presenting God, there are false ways of presenting God: as anyone in addition to or other than Jesus Christ. As Christians, our goal is never to lie to people by only telling them what they want to hear, or manipulating them to feel what they want to feel. Instead, we want to respect them enough to tell them the truth, and love them enough to do so in a way that is compassionate. We care more about the truth and the love than having the “best case.”

I’ve been wondering, given recent experiences with atheists right here, how to move the debate away from discussing theism/atheism towards Christianity/atheism. It’s a great tactic the atheists have adopted to avoid dealing with Christianity specifically. It’s much easier to dismiss a non-specific deity on the basis of dismissing all deities (Christians do something similar all the time, by rejecting all other Gods) than it is to actually dismiss the specifics of the deity people are actually putting faith in. But it’s a case of moving the goal posts to suit the game you want to win.

The temptation, when discussing the existence of God in the theism/atheism paradigm is to throw our lot in with other theists (Muslims, Hindus, Mormons etc) and see them as allies – when a better, more Biblically consistent model is the one Driscoll advocates. Using an apologetic based on Jesus.

That’s why I’m a Driscoll fanboy. That, and the description he gives himself in his byline on the article.

“A nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody.”


Ben McLaughlin says:

Good post, and I totally agree with your sentiments. Whatever shortfalls he has, everybody has shortfalls, so get over it. And when someone so vehemently and successfully points people to Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, I'd be a lot slower about criticising the guy.

Fanboy #2

Andrew says:

I really like his by on the article. it may not be the best wordplay ever, but his phrases are certainly memorable.

100% agreed. Driscoll is great value – and not one to waste opportunities. Also agreed that atheists avoid the Jesus issue.

Kutz says:

Yep, I agree. Very helpful responses. It's strange that he doesn't get picked on by the new atheist boo-boys as much as some others. Or not that I come across, anyways.

Is he too formidable for them to take on? I wouldn't have thought so. Too 'earthy'?

st_eutychus says:

The atheists I've talked to who I've introduced to Driscoll have paid him some begrudging respect as an interesting guy… though that was mostly based on his wikipedia article.

Andrew says:

I agree that Jesus – the historical Jesus – is the best evidence.
I'm not so sure that pointing to ID or the concept of irreducible complexity is the best. That seems fairly discredited from what I've read. I certainly wouldn't use irreducible complexity in a biological sense.
The fine tuning of the universe can go either way – it's unlikely that it would arise by chance, for sure, but then one might counter that we've actually adapted to these conditions, rather than the conditions being set up for us. If Jesus did rise from the dead, then other assumptions about God and the nature of the universe can follow from that.

st_eutychus says:

I guess this comes back to the old chestnut of who it is doing the "discrediting" and whether that does in fact render an argument discredited. But yeah, Jesus is the best starting point. Though it doesn't do a whole lot for the atheists starting from that point… as we've both seen.