Editors Note: Maybe if we are lucky Old Man Cosper will throw in the towel and we can be done with this series. If you need to catch up the links are… Tell you what, just click on the tag that says The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill and the previous posts will pop up.
Well… it wasn’t bad. In the latest “bonus episode” of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill titled Everything is Still Falling Apart Cosper does a mostly good job covering the problem of self proclaimed pastors planting churches, that then get huge, and the men do not have the actual skills to be Chief Shepherd. Or to put it more accurately they lack the qualification for being an elder in the first place. And on that score I agree with Cosper, it is a problem and our pragmatics have made, at a minimum, the reformed camp ignore it. As Driscoll himself would say “shouldn’t we give a shiny gold star to the guy who is actually doing something?”
Cosper even puts forward a couple of solutions, which have the advantage of already being in place and readily available. Pastoral apprenticeships, and seminary education. And sadly this is where I must demure. Both of these are good things but they are not the silver bullet Cosper thinks they are. Apprenticeships seem good but I kind of got soured on the idea thanks to the Primitive Baptists who used that model and were about as cult like as you can get without breathing the name Warren Jeffs. And within the past twenty-four hours I have interacted with one seminary graduate who is the biggest moron to ever wander through the halls of Mid-America and somehow exit them with a degree. It’s been about five years now and still no church will hire him because he is genuinely that bad. So at least the churches are doing their jobs well but frankly the guy should have been booted after a week in a Soteriology class. So point lost to seminary. My second example is a local lady pastor* who has sent her “church” virtual because of high gas prices saying Christians should not have to choose between their jobs and faithfulness… I digress. Seminary can be great, but it is not a perfect solution. And it would be easy here to trot out Spurgeon or Bunyan as examples of non seminary trained exemplars. But let’s be honest they are the exception to the rule, and I can admit that. If I could paraphrase Piper, “You’re not Spurgeon!”
Therefore I will hand it to Cosper, a not bad episode, on an interesting topic that frankly needs more attention. However, and you should have seen that coming. The episode, outside of Driscoll being the jumping off point… Wait, sorry, no, that was Carl Lentz and Hillsong. Mars Hill got a couple of honorable mentions in the episode but by and large there was very little rising, falling, or Mark bashing. Ultimately, the episode was on a good topic and was leveraging the Driscoll brand to get listeners, which felt a little underhanded. Finally, I audibly rolled my eyes when Cosper sat down with Russell Moore to talk about Wendell Berry. It was a little smug and obnoxious.
So this is me trying to say nice things: nice things. That is all.
*Which the fact that this kind of thing can work its way through a seminary should still be jaw dropping. No women pastors or elders is kind of the big E on the eye chart. if you fail that test it is reasonable to assume you are failing all the others.