In an effort to hammer home his point that the church is dying, Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll pulled up to a worship service at Mars Hill U-District Sunday night in a black hearse and was wearing a formal funeral-style suit.
The stunt also served as a promotion for his new book, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? which releases Nov. 5—the same day leadership conference Resurgence 2013 kicks off.
More than 500 college and grad students showed up to see Driscoll preach at the 400-seat auditorium. He spoke to the congregation about how we got the Bible today, why it should be trusted and why it is true.
Driscoll’s sermon included topics ranging from the number of manuscripts of the Bible’s different books to how close they are to their origin dates. He encouraged students to continually test everything they hear throughout their college years against Scripture.
“I was really excited for students to hear the truth of the gospel compared to what they’re going to hear day in and day out on campus,” says Drew Hensley, lead pastor at Mars Hill U-District. “People are telling them this is what you should believe, this is what you’re made for, and it’s absolutely against everything we see in Scripture. For Pastor Mark to come out tonight and share that Scripture is truth, it’s authority, you can place your faith and life in it, and it sustains you, I think that’s huge for students.”
“One of the things we see time and time again with our students is they might start really strong, and then a lot of lies come in,” Hensley continues. “They sacrifice Jesus on the altar of grades for the idol of career. We see waves of college students and their ups and downs when they start to believe in a false identity. To see their identity doesn’t have to be rooted in all of that but it can be rooted in Jesus is amazing.”
Sophomore Mahlon Houck says Driscoll’s message affected him.
“I definitely have less fear in leading a community group and not really feeling like I need to force the Word on people,” he says. “I just need to let it speak for itself, because it is true and it changes lives.”
In a letter addressed to “Christian” that was meant to promote the leadership conference, Driscoll writes, “Christians are being ostracized, gay marriage is being legalized, the bandwagon has stopped carrying us and has started running over us. The church is dying, and no one is noticing because we’re wasting time criticizing rather than evangelizing.”
“The days are darker, which means our resolve must be stronger and our convictions clearer,” he adds. “This is not the hour to trade in work boots for flip-flops. You didn’t think you were here to kill time listening to Christian music until Jesus returned, did you?”