If you have not listened to “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill” you should. It helps us to understand the so-called New Calvinism or the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement. It also helps us to understand the intersection between a part of the PCA and Acts 29 and that might help us understand some of the debates occurring today within the PCA.
Regular readers of the Heidelblog and listeners of the Heidelcast will know that considerable time has been spent here analyzing and interacting with the podcast series produced by Christianity Today and hosted by Mike Cosper (see the resources below).
In that interaction most of the time and attention has been spent on the nature and effects of Mark Driscoll’s Narcissism and abuse and on highlighting the differences between Reformed theology, piety, and practice and that of the so-called “New Calvinism” or the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement as represented by Driscoll and Mars Hill.
The most recent episode of the Presbycast (“Deconstructing 2021 and Big Eva with D G Hart”), however, hits on a very important aspect of the Acts 29/Mars Hill/Driscoll story that I overlooked: the role of the PCA, specifically the Church Planting Assessment Center (CPAC) in Atlanta, and Spanish River PCA in the formation of Acts 29 and Mars Hill.
In that regard it is interesting to note that this is the first thing one sees on the CPAC page:
Choosing and Retaining the right pastor is the key variable in planting a new mission.
Was the Apostle Paul “the right pastor”? After all, the Corinthians were not much impressed with him. They were interested in “wisdom,” and “power,” and eloquence but Paul came to them with “foolishness,” “weakness,” and stumbling: “I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor 2:3–5; ESV). They were much more taken with the self-proclaimed “Super Apostles” than they were with an actual apostle and they continued to be unimpressed with simple gospel ministry for, as far as church history knows, the rest of their history.