Here’s Mark Dever speaking to the Mark Driscoll-related Acts 29 church-planting network yesterday (emphasis mine):
Our differences are enough to separate some of my friends—your brothers and sisters in Christ—from you. And perhaps to separate them from me, now that I’m publicly speaking to you. And I don’t want to minimize either the sincerity or the seriousness of some of their concerns (things like: humor, worldliness, pragmatism, authority).
Dever goes on to say that what he shares with the Acts 29 pastors is greater than what separates them: the gospel and God’s sovereignty in salvation.
Paul on Dignity
I highlight his mention of humor because I want to mention a verse that has stayed in my mind as I have observed the kinds of ministries Dever was gently challenging:
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity…” (Titus 2:7, ESV)
I believe Mark Dever has this sort of Pauline spirit in mind when he criticizes humor in the pulpit. Humor certainly has a place, but it’s got to remain dignified.
Salon.com on Dignity
Even a lost Salon.com journalist back in 2006 noted a lack of dignity in an Acts 29 leader:
“After [the pastor] prays for the continued fertility of his congregation, and the worship band cranks out a few fierce guitar licks, the sermon begins. Pacing the stage like a stand-up pro, blending observational humor about parenting with ribald biblical storytelling, [the pastor] peppers his message with references to his own children as midget demons and recalls his own past in stories about duct-taping and hog-tying his own siblings. He riffs about waiting in a supermarket checkout line behind a woman who said to him, “You sure got a lot of kids! I hope you’ve figured out what causes that.”
“Yeah,” he flipped back. “A blessed wife. I bet you don’t have any kids.” The congregation hoots and hollers. “That shut her up,” he mutters.
It’s always powerful to me when a lost person notices a sin I or my kind (teachers of the Word) are committing.