Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. -- Luke 1: 1-4 (ESV)
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. -- Acts 1: 1-2 (ESV)
Everyone's favorite thief-pastor is back! Mark Driscoll, who has already admitted to stealing $200,000 of tithe monies to cheat the NY Times Best-Seller List, is pastoring again in Arizona. This after being thrown out of the Acts 29 Network of churches that he founded and running away from Seattle before his former church could discipline him. These are all established facts beloved to which Driscoll admits. Yet no matter these blatant disqualifying events, his defenders will always rise up to defend the indefensible. Mark also has found a friend in Charisma News who never says no to a heretic. Apparently money is on Mark's mind this month as we review the above linked article. Let us reason once more together and see how NOT to use the bible.
"The former treatise [Luke] have I made, O Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had given commandments through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen (Acts 1:1-2). Since Theophilus has a lot at stake, he hired Luke, a fellow Gentile--not a Jew who was looking for the Messiah, predisposed to some biased conclusion, but an educated and articulate man who has access to the apostles and other eyewitnesses. Theophilus commissioned Luke to go find the truth and provide a full report about Jesus." -- Mark Driscoll
Mark opens with one of the key verse sets for today. The point he is trying to make is the importance of giving money, in all likelihood to him. I imagine this was preached to his own congregation as well followed by a spirited offering. It is a shame beloved because God is not against giving. You do not need to create things the bible does not say. You could preach on the principle of sowing and reaping (not seed faith). You could preach on being a cheerful giver. You could finally set your folks free from the lies of tithing. Instead, Mark takes a barely known or referenced biblical character and reads into the text what he needs to preach his pre-contrived points.
So what do we know about Theophilus? The key verses are the only time he is mentioned in Scripture and both times was at the start of a book that Luke authored. From the Gospel of Luke introduction we can tell that Theophilus is a respected man, since Luke refers to him as "most excellent." We see Luke wanting to provide an orderly accounting of the ministry of Jesus Christ and that these things are in fact what has been "taught" to Theophilus. The introduction to the Book of Acts provides no extra information regarding Theophilus. Luke just explains that this account will pick up where the Gospel account left off. That is it beloved. Many have speculated that Theophilus was either a Roman dignitary, a wealthy and influential man, or even the lawyer that defended Paul. One theory actually posits that he was made up by Luke since the name Theophilus literally means "friend of God"; which was a common nicety among the early believers. The truth is that we do not know who he was because the text does not tell us. Yet what does Mark Driscoll conclude about Theophilus?
* He had a lot at stake
* He hired Luke
* He was a Gentile
* Commissioned Luke to go find the truth about Jesus
Where did Mark Driscoll find all of this out? It certainly was not in the text. You can possibly surmise that Theophilus was probably a Gentile but that is not stated as fact. There is no indication he hired Luke or commissioned him. Luke already knew all that had occurred. Other Scriptures reveal that he was a co-laborer with Paul as well as his physician. So he labored for the Gospel, had a career in medicine and based on his command of Greek, must have been an educated man. This early subterfuge is disturbing because these are trivial matters to lie about, which portends the worst is yet to come.
"This would have been a very expensive project; Theophilus funded two books of the Bible. Two thousand years later, had it not been for Theophilus' generosity, we would be lacking the largest contribution to the entire New Testament. It's very simple. Theophilus was a man who gave generously, thereby enabling Luke to do his ministry. Rich people can love Jesus, and they're supposed to give generously, and poor people can love Jesus, and they're supposed to give generously. It's not about how much you make; it's about what you do with it. Theophilus decided to pay for Luke's ministry. And we got two books of the Bible out of it." -- Mark Driscoll
* This was an expensive project
* Theophilus funded two of the books of the bible
* Without his generosity we would not have the largest contribution to the New Testament
* He gave generously, which enabled Luke to perform his ministry
Four more absolute fabrications. We see the narrative forming though. We see the point Driscoll wants to make. It doesn't matter how much money you have -- you can still fund ministry. Not Luke's of course but Mark Driscoll's ministry. Look this rich guy funded Luke and we got two books of the bible out of it! Who knows what we will get when you stop being cheap and fund me! Except the text does not say this was an expensive project. It does not even closely intimate that Theophilus funded anything. The ministry of Luke was not writing these two accounts. As a co-laborer with Paul he was spreading the Gospel. That was his ministry. We now have eight points Driscoll has made that are simply not supported by the text. Unfortunately, he was not done:
"And I can assure you of this: Theophilus today, standing before the Lord Jesus, doesn't regret helping get the news of Jesus out to the world. What else are you planning on doing with your money? What else are you going to do with your intellect? I love that Luke gave his intellect and time and energy and Theophilus gave his money, and together, to this very day, we are still served by both of these exemplary men." -- Mark Driscoll
Really Mark. You can assure me Theophilus stands before Christ saved? Based on what? The other places people are referred to as "most excellent" are people like Festus, the Roman procurator. Also, where did you get the notion that Theophilus undertook this as a mission to get the news of Jesus out to the world? Luke says he wants to basically attest to things which Theophilus has been taught. Both Luke and Theophilus died not knowing these two communications would become scripture. Once again however we see the true motive behind these biblical distortions. Mark Driscoll makes up no less than eight teaching points about an obscure biblical character just to be able to pretend that he and Luke teamed up their resources to advance the gospel. Why? So you can play the role of Theophilus to Mark Driscoll's role as Luke. Mark has the intellect and he is hoping you do not but that you have the money. He concludes:
"Luke set out to find the facts. This is important because Christianity is not a philosophical system, but a historical reality. Christianity is about one man--Jesus Christ, and one event--his resurrection from death. We can dismiss opinions, conjecture and hearsay, but facts point to truth that cannot be denied. And if you follow the truth wherever it leads, you end up at Jesus. Luke conducts his research during a historically significant moment when a window of opportunity is closing, about 30 years after Jesus returned to heaven. The eyewitnesses are dying, and if someone doesn't capture the information soon, like a morning dew, it vanishes forever. As an aside, it's incredible how Christianity is so often cast aside as a religion for the naive. Luke was intelligent and highly educated, conducting painstaking research for Theophilus who was also almost certainly intelligent and highly educated. No one can honestly dismiss Jesus without doing some homework, as Luke did. And his book is a great place to begin investigating the boy who is Lord. How can you best use your talents (like Luke) and your money (like Theophilus) to honor Jesus and help others meet him?" -- Mark Driscoll
Wow. This entire narrative is absurd. Luke did not need to do research! His Gospel account was not written until 60 AD, well after he had co-labored with Paul. Acts was written right after. It was not 30 years after Christ ascended. Driscoll is of course not concerned about a pesky thing like facts. Not when he has to prop Theophilus up into some wealthy benefactor in the hopes that you will be one as well. This lame attempt to fleece the flock is simply shameless. Driscoll asked in this article what I will do with my intellect. I will use it to expose you Mark for the two bit hustler and charlatan you are. I will use it to continue to remind people that you are wolf of the highest order, fugitive from church discipline, and a thief. Oh most excellent liar.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- December 12, 2018