Last week I woke up early in the morning after a vivid dream where I saw Oral Roberts & Mark Driscoll in the most peculiar meeting. I dreamed that my wife and I lived in a tiny, cramped apartment with cement block walls painted a pale yellow. I walked in the door of my apartment and there was Oral Roberts and Mark Driscoll sitting in the living room. I walked in and was amazed that these two guys were talking to each other, and talking to each other in my living room. This is where the dream gets fuzzy. I cannot recall all of their conversation, but towards the end, Mark says that he has a nagging cough and he asked if Oral would pray for him. Oral agreed and the three of us stood in a huddle.
My wife was behind us snapping pictures as Oral began to talk to Mark about healing. Oral said to me, “Now if there is no healing anointing, then he won’t be healed right now.” I felt a little embarrassed knowing that this not how Mark (or I) viewed healing. Mark wasn’t bothered by it, he just closed his eyes and Oral began to pray. The dream goes fuzzy from here, but the next thing I remember is they were both going to leave and I wanted Jenni to get one more picture of the three of us. We lined up against the wall and she snapped a photo of Oral Roberts, me, and Mark Driscoll. This is when I woke up.
Strange dream, I know. I don’t think these two guys have ever met. I don’t know if they ever will, but in one night, in one dream, they did indeed meet.
Certainly they have a lot in common. They are both leaders. They are both visionaries and vision-casters. They are both preachers. They both love the Bible. They are both gifted communicators. They are both builders—Oral a university (ORU) and Mark a church-planting movement (Mars Hill Church & A29). They both use media in ministry. They both have a deep passion to reach people with the gospel. They both have their share of critics. They both have made mistakes. They both continue to press on. They both have influenced me in profound ways.
They also have their differences. Mark is known for his indie rocker t-shirts and jeans; I don’t if I have ever seen Oral in anything but a suit. Oral is in the twilight of his ministry years; Mark is still in the early stages of his ministry. Oral is a Pentecostal; Mark is a Calvinist (although Mark does call himself a “charismatic with a seat belt on,” a metaphor I like a great deal.) Oral has been known to preach on God’s prosperity; Mark has been known to preach on God’s providence. (Both messages contain truth we can learn from.) Mark likes to use the word “election”; Oral likes to use the word “anointing.” Mark is from the Pacific Northwest; Oral is from Oklahoma.
Even in light of their very clear differences, I cannot get past their similarities. The one, most over-arching commonality is their never-ending love for Jesus. Like them or love them, hate them or admire them, they both are Christ-centered men. I can recall the times I have heard Oral tell the story of how he was led to “heal people like Jesus did,” or that when we receive the Holy Spirit “we receive more of Jesus.” And I often hear Mark’s manta: “It is all about Jesus; It is only for Jesus; It is always about Jesus.”
I don’t know if these guys will ever meet, but I am thankful for their influence on my faith and life. It is not only their influence, but the movements they represent (the charismatic movement and the reformed tradition) that have influenced me over the years. I am not a Pentecostal; I am not a Calvinist, but I am thankful for how these movements have been used by God to shape me.
Praise the Lord! & Sola Deo Gloria
As a bonus, here are two video clips from these two guys.
Oral Roberts is discussing his approval of the most recent (and very excellent) changes at Oral Roberts University. Mark Driscoll is preaching the gospel, apparently using the Apostle’s Creed as a rough guide.
(HT: Todd Rhoades)