TT: What do you think is one of the biggest idols in the church today?
MD: Religious idolatry uses God for health, wealth, success, and the like. In this grotesque inversion of the gospel, God is used for our glory, as if not only are we supposed to worship ourselves, but God is also to be a worshiper of us. This kind of false gospel preaching is evident whenever Jesus is presented as the means by which an idolater can obtain his idol. Examples include Jesus being presented as the one who promises to make you rich, happy, healed, joyfully married, and parentally successful.
TT: What do you think will be the greatest crisis that will face the next generation of Christians?
MD: The trouble always begins with the erosion of confidence in the inerrancy, authority, sufficiency, and cross-cultural timelessness of Scripture. Once that dam is breached, there is no way to determine where the ensuing flood of error will surge. Still, for many younger people who comprise the next generation of Christianity, the early indicators are that we will see an ongoing increase of support for sex outside of marriage in all forms (gay, straight, and bisexual) as an acceptable Christian practice, with the endorsement of pastors who put cool before Christ. In the name of “love” and “community,” there is a trend away from preaching and practicing personal repentance of one’s own sin while only addressing institutional sin of others. This is what happens when we think too little of Scripture and too much of our own reason, which Martin Luther rightly called the Devil’s whore.
TT: What do you think is one of the greatest sins of many pastors today?
MD: Sexual sin is epidemic. I recently turned forty, and when I was growing up, the internet was not yet in existence. Today, the number one consumers of online pornography are boys ages twelve to seventeen. Young men enter into ministry with pasts that are filled with perversion. Many do not put that sin to death but continue in secret, shameful sin as pastors.
TT: What encourages you most about what you see in many pastors today?
MD: I work largely with younger pastors and am encouraged by four things:
- There is a resurgence of interest in biblically saturated, Christ-exalting, gospel-centered, big-God theology.
- There is a commitment to moving into major urban cities that have been without a strong gospel presence for generations in order to begin to work upstream where culture is created with the mindset of a missionary.
- There is an explosion of interest in church planting.
- There is a clumping of pastors from different denominations into networks for the sake of accomplishing more fruitful ministry together that also helps to lessen unnecessary criticizing and unholy competition among churches.
MD: Currently, I am one year into a two-and-a-half-year series preaching verse by verse through the entire book of Luke, with sermons that last over an hour each. By God’s grace, in the past year we saw the church grow by about two thousand people and crest at eighteen thousand on Easter Sunday. On Easter alone, we baptized nearly seven hundred people at Qwest Field in what used to be one of the nation’s least churched cities by reaching mainly twenty-something singles, especially men, who are statistically the least likely to attend church. We are seeing significant conversion and life change. I feel like a kite in the hurricane of God’s grace.
TT: What do you most cherish about your wife as it relates to your ministry?
MD: Grace and I met at the age of seventeen before I was a Christian. She was a pastor’s daughter and my first Christian friend. I got saved reading the nice leather-bound Bible she gave me. Over twenty-two years later, I find myself more intrigued by, in love with, and satisfied by her than ever. Grace helps me, but she does not enable me. In recent years she has made taking care of her husband and five children her ministry priority, and that has been a priceless blessing.