Yesterday, I posted a blog concerning Mark Driscoll and a recent controversy with some statements he has made. Immediately following the posting, I felt convicted over the manner in which I addressed the issue. I wrote the blog in anger, and I disguised the anger in immature humor, utilizing GIFs and Despicable Me characters to make Mark Driscoll sound ridiculous. In retrospect, I realize that this not only discredits my argument and makes a mockery of a very important discussion but was downright hypocritical of me. My suspicions were confirmed by a couple friends as well as my wife who approached me about the article, asking if it was an effective way to approach the topic and, more importantly, what type of message it conveyed to non-Christians.
And so I want to sincerely apologize for the immature manner in which I addressed a disagreement I have with fellow Christian in a public forum.
I admit that I was wrong for addressing Mark Driscoll in this manner and as it was an improper way to do so. If you are a Christian reading this: do not follow my example. If you are a non-Christian reading this: I pray you understand that it was not the ideal circumstance and that I was being hypocritical in my approach. I should not have written or posted in anger or sarcasm but should have approached the topic with greater restraint, sincerity, prayer and humility. This is the primary way Christians should deal with disagreements amongst one another, not through sarcastic blog posts.
For that, for the example I set, I apologize.
(After this post has been up for a while, the previous post to which I am referring will be permanently deleted.)
So there’s that.
While I regret the manner in which I wrote that post, not all of it was bad, and I want to echo certain aspects of it here, namely that:
“Mark Driscoll is a human being and, like me, he deserves grace. … it’s easy to be a mudslinger, to throw stones and be just as guilty as Driscoll of the negative reflections on Christ’s name. Mark deserves love and care.I see him as a fallen person, just like myself. And I believe that it is possible that he has some mental issues and needs therapy. But that does not justify his abuse of authority and his blatant abuse of the name of Christ.”
What is important to know if you are reading this post, whether you are a Christian or a non-Christian, is that Mark Driscoll currently holds a position of Christian leadership, many people look to him and view him as a leader and representation of Christ to the world.
While I do not want to portray Christians as a group of people who are constantly tearing each other apart, I also believe that we should constantly be holding each other accountable, and accountability can be public. Martin Luther, after all, posted the 95 theses in a public forum; that was not a personal attack on the Pope, it was a demand for reform.
My utilization of blogging as a voice for Driscoll’s removal from leadership is not an attack on Driscoll, it is a demand for church reform. This is, obviously, all my opinion, and I state it humbly.
But for those who read Driscoll, I encourage you to read the following and click the links presented to understand what is a very important issue with a prevalent church leader:
Driscoll has proven, time and time again starting in 2000 to present day, that he falls short of the biblical standards for pastoral duties. Nationally reported controversies have featured Driscoll in a number of scandals including (but certainly not limited to):
- reports from numerous employees about abusive and bullying tactics from Driscoll
- confirmed instances of plagiarism
- misappropriations of church funds, including one such instance when he used an astronomical amount of church money to buy himself a spot on the New York Times bestseller list
- controversial teachings on gender roles and sexuality, such as (for instance) that women who fail to please their husbands by providing regular oral sex bear some responsibility in their husbands’ infidelity
The most recent controversy involves a series of offensive and hurtful forums posts, in which Driscoll (who posted as William Wallace II, which he proudly admits to in his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev, writes with a callous sense of pride, publicly berating anyone who disagrees with him, frequently utilizing language like “pussy” to refer to other church leaders such as James Dobson, calls homosexuals “damn freaks”, states that he will not “answer to women” and they should ask their husbands instead and tells dissenters that they should “shut the hell up.” This is all public, it was on the forum of the church he was pastoring. This is not a one time thing, it is a pattern of behavior characteristic of Mark Driscoll’s career and theology.
“I thought you just apologized for this so why are you still talking about it? Why do you bring this up? The past is the past so why are you trying to tear down a Christian leader?”
Because the past is not the past; Mark Driscoll has neither apologized nor changed his ways as is clear by the numerous scandals that have littered his pastoral career.
I am not attempting to make another Christian look bad: I am concerned for the people he is leading astray.
The Bible is clear that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, teachers who appear to teach truth but spread dangerous lies (Matt.hew 7:15). The Bible is also clear that a teacher who may have the gift of prophecy but is devoid of love is “nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). While not everything Driscoll preaches is false, there are numerous warning flags throughout his career, as well as many instances in his teaching and words that are clearly void of Christ-like love. And Scripture is clear that the attachment of Christ’s name, the attachment of the gospel to bullying, abuse, hurt, emotional and sexual manipulation, is an abuse of the gospel message.
Driscoll’s book regarding marriage, while it is laced with Christ-like language, has undertones to it that have been condemned by several Christian leaders and carry very serious implications. In one of his sermons on sex and marriage, Driscoll taught from Song of Solomon saying: “Ladies, if you think you’re being dirty, you’re making your husband happy” when the laughter died down, he stated very seriously: “Jesus Christ commands you to do this.” Inferring the lewd sexual behavior between a husband and a wife is a command of Christ is no small exegetical leap, and certainly a stretch of any of Christ’s commands. Such notions are dangerous for men to hear, in a culture so pornographically inclined as ours. Driscoll’s attitudes on the subject where illustrated with greater detail in his public statements about Ted Haggard’s wife, a famous pastor who was caught having an affair. Driscoll said his wife certainly didn’t help the situation because she’d let herself go.
To be fair, Driscoll has show some humility. He issued an apology for his plagiarism. You can find it here. But most of the controversies surrounding his career have gone unacknowledged and Driscoll’s power has remained unchecked. This includes the forum posts from his “angry prophet days” for which he has never apologized. In those posts, and on this article, you can read about how he posts as William Wallace II and understand a little bit about his views on women and homosexuals. Also here’s an article about the dangers of his teachings on marriage, and here’s a link to some of the key quotes from the book. And here’s an article by John MacArthur walking us through the erroneous exegesis behind Driscoll’s teachings on sex and marriage, as well as the implications they carry.
Driscoll may have apologized for one of his public scandals but that does not account for much of the misleading and abuse for which he should account as a church leader.
My heart is for repentance and reform in church leadership. If Mark Driscoll stepped down from leadership, took five years off and went through serious counseling and repentance then felt compelled to return to leadership, I would be the first to follow him. Jesus, after all, reinstated Peter. We would be wrong not to follow a brother after his repentance. I hope and pray this happens with Mark Driscoll.
I apologize for the immaturity in which I addressed this situation yesterday. I apologize for the lack of prudence and humility I showed in writing in sarcasm from anger. I love Mark Driscoll as a fellow brother in Christ and I hope the leadership of Mars Hill shows him love and care. I, and several other people, truly think he may have some psychological problems for which I hope he gets the treatment he needs.
But Mark Driscoll needs to be removed from pastoral leadership.
I’m sorry for the way I addressed the situation initially. But I can’t apologize for calling for reform in the church. I do not apologize for demanding more from Christian leaders and (attempting, with humility) to set the bar myself.
Today, I can join with Mark Driscoll praying with him and for him:
We repent, O God most merciful, for all our sins;
for every thought that was false or unjust or unclean;
for every word spoken that ought not to have been spoken;
and for every deed done that ought not to have been done;
We repent for every deed and word inspired by selfishness,
and for every deed and word and thought inspired by hatred.
We repent for every lustful thought and every lustful action;
for every lie; for all hypocrisy;
for every promise given but not fulfilled,
and for all slander and backbiting.
Most specially also, we repent for every action
that has brought ruin to others,
for every word and deed that has given others pain;
and for every wish that pain should befall others.
In Your unbounded mercy, we ask you to forgive us, O God,
for all these sins committed by us,
and to forgive us for our constant failures
to think and speak and act according to Your will.