Over the past few years, and recent months in particular, there’s been a alot deal of discussion around Mark Driscoll, pastor and co-founder of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He’s been the center of a good share of scandals, evolving around everything from divisive and controversial statements to plagiarism and misappropriations of church funds. As with many other people, I’ve been fairly vocal about my disagreements with Mark Driscoll and my belief that he should not be in church leadership.
But now, more than ever, it’s time to put those disagreements aside and support Mark Driscoll. Religion News Services reports that today Mark Driscoll voluntarily resigned from his position as senior pastor of Mars Hill church.
Often times we Christians have a dreadful reputation for shooting our wounded, so to speak. While I will never condone or support the actions that lead to Mark Driscoll’s resignation, and while my true support continues to be with those who have been scarred by his misdeeds, I do support his decision to finally resign and I want to stand with him in this voluntary step towards true repentance as his brother in Christ. The Bible, after all, is full of people who were unfit for leadership and yet still used by God in amazing ways: David slept with Bethsheba, Paul persecuted Christians, Peter denied Christ. All of these leaders committed heinous acts and yet went on to become some of the heros of our faith. And the action that precipitated their being used for God’s glory was true confession and repentance.
In his letter of resignation, which you can read here, Mark Driscoll wrote:
“I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Furthermore, he stated that:
“I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.”
While this wasn’t necessarily a confession, per say, Driscoll acknowledged that there were numerous things for which he had been confronted and repented in the past, as well as the fact that the church leadership is currently reviewing 1,000 hours worth of documents and charges against him.
Such sentiments and self-awareness are a good sign that Driscoll is on the road to true repentance. And that’s the best place to be used by God.
Even in my public disagreements with Driscoll, I’ve stated that I would support him if he chose to step down, repent and then felt called back to ministry. Driscoll has taken the first step, now it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is. Mark Driscoll has uncanny potential for ministry. He’s founded and developed a church that’s ministered to an estimated 14,000 people, no small feat under normal circumstances but especially in an area of the country infamous for spiritual drought. I believe Driscoll can and will be used by God through his humility. And I hope and pray that someday, when the time is right and if God so leads, he will return to ministry.
I didn’t support Mark Driscoll before, but I support him now. I humbly pray that he would continue to seek the Lord. And I continue to pray for those who have been wounded or hurt by Driscoll’s sin. But I also hope and anticipate his continued growth wherever the Lord takes him as he seeks Him in repentance.
Now’s the time to support with Mark Driscoll and his family. Now’s the time to stand with him in this step towards humility. Now’s the time to pray for healing and true repentance, not just for Mark Driscoll, not just for Mars Hill but for all of us. Lest we forget that Mark Driscoll’s not the only one who needs to confess and be saved.
Now’s the time, Church.