Mark Driscoll is My New Best Friend

Mark Driscoll is My New Best FriendIn general, I like to avoid writing about divisive people. I find no joy or profit to be had in writing about someone with whom I theologically or fundamentally disagree. I don’t like to pick fights, as it were. And, as I’ve said before, I never want to stir up controversy for controversy’s sake (despite what some might believe).

But recent events have driven me to take notice. What I once shrugged off as Christian banter, I now recognize as something much more. I now know that Mark Driscoll has a lot of enemies, those who would desire to see him fail, be fired, or worse. And well, I just wanted to let Mark Driscoll know that he is my new best friend. You see…

I’ve begun to grow increasingly tired of all of the Driscoll bashing, hating, belittling, and finger-pointing. It seems as though every time I set out to read a blog or scan my feeds, there appears yet another target on Driscoll’s back.

Matthew Paul Turner, on his blog Jesus Needs New PR, recently published a two-part blog series describing an incident which MPT used to illustrate Driscoll and Mars Hill as “abusive,” which led others to call the church “cult-like.” Author and blogger Rachel Held Evans wrote a post titled Mark Driscoll is a Bully, in which she decried his inappropriate behavior and defamatory language towards homosexuals. In all fairness, I am not picking on these two bloggers, either. They are simply examples of the type of rhetoric surrounding Driscoll.

To be clear, I do not advocate Driscoll’s actions in verbally attacking men he may find effeminate. Nor do I condone church abuse in any way, obviously (though I wouldn’t refer to discipline as abuse, either).

But most of all, what I don’t support, what I cannot tolerate, is the ongoing attack of another believer.

Your Own Pastor

What if Mark was your own pastor? Suppose, just for a moment, that the pastor of your church had an moment of…let’s call it…poor judgment? Say your pastor made an inflammatory, sexist remark to a member–or members–of the congregation. How might you handle this situation? What if you were personally offended or, worse yet, the hurtful comment was directed at you?

Now, I know some will argue that Driscoll’s behavior is not merely poor judgement, nor has it been only one instance. Still, I ask you to consider how you would handle the issue of your own pastor taking a similar misstep. Perhaps even imagine your pastor has had more than one instance of questionable character.

Would you write a blog post calling him a bully? Would you write a series of posts pointing fingers at him? Would you tell everyone you know to avoid this man at all costs?

And what if someone, outside your local church, began verbally attacking your pastor, having never met him nor set foot inside his church?

Oh, I know what critics will say. We are the church. Us believers. So, as the church, we have the moral, spiritual, and Biblical authority to judge and rebuke those within the church (1 Corinthians 5:12-13), especially those in leadership (James 3:1).

Really? Because based on scripture, I don’t see any accounts of people outside of a particular church body making any such claims. Paul wrote to many different churches offering admonishment, rebuke, and correction when needed. Yet, we know that he did so having intimate knowledge of those church bodies himself.

Being a part of the Body of Christ does not give us a free pass to pass judgement on just anyone in the church as we see fit.

Spirit of Attack

What I find most distressing, however, over the recent and growing onslaught of articles and posts about Driscoll is not so much that people don’t like him. I get it. He’s maybe a little arrogant, machismo, controversial, even a bit sexist. What I find more alarming is how quick those in the church at large have been to bash him.

There seems to be a spirit of attack growing within the Christian culture. We feel that because we are a member of the body, we have free reign to say it like it is, place blame, point fingers. Again and again. And it’s not just Driscoll. Anyone in the public light is open to our ongoing criticism and critique.

And how much are we to blame for these so-called superstar pastors? We elevate and idolize the mega pastors–the Rob Bells, John McAurthurs, and Rick Warrens of the world. Yet, they aren’t celebrities and they aren’t superheroes. They are ordinary men, doing God’s work.

And if I remember correctly, the Bible says that others will recognize us by our critique of others. Or wait, was it, we will be known by our judgement of one another? No, that’s not right either.

Ah yes, now I remember…

We will be known to those outside of the church by our love for one another. Our. LOVE. For. One. Another.

Of course, some might argue that Driscoll using terms like “limp-wristed,” in regards to men, isn’t exactly being loving himself. True. But do his sometimes offhanded, even insensitive statements give us permission to respond in a spirit of attack?

Does one sin excuse another? Does sin beget sin? Aren’t we essentially saying that bad behavior warrants us to respond with more bad behavior? Because that is what those outside of the church will see.

If you think that unbelievers will only notice Driscoll’s response and not our own, you are sadly mistaken. People will–and do–see so-called Christians attacking another Christian and know it’s not in love.

What’s more, Jesus reserved His harshest and most damning rebuke for those who were hellbent on seeing Him slip up. You see, the Sadducees and Pharisees didn’t just dislike Jesus from afar. They were actively trying to trip Him up. They twisted His actions and words to suit their own purposes–the purpose of exposing Him as a fraud. It was the ultimate game of “Gotcha!”

And how different are we? The members of our body sit on the sidelines, watching and waiting for the Mark Driscolls, Rob Bells, and other superstar pastors of the world to slip up. Because it’s really fun to pull someone down. Definitely more fun than building someone up, right?

The Right Response

Granted, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know what the right response should be to an individual like Driscoll. I don’t prefer much of what he says, but I also recognize that he still has a powerful ministry that is preaching the name of Jesus Christ. The Jesus I love and follow. The Jesus that is supposed to be our singular and defining thread as believers. Mark and I are members of the same body. He’s my brother. He is my bff.

And at the end of the day, that is really what I care about. Jesus Christ. Some might say he gives Jesus a bad name. I say the collective response of others towards Driscoll isn’t giving Jesus a much better name.

Bloggers, tweeters, and Facebookers are really good at mouthing off. It is almost a requirement for this social media age–getting it out there, saying what “needs” to be said, informing the masses. But if Jesus were sitting right next to me, looking at my computer screen, what would I really want to write about this–or any other brother–in Christ?

We shall be known by our love, not our judgement or critique of one another. Our love, not our ability to trip one another up or make assumptions. Our love, not our righteous anger or condemnation. We cannot judge a man’s intentions, motives, or heart. God can…and does. Our response is to be in love, seasoned with truth and grace. It cannot be one or the other. It has to be both.

How do you feel about the articles and posts written about Driscoll? Do you feel there is a spirit of attack within Christian culture? What do you think is the right response to church leaders?

82 thoughts on “Mark Driscoll is My New Best Friend”

  1. Thank you for putting in to words what I’ve been thinking and feeling for the past while. I used to read the blogs you mentioned because I thought they had some great things to say, but when they became more about attacking and pointing fingers, I had to stop. Paul says over and over that we are to be one body, united in Christ. That’s impossible if we continue to criticize and bring down a part of that body. Thanks for pointing this out. Great post.

    1. Mandie, yes that sentiment in Ephesians about being of one accord and of one mind kept running through my thoughts as I wrote this post. I don’t have all the answers or the correct response, but I wanted to start the conversation. Thank you for joining in.

      1. The enemy is the one who says “Is that really in the bible? Did God really say that?”

        Marc Driscoll (whom I neither idolize nor confuse for Jesus) tends to say “This is in the bible, and you don’t get to change it/leave it out because you don’t like it.”

        So, who is my enemy?

  2. Hi Nicole!

    So the larger problem with this “discussion” is exactly what you put your finger on in the final section of your post:

    Many of the commentors (on BOTH sides) don’t feel that the other side actually DOES worship the same Jesus.

    I myself have been on the receiving end of an Acts29 pastor who decided I was a “wolf”. Even though we weren’t a part of the same local church, he decided that we weren’t part of the same Church and declared open season on me.

    When I tried to extend the olive branch like you have here, he made it clear that in his mind I preach a false Gospel and therefore was not a fellow believer.

    If that’s the attitude that EITHER side approaches this “discussion” with (and I am totally aware it’s on both sides), then there won’t BE a discussion. Evangelicalism will split into a more Calvinist/Fundamentalist camp and a more Emergent/Liberal camp. Historically, it already happened about 100 years ago when Fundamentalists and Evangelicals split.

    So my question for you is: how do we have a real discussion, without demonizing the other side? And when SHOULD we draw hard lines?

    As always, thanks for an excellent, provocative post.

    1. Jr., I think you raise such an important and crucial point. I agree that people on both sides of this issue (if we’re referring to both sides as Emergent/liberals and Calvinist/Fundamentalists) question the others salvation, as it were. They assume that if someone can hold such radically different viewpoints, well then certainly they couldn’t possibly worship and love the same Jesus. I’m sorry that you experienced that kind of close-minded thinking with an Acts 29 pastor, and yet I’m not surprised.

      This is a travesty and an issue that I don’t think could be adequately addressed here.

      All that to say, I know I sound like a bit of a romantic or at the very least, overly optimistic, to desire real unity within the Church. I know too, that being of one mind and of one Spirit, while articulated in scripture, has yet to be realized in reality.

      I guess to answer your thoughtful questions, again I’m not sure. I think we can have real discussions without demonizing the other side, by treating the other side as fellow-believers and not the enemy. This sounds overly-simplistic, I’m sure, but doesn’t make it any less true. I have to give Mark Driscoll the benefit of the doubt, in terms of his relationship with Christ. It is not our place to assume we know. In my opinion, demonizing others occurs when we remove the human element and operate strictly out of our emotions. It comes when we forget we are talking about another person, another follower of Jesus, and not some invisible, intangible target.

      I would never want to write something about someone that I would not say to their face. It’s called respect and far too many people fail to recognize this trait. I would like to commend you Jr. for always responding to me, or Driscoll, or anyone else you may disagree with, with a level of genuine respect and good will. It does not go unnoticed.

      As for drawing hard lines, I think that very much depends on the individual. Driscoll has not said or done something (yet) which I find unforgivable. That’s not to say I find his actions always befitting the character of a leader. However, if someone finds Driscoll reprehensible, then it is in their best interest, both spiritually and emotionally, to avoid him.

      I think we are quick to want to draw hard lines because we do not know how to operate in truth and grace. We only know how to choose one or the other. Loving, as Christ loves, is not easy. It requires more self-sacrifice and selflessness than most of us are comfortable giving. We can rebuke, judge, and criticize without love all day long. The power of the Spirit is that He allows us to rebuke, judge, and even criticize with love when we are willing to listen to Him.

      I’d love to hear your thought, if you are so inclined…how would you answer the questions you posed?

      1. Thanks for the kind words.

        1. I share your optimism. I really think we can get to a place where we discuss out of humility. A good friend of mine says “Be sure you can say ‘I understand’ before you say ‘I disagree’.” I think that’s wise counsel.

        Typically, those with whom I disagree have pretty good reasons for not seeing the world the way I see it. I should do everything in my power to understand their worldview before I try to critique it. That takes a lot of humility, but so be it.

        This is an area where I have grown immensely. When people ask me how I know Jesus is real, I point to my ability to disagree gracefully. I’m a far cry from perfect, but I’m about a billion times better than I used to be. I was the “shoot first, ask questions never” kind of arguer.

        2. Where do we draw lines? I lean on the historic creeds of the Church, especially the Apostles and Nicean. If you deny the Trinity, you’re not following the same God I do (why I consider Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons non-Christians).

        BUT, it’s also why I do my best to welcome Calvinists and Armenians and Open Theists, people no matter your take on the nature of Hell, and both Complementarians and Egalitarians.

        Of course I think I’m right (who thinks they’re wrong and sticks to it?). Of course I think these issues matter enough to fight about. But our fights should be holy – like Jacob wrestling with the Angel.

        And, when it comes to those on the other side of my lines, I still interact with them with love, grace and humility. That’s how Jesus and Paul both conducted themselves. Even though I’m a Christian, I don’t have a monopoly on Truth. God has a monopoly on Truth, and the Scriptures are clear that God speaks to all sorts of “outsiders” if God so chooses.

        I think you nailed it when you said we demonize someone when we remove their humanity from the equation. I wonder if it also happens when we remove our own humanity. I set myself up as judge over someone else (and their theology), taking the place that’s rightfully only God’s.

        3. I preached a sermon about this very topic last summer. I used Abortion as an example of something Christians need to be able to discuss well. Overall, the talk was very well-received, and I think it’s built some ground in our Church for holy disagreement. If you have time, here it is: (*shameless self-promotion!*)

        What a good post… keep up the great work!

        1. Jr., you said so much great stuff. I just want to highlight your reference to humility. That is key to me. I found myself nodding my head as I was reading your response. Humility is very much what allows us to walk in someone else’s shoes. It also allows us, as you point out, to recognize that we do not have a monopoly on Truth. So good. Thank you.

          PS I love shameless self promotion. Feel free to link up any time. :) I’m looking forward to checking it out!

  3. Honestly, if Mark Driscoll was my pastor, I would quickly find another church and tell all my friends not to go to his church.

    I know this goes against everything you just wrote, but I don’t count Driscoll as a brother in Christ. To me, he represents everything that’s wrong with evangelical Christianity: loving “proper doctrine” over people, power hungry, sexist, and homophobic. His theology makes me want to slit my wrists because I’ll never be the super-macho GI Joe manly man that his god commands me to be. It’s people like Driscoll and the rest of his Spurgeon-worshiping Reformed cult buddies that are causing so many people to leave the Church.

    1. Travis, I so sympathize with your response. I also don’t think you are “going against everything” I wrote. I know what you have written and said about Driscoll. You have never attacked him or his character. You have expressed your worry, anxiety, and mistrust of and about him. I get it. I think, from your perspective, you are perfectly justified to avoid him and his rhetoric.

      Although, I’d like to caution you in using terms like “cult buddies.” This rhetoric is just as harmful to the name of Jesus and exactly what the enemy would have us do and say. Furthermore, I think people are leaving the church in droves for many, many other reasons besides people like Driscoll. If anything, the New Calvinist movement is actually drawing in thousands of new believers. Say what you will about their theology, they are still members of the Body.

      Thank you for sharing Travis. I really appreciate your heart and willingness to be candid here about your feelings on this topic and this man.

      1. Can you tell that I have unresolved issues? :)

        I guess the reason why I dislike Driscoll so much is because he reminds me of all the jocks in high school that used to call me a fag.

        I originally was going to write, “In the Body of Christ, Mark Driscoll is the cancer,” but I thought that would take things way too far.

  4. This was refreshing to read, Nicole. It reflects my heart perfectly.

    I see the right response as judging the issue and not the person. We are called to judge, but it’s important that we mature as believers and learn what that looks like.

    I agree that based on the part of the story I heard, it wasn’t handled the right way. But the right response is to look at the issue, point out what is wrong and then offer a redemptive solution on what it looks like to do it right.

    This can all be done without demonizing anyone or coming across as a self-righteous heresy hunter.

    Just my two pennies.

  5. Interesting read. As a blogger who have taken on ideas from N.T. Wright, Rob Bell, and a few other notable Christian communicators, I think the issue is with the ideas that are presenting. It comes down to the old saying “don’t hate the sinner, hate the sin” even though, here, we aren’t talking about sin. We’re talking about the spread of potentially damaging ideas and ideologies from influential people.

    My blog is designed challenge much of what we have heard/will hear about what God has for us and his church. So, hearing these guys and agreeing (helping spread the word) or disagreeing (helping defend truth) is part and parcel to my blog calling.

    But you are correct in saying that we should not be attacking the man himself. Often time, Pastors are not held accountable for what they say. For the big boys, bloggers and other Christians can offer that sort of accountability… but accountability and judgment (in the truest sense of the word) are two totally different things.

    The Word of God should be discussed, both when it is rightly divided and when it is spoken in error. But doing so in a loving way is paramount, and the end game has to be understanding, not confusion.

    Of course, there’s the other angle that some feel Mark (or other pastors) are not God people at all… that they are false prophets. Now that’s a whole different can…

    1. Antwuan, I agree that bloggers–and more specifically Christians–have a responsibility, as it were, to discuss leaders and their ideologies in an open forum. I just feel that too often, in the name of discussion, we turn to attack and ridicule.

      You make an excellent point, in that accountability is different than judgement. This is so true and often misunderstood, I think. Heck, if we held people accountable in more appropriate and proactive ways, we would be far less likely to even make it to the judgement phase.

  6. Sadly, even though you are a voice of reason in all this madness, this post won’t be shared all over Facebook like the blog posts that tear our family apart always are.

    1. Donna, you are probably right. Being provocative is much more suited to social media sensationalism. Good thing I don’t care. I wrote what I felt led to write, popular, trendy, or not.

  7. How do you feel about the articles and posts written about Driscoll?
    I am with you…an eye for an eye isn’t what Christ taught and still teaches through the Holy Spirit.

    Do you feel there is a spirit of attack within Christian culture?
    Yep…and that isn’t the Holy Spirit attacking either.

    What do you think is the right response to church leaders?
    At this point…I need to pray and seek God’s word on this for a good answer. But thus far from what I read in Acts, it’s pretty clear how to address blasphemers. But Mark Driscoll is far from a blasphemer in my opinion. He can be abrasive, but the man speaks a lot of truth. And though I may not “like” what he has to say to say at times, I find myself not liking what God has to say either at times. *hands in the air*

  8. I’m glad for the challenge, Nicole. And it were just theology or style, I’d be down with you completely. When you talk about people who want him to fail and fail hard, I’m down with you. I hate heresy hunting.

    When it comes to the “cussing pastor” criticism, I’m down.
    When it comes to the “Real Marriage” criticism, I’m down (though I favor good critical engagement here, not a pass or a negation, such as JR Forasteros’ review at Relevant).

    But when it comes to moral issues, I’m not as down. The man and the movement have lots of influence and seeks more of it. That influence affects the way people actually interact and relate to one another. He impacts the lived religion of American Christianity. And when he advocates the exclusion of this class of people, or the unethical treatment of this type of people, it should be resisted by people who have a voice. If there is emotional and spiritual abuse going on at Mars Hill because of the misguided way it is set up, then that needs to be exposed for the good of the church (both at Mars Hill, the A29 Network, and the Wider body).

    To underscore the morality of the issue – swap out women with black and take it back in time 70 years. Just like people did and should have called out racism then, we have a responsibility not to allow this to be the only voice. (Influence comes up here again)

    And again, if there was a sort of self-criticism coming out of the A29, NeoReformed, and/or The Gospel Coalition camps, there’d be less of a need for others to voice resistance.

    I do want to end with an agreement that everything we do needs to have love at its root. My love for my family and friends who mirror him as well as my love for the church at large, and my love for Mark (as hard as that is emotionally, being honest), and my love for the nonChristians who only hear his voice (and others like him) and say, “If that is what the Kingdom of Christ, Christ, and God is like…”. Perhaps Roger Wolsey said it best ( ) when he talked about the need for a Wallace or a Keller to get more involved with him.

    I don’t want Mark to fail. I don’t want the A29 network to fail. But I can’t let them speak for us all. I want to be better, I want my local church to be better, I want Mars Hill Bible Church to be better, I want Mars Hill Seattle to be better, I want Mark Driscoll to be better.

    I don’t want anyone to call all of British Christians cowards because they aren’t driven by male celebrity pastors (let alone calling one a coward to his face). Out of love for both (and others) such actions should be called out.

    Finally, I want to thank you for stressing the need for love here. It is a good corrective.

    – HMI

    1. Henry, great and important thought s you shared, so thank you.

      One thing I will take issue with you on, however, is your claim that Driscoll has “advocates the exclusion of this class of people, or the unethical treatment of this type of people.” I’m just not sure what exactly you are referring to here. it is important for me to know, because I very much like dealing in facts and specific examples. Do you have a few examples you could share on this point?

      Secondly, you stated that “If there is emotional and spiritual abuse going on at Mars Hill because of the misguided way it is set up, then that needs to be exposed for the good of the church (both at Mars Hill, the A29 Network, and the Wider body).”

      I take issue with this statement because while I suspect your motives are in the right place, it is not the job of believers to be whistle-blowers. It is not our job to “expose” anyone. It is our job to be of one mind, one accord, edifying and equipping one another, representing Christ’s love, a picture of His sacrifice here on earth.

      Now, granted I don’t know practically how that might play out in terms of Driscoll’s bad behavior, at times. But what I do know is that I am called to be a follower of Jesus Christ, laying down my life for Him and my brethren. I am NOT called to be a Christian activist, serving the just cause of exposing others inside the Church who have acted poorly. There is a big difference.

      We take on these things as our “responsibility,” our “duty” but the truth is, they are the Lord’s. He judges. He convicts. He corrects. He rebukes. I just think we have done a really good job of subtracting the Lord from the equation and a really good job of inserting our own hurt feelings instead.


  9. LOL…Driscoll, macho? My husband makes Driscoll look gay. I don’t have a problem with Mark. My 2 pennies: pray for discernment, be loving, forgiving….and obey God.

    1. Susie, I’m sure you didn’t intend to raise this issue, but it just made me think that masculinity is a spectrum. There is no one man, or one formula, that has a corner on masculinity. The point is to follow after Jesus with abandon and like you said, pray for wisdom and discernment.

  10. I’m a bit of a recluse. Somewhat odd. I believe the popular term is “socially awkward”. Of course being extremely talented at tripping over air might have something to do with it… but I digress.

    So being somewhat socially… awkward I don’t know if there’s a rule agianst posting a link to a blog as a comment TO a blog.

    Anyway, I read this earlier today. And it ties in. 2 sides of a coin as it were. And I’m going to start rambling soon so I’ll shut up and share the link.


    Oh wait. Do people stil *poof* when they log off? what if that’s old? what if I’ll get judged for not knowing the COOL way to say “I’m gone, logging off now, goodbye”. Oh well. To late now…

    1. Andrew, thanks for sharing that link (there is no protocol for sharing a link either). I read the post. I think it ties in on some level. Either way, it was an interesting read, so thank you for sharing it.

      *poof* ;)

  11. Nicole, yes, thank you. I recently canceled my subscription to a Christian blogger because I was sick and tired of this person’s Driscoll-bashing. I wholeheartedly embrace your position on this: I, too, find the delivery of his messages problematic, but I appreciate your willingness to assume the best of him and recognize that his motives are most likely good. It’s too easy to demonize someone, and I really think that the enemy is all too happy for believers to fan the flames of division within the Church; when we do that, we can’t work together for Christ, and that’s exactly what the enemy wants. Ugh. Just… yes. I am so on board with you here! Thank you!

    1. Audrey, you are so wise and so right, in that, each and every time one of us attacks another we are playing right into the hand’s of our enemy. This goes far beyond the Christian culture, Christian blogosphere, Emergent church vs. New Calvinist–it is spiritual. This is the reputation of the Body of Christ, and should be treated as such.

      Great thoughts. Thank you for sharing Audrey.

  12. If you can’t say something nice about someone… It’s probably Mark Driscoll.

    /sarcasm off.

    I really like the guy. Thanks for this blog post.

  13. Nicole, wow. I wish I could give you a hug! This post so beautifully and artistically addresses concerns I’ve had lately around Mark Driscoll and John Piper. The bloggers you mention I follow and enjoy their perspectives. However, myself included, can be guilty of trying to “help others” or “be the voice of reason” or whatever label one wishes to apply by sounding the alarm on another Believer.

    I mean, let’s be real here. There are many people in our lives with whom we disagree with how rigid they lived out their faith and how fundamental or conservative they viewed everything around them…but the likely fact ignored: they are Christ followers.

    Imperfect. Flawed. Broken. Maybe they’re right about some things. Wrong about many things. But what does it all matter? They’re going through life just like the next person. Mistakes are made. Lessons are learned. Do they really need someone throwing daggers of criticism at them?

    The biggest concern I have about the bloggers you mentioned – and any of us that may not even publish words about those around us – is the message communicated is that this person should be avoided, shunned, scorned. That they are wrong.

    Sometimes I wonder if some people’s past-hurts are just overtaking their emotions and they blurt out such posts in hope of preventing others from getting hurt. They’re sharing their wisdom at the cost of shredding someone’s character.

    Yet, don’t these critical posts claim that others can’t discern for themselves? Don’t they subtly say that God isn’t big enough to protect another from a false prophet? And what if they needed to experience that teaching in order to help others? Are we limited God?

    Again, thank you for speaking some words of love and kindness on this subject. You rock!

    We just seem to not listen to James. We’re quick to speak, quick to anger. We’re slow to hear. And therefore, we’re slow to forgive and love.

    1. Rick, thank you for the heartfelt and thoughtful comment. One point you made really stood out to me. You said: “Sometimes I wonder if some people’s past-hurts are just overtaking their emotions and they blurt out such posts in hope of preventing others from getting hurt. They’re sharing their wisdom at the cost of shredding someone’s character.”

      I would wager you are very much right in this theory. I do not question the motives of those who dislike Driscoll (and other leaders). I question the means in which they do so. I so understand the desire to prevent others from being hurt and yet God does not desire for us to be purely emotional beings. We cannot afford to act only out of emotion. As a woman, I know this far too well.

      God asks us to respond in reason, Truth, and with the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit. When bloggers are about to write something potentially damning about another believer, they would do well to pause and pray and decide whether God would have then write that thing or not. My guess is, if that were to take place, there be a whole lot less search results for “Mark Drisoll jerk.”

  14. I think when you’re part of the group that gets hurt over and over by someone like Mark Driscoll, you need someone to stand up for you too. And when the someone doing the bullying is someone with a big platform, you need someone else with a platform to do the standing up.

    If all these bloggers did was call people out, I’d be annoyed, but I also see them giving opportunities for better stories to be told. When I look at the bulk of posts by Matthew or Rachel, I don’t see calling out behavior being anywhere NEAR the norm. Sure, those posts get shared like a million times on facebook & Twitter, but they’re not even close to the majority of their posts. I think sometimes the number of times we see them shared warps our view of how much they actually talk about this.

    Personally, I’m opposed to name-calling all the time. So I don’t like limp-wristed girly man or bully or cult being used (and I’ve said this). But standing against bad or hurtful behavior? Yeah, I just can’t get too upset about that.

    1. Alise, thank you for commenting and sharing here. I have long read your blog and I find you to be consistently thoughtful and passionate. I know that you do not have a heart willing or wanting to attack Driscoll. I also understand that you feel as though you’re “part of the group” that often gets hurt.

      Just in reading those words though, I have to say, it breaks my heart…part of the group. I hate that there are groups, factions, divisions, within the Body of Christ. I long for unity with all of my being, not because it is some pretty picture, but because it is what God desires for us. What I wrote here comes from that place in my heart…

      I will say, too though that I never suggested that people not stand up against bad behavior or heck, even call sin what it is. My purpose in this post, was to discuss more openly, the ways in which we have collectively chosen to stand up to said, bad behavior. I question the means by which this has taken place, not the motives.

      Thank you for your willingness to join this small discussion here. It is appreciated. Blessings to you.

  15. Honestly, I’ve gone back and forth with him and I really struggled with how I felt. And then I realized that it really doesn’t matter how I feel. He’s said and done some controversial things, sure, but who hasn’t. I offend people daily, and more often than not it’s because what I’ve said or done has been misunderstood. Or, even more likely, it’s because the Gospel is offensive. Jesus was offensive, and I’m pretty sure he was called a blasphemer and a devil a few times. This is a problem that goes much deeper than criticizing Mark Driscoll. We have created an idea of what we think Christianity should look like; following Christ means doing X, Y, and Z, and if your X, Y, and Z doesn’t look like mine then you must be doing something wrong. Where is that in scripture? Yes, we should absolutely stand fir on the essential Truth of the Gospel and that is Christ. I’ve really had to take a step back and examine my own heart here. In the past I’ve been far to quick to criticize a brother or sister because their views about baptism or spiritual gifts weren’t totally in sync with mine. Jesus is the bottom line, but there are different ways to Jesus. Not everyone will come through my little Baptist church; some might be led to Him by a book, a band, or even a controversial pastor like Driscoll. Far be it from me to hinder them by petty disputes! This is much longer than I meant for it to be so I apologize, but in the end I think we need to really think before we attack other Christians. If we’re constantly bickering and ripping each other apart, what does that look like to nonbelievers? Why would they want to be a part of a Body that looks broken and divided? My new rule of thumb is to ask, “Is this leading people to Christ?” And if it is, let it be. After we come to Christ we get this great little thing called the Holy Spirit, and it is He who will work out the kinks that are in us. It’s not our job to fix everyone’s theology, just focus on yourself. Is what you’re doing right now showing the love of Christ to others? If not, you better take a step back and check yourself.

    1. Nikki, you said:

      “My new rule of thumb is to ask, “Is this leading people to Christ?” And if it is, let it be. After we come to Christ we get this great little thing called the Holy Spirit, and it is He who will work out the kinks that are in us. It’s not our job to fix everyone’s theology, just focus on yourself.”

      That about sums it up for me. Paul even admonished those who were questioning the faith of others, by basically saying “hey, they are preaching Jesus Christ. Who cares.” His name is still being exalted. Amen.

  16. I will first say this: Mark Driscoll is a human being and not perfect. He will say things that are right, he will say things that are wrong, but his theology has been at the heart of what has been a slow but steady and dramatic life change for me over the past year.

    The reason that Driscoll upsets people is because he calls people out. There is a scourge in America of adult men acting like little boys. Men who are 25, 30, even 35 have no drive, no ambition, no goals, and no career. They want to live like overgrown teenagers instead of stepping up and becoming spiritual leaders in their homes, husbands, and fathers. The people getting offended by this are the man-children themselves and the liberal church movements that support them. I won’t call them out by name, but they’re the ones that write books about hell not existing or say that maybe Christians should support abortion and Gay Marriage after all – even though the bible abhors such practice. He’s one of the only pastors I know of who actually talks about porn from the pulpit and calls it what it is without making it cute or funny. If I were a porn addicted 25 year old living with my parents and jobless, I’d be offended to death by Driscoll too, and I’d be looking for the 90lb weakling Jesus that certain movements within the Church have tried to conjure up.

    Much like my comment surely will be, Marc Driscoll is a lightning rod, but I wish someone like him was in my life around the age of 18 or 19. I needed the ever-loving crap kicked out of me as a man. Would have done me some good.

    1. while I agree with you that the young men of the church need strong masculine leaders and a message that being masculine is inherent in how the Lord made them, I don’t think Mr. Driscolls’ approach of utilizing sexism and the message that women are “less than” is the kind of approach I want the young men of my church retaining. And certainly not the message and approach I want my sons to hear.

      1. While I totally agree that a message of sexism is not something we want our young (or old) men subjected to as doctrine or even just “the way things are.” I disagree that Marc Driscoll is telling anyone that women are “less than.” I recently finished reading his book “Real Marriage,” and his respect and care for his wife and for women on the whole was very evident. At one point he addresses men and admonishes them to take care of and honor their wives “as the weaker vessel,” which is taken directly from 1 Peter 3:7. While it might be easy for some to twist that verse to mean that women are less valuable or less capable than men, Driscoll accurately interprets it within the full context of the verse:

        “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

        After reading “Real Marriage” and listening to several of Driscoll’s sermons over the years, I would really hesitate to say that he is sexist towards women. In fact, his mantra seems to be for men to step up and take their Biblical role as husbands with meekness (i.e. strength under control and submissive to God).

        1. Agreed. I attend Mars Hill and I have never seen a man more in love with his wife! I think a lot of the comments about him being sexist come out of things he said years ago when their relationship was unhealthy. He has publicly apologized and corrected himself on those issues.

          Also, In the Real Marriage sermon where he talked about women being the “weaker vessel”, he specified that this meant he was likely to beat his wife in a cage fight. Women are typically physically weaker and men are physically stronger. His comments about the role of men to women are usually in the light of protecting and caring for them.

  17. Great post. I think there is a lot of wisdom and grace within your words.

    It’s a struggle though, isn’t it? I don’t think it is our place to begin questioning the faith and intention or salvation of someone who professes to be a believer… and I do think as Christians we are called to be full of love, acceptance, support and grace to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Where it get difficult is if you believe someone – especially a pastor or influential leader – is speaking a message which hurts people. My concern is that when someone like Pastor Driscoll says things that are sexist, homophobic, or hurtful, he actually is driving people away from the church as they search for God. When this happens, should we not stand up for the hurting and proclaim a message of love that says, “no, God is not actually like that”? I’m not sure there are any easy answers, but my gut feeling are these are the people that Jesus would stand with…

    Again, thank you for writing this, and for sharing your heart.

  18. “Imagine that Mark Driscoll is your pastor…”

    Done, and done!

    When I joined Mars Hill church, I knew what I was getting into. I did not know, however, that he was coming out with a book and would do a 10-week sermon series on marriage! I don’t agree with everything Mark Driscoll says, but I do believe that he has a heart that follows after Christ, and that God is doing really awesome things through Mars Hill.

    While I feel that no one is above reproach, and that these things are good to discuss, it is also difficult to see him under so much attack. In fact, I deactivated my Facebook account for the duration of the marriage sermon series, to try to avoid getting caught in the back-and-forth.

  19. I apologize that I am so late in the conversation about this.

    I have been conflicted since I read the fallout around Mark Driscoll. I definitely have differences with him stylistically as well as theologically. When his marriage book was being promoted, I listened with some connection to him until he (in my view) unjustly insulted his interviewer.

    When I heard about the situation with the church discipline, I was also quite conflicted. I was deeply saddened for the man who was being disciplined and was tempted to “shout it from the rooftops”. The problem is that doesn’t show love, borderlines on gossip and, I felt, just plain wrong.

    I suspect, in the time of easy communication, it will get harder and harder to keep these sorts of things from blowing up in internet proportions. The only good thing about that is that maybe others who are in the same boat as the one being disciplined can start to heal.

    In spite of my differences with Driscoll (who am I anyway), I am sure there are many in his church who love Jesus. Tearing down Mars Hill does nothing more than damage them.

    The thing I really suspect is, on judgement day there will be quite a few goats who thought they were sheep and quite a few sheep who were told they were goats.

    I want to be one of the sheep.

  20. is Mark Driscoll my bff? no. I choose my friends on the content of their character, I see how they treat other people, I see how they uplift others and serve others. I listen to the words they say and feel encouraged by them. Pastor Driscoll has shown himself, time and time again, in my estimation, to be self aggrandizing, cruel and dismissive. And so I would never, will never, describe him as my friend.
    is Mark Driscoll my brother in Christ? absolutely. And because of that I am broken hearted that he continues to be self aggrandizing, cruel and dismissive, time and time again. And so because he is my brother in Christ, I lift him up in prayer, I lift his flock up in prayer, and I lift those who have been hurt over and over by his statements up in prayer. And I remember that we are a fallen people, and I thank God for the grace He has poured into my life. And I leave it at that.

  21. I personally don’t think that as Christians we should be attacking other pastors even if they are in sin. I think God is sovereign, He is gracious, and many times He gives pastors just like he does give us many chances to repent.

    I’m not saying that Mark Driscoll needs to repent, I do believe that there are two sides to every story and that only one side has been given so far in all the blog articles that you mentioned Nicole. I think we should keep God on the throne, He is sovereign, and He is able to deal with His leaders appropriately whether they do well or not. We don’t need to put them on blast.

  22. Thank you for pointing out James 3:1. When all the banter about Pastor Driscoll started happening, I was trying to find it to point out that God is the one who is ultimately holding every pastor, whether he is blog/media-worthy or not, accountable for everything he says. As someone who sometimes teaches Sunday School AND who homeschools, I feel the weight of that scripture on me, too. I searched concordances to find scripture that supports us calling out pastors publicly but I couldn’t find any. Instead, there is only the procedure that Jesus calls out in talking to a person individually, then with witnesses, then making it a little more public, which is what Mars Hill church did. There is also a passage, Hebrews 13:17, that tells us to obey our church leaders and submit to them because God is holding them accountable for how well they take care of their people. There is no “if…then” clause in that passage. So if the leaders, through their own negligence, allow someone to hurt people in their flock, God holds the leaders accountable. Doesn’t that put a different perspective on the Andrew/Mars Hill issue? Ultimately, when we place our trust in our church leaders, we have to remember that we are not trusting them per say, as much as we are trusting God working in them and through them to encourage us in the process of sanctification.

    After saying all this, I have to confess enjoying some of the snarky comments made during the initial broughhaha, because sarcasm runs deep in my family. God is still working to heal me.

  23. Really interesting post Nicole! There is definitely a lot for me to chew on in this post. To be honest I have probably personally been at fault in the way I have responded to Pastor Driscoll in the past, and I appreciate you calling that out. I totally agree with you in that, the vitriol that often characterizes criticism of Pastor Driscoll, is off base. I believe that we as Christians need to strive to respond to everyone in kindness, even if we feel their actions are harmful.
    That being said, I do believe Pastor Driscoll is very off in some of the things he teaches and conveys through his actions and statements. To be honest I sometimes wonder if Pastor Driscoll and I even serve the same Jesus, or follow the same God? I don’t say this to disrespect the Pastor, or to question his status as a child of God, but to say, I sincerely believe his teachings often misrepresent Christianity (as I understand it).
    I guess the hard part is trying to find how to respond to someone you believe is so drastically distorting the tenants of the faith you hold to be true, I mean Jesus did overturn the tables of the money-changers in the temple when, they were misrepresenting Christianity. Is this a similar situation? Honestly, I am not sure.
    On a slightly separate note I want to voice my gratitude for your blog. I have found many of your views refreshing, and your posts encouraging. So thank you!

  24. Since all of this controversy over Driscoll has started I have felt such a deep unease about the situation. I have felt my opinions of a man I don’t know, who I’ve never seen a sermon from, or actually read an of his writing (except through the filter of others quoting him to point out what an a-hole he is) being swayed to really and truly dislike the guy. To believe that he is a wolf and is seeking to bring a false message to people about Christ. And then I finally watched some sermons of his. And the man is right on. He knows what he is talking about. He delivers it in a way that fits his being-a macho, rough and out-there guy. I know that this is not true of everyone-but I feel that the avenues of facebook, blogs, twitter etc have given people a platform to speak who normally would never EVER dare to speak these words to the man’s face. Some I think are passionate enough to tell Mark to his face exactly how they feel, but I think a lot of all the comments are so emotionally driven and fueled that in real life all that “passion” would go out of their system pretty quickly when they shake the mans hand, look into his eyes, see how real he is and realize he’s just like them. A man. Thank you for posting this Nicole. I hope people read this blog about this MAN and begin to think just a little differently.

  25. Hey Nicole, first time on your blog, liked this post. Found it as I wrote something similar (Why We Shouldn’t Make Fun of Mark Driscoll By a Guy Who Likes To –
    In short, I too, am concerned with the unchristian message that these attacks send and I confess that I am guilty of it too. However, I do think it’s part of our responsibility as fellow believers to hold accountable, critique, correct, rebuke in love.
    Thanks for the post – will see you around.

  26. I can totally sympathize with the crux of your post. Aren’t we all getting a little “back bitey?” Wouldn’t it be better if we all got along a little better, if not to be a better witness to those who don’t join us in our journey, buit at least to make our own journey that much less difficult? There are a few problems with this argument, and with your cited specific examples. The first problem is more general. Most of the controversy is concerning a debate of one one kind or another. In the above cited blog posts they are regarding: ecclesiastical punitive actions and: the subtext issue of women’s place in church–respectively. Your problem seems to be the way in which the backlash has manifest itself which as I said I get. Frankly your section on what the response should be is no response at all. It offers no concrete responses that someone who disagrees with Mr. Driscoll, or is offended by him should have.

    Going back to the debate topic; Christians have been debating since the beginning, and if you think it was done in secret, one on one, and always ended in hugs then (and I don’t mean to offend) your either kidding yourself or are just not significantly informed regarding Church History (especially before the rise of the Reformation). Controversy after controversy have brought people who claimed Christ into to verbal–and actual–arms over any number of topics. So this is really nothing new. We don’t handle our differences in clean, quiet circumstances, and honestly–in some situations–I don’t think we need to. In both examples to which your blog cites, and in a round about way rebuttals, I think your complaint misses the mark. I could go through the final paragraph and point out where the requests aren’t really appropriate to the cited material if you would like me to be more specific.

    Concerning the above cited blog posts I don’t think what you take issue really applies to them very well. The first is more of a researched story on the young man’s experience, and in my mind provides some pretty convincing documentation regarding what I at least see as an over-controlling leadership team attempting to ostracize one who refused to “offer penance” as it seems to me. Penance in the countless tasks he was asked to do before he decided Mars Hill, Seattle, was not for him. I didn’t see anything in his post that was directly attacking Driscoll at all. Perhaps telling a story of a boy hurt , and offering up documentation that did not shed a favorable light on Mars Hill is what you are considering as an attack? I may have missed something in the post that was directly inflammatory, and overly combative. If that is the case please point it out specifically.

    Regarding Ms. Evan’s post, she, I will admit, is more combative. In her case though she builds up evidence to support at least her right to be upset and offended. That which broke the camels back for her was a pretty sophomoric and misogynistic statement (i.e Driscoll’s tweet). I say misogynistic because in the classical sense the statement demeans women by mocking men in the context of not being as “classically male” in one’s personality–which in turn degrades women by presuming their inferiority. She illustrates through her quick commentary on and along with the links she provides, offensive Driscoll can be (to Christians and non).

    To answer your question concerning what the reader’s reaction would be if their pastor were placed under similar scrutiny, my answer would be simple. I would leave the church. I would not want to be associated with someone who would say something like that while wielding that much power, and authority.

  27. My question would be similar to Nicole’s point. Are we fighting/arguing over essential truths or minor details. If someone is going against the Biblical truth of Jesus and His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection that is one thing. Arguing over trivial things can be a waste of time. Do we agree on the fundamentals?

  28. Nicole, I really like this post and I am encouraged by the selflessness you encourage all christians to have when it comes to facing issues we have with our brothers and sister in Christ, it’s easy to only care about what we think is true and therefore go on the attack against all other, lets say, “untruth” that crosses our path. Its harder though to be selfless in our understanding of theology and to allow ourselves to let go unchallenged the theology we disagree with in order that grace and love would abound. Not to say we should let all bad teaching go unchallenged, Christ certaintly didnt, however we should understand we are all trying to get to same place and allow room for a rebuke that is in love and leads to encouragement.

    Question, I have my own blog, would you suggest we can write about what we hear from other pastors and their teaching? I don’t really do this, I mainly write my own stuff to hopefully encourage others, but I have written a review on Rob Bell’s book ‘Love Wins’ and since reading this post, I’m wondering if I should written it at all or if I could of written it with a better intention of being more encouraging.

    This is my first time on you blog. looks nice.

  29. (This is not written to any one person, but rather in response to both the article and the comments)

    I can join in with the one other person commenting here who actually attends Mars Hill. We’ve been at the church for a year and a half, since we moved to Seattle. In that time, I will admit that I have heard one sermon that made me cringe. The actual content was perfectly Biblical, but the tone was off.

    On the other hand, I’ve heard about 70 sermons that have been loving and appropriate and have helped me to grow in my faith. The reason they have helped me grow though, is because they have challenged me. It is impossible to sit through one of Mark’s sermons and feel nothing. Have you noticed though, that the same can be said about Jesus?

    No, Mark is not equal to Jesus– far from it. But they do elicit a similar response from their audience. Everyone is quick to point out the moments when Mark speaks with emotion. Anyone remember that Jesus went flipping tables and snapping a whip? He was NOT popular!

    A recent sermon (2 or 3 weeks ago) from the Revelations series is an example of why I see so many people hating Mark. The sermon was from Revelations 2: 18-29 — the letter to the church at Thyatira. The main rebuke against the church is that they were tolerating sin inside their own church body in the form of a “Jezebel” who led people astray, specifically in sexual sin. In a world that is demanding tolerance, he was reminding us that Jesus rebukes the church who tolerates sin from it’s members.

    The church has no business rebuking sin in non-Christians. Helping them see their sin and turning from it, yes. But rebuking and casting out? No. I will admit we have only been at Mars Hill for a season, but we have seen proper Biblical rebuke for members. Mars Hill is NOT a church that will let you live in your sin. And people who want to live in their sin HATE that. Who wouldn’t? If I didn’t want to change, I would resent someone telling me that I had to.

    The church is large, so it is set up in community groups. I have had my community group call out sin in my own life. In a time when I was suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, I was treating my husband disrespectfully. The rest of the world told me I was justified in it. Even my medical team told me I was justified in it. My community group, however, called me out. And it hurt. Heck, yes, it hurt. SIN SHOULD HURT!

    I’m seeing a lot of comments mentioning Mark’s comments toward “effeminate” men. I have not heard anything of the sort from him. It’s possible that he said something in the past (I have heard plenty of apologies for things said in the past– he is growing in Christ just like anyone else.). But every comment on to topic in the past 16 months has been along the following lines: Men should be tough and tender. Yes, he criticizes weak men who do not lead their families. But he equally criticizes macho men who bully their wives and children. He is clear that a man should be tender with his family, but tough enough to protect them from harm. Everyone has seen his tough side, but have you seen him interact with his wife and kids? Have you seen him weep over something that has hurt them or someone else he loves (hint– that’s a pretty big group). I have. The man loves his church. He loves the PEOPLE. No, he doesn’t know us all by name, but he loves us. And so do the other pastors that serve specifically within each of the local churches.

    I know that some people have issues with the fact that the church is not part of a denomination. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. The biggest disadvantage being that there is no larger group backing Mark up and keeping him accountable. (Though as the church grows, there are MANY pastors within the church who can and will call him out). This is one of the biggest concerns I had with joining the church. However, we carefully researched the church’s beliefs and doctrinal statements before joining. I hold a degree from a Mennonite Bible College, and I can say that I firmly agree with all parts of Mars Hill’s doctrinal statment– more so that the churches I have attended in previous years.

    While many people disagree with Mars Hill’s doctrine (this shouldn’t be a surprise– many people agree with the doctrine of any given church– if they didn’t, we would not have so many denominations), I think the bigger objection is to his preaching style. Mark is confrontational, and he is bold, and for lack of a better term, loud! There is never any doubt about where he stands on an issue. I am sure that many other pastors would have just as many people disagreeing with them if they spoke as boldly.

    I am a writer trying to get my novel published, and at a recent writer’s conference, everything we learned about getting our message across, specifically with social media, boiled down to one thing. Get noticed. Shock the senses. There is so much information out there to compete with, that if you don’t make a splash, the brain will ignore you. Clearly Mark is aware of this. I have spent years attending church and just going with the flow. Maybe the pastors were attempting to challenge me, but it never made it past the filter on my brain. Every single week at Mars Hill, I am challenged. These sermons cannot be ignored.

    Mark is getting a lot of negative attention, but take a lot inside the church– Mars Hill is growing for a reason. Mark has taken this statement and run with it: “Love me, hate me, but don’t ignore me.” Jesus lived it. Mars Hill is living it. And people are growing in Christ.

    This past Sunday wrapped up the sermon series on the letters to the seven churches in Romans. It was the letter to the church in Laodicea. You know, the one that says “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm– neither hot nor cold– I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3: 15-16). The church has taken on a very safe and lukewarm feeling. The church is comfortable. And Jesus detests this. You may not LIKE Mark Driscoll, but you cannot say that he is lukewarm!

    I know that the church is not perfect (what church is? They’re made up of sinners!), and the members know full well that it’s not perfect– we were discussing some of the shortcomings last night in our community group– areas where we would like to see growth. But I also know that it is a body of believers devoted to pushing each other toward Christ. Refusing to accept sin or lukewarm beliefs or behaviors. Stop criticizing other churches, and start looking at how you can help yourself and the members of your own congregation to grow closer to God.

    1. Thank you, Nessa!!

      Thank you for speaking up from within his church, Nessa! Mark has come into more maturity in his speaking style/presentation especially in the last year and it seems that his critics want to keep him who he was 5-10 years ago – for things he has been man enough to own and apologize!!! (how many of his critics do that?) Grace is at work in him. Give him the same mercy you would want extended to you as you mature in Christ. Or would we all want to be forever held under who we were in our less mature days, too, even after we ask forgiveness??? Christians are the LEAST forgiving people and we need to repent of this and ask the One who forgave us so much to teach us how to forgive, too.

    2. This is perfect…I have never attended the church but listen to his podcasts and I constantly feel challenged by them.. I heard the greates thing the other day

      We live in a world where we should be tolerant, the definition of tolerance is to try and treat others fairly even when it’s something you don’t believe in. We are called to be tolerant of others to love even our enemies, we are to be the most tolerant people out there, but through LOVE, not changing our actions or bowing down our beliefs. I hope you continue to grow and thrive in that church!

  30. I agree whole heartedly! Im not a Driscoll advocate either but I respect the guy as one, another human being, two, a man who God is using, three, because he is dearly loved by God and God calls me to love him as well whether I agree or not with him.
    I want to point out we saw a huge attack on Rob Bell soon after he put out “Love Wins” now whether you agree with Rob or not the response by the Christian community was appalling, so much so it was as if we “burned him at the stake.” I’ve noticed since that time “christian rhetoric” has become increasingly critical and less loving toward one another. God didn’t say “love one another unless you disagree with him/her” he left at just that “love one another.” I know for having been in ministry 7 years now im faced with this all the time, “am I going to keep an unoffendable heart” that is what keeps me going and I believe God honours our efforts even when we have more failures than successes.

    1. Funny, I read this when it was first posted having NO CLUE who Driscoll was, so I moved on without furthur adue. I just randomly stumbled upon an article and withing 15 seconds, literally, I said ‘Who the heck is this guy.’ I found the authors name and it hit me, this is the guy Modern Reject mentioned months and months ago that I skipped. Well, it only took me 15 seconds to spot the non-Christ like demanor of this man.
      In short, false doctrine is NOT DOCTRINE. Distoted christianity is NOT CHRISTIANITY. Remember when Jesus called Peter Satan? Or rather he said this referring to the fact that Peter’s thoughts did not come from God, but rather the devil? Matthew 16. Well if Peter’s seemingly benign thoughts which arose out of defense were acribed as thoughts from Satan by Jesus, what would Jesus call such behavior of one who is suppose to be a leader? My first thought is that he would call it the same thing he called Peter, Satan, or as interpretated mainly coming from satan rather than God.

      There is ABSOLUTELY NO ROOM for leaders to cause this much controvesy. I have only read 15 seconds of one article, but from the other comments on here, if the man is who I gather he is, he is not a brother of Christ. Jesus clearly says that many false prophets will deceive many. Matt 24:11. He says that many will come in his name and claim to have served him, but his reply will be I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matt 7.

      As for the Christians who show classless behavior by targeting a man who professes what they feel as unChrislike doctrine, well, as inappropriate as it is you can not help but sympathize with their anger. I do not excuse it, but I do declare that if the agitator was a Godly man, one who was in tune with God’s will and his role as a leader , the situation would never have begun. Leaders have more responsibility, so I place an infinitely far greater burden on Driscoll than I do on those who target him, even despite that fact that both may be wrong. False doctrine is a larger concern to me than in the heart of the moment anger roused by controversial figures who provoke such emotion to begin with rather than Godly edification!

      Not all who claim to know Christ are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus says this directly, and how often are there things we wish he stated in such plain language? God states plainly what he must feel necessary to be revealed to our benefit, and this is one such case. We must never forget that just because one claims Christ, does not mean is he known of Christ. We cannot automatically assume that we must support someone or tolerate their views becuase they claim Chrstianity. In fact just quite the oppisite, we must hold tight and vigoriously the true faith no matter what or who claims otherwise, we might fight the good fight and stand bold, even when that means willing to confront and correct false teachers. It is a horrible disservice ot the name of Christianity for ANY false doctrine to be floating around as anything near truth ,so I find no wrong in assering the un Chris like behavior of any christian in tactful and loving manner whether in my personal church, 1000 miles away, or in the virtual social media world. I would hope and pray that other believers would not let me walk in ignorance or blindness, and would point me to my faults, as I have many as all others, so that I may better serve our Savior.

        1. Oh and I stated rashly that he is ‘not a brother of Christ’ if what I gather is true. Sorry, I wrote this without editing and detailed analysis so this was an error. I do not know if he is a true brother or not, of course only God knows our hearts. That was not the right statement, it should have read something more along the lines that if what I gather of the man is true, he is in error and needs correction from the body of Christ, in order to align both himself and the entire body into harmony and edification. I hope he is part of Christ, but I do have a disdain for the type of controversy he seems to place himself in unceccsarily.

  31. This was a good post. Very good! The impersonal nature of the internet feeds into these firestorms so easily.
    Mark isn’t my bff. But, yes, he is my brother who is proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ imperfectly.

  32. Lets face it the ‘church’ is dysfunctional, maybe autistic in nature. If you were to gather the saints in one room, and the Hell’s Angels, and the Diablos in a different room it would be interesting who would break out in a fight first.

    Often we choose to focus (this is me) on what differences we have, instead of the ‘elephant in the room’ (Jesus).

    grace and peace to you and yours Nicole, and ‘keep on bloggin’

  33. Hi Nicole and all commentators,

    I will answer your question in a different manner.

    First, I am a member of a United Pentecostal Church UPC and have been for over 30 years. Our fundamental doctrine includes:
    One God – Oneness
    Jesus is the Son of God and is God
    Confess sins, Repent
    Full water immersion in Jesus Name
    Be filled with God’s Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost
    Speak in Tongues.
    Learn Bible and Biblical manner of living a Christian/Holy lifestyle
    Attend church as regular as possible
    Tithe 10% or more
    I provided the history because since returning to God, I took up the bash everyone not Pentecostal routine. Gradually, as my relationship with Jesus matured , he began to show me how wrong this attitude was and convicted me to stop it.

    I was raised:
    Assembly of God, Presbyterian, with touches of Lutheran and Methodist,
    The doctrine taught was Trinity, baptism in Name of The Father Son Holy Ghost.

    In the past years of church study and Pentecostal history, the early days of our various organizations breaking into segments of “finer points of the doctrine”, I began to realize the effects of their early warfare. Pentecostal UPC history praises the warring rebellion of our forefathers, without remorse.

    Related Information: Over 200 years ago, people came to this fine land and took it away from the current residents. Our history books praise the warring rebellion of our forefathers and break away from Britain AND the robbery of our America from the “Indians”. Again, no remorse.

    God intended for his people to live a strong moral/holy lifestyle and, if necessary, leave an ungodly atmosphere. Authority was always to be respected, if not obeyed, but never attacked, maimed or killed for the sake of God. The shepherd David and King Saul is one example. Jesus admonished his disciples against using the physical sword for violence.

    Violence conceives violence and the user dies by the same method used.

    A century later, I see Christians bashing Christians (in the name of the Lord), brother and sister attacking brother and sister (in the name of the Lord), and the normal sinner slaughter (all, in the name of the Lord). Unfortunately, some of our Christian forefathers laid a flawed foundation of violence and as each generation of believers built upon this, the “house” was flawed and distorted.

    America is reaping a harvest of destruction from the initial seeds of violence planted in its birth because we never confessed the error or repented.

    NOW, Jesus addressed a crowd and instructed them to consider themselves and the ones without sin cast the stones. The defendant was guilty but so was her missing partner, which they let go. Her guilt was not in question but their motives were.

    Jesus exhorted his followers to think about why they were doing what they were going to do. He expressly emphasized that outsiders would recognize their Christianity by the love shown toward each other and outsiders.
    1Co 13:1-13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

    Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

    Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

    When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

    The writer of Corinthians observed when he was a child, he acted like it but when he matured, he acted like a Christian adult that understood the importance, power and proper use of love.

    Our God also said,
    2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

    If our brother is sick, then let us bind together and pray for his healing. If he chooses not to change, our spirits will be softened by our expressed love for a family member. Over the years, I learned to ease into a discussion about my faith, beliefs, doctrine with diplomacy and have enjoyed those conversations.

    Anyway, these are my thoughts, inspired by your blog, Nicole, and every one’s comments.
    God bless your day and year.

  34. Mr. Driscoll did it to himself. The man might as well have painted a target on the back of his Mickey Mouse t-shirt. As a former evangelical who is now heretic and apostate, I can assure you that Mr. Driscoll does not help the cause of evangelicalism in bringing new converts into your religion.

  35. I realize this is an older post and I’m sure the newness and commenting and discussing has since dried up, but I thought I would leave a little note just because this post touched my heart, and soul a little too much not to.

    I am not much of a blog reader nor do I have Facebook *gasp* I know! So I do not nor did I know that Mark Driscoll was even under attack. I applaud you for your efforts in standing up and letting others hear what needed to be said. We are called to love one another and it is through that action that we truly show others Christ. Now, that being said, we are also human, and live in a fallen world, so we ALL make mistakes. Who are we to judge someone whose sole purpose is to direct those to Christ.

    I actually truly love Mark Driscoll and have learned and taken away a lot through his sermons. I DO believe as a society we have stepped away from our God given roles as genders, so do I find his words or directions to be sexist or back handed, no, as a woman I don’t. Do I think he could do so in a more loving compassionate gentle way, yes I do. But once again who am I to judge. I may lack “spiritual maturity” and the language that a lot of these posters do as I have no fancy words or scripture references but I do know that God is love and we are called to do that. Who made us good enough to ever judge another Christian. We are attacked enough as it is in this world and shouldn’t be attacking eachother. I can ONLY IMAGINE what my Christ is thinking as he sits up there and watches the enemy weasel his way in and cause issues inside the church.

    Again thank you. Beautiful words and beautiful writing. Just kind of disappointing you had to use an entire post to define something that our hearts should already know and feel.

  36. I realize that much of the Driscoll-bashing which occurs is about smaller-scale bloggers riding his coattails to build themselves a bigger platform. Been there, done that. But critique of critique is also a public gesture in which you’re marketing yourself according to a certain kind of piety. There is such a thing as a sanctimonious “moderateness” that inappropriately silences dissident voices. I’ve been that sanctimonious moderate before; I’ve also been the hyper-cynical rock thrower.

    At a certain point, though, public teaching and commentary that does damage to both discipleship and evangelism needs to be called out. No, I’m not going to call Pastor Mark on the phone and leave a message with his administrative assistant explaining my reservations with his tweets. If it’s a public conversation, it’s a public conversation. All of Paul’s letters denouncing damaging teaching were read publicly often without the offending person as part of the audience. Paul didn’t have some kind of obligatory “Let me make sure I’m not misunderstanding you” pow-wow with the circumcision faction before he went off on them.

    Galatians is not a happy “Let’s all just along” letter. Paul didn’t just have a different reading of Leviticus than the circumcision faction. They were preaching a different gospel that sabotaged the real gospel. I recognize that all of us make these kinds of claims about “those Calvinists” or “those liberals” and Satan exploits this excuse to do all kinds of damage. But I still don’t think it’s responsible for me as an evangelist with a particular mission field to sit on my hands whenever Mark Driscoll tweets damnation over a president that half of the country voted for. To say that there’s no reason to respond to that is to be confident enough that the people who would be alienated by his gesture don’t need to hear anything different.

  37. I’ve read your blog for awhile, but I believe this may be my first comment. But I have a question. Do you feel the same grace should be offered to all pastors? Those who use their power to abuse others, or intentionally hurt them? What about the Fred Phelps’ of the world? Or do we recognize that the Jesus they’re selling isn’t the one from the Gospels and warn our brothers and sisters about the damaging messages they send? Even when their pride repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly show they are not remorseful?

    1. Your question begs the question: Does Jesus offer degrees of grace?

      I personally do not believe He does. Grace is grace–undeserved. That’s the point. You cannot earn it (or un-earn it, by bad behavior, as it were).
      Now, do I think that those in leadership are held to a higher accountability? Absolutely. Scripture tells us so, in fact (James 3:1). Paul also addresses people who are “selling” the gospel out of selfish ambition or personal gain, but in Jesus name. He says that he doesn’t care as long as Christ is being preached. I have wrestled with this verse. It’s a hard one to swallow. (Phil 1:15-18)

      This doesn’t mean sin gets a free pass or bad behavior should not be addressed. But, it does mean that grace and truth can be spoken in love, while calling sin sin and preaching the name of Jesus.

  38. “Our response is to be in love, seasoned with truth and grace. It cannot be one or the other. It has to be both.” Thank you Nicole.

  39. I agree with you, Nicole, that people certainly do enjoy attacking Mark Driscoll. While I don’t know much about him, the little I’ve heard hasn’t impressed me. The attack attitude doesn’t surprise me though. It started five hundred years ago, though it was much more justified then.

    From the Protestant Reformation to the Age of Enlightenment to today, it has become the trendy, hip thing to criticize anything that is becoming the “establishment.” Protestants thrive on bucking the establishment, which basically boils down to criticizing anything that is successful. The internet has certainly made it easier to do so. Anybody with a keyboard and a sharp wit can become a popular critiquer overnight.

    The proper response: tend to your own sins, cause they are many. When someone has accomplished that, they can work on loving their neighbor, taking care of the poor, etc. Nobody is forcing anyone else to go to Mars Hill Church. We aren’t talking about human trafficking or anything dramatic like that.

  40. Being someone who is in ministry, I can relate to the criticism Mark Driscoll faces. Although I am not a fan of his, one thing I have always said is that I believe every church exists to meet the needs of a believer somewhere. I remember what Jesus said to his disciples when they came to him talking about the other man who was driving out demons in Jesus name, He said,” Do not stop him, no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”

    I often think about how much could be accomplished in Jesus’ name if we just did what we were called to do and left the ones we disagree with alone. Obviously Jesus knew what it would cost if we dwelt on it!

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