Reformed Reformission?

Can A Driscoll Change His Spots?

I don't appreciate Mark Driscoll, of Mars Hill Seattle and Acts 29 fame. I don't like the way he crassly treats and refers to women, and I don't remotely hold to his male-dominated theological viewpoint.

But I also find him distasteful because he's arrogant... for that reason, I may not like him because he reminds me of myself! He's the Kanye West of American ministry - pious hypocrisy in hip, flashy garb... and I know I'm a showboat. It's true. I like the sound of my voice. I grew up in the theatre, and like most insecure artists, I thrive on the kudos and commendations of my peers. That doesn't make it okay for me, and it doesn't make it ok for Driscoll (or Kanye).

Today a friend of mine sent me the following excerpt from a recent Driscoll sermon and I have to say I was impressed. I still think he's done untold damage to countless individuals and communities with his harsh rhetoric... but maybe I have too, from a lesser platform. Regardless, I was surprised to see this come from him and I'm glad for it:

From a sermon on Nov. 4 at Mars Hill
I believe that humility is the great omission and failure in my eleven years of preaching. I believe that this is my greatest oversight both in my example and in my instruction.

I therefore do not claim to be humble. I do not claim to have been humble. I am convicted of my pride, and I am a man who is by God’s grace pursuing humility.

So in many ways this is a sermon that I’m preaching at myself, this is a sermon you are welcomed to listen in on as I preach to myself.

But I truly believe that were there one thing I could do over in the history of Mars Hill it would be in my attitude and in my actions and in my words to not only emphasize sound doctrine, encourage in strength and commitment and conviction but, to add in addition to that, humility as a virtue.

And so I’ll start by asking your forgiveness and sincerely acknowledging that this has been a great failure.

And I believe that it is showing up in our church in the lives of men and women who have sound doctrine but not sound attitude. They may contend for good things but their motives are bad and their methods are bad and their tone is bad and their tactics are bad and their actions are bad because their attitudes are bad even though their objective is sometimes good. I see this in particular with the men. I see this with men young and old, men who have known Jesus for a long time and should know better, and men who are new to Jesus and are learning sometimes the hard way.

I will take some responsibility for this. Luke 6:40 says that when fully trained, disciples are like their teacher, and I am primary teaching pastor of this church and I can’t simply look at the pride in some of our people and say that I am in no way responsible or complicit.

I’m a guy who is pretty busted up over this personally and it really came to my attention last December just in time for Christmas. The critics really brought me a lot of kind gifts of opposition and hatred and animosity. Merry Christmas. And some of those most vocal and nasty critics were Christians – some of them prominent Christians. So I was getting ready to fire back (my usual tactics). They hit you, you hit them twice and then blog about your victory. Which I don’t have any verses for and don’t say it was a good idea. But it had been a pattern in my life until a man named C.J. Mahaney called.

I’d always considered humility to be cowardice and a compromise. In the name of humility you give up biblical conviction and passion and the willingness to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and to fight false teaching. What he was describing was orthodoxy in belief and humility in attitude and that those two together are really what God desires. And so it got me thinking and studying and praying through pride and humility and repenting and learning and growing. So I would start by saying that I thank my dear friend C.J. Mahaney for his ongoing friendship and the kindness he has extended to me and the things I’ve been able to learn through his instruction.

Furthermore, I apologize and repent publicly to you, the church for whom I am responsible, for much pride in the history of my ministry that some of you have poorly imitated and for that I am deeply sorry.

And thirdly, to say that I’m not a humble man but as result of study I’m a man who is acknowledging his pride and pursuing humility by God’s grace.

- -

I'm not going to applaud Mark. He did what he needed to do. And (judgmentally, I confess) I'm still somewhat skeptical of his motives (which is not my right or calling). Still, if this repentance is genuine, then I believe it can bring good fruit.

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Out of the OOZE!

Well, it took a few years, but my writing has finally made it past magazine confines, into a genuine book!

Conceptualized, organized and edited by Spencer Burke, Out of the OOZE is a collection of writings, rants and parables about being Christian and wrestling with "the church" amidst new paradigms - from new vantages.

" is an online collective of believers who feel disconnected from the mainstream church. Through articles and message boards, the site offers a public forum to honestly discuss faith, culture, and ministry. Site founder Spencer Burke hosts a journey through compelling stories that highlight the hopes and struggles of a new generation. Readers will encounter fresh perspectives and inspiration to pursue an authentic walk with Christ."

If you spend much time reading my blogs, you'll recognize much of the chapter I wrote from an old post here: "Cultural Refugees in Gay Nightclubs." The chapter is basically just that - a blog post converted into an article for theOOZE - then converted into a chapter for the book. It makes me feel awkward, because the writing is far more casual (even a little sloppy) than I would have hoped for my first publication. I pray NavPress doesn't hold it against me as they evaluate my worldspeak manuscript.

Anyway, pick up the book at Borders, your local bookstore or at! (please: just don't judge my writing entirely by that one little piece)

read more about my thoughts on Christianity in the real world at

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