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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r. radewicz said...

The background colors of your website are in shades of pink. That would never fly at Driscoll's church.

James said...

I used to deal with pride...
But I am proud to say I don't have that problem anymore...
I am just that awesome...

Nate Watson said...

I wouldn't mind it if it weren't rambling dribble without any footing in scripture besides 2 topical and loose references...but hey, it's only an excerpt. If I point out my flaws and praise god for not letting them overcome me, will I too be worthy of listening to?

Anonymous said...


HCJoel said...

I'm with you, Peter. I've not read or listened to much of Driscoll because he quickly turned me off. While I was once one of the 'sound doctrine' crowd, I'm happy to have found myself more and more amongst the throng that seeks Jesus first and lets much of doctrine be left for interesting conversation and investigation. We're all in for a shock when we get to heaven and find out how many heresies we've been holding on to - and that Jesus only will care if we used them to hinder people from knowing Him. I mean, it's pretty basic - finite, foolish me cannot grasp infinite God. I hope that Mark is moving forward in his relationship with Jesus, and I'll leave my questions and sarcasm behind (because I can be just as big a pompous jackass as anyone else).

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