I have been contemplating a particular potential post for this blog for quite some time, and I was actually going to call it this title here, but someone else beat me to it. The following is taken from another site and hit the topic from a more comprehensive and somewhat different angle than I was going to. But that’s okay because I still have an alternative title in the wings with which to address the issues/Scriptures and Driscoll from the approach I had been thinking of.
Anyway, I have abridged this article as much as I could but still it is long because the author covers so many significant and grievous points regarding: Driscoll’s lack of solid biblical exegesis, his chauvinism and/or misogyny, his obsession with sex and especially smut, his flaunting of such, his efforts to come off as a macho he-man, non-chickified dude (and creating Christ in his own image), his immaturity, etc…
I have run into some macho and apparently hierarchical (chauvinistic) types here and on other sites who apparently think I have no sense of humor which, according to them, explains why some of the Driscoll quotes below offended me… Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that. Actually, I find it quite shocking and terribly disheartening that any man would find any of this funny. I would like to ask these men (and others like them), “Would you consider Driscoll quite as cute and entertaining if he were saying these things about your mother? your sister? your girlfriend? your wife? your daughter? Would it be so harmless and even humorous then?
All of the following is from Cathy Michel’s article, Mark Driscoll: Is He Qualified to Lead?
Mark Driscoll: Is He Qualified To Lead?
Friday, January 16, 2009 Guest Blogger: Cathy Mickels lives in Seattle and is the co-author of Spiritual Junk Food: The Dumbing Down of Christian Youth
Summary and Introduction
This memo is written to Christian leaders detailing my concerns regarding the ministry of Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. His church has grown to 6,000 members in 11 years and is also described as one of the fastest growing, innovative churches in America.
Because this ministry is characterized by so many examples of the trivialization of Scripture, crudeness, foolish talk and vulgarity it will be a challenge to keep my correspondence as brief as possible.
Research leads me to concur with Pastor John MacArthur, who has also said, “I have a great concern about him. [Mark Driscoll.]”
…Since Mark Driscoll has proven time and time again that he handles God’s Word carelessly, why is Mark Driscoll a highlighted speaker at The Gospel Coalition’s 2009 National Convention? It is all the more disturbing knowing Driscoll will be speaking on “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.” Why are evangelical leaders, such as John Piper, willing to overlook his crudity and excuse the fact that at the expense of God’s Word, Mark Driscoll distorts and twists Scripture as if it were material for a stand-up comedian? http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/about
…Throughout the history of the church, vulgarity and playing fast and loose with Scripture would have immediately been identified as falsehood, error, or a serious character flaw. However, for some reason, today many in the Church are compromising and excusing ungodly behavior coming from the pulpit…
I submit that this ministry attacks the integrity of Scripture, the character of Christ, and feeds the sensual, worldly heart of man. Therefore, out of love for Mark Driscoll and the Body of Christ, there needs to be close examination and scrutiny of this ministry. 3
Rewriting Scripture from a secular script
In Genesis 3… in the story of Adam and Eve, Driscoll throws out a suggestive, sensual idea about Eve that I guess Mark thinks will amuse his male audience. He says “…God creates a perfect woman who is beautiful, sinless, and naked,- the same kind of woman every guy ever since has been looking for.” (The Radical Reformission, pg.28.)
…[Driscoll] undermines the seriousness of the messages of Jeremiah, a prophet of God, by describing him as someone “who cries like a newly crowned beauty queen all the time.” He laughs at Noah for getting drunk and ending up naked in his tent, and then compares him to “some redneck on vacation.” Why would Driscoll find amusement or pleasure in seeing Noah’s dignity reduced or undermined?…
Perverting the character of Christ
Scripture states, “….out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”, which makes it puzzling to hear or read what flippantly comes out of the mouth of Mark Driscoll. For the sake of a laugh, it appears nothing is off limits.
[The following paragraph is in regards to Song of Solomon 2:3, “I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste,” which Mark declares must be about a woman giving oral sex to a man:]
… At the expense of the reputation of Christ, Driscoll flippantly joked regarding those who differ with him on the interpretation of this book. Driscoll asserted, [that some say] “ ‘Well the allegorical interpretation, it’s not between a husband and a wife, Song of Solomon, love and romance and intimacy; what it is, it’s about us and Jesus.’ Really?… I hope not…If I get to heaven and this goes down, I don’t know what I’m gonna do…. I mean it’s gonna be a bad day. Right? I mean seriously…’You dudes know what I’m talking about… You’re like, “No, I’m not doing that… You know I’m not doing that… I love Him [Jesus] but not like that.” What was the response of the congregants? They laughed. (Excerpts from Driscoll’s first sermon on the Song of Solomon series called, “The Peasant Princess” – start at 27:15)
This lack of respect can also be seen in Driscoll’s irreverent account of Jesus’ family in his book Vintage Jesus. He writes, “Jesus’ mom was a poor, unwed teenage girl who was often mocked for claiming she conceived by the Holy Spirit. Most people thought she concocted the crazy story to cover the fact she was knocking boots with some guy in the back seat of a car at the prom.
In a Christianity Today article titled, “A Jesus for Real Men,” Driscoll is quoted as saying that “real men” avoid the church because it projects a “Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ.” However, according to Driscoll, “real men” – like Jesus, Paul, and John the Baptists- are “dudes: heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes.” The article states this is the sort of Christ men are drawn to- what Driscoll calls “Ultimate Fighting Jesus.” http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/april/27.48.html
But, Jesus is not a dude, He is a King. In the words of A.W. Tozer, Christ is being “courted with a familiarity that reveals a total ignorance of who He is. It is not the reverent intimacy of the adoring saint but the impudent familiarity of a carnal lover.” Mark Driscoll may think these images and descriptions of Christ play well in edgy Seattle, but they are a figment of his imagination, not the Word of God.
“If then I am the Father, Where is my honor? And if I am the master, ‘Where is My reverence?’ says the Lord of Host.”
Feeding the sensual tastes of man
The mind is the battleground, but in the case of Mark Driscoll, instead of protecting the mind against the crudity and vulgarity of the world, he intentionally uses it. For example, Driscoll appears to have discovered early on that sex sells and that he could use it to draw a crowd. He writes, “I assumed the students and singles were all pretty horny, so I went out on a limb and preached through the Song of Songs. ….Each week I extolled the virtues of marriage, foreplay, oral sex, sacred stripping, and sex outdoors, just as the book teaches…This helped us a lot because apparently a pastor using words like ‘penis’ and ‘oral sex’ is unusual, and before you could say “aluminum pole in the bedroom,” attendance began to climb steadily to more than two hundred people a week.” Even the title of his new book, Porn-Again Christian, is case in point of distorting the words of Christ in order to grab the attention of guys to read it.
It is also curious that in spite of Mark Driscoll’s acknowledgement that many of the young men at Mars Hill struggle with pornography, Mark would intentionally and frequently plant himself in a barbershop filled with pornography. In his own words, Mark describes his barbershop as “providing the finest selection of waiting area pornography in our city.” But, isn’t the word “finest” a rather odd way of describing perverted material?
…Similarly, Mark’s response to a phone call he received in the middle of the night from a young man also raises questions regarding his choice of words and judgment. Driscoll writes that [some college guy called him, crying. He tried to pretend like he cared]. Mark blurted out, “What have you done?” When the caller confessed he had watched porno and masturbated, Driscoll actually asked the upset caller, “Was it good porno?…” …According to Driscoll, the caller was still left unclear about what he was suppose to do, so in Driscoll style, he told the caller, “…..A naked lady is good to look at, so get a job, get a wife, ask her to get naked, and look at her instead.” What message is Mark Driscoll sending to unmarried, young men by his crude, disrespectful remarks about women?
In another one of Driscoll’s church stories, he tells about a time of exhaustion when he snapped at the young men at his church. Describing them as a chronic masturbator, a porn addict, banging weak-willed girls like a screen door in a stiff breeze, etc., Mark says he cussed out a poor guy, losing his mind to the point that he thinks he actually cuffed him upside the head. In a follow-up meeting, he preached to the young men about manhood, but then, in my opinion, he snapped again.
According to Mark, his explanation for getting their act together was “….because you can’t charge hell with your pants around your ankles, a bottle of lotion in one hand, and a kleenex in the other.” He concluded the meeting by handing “each man two stones and told them that on this day God was giving them their balls back to get the courage to do kingdom work.” As a result, Mars Hill began having “boot camps” for men, teaching them how to get a wife, have sex with that wife, ….buy a house…study the Bible…and brew decent beer.”
In fact, regarding Mars Hill’s worship leader, Mark describes him as a manly man, who brews his own beer. Mark says he was impressed with his worship leader because “most of the worship dudes I have heard are not very dudely…they seem to be….exceedingly chickified from …..singing prom songs to Jesus.”
…Why would he detail the story about the attractive woman at the airport who offered him what Driscoll describes as her “impressive” “sexual favors”? It is also curious why Mark would use the language he does to describe this woman, whom Mark says was “Hot….like hell.” (Confessions of a Reformission Rev, pg. 128.)
Instead of a pastor spiritually lifting the Body of Christ up to a higher standard, Mark is dragging the Church through the gutter. As the prophet Jeremiah lamented, my people “… were not at all ashamed, Nor did they know how to blush.” (Jeremiah 6:15, 8:12)
The far-reaching influence of Mark Driscoll
…Apparently, whether it is sex or bragging about how “tough” it was for him to preach on Lake Washington with frat guys “mooning my [his] church” with “a backdrop of their hairy heinies,” or describing the “well-endowed young women passing by on a boat, lifting up their shirts,” or detailing his gross account of “messing my[his] pants while preaching with the stomach flu,” Driscoll seems to go to any length to create interest in his books and his ministry. …This is the language and conduct of a child, not a man ready for the pulpit. (Confessions of a Reformission Rev, pg. 88, and 176-177).
…[An] Anglican director… says, “…[Driscoll has] made conservative Christianity almost sexy, which is a most astonishing thing.” I also noticed on Driscoll’s Acts 29 website the comment that even church planting can be “sexy.”
…[MacArthur noted] Driscoll has an “infatuation with the vulgar aspects of contemporary society…”
…It is a mockery of the Christian faith to have Mark Driscoll speak on the topic of “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.”
According to MacArthur Study Bible, rightly dividing the word of truth means “cutting it straight – a reference to the exactness demanded by such trades as carpentry, masonry….Precision and accuracy are required in biblical interpretation …” Why?… Because when we are handling the holy Word of God, nothing less is acceptable.
What comes out of the mouth of Mark Driscoll, and how he handles Scripture is not only shameful, but also an embarrassment to the Body of Christ. Regardless of Mark Driscoll’s ability to deliver a serious presentation of the gospel message, and draw people in off the streets of Seattle, something is spiritually unhealthy and wrong with this ministry. Based on the concerns raised by others and the questions raised in this memo, it is all the more confusing that evangelical leaders are excusing the conduct and teachings of Mark Driscoll.
It is the opinion of this writer that there needs to be a close examination of this ministry. Mark Driscoll is undermining biblical and historical Christianity, and lacks the wisdom, discernment and maturity to lead. If the church cannot see it, we are further down the downgrade than we think.
“Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.” Titus 2:6
Further viewing/reading (viewer warning advisory):