I’m calling for a day of prayer for Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill @pastormark

There is a man, a husband, a father, a pastor in trouble. His name is Mark Driscoll. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Recently, we’ve seen a rash of stories come out about Mark Driscoll, the senior pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. None of them have been good for him or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. None of them can be good for his congregation. Souls will be hurt because of this.

Recently, a fired elder who does have actual qualifications to speak about matters of mental anguish, posted a few things:

BENT MEYER on Sun, Jan 29 2012 at 06:06 pm (link)

“I am one of the men fired the day of Mark’s rant about two elders he felt needed broken noses. Someone asked what has happened since that day.
I am happy to say, the next Sunday my wife and I attended another Church with far better expository teaching and a community that authentically and generously helps the marginalized.

I also finished my master program and have a private mental health practice serving the Seattle and Eastside area. This was a very good and satisfying result.
Regarding whether I spoke up or not. I have not been silenced by any direct or implied threats of retaliation. It is clear that the one who possess the air waves controls the content and spin of a story, so there was not much to be done.

I thought a lot about how I would response and just what my motives would be. I chose not to be lured into a public argument through the Seattle Times asking me for a blow by blow description of the events I have documented. I have a tendency to keep material for years and years.

I did prepare my narrative, including supporting documents, for members only to read who came to me for explanation. They had to agree never to disclose any of it to the media. These people have been honorable. As best I know, none have. By doing this I opened up myself to their scrutiny and possible rebuke. I have received nothing but kindness and support.

As to my motives, I want Mark’s best. In my opinion he is a very troubled man. He is caught in his own hell. The consequence, of course, is the influence he has on others, which is mixed.

He, Lief Moi, and Mike Gunn, together the founders of Mars Hill Church, sent out to focus on those that were young, upwardly mobile and future leaders. They wanted to position themselves to influence their faith decisions and their life choices. This is a lesson for many church leaders to learn from and choose for themselves.

The downside is Mark’s pathology shows up in ways that are impulsive, aggressive, irascible, shut off from effective relational influence, and most apparent not respectful and submissive to anyone, though he claims otherwise.

I have hoped and still hope for something short of him destroying himself that would bring about substantial change for this ever increasing population of worshiper. Some have fretted there will be a great loss of Christians with the demise of Mark and/or the Church. I don’t think so. The church that comprises all of us will survive. The chaff will be blown away, but the church will remain.

I would speak a caution to all of us. There is much to be learn for the Mars Hill phenomena. Don’t dismiss the hunger and openness to be influenced represented in those ages 18 through 30. Invent content that is useful and distribute it freely on the web. Always incorporate creatively some explanation of the gospel at the end of every teaching session with an invitation to do business with Jesus.

Even though Mark’s portrayal of masculinity is more like a comic book superhero and women needing to be protected and rescued is his focus, young men coming into manhood is richly important. Absent fathers is epidemic. Think about what it is that has caused them not to attach to their families. Mark comes at it from the standpoint of duty and responsibility, which is mechanical, missing other primary questions. Why do so many men not attach to their families? Why do they abandon family so easily? Mark uses shame and intimidation as the means of gaining compliance, which has the appearance of working, but is not transformational in the long run, or creates other issues of abusive relationships related to power and control. In many men, the tendency is understood in the short saying, “Monkey see monkey do.” Don’t over react, young men need to mature.

I feel like I need to give attention to the needs of women with equal if not more space since women are marginalized and silenced in so many ways. But, I will leave that for another time.

I hope this will satisfy the primary curiosity of those who wonder what has happened to me. I will say, the other elder fired at the same times is a good friend and is doing well.”

You can read Dr. Cargill’s thoughts here, as well as other links on the matter.

I want to call on my sisters and brothers in Christ, to my brothers and sisters in faith, to all those who seek, to set aside a day of prayer for Mark Driscoll and his family and then his congregation.

We are called to love the most unloving of the human family, and while Mark is far from that, for many of us, he represents the very Christianity which we left, which has caused us so much harm, so much mental and spiritual anguish and we fear for those left behind.

So, what sayeth ye?

As a way of update, these videos is from 2008 (not) addressing the Issue:

Post By Joel Watts (10,059 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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21 thoughts on I’m calling for a day of prayer for Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill @pastormark

  1. As someone who attends Harvest Bible Chapel under Senior Pastor James MacDonald – I’m no stranger to Mark Driscoll’s preaching…..they’re friends via James’s associations with The Gospel Coalition and I’m sure from way before that. Pastor Mark preached on marriage over a weekend at HBC. I initially thought he was a good bible teacher and “friended” him on Facebook. But after the whole “effeminate worship leader” pile-on that Driscoll initiated – I’ve had cause to reconsider. When Pastor Mark came to preach at HBC, I enjoyed his session for the most part but came away feeling like I just saw a show at the Comedy Club mixed in with some Bible/God talk. And since then as I’ve progressively read his blog, other’s reviews of his teaching and books and listened to his sermons on YouTube – I have to agree with you that he’s got some deep seated issues which are hindering the good work of the Gospel that he’s trying to do. His book “Real Marriage” has really highlighted his very low opinion of women, which is unfortunate.

    All of this is to say that yes, I will join you in prayer for Mark Driscoll, his wife and kids and Mars Hill church.

  2. Thank God that Seattle has pastors Judah Smith and Casey Treat who are nothing like Mark Driscoll.

    • What’s scary is a lot of the Pastors I know in Seattle look up to Driscoll. The last church I worked at kept asking how they could be more like MH…and it was a Lutheran church. Most people responded with, “He’s got a big church, he must be doing something right.” Whatever….

  3. Mark is annoying and obnoxious, as well as being a bit condescending. His is extremely opinionated, and his opinions aren’t always correct.

    My first exposure to him was very positive, but as time passed, I found him more and more alienating. Overall, I find him to be a new, different kind of an extreme fundamentalist – but still an extreme fundamentalist.

    I am currently reading through his book Real Marriage. I have read my wife a couple of passages, and she has commented, “What a jerk.”

      • Looking forward to the blogging on “Real Marriage”. I’m currently reading Tim & Kathy Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage” and it’s a great read so far.

    • When Pastor Mark came to preach on marriage at our church – he said that he was putting the “fun” back in “fundamentalist”…..oh irony…..*rueful chuckle*

  4. Look, no one is perfect and pastor’s are human, too. Megachurch pastors are put in the spotlight, and just like celebrities this means that all of their flaws become more lucid than mine or yours do. Have grace and mercy. Calling for pray in such a condemning way comes off as judgmental and just not useful.

    I’m a Seattle-area native and am extremely familiar with Mark Driscoll, Judah Smith, and Casey Treat’s teaching – as well as many others. I do not attend any of their churches, but following most of them via vodcasts as I do with several other pastors around the world. Do I agree with 100% of what any of them say? No. And if you ever find yourself answering that question with “yes”, then you need to check your heart. The only person I can agree 100% with is Jesus.

    Jesus is always working on all of us and changing our hearts. Mark Driscoll as openly and publicly apologized and continues to in his sermons; he does not ever admit to be sinless or perfect in any way. He has strong opinions and I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but they’re not unbiblical.

    Many issues people bring up to criticize others are secondary issues, which means that the Bible does not give a straightforward, concrete answer one way or the other. If you’re going to judge, then judge based on where the the person is at compared to where s/he started (e.g. compare vodcasts of Mark Driscoll in 2008 to 2013). Or, better yet, use Jesus as the standard and don’t forget to look in the mirror while you’re at it.

    I am a woman and I have never been offended by what Mark teaches or preaches. I am independent, well-educated, and am a leader in my place of work; I do not agree with much of what Mark preaches about a woman’s role, but that’s an opinion not a doctrinal issue. I still listen to him, because he preaches Truth: Jesus died on the cross to forgive us for our sins.

    To the blogger, I am leaving this post here because I happen to run across this in a Google search; however, I see you are continuing to take jabs at Mark Driscoll in your present posts. My suggestion: preach what you believe and let individuals decide what they want to believe – no need to target and repeatedly criticize or troll a specific pastor as it just ruins your credibility as a blogger.

    • You didn’t subscribe and you clearly just want to rant. That’s fine, but and I’m gonna let you finish. However, Mark doesn’t teach opinions. He teaches what he says is doctrine. It is his doctrine that you are made only to have sex and bear children.

  5. It’s not a rant, really. Well… maybe it is a little unintentionally. I’m tired of seeing pastors bashed by other Christians for things that are just unnecessary. I disagree that Mark teaches that and I’ve listened to all of his vodcasts since 2008; I do not get that message at all. So, that is your opinion. Voice your opinion, but don’t voice it as fact in such a judgmental and condemning way.

    • No, that is actually not my open. That is stated fact – but him. Have you read his sermon on the Song of Solomon?

      If a pastor is acting to harm his congregation and others, we have a duty to call this out.

  6. Your page was down for a while, so I was unable to post. I think this is where we disagree. You’re making a judgement against Mark that his heart is to harm his congregation. Rather than make that judgement in such a condescending way, why not humbly voice your own opinion? Mark has his interpretation of the purpose and role of marriage. Lay out your understanding of what he’s saying. Then, describe your view. Not in a reactionary way, but in a graceful way. The role of marriage is not a primary issue; Mark is not saying that Jesus wasn’t resurrected or that there is no hell. Please don’t make it one. That’s all I am saying. I also want to encourage you to allow people to change. Pastors are people. God’s working on them, too. The tone of what you’re presenting isn’t effective for anything other than people ranting about how they hate a guy – you’re stirring up evil and hatred in people’s hearts. Try something new.

    • Abuse, spiritual or otherwise, becomes a primary issue. Mark is not allowed to hide behind orthodoxy while he abuses people in the name of God.

    • No, I’m not going to agree to disagree. That suggests our stances are on equal footing. They are not. You are wrong.

        • P.S. It actually suggests our stances are on different footing; not that they’ll equal or unequal. That’s a judgement you’ve made. Logic is on my side there.

  7. May the grace of God continue to pursue you Joel, as well as Mark Driscoll plus all the other leaders and teachers of the Word.

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