No, you shouldn’t have to accept @PastorMark’s apology

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Watermelon (Photo credit: Adrian & Andrée Warnock)

Jonathan Merritt writes,

When Christians have grown so bitter toward someone that we can’t even accept their apologies, something has gone seriously wrong. If Driscoll had ignored these comments, his critics would have excoriated him for his silence. But when he says he is sorry, they criticize him still. We must refuse to create lose-lose situations for each other where one is damned if they apologize and damned if they don’t.

When Merritt is writing the stuff I like, he is dead on… but when he is clearly in the wrong, I’m going to disagree with him.

In all seriousness, I admire Jonathan’s take and believe that over all, if the situation was different, I would support him and his call to accept Driscoll’s apology. However, I am not a parishioner in anyway of Driscoll’s. He is not my pastor, my mentor, my boss — shoot, the only time I read his garbage is when I have to read it via a secondary source. Driscoll has yet to “sin against” me in anyway. He did not insult me, berate me, or abuse my money to buy his way to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

I know better (now) than to put myself in that situation.

To suggest I should accept his apology to colonize the hurt and harm he has caused others. This is not my hurt, this is not my harm, this is not my apology. I’m not sure I can even suggest to those he destroyed that they accept his apology because I’m not there. I’m not in their shoes. They’re the ones who have to decide for themselves.

Post By Joel Watts (10,110 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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10 thoughts on “No, you shouldn’t have to accept @PastorMark’s apology

  1. Joel, I thought I was going to agree with you until I read Merritt’s post. But I think he is spot on with this:

    Others claim Mark must resign as pastor of Mars Hill Church. I agree this is probably best. Not because he needs to pay for past sins, but rather because his pattern of behavior indicates to me that he should spend time with some wise counselors who can help him sort through whatever he’s spent his life inappropriately processing.

    But demanding accountability and reconciliation is a far cry from rejecting one’s apology.

    This is a principle and a distinction which needs to be applied in all kinds of relationships, not just in the Driscoll case.

      • From what I have read recently, they do have a board of accountability including four independent members. But Driscoll has managed to manipulate the situation, forcing two of them to resign which probably means he has a majority loyal to him. So outside accountability is no panacea.

  2. I just hope that people will stop quoting his crap about what it means to be a man at me.

    As one of his “Marty Stewarts” — a stay-at-home dad, that is — I have to admit that I’m okay with seeing his popularity fall a bit.

  3. The key principle of confession (apologies) is that the circle of confession should match the circle of offense. Joel feels that he does not have standing to accept Mark’s apology because Mark has not personally sinned against him.

    I have a different view. Mark is an author and speaker with international influence, a highly visible leader within the Christian community. When Mark acts with a lack of integrity, it harms not just his local church, but it harms the body of Christ wherever he has influence.

    I have friends and family members who reject Christianity because they see it as mean-spirited, judgmental, narrow-minded, etc. They see a Christianity that has more the flavor of the hypocritical Pharisees than the flavor of Jesus. As the Barna survey cited in the book unChristian makes clear, this view of evangelicals is predominant among young adults outside the church. And while many Christians like to protest that these outsiders have the wrong idea about “us,” if we are honest, we have to admit that Christians have earned the bad rap. Mark Driscoll and others similar to him have done a great deal to project this nasty image of Christianity. Even if my family members who reject Christ would not know who Mark Driscoll is, they can very articulately describe the kind of hateful teaching that he and others spread in the name of Christ and cite that as their reason for rejecting Christianity.

    Years ago I bought one of Mark’s books. After about 6 pages I put it down because I was so offended and disgusted by his arrogant, judgmental spirit. I usually donate my used books to a thrift store, but this one I trashed because I did not want the poison of that book to infect another person.

    Mark’s circle of influence is huge. When he betrays the trust of those who have read his books and those who have heard him speak at Christian conferences, his apology needs to extend to all those whose trust he has betrayed.

    Mark has sinned not just against his local church, but against the broader body of Christ. That calls for a public apology.

    • Eddy, if Mark issues a public apology and repentance for the sins against the Church – yes, by all means do we extend the grace given to us and forgive him. But, what did his apology really say and who was it for?

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