Breaking News: Mark Driscoll RepentsBy Steve | February 4th, 2012 | Category: Theology & Practice | 15 comments
In the past few weeks, I’ve seen what many many many people have seen on Facebook news feeds – way too much of Mark Driscoll. First the hype about his new book about sex, marriage, and sex (which I have not read). Then about his insults toward the maybe-godly-but-definitely-wimpy preachers of the UK for not being famous enough. Then about the church discipline process enacted upon some members who weren’t willing to repent enough to be accepted back into fellowship after voluntarily confessing sin.
Just moments ago, I finally read something that I, and many others have eagerly been waiting for . . . a sincere word of repentance from Mark Driscoll, as delivered from the pulpit at Mars Hill Church. Yes, really. Read it yourself:
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.
and later . . .
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.
Amazing, right? Too good to be true? Maybe, maybe not . . .
Yes, Mark Driscoll did deliver these words to Mars Hill from the pulpit. The catch is, he delivered those words in November 2007. (I found the transcript for this on the web here). Am I guilty of a sensationalistic headline? Perhaps . . . but there’s a point.
There are multiple ways to respond to this confession. One would be to read this and think that he, like all of us, has some persistent and pervasive areas of sin in his life, and this one just keeps popping up for him. Kudos to him for his public confession, but no kudos for follow-through. The recent church discipline debacle certainly opens Driscoll up for questions when it comes to ongoing habits of sin that don’t result in changed behavior . . . should he himself be under church discipline for this?
The thing I have been the most troubled about regarding Driscoll for a long, long time has been what he says in this confession about the example he sets for others. I re-quote:
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.
Here’s the deal for anyone who doesn’t know me – I lived in Seattle for seven years, four of which I spent doing college ministry at the University of Washington. A number of students that were a part of the programs I ran were faithful members of Mars Hill Church. And I can testify that Mark Driscoll was right, at least in part . . . good motives, good intentions, but sometimes some pretty bad methods, tone, tactics, and attitudes . . . in particular with the men. I genuinely believe that these guys loved Jesus, and tried really hard to follow him. I pray they still do. But these guys would go to Ballard on Sundays, watch Driscoll for an hour-plus each Sunday, and then try to emulate him, both in doctrine and in their pseudo-masculine (but actually cowardly) style. I saw the way they treated women. I saw the way they treated people who held other doctrinal positions than they did. Sadly, I saw Mark Driscoll discipling young men to himself, while convincing himself and them that he was discipling them to Jesus.