What is up with Mark Driscoll?

Mark Driscoll is a Christian superstar. He’s the head pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and started a church planting organization called the Acts 29 Network. He is in the news a lot because he writes books and says inflammatory things: He suggested that Ted Haggard’s wife was to blame for is affair with a male prostitute because she “let herself go.” He said it is a wife’s biblical duty to perform oral sex. He once posted a question on Facebook which read, “So what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever witnessed?” He speaks with disgust about what he calls, “guys in dresses preaching to grannies.” Which is a back-handed slap to pastors who wear vestments. He routinely preaches for an hour or more, often berating his congregation and men he deems as weenies. Here’s a link to a video of him screaming at certain men in his congregation, “How dare you! Who in the hell do you think you are!… God might even kill you to make an example of you.” That’s just a drop in the bucket.
What is wrong with this man? I can’t figure out why anyone would want to follow somebody who is such a bully to the people around him. From afar it seems too obvious that he has deep emotional scars which manifest themselves in anger and control issues. It also seems obvious that he’s allowed to continue in leadership, despite his emotional issues and immaturity, because he has a huge following.
Most recently there has been quite a flap over an interview he gave in the UK in support of his new book on sex. If you are interested in reading a really good article about it, David Fitch has written one here. Fitch makes three very interesting points about Driscoll. These issues seem to undermine Driscoll’s involvement in the mission of God.

1.) Driscoll’s singular obsession with penal substitutionary atonement
2.) his commitment to hierarchical male authority in the church
3.) his blind belief in the importance of preaching/successful preacher to the church’s identity. 

Fitch goes on to expound upon each of those points. It’s well worth a read. If you want to know more about the flap in the UK – here are a few links (below). I’m praying for Mark Driscoll today – that he’ll reach his breaking point and stop pretending. That God will not allow him to continue hurting people around him; especially that the big blow up we’re all waiting for never happens.

About Tim Suttle

Tim Suttle is a pastor, writer, and musician. He is the author of several books: Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), and An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade Books, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals. Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. He has planted three successful churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11610849534284616756 Ross Christopher

    its all an attempt to make up for some "short" comings…

  • Anonymous

    Even Adolf Hitler went on a rant about Driscoll's shenanigans.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67a20Qymfaw

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05181279338868149787 Unknown

    I almost came unglued at the very end when he started talking about whether we believe God is 'like a mother, who just embraces everyone' or 'like a father, who also protects and defends and disciplines'. Holy crap! Maybe I'm not at all like his momma. We both embrace, protect, defend and discipline in our house! Ugh! Disgust.
    The most effeminate thing is that he always uses a shortened '-in'' word in conjunction with Jesus, i.e: 'servin' Jesus', 'lovin' Jesus'. Geez, that annoyed me to death.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16264749319255974812 Christy Thomas

    This is part of the problem with the independent church model that functions without a larger connection for accountability. Driscoll built that church, he owns that church, and he gets to say what he wants to say. In that way, he functions very much like a cult leader–and I am betting that fear is the glue that holds the whole thing together. Instead of the humble wounded healer role, Driscoll appears to be a very damaged man dealing with his pain by inflicting pain on others. However, as he is accountable to no one, there is no one who has the authority to remove him from his pulpit.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10974397437648079481 Tim Suttle

    Christy – those are very powerful words you wrote: "Driscoll built that church, he owns that church, and he gets to say what he wants to say… Driscoll appears to be a very damaged man dealing with his pain by inflicting pain on others."

    Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I really think Mark is just clueless about the cultural differences between America and England. His methods would simply send everyone over here running away from the church not towards it. He needs to understand his understanding of the cross of God and Christ is not the only one in the world!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10033103810612446806 shack

    Glad you're talking about this, Tim. Appreciated some of your links. Fitch's analysis is spot on with way more perception and depth than I could muster. I had a hard time getting past thinking: "What a dick/a-hole/douche-bag…"

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02823415769823932104 Mike Crowl

    "I can't figure out why anyone would want to follow somebody who is such a bully to the people around him."

    But people do this all the time: Waco is just one prime example of it. We had a guy in New Zealand who set up a commune and insisted on all sorts of weird sexual practices until the police caught up with him. Some people just seem to like to be bullied by a 'strong' leader. Hitler's another example, of course.


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