Mark Driscoll on Glenn Beck

Last night, Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Seattle was on Glenn Beck’s show. Here are the (free) clips from the show, the first one being about “men” and the second about “intolerance.” Both reinforce the view I’ve expressed here that Mark and other prominent “young” conservative evangelical and neo-reformed leaders are coalescing a new religious right in the U.S.



While the content is fairly predictable, a couple things stand out that scream “new religious right.” In fact, this is really what Mark’s call to resurgence is all about – a resurgence of conservative Christians who champion right-wing legislation. Now, Mark is coy (and confused) about this, in that he claims the “moral majority” and the “religious right” are over and we should “put those t-shirts away, ’cause nobody’s wearing them”; but even if he’s changing the shirt, it’s the exact same thing underneath.

Two points:

  1. In the first video, Glenn opens up by saying, “Mark says that if we lose the men and we lose the inner cities, Christiandom [sic] is done, at least in the West.” Mark simply replies, “Yeah,” and goes on to talk about “re-evangelizing” cities and their men. Here is more evidence that Mark is really looking for a return to Christendom, not a rejection of it. While he confuses this with his talk of “civil religion” elsewhere, he is pining for the (supposed) days gone by when Christianity was central in American culture and politics/legislation. This is the meaning of “Christendom” in the thinking of the new religious right.
  2. In the second, Glenn asks Mark what we should do given our (supposed) culture of intolerance toward conservative/evangelical Christians, and Mark replies, “As of right now, [gay marriage] has become the civil rights issue of our generation. And some would say pastors shouldn’t be involved in politics…but there are certain things that are moral, cultural, social, family issues that have political implications.” This is Driscoll’s code for saying that he is now becoming more of a conservative political activist in his ministry, and this, again, is what his call to resurgence is really all about. While it comes in the language of gospel and evangelism, the intent is to re-evangelize in order to legislate according to the right-wing agenda in the areas of gay marriage, abortion, religious freedom (read: Christian privilege), and small government/deregulation/free market economics.

Also, Mark Driscoll was ON THE GLENN BECK SHOW.

If that’s not evidence of the new religious right, I don’t know what is.

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About Zach Hoag

Zach J. Hoag is an author, preacher, and binge-watcher who writes and curates here at FAITHFINDINGS. You can also catch him at his author blog,

  • Rob Grayson

    How thoroughly depressing. But well done, Zack, for calling this what it is. Brian Zahnd says the kingdom of God is the politics of God. Well, whatever politics this is, it ain’t God’s, that’s for sure.
    Also, I’m wondering whether the beard (and the waistcoat) is an attempt to look more manly and/or respectable? (Or perhaps just more conservative…?)

  • zachhoag

    First off, I love the word “waistcoat.” Second, Brian’s most recent sermon plays like the perfect counterpoint to this interview! And I like Mark’s beard, but that’s all I like ;).

  • Rob Grayson

    So, I looked it up on the big G and found that you guys call a waistcoat a “vest”. Which is odd, because over here where we speak the Queen’s English, a vest is an undergarment worn on the upper half to keep you warm. Language is a curious thing…

    And yes, BZ hit another home run with his last sermon.

  • zachhoag

    Rob Grayson I prefer real English, so I’m going with waistcoat from now on!

  • Rob Grayson

    Splendid, old chap ;)

  • JMatthewBarnes

    Ugh, sounds an awful lot like the old religious right.  Actually, come to think of it…it just sounds awful.

  • kinnon

    zachhoag Rob Grayson If you prefer real English, move to Canada and we will teach you how to speak it. :)

  • Rob Grayson

    Ha ha Bill. But you’re forgetting your roots, eh?

  • kinnon

    Rob Grayson Roots? One of the best Canadian brands around. :)

  • Rob Grayson

    Ok, I give in…

  • zachhoag

    kinnon zachhoag Rob Grayson YES on both counts. I know would feel so at home in the CA. AND PLEASE BLOG!

  • ollwenjones

    I think whether this says anything about some new ‘Religious Right’ or not has more to do with how/why Driscoll ended up on the show than anything he says in those two clips. The stuff he said about men, cities and the flow of culture is the same thing he’s been saying for years. (It was beck that threw out the word “Christendom” Nothing new there.) I don’t think anything all that interesting was said in the second video either. Anybody with conservative theological views could have said the same things about a kind of reverse-intolerance. Doesn’t exactly make him Jerry Falwell. 
    I’d say this post says more about how much you don’t like his theology than any new political movement going on, though admittedly I haven’t really been following either. Just seems like in the name of “Advancing Creative Christianity” you would have more important things to talk about.

  • zachhoag

    ollwenjones Driscoll’s openness to making political statements and implying political activism is new. But it seems like you have more important things to do than comment on such an unimportant post ;).

  • Curt_Day

    Describing Driscoll’s talking in the first clip as “pining” for the good old days when Christianity controlled society couldn’t be more accurate. The focus of that analysis should be on Christian control because that makes the following discussion ironic. In those days, practicing homosexuality was a crime and yet Beck and others are now complaining that culture is being intolerant of Christianity. And calling today a “McCarthyism” shows how some conservatives know how to interpret rejection of their control into delusions of persecution. And getting their audience to feel persecuted is where they want them because it is then that the audience is more receptive than reflective.

    BTW, just a note on Conservative tolerance, my experience in the blog world tells me that conservatives or more controlling and intolerant than any other group.

  • zachhoag


  • aletheiamusicorf

    I recently discovered your blog about two months ago and was very struck by your earlier predictions about Driscoll and his new book bringing about a “new religious right” movement. Although I have a lot of respect for the efforts that Mars Hill has made as a church to support church planters and I appreciate the movement of quality gospel centered music coming out of their communities, it was not to hard for me to imagine the possibility that what you were pointing to might be true.  Mark is a polarizing person in a lot of ways and his convictions on theology are no secret. I actually went to the Resurgence conference in Nov. so I was very interested to see if he would indeed begin to make more politicized kinds of statements, or try to plant seeds for an upcoming movement the likes that you have predicted.  

     In all honesty, I found that nothing he or any of the other speakers that were chosen said had any political agenda to it at all. You would think that if the this resurgence movement were going to be the spring board from which he would be trying to establish a base of support for this “new religious right” that on the day of his books release when he has a platform in front of hundreds and thousands of people watching him at the conference and online he would have started the push that the church needs to be more “active in government” or trying to “take back the country” or engaged with politics period, but no.  He didn’t. His main talk was all about what he’d been researching for a new book about what are the real roadblocks for non-believers to receiving the gospel and how the church needs to adjust it’s approach in order to meet them where they are. He showed a heart that was all about serving leaders in the church for the advancement of God’s kingdom, NOT through legislative means or political means, but through the effective and loving communication of the gospel.

    Coming back here and reading this post, I find your comments to be very mislead. When you start pointing out things like “when Mark says this it’s code for that”, and you assume you know that he pines for a return to olden days of Christendom in America even though he has clearly made comments to the contrary, you start to sound like Rush Limbaugh or someone like that. I’m really not trying to be insulting here. I like a lot of what you write about, but I think you are just plain wrong on this one.  You know, if a year or two from now, Mark is up on CNN and Fox news holding the torch for the republican party and giving marching orders for the “reformed right” or whatever, you will have been right on the mark, but if that doesn’t start happening I hope you’ll wake up and see things as they really are.

  • zachhoag

    aletheiamusicorf Hi there. Not sure what your name is, but I see a common thread from commenters who have an interest in defending Driscoll/MHC. The first is that you don’t give your name (unless that handle is your name somehow). The second is that you draw attention to other material from Driscoll instead of the material I’m clearly commenting on (here, the videos from the Beck appearance). If you have something substantial to say about that appearance, that would be great.

  • aletheiamusicorf

    My name is Joshua Geimer. I live in Norfolk, VA, and I have a wife and three children. Is that helpful to you somehow? I’m not sure what me not signing off with my name has to do with anything that I or anyone may have said in defense of Mark Driscoll. Feel free to let me know. 
    In regards to my comments, I directly addressed your commentary on this interview in my last paragraph. If it helps though, let me restate my point another way. Your interpretation of Marks comments to Glenn Beck is (in my opinion) a stretch, to put it nicely. Your first point is completely unfounded based on the fact that all he actually said was “yeah”, and nothing else in this interview communicated the kind of conclusion you are trying to draw from it. AND in fact, as my second paragraph was pointing out, he has not made any attempts to mobilize that kind of movement through the resurgence or MHC to date. 
    Your second point has more merit sheerly on the basis that Mark actually referenced politics in his response. Unfortunately that fact alone does not excuse the Rush Limbaugh/Shawn Hanidy type of tactic you used for making your point. He simply said that some theological issues have political implications. That’s just a fact brother. But instead of taking the comment at face value you chose to break out the “this is really code for something else” business. 

    Now, look, I know you probably are reading this imagining I’m some red faced Driscoll fan boy or some angry conservative fundamentalist type but I’m not. I’m just a 34 year old guy who loves the gospel, loves the church, and his family. I find your blog thought provoking and I like hearing new ideas and perspectives. I just can’t get my head around why you are so set on seeing MD as the poster boy for a new religious right movement. It’s all speculations and extrapolations based on your assumptions about MD’s motivations. Where is the substance of your argument?  


  • zachhoag

    aletheiamusicorf zachhoag Joshua, thanks for explaining. The name is helpful because I’ve received a few trollish comments on this subject, and I am more careful about engaging when a person doesn’t comment as…a person. 

    Not questioning your motives here, but you might be missing my point. I’m definitely not saying that Driscoll is overtly mobilizing a political lobby. What I am saying is that his well-documented recent move toward a more ecumenical conservative evangelical constituency (not strictly reformed or missional) is specifically for the purpose of creating unity around right-wing legislative issues. The CONSTANT referencing to gay marriage, abortion, and religious freedom/economic issues show that a cultural (culture war?) position is becoming Driscoll’s main focus. That is not to say that he is any less “gospel-centered” on the surface. But if you are saying I can’t draw out implications or show what some of this rhetoric means (based on studying Driscoll for a long time and evangelicalism for my whole life) then the conversation is simply at an impasse. I won’t hesitate to draw out implications here, and your condemnation of that is still lacking.

    All that said, I mean no disrespect, and thanks for engaging. Merry Christmas to you.