Mark Driscoll Apologizes And Says He’s Changing His Life (and I support him)

Mark Driscoll Apologizes And Says He’s Changing His Life (and I support him) March 16, 2014

Mark Driscoll, it appears, is repenting.

I didn’t think I would ever write this post, but I am. In a letter to Mars Hill that appears to have been leaked to Reddit, Mark Driscoll is apologizing for some of his behavior and committing to giving up being a celebrity in order to be a better pastor.

The chatter that has started online is understandable. I get it. It can be hard to know when someone is sincere, and it’s easy to be cynical. It’s also easy to believe the worst about someone. As someone who has been quite critical of Mark, I’m tempted to react that way too.

But, that would be wrong.

When someone engages in hurtful, even abusive behavior, the goal should always be for a person to come to repentance. Our hopes and our commitment should always be on the side of healing, restoration, and forgiveness.

Sure, there are some things in the letter that I could critique. Yes, my instinct is to be cynical and I would have good reason for that reaction. But maybe, just maybe, Mark has now taken the first steps in the right direction.

I think we must refrain from the former (for now) in hopes that the latter is true. In this case, I think that love offers the benefit of the doubt.

If this letter is validated as authentic, I believe the most God-honoring thing to do would be to pray for and support Mark as he attempts to change his life and hopefully heal damaged relationships. I don’t say this lightly– I believe Mark’s behavior has been outright abusive, and I have consistently spoken out against his behaviors very publicly because this was the right thing to do. Along those same lines, if Mark is now showing that he intends to begin a process of repenting, it is equally right for me to speak out and say that this is a beautiful first step, and that he has both my support and prayers.

If we’re actually going to take this “following Jesus” thing seriously, we must always root for and encourage lives to be changed and restored– even when that is someone we don’t particularly like. Especially when it is someone we don’t particularly like.

This isn’t easy for me. I don’t expect it would be easy for you either. But, I hope you’ll at least consider joining me as we both step out of our comfort zones to actually put into practice one of the core aspects of the message of Jesus: enemy love.

Yes, I will always stand against oppression and abuse, and if Mark isn’t being sincere, I’ll publicly speak out against his behavior for years to come. However, you will also always find me standing on the side of healing, restoration, and peacemaking– because that’s what it looks like to follow Jesus.

Following Jesus is uncomfortable. But I am committed to living that way, consequences be damned.

I hope you will join me in praying that Mark’s heart will continue to soften, that his behavior will change, and that lives will be healed– including his own.


Link to the letter as posted on Reddit


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  • Terry Firma

    He’s very sorry — sorry he got caught. It’s almost miraculous that Mr. Driscoll didn’t breathe a word of his unethical book-sales manipulations until now, a week or so after the ruse was publicly revealed, even though the issue had supposedly been bothering him for a while.

    And the plagiarism? Why is he silent on that? When Driscoll wants to be forgiven for his sins, wouldn’t it help if he at least acknowledged what those sins were? Wouldn’t coming clean, and publicly apologizing to the authors he ripped off, be a prerequisite to offering forgiveness?

  • Donna

    Praise God if he is being sincere. When I looked on Reddit, there is a disclaimer attached, which makes me pause a bit: “This communication is for the exclusive use on the Mars Hill Church version of The City, and contains proprietary, confidential or privileged information intended for a limited audience. Any disclosure, use, copying, dissemination, or distribution is strictly prohibited.
    Thank you.” I think there are people outside of the boundaries of his church who have been wounded by his brand of bully Christianity, and I hope he will eventually issue a wider apology.

  • If this is in fact authentic, I don’t trust him, I don’t believe him, and I don’t pity him. And I would strongly encourage those who adhere to whatever branch of his religion to do the same. Take a look at his track record. Think about what you know about the man. Then put together the pieces.

    I can’t think of anyone who has gotten hurt from deciding to not trust a pastor.

  • It’s amazing how someone can write seventeen paragraphs and say essentially nothing.

  • I’m not advocating we trust him or forget what’s happened- just want my folks to consider praying that his heart continues to soften.

  • I’ve publicly taken him to task on all those things. I’m not saying he should be instantly reconciled with the community- that is a loooong process that could only happen with a lot of other pieces falling into place. I’m just advocating that my folks at least root for restoration over destruction.

  • Terry Firma

    I still can’t figure out whether Christianity’s easy forgiveness for everyone from straying pastors to rapists, torturers, and serial killers — as long as they embrace Jesus, of course — is admirable or immensely morally off-putting.

    I’m reminded of the comedian Emo Philips: “When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.”

    It probably worked, too!

  • Donna

    Hi, IA–actually everyone who rejects Christ by deciding not to trust a pastor gets hurt. That’s a problem with pastors who misrepresent Christ in any way to others and cause them to reject Christ, and I think they will be judged for that. It sounds like you may have been hurt by the church or an individual in the church in the past, and if so, I hope you won’t hold that against Jesus.

  • Pk Mitchell

    This guys tied in to that heretic Rob Bell, Right? Hope he’s repenting and turning from that Godless crud.

  • Donna

    Hi, PK: I don’t think they’re connected. Rob Bell is from the Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, and Mark Driscoll is at the Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Here’s an article where Mark Driscoll responds to Rob Bell’s book:

  • Pk Mitchell

    Thank you for that, someone gave me wrong info then. i rescind my statement and of course will too pray for the guy to get through his troubles.

  • Michael Brian Woywood

    I stand in hope for Pastor Mark. Sometimes, it is simply the knowledge that we need to change that allows God to begin the process. And, who knows? This kind of serious introspection could lead him down a life-altering, soul-stirring path of reformation.

  • I’m talking about real hurt, not I-don’t-believe-in-your-version-of-the-Christian-god hurt.

  • Actions will speak louder than words. But if he changes, then of course I welcome this and will show grace.

  • Donna

    If I believe that Jesus is the only true pathway to God (and I do), then causing someone to reject Jesus IS real hurt. Jesus said it would be better for such a person to have a millstone put around their neck and be cast into the sea, so I think He thinks it’s real hurt.

  • Wendy Alsup

    “I have been burdened by this for the past year and have had private
    meetings one at a time to learn from, apologize to, and reconcile with
    people. Many of those meetings were among the most encouraging moments
    in my time at our church. Sadly, not all of those relationships are yet
    mended, but I am praying that God is gracious to get us to that place of
    grace. Now that others have come forward, my desire is to have similar
    meetings with those who are willing.”

    Knowing personally many he has brutalized with his words but failed to contact to reconcile with them, this feels incredibly disingenuous.

  • Peter Graham

    Also Rob Bell is no longer a pastor .. he now lives in California.

  • I read this on Reddit and re-read it several times wondering if it was a hoax. Only time will tell. I hope it’s true. If so, it’s a very good thing.

  • Russell Almon

    Hey Benjamin – This is my first comment here I think, though I read your stuff often. Good thoughts and I generally agree. We should always root for redemption. And I do. I hope to God that he is sincere. But some questions as someone who has done pastoral counselling with some who have been grievously harmed by the ethos created at Mars Hill in Seattle…

    1) All this sounds so vague, which I think contributes to the ‘is he sincere or not?’ question. But if sincere, should it be so vague? I mean, some of this sounds like the kind of apology that my mom would say, “Now apologize for real,” when I was a kid. As it stands its difficult to tell whether this is a true first step at repentance (and I would say if it is, its at most a first step) and he’s legitimately trying to work out the rest or whether its a matter of he’s feeling the heat and is just trying to lay low for awhile. I hope for the former but as one who has witnessed a number of these kind of vague apologies as a pastor, small group leader, and hospital chaplain – my gut (and I wouldn’t mind being wrong) tells me its the latter.

    2) There is also the matter of the recent structural changes at Mars Hill that consolidated governance and power even more into a small corporate like board, three ‘executive pastors’, with Driscoll on top. This is troubling to me not merely in an ecclesiological sense, but more specifically related to this, what chance in this system is there of Driscoll actually being the subject of genuine church discipline and redemptive restoration. You said it yourself, he has been outright abusive for years. This would seem to me to warrant at least a timeout of sorts in terms of pastoral duties and speaking not to mention a much less vague apology. And we should expect no less from Mars Hill which purportedly places a high value on the place of church discipline (though this is where a large part of the abusive ethos comes in for them). Are Driscoll’s two fellow ‘executive pastors’ and his pretty much self appointed corporate board the best folks to provide him ‘accountability’? I’m not just trying to be snarky here. I’m asking seriously. At best, if they do recognize the need for church discipline for Driscoll, they really seem to be soft pedalling for him when they have refused to do it for others (especially when the power structures have been threatended, other pastors have lost their jobs outright at Mars Hill). At worst, Driscoll’s ‘accountability’ is coming from his own self chosen cronies within the context of the ever more increasing corporatization of Mars Hill, in which he just drops out of the limelight but still maintains his internal and external pastoring and teaching duties (so really, no substantial discipline at all?), and doesn’t have even a mandatory sabbatical period imposed on him (again, from a church that purportedly places a high value on church discipline).

    I know its not scientifically verifiable, but especially as a chaplain one learns to trust their gut (even as the prompting of the Spirit often), especially in a trauma center like where I worked. Here, I think we have to read between the lines too much to discern this as authentic as it stands. Perhaps time will support what he has said here. Like I said, I hope I’m not correct, but my gut feels very uneasy about this. My fear is that very self-reinforcing system and ethos Driscoll has created at Mars Hill makes a genuine discipline and redemptive restoration process almost impossible for him. Peace.

  • While I want to trust that real repentance place, please note that he equates himself with God the Father. I quote from the end of this letter: “As I get older, I am seeking to increasingly love our people as I do my own children in order for our church to be a great family, because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    With the Father’s affection, –Pastor Mark Driscoll”

    With his his deep male-only-father-in-total-charge authority theological base and his understanding that he is everyone’s father, it appears that his repentance still gives him ultimate and sole authority over the people of Mars Hill. I find this extraordinarily scary and with an even greater likelihood of a cult-producing outcome.

    I fear that real humility is yet to appear.

  • Sorry, meant to say, “While I want to trust that real repentance TAKES place . . .

  • Lamont Cranston

    Reptenting of being a lying thief is not only pretty easy after you’ve been caught; it’s basically required if you want to cotinue the grift. Let me know if he ever repents of being a misogynist and a bigot. That would take balls.

  • I think the part you should rescind is calling Rob a “Godless crud”. Rob is a Christian.

  • Eric Strother

    I think that comes in part from our misconceptions about forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the other person gets a free pass or that the slate is wiped clean. It is simply us giving up our “right” to hold that person’s offenses against them. I believe forgiving someone is more for our benefit than for theirs. Unforgiveness and holding grudges is toxic. Forgiving someone does not absolve them of the consequences of their actions and doesn’t mean we have to act like nothing ever happened. It just means we leave justice to God (and possibly the legal system).

    Forgiveness isn’t always easy, but it is necessary for healing. I’ll even go a step further than what you said–I think we need to forgive even if the other person does not embrace Jesus. Maybe it is even more important then.

  • Eric Strother

    I agree that there is still a lot of the “old” Mark in that letter, but I remind myself that change is a process and I pray that this is the first step on the path.

  • Thank you for this. I thought the exact same thing when I read the letter. It’s easy enough for me to trust him and give him a second chance, though. I live thousand of miles away and will probably never even meet the man, much less come under his direct church leadership. I also don’t have an abusive past. So I understand that some are not as ready as I am to take Driscoll at his word. But I will do so.

  • Shame on you, Benjamin. This article is written to make it look as if you are taking the high ground. You encourage others to give Driscoll the opportunity to prove his sincerity, but you have thrown into the mix repeated comments indicating that you expect that he is not sincere. You even mention that you could even criticize his apology letter, but won’t do that… yet. Stop blogging until you can show the humility you want to see Mark Driscoll show.

  • At Centre

    All I can say as I read these comments is I’m glad the one who sits on the throne of GRACE is Jesus. He alone knows the motives and the sincerity of each heart. Pastor Driscoll, you are in perfect hands. And if I were you, I would stay away from this poison for longer than a year. I was just reading yesterday that the Greeks and Romans had no word for “humility”… the concept was foreign to them. I have to wonder if the same is true on this thread. Do you all see humility as a sign of weakness? Is it truly that you don’t trust it when you see it? Or is it a foreign concept? I know you will say, “But this is not true humility!” And then we have come full circle, for there you are on the throne once again, weighing motives and judging sincerity. Follow Mr. Corey on this one… at least he is moving in the right direction.

  • Ah, yes. Shame on me for asking my folks to pause for a minute, pray for him, and hope that he’s making a sincere change in his life. Yup, shameful behavior.

  • Humilitas – the Latin word for humility.

  • gimpi1

    I sincerely hope you’re right, Ben. I have to say, here in Seattle, he has done your faith no favors on the PR front.

    If he can put a lid on the “angry pastor” bit, that alone would be a help. Personally, I find those words a bit of an oxymoron. Sort of like Jumbo Shrimp.

  • At Centre

    Greeks actually used tapeinos, meaning “low to the ground”, because they did not have a word that meant humility of spirit. The Latin humilitas signified “from the earth”… it was not seen as a virtue but a weakness. Therefore, ironically, it was never used to define a Roman’s character. Pride would not allow it.

  • Terry Firma

    You would forgive this guy?

  • jontrott

    As someone who has been highly vocal in my opposition to Mark Driscoll’s teaching on women, I appreciated both the tone and the content of Mr. Corey’s column. I do admit to a certain, shall we say, skepticism here. And I don’t think keeping one’s eyes open is a bad idea. For instance, one issue not addressed in the letter from Mr. Driscoll is (a) the profits made from the book “Real Marriage,” and (b) what he’s going to do with those profits. As I understand most book deals, the money from that book may well go to him personally. A forthright accounting of that money and explanation as to what could or should be done with it now would go a long way toward convincing me of the sincerety of this letter. That said, I will pray for Mark Driscoll as well as for those he’s hurt and continues to hurt with patriarchal teachings not found in Scripture. And I will look to myself as well, knowing I am no more “righteous” in and of myself than Mark is. Lord, purify your Church.

  • Terry Firma

    Ah, yes, Luke 17:2. That’s always a good verse, especially in the context of a discussion about forgiveness!

    I’m a blogger at another Patheos site, Friendly Atheist. My articles have caused some Christians to doubt their faith, embrace reason, and walk away. Horrible, I know. So what you’d like to see happen to me is the divine justice of having a millstone placed around my neck and cast into the sea? Do I have that correctly?

    FYI, the other way around, when non-believers repent and become Christians, you know what atheists do? The worst we’ll do is roll our eyes. Then we’ll wish that person best of luck.

    Which approach do you consider more mature and more moral?

  • Nick Kersten

    Judging from the comments here, it is not only Mark Driscoll who needs to repent. Friendly word of caution: when you start assuming you know someone’s motivations, you’ve sinned, and probably in more than one way. If you have that kind of information, you are dangerously close to putting yourself in God’s place.

    I appreciate the tone of this blog, however, and am glad to see people wanting to see the faith grown in people, no matter how famous or sinful they are. It might be easier to read and believe if there wasn’t so much obvious skepticism about Driscoll, but frankly, Mr. Driscoll may have earned that for his behavior over the past two decades. I’ll certainly not stand in the place of judgment on that skepticism. Let’s all grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus because of this.

  • Rebecca Ortenzio

    Benjamin – There are so many times that high profile christian leaders are spoken out against for ridiculous reasons. Sometimes there are valid things to address but most of the time I believe that we are all on the same team! Winning the lost to Jesus. How that is done isn’t set in stone. I hate to see genuine, Bible believing leaders torn down because their church is big. Bottom line is people’s lives are being changed. I love what you said. While you have called Pastor Mark out on what you felt he did wrong, you are showing a spirit filled reaction to someone you don’t agree with. Well done. I wish more people could be like you. I have never heard of you but I will be watching to see more. I don’t attend Mars Hill but I know many who do. I have interacted with him a few times as well. I have been weary of all of his anger as well. I am so happy to see this change of events and I will be praying that he is able to sustain it because like him or not, he is a vessel that is being used by God and people are growing under his leadership. I’d like to see that be more healthy because that only advances the kingdom of the lord! My pastor has a lot of people that hate everything he does just because he does it. I think that is ridiculous. I want to see the lost find Jesus. If you do that in a big church or small church, baptist or pentecostal, it is a win! Thanks for this.

  • gimpi1

    Is Terry Firma crud? Is Irish Atheist? Am I?

  • Terry Firma

    I wish you understood how much cringing it induces to see your repeated reference to bringing the lost to Jesus. What abject arrogance to think that those who don’t believe as you do are “lost.”

  • Jude

    Have you written ONE single thing that doesn’t reek of self-righteous snobbery? Seriously, Ben. No where in any of your writings will people see kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control, or peace. Get over yourself and start living in the Kingdom of love, unity, and peace.

  • Rebecca Ortenzio

    I don’t care how much it makes you cringe Terry. I truly believe that Jesus is the only way…just like you believe he is not (per some of your other comments and your blog). My heart hurts when Christians beat each other up. Our job is to love one another. We are not supposed to tear each other up or those who don’t believe like us. I hate to see the venom spewed amongst people who are supposed to be different. It makes for a difficult argument when speaking with souls that I do believe are lost. Lost as in having not yet become a part of God’s family. Not lost as in ignorant, stupid, or anything else. It isn’t meant as an insult. If you take it that way, that is too bad. And that is all the engaging I will on this post. I wish you the very best and no offense was intended to you or anyone else that believes differently than me.

  • Phil Faris

    Vague. That’s the word. Most criticism of pastors is vague, whether of country parsons or megachurch celebrities. I differ in ecclesiology from all megachurch and denominational preachers in that I see small congregations led by a plurality of elders as being “clearly” specified in the Bible. But most evangelicals don’t see things that way, so when they criticize Driscoll they have to go after his style and attitude–very hard to prove unless you’re actually mentoring or being mentored by Driscoll. What is needed out in the blogosphere is biblically grounded criticism for objective aspects of ministry or for clear hermeneutical errors. I’m writing a hermeneutics textbook, so I decided to try to find the hermeneutical errors in other popular Bible teachers’ works–and I find this to be challenging. Homiletics can totally hide the underlying hermeneutics. But I’d enjoy reading other Bible teacher’s analysis of Driscoll’s and Piper’s and others’ sermons for the validity of their exegesis and hermeneutics. We might be wrong but the feedback might actually be helpful to both the speakers themselves and for young preachers who rely on the big name speakers as role models. So far I’ve only “felt” that all the celebrity preachers have a common problem in preaching too simple and too basic messages that miss the full power of the language and content of any given passage. So the only real criticism I’d lodge is about the overly centralized structure of megachurches which seems to not be following the New Testament guidance for how to build churches. In other words, I don’t have anything very damning to say against any of the big name celebrities.

  • JohnH

    I’ll believe this when I see him apologize PUBLICALLY to the people he’s thrown under the bus and he can start with the elders he did that to.

  • How about not casting stones and simply love him.

  • Louis Grizzle

    True repentance entails not just confession (specific naming of sins and those sinned against) but restoration of those wronged, i.e.: the thief stops stealing and repays those he has stolen from insofar as he is able.

    Agree or disagree?

  • Ted McCormick

    Who cares? Apologize… dont apologise. It really doesn’t make an ounce of difference. I dont hate the man, but I don’t care to listen to him. Or any man for that matter. The time of the famous pastors needs to come to an end. I would rather hear he gave up his “priestly duties” and went to work in a walmart. Its too comfy and leisurely in his position and that is a trap. Jesus gave us a very different example, but those who claim to be teachers sent by him really have distorted the simple gospel. Its not just Mark its the whole of Western christendom that reeks of self promotion and legacy building. (even the nicest of them)

  • I don’t know if I’d call that repentance- I think I’d call that something closer to reconciliation. Repentance at the core means to change one’s mind. However, I think I agree with what you’re saying– there needs to be more than words but actual restoration of broken relationships (which I believe I affirmed in the piece). Confession is just a first step.

  • KR Taylor

    I immediately wondered if that weren’t put there intentionally, knowing full well that it would be ‘leaked’, to add to the appearance of in-house church family contriteness or some such.

  • EM

    When a person has been abusive, there’s really no ambiguity between real change and false change. Real change is unmistakable. Here’s what it looks like (this link is specifically about domestic abuse but the principles are relevant to any type of abuse):

    There’s nothing wrong with holding out hope for repentance. But something to remember, when a person with a track record of abuse expresses a desire to change, is that their thoughts and feelings should take a much smaller priority than the thoughts and feelings of their victims.

    If we don’t remember this – if we get distracted by what the abuser is doing and what he’s going to do, whether or not it’s real, etc – then we’re actually enabling him to continue his pattern of abuse. We’re not supporting his repentance; we’re supporting a world in which he is the center and everything revolves around him.

    To break that pattern – to support him in the hard, hard WORK of real change – we have to shift focus back to the people who really need our support – the people he’s wounded, who are hurting out there in the dark and doing everything they possibly can to rebuild their shattered worlds. Let’s concentrate on being a safe place for THEM.

  • KR Taylor

    No one is aiming barbs at Driscoll because of the size of Mars Hill Church(s). You have completely dismissed all of the very real and legitimate concerns if you honestly think that’s the root of this.

  • Rebecca Ortenzio

    No…I realize that. However, pastors of mega churches are indeed a big target. Many are ridiculed for watering down scripture and being too seeker sensitive and the list goes on. Believe me, I get the criticism of him. I have been a critic myself. As I said above, in my interactions with him, I was troubled but still value his knowledge and all the work he is doing. Glad he making an effort to change. I do believe he has made some significant shifts. We are all in process and he is too. I hope to see him continue to humble himself and submit himself in the areas he needs to and be an even greater instrument.

  • Chris

    I’m glad he’s having a change of heart, but for the most part I see him addressing some of the more trivial issues. He does little to address the abuse you mention, especially that of his advice to women and the damage of his counseling ministry/church discipline strategies.

    I understand it’s hard to admit one’s faults, but I take serious issue with so much of what he has done. I’ve suffered his abuse indirectly through two separate pastors who followed Driscoll’s example. Without admitting to some of the things he has done, it is hard not to take this as someone who is upset that people don’t like him and wants to try to hug and make up while not changing the root problems.

    Still, as they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem. That’s a good first step.

  • Kerry Thomas

    Maybe it’s me, but if I had messed-up bad in my position, I would have resigned, actually been told to resign and start over.
    Keeping your job, your pay, your status really is not an act of repentance.
    I remember Jimmy Swaggart doing this same thing and getting in trouble shortly afterwards again.
    Maybe it’s because I’ve seen Southern ministers mess up royally, apologize and carry on like nothing ever happened….I remember here in Texas Karla Faye Tucker who killed a man with a pick-axe converting to Christ in what many now think was an attempt to save her life….
    I don’t know, we as Christians need to forgive, but I wonder just ” how much?”

  • Trolls come with the territory Ben. I get a Calvinist or anti-theist troll on my blog just about weekly. The internet attracts them like moths to a flame. I’m glad to see you’re not letting them get to you.

  • Al Cruise

    Repenting now does not change the years of teaching and indoctrination of many young men who will live out their lives with his attitude towards women, accountability, leadership style, metering out discipline, sex, etc. Once young men are indoctrinated, it becomes very difficult for them to change. I have a friend who attended a Christian University in South Carolina and they were taught that people of dark skin were that way because God put the mark of Cain on them. Many of those students have gone out and taught that as truth in Christian schools across the country. He needs to repent for some of the things he taught in the name of Jesus.

  • Thin-ice

    Maybe it’s better to write out a Forgiveness check, and post-date it for two years from now. If his apology is sincere, it will be obvious in two years’ time, and Mark can cash it in.

  • Timothy Swanson

    I’d be more inclined to believe this if he had also said that he realized that forcing his staff to sign non-disclosure agreements was a mistake, and that he was never going to use them again. Didn’t see that in the letter, so I assume that those agreements remain in full force and effect.

  • Donna

    Hi, Terry–Wow, how did you make the giant leap from my repeating what Jesus says about people who lead others astray, to saying that I personally would like to see a millstone placed around your neck and cast into the sea? I don’t even know you, and I want God’s ultimate best for you and everyone on the planet! Jesus seems to feel that leading others away from faith in God is a dangerous thing to do, and I believe that, but I don’t particularly have an ax to grind against anyone, and you don’t know me well enough to accuse me of that.

  • Chris

    As much as I dislike Driscoll, I get the idea this is supposed to be a farewell like “Peace of Christ” or something, not that he is equating his authority with God’s.

  • If Ben truly was filled with self-righteous snobbery, he would never be my friend. I have met many types of Christians in my life. Some were terrorists, some were child rapists. Some abused their wives and children. Some humiliated and sneered at others who didn’t hold to their exact theology. Christians are a group of people whom I start off with the worst assumptions and am almost always proven correct. I have nothing to gain from a friendship with a Christian any more than I do from a friendship with a snake.

    It is precisely because Ben is one of those immensely rare individuals who doesn’t let their religion impede their basic decency that he became a friend of mine. I scorched him in these comments time and time again and he continually reached out with patience and empathy until I grew to respect and like him against every basic instinct I have.

    In case you didn’t realise, it is one thing to attack someone’s argument or even to be dismissive towards where they are coming from, but it is extremely offensive to tell a writer that he needs to stop writing until he’s ready to agree with what you want him to write about. That is simply beyond galling and warrants more than a little snark.

  • I am under no obligation from anyone, deity or man, to love someone whom I have no pity, respect, or consideration for.

  • That’s something I’d have to do more research to verify (I learned long ago not to believe everything on the internet), but it’s a very interesting premise. I like to think of myself as an amateur linguist, so I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks for educating me today.

  • AccostedDarling

    I think of a story when a city of cruel, imperialistic people made a gesture of repentance and God turned on a dime and forgave them, to the great consternation of a man from a people they had oppressed, and how God essentially told him, “You have zero reason to be bitter about my generosity.”

    I think also of that one time Jesus told a story about a servant who had
    his debt forgiven but then turned around and demanded repayment from
    his fellow, and how the problem lay not in the debt owed but the
    servant’s unwillingness to forgive it.

    I guess what I’m saying is, the true nature of Mark Driscoll’s repentance or unrepentance is not our problem. That’s God’s problem. Our problem is our own hearts and attitudes as followers of Christ.

  • Daniel Wanless

    This letter is authentic and if you actually knew anything about Mark Driscoll, then you would know that it is nothing new. Pastor Mark has consistently, and nearly weekly, publicly apologized for his failures and repented of his sins for all of the years that I have attended Mars Hill Church. This is one of the many things that I respect about him and that the bloggers consistently and willfully get wrong as they continue to self-righteously judge and criticize someone that they do not know and frankly don’t care to know. Do yourself a favor and listen to his most recent sermon for an authentic look at the heart of the man you gossip about.

  • andy ivy

    Your opinion, on how Christians should treat other Christians, is quite valueless and irrelevant.

  • Excerpt:

    Honestly, I don’t particularly want Driscoll to become this more subdued spiritual father type. Instead I’d like him to aspire toward a middle-way. Namely, I’d like to see him retain the passion, drop the knee-jerk anger, raise his level of critical thought, tack on some more civility, revision the prophet role, and dig deeper into the spiritual father role.

  • Sorry, I couldn’t hear the sound of the apology over his barbs at effeminate worship leaders and women who ‘let themselves go’ or the myriad number of parishioners he’s emotionally and verbally abused.

  • Of course it is, sweetheart. I would never presume to instruct Christians on how to run their gilded temples. However, Chopper’s comment wasn’t referring to Christians now, was it? No, no, he was talking to me. Since I was, after all, the one he responded to.

    He, a Christian, admonished me, not a Christian, to love in a Christ-like way. It was simplistic and laughable. But there was nothing in the exchange that referenced Christians loving other Christians.

    A level of reading comprehension beyond what is normally found in the sixth year of American education would be enough to determine this.

  • Thin-ice

    Something doesn’t add up in your comment Daniel. If he has apologized WEEKLY, for several years, for his failures, doesn’t it mean either: 1) he keeps failing at the same things hundreds of times, or, 2) he has failed in hundreds of unique ways over the years. Either way, the way you put it, kind of sounds like he shouldn’t be a pastor.

  • Jess Beck

    Even if the letter is discovered to be fake, we should still love Mark Driscoll. Saul murdered Christians before his conversion, and was welcomed with open arms by the other apostles after his conversion. We should be so bold as to do the same – regardless of the authenticity of the letter.

  • andy ivy

    Talking down to people you don’t know, classy.

    I accidentally responded to the wrong comment – my mistake. I meant it for your initial comment, suggesting that Christians “Take a look at his track record. Think about what you know about the man. Then put together the pieces.”

    That’s actually rubbish advice for a Christian, and combining that with your claiming atheism, your advice is valueless and irrelevant.

    And well, if you’re trying to advise anyone other than Christians.. why should an atheist trust a Christian as a leader even if they’re the most loving person on the planet?

  • otrotierra

    Is Driscoll publicly apologizing for his sexist, homophobic, and abusive theology? Please provide direct citations.

  • Daniel Wanless

    Not weekly, nearly weekly. Either way you want to see it, I count it as evidence of further sanctification and conviction over hurt that he has caused others. Listen to the link, I don’t need to plead his case for him and Jesus doesn’t need my help in judging him either.

  • Daniel Wanless

    I know, it is too much of an investment to hear both sides of the story. Click on the link.

  • Daniel Wanless

    I provided a link, I can’t hold your hand and make you click on it.

  • JT

    Beautiful statement, Benjamin. My favorite part: “If we’re actually going to take this “following Jesus” thing seriously, we must always root for and encourage lives to be changed and restored– even when that is someone we don’t particularly like. Especially when it is someone we don’t particularly like.”

    Many of us get this so terribly wrong, and Jesus wants us to take opportunities like this to get it right.

  • I applaude your article and I am in complete agreement to joining in on praying for Mark, and his church body.

    Where I get confused is this notion of “enemy love.”

    Mark is not our enemy. He is preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. We might not agree with him on all matters theologically, preaching styles, ect. ect., but by no means would he ever be considered our enemy.

    People are coming to know Jesus at his church, and for that I rejoice.

  • otrotierra

    By asking you for a citation I am asking for a direct word-for-word quotation, like Benjamin Corey generously provides in his commentary above.

    So can you quote Driscoll apologizing specifically for his habitually abusive sexism and homophobia? Or will you hide behind another insult? Your theology is showing, Daniel Wanless.

  • Yes, advising people not to trust a man with a long history of spiritual, emotional, and verbal abuse is rubbish advice.

    See, this is why the Church gets away with so much horrific crime. Because those who warn others about corrupt religious leaders have a ‘valueless and irrelevant’ opinion if their theological views aren’t in perfect accordance with whatever arbitrary standards you’re going by.

    Thank you for contributing to the cause of atheism today.

  • Reason number #47 why I’m glad to be an atheist.

    I’m not accused of hindering some theological kingdom by calling my enemy an enemy.

  • Wonder

    It’s actually wise advice. ” by their fruits” and all that.

    that being said, time will tell if Mr Driscoll has any intention of mending his ways, or making amends to.those he’s hurt

  • Oh, I did sweetheart. It was hard to keep from vomiting in my mouth a little.

  • Daniel Wanless

    Benjamin Corey posted text that he couldn’t even confirm as authentic. Is this the bar that you set for citation of gossip? What I offered you was a link and sarcasm, not insults and theology.

  • Because your truth is relative?

    I guess I’m confused to the point you’re trying to make, or even to why you’re trying to make it.

    I don’t know how it relates to my post or if you’re just “trolling” in a sense to why your beliefs are superior to others?

  • Wonder

    Did you practice that speech in the mirror? Because it sounds as if you’re talking to yourself.

  • Donna

    These are really good points, and I think he has a lot of work ahead to get to the place where he sees that this is not all about him. I hope he, and especially his family, can get the intensive treatment they need to get better.

  • Ah, yes, the old ‘you’re an atheist so your truth is relative’ gem. Hadn’t seen that one in a while.

    I’m talking about how this Christian insistence that you’re all on the same side is used as a shut-down device against Christians who attempt to call out members of their religion on their bad behaviour.

    I’m sorry, but a spiritually, verbally, and emotionally abusive man-boy who delights in his homophobia and ego-driven attacks on others is nothing else than my enemy. And I have the freedom to say so because I don’t have any spiritual bond with him as Christians do. It means my criticisms of the man come without your baggage.

    And as for trolling, I’ve been participating here for nine months. You just got here.

  • Wonder

    ask someone who knows their theatre history. Greek theatre was basically invented to teach the concept of humility.

  • otrotierra

    So to confirm: you do not have direct citation of Driscoll apologizing for his habitually abusive sexism and homophobia. Got it.

  • Joe the Plumber

    You talk about truth and you omit the statement that was included in the Reddit post that this letter contains proprietary and confidential information and is not to be distributed, yet you claim “Here’s the full text that leaked to Reddit…” Distributing something the author did not intend for distribution and stated it is not to be distributed is acting without integrity. Posting something third-hand as fact (“Here is the FULL TEXT that leaked to Reddit”) without verifying it is gossip. So you’re either gossiping by posting something someone else said was on Reddit without checking yourself, or you’re editing out non-disclosure statements so you can feel okay about distributing it.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your attitude about this, except the bit where you reserve the right to mock him later if it turns out to be not genuine; conditional love by definition.

    This should be taken down, not because of the content or the opinions or controversy, but because it was released to a specific audience and was specifically included in a non-disclosure statement. Legality isn’t the issue, respecting and honoring the author and distributor of the letter is the issue. That’s integrity, and if you for a moment think that this should be splattered on the web regardless of the non-disclosure agreement, especially if you use arguments claiming it’s invalid or not enforceable, you have no integrity. Integrity is doing what’s RIGHT, regardless of circumstance. 1 Corinthians 10:23. The person who leaked it to Reddit broke trust, but so have you, because you know it was not intended for this audience by the author.

  • The question I asked about your truth being relative, was essentially that, a question. It wasn’t a statement or jab at you in anyway. I was trying to interpet what you were saying, but obviously fell short of that.

    He very well can be your enemy, but as Christian, he is my brother.

    I find that we (Christians) are so quick to throw stones at people who we haven’t sat in board meetings with, who we haven’t shared life with, who we don’t know personally, whose hearts we haven’t heard…and it makes my heart hurt.

    Yes Mark has issues. So do I. A lot of them actually.

    But Mark is not an enemy to the Gospel.

    I am sorry I wasn’t more specific in my original post. I shouldn’t have assumed I was speaking to just a Christian audience.

    I think its awesome how you’re engaging in this conversation by the way.

  • You said what I was trying to say…just better :)

  • Thin-ice

    Meh, weekly or every other week, still adds up to hundreds. If he has to apologize only every other week for the hurt he has caused to others, he should not be a pastor.

  • Hey, go ahead and throw an arm around your brother Driscoll, but the company you’re willing to keep is a big red flag to the rest of us.

    The whole Christian fraternity ‘bros watch out for bros’ thing is, as I said, another reason for me to avoid your religion. I don’t have to compromise my values on this.

  • Wonder

    Megachurches draw fire because they’re the ecclesial equivalent of industrial agriculture

  • Daniel Wanless

    You should be able to put a little effort in, I’m not going to transcribe it for you.

  • I’m not asking you to compromise your values..I’m sorry if you took it that way.

  • I didn’t. I’m saying that being a Christian and treating Driscoll like you are asking Christians would force me to. It’s fine for you because you have a different value system. And that is why I’m glad I’m an atheist.

  • Mark Bolt

    I’d hardly call this repentance. It looks more like re-branding.
    Check out the definition of narcissistic personality disorder in the DSM-IV. Based on his actions and the first hand accounts from survivors, he fits the profile pretty well.

  • Jct47

    Pardon my skepticism but it sounds to me like a fake apology from a fake man. Charlatans are usually good at reinventing themselves and from reading the comments here Mark’s new tactic is already paying dividends. Face facts, all the news about Mark has been rather negative with the plagiarism allegations and the phony New York Times Bestseller. Mark needs a way to shore up his base. All the Christian code words are in the letter so his base will be reassured while he dreams up new ways to fleece the flock. I’m willing to bet there is a new book by next year on Spiritual Renewal or something along those lines along with a speaking tour.

  • Things that do not work in internet discussions:

    Things that work better in internet discussions. “I think this sermon better demonstrates what I am trying to say. In it, Driscoll directly says ‘DIRECT QUOTE.’ So as you can see, he is doing what you are claiming he isn’t, also when he says ‘ANOTHER DIRECT QUOTE’ Here is the link for your convenience.

    This is why no one is taking you seriously, sweetheart.

  • Louis Grizzle

    “There needs to be more than words but actual restoration of broken relationships…”

    Agree with you there, Benjamin. It is called the “fruit of repentance,” which in Driscoll’s case would require restitution to the victims as well. Until that happens, it troubles me that many are so quick to start cutting him slack when he has done nothing to make amends with those he has harmed.

  • Al Cruise

    “Integrity is doing what’s right, regardless of the circumstance”. Tell that to Driscoll. He has been a pastor for how long? How come he is in this mess where he has to apologize in 2014? Where was his spiritual growth over all those years? Integrity and doing whats right would be for him to step down.

  • Wonder

    You think your beliefs are superior, Why shouldn’t IrishAtheist think his are?

    what’s the point of having beliefs, if one doesn’t think they’re correct?

  • I didn’t say he shouldn’t hold that view…I was trying to gage why he was responding the way he did.

    I don’t think my response should even merit that thought.

    Feel free to read our full conversation below.

  • mespe

    Wow, Seems like we are all missing some pretty serious points here. I can pray for Mr. Drissoll’s well being and be hopeful that his sincerity is real. I can rise above name calling and non-judgmentally give him the opportunity to demonstrate his sincerity in a spirit of Christian love. That does NOT automatically mean that I should not be wary the possibility that he might exercise his free will by continuing for follow a hurtful (read “sinful”) path and protect myself from that if dealing with him. I might even go so far as stating fact to others and indicating that I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt; allowing them to make a decision that is suitable for themselves. Again, that is not being judgmental or unsupportive. Why is it so important to polarize this argument? To me that seems to be both against Christ’s teachings and logic. Hmmmm………

  • Rob Wastman

    I suggest we all take our eyes off of Mark and any other man who is put on a pedestal and fix our eyes squarely on Jesus. He is the only one who is sinless. All the rest of us are imperfect.

  • MSchmidt

    Simply for the sake of argument (or hopefully ending one), this letter was intended for current members of Mars Hill. Driscoll has a long road ahead of him, as we all do when we’ve done wrong, but the claims that he sent out this letter to the “public” simply because he got “caught” are foolish. He has addressed some of these issues in the past with members of the church.
    I am speaking right now only to the Christians who read this: Guard your hearts against bitterness and slander. Before commenting, pray if either of these are in your heart and repent of them before speaking out against a fellow Christian. Will your comments bring Jesus glory? Or are they simply to bring yourself glory?

  • Grady Walton

    In other words, your love is purely conditional. If so, I assume you will not be too upset when someone you love decides they no longer love you because they no longer trust you, believe in you, or pity you. As you see, that sword cust both ways. Hence the reason this believer treasures God’s grace.

  • My love is conditional on my standards, not your god’s. That’s why I do not love my father, and I am a better man for it.

    Pointing that out doesn’t cut me in the least, much as you seem to hope it would.

  • Daniel Wanless

    I never expected to be taken seriously.

  • Daniel Wanless

    How about you turn over your cards. Why should I take your assertions as fact in the absence of citation? The author of this blog can’t even verify the document that he posted to support his post.

  • Donna

    Just out of curiosity, TF, if you ever make a false assumption about someone else, go off on them, and falsely accuse them on a forum, do you ever feel a need to go back and apologize in the context of that forum? If you want to be a credible blogger who does the mature and moral thing, it might be something to think about.

  • The best thing I learned from my pastor is that forgiveness is giving Love in return for Error. I extend love and compassion to Mark and hope he finds those open to his evolving consciousness.

  • Guest

    I feel quite upset that someone, especially an author and speaker what write an article like this. He has either seriously misinterpreted the bible, or chooses the parts which suit his argument, distort them and present them as biblically sound points. As andy noted before, how can you truly believe in the bible and God’s sovereign grace and write: “Take a look at his track record. Think about what you know about the man. Then put together the pieces.”

    Can you imagine if Jesus said that about sinners? Also, merely describing Mark as “abusive” without any arguments why, is just gossiping. Not only is the entire article written out of context, but the exaggerations, judgement and the way he describes Mark as if he is surprised he is a sinner, makes me quite sad. I think the author should do some reflecting on God’s word. To be able to truly adopt the bible as God’s word and then write an article filled with gossip and judgement is very hypocritical, but also, characteristic of our sinful nature. Not to mention the snide comments and general tone of the article. The very “(and I support him)” in the title is ridiculous. Why wouldn’t you support him? If you considered yourself his brother in Christ, why would you need to highlight that? As if you could also choose to be loving by not supporting his repentance and growth in God.

    Which is why i’m going to pray for Benjamin, not Mark. Mark has clearly been made aware of certain sins in his own life and is very humbly, and in accordance with the bible, repenting and moving forward in his ministry. What a clear image of sanctification.

  • (A) My article doesn’t say “”Take a look at his track record. Think about what you know about the man. Then put together the pieces.” You’ve attributed a quote to me that is not mine.

    (B) I stand by my statement that Mark’s behavior has been abusive. Shunning someone because they won’t reveal their entire sexual history? Abusive. There’s entire communities of people who have been wounded in some massive ways at MH, and that’s not gossip– those are stories you can read in the first person if you’ll do your homework.

  • Heather McAuley

    I agree that we as followers of Christ should support each other in love when one of us falls to temptation, in this case the temptation of the illusion of power. However, I believe I will measure his sincerity in part by whether or not he steps down from his position. An abuser of power, when repentant, should be forgiven but that does not equal omission of consequence. Part of the problem, as I see it, in the church today is not that we do not forgive each other but that we often do not hold each other accountable. We collectively loose credibility when the scales become slighted in either direction.

  • Heather McAuley

    So, yes I will pray for him. Yes I will love him in Christ. Yes, I can forgive him. And Yes, I will continue to call for him to step away from the position of pastor.

  • “Take a look at his track record. Think about what you know about the man. Then put together the pieces.”

    Um, Mr. Corey didn’t say that. I said that. That’s a direct quote from my comment, not the article.

    Did you just skip everything and scroll down to the comments?

  • Heather McAuley

    Well said.

  • Al Cruise

    A word to those who say this article is full of gossip and slander. ” He will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to God he likely does not know”. Mark Driscoll on Barak Obama. He sent that message out for the whole public to see. Now talk to us again about being judgmental and wanting to start gossip.

  • The Thinking Commenter

    Better for such a person to have a millstone put around their neck than it is for Jesus to tell dude that it’s okay the pastor was just a phony. Better for Jesus to talk through Donna L than it is for Jesus to talk through Jesus.

  • andy ivy

    I can’t help that you don’t give value to forgiveness the same that Christians are supposed to.

  • Lindy C

    WOW!! I have just finished scanning/reading much of this…I have a mental picture of this “room”…imagining you all seated at a round table in a very large room, decibels rising and lowering…coffee is on, snacks available for the **long-haul**. Sigh.

    Oh my, I just noticed there are 104 comments at this juncture! I will have to miss some of them.

    With respect for each of you and desire to express it, I “speak”. I feel like a rookie…so just please read. I seek to honor each of you with respect for your capacity to **think**. Will you please return the same, if you respond.

    Please consider:

    Right or wrong, this pastor has **expressed** a new direction, after obvious and serious errors. All of the comments here express individual positions…views. Do any of you think you can truly ***know*** his motivation? [Consider King David…in history…and in the Bible: adultery, murder, etc…. who bitterly repented, referred to as a man after God’s own heart. Huh?? He had been quite caught up in his own position]

    Can you precisely (?) label Mark’s heart’s purpose?

    With my 60-year history of decades-long abuse in a religious cult (oh the pain (!) from the so-called “Christians”) and from childhood sexual/emotional abuse, and FOUR abusive marriages….for me to continue ***living***, forgiveness became a choice for my personal lifestyle…and my healing. I was in death mode a few years ago. Forgiveness…my take: total cancelling of all owed and a choice to move on, and learn to love as I had been loved at the Cross of Christ.

    I request that each of you will consider that all of us carry a “blind spot” in our “eyes” that when we humble ourselves to learn about it, that the issues in another person’s life can become more clear.

    Will you agree that we all need mercy, compassion, and a huge issuing of grace?Is there anyone here who does not need forgiveness?…to be given a break for change and real growth for mending relationships??

    Just think for a moment of this:

    o·pin·ion (ə-pĭn′yən) n. 1. A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof: “The world is not run by thought, nor by imagination, but by opinion” (Elizabeth Drew). 2. A judgment based on special knowledge and given by an expert: a medical opinion. 3. A judgment or estimation of the merit of a person or thing: has a low opinion of braggarts.
    4. The prevailing view: public opinion. 5. Law A formal statement by a court or other adjudicative body of the legal reasons and principles for the conclusions of the court.

  • The Thinking Commenter

    It sounds like you may have been hurt by the church or an individual in the church in the past,

    Believe it or not, there are other possible reasons besides your trumped up patronizing excuses to justify for yourself why nobody could possibly have rational reasons. Just because the Bible says nobody can have a good reason, doesn’t make it true that nobody can have a good reason.

  • Donna

    Sorry for your anger and hate, Jackson. Hope you find a positive way to deal with them.

  • The Thinking Commenter

    Sorry for your patronizing and for your self-justifying rationalizations. I forgive you for them. ♥ You were just mindlessly doing what you were told. ♥ You are forgiven.

  • Scotty Newman

    When The church governance changes at Mars Hill (And make no mistake that Driscoll can change it single handedly without elder approval as he has done before) and has TRUE elder accountability, and when he brings the mister and Mrs. Petry before the church n Sunday morning and there asks for their forgiveness and Mister Petry is offered exclusive elder authority over Driscoll, I will believe that Driscoll is truly repentant. Anything less is just more of Driscoll’s PR lies & hypocrisy.

  • Scott_In_OH

    Many of the comments on this thread have helped me clarify a bit for myself another way Christianity (and perhaps other religions) can be dangerous, even in its kindest forms.

    That is, it sees harmful behavior, particularly abuse, as (1) a matter fundamentally between the abuser and God, not the abuser and the abused, and (2) a member of an undifferentiated category called “sin,” rather than a member of a category called “bad stuff you shouldn’t do to other people” that includes smaller and bigger offenses.

    That way of thinking enables all manner of other harmful behavior, including
    — victim-blaming or -ignoring
    — using the trivially true statement that “none of us are perfect” to imply that an abuser’s offense is no worse than, say, cutting someone off in traffic because you want to get home from work earlier
    — suggestions that the abuser pray really hard, rather than getting therapy
    — suggestions that the abused pray really hard, rather than getting therapy
    — suggestions that the abused pray really hard, rather than leaving the relationship
    — not even recognizing abuse as abuse

  • BT

    That’s an excellent point. I would argue in Christianity’s case, it’s partly the result of a concept of sin that doesn’t really take all of the bible with equal seriousness.

    The concept of sin as being something between two people or AS a people (as opposed to something personal between me and God) is stronger in the Old Testament. Unfortunately we as a faith tend to downplay those bits.

    Selective bible reading contributes it’s fair share to the problem.

  • Donna

    Back at ya, TF Jackson! ♥

  • SecularAmerican

    Well, how great a leap is it to assume that when someone repeats a statement that they support it?

  • Middenface McFidget

    “Jesus seems to feel that leading others away from faith in God is a dangerous thing to do, and I believe that”
    So you agree with Jesus on that but you don’t agree that “it would be better for such a person to have a millstone put around their neck and be cast into the sea”, is that right? I’m just trying to find out where the false assumption is because as far as I can see Terry only accused you of agreeing with what you actually said.

  • silicon28

    If repentance is what Driscoll is saying – and it’s genuine and not just a publicity stunt because he’s been “found out?” I’ll wait to hear how he’s temporarily stepping aside as pastor of Mars Hill Church to be under the discipline and accountability to someone before he once again “takes charge” with “being a better pastor” just lost somewhere in the yearly goals list. I’m old enough to remember when Gordan MacDonald actually lived out what repentance and restoration means. Not all the false tears of Jimmy Swaggert or promises of “doing better this time” like Jim Bakker. If he really wants to send the proper message to his congregation? He’ll walk away from his pulpit until others have said it’s time for him to return. (And sorry to be cynical… but I’ll bet my season football tickets that’s not about to happen…)

  • The Thinking Commenter

    I think I get the TF now. I’m not that guy. :D I’m just me.

  • Mario Strada

    If this letter is real, it depicts his intentions to be a better man in the future.

    I am all for giving people second chances, even the very worse among us. So I would be thrilled if Driscoll were really to turn over a new leaf.

    However, I will save the praise and the accolades for when these intentions become reality. After all, Christians’ interpretation of “Following Christ” is pretty flexible these days. I know the writer of this blog is probably one of the most decent Christian bloggers I read from time to time, so I am more propense to give him the benefit of the doubt if he were to declare his intention to be a better person (aside from the fact, I think he is a pretty decent guy as it is) than if Driscoll does.

    I have heard before of people of Driscoll persuasion changing their beliefs on a single issue here and there but I have met or read of very few that acting the way Driscoll has in the past have completely changed their behavior.

    So, I’ll be watching with hope but it will take a bit more than what it would take an average guy to convince me. Especially since this letter seems to me more reactionary than sincere. But again, I’ll reserve judgement. That’s all he should hope to get until he can prove his new attitude with actions.

  • Donna

    Sorry–thought you might be him–if you go to his blog, you can get in on bashing me over there. I’m going to go take an aspirin– ;)

  • Jim Jones

    > Jesus said it would be better for such a person to have a millstone put around their neck

    Well, no. The Greeks who invented Jesus said that. Jesus, of course, said nothing since he never existed.

  • Jim Jones

    ISTR G. W. Bush, who assured us all he was a real true Christian, mocking Karla Faye as he signed her death warrant.

    BTW, Tucker killed a woman, Deborah Thornton, with the pickaxe.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    Mark Driscoll has been my pastor for over two years. I go to his home
    church in Bellevue every Sunday. I cannot believe what all these
    “Christians” are saying about him. Do you understand that pastors are
    HUMAN? This article is extremely condescending. What makes you think you
    have attained the correct caliber as a Christian that you can shake
    your head and pray for Mark Driscoll to sincerely repent? There are
    things about this church that I totally don’t agree with, but the Holy
    Spirit is there and people are being saved. Spare me (and Mark) your
    sanctimonious hand wringing, and save it for your own state before God.
    Christians lead lives of repentance. They make mistakes. They sin. Even
    pastors. And Mark Driscoll will be the first to say it, always has been.
    He is being taught by God, and his humility is what makes this
    possible. You guys are horrible. I’m ashamed of Christians. I thank God for Mark Driscoll and what he has done for my family, and I pray often that God will bless him, lead him, and protect him and his family.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    You don’t know Mark and I would be surprised if you ever listened to his sermons. I find your article to be nauseating because you are sanctimoniously trying to be “Christlike” and forgiving, while pointing out Mark’s shortcomings and faults the whole way through. Yours is a very easy task. Try actually supporting someone who is leading far more people into the kingdom than you ever did. You are the one who needs prayers for repentance. Who are you–the abuse police? How about worshiping Christ?

  • gapaul

    I have no stake in the affaire d’Driscoll, but I have seen Christians in the name of “forgiveness,” fail to protect the weak from a predator. So anxious to have a happy ending, that they’ve failed to see a pattern of behavior which suggests something like a personality disorder. People with personality disorders don’t get better just because they say some of the right words. They require years of therapy and carefully monitoring of their behavior. And even then it is wise not to put them back into situations that trigger their destructiveness.
    So by all means, let’s root for the beginning of Driscoll’s new life. But I don’t think that he, or his board, have even begun to understand what’s wrong.

  • Guest

    Um, you never apologize? Your “spiritual growth” makes you perfect? You people are just unbelievable. God forbid Mark steps down. His church would never want him to. Perhaps armchair Christians around the country who cluck their tongues at news articles but never actually listen to a sermon or crack a book want him to, but the people who actually know him are eager to forgive him.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    He isn’t the enemy. And I’m absolutely appalled at the way Christians will leap on another Christian, an actual leader who is following Christ with all his heart, and leading many to Him. God forgive these Christians. Honestly, they will answer to Him for these statements. Christian leaders have enough opposition, enough arrows. Horrible and tragic that they have to duck “friendly fire” as well.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    “His habitually abusive sexism and homophobia”? He isn’t an abusive sexist or homophobe so therefore he should not apologize for being such. Your question cannot be answered because it is based on a false premise.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    Amen! People who don’t even know him seem deeply invested in Mark Driscoll “stepping down”, as if they have all been personally affronted by him. A little sickening, since most of the people commenting are Christians. I can understand why atheists would hate him, but Christians jumping on the bandwagon is just nauseating when you know Mark Driscoll. God help us.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    “comfy and leisurely”? You obviously don’t know Mark Driscoll in the slightest degree. So please be quiet. We want him to remain our pastor, thank you very much.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn


  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    If you don’t want to cringe, or be called “lost” don’t read the Bible or have anything to do with Christianity. Because our premise is that we all are “lost”. And there’s nothing arrogant about that.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn


  • Terry Firma

    Nonsense. Read the comment I responded to, and notice in what context the word “lost” is used. “Guest” certainly excluded herself or himself from those who are lost!

  • Terry Firma

    WTF? I don’t play sock puppets. Interesting that you would accuse me of that without a shred of evidence. Not very Christian of you, is it, Donna?

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    A “predator”? Please do some research before you start throwing words around from bits of gossip you’ve heard. You seem to have a great deal of understanding about “what’s wrong.” Please give one example of predatorial behavior from Mark Driscoll. Or better, stop criticizing and tongue clucking about someone you don’t even know or have any experience with.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    Yes–we are lost until we are saved from hell and destruction by the blood of Christ. So being excluded because someone died to save you is “arrogant”?

  • Terry Firma

    The arrogance is in assuming that I’m lost and need to be saved. Now stop insisting I should accept the blood sacrifice of a carpenter’s son from 2000 years ago as if the purported crucifixion was somehow universally meaningful. You’re welcome to believe whatever claptrap makes you happy. Just please leave me out of it, that’s all I ask. Thanks.

  • jlharwoo

    Even though it would be immensely easy for me to not love my father I will always love him regardless. Even if I “hate” him at times, I know I will always love him because I have my own philosophy to love all people, regardless. It gets quite hard loving people others would consider “evil” but I don’t care if someone doesn’t deserve, need, or want my love because I feel better living that way. It isn’t because of a religion, belief or disbelief in something, etc. Just a personal philosophy I have. If it suits you not to love your father, then that is totally fine, but you could always choose to love your father even if that meant you didn’t always show or express it like other people. If people conditionally love you then it is usually easiest just to love them conditionally back.

  • jlharwoo

    Faith and reason can be separate or they can find a balance and merge. I would consider myself an existentialist who sometimes considers himself agnostic while at other times considering myself Christian. Even though I believe I cannot know whether or not God exists, I regardless believe God does exist. It is a personal choice. Even though I cannot travel back in time to meet Jesus Christ or know all the facts and personal accounts of everyone who met him or knew him, etc., I can still learn a lot from his message, example, etc. I choose not to be an atheist probably due to a religious upbringing, and a desire to believe in something that exists larger than myself than encompasses all things, from where all things came and to where all things go, etc. science is good for my reason, but faith can give me strength when reason won’t. Call me crazy, I don’t care. In general, I do not care what anyone else thinks. I attempt my best to be tactful and considerate but I will only care what others think if I choose to. I’m quite caring, I suppose, so I’m not saying I don’t care. There are not really answers out in the world either. Most people don’t realize that. most things you can learn come from within but perceptions always affect “answers.” Always. Because they don’t truly exist… Always seek to learn from questions rather than simply trying to get the answers. There’s no magic cheat sheet for life anyway lol.. :)

  • The Thinking Commenter

    Dat’s okay. Been there myself, being naturally skeptical of things and slightly paranoid lol. I’m a little surprised at his reaction that he is shocked, shocked that you don’t just automatically trust his character, but he wants people to not automatically trust people’s character (like Mark Driscoll for example.) I’m surprised at his oh my gosh I’m shocked, shocked, how dare you reaction, when he’s probably been there himself too! It’s the nature of the internet.

  • The Thinking Commenter

    Maybe next he will reverse his position on homosexuality and gay marriage. Or at least have an incoherent position on it that isn’t totally against it. He knows the tide is turning, so it wouldn’t be a big shocker at all. It would probably surprise exactly zero people if it did happen.

  • Considering that Driscoll made a living casting stones at women’s rights, gay rights, and nonbelievers, I don’t think I want to love him. I think I want to gather as many stones as possible and use a rubber-band gun to fire them at Driscoll.

    That’s the human response.

    Personally, as a nonbeliever and a bisexual man, I find Driscoll’s repeated attacks against people like me to be despicable. The fact that he is having to make amends for trying to be a celebrity preacher is wonderfully funny to me. If a person’s current misfortune is due to their own actions, I have very little sympathy for them. This isn’t due to me being an atheist. This is due to me being a part of humanity that Driscoll feels is somehow less than deserving of simply human dignity and respect.

  • Forgiveness is a wonderful concept and one that should be practiced. Not because a god decrees it but because it can have a necessary positive effect on society and culture.

    My take is that Driscoll isn’t sorry for the things he did. He’s sorry he got caught and called out on it.

  • Considering that your deity’s love is conditional on the fact that I worship him or end up in a fiery pit filled with torture and misery, I don’t think you have a leg to stand on, bud.

  • Well said, Al.

  • Considering that the basis for much of modern Christianity is cherry-picking passages to fit existing prejudices and ideologies, I’d say Driscoll is par for the course.

  • And yet it isn’t until Jesus that the concept of hell is produced in the bible. Sinless?

    Believe in me or I send you to a place to be tortured for the rest of eternity is sinless?

    The only unforgiveable sin is disbelief?

    You’re idea of moral behavior is severely in morality.

  • Yet another case in which the Christian capacity to overlook or sweep under the rug otherwise deplorable behavior shows a distinct lack of common decency and morality.

  • Donna

    You purposely manufacture a trumped up issue where none exists so you can blog about it and receive pats on the back from your fans. Not very mature or moral of you.

  • Rob Smith

    This was from a friend of mine…. a man who was in from the start and who knows Mark Drsicoll well.

    “This latest ‘apology’ gave me the chills. It feels menacing.

    Faking his way onto the NYTimes best-seller list, plagiarizing, using social media to shock-effect, and enjoying the ways in which others think of him as a celebrity — none of those things were the more substantive issues.

    The obvious issue that continues to go unaddressed is that Mark has repeatedly used his spiritual authority to spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and financially harm others.

    His apology is simply the continued consolidation of his role at MH. And to frame it all inside of a “I’m going to be your spiritual father” tone.

    It’s creepy.”

    This expresses my sentiment remarkably. It amazes me that I still get angry and motivated by what I see.

    I am still musing about the role that I play.

    I recently was driving late at night in Uganda. I was with men. We passed by a man mercilessly beating a woman. Without thinking I ordered the car stopped. With several men watching I intervened and protected the woman. The man kept trying to get to her, but he could not as I was in the way. Here is the point… none of the men with me or that passed by did anything. They were not only prepared to let the woman get beaten, they were not prepared to assist me in preventing her from getting further beaten.

    I fail to understand two types of men.

    The first are the men that are bullies. Like Mark Drsicoll. They can hurt someone, and go in with life as if nothing happened.

    The second are those men that watch, and merely walk away. Like the scribe and pharisee after seeing the injured man on the road to Samaria. Most of the leaders at Mars Hill Church remind me of this kind of man. They see the wounded.. they hear the cries.. but they simply do not care. Only when they get bruised do they begin to care.

    Mark Driscoll’s recent confession shows no depth of remorse and repentance, It shores up the governance structure that he achieved when he fired Paul Petry and Bent Meyer. No remorse there.

    Paul Petry is still being shunned.

    The angry young abusive pastor will now become an angry abusive “spiritual” father.

    Repentance would be resigning.

  • Lark62

    By their fruit shall ye know them.

    All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to stay

    Follow the money.

    The final step on my slow journey from fervent Christian to simple atheist was the realization that religion simply made no difference in the behavior of any human group. None. Penn State emails clearly revealed that, when given the choice between protecting the powerful insider or the vulnerable outsider,
    they would so firmly protect the insider that the vulnerable abused child wasn’t even acknowledged. This same mindset applies in every Christian case. The insiders were protected, the outsiders were marginalized.

    Paul Crouch owned TWO sets of his-and-hers mansions, and a $100,000 mobile home for his dogs, yet he continued to exhort the poor and vulnerable to send him money. When he died, the Christian community was full of praise for him and full of silence for the vulnerable tricked into supporting his lifestyle.

    All a fraud has to do is slap a Jesus label on his forehead, and not one Christian will stand up for his victims. This is just one more example. Post after post after post talking about poor Pastor Driscoll. We should forgive
    him, the poor thing. He asked for forgiveness, so we won’t say one word to defend those deceived into continuing to support his fraud. Pastor Driscoll,
    no matter how much you disagree with him, is the powerful insider and one of
    your own. The vulnerable outsider taken in by the manipulative insider still doesn’t matter.

    What will it take for Christians to stand up to the con men who use their beliefs to cheat the vulnerable? What will it take for Christians to call them the frauds that they are, and tell the vulnerable not to give away their life savings?

  • This is one of those situation that reminds of the line from the Rainmaker,”Noah, you’re so full of what’s right you can’t see what’s good.” If you believe that people can change you need to be open to the possibility that Mark Driscoll is sincere. It is up to Driscoll to show that he is sincere by reconciling with those he has hurt. It is up to us pray for Mark Driscoll and those he has hurt. The hardest thing to accept about God’s Grace is that it is given too all, even those we disagree with.

  • Josh

    I am less concerned for Mark’s personal morality situation and more concerned about the content of his “ministry”… and that he and people like him continue to have a pulpit. We are all deserving of forgiveness, and that I support, but I can in no way say I support “him” – far from it. I want to see the kind of religion he teaches and represents dissolved into nothingness by Holy Spirit, for the World’s sake, and for his.

  • Telling people to share stories of effeminate worship leaders in order to mock them is a supreme example if homophobia.

  • Gino Vincenzini

    The ones who warn against corrupt leaders in the church are not just atheists. Janet Mefford, Chris Roseborough, amd others sounded the alarm about his lies and other corruptions, James White and others continue to sound the alarm about men like him such as Ergun Caner. When Driscoll and Caner sincerely repent, these Christians will be first in line to restore them to fellowship nobody gets away with it just because they are a Christian: Jesus died for such sins and they don’t get to remain with us without a complete and total change of heart.

    You and other atheists like you are not friends of Christianity and your warning isnt so that these men would repent but that “the sheep” would see the naked shepherd and realize he has no clothes rather than the fact that they are sheep as well in need of the true shepherd.

  • Lark62

    Yes. Another way of putting it is anyone who slaps on a Jesus label gets a free pass to harm anyone, anytime. As long as he keeps praising jesus and asks forgiveness every now and then no “good” christian will stand up and say “this behavour is harming innocent people and is wrong.”
    The fraudster in the jesus-jacket can take money from people who can’t pay the light bill to fund his fifth mansion. As long as he says “thank you jesus” no “good” christian is permitted to speak up. Unity and all that.
    Being an atheist, and being able to freely evaluate leaders, speakers and spokesman against an objective stanard is a relief. No more “but people are being SAVED, you know, SAVED, so lies and fraud and abuse don’t matter.”

  • SecularAmerican

    You purposely manufacture a trumped up issue where none exists so you can blog about it and receive pats on the back from your fans. Not very mature or moral of you.

    I think the issue is that people who claim to be about love and respect still think it’s awesome to quote the sections of the bible that command death to the apostates.

    It should not surprise you that atheists are worried when Christians start quoting the sections of the bible that recommend their death.

  • otrotierra

    Thank you for offering further confirmation that Driscoll has not apologized for his habitually abusive sexism and homophobia.

  • Jct47

    Before you take people to task for calling your pastor into question you may want to wander over to and take a look at the lives that Mark Driscoll has destroyed or attempted to destroy. Then you may realize a healthy does of skepticism is very warranted in this case.

  • You’re correct in saying that my warnings are not to get these people to repent. They are to save people’s lives, health, families, and minds. Until your ‘true shepherd’ shows up to do it himself, the job remains in the hands of people like me, atheists and religious both.

  • Jct47

    The sad thing is, I’m betting that he doubles his money from this apology alone.

  • Exactly. As long as people are being ‘saved,’ everything else is arbitrary.

  • Pastors are human. Not all humans deliberately hurt people. Yours does.

  • “Who are you, the abuse police?”

    Someone has to be. Otherwise every abusive pastor and priest in the world would get away with it.

  • gapaul

    I did not call Driscoll a predator. I wrote, “I have seen xians in the name of “forgiveness” fail to protect the weak from a predator.” I was referring to another situation, and to the propensity to want to forgive before the facts are in and the behavior can be fully dealt with.

  • I’ve seen Christian ‘forgiveness’ all my life. It’s something I want to avoid at all costs, for my life and health.

  • Wow, falsely accusing someone of doing something when you have no proof or indication of it. Isn’t that called bearing false witness?

    My, my we are the little hypocrite now, aren’t we?

  • Jct47

    It really says quite a lot about the state of modern Christianity when atheists have to come in and defend a Christian blogger that says he will take a wait and see attitude about someone like Mark Driscoll. Driscoll’s abuse has been well documented for anyone that would care to look. The numbers of people he has removed from leadership roles and shunned on the Mars Hill website are all a matter of public record.

    Christians are so focused on the man they see on Sunday they are blinded to the man he is the rest of the week when the lights are off and the show is over. Big crowds, high tech presentations, and catchy music are how success is judged in the church.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    Of course abuse needs to be called out! Some people make it their special dispensation to sniff out “abuse” where there is none. If Mark Driscoll is abusive, I’d like to hear one example. Also, Irish Atheist, you are very vocal on this post, which was written to Christians and about Christians. You are writing for one purpose–to tear down Christians and our God. So your opinions on forgiveness, lack of it, and pastors are not relevant on this post. We DO forgive people who repent. Period.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    Have you personally read a book by Mark Driscoll or listened to more than one sermon; or are you jumping on the bandwagon of charging him with “abuse” simply from heresay?

  • I’m very vocal on a lot of Mr. Corey’s posts, my dear. That’s because he is my friend and I have been a part of the community on his blog for quite some time now. You, on the other hand just got here. I know that Mr. Corey welcomes me here.

    But continue to shut down people willing to point out religious abuse. By all accounts your church is very, very good at it.

  • Jct47

    If I can give a documented account from one person on the inside of Mars Hill will you read it? And yes I’ve heard Mr. Driscoll speak many times and was never that impressed.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    No one is insisting you accept the blood of Christ to save you. But if the Bible says those who don’t are lost, that is what we believe about you. Atheists believe EVERYONE is lost, and will cease to exist when they die. It’s still a belief. You believe that about me. Please leave me out of your belief.

  • Ramona Aboul Hosn

    I know you’ve been posting a lot longer than I have, but how does that make your views on tearing down or building up a Christian pastor relevant? It’s a no brainer that you would be all for tearing him down with very little needed to go on. And if he repents, it must be insincere, and he should still be torn down. That goes with being an atheist. No surprises there; you are doing what is expected. But your constant comments leaning in this direction are supposed to be taken seriously by Christians who are bent on grace?

  • You say ‘grace’ like it’s a good thing. I’m not intent on tearing Driscoll down, I’m intent on protecting people from him and people like him.

    Because yes, caring for other people’s well-being beyond making sure they play for the right team goes with being an atheist, and I am absolutely doing what is expected, because I’m actually a decent human being.

  • Diveweasel

    That seems to be the way it is…christians treat other christians a certain way and everyone else, well…a little bit differently.

  • Diveweasel

    Forgiveness is fine, but you don’t you don’t get to just keep on the way things were when you were an a-hole. Yes, you can forgive an airline pilot for getting caught flying a load of passengers while drunk, but then he’s done as a pilot. So Driscoll has no business being a leader of moral values any longer. You’re sorry, that’s fine – now go flip burgers or work on my transmission.

  • Lamont Cranston

    Have you tried worshipping Jesus instead of Mark Driscoll?

  • I’ve been loving the posts and different perspectives. I’d love to get your thoughts on my own:

  • Al Cruise

    I think your article and many others like are are missing the point and dangerously blurring a fine line. There is a saying “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” We had an Acts 29 pastor who spent time a Mars Hill, come to our Church and the the result was an utter disaster that nearly ended in tragedy with the worship pastor attempting suicide with a police standoff. His attitude and approach on how to lead a Church was taught to him in a very deliberate manner. He always referred to “this is how it’s done at Mars Hill, look at its success”. Lives and marriages were destroyed and many left the Church. Many of the folk commenting here are not unforgiving people, they are Prophets issuing warnings. The real danger here [Mars Hill] is the content of the teaching and the spirit in which to live out that teaching. I believe many of the posters here can see that.

  • silicon28

    You are so protective of Mark Driscoll but only will post all this invective under a “guest” name? Are you – by any chance – getting paid for all this apology? Sorry but you are lashing out at “Christians” who share the same identity you claim, yet in protecting someone living publicly and as such has essentially asked for the critique shared on this forum you pass judgment on those same people? No… your post simply does not pass the “smell” test…

  • Al, first thank you for reading my post. My only hope is that a different perspective is offered, one that I believe is grounded in Scripture. I also want to say how saddened I am that your church’s experience ended the way it did. I know that you may never know the sincerity or validity of it when I say that I really do “get it,” because I have been right in the middle of some of the worst church messes, and nobody “wins” in these scenarios.

    That said, I do want to respond to your words regarding what you felt that I was missing in my post. I think that, in light of situations like Driscoll’s actions, we should always take precautions to keep it from happening again and prevent it from creeping into our own church contexts, but that’s simply responsible action and isn’t the same thing as what I feel like I’m seeing in most of the dialogue surrounding this issue.

    That said, I really don’t believe that my post was missing the point at all, primarily because prophetic truth is specifically directed toward unrepentant, unapologetic people who are almost always blind to their own sin and fleshly nature, and if they are not blind to it, they are refusing to confess it openly. It is NEVER directed toward a person who is in the middle of open confession. In fact, we see repeatedly throughout Scripture various examples of prophets bringing truth to a people, watching that people group repent of their sins, then complaining that the people didn’t receive punishment. This is always followed by God correcting the prophets for not offering forgiveness to the repentant person. Jonah is a great example of this.

    The problem with most of the posts I’m seeing is that they are withholding forgiveness from a person who is openly apologizing for his own wrongdoing. Is he truly “repentant?” We won’t know that until some time goes by. But that’s really not the point. If people were truly being prophetic, their prophecy would be directed at other people who have unconfessed sin, not toward Mark Driscoll who, by everything I can tell, is being pretty open with his own flaws. Is there more that he needs to repent of? Probably. But again, that’s something we need to pray that the Spirit will reveal to him. It’s not something we can blindly point out when we aren’t in a seat to tell. Plus, most of what I’m seeing is downright unforgiveness and bitterness. There’s a big difference between that and being responsible.

    The thing is that I believe this is exactly the sort of thing that Jesus was addressing when he instructed us to forgive “seventy times seven.” When we refuse forgiveness, no matter how deep the sin, we put ourselves in the seat of sinfulness. Jesus had strong words for us when we do that. This is why I see very little about people’s remarks that look biblically prophetic. The only thing I see that looks prophetic about many of these comments is that its the sort of thing the Old Testament prophets were scolded for: unforgiveness.

  • Al, first thank you for reading my post. My only hope is that a different perspective is offered, one that I believe is grounded in Scripture. I also want to say how saddened I am that your church’s experience ended the way it did. I know that you may never know the sincerity or validity of it when I say that I really do “get it,” because I have been right in the middle of some of the worst church messes, and nobody “wins” in these scenarios.

    That said, I do want to respond to your words regarding what you felt that I was missing in my post. I think that, in light of situations like Driscoll’s actions, we should always take precautions to keep it from happening again and prevent it from creeping into our own church contexts, but that’s simply responsible action and isn’t the same thing as what I feel like I’m seeing in most of the dialogue surrounding this issue.

    That said, I really don’t believe that my post was missing the point at all, primarily because prophetic truth is specifically directed toward unrepentant, unapologetic people who are almost always blind to their own sin and fleshly nature, and if they are not blind to it, they are refusing to confess it openly. It is NEVER directed toward a person who is in the middle of open confession. In fact, we see repeatedly throughout Scripture various examples of prophets bringing truth to a people, watching that people group repent of their sins, then complaining that the people didn’t receive punishment. This is always followed by God correcting the prophets for not offering forgiveness to the repentant person. Jonah is a great example of this.

    The problem with most of the posts I’m seeing is that they are withholding forgiveness from a person who is openly apologizing for his own wrongdoing. Is he truly “repentant?” We won’t know that until some time goes by. But that’s really not the point. If people were truly being prophetic, their prophecy would be directed at other people who have unconfessed sin, not toward Mark Driscoll who, by everything I can tell, is being pretty open with his own flaws. Is there more that he needs to repent of? Probably. But again, that’s something we need to pray that the Spirit will reveal to him. It’s not something we can blindly point out when we aren’t in a seat to tell. Plus, most of what I’m seeing is downright unforgiveness and bitterness. There’s a big difference between that and being responsible.

    The thing is that I believe this is exactly the sort of thing that Jesus was addressing when he instructed us to forgive “seventy times seven.” When we refuse forgiveness, no matter how deep the sin, we put ourselves in the seat of sinfulness. Jesus had strong words for us when we do that. This is why I see very little about people’s remarks that look biblically prophetic. The only thing I see that looks prophetic about many of these comments is that its the sort of thing the Old Testament prophets were scolded for: unforgiveness.

  • ToeKnee BelowKnee

    You worship the self that has naught to do with its very existence.
    – tkbk –

  • Al Cruise

    Brian Thank You for your response. I respectfully disagree about that the majority of people here are unforgiving. The real issue here is that people see a specific attitude. Forgiveness does not mean an automatic return to prior privileges that were given in trust. Pastors are all to easy to throw around the forgiveness card today, but speak up very little on victim restitution. Restitution for many, needs to much more than a quick”I am sorry”. That is often used as quick easy out so they don’t have to deal with the uncomfortable process of real restitution. I have worked in street ministry for 40 years and what I experienced in Church was a picnic compared to what some people have gone through in Church. Sex abuse, physical abuse, losing Church and family for coming out as gay and then committing suicide, praying with the homeless as their are dying because they have no one else. Loving the people the Church has forgotten . When you say you “get it” I am not convinced. Middle of Church messes? Probably white upper middle class folk fighting over music style?

  • No, I place value on reason, independence, and honesty. I place value on being one’s own person and accepting the consequences of one’s actions. I place value on family and friendship. I place value on human life and human dignity. I place value on personal liberty and the freedom to live within the boundaries of one’s society.

    And I place value on the right to believe in fairytale nonsense if that is what one wishes to do. I do not share your beliefs. I also have no issues with pointing the ridiculous elements of religion.

    Unconditional love is just that: without condition or requirement. It strikes me as the height of cognitive dissonance that Christians claim their god offers unconditional love when that love is dependent on worship and subjugation to this god’s authority. In case it’s not readily apparent, what I just described is the antonym of unconditional.

  • Lark62

    Forgiveness is so pretty and sweet. Especially when practiced by obedient sheep toward people in positions of authority and power.

    For decades, in every diocese in the US (and probably the world), priests forgave other priests who “stumbled”, making sure the poor, sad, misguided priest was able to continue his “ministry” in a new unsuspecting congregation. Victims were urged to forgive. And keep their mouths SHUT!!! So sweet and loving.

    The president and athletic director at Penn State forgave their dear friend for misusing university property. Oh, was a vulnerable child there too? They forgot about him.

    Every one forgives Paul Crouch for misusing just a little of his collections for Jesus on (two sets of?) his and hers mansions and a mobile home for his dear little doggies. He’s worked so hard for Jesus.

    I’m an former Christian, so an outsider now so I can only ask the questions, the answers are for you. Do you think it’s possible that your God, who knows hearts, is able to sweetly forgive without your help? Is it possible that forgiveness and Christian unity and brotherhood are all tools used by those with power to continue to abuse their power?

    Is it possible that God wants you to use the brains he has given you, and look at reality and ignore all the pretty words and humble confessions and Jesus talk? Protect the child. Protect the poor. Protect the vulnerable. This needs to be done from within. There’s only so much that can be done by outsiders. Is it possible that your role is action, not pretty, sweet, toothless forgiveness?

  • I wrote more about this on my blog ( but my deep concern is that in the letter, he very much sets himself up as the “father” of the congregants. In his male-centered/male-power theology, that continues to leave him unaccountable to anyone because the “father” has the final word. I have thought for a long time that Driscoll is a deeply damaged human being, greatly in need of good therapy. If he were truly repentant, he would actually take a year or two completely away from ministry to sort this out. But he appears convinced that people will not be “saved” without his actions. A very dangerous proposition, indeed, and one that equates him with God.

  • Eric


  • Al Cruise

    Just checked out your website. I see your in Nashville. I have been to Nashville several times and have friends there. I see your Church plant wants to recruit ” entertainers, leaders and people of influence” some of them should have money and be cool to hangout with. Have you every thought of living and pastoring with the poor in southeast Nashville? Maybe you could serve Jesus better there. A thought here about your website, the icon with the hands out asking to “Give” is not very original.

  • Yeah man! I actually grew up in Antioch, southeast Nashville, but my immediate circle of influence is artists and entertainers. Though most of them are not wealthy. After all, Nashville practically invented the term “starving artist.” ;-)

    My hope, though, and ultimate strategy, is to mobilize influencers and artists to reach the poor, marginalized, and outcasts of society. My wife and I intentionally moved into a lower income part of West Nashville to do this. It sits across the street from one of the highest income parts of Nashville, and one of my short term dreams is to see people “cross the street” to become good news to people who haven’t heard the good news. Maybe by being the hands and feet of Jesus we can earn the right to be heard.

    PS: I agree. The Give icon is very unoriginal. Later!

  • Al Cruise

    Hope it works, and keep that promise you just made.

  • dave

    Ok, Benjamin, so let us ask you this: Should a person who has a known history of plagiarism be teaching at a university or seminary?

    Should his bad behavior be rewarded now that he has apologized?

    Should this man be seen, as he wishes to be seen, as a spiritual father to young aspiring pastors?

    Just wondering.

  • Did I say that? Or, did I just say that as Christians, we should always hope for repentance and a changed life?

  • Guest

    because nobody rejects Christ because far too many pastors have betrayed their trust, or taught so many false and toxic and horrible things that so that that the idea of a benevolent Creator had to be compltely dismissed like so much trash, along with everything else?

    since that’s likely more in line with what Jesus was talking about.

    if you believe in millstones, Donna, there’s millstones aplenty for Mark Driscoll and his ilk

  • Max_T

    Sooner or later, Driscoll was going to have to go through a make-over of some sort to keep his audience. Good Lord, the man is over 40 and his teenage bully potty-mouth and porno sermons should have been shed years ago! I sincerely hope that we see a penitent Driscoll emerge by year’s end, but I have my doubts given his track record. Genuine repentance and maturity would cause him to leave the errors of Calvinism behind. While it took years for him to come to his senses, he contributed to the proliferation of the young, restless and reformed movement of cool and crass church! He may now be older and less restless, but he’s still reformed … and that’s a shame given his continuing influence on a generation of youth.

  • I know I’m late to the party, Ben, but this line deeply troubles me:

    When someone engages in hurtful, even abusive behavior, the goal should always be for a person to come to repentance. Our hopes and our commitment should always be on the side of healing, restoration, and forgiveness.

    It privileges abusers and gives the manipulative among them (which is most of them) space to continue their abuse. I’m sure you’ve seen this in fundamentalist churches. But we can also see these patterns in DV and other domestic abuse situations, among school yard bullies, etc, etc. We worry about not hurting the bullies and about making everything all right so much that we’re not concerned about the health and safety of the victims. That’s an immensely troubling concern in Christian churches and needs addressed.

  • I hear your concern– I don’t mean it in a way that privileges abusers. I simply mean it in a Jesus way– the “God doesn’t want anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance” sorta way.

    Also, forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. Forgiveness is often for our own selves and can be done even if reconciliation will never happen for whatever reason. I’ve never suggested that anyone should remain in an abusive relationship, in fact, I believe the opposite. However, for our own inner healing, I do affirm the teachings of Christ in that we must forgive– which is to release our right for vengeance. Hope that helps to clarify some.

  • I would ask you to clarify that within the blog itself, Benjamin. That passage sends out a very strong signal that is very, very dangerous and should be amended and distanced from.

  • I’ve been as anti-Driscoll as the next guy, but not seeing how what I said is anything different than what Jesus taught, can you help me out?

    I think if distance ourselves from hoping for repentance and a restored life from Driscoll it would risk undermining our own sinfulness. I’m not sure we’d apply such a standard to ourselves.

  • For starters, I don’t see Jesus privileging the abusers and oppressors. There is no indication that they should be the center of the points of redemption or wholeness. But this entire blog is centered on Driscoll’s *alleged* redemption. There is no indication of the kind of redemption necessary for his victims – people hurt by his church and “ministry” – whether they be partners who’ve stayed in abusive relationships because he told them they needed to or those spiritually/emotionally abused by him or LGBTQ parishioners who internalize his garbage.

    When we say “When someone engages in hurtful, even abusive behavior, the goal should always be for a person to come to repentance.” this absolutely privileges the oppressor. And particularly if that person is manipulative (as Driscoll is). This places the oppressor in the center (which is why I’ve tired of talking about Driscoll awhile back), but shows little regard for those they’ve hurt.

    Rather the goal should always be safety and wholeness for the one being hurt. Forgiveness for the hurter? Maybe later. But it’s not a declaration from Jesus. Notice the parable of forgiveness was about the rich forgiving the poor of (relatively minor) debts. Notice that Jesus forgave those nailing him to the tree, but there is no mention that he forgave Pontius Pilate for crucifixion.

  • No, we don’t see Jesus “privileging” oppressors but we do see him command that we love them. And no, the blog isn’t based on his alleged redemption, but merely recognized that he appeared to begin a process of repenting, and that this should be welcomed and encouraged.

    The idea that forgiveness places an oppressor back at the center is to misunderstand forgiveness. Forgiveness is the sending away, so that we can begin to be whole again. Forgiveness has very little to do with the oppressor- and very little benefit for them– but has a world of benefit for ourselves.

    I get that forgiveness isn’t popular. Jesus taught it in far stronger terms than I however, saying that if we refuse to forgive, we will not be forgiven ourselves. The idea that we should forgive someone “maybe later” has both negative spiritual consequences (is directly opposed to the teachings of Christ– because forgiveness IS a declaration from Jesus– see Mark 11:25 or the Lord’s Prayer for starters) but unforgiveness can also can be a barrier to our own healing.

    I think you’re confusing forgiveness and reconciliation which are two very different actions.

  • cyndyt

    I disagree. Haven’t you ever seen Christians attack each other if one disagrees with the other? lol

  • Brad Young

    So we should hope for repentance as long as it’s for a sin that we think is a sin right? It’s interesting to me that you will only speak of repentance in certain areas.

  • EllenHar

    He shouldn’t be allowed to do this “noble” thing while still in the pastorate. It gives the message to those whom he has oppressed and abused that maintaining his position and his ego is more important than their lives. All he has to do is say, oops sorry and everything’s cool. I won’t believe him until he gives up his high and mighty position and serves those whom he has hurt. Out of the spotlight.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t believe I am going to end up in a fiery pit filled with torture if I don’t worship Him, I believe I am on my way there by the law of the universe (the law of sin and death) unless I take the incredible redemption offered by Christ’s substitutionary death. He doesn’t love me any less but the law is the law. Try entering a country without the right visa. I, too, have a boundary and as much as I love my grown up kids, they cannot live in my house without respecting my boundaries. I don’t love a person less when I decide not to have a relationship with someone. Love is simply doing the best for another, sometimes the best is not to have anything to do with someone, particularly if they haven’t earned your trust, like Pastor Driscoll. So yes, the most loving thing would be to hold him accountable. Forgiveness doesn’t mean allowing him to continue ministering.

  • Anonymous

    That’s strange, historians believe He did.

  • Jim Jones

    Real historians don’t care about mythical characters except for their influence over actual persons. They just refuse to get involved since too many ‘followers’ are nuts.

  • Anonymous

    Err, don’t think so. Scholarly historians accept the historicity of Jesus Christ, even if they accept nothing about Christianity.

  • Jim Jones

    > Scholarly historians accept the historicity of Jesus Christ

    No, they know there’s no evidence for any such person. They merely avoid angering the crackpots who would go berserk if this is pointed out. And since ‘Jesus’ is no more relevant or real than Robin Hood they have no need to.

  • Lbj

    Can you name one scholar who studies this period that says Jesus did not exist?

  • Anonymous

    What? You want evidence? Isn’t rhetoric and opinion good enough? Evidence is only required if you want to prove God exists, but if you want to claim anything against Jesus, you don’t need any evidence, just a loud insistence voice will do.

  • Anonymous

    The Bible doesn’t actually say that nobody can have a good reason. I can well understand why people have many reasons why they don’t believe. Some of those reasons are closer to God’s heart than most Christians care to realize. Some are emotional reasons, which is also not surprising, given that all humans make decisions that not just based on what is rational. I don’t think anybody needs to be patronizing – nobody knows everything.

  • Lbj

    Lets start with the gospels. They have been proven to be historically reliable. In fact we know more about Christ than any other figure in ancient history.
    The origin of the church is directly connected to Christ.
    There are a number of secular writers that in some way attest to Christ or someone mentioned in the gospels.
    Luke, who wrote the gospel that has his name on it is known by historians as a first rate historian because he go so many historical facts right.