You put his name into google and you will receive tons of crazy blogs, websites and responses.
He was the founding Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington which is commonly referred to as the most unchurched city in America. He has written tons of books and preached tons of sermons that you could find on his church’s website for free. He has been known for many things. Some things have been bad and other things have been good.
After lots of controversy, he recently left his church, Mars Hill. It has been a rough past couple of years for Driscoll.
This isn’t a post to write about all of the accusations and problems that people have found with him because, honestly, tons of people have already been doing that.
But I wanted to say a public thank you to Mark Driscoll. Before internet trolls begin to pounce on me like a lion on the Discovery Channel, allow me to explain what I am thankful for.
Why a thank you?
You see, I was like many evangelicals in the 90’s and after. I was told to be passive because Jesus was. I only knew how to turn my cheek because that what Jesus always did. I had allowed myself to be taken advantage of time and time again and was encouraged to continue to stay quiet and never speak up for myself. In time I had become passive aggressive, timid, mild and a floor mat for any strong personality to shake.
As well, I was torn because I had a passion for the lost to know Jesus and didn’t see many churches doing anything to really reach the unchurched. As the emergent church began to grow and develop, I saw them echoing many of the same questions I had deep down. But the responses they came up with were disheartening. Many(not all) denied the authority of scripture, denied the historicity of Christ and didn’t want anything to do with the local church.
When I began to read Driscolls, Radical Reformission, I felt I was finally reading something that connected all of this I was going through. While I saw where many people could take offense with the way he communicates and several other things, he was saying things that needed to be said. He was addressing core issues the church had. As well though he was doing so and taking hard stances on many orthodox issues that I saw the emergent church error on.
His preaching was different. He made jokes about things that you never heard pastors joke about. Yes pastors were making jokes in sermons at the time but most of them were corny and only entertained the older crowd. This was different. Though I don’t really care to have joking in the pulpit, he was far from the first to do it, and honestly it was better then the pastors who started sermons like they were in a Hillbilly hoedown comedy hour.
But I’d be lying to say I didn’t see issues. Though I really love John Macarthur’s ministry, I didn’t think his initial response to Driscoll was right on. But I did share the sentiment that it was disturbing that it seemed that there wasn’t much sorrow from the pulpit for sin. As well seeing humility in the pulpit was scarce(in fairness, there are VERY few pastors I have seen much humility in their preaching).
What I am thankful for
I do want to thank Mark Driscoll. Though he is a very extreme person that many had issue with, he was as well someone who helped me grow in many ways. His books on theology and the Bible are great. He has written some that have really helped me grow. Specifically Death By Love has really helped me grow in my understanding of the Cross.
As well, I am glad that he was someone to finally speak up against the passivity the church has consistently preached. Christ wasn’t a hippy. He wasn’t John Wayne either but I think it is something people needed to realize that Jesus wasn’t simply a “Yes Man”. Though the pendulum for many swung to far, it doesn’t change the fact that for many, their understanding of Christ needed to change.
He also is someone that helped me realize the beauty of seeing the unchurched being reached with the gospel. It really always intrigued me to see so many people who culturally couldn’t step foot in many churches yet falling in love with Jesus and becoming apart of churches as new followers. That’s something Mark Driscoll helped me to see.
No, I have never met him. Yes, I do think it was time for him to step down. But if we are going to spend time throwing mud at him and embracing his time of trial(as many are), we shouldn’t deny the many good things his ministry has brought.
One last thing though is that we do need to commit to pray for him and his family.