A Critique of a Driscoll Apologist Post written by S. James
(Link): To Christian Bloggers, from a Pastor’s Kid: Don’t Follow Mark Driscoll Around by Samuel James.
Christian Radio host, personality, and occasional blogger Janet Mefferd tweeted a link today to this opinion piece by Samuel James, which reads like a big Driscoll apology.
Here are some of my observations or critiques of the post. I’ll quote the comments by James and then remark below them.
By Samuel James:
- Christian bloggers, please don’t report on the movements of Mark Driscoll. I’ll give you four reasons:
- 1) It really serves no good purpose. Driscoll has been publicly rebuked and has lost his ministry. As bad as Driscoll may have been in leadership, as potentially disqualified as he was from the pastorate
As has been noted on another blog or two:
Driscoll has not truly lost his ministry, and he left his former church before he could be rebuked or disciplined by the elders, or the group they referred to as the BOAA (Board of Advisors and Accountability), for years of misbehavior and misconduct.
Driscoll was dodging responsibility on that point, which is not a sign of growth, maturity, or even trustworthiness.
Driscoll is no longer a part of Acts 29 and Mars Hill specifically, but he apparently is making a move to open shop as a preacher, or some kind of Christian talking head, either in California or Texas (for more on that, see (Link – off site): here).
In Driscoll’s faux apology or letter of resignation, he framed his situation as not having been disqualified from ministry by the BOAA. I suspect he did that to lay the groundwork to become preacher at another church in the future because that is his intent.
For more on that, if you would like, please see:
- However, (Link): in his resignation letter, Driscoll appeared to leave open the possibility of his return to public ministry by stating that he was thankful to the Mars Hill church oversight committee for making it clear that he (Driscoll) has not been disqualified from future ministry. His basis for making such a claim seems to rest on the fact that the oversight committee had stated that Driscoll had not been charged with “criminal activity, immorality or heresy.”
But then there’s this:
Quote by James:
- …there is no godly or compelling reason to keep tabs on where he goes.
Says Samuel James. That is the author’s opinion, and he is certainly welcome to it, but it’s subjective.
I personally feel that keeping tabs on Driscoll is not un-godly, that doing so is compelling, is wise, and even useful, for one reason of several, in the same way that some cities and states have sex offender registry lists and maps one can check online to make sure there are no child predators on one’s block.
If you are a parent, wouldn’t you want to know if the guy who just moved in next door was convicted for fondling children in the past, so you could take steps to keep your child safe?
- I say “no godly reason” because I suspect much of the post-Mars Hill blogging will be driven by personal animus and a desire to see Driscoll fail wherever he goes.
Driscoll should in fact fail where ever he goes (especially in regards to the pastorate) because he is not qualified to be a preacher to begin with (which is a common theme of my post, heh).
If you are a Christian and hear in the days ahead that Driscoll is about to preach at a new church, you should be praying to God that he fails big time at that and that the church folds.
I’d also hate to see Driscoll get a management position in a secular job. I’ve worked for bosses like Driscoll in secular jobs and had to quit.
Go google phrases like “work place abuse” and see how stressful it is for people to work with or for a boss with the personality of Driscoll’s, who is hyper aggressive, entitled, perpetually angry and hostile.
Driscoll, based on all I’ve read over the last few years, is also possibly sociopathic, or at the very least, highly narcissistic and low on empathy. Guys like him create and perpetuate toxic environments.
It also creates a culture of fear. People are afraid to correct the lead bully or stand up to him, but the Bible says leaders in the church should be open to criticism and should not be hot heads.
Driscoll steps on people to get what he wants, your feelings and welfare be damned. He doesn’t care about you and never will, it’s all about him, him, him, him, him. (Which makes his “It’s all about Jesus” catch phrase even more revolting to me.)
It doesn’t matter if people are driven by “personal animus” in regards to Driscoll or not. It’s moot, it’s irrelevant.
Driscoll is an abusive person, and it matters not why some people are choosing to cast a light on that, but that they are providing that useful service.
As someone who fully admits to harboring strong dislike of Driscoll (I think the man is a complete arrogant, sexist, rude, obscene, jerk in addition to being woefully ignorant of biblical teachings about women and adult singleness), my motivations for thinking bloggers and others should “keep tabs” on him is not driven by that dislike, but by other factors.
I think the sincere motive as to why a lot of Christians have covered Driscoll up to now and may continue to do so, is not due from personal dislike of the man, but from love and concern for future possible victims. For James, though, this seems to be a non-issue (more on that below).
I for one do not want to see any more men or women get sucked into a Driscoll run and operated church, where they will be bullied or bilked out of their money. (Speaking of which, see this page (off site link)).
Driscoll’s views and manner of expressing those views in regards to gender roles and sex have done a lot of damage to the people who sat under his sermons or who went to him for counseling or advice (google around to find examples by ex Mars Hill members – but one example for you: (Link – off site): Exorcism At Mars Hill: One Woman’s Story – you can google around to find other examples).
If Driscoll starts a new church, perhaps he will tread carefully and jettison some of the wilder, kookier, more bizarre behaviors and views he’s made or held in the past, but who can be sure?
I would want anyone who even considers attending any new church of his to be educated up front and know what they might be in for.
I don’t think Driscoll was ever qualified to be a preacher in the first place and should not step foot behind another pulpit ever, but if he does, people need to be warned.
Warning people about Driscoll is a very compelling reason to continue Driscoll coverage, but James brushes this off as though it’s a minor thing, in one part of his post.
- because even if one objects that we must protect other people from Driscoll, writing copious amounts of innuendo on him is hardly going to prevent those who want to be near him from doing so.
Not “innuendo,” no.
Try copious amounts of
-eye witness testimonies from people who worked with or for Driscoll who have also been interviewed by the media about their dealings with Driscoll,
-Driscoll’s own words as recorded in sermons, interviews, books, deactivated forums (via cached copies or old print outs made available online in screen captures, e.g., screen shots of now defunt Mark Driscoll’s church’s forum via (Link): WenatcheeTheHatchet blog, ), and still-current blogs, and
-testimonies by former Mars Hill members on various online ex Mars Hill communities,
and you have a lot of cold, hard evidence of the man’s views and actions.
Regarding this part of the quote:
- …is hardly going to prevent those who want to be near him from doing so.
I’m not sure how this is relevant.
If you present one hundred people with information on Driscoll, and twenty of them decide to still attend a new Driscoll church, despite the information you present, you have still spared 80, which is better than zero.
Even if 99 attend Driscoll’s new church despite your warning, that one was spared.
Jesus left the 99 to go seek out the one lost sheep; that one lost sheep was worth it to Christ.
- The right measures have been taken in response to Driscoll’s actions.
No, they have not. Not enough was done.
What little was done came after years and years of Mars Hill church elders and leaders turning a deaf and blind eye to the complaints by former members. Driscoll left the church before he could be disciplined, as I mentioned above.
- Continuing to report on him isn’t a right measure.
Sure it is. It’s only your opinion that it is not.
You personally not liking the continuing coverage does not necessarily make it wrong.
I’d say continuing coverage of Driscoll is needed even more now that he is seemingly worming his way back into the ministry, vis a vis the “covering” and encouragement of Texas mega church preacher Robert Morris (link, off site).
Mark Driscoll is still getting business anyway, even in the aftermath of the Mars Hill church blow up, so why are you being so protective of him? One example:
(Link – off site): Mark Driscoll Still Featured at Hillsong in 2015
As per James’ very long point under 2 (here is a snippet),
- What I am saying is that fixating on Driscoll even beyond his pastoral exit stokes the flames of bitterness and resentment that many people, understandably in many cases, feel towards Driscoll and towards his ministry. What those people should be doing is praying for Driscoll’s restoration,
I’m not sure what James is getting at. Most people are simply saying that Driscoll was never qualified to be in a leadership position in a church and should never be allowed to be in one again, and should he step behind a pulpit again, they will be watching to make sure he stays in line.
As for me, I do not believe Driscoll is a Christian.
A person can profess to believe in Christ and show several outward indicators of being one (such as regular church attendance, carrying a Bible under one arm, etc), but is still a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The New Testament warns believers of false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing, as did Christ Himself, on top of warnings about false Christs.
The Bible calls Christians to ostracize wolves in sheep’s clothing, not coddle them or restore them.
Jesus said by their fruit you will know them, and seems to me that 99% of Driscoll’s teachings, actions, and effects on the folks around him have been rotten to the core.
- I doubt that the “Driscoll beat” helps them.
Actually, I’ve seen a fair number of ex-Driscollites say they appreciate the ex- Mars Hill communities they’ve participated on (the blogs and so on), and the news coverage exposing Driscoll, because they know they are not alone now.
They know there are others out there who were also wounded by Driscoll and the authoritarian culture he put in place and /or by Driscoll’s theology. It also makes them realize they are not crazy, the abuse was not all in their heads, and it was not right.
- 3) It [Driscoll coverage] empowers skepticism towards the local church.
So what? Skepticism is healthy, not unquestioning obedience. The fact that so many bought into Driscoll’s style and teaching without practicing healthy skepticism is one of the things that led to the entire Mars Hill fiasco.
The Apostle Paul praised the Bereans for checking everything he said against the Old Testament. Paul did not scold the Bereans for being skeptical.
Jesus showed some understanding towards Thomas for demanding to see the nail scars in the hands.
S. James expressed concern in his blog post that the Driscoll bruhaha may cause some Millennials to leave church.
I also am one of the few who does not give a rat’s pa-tooty if Millennials are leaving church – for one thing, so are a lot of Gen X and Baby Boomers, as well as women in general and adult singles of all ages. But the media and Christian blogs fixate on the 20 somethings.
A related link to that:
- 4) Finally, it punishes Driscoll’s family.
Not really, no. Even among the most strident Driscoll haters, I’ve seen only one – count ’em ONE – person express animosity against Driscoll’s wife, Grace (and that one was challenged by a few people in the comments where this happened).
Everyone else (including me) feels sorry for the wife and kids because the father is an arrogant, bullying, sexist, controlling, jerk. I would imagine it’s pure hell having to be married to this guy, or to be one of his kids, especially to be one of his daughters. The wife and kids have my sympathy.
- I say this because I am a pastor’s kid, whose father was never disqualified from ministry and yet who was slandered, lied about, and dishonored publicly for self-serving reasons.
Driscoll was not slandered, lied about, or dishonored publicly, and certainly not for “self serving” reasons. Driscoll brought on all the consequences himself.
Driscoll is not a victim. Stop treating him as though he is one.
Someone working in a role of clergy does not excuse them from their misdeeds or make them above criticism.
There are other preachers who get convicted for child molesting or spouse abuse (and this information is sometimes reported on local television news or in the paper).
Do you honestly expect concerned people not to comment on those cases, all to protect the feelings of the men who are doing the abuse themselves, or to spare the feelings of adult children of preachers?
If so, then you must care more about the abusive pieces of trash than you do for their victims (I’m not sure what other conclusions I can draw from that), and shame on you for that.
- Driscoll has opened up publicly about the toll that the recent controveries have taken on his family, saying that they have been forced to move multiple times and endure physical attacks on their house. Constant reporting about what Driscoll is up to puts his entire family in a vulnerable position where they can be preyed on by those with no legitimate motivations.
Those were pity plays by Driscoll, the mentioning of having his home egged and so forth.
Driscoll is the aggressor but wants to flip things around and play the victim so that people will feel sorry for him, give him a pass, and not hold him accountable. This is a play that only works on well meaning yet very naive Christians – such as yourself.
None of the Driscoll critics I encountered online defend or excuse anyone harassing Driscoll or his family.
The majority of what Driscoll reported recently and in the past consisted of minor teen-aged level pranks, such as someone leaving a bag of dog excrement on his front porch; throwing rocks over the high fences of his mansion; or leaving nails on his drive way.
Some families get that sort of thing on Halloween night, regardless of the father’s occupation.
Driscoll also reported having been attacked by a nut-wielding a machete, and that has never been proven. Nobody can find reports or proof of this online.
Driscoll is a complete bully and harasses people who work for him, yet he has the audacity to depict himself as the victim, and he does this every few years by trotting out these stories of people leaving bags of dog poopy on his porch. He’s trying to drum up sympathy. I don’t feel sorry for him at all.
For additional information on this topic:
(Link – off site): Mark Driscoll’s Reports to the Woodway, WA Police
(You’ll notice in the comment section on that page that even Driscoll critics are condemning the alleged harassment of the Driscoll family at their home.)
- Frankly, wasn’t that the mistake we all made in the first place?
Cause and effect is at work. If you are a preacher who doesn’t want public scrutiny, don’t act like a bully in private, on the stage, and don’t seek out the limelight as Driscoll has done.
Driscoll has appeared on national television shows such as “The View” and Glenn Beck’s program (these were even bragging points on his biography page at Mars Hill at one time).
Driscoll sought publicity and fame by blogging under his real name, putting sermons on You Tube, publishing books, attending well known Christian conferences with other famous preachers, and going on radio and TV tours to promote his work.
One does not get to make one’s self into a public figure, basking in the attention, seeking the fame and profit, then get to turn around and complain about criticism from that same public and beg the public to just get off his back, restore him, feel sorry for him, and leave him alone. That is a double standard.
Mark Driscoll is not a victim. The people at his former churches were his victims. Why not write a blog post defending them instead? James’ sympathy in all this, for Driscoll, is misplaced.
(I am not necessarily in agreement with all views of all sites or blogs I link to):
(Link – off site): The Mark Driscoll Controversy
(Link – off site): The Rise And Fall of Mars Hill Church
(Link – off site): Mark Driscoll’s Oral Fixation
(Link – off site): Esther: Princess, Whore, or Something More [Re: Driscoll’s view that Queen Esther of the Old Testament was a whore]
(Link – off site): How A Megachurch Backs Down
(Link – off site): The Rape of Solomon’s Song [by Mark Driscoll], Part 3 by John MacArthur
(Link – off site): How Mark Driscoll Pockets The Money He Gives to Mars Hill
(Link – off site): Mark Driscoll’s Pornographic Divination
(Link – off site): The Church of Sex
(Link – off site): Mark Driscoll, Women as Penis Houses, and Crumbling Temples
(Link – off site): Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Gospel of Hate
(Link – off site): Mark Driscoll Slammed by Baptist Press over Sex Teaching
(Link – off site): Bott Radio blocks Driscoll, replaces segment mid-show
(Link – this site): Preacher Mark Driscoll Basically Says No, Single Christian Males Cannot or Should Not Serve as Preachers / in Leadership Positions – Attempts to Justify Unbiblical, Anti Singleness Christian Bias