I have never met Mark Driscoll but much of what I know about him I appreciate. How can you not like a guy who goes to Seattle and plants a church that is rock-solid on the Gospel? Or someone who refuses to compromise on biblical manhood and womanhood in that context? Or someone who is unashamedly reformed in his understanding of how the Gospel works but doesn’t put it on his calling card? Or someone who has helped motivate and equip hundreds of young pastors to plant churches around the world?
I have heard the criticisms, and read some of the crudeness that has come from his pen. I would never try to justify vularity, no matter what the source. But I have also heard of Driscoll’s repentance, and read some of his humble expressions of it. Dr. Danny Akin and Southeastern Seminary took some heat for having Driscoll on campus recently at the Convergent Conference. But, as he does so well, Driscoll poked some of those critics in the eye by pointing out that the North Carolina Baptist Convention has invited Doug Pagitt to speak at a church leaders’ conference October 16. [EDIT: I have been informed that this invitation has been withdrawn by the BSCNC]
The September issue of Christianity Today has a good article on Driscoll (“Pastor Provocateur“) by Collin Hansen. It’s worth reading. Here are a couple of the better quotes.
Jennifer McKinney, director of the women’s studies program at Seattle Pacific University, says she started teaching about the sociology of gender in part because of issues raised at nearby Mars Hill. She notices that many female students who attend Mars Hill abandon career ambitions as social workers or youth pastors. Instead, they prepare to become wives and mothers.
“I can’t say that folks who go to this church are not active, thinking beings,” McKinney says. “But the perception on campus is that these women completely change.”
Don’t you just love it! I can’t say that Professor McKinney is a narrow-minded feminist but the perception is that she thinks women who esteem the roles of wife and mother are idiots. You have to appreciate a church and ministry that makes a self-styled Christian university nervous because of the transformation of lives.
Here is Driscoll’s very Driscollesque summary of the reformed faith:
“People suck, and God saves us from ourselves.”
Finally, Driscoll on the relationship between Fundamentalism and the Emergent Church:
“Fundamentalism is really losing the war, and I think it is in part responsible for the rise of what we know as the more liberal end of the emerging church,” Driscoll says. “Because a lot of what is fueling the left end of the emerging church is fatigue with hardcore fundamentalism that throws rocks at culture. But culture is the house that people live in, and it just seems really mean to keep throwing rocks at somebody’s house.”
Read the article and pray for Mark Driscoll.