Driscoll

Mark Driscoll: Grace Is Sufficient For Him, Too

The brutality with which the Church is responding to Mark Driscoll is far more damaging to the gospel message than anything he ever did. 

Dear Church, please remember your identity as the Bride of Christ, and then please, I implore you, STOP tearing down Mark Driscoll! Not only are you behaving in the same manner you’re accusing Driscoll of, but you’re also presenting a completely distorted delivery of the Gospel.

The cross holds an unrestrictive jurisdiction. Our sin alone towards God is an offense that cannot be matched. But in God’s grace and love for his children he has provided the cross to cover our sin…ALL of it. To say that Driscoll’s sin is greater than anyone else’s or that it deserves public slander from both media and Christians alike…is really to say that the cross fell short and that grace is only so sufficient. And THAT is a theological foundation for a complete mess. 

Consider the following points in respect to how the Church has responded to Pastor Mark and remember them the next time you want to post a comment or article about him.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ
If you feel so inclined to expose Driscoll’s downfall in the name of defending the Gospel, then make sure your delivery reflects the Gospel, too. That is, if you’re going to reveal the wrong, make sure you saturate it in grace, forgiveness, and a hope of restoration. If your delivery does not reflect the aforementioned traits, then you are either highly misinformed on the magnitude of the message of the Gospel, or you do know the Gospel message and are thus a textbook hypocrite. Remember the woman caught in adultery? Jesus, the ONLY one who was justified to kill her, was not in the business of tearing her down or exposing her sin; her sin was already out there.

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” -John 8:7-11 (ESV) 

He looked on her with love, extended grace to her, and after rebuking the crowd, he gave her a hope of restoration by simply telling her to go and sin no more. Jesus would not command of her something she was unable to do, so we see His grace coming to fruition in her sanctification. This is the hope of restoration. I would think that we have more reason to have hope for Driscoll than a prostitute, but Jesus restored even a woman such as her.

“But John, it’s biblical to hold pastors to a higher standard!”

I know, and he is being held accountable. But posting defamatory rhetoric is by no means a form of accountability…especially if he isn’t going to see it. It’s not accountability if the one being held accountable isn’t present.

Subtle defamation is defamation still.
Whether you tweet that Driscoll is a misogynist swine or you simply post a biased Huffington Post article about the allegations set forth against him, you are still guilty of tearing him down. Many left-leaning Christians have posted articles about Driscoll in the name of “informing the public” on Driscoll’s actions- leaving out any of their own defamatory commentary in order to support their informative agenda. However, I highly doubt that these Christian leftists would be so informative if, say, Rachel Held Evans was so indicted. Held Evans, who is notarized for being a Christian feminist, self-proclaimed proponent of the emergent church, and in many ways a biblical progressive, is, appropriately, one of the leading heroines of the Christian leftist movement.* The timeline of her notoriety is peppered with adverse published material about Driscoll.

Before you post anything about Driscoll, think of his five children. His kids are no strangers to the Internet or mainstream media. It’s bad enough that the secular media is throwing their father under the bus while saturating the accusations with manipulative dishonesties. But for them to see the Church, the Bride of Christ who they’ve grown up with, respond so callously…I can’t imagine their pain and feelings of betrayal, nor do I wish to be a contributor to it.

“But John, as much compassion as we have on Driscoll’s kids, it is paramount for them to know that despite their father’s pastoral status he cannot get away with sin!”

True, but as I stated before, defamation, no matter how subtle, is no means of accountability nor is it anybody’s place, outside of his circle of accountability, to correct him.

Of all the Christians who have delivered adverse comments about Mark Driscoll, I wonder how many of them have prayed for him. Is your wisdom so much greater than the power of God’s grace?

God’s peace and grace be with Driscoll’s children and their parents.

*This description of Rachel Held Evans is not a manipulative opinion. She unapologetically identifies with this community using the same vernacular as I used to describe it.

Repentance
There is much to be said on this topic, but I imagine all Christians understand it to be a humble act of confession met with evident closure towards the confessed sin. It’s a sincere desire to turn from sin while taking practical steps to ensure the sin remains in the past all along while walking in grace.

Pastor Mark has repented and has done so on a much more humbling platform than most of us ever will on this earth. 

How should Christians respond to their siblings in Christ when they repent? They should celebrate! The prodigal has come home and learned from his ways! God rejoices with this, shouldn’t we!? 

“But John, there hasn’t been enough time to see if Driscoll has repented- he only recently apologized.” 

Good point. After all, in the parable of the prodigal son, the father, representing God, waited a period of three weeks to see if the son’s repentance was legitimate, right? WRONG! He didn’t even wait for the son to get to the door! He saw his son returning and HE, the father (God), ran (pursued) the son, wrapped his arms around him, and threw him a party!

Now I get it, there has been a list of allegations surfacing about Driscoll, which may indicate that his apology was merely a public relations move and he is continuing in his ways. However, to put that theory to rest, many of the allegations are manipulative and the accusers are simply looking for an opportunity to burn Driscoll. More on that in the following (and final) point. So, is it hasty to assume that he is legitimately repentant? I think not. I am very confident that he recognizes the errors of his ways and is truly pursuing restoration. Why? Because as one of the most prominent pastors in the Christian community (not even isolated to evangelicalism) he has taken a tremendous fall and thus has endured much humiliation. The man is broken. Not only has he expressed his desire for restoration, but he has also taken practical steps to hold him accountable to this pursuit. Driscoll recently sanctioned six seasoned Christians who are bold enough to call him out to hold him accountable.

This is enough for me to celebrate. But if one is still skeptical, that’s fine; however, it is not justification to continue in sin by tearing him down.

Personal Agendas…
As I alluded to above, there are groups within the Christian community who have been waiting for an opportunity to attack Pastor Mark. This reaction is both immature and unbiblical. These vindictive behaviors neglect every ounce of the Gospel message. I highly encourage any signatories of this behavior to seek repentance themselves before they call upon Pastor Mark. 

So who are these communities? 

Anyone who knows Pastor Mark’s ministry knows that two primary theological cognates that he pushes are Calvinism and Complementarianism. Calvinism is a scriptural interpretation of salvation that has for long been a controversial topic in the Church. I won’t go into details about it, but if you, my readers, want to research it, I rejoice with that. Complementarianism is the traditional stance on gender roles that holds to male hierarchy. This does not equate to male oppression over women. I won’t go into detail on this topic either. 

Many who have lashed out towards Driscoll in the recent weeks staunchly oppose these two theologies and would likely identify themselves within the Christian feminist community (not because of Calvinism, though). Driscoll has said some terrible things about women in the past (far in the past) and has apologized for these statements (the apologies are way in the past as well). 

So why are they surfacing now? 

Because those who are unwilling to accept Driscoll’s apology would see it as a defeat for them, as they would no longer have a “misogynist swine” to call out as an ad hominem assault to lift up their own agenda. 

“John, that’s a very bold claim.” 

Perhaps, but let me say that I too have a beef with both Calvinism and Complementarianism. I identify more with Arminianism (the opposing view of Calvinism) and I’m fine with women as pastors…yes, even lead pastors (though I’m always wrestling with this one.) This gives my bold claim credibility because I know many within these opposing communities, and I have seen firsthand the tenacity with which they will defame Driscoll. It’s not theological; it’s a personal agenda. If it were theological then their approaches would be delivered with a Gospel dialect…and they are not, not by a long shot. I understand that Driscoll’s opposition isn’t isolated to those who I’m describing here, but they are a prominent percentage. 

In conclusion I want to challenge the Church, the beautiful Bride of Christ, to ask themselves what type of gospel advocacy are we showing if we have no room for grace in response to Driscoll’s repentance? We all have sin. The cross was good enough for yours, mine and Driscoll’s sin. Work towards restoring him, not tearing him down.

Friends, I pray that this message penetrates the hardness that our hearts often become and that conviction may set in where necessary as it has for me on a number of occasions where I have hastily called someone out in a manner unreflecting of the very grace that has so scandalously been lavished on me.  Walk in love, walk in grace. 

JWR
_______________
If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy the following:

When We Celebrate 50 Shades Of Grey, We Abandon This Generation’s Women

“But I Really Love Him”: Why Christian Girls Date Non-Christian Guys

Why I Deleted All Pictures of Alcohol From My Social Media

Let’s Talk About Sex: Is Masturbation A Sin?

superAbout the Author 
Hi, my name is John and I love coffee. As I write this I’m sitting in a local brewery sipping a “mudslide” espresso with cream and two and a half sugars. There are few things in life that I feel merit precise orchestration with no room for error, coffee is one of them. My life belongs to Jesus. I am his son and he is my King. His work in my life is reason enough for my faith to be made complete. He lived to die for me so that I may be credited righteous thus I will live for him. I don’t hold any radical theological views, other than I serve a radical God. I affirm scriptural inerrancy, infallibility and the Bible as God’s final authority in text. See full bio here 


19 comments

  1. c wood says:

    Your words apply to so much more than even the response to Mark Driscoll. It is sadly way too easy to pull others apart than it is to intentionally build them up. I know because of my own proclivity to elevate myself through the splinter in another’s eye. The problem with splinters is that they have a tendency to work their way into the most annoying places, like next to the log I already sport.

  2. Binahe says:

    He is absolutely not beyond the reach of God’s tremendous grace! Most of those who are apeaking out about his abuses urge him to humbly turn and receive that grace. Be careful not to shoot the wounded, especially if you haven’t been there to see the damage. People have walked away from their faith, are fearful to step foot in a church, have lost their livelihoods, etc. etc. it’s a very sad situation. Mark’s not the only one who could use your grace.

    • Dave says:

      But you are making your self the judge of whether or not he has turned and received that grace. What will it take for you people to be satisfied>? Does he have to leave the church and never preach again? Do you want him flogged in the middle of Seattle? Should he be banished from the Christian faith? And where in the Bible does it mention you as the judge of when someone has repented enough?

      • Scott says:

        Actually all he has to do is call up and sit down one-on-one with those he has hurt and directly person-to-person repent. Apologizing in public while continuing to shun and stonewall those he has hurt is how we can tell he hasn’t repented at all.

        • John Wesley Reid says:

          Scott, Thanks for commenting!
          As I mentioned in the blog, repentance is a process. However, we have good reason to believe his repentance is legitimate given his humility and practical steps he has set up to ensure he remains accountable. It’s not absolute- but what is at this point? Until time has passed we still DO NOT reserve the right to belittle Mark.

  3. bryanzug says:

    John – This came up as an advertised post in my facebook feed this AM. Question – Did you advertise it? Someone else? I have been very close to the situation for years and, as you can see from the light being shed on the situation(s), there are quite a number of us who think there is an abusive cycle of leadership that needs to stop. It as escalation point that is very tough to walk through while holding prodigal grace in high regard. Cheers — Bryan Zug

    • John Wesley Reid says:

      Hi Bryan, thanks for commenting! Yes, I do advertise my blog.

      As far as the timeline of events is concerned I can’t speak with much authority given I am not as intimately engaged as you are. But I know Mark’s personality type and it’s not far fetched to believe that he did treat his subordinates poorly. Even if he denied it publicly (which he didn’t) I would still believe the allegations of his treatment.

      My hope for this situation is that Mark and his family will find peace within the restoration process and that Mark can use his notoriety to help Pastor’s avoid these situations in the future.

      I also pray for those who have felt the sting of his behavior that they can find healing from their pain but also healing in forgiving Mark.

      Thanks again brother!

  4. Alex Lewis says:

    John, this a very well written article and you pose some important, relevant Biblical approaches to Pastor Mark. Especially as it relates to the erroneous slanders perpetrated against him for personal gaim. That is clearly wrong. As a fellow senior pastor, I pray for him and his family, while acknowledging the daily challenges of the pastoral call. I hope that his words of repentance are sincere.

    Most importantly, I pray his soul will be saved for eternity by obedience to the commands of Christ, our Savior and Lord. Furthermore, we cannot forget that there are far too many accounts of various individuals within Mars Hill, that I deem to be credible, siting a pattern of spiritual abuse within his ministry over the years. I have read these varied accounts in detail. Indeed, if he repents he should be restored as a brother in Christ, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he should be re-installed into a pastoral leadership role now, if ever. People’s very spiritual lives are at stake! The potential for eggergious actions cannot be allowed to continue unrestricted. The fact is that the trust has been broken among many of the people and only in God’s soveriegnty will, if it be known he is restored. I realize every situation is different but there has been a pattern of abusive leadership like this cited in some churches across America.

    I pray for all my dear brothers and sisters at Mars Hill church that Biblically based love would abound there and in our churches all across America!

    In Christ,

    Dr. Alexander Lewis, Pastor
    Living Word Community Bible Center
    Kent, WA

    • Dave says:

      Dr Lewis from reading your comments you must believe that Mark is not saved. For him to not be saved would require that he not be a believer in Jesus Christ providing eternal life for all believers. Do you believe that he lost his salvation? And if so how did that happen? Being a Pastor, the same as my son is, and knowing how Satan uses pride to try and destroy churches why would you stoke the fires by saying “Furthermore, we cannot forget that there are far too many accounts of various individuals within Mars Hill, that I deem to be credible, siting a pattern of spiritual abuse within his ministry over the years.” When Christ forgives the sin is forgotten by Him but it sounds like that doesn’t apply to you. How long do you remember peoples sins after they ask for forgiveness. I am always suspicious when people use statements such as this without using names of those who made the charges. If what happened was true then use their name and attach it to the accusation if they are not willing to use their name in public with their charges then be quiet. Also you said “potential for egregious actions cannot be allowed to continue unrestricted.” What kind of actions are you talking about? You are making very unsubstantiated charges that are left up to peoples imagination to invent. Before making that kind of statement be specific with what you are accusing a fellow Christian and Pastor of doing anything else leaves some of us wondering what are you trying to do because it doesn’t look very Christ like.

      May the Lord Bless you

  5. Sleepless in Seattle says:

    Thanks a ton for your thoughts, John, it’s very encouraging to us! I like how your central point is MISSED by some of the comments that “measure” and question your right to state:
    “The cross holds an unrestrictive jurisdiction. Our sin alone towards God is an offense that cannot be matched. But in God’s grace and love for his children he has provided the cross to cover our sin…ALL of it.”
    The instant hypocrisy proves your point, and would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
    For those “counting” proximity, amount, or credentials to justify invalidating your position, let me contend on your behalf. I’m not distant, I’ve been at MH for longer than probably anyone in this post. I’ve spoken to many pastors on all sides of this, and would attest that after the wave of “reconciliation” is done, there will need to be a second wave of reconciliation for specific vitriol that people have put out on social media as they “process” this in public view. The next wave of reconciliation is all the PRIDEFUL, hurtful statements toward those of us still called by the Holy Spirit to stay & serve here, because God hasn’t stopped sending people here to be saved! We are made to feel we must pick a side, the ‘right’ side, and The Holy Spirit isn’t one of the sides! ;)
    In fact, someone here has someone else in spiritual authority over them who has admitted to me that some of the “wounded” are “out for blood.” So be careful….
    So as not to point glory to myself, I won’t post my name so people can know who’s been there the longest, I’ll just remain “ANONYMOUS” lol!

    • John Wesley Reid says:

      Sleepless in Seattle,
      Thank you for commenting and GREAT pseudonym! haha I love that movie!

      Your words are very affirming to my work and encouraging for me to hear regarding your church, too! Yes, there has been damage done but there is a genuine hope of restoration coming too! I’m excited for how God will use this situation for his glory. I pray, as you do, that people will see the bigger picture here and will be quicker to bring reconciliation to this debacle rather than fanning the flames.

  6. Eddie Graber says:

    John, I like what I hear in your remarks. After 43 plus years in unbroken pastoral ministry ( wow I have almost made it to the end—-less than 5% of us out there ) I find that Biblical Restoration has been pretty much reserved for everyone but ministers. I know the whole higher standard thing but I also think the last peeps receiving restoration in our day is men and women God has called out for the High calling of ministry. Would love to see a fresh emphasis and return to a restoration ministry that would honor the heart of Jesus. It is a scandal that 5% or less of those entering vocational ministry today will make it to retirement…even though I even question the retirement thing. My heart is grieved about how Mark D. has been treated by so many of his peers and people once called his friends. I have never met Mark but I have been “around the block” quite a few times. My prayer and hope is that Mark Driscoll returns to his church and God’s vision for him. This whole mess reeks of modern day phariseeism like I have not seen before. Certainly there are various elements and pain here will never be sorted out but Marks D’s head on the “platter” is not the answer….Let’s see him restored. I think it should be done. John I would like to hear you pontificate on Biblical Restoration even for pastors. thx.

    • John Wesley Reid says:

      Eddie,
      Strong words brother, but very accurate! Thanks for commenting! It may be a judgement on my part (but 1 Cor 5 justifies me to do so lol) but I think that those who are quick to tear Mark down have also lacked in prayer towards Mark. I feel like if people were more intentional about going TO the very god who they’re supposedly defending then their advocacy would reflect the heart of God in how they respond to Mark. It’s sad man. Thanks for your service to the kingdom!

  7. Roseen says:

    Thank you John, it breaks my heart what the organization that Driscoll was a co founder of is doing. I feel the People making these allegations Have forgot the true meaning and essence of what the Word teaches, Forgiveness thru Grace.

  8. Emily says:

    I agree with your post John. I have been and continue to be a member at Mars Hill. I have seen many many truths brought to the light, and in no way can minimize what God is doing in this season, but I have yet to see words of restoration, or a prayer posted. And when I shared how satan was working through certain responses not many people seemed to care because they were so wrapped up in trying to “protect” me (coming from people who have left). So be careful what you post. Guard your heart!

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