Christianity Today’s September issue features a story on the life and ministry of Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. Understandably so, Mark garners a lot of attention, whether he means to or not. Here are few quotes from the article by Colin Hansen. You can read the entire article here.
Driscoll can’t stand in front of a crowd for long without stirring things up. That’s what you get from a pastor who learned how to preach by watching comedian Chris Rock. Before long, he has the audience going. “If you’re going to be a fundamentalist or moralist … pick things like bathing with your wife to be legalistic about,” Driscoll says in his distinct, gravelly voice. “Don’t pick something stupid like, ‘Don’t listen to rock music.’ I don’t know who’s choosing all the legalisms, but they picked the worst ones. Eat meat, bathe together, and nap—those would be my legalisms. Those are things I can do.”
Indeed, according to Breshears, “he offends everybody.” “[Driscoll’s approach is,] ‘If Jesus says it, I’m gonna stick it in your face. Get used to it,'” Breshears says. “But that’s part of what people respond to. Here’s a guy who stands up, opens his Bible, and says, ‘Dude, this is it.’ When he says, ‘Dude,’ he turns off a whole lot of folks. And when he says, ‘this is it,’ he turns off a lot of folks.”
Even among those who share his views on gender roles and his concern about the emerging church, Driscoll is scarcely less controversial. John Piper says no other speaker at his Desiring God conference has caused such a stir. Some Calvinists do not fully trust Driscoll because it took time for his Reformed theology to solidify. Preaching through Exodus early in his career, Driscoll was struck by God’s sovereignty over Pharaoh. He saw how God acted to deliver his people. The Book of Romans eliminated any remaining doubt about Reformed theology, which he summarizes this way: “People suck, and God saves us from ourselves.”
Venerable Reformed expositor John MacArthur has complimented Driscoll’s soteriology. He is thankful that Driscoll stresses substitutionary atonement and justification by faith alone. But that doesn’t make up for his “infatuation with the vulgar aspects of contemporary society,” MacArthur wrote last December in Pulpit magazine. “[T]he lifestyle he models—especially his easygoing familiarity with all this world’s filthy fads—practically guarantees that [his disciples] will make little progress toward authentic sanctification.”
“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.” (Driscoll)