Pride Goes Before the Fall

A couple of weeks ago the Evangelical world was set ablaze when the church planting network founded by Mark Driscoll, rebuked and removed Driscoll and his church from their organization.  Accusations of brashness, chauvinism and pride had frequently swirled around Driscoll. A confession of some inappropriate message board comments had proceeded this discipline step by the Acts 29 organization which felt that Driscoll and his church were still not responding to complaints lodged by people who had been mentored or employed by Driscoll. 

Yesterday Driscoll announced that he was taking a six week leave of absence to seek counsel of mature believers and to submit himself to his church’s disciplinary process.  I highly recommend this article from Christianity Today to supply more information on the situation. This has been an ongoing and developing story as was discussed previously on this blog.

I’m pleased to see that Acts 29 and Mars Hill Church has a disciplinary structure in place and are using it for something other that sexual and financial sins.  I’m also pleased to see Driscoll submitting himself to their processes.  This is a wait and see situation and I think Driscoll’s credibility is seriously on the line.

I’ve stated before that I’m not so concerned that leaders are fallible and sinful as I am with how they confront their accusers and reconcile their sinfulness.  King David lays out an excellent model for public repentance and I hope to see Driscoll express similar repentance.


Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
 Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,

    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.



14 thoughts on “Pride Goes Before the Fall

  1. I hope it works out for all involved.

    It really does bother me, though, to see these celebrity preachers spread their schizophrenic message. One would think by listening to these guys preach that the law trips the gospel…and not the other way around.

  2. Warren Throckmorton explains the unique disciplinary system Mars Hill has in place for Mark Driscoll.

    Indeed, it is not very encouraging.

  3. This kind of thing is just further evidence to me that the congregational/independent model of church governance is not how the church should be organized.

  4. I’m not convinced that there’s good things happening in this process. I won’t judge Driscoll’s heart. That’s between him and God and I have no problem giving him the benefit of any doubt that he has remorse for things he’s done in the past.

    That said, the entire way this is being handled screams to me that Driscoll is still very much in control of everything happening at Mars Hill. The board involved is in disarray and the two strongest members have stepped down. He’s the one who made the announcement and in it he dictated the length of time (6 weeks).

    His statement was prepared in consultation with a Public Relations expert which speaks of manipulation rather than speaking from the heart honestly.

    I fully expect that the end result will be minor findings and a restoration of Driscoll with very little change taking place at all.

  5. Again: the congregational/independent model of church governance (in addition to apparently not being the Biblical model) just begs to be abused.

  6. I don’t think I would confuse congregationalism and the form of governance used at Mars Hill. I don’t see that the congregants have much to do with making decisions. Mars Hill seems to reject the plurality of elders a central tenant of congregationalism.

  7. yeah, I think this has more to do with a flaw in how they structure and form their elder board than being independent. They are by no means a congregationalist church.

    I’m interested to see how things are resolved with the Acts 29 Network. I think that will say more about this process than anything. (conceding Kullervo’s point that an outside authority is important for resolving these sorts of conflicts).

  8. One more:

    This explanation of the arc:

    with this really interesting line from a fired producer of a radio show (that confronted Driscoll on plagiarism)

    “All I can share is that there is an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes. You may not go up against the machine. That is all. Mark Driscoll clearly plagiarized and those who could have underscored the seriousness of it and demanded accountability did not. That is the reality of the evangelical industrial complex.”

  9. Driscoll’s resignation doesn’t really change much, Does it? Except that he left behind a bankrupt, less-site, no celebrity pastor church.

    I still don’t think the multi-site celebrity pastor model of ministry affords even the semblance of accountability. Any system without an institution of top/down and bottom/up accountability will have difficulties handling excesses.

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