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.
I’m not a follower of Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church, but it’s hard to be an Evangelical and not see his name pop up now and again. Driscoll has recently been hit with charges of plagiarism, unfair ghost-writing practices and most recently a book sales manipulation scheme. Yesterday he presented an open apology to his congregation. I’m pleased to see Driscoll make this step and to re-align his priorities around his congregation and his family.
First, a marketing company called ResultSource was used in conjunction with the book Real Marriage, which was released in January 2012. My understanding of the ResultSource marketing strategy was to maximize book sales, so that we could reach more people with the message and help grow our church. In retrospect, I no longer see it that way. Instead, I now see it as manipulating a book sales reporting system, which is wrong. I am sorry that I used this strategy, and will never use it again. I have also asked my publisher to not use the “#1 New York Times bestseller” status in future publications, and am working to remove this from past publications as well.
There’s a certain philosophy within Evangelicalism that the way to promote church growth is to have a laser beam focus on attracting men. The frame of mind says men want to be manly and too much of the church has become feminized. Too much worship promotes Jesus as some sort of cosmic boyfriend and what men want is not the be loved and encouraged but instead they want to lead and be challenged.
To capitalize on this some churches focus heavily on men in programs, sermons and worship selection. It’s believed that by attracting men, women will be happy to be in a church where their husbands are involved and won’t complain that resources and attention aren’t devoted to them. It’s also believed that churches and women within churches have no problem starting up programs that meet the needs of women, so it’s not something that needs to be emphasized. Some of these churches are patriarchal in nature but not necessarily so (as opposed to complementarian).
It’s my personal opinion that this philosophy is unBiblical. While I can understand the appeal and can even see how it may be working in some sectors I think it violates Paul’s mandate that we see neither male nor female when it concerns the gospel. I don’t think church’s should be feminized but I don’t think they should be masculinized either. I certainly see goodness in calling men to lead and to do all of the things mentioned in the video and photo. But there is no need to marginalize women in order to do so.
Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church might be a poster boy for this philosophy if there ever were one. Driscoll brings a lot of bravado and confidence to his preaching. Unfortunately for Driscoll his posture brings controversy.
A recent interview in England concerning women in leadership is bring a lot of criticism towards Driscoll. You can read about it hear. If you’d like to hear the interview itself it can be found here. Since the controversy centers around this interview I highly recommend that you listen to the full interview.