We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mark Driscoll - A Preacher to Avoid

I've heard lots about Mark Driscoll over the past few years, especially when I started following the Emergent Church movement in which he was initially involved. What I kept hearing was that he was a foul-mouthed, worldly teacher who felt that was the only way to reach a certain segment of society.

Well, I don't think there is any excuse for crude and obnoxious behavior from a preacher of the Word of God. You won't find St. Paul giving the excuse that he had to use crude language and behavior to reach people. In fact, you will find Paul saying that we shouldn't behave or speak that way as Christians.

Now I admit, that from the teachings I have seen and heard by Driscoll (which haven't been all that many), he is, for the most part, fundamental and fairly orthodox in his doctrine. A friend invited me to watch a sermon of Driscoll's on Revelation, and I about had a cow when Driscoll said that Jesus had tattoos on his leg. Although Driscoll's overall message was good, his methodology - especially his irreverence - really bugged me.

Well, it seems the Lord must have wanted me to know more about this guy (I've never spent time investigating him) because two days after my friend showed me his video and tried to defend Driscoll's method, I received in my daily e-mail updates from a couple of apologetics ministries some really serious information about Driscoll.

So rather than repeat all the stuff I read, I am going to direct you to two links. After reading this stuff I have decided to steer everyone who asks away from this false teacher.
Here are the links:

Driscoll should be censured by all true teachers of the Word.


Marie said...


Thanks for this - I have not yet read the links, but I will right now.

Here's what I've read/observed about Driscoll:

He's spot-on in his theology, although not a total cessationist. I'd let it slide because he makes many good points and I LOVED his "tolerance rant". I was cheering (between laughing hysterically).

They used to call him "Mark the Cussing Pastor", although in none of the many clips I have watched of him have I ever actually heard him use a swear word. HOWEVER, as you pointed out, he does seem to be unnecessarily crude and irreverant just for the shock value. Essentially, his theology is the same as John Piper, but without the dignity. When I listen/watch him, it's more like I'm watching a Christian stand-up comedian than a preacher. I have not read any of his books, but saw an excerpt on a discernment site, where he was quoted as talking about Mary not "knocking boots" in regards to the incarnation. Unnecessarily crude. (I'm curious to know what the Jesus with a tattoo reference was all about).

I stopped listening/watching/thinking he was a cool guy a few months ago, when I saw the excerpt of his sermon series on Song of Songs. He made a sort of joke about the tendency of some churches to take the Bridegroom analogy in SOS too far, and apply it to Christ - it was kind of a disrespectful innuendo and since this is the Lord of the universe we're talking about, it was very uncool. You don't make jokes with Jesus as the punchline, even if your point is well-taken.

I don't much go for the ripped jeans and t-shirt/flannel shirt look, either - fine if you're working on your car, but when you're preaching in God's house? Not a big deal in and of itself, but he does seem to have a real aura of arrogance and disrespect. I don't know if he's a false teacher, but I'm curious to read those links.

Marie said...

Just read the first one (the 11-page memo). Wow. Worse than I thought. That's disgusting.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well hello again, Marie!

You are correct that Driscoll's basic theology is the same as John Piper's - he's a Calvinist.

I call him a false teacher because he has a false view of God and Christ - no reverence and many places downright blasphemy for humor. I can't accept that in any preacher. And when you look at what he teaches about human sexuality, he's actually a false teacher there also.

I linked to some of the pages cited in that 11-page memo to see exaclty what Driscoll was advocating and I was appalled. I looked over his blog and teaching sites and the more I read the more disgusted I became.

Does he have some good teachings? Yes. Does he bring ill repute upon the name of Christ and the Church? Definitely.

I think the fashion statement he is making is that he is "cool." His demeanor and some of the stuff he says and does also seems to me to reek of arrogance. And of course, the stand-up comedian presentation is unprofessional.

But hey, he has a very large church and "he's reaching people for the Lord." Pragmatism seems to be the rule of the day.

I have come to the conclusion that a good rule of thumb is that if someone has a mega-church it isn't because they are teaching the Gospel as the Scripture dictates; they are either teaching feel-good (Osteen), "sinner sensitive," (Warren and Hybels), or titillation (Driscoll). There may be an exception, but I don't know of one.

Yvonne said...


Judy jumped right on this story and has linked to Ingrid's post about Driscoll.

I believe that this man should be rebuked by Piper and Lutzer in public just as Paul did to Peter. Maybe Driscoll would repent if they did. Let us pray that it will happen during the Gospel Coalition Conference in April!

It seems that we are seeing more and more evidence of "perilous times" that Paul speaks of in 2 Timothy 3. We are commanded to "turn away" from these ungodly men.

Based on the evidence in the links and this command from Scripture, I have to agree with your decision concerning Mark Driscoll.

Keep contending!


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Yvonne,

I took a quick look at Judy's and I like it! The more people getting the word out about Driscoll the better.

I sent an e-mail to him at Mars Hill rebuking him for his language, etc and asking him to cease. I wonder if I'll be acknowledged!

I pray that these leaders, Lutzer and Piper and others, will indeed confront Driscoll, but I have my doubts about it happening. I keep hearing that "at least he's reaching people."

Robert said...

It is sad when someone who is supposed to be a shepherd thinks that this is what he has to do to be accepted.

It's truly disgusting.

I wonder how anyone sitting in that congregation of 6000 can think that this is proper for a pastor?

4simpsons said...

That is a shame. Like Marie, I was made aware of his good points previously and thought he had good doctrine and a good approach. He seemed to be reaching folks that other churches could not.

But these new revelations are serious. I hope he changes his ways.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well, it looks like someone with clout has finally spoken out about this behavior. Phil Johnson is to be commended!


Job said...

I have listened to a few of his sermons online and found it quite encouraging. He gets somewhat exited sometimes but thats fine by me. I have not heard anything that would contradict sound biblical doctrine.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well, if you look at what I wrote and look at the links provided, it isn't his doctrine that's the problem (except for people like me who don't agree with Calvinism), it's his method of delivery and his high-school jock mentality towards sexuality.

Anonymous said...

Keep going Marky boy!! Keep the offended on their toes!!! I'm loving the Proverbs series....and the Trial series was great too!!! Keep convicting these bitter moaners!!! Love ya Jesus!!!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous 10/14 is obviously a person of little or no discernment

Sir William said...

ahhhh... "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth (or keyboard), but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:29-32

God is using Mars Hill Seattle and the Acts 29 movement to impact this planet for His kingdom.

Support it, embrace it, or avoid it. But, please, for the love of God and His people, stop talking trash.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

It is Mark Driscoll who is the trash-talker, acting like a high-school locker room jock. Do you think Jesus or the apostles would have behaved in this manner?

And just because God will use something, that doesn't mean that something is what God desires. After all, God used my time as a Mormon to learn false teachings for what they are; do you think God approves of Mormonism?

Anonymous said...

I've been to several of Mars Hill meetings. I'm not a Calvinist and I found the music to be rather.... young person oriented, so I don't attend there anymore. Mark is doing God's work. No doubt about it. He doesn't pull punches and talks frankly about sex. He has more 20 something single men who have given their lives to Jesus than probably anyone else EVER has, at least in our lifetimes. Paul would most assuredly approve. Because he doesn't fit someone else's idea of what a pastor should be like, doesn't mean he's going down the wrong path. Paul was much different than was Peter.
You also have to understand the environment he's in. Just a few blocks from his main church is the statue of Lenin they tore down in (St. Petersburg?) Russia. The locals bought it and erected it in Seattle.
Most people there are so far left, they don't have a right turn signal on their cars.
If you want to rant, why not put the atheist group in your crosshairs that put billboards on Seattle busses at Christmas time that said "Why yes Virginia, there is no God."?
One more thing. I'm just as "discerning" as anyone.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous 7/23

Driscoll doesn’t “talk frankly” about sex - he talks crudely like a high school jock, trying to be cool.

How do you know the numbers Driscoll has brought to Christ, and that they are more than anyone else? Firstly, does he lead them to Christ or to entertainment-oriented religious feel-goodism? And as for numbers, perhaps most people don’t brag about the numbers they have brought to the Lord because it isn’t THEM that does it! I always shake my head at such arrogant claims.

No, Paul would not approve of Driscoll. It was Paul who told us not to talk in such language that Driscoll uses. There is absolutely no excuse for locker-room high-school jock language. It isn’t “cool,” no matter how much Driscoll thinks he is being so. It is immature and disgusting. It is definitely the wrong path.

Do you think Paul or Peter didn’t have the same type of people to deal with as Seattle does? My ministry is in one of the most liberal cities in the US - Iowa City, IA! Yet I would never disgrace the name of Christ with crude behavior ala Driscoll.

As for the atheists - who cares? They aren’t representing Christ - Driscoll is.

I see the second link on my article is no longer working - that site has been redone and I went to several sites with the same link only to come up empty. This link went to information about his disgusting teachings about sex - crude, crass - and he links to a site called “Christian Nymphomaniacs” Where is the discernment?

Have you read other comments here - say from Marie? Yvonne? Robert? 4Simpsons? And my other comments?

If you are so discerning, then why do you give Driscoll a pass?

Kelly D. said...

I guess you all would have thought a man spitting in another mans eyes would have been crude too?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Would you care to tell me who spit in another person's eyes? I know what you are implying - but Jesus didn't spit in his eyes, he used spittle - two different things.

Denise said...

John MacArthur, the polar opposite of Driscoll, who has had 40 years of ministry under his belt, who's life and doctrine have shown he's a man of hard study and intgrity has said this in “Ashamed of the Gospel” about approaches or methods:

p. 81 "Some will maintain that if biblical principles are presented, the medium doesn't matter. That is nonsense."

p. 89 “ …any end-justifies-the-means philosophy of ministry inevitably will compromise doctrine, despite any proviso to the contrary. If we make effectiveness the gauge of right and wrong, how can that fail to color our doctrine? Ultimately the pragmatist’s notion of truth is shaped by what seems effective, not by the objective revelation of Scripture."

p. 92-93 on pragmatism:"Do you see how the new philosophy necessarily undermines sound doctrine? It discards Jesus' own methods---preaching and teaching--as the primary means of ministry. It replaces them with methodologies utterly devoid of substance....In fact it avoids dogma or strong convictions as divisive, unbecoming,or inappropriate. It dismisses doctrine as academic, abstract, sterile, threatening, or simply impractical. Rather than teaching error or denying truth, it does something far more subtle, but just as effective from the enemy’s point of view. It jettisons content altogether. Instead of attacking orthodoxy head-on, it gives lip service to the truth while quietly undermining the foundations of doctrine. Instead of exalting God, it denigrates the things that are precious to Him. In that regard, pragmatism poses dangers more subtle than the liberalism that threatened the church in the first half of the century."

Buck Cronkite said...

I can avoid Driscoll as easily as I avoid all Calvinists. However John MacArthur NOT endorsing him counts for something.

Andrea said...

Wow, GREAT post. Loved the 11 page link. It's really unfortunate that people put up with this guy....Thank you for this post!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Unfortunately, the second link I had is no longer available, so I removed it. That site was shut down earlier this year.

Anonymous said...

he will perish if he do not repent