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
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mark Driscoll - Not Qualified as a Pastor

I have said in a previous article [deleted 5/14/18] that Mark Driscoll is a teacher to avoid.  It isn’t that he’s a false teacher when it comes to proper doctrine (well, he’s a Calvinist and I disagree with that doctrine), it’s that he has a lot of other problems, including rank immaturity.  Another blogger recently called Driscoll one of the “top five pastors in America,” and when I challenged him on that claim several others came to his defense.  Well, here I’m going to lay out the problems with Mr. Driscoll, and if you think he’s still someone worthy of listening to, let alone one of the top five pastors, then I’d be interested in knowing how you can maintain that position.
First, as noted in my original post, Driscoll has a habit of using crude language, contrary to Paul’s injunction against such language in Ephesians 4:29 and 5:4.  There is no excuse for a pastor to be using such language; it is not “cool” or “hip” to do so.  If one lacks a command of the English language, then perhaps they should not be in the pulpit.
A paper I linked to in my original article, written by Cathy Mickels, [link gone by 12/14/16] discusses some grave problems with Driscoll’s immaturity in regards to teaching about human sexuality.  In referring to a book by Driscoll, Confessions of a Reformission Rev, John MacArthur is cited as saying, “...there are statements in that book that are so sexually explicit and unnecessary and purely gratuitous humor at the basest level...”  MacArthur is further cited as saying the same language and humor was on a video and later on Driscoll’s web site.  MacArthur states that the attitude seems to be to identify with people at their sensual level: “And I think that baser approach - that’s something I’ve never heard of in my life - I’ve never, ever, in the name of ministry heard anyone who would speak at that level of explicit language with regard to things sexual...” 
Describing an example of Driscoll’s treatment of sexuality, Mickels says, In Genesis 3, Satan's first line of attack against mankind was to undermine and call into question the authority of God's Word. Yet, it is this very book of the Bible that hits a funny bone for Mark Driscoll.  According to Mark, this is where all "good comedy begins." First of all, in the story of Adam and Eve, Driscoll throws out a suggestive, sensual idea about Eve that I guess Mark thinks will amuse his male audience. He says "...God creates a perfect woman who is beautiful, sinless, and naked,- the same kind of woman every guy ever since has been looking for." (The Radical Reformission, pg.28.)
Later Mickels gives another example of Driscoll’s teaching on sex:  Driscoll appears to have discovered early on that sex sells and that he could use it to draw a crowd. He writes, "I assumed the students and singles were all pretty horny, so I went out on a limb and preached through the Song of Songs. ....Each week I extolled the virtues of marriage, foreplay, oral sex, sacred stripping, and sex outdoors, just as the book teaches...This helped us a lot because apparently a pastor using words like 'penis' and 'oral sex' is unusual, and before you could say ‘aluminum pole in the bedroom,’ attendance began to climb steadily to more than two hundred people a week." ... It is also curious that in spite of Mark Driscoll's acknowledgement that many of the young men at Mars Hill struggle with pornography, Mark would intentionally and frequently plant himself in a barbershop filled with pornography. In his own words, Mark describes his barbershop as "providing the finest selection of waiting area pornography in our city." But, isn't the word "finest" a rather odd way of describing perverted material?  Would Mark recommend this same barbershop to other young men at Mars Hill? Since Mark details in his book, The Radical Reformission, that he even takes his own young son with him to his barber, a flamboyant transsexual, I will assume the answer is possibly "Yes."
Mickel’s description of a telephone call Driscoll relates which was between him and a man who was into pornography is horrible!  Driscoll has no business counseling anyone in any sexual matter.  Driscoll’s fascination with all things sexual (he claims the Song of Solomon is his favorite Bible passage) is really comparable to what you find with a high-school locker-room jock.  Driscoll’s blog even suggests anal sex with one’s wife is perfectly okay, and then he links to a site called “Christian Nymphos.”  Additionally, he advocates the use of “sex toys” and links to an ostensibly “Christian” sex toy site.
A January 23, 2008 ABC News article by Neal Karlinsky claims Driscoll admits that his preaching can “be summed up with two words: sex and Jesus.”  
A now extinct blog, Slice of Laodicea, posted a quote from John MacArthur on 5/8/09, in which MacArthur addressed Driscoll’s teaching in regards to human sexuality:  “For stronger reasons than simple modesty, certain acts involving fornication, autoeroticism, and other things people commonly ‘do in secret’ are shameful to talk about in any public context (Ephesians 5:12), much less a church service. They may be suitable subjects for a private counseling session, or the doctor’s office, or a college biology lecture, but they are not fitting topics for a worship service where God should be glorified, Christ should be uplifted, women should be shown respect, children’s innocence should be guarded, and single people’s prurient curiosities should not unnecessarily be enflamed.  When a speaker deliberately arouses lusts that cannot possibly be righteously fulfilled in unmarried college students, or when his personal illustrations fail to guard the privacy and honor of his own wife, that is far worse than merely inappropriate.  When done repeatedly and with the demeanor of an immature bad-boy, such a practice reflects a major character defect that is spiritually disqualifying.  Any man who makes such things the main trademark of his style is quite simply not above reproach.”
Driscoll is also very irreverent (and even blasphemous in my opinion) as he often makes jokes about theological matters.  An example I heard while personally viewing a DVD put out by his church was him suggesting that Jesus had a large tattoo on his thigh.
Mickels gives further examples of Driscoll’s irreverent handling of Scripture in The Radical ReformissionDriscoll sets the stage for more mocking of Scripture by describing the Old Testament as "a redneck hillbilly comedy." He finds humor in Jacob, Aaron, Moses, Job, Jeremiah, and Noah. For example, he undermines the seriousness of the messages of Jeremiah, a prophet of God, by describing him as someone "who cries like a newly crowned beauty queen all the time." He laughs at Noah for getting drunk and ending up naked in his tent, and then compares him to "some redneck on vacation." Why would Driscoll find amusement or pleasure in seeing Noah's dignity reduced or undermined?
In his series on humor, the New Testament also gets a Driscoll face lift. Without shame, he turns the issue of circumcision found in Galatians 5 into a crude "cut off your pickle joke."
Also, unlike all the biblical scholars who have gone before Mark Driscoll, he comes up with another name than the one given in Scripture to describe the Holy Spirit. In his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev, he thanks "God the Ghost" for helping him write his book. In another part of the book, Driscoll just shortens it to "Ghost."  For those who would be alarmed by this cavalier handling of God and His Word, Mark also has an arrogant, cocky response. He says, "...religious people are too serious.....judgmental.... they're such a joke." ....
Mocking and poking fun at Jesus and his family, Mark writes, ".....everytime they (the religious leaders) see Jesus, it agitates them that he is always surrounded by a crowd telling knock-knock jokes to miscreants who love his sense of humor because his perfection had to have included comedic timing." In other communications Mark refers to the King of Kings as "a dude" and uses word pictures depicting Him as "a prize-fighter with a tattoo down his leg..." In Driscoll's human attempt to make Jesus relevant, he turns the spotless lamb into a blemished lamb tarnished with the markings of the streets of Seattle. (The Radical Reformission, pg. 30.)
Discussing more irreverent teaching from Driscoll at Mars Hill, Mickels reports, One will hear things at this church never heard before about Christ. In a church video series regarding the humanity of Christ, Mark had fun with the question whether or not Jesus went "potty." In response, according to Driscoll, "...yes, Jesus went number one and number two," but he did it "perfectly....never got the toilet all wet."
I think you get the general idea of what Cathy Mickels reports on, but I really recommend you read the entire document.  It paints a picture of a “pastor” with some serious problems, especially in the realm of teaching on sexuality, and totally irreverent handling of God’s Word.  Much of it is relating things from Driscoll’s books, “The Radical Reformission” and Confessions of a Reformission Rev.”  (Why anyone reading these books would still consider Driscoll worthy to be a pastor is beyond my comprehension.)  Just that article alone should have droves leaving Driscoll’s church.
Mark Driscoll has preached at Robert Schuller’s “Crystal Cathedral” a couple times and yet has not preached a solid gospel message there - a “church” which needs the truth more than anything else.  He has also associated with Schuller on several occasions, and has even congratulated Schuller for his ministry - congratulating a rank heretic for preaching heresy!
This year Driscoll has been claiming he receives direct revelations from Jesus.  Interestingly enough, they usually have to do with sexual matters.  This article gives the full text of some of Driscoll’s claims, which are nothing less than bizarre.  In fact, as with his teaching on sexuality, some of these revelations are downright pornographic.
Lately Driscoll has been propagating a false spiritual warfare theology - including promoting false teachers in this subject - and claims he has even talked to demons.  Not only that, he accepts what the demon says as the truth as to what the demon is doing.  His description of his conversations with demons would be downright laughable if Driscoll wasn’t seriously teaching it as truth.  His demonology includes ideas from the totally aberrational “deliverance ministries” and is totally unbiblical.
According to The New York Times 4-part article, “Who Would Jesus Smack Down?” Driscoll will allow no dissent.  “In 2007 two elders protested a plan to reorganize the church that...consolidated power in the hands of Driscoll and his close aides.”  Their protests led to their excommunication, and when a member complained, his membership was suspended.  According to the article, Driscoll said, “They are sinning through questioning.”  I’d be interested to know where Driscoll finds that in Scripture!
As his schtick, Driscoll displays a persona of a “cool dude,” and has even said one could call him “Pastor Dude.”  The New York Times said Driscoll has the “coolest style and foulest mouth of any preacher you’ve ever seen” and said he is the “cutting edge of American pop culture.”
Would you really want your pastor to describe Christ as "a classic underachiever with no wife, kids, stable career or even much of a home."  I’d say this is downright blasphemous!  Yet Driscoll also says that Jesus began his ministry as a bartender. Mickels also cites his books where Driscoll makes jokes about soiling his trousers.  Driscoll obviously sees himself as a stand-up comedian, but is this the character of a shepherd of God’s people?
Let me sum up the problem with Mark Driscoll as a pastor:
He behaves in a very immature and arrogant fashion reminiscent of a high-school locker-room jock.
He appeals to the basest level in his teaching on human sexuality, and even teaches sexual perversion as being okay.
He uses coarse, as well as sexually explicit language, which gives him an undignified reputation.
He abuses the Word of God while promoting levity and irreverence for it.
He speaks and teaches blasphemously about Jesus.
He gives tacit approval to the teachings of heretic Robert Schuller.
He teaches falsely about spiritual warfare.
He claims direct revelation from God.
He claims to have conversations with demons.
He claims those who question him are sinning.
 Paul details the qualifications for elders (including pastors) in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:6-9.  Among these qualifications are (HCSB): “above reproach,” “self-controlled,” “sensible,” “respectable,” “a good reputation with outsiders,” “not arrogant,” “loving what is good” - none of which are demonstrated by Driscoll. 
I maintain that Mark Driscoll has a huge following not because he teaches solid meat of Biblical doctrine, but because he appeals the the basest fleshly attitudes of the world, making his services and books into stand-up comedy routines with much sexual titillation.


ali said...

AMEN and AMEN.!!.

For those who would follow such ungodly teaching or see no fault in such a man as Mark Driscoll, I wonder how frequently they read The Word or have they chosen to just swallow and follow? Another vivid picture of the times in which we live.

'For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions...' 2 Timothy 4:3

072591 said...

Except for the little nitpick about whether or not certain sex acts between husbands and wives can be immoral (which, as far as I am concerned, is not really important to the topic at hand), I concur. Even though Driscoll may be correct in many things, his crudeness is off-putting, and I believe it goes beyond the "that offends me."

This essay goes into the ideas of Christian liberty vs. offense vs. what really matters.


I will say that Driscoll's pornographic responses go beyond the offense and into the "causing people to stumble" category. (And we're not even getting into the "God told me these specifics.")

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


I don't think it is a nitpick that promoting anal sex is wrong. The human body was not designed for that, and it causes damage and other medical problems.

I agree that he goes well beyond offense!

Anonymous said...

ewwwww. Jude comes to mind and I think you'd strengthen your next article by applying it to him liberally. He mocks dignities, foams up his shame, is bound by sensuality, goes after strange flesh (porn) and revels in all of it. These are all signs of a false teacher, brute beasts, trees without fruit twice dead and uprooted, clouds without rain, wandering stars--teachers heaped to hearers with itching ears.

How he gets top billing as a pastor (I've never heard of him) is a symptom of degredation among those who proclaim him as such--a symptom of the great falling away--a sign of the end being fulfilled before our eyes.

Ken said...

The Problem with this article is Context. For you it seems that any sexual language, or mention of the topic is negativity impacts a pastors ability teach, but it is clear where a generation of people thinking like this has gotten us. Your Generation had its chance and blew it, badly I might add. It was the generation before Mark and people of my age who allowed all of this sexual perversion to become so front and center. So This generation tries to do the opposite and your condemn us for it. It doesn't make sense.

Furthermore, If you listened to the Sermons at the Chrystal, there were clear gospel messages ( even Chris Rosebrough agrees with that )

It seems to me that you have a Serious Axe to Grind.

Stop degrading Good Pastors.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

A problem with my article is context?!?!? I gave the context!

It isn’t about “sexual language,” it is about crude and degrading language and making sex to be big joke. I have no problem talking appropriately about sex - not as if one is a high school jock trying to impress all his friends with his sexual prowess. By the way, my “generation” didn’t blow anything about sex - one can’t condemn a whole generation for the behavior of a bunch of liberals who are now running the country in universities and politics!

The Driscolls of this generation seem to thing sex is a big joke, and crudeness must be used to discuss it. Did you read ALL of this article describing all the garbage this man presents? He even jokes approvingly about the porn available at his barbershop! And of course his promotion of anal sex, an extremely harmful practice, is unconscionable! Did you read Denny Burk’s review of Driscoll’s book?

From reports I have read about Driscoll’s visits to Chrystal Cathedral, the gospel wasn’t presented all that clearly; I only report what I have read from reliable sources. But continued association with Schuller, and congratulating him for his ministry, is giving approval to the rank heresy which Schuller preaches! Rather than associating with and congratulating Schuller, Driscoll should be condemning his teachings!

Did you even read my summation at the end of the article as to problems with Driscoll? And if you did, do you really see no problems with him?

I have a “serious axe to grind” against all false teachers and those like Driscoll who make a mockery of the Word of God as they pretend to be stand-up comedians. I never “degrade” good pastors, and people like Driscoll degrade themselves.

Anonymous said...

Self righteous Pharisee pride. Mark Driscoll has done more for the kingdom than you will ever dream. He is a Kingdom builder. You are an angry blogger. Go do something. Stop trying to cause division. You act like it's a sin to have a sense of humor. At least he holds people's attention while preaching truth.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


I’m posting this comment only to teach you one rule about commenting on my blog:
You do NOT have the right to make ad hominem attacks because you don’t like what I write.
You failed to address the issues, and are apparently okay with Driscoll’s actions which are contrary to Biblical teachings, and contrary to behavior outlined in the Bible as requirements for one to be eligible for leadership in the church.

You call it “Pharisee pride” for me to expose false teachings, corrupt & foul language, blasphemy, claiming direct revelation from God, association with heretics, etc; do you even know what a Pharisee was and what they taught?!?

No, I don’t “act like it’s a sin to have a sense of humor” because I never condemned anyone for that. However, Paul specifically teaches us not to use filthy language, to not let unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, that we should have no coarse jesting or foolish talk. Driscoll is guilty of violating all of this and yet you call it “Pharisee pride” to report on such behavior.

You have accused me of being an “angry blogger,” yet you have evidence that I am angry (and I’m not), which means you are guilty of bearing false witness against me.

You also tell me to “go do something,” as if you know what it is that I do or don’t do in life - talk about arrogance and self-righteousness!!

Driscoll has been used of God, no doubt, but he is also being used by Satan to blaspheme the Lord and to bring disgrace upon the name of Christ and the Church.

Oh, and by the way, as demonstrated in my article, not everything Driscoll preaches is true.

If you want to comment further, then address the issues of the blog article; show me from Scripture where I am wrong in my assessment. Don’t just act like someone who is defending his cult.

Gary said...

Mark Driscoll is my brother in Christ who I love as Jesus loved His disciples. He came into my life at a time that I needed someone to march through the Bible and taught me so much. I have heard nothing different from my other favorites: Chandler, Keller, Chan. He is not perfect and does not make that claim. He is real.
I am Gary Werley, a follower of Christ, 65 years old, former sgt. USMC, Nam vet, 2 Purple Hearts. Mark taught in a way that made me listen, he reaches men. I have been blessed to have him in my life, teaching Jesus, only Jesus.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Nothing you have said changes the fact that Driscoll is not qualified to be a pastor. Nothing you have said rebuts the charges made against him. You list of other favorites shows you have a lack of discernment as for proper teachings.

If Driscoll was the only person who could make you listen, then I submit that you weren't listening for the truth so much as you were listening for the tickling of the ears. Driscoll is a crude individual who is not mature in the Word, let alone as a person.

Jesse said...

The conduct of Mark Driscoll is outrageous and vile...Knowing the qualifications plainly set forth by the Apostle Paul for ministers in 1 Timothy chapters three through five, how does this so-called pastor think that he is going to get off the hook with God?