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 Reformission: Driscoll 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.