Mark Driscoll

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16095063-mmmainToday marks the first and only time I compose an article on Mark Driscoll. His public image has been displayed throughout Twitter, Facebook, and every major Christian publication for many years now. On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, He resigned from being pastor of Mars Hill in Seattle, WA. Over the years Driscoll has been the subject to many articles, blogs, tweets, and personal discussions. This is a great time to summarize my thoughts regarding him. Throughout his ministry and “controversies,” I had (past tense is important here) one thought.

I am neither part of the solution, nor am I part of the problem, therefore anything I have to say about Mark Driscoll is pure gossip. Proverbs and all of Scripture warns me regarding gossip (Prov. 20:19). [1]

Mark is a believer, under the authority of Christ and his elders at Mars Hill. His elders have the task of shepherding him, loving him, serving him, holding him accountable, and all according to God’s Word. I am not an elder at Mars Hill. I do not have all the information nor have I been asked by the elders for my perspective. Therefore I do not know enough to comment nor do I know enough to shepherd him. In fact I do not know him at all, therefore any comment regarding him would be gossip. I respect the church enough to realize any sin in Mark’s life requires the care from his local church — to which I am not a member.

imagesI know there is an “American Court of Opinion.” I know a lot of his life is on display through social media. But I disagree with the American Court of Opinion — it is a world of gossip perpetuated by a media who makes indictments often based on the first to tell his side of the story. “The first to plead His case is right” = right in America (Prov 18:17).

God has set up a system of justice. Because I live in America, when people commit crimes they are actually innocent until proven guilty in a court of law (not court of social media, blogs, newspapers). I respect God’s justice system in America (Rom 13). [2]

The church should “not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses” (1 Tim 5:19). Even if there are multiple eye witnesses, that information and due process is between the accused and his or her church, not social media. Again, I am not an elder, I am not a juror, I am not a part of the solution or the problem.

“Well, it’s such a commonly known situation . . .” Yes it is. Mark is a professing believer. Paul exemplifies and teaches us how we should concern ourselves with other believers (both within and outside our local church). Pray for them, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:17-19).

i-judge-grammarNow, (observe the grammatical past tense) this was and to some level is my current position on any current political, social, or Mark Driscoll controversy. (I have no idea what happened in Ferguson or with Adrian Peterson and I am not interested in making a comment until a court renders its verdict).

Fast forward to today. Mark Driscoll has stepped down and this leads to my current thoughts on Mark Driscoll . . . okay well, not Driscoll himself, but what the entire situation brings to light regarding leadership.

What is the most important lesson? Leaders must have biblically qualified character. Leadership in a church is far more than speaking profoundly. Leaders must be imitators of Christ who exemplify His character (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). In fact, the NT speaks more about a leader’s character than it does about his speaking abilities. Paul even says content is more important than rhetoric, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void” (1 Cor. 1:17). He restates this, “I did not come with superiority of speech of of wisdom . . . I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1-2). [3]

Leaders need to be servants (Matt 20:24-28 see here for more depth). A leader must be trustworthy, “It is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy” (1 Cor. 4:2). He must shepherd people voluntarily, by the will of God, with eagerness, not lording it over, but proving to be an example, and humble (1 Peter 5:1-6). If a man does not have the character, then it does not matter how good and relevant he articulates the truth, he is not called to preach or teach.

So now what? What about all the work? “Pastor, I know Driscoll stepped down, can I read his books or listen to his sermons?” Good question. I am still not 100% certain why he stepped down or if he was forced to resign. But I do know this. There is enough of a question regarding his character leading me to encourage you to find other authors on the topic you are interested in studying. Want to listen to a sermon? Listen again to your pastor’s sermons. His were composed to honor God with you in mind to shepherd you, feed you, and lead you in love.

duty_callsAgain these are my personal thoughts regarding the entire affair governed by what I think Scripture teaches us concerning leadership and the affairs in other churches. At the end of the day, I still find myself with no desire to dig into Driscoll’s life nor know all the gritty details. I am however concerned about biblically qualified leaders serving the church and leading people to Christ. This work, within my church, is quite daunting and time consuming. I am 100% convinced focusing on the church God called me too has more value than researching and discussing controversies on the internet.

Feel free to leave feedback on anything I am missing. . . . just promise me you’ll go to bed and / or not abandon your time with your family because I am wrong on the internet. 🙂  thanks. [4]

[1] Proverbs 11:13; 16:28; 20:19; 25:23; 26:20-22; 1 Tim. 3:9-11, 5:13-14; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; & Titus 2:2-3 — note it is a qualification for being an elder and deacon.

[2] Whether it is biblical or not, we must recognize America’s justice system is ultimately directed by the sovereign Lord of the creation and the United States of America. It is His justice system. PS, Obama is God’s president, pray for him (1 Timothy 2).

[3] Trevin Wax summarizes well four lessons we should learn from this entire ordeal.

[4] No actual elders (or animals) were harmed during the composition of this article . . . blog . . . rambling . . . thing . . .

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  • jbuck21

    Excellent. Thanks.

  • Josh Erika Seibert

    Nice Jason, well said.

  • GMI Man

    Thanks Jason! Very helpful.

  • johntjeff

    Here is the comment I sent along with your link to my pastor friends: “Don’t just blow this one off based on the name and the photo like I almost did. Read this blog post, because it is so good that I wish I had written it. I mean that sincerely. If you only read one blog post on this subject make it this one.”

    • Jason

      Thank you John for the encouraging words. Godspeed!

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