Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church need Our Prayers

MarkDriscoll and Mars Hill ChurchThe lead pastor of our pastoral staff sent the rest of the team some resources that he thought we can all use in our ministries.  On the list were Mark Driscoll and his Mars Hill Church.

But with all the controversies surrounding Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill Church, I’m not too keen on using their resources right now.

  1. In his recent work A Call to Resurgence, Mark Driscoll has been accused of with plagiarism, which has even led publisher Tyndale to investigate the matter (article here).
  2. Driscoll and his church used church funds to push his book Real Marriage to 1# on the New York Times Bestseller’s list: “While not uncommon or illegal, this unwise strategy is not one we had used before or since, and not one we will use again” (full article).

When I think of their impact on our culture, especially among younger churchgoers, amidst all these controversies, Mark Driscoll and his Mars Hill Church are going to need our prayers–to truly repent and be fully restored.

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10 Responses to Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church need Our Prayers

  1. Jon Hughes says:

    One of the links for the top link makes the point that Driscoll in fact has researchers write a lot of the content of his books. Nothing new here. Doesn’t Phil Johnson write John MacArthur’s books, editing his sermons? (I always felt that MacArthur was a better writer than preacher – now I know why!)

    I also recall James White suggesting that Norman Geisler must have had a team of his students write his appendix to the second edition of “Chosen But Free” (because it was so poor), in response to James White’s initial response to his book in “The Potters Freedom”.

    Isn’t the problem, as Andy Crouch suggests, one of idolatry? Celebrity pastors/theologians churning out vast amounts of literature that they didn’t actually write; others doing the hard graft, but the celebrity pastors/theologians having their names on the book in order to get the sales.

    One more example of Western materialism infecting the Church in the West…

    • TC says:

      If this is what truly happens, this is toxic, and yes, an effort to maintain that celebrity status and who knows what else.

  2. Simon says:

    There is one bloke who churns out a phenomenal amount of material that he really writes himself: and that is NT Wright. I think churning out heaps of literature is not a problem in itself. It can be a gift to the Church – as I believe it has been in the case of Wright.

    TC, as I understand it Driscoll went almost straight from unbelief to church leader. The fact is that in the evangelical world anyone can make that leap by simply starting their own church. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for the many unwise decisions we’ve seen taken at Mars Hill. Many of these things come down to immaturity. There isn’t really a greater ecclesial body that he is answerable to. He may have “mentors” like Piper. But ultimately he is his own man. Then guys like MacArthur and Johnson are constantly backbiting him. (It’s worth mentioning that MacArthur’s church is essentially the same as Driscoll’s in terms of ecclesial authority. I would shudder to put myself and my loved ones under either of those church’s pastoral care. In my opinion, both can be tyrants – and I use those words very carefully).

    I think the celebrity note that Jon hits is right on. Look at the picture in this blog. There is a huge image of Driscoll being projected on the screen. I thought the Reformed guys like Driscoll were against images in their churches. Well apparently not when it is of themselves. And you look at most Protestant churches. The alter has been replaced by the pulpit – the image of the preacher has become iconic – look at Billy Graham and others. I think this is really an issue that runs quite deep theologically.

  3. Jon Hughes says:

    Simon,

    Yes, you are indeed spot on!

    Another example within evangelicalism would be the worship leader playing electric guitar from the center of the stage, with the crowd (sorry, congregation) at fever pitch looking his way with their hands in the air.

  4. Simon says:

    Jon, Where I’m from (Australia), the Hillsong church took the rock n roll concert praise and worship to a new level. There is another church that does the same thing, but not as big, called C3. Both churches are headed by New Zealanders… not sure what it is about Kiwis lol. I personally don’t get the whole thing.

    It’s worth noting that in all the traditional liturgies, the clergy do not face the congregation. All worshippers (clergy included) face the altar. I think Vatican II changed this. Not sure when this change happened in Anglicanism, but I do note that there are some Anglo Catholic parishes who still worship this way. Anyway, the point is that the focus of worship is not on the clergy or the preacher.

    • Jon Hughes says:

      Simon,

      There’s a “Hillsongs” church here in London, UK. My wife and I visited once, and had to walk out half way through because the noise was deafening. I was in my mid-thirties at the time and felt decidedly old! The people greeting those who arrived, as well as those on the stage, were all gregarious and physically attractive, with trendy hair styles and clothing. I couldn’t help but feel that an awful lot of ‘ordinary’ or ‘older’ people wouldn’t feel comfortable there.

      • Simon says:

        Jon,
        Yes maybe they are tapping into the cult of youth – e.g. “Forever Young”. I’m not sure. But I don’t think this is worship as it was intended. To the extent that churches like this help change people for the better they are to be commended. But places like this are not for me and I am in my mid 30s and still feel relatively young! I’ve found the spirituality of the traditional liturgies and evening and morning prayers of the BCP to be far more healthy for Christian development and discipline.

  5. Pingback: Are “Spontaneous Baptisms” at Steve Furtick Elevation Church a Sham? | New Leaven

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