If you haven’t read this article, you should
For those of you that don’t want to take the time to read it, it basically details an incident at the Mars Hill Church in Seattle, which neo-Calvinist pastor Mark Driscoll leads. The incident in question involves a church member who, it was discovered through his own confession, was engaging in pre-marital sex with his fiance and other sexual acts with another woman. Following this member’s confession, he was, to use the classical church vocabulary on this, excommunicated. What’s more, other church members were instructed to not engage in any contact or fellowship with this man as a part of his punishment.
There has been a lot of outcry on this matter, and rightfully so. Driscoll has always been on my radar because of his authoritarian, over-masculine, and, well, Calvinist beliefs and teachings. But while many agree with him theologically, this incident has put him under scrutiny from even many of his neo-Calvinist followers.
And I think this outrage is rightfully deserved. Our general instinct is that this crossed the line. I think the general public opinion here is that Christians ought to be able to love and entertain and fellowship with people in our churches who have made mistakes. This is why we are upset.
But here’s the thing: do we actually practice this ourselves?
I’ve seen and heard about a few church scandals in my day. Never once have I seen the pastor respond in these situations by telling the church members to ostracize the person.
But most times, the person has been ostracized by the church community. See, this is something we do on our own quite well.
Now, please hear me: I don’t mean to say that Driscoll’s actions were right. By no means. What I would like to point out, however, is that the outrage we express at Driscoll’s actions ought to be reflected in the way we treat these same kinds of people in our own churches without the pastor’s instructions.
I can’t help but think that this particular person would’ve experienced the exact same abandonment and public scorn in most of our churches. The only difference is that at Mars Hill, it was sponsored by the leadership officially.
Is it this way at your church? My hope is no, but my suspicion is yes. And we ought to be at least a little leery of taking the speck out of the other’s eye when we have a big nasty plank in our own. And we ought to pray that protect all of our eyes from a clearly unsafe lumber yard. (Over-extending the metaphor five!)
May we take our outrage on this issue seriously. May we be the kinds of people that when such an issue arises in our own churches, we remember how upset we were that the church was not able to be there for this man, and reach out to those in our congregations who have lost their way. And may we, only with God’s help, be the kinds of churches that show grace and love freely.
4 thoughts on “Mark Dris-cult?”
How can we even still be talking about Mark Driscoll? Due to his addiction to power and control, he gets a rush every time he sees that he has controlled people into anger towards him. He is using his platform as a minister, to feed his addictions to power, control, sex and most of all SELF. He is SELLING the message that Jesus already paid the price for by His death. Everytime he charges money for any “message” he is slapping God in the face and saying by his actions that Jesus’ death was not enough. Mark objectifies his wife who is using her “rescuing him from being a sinner,” to manipulate him as her religious puppet. Mark’s denial of having a wife who is keeping him emotionally and spiritually immature, causes him to act out in his teenage rebellion. He has NO power at home, so he abuses his power as a minister. If you look at his Facebook page, it looks like a celebrity who is wanting adoration, it is about promoting Mark, not Jesus. It is about promoting his wife as an object (her shoes, her hair, her clothes) as he does not respect her, due to her codependent need to mommy him and pull the strings on the puppet she feels she created. Her addiction to fame, money, manipulation, coupled with his addictions to power, sex, greed and fame, are DESTROYING the five little lives they brought into this world. As their children get older, they are going to be spending their whole lives defending the family reputation which is becoming more of a train wreck every day as these addictions are played out in public for all to see. Please, Mark and Grace, take your own advice and get into Redemption Groups for the sake of your children. Your first priority is those five precious little ones who didn’t ask to be born into what you are doing to them. Please stop parading around the country in the name of jesus talking about sex and SELLING what Jesus freely gave! You are a disgrace and the REAL Christians just have to look into your eyes and see the works of the flesh, NOT the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Even satan knows the Bible and we are told that REAL Christians are known for their love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, self control, none of which are seen in Mark. His wife has learned how to fake the fruits, perhaps that is one area his wife has not yet trained her puppet?
People are not getting angry because Mark is filled with Jesus, it is just the opposite of that………
“The incident in question involves a church member who, it was discovered through his own confession, was engaging in pre-marital sex with his fiance and other sexual acts with another woman.”
Why wasn’t the fiance, who is also a member of the same church, subject to the same discipline? She gets a free pass?
Church discipline is always a tricky area. I can’t recall a single instance of a church member ever being disciplined according to the official procedures laid out in our Nazarene MANUAL — clergy, yes, but not laity. Usually in the North American setting such an individual withdraws on their own and starts attending another church in town long before any official disciplinary proceedings take place. But I could be wrong — just because I don’t know any cases doesn’t meant they aren’t out there. It does raise the whole issue of whether excommunication has any meaning in our market-driven, smorgasbord church environment. For Paul, expelling the wrongdoer meant they had no church home thereafter. There was only one “holy, catholic, apostolic” church back then.
While I certainly agree that excommunication for a person that is asking for forgiveness is entirely against everything we are taught by Christ, I also realize we are missing a big part of thestory. The real question is, is this person repentant? Paul instructs the church to cut off a believer who knows the truth and knowingly, willfully, and repeatedly continues sin. It seems to me that what happens more often than not is that somebody gets caught in sin and doesn’t actually repent. Again please don’t misunderstand me. I in no way agree with shutting someone out who is seeking help. I do believe that if someone knows the truth of the gospel and by choice rejects it through their action to the detriment of other believers (that’s the key) then they should be excommunicated.
To your point Kevin, I think you hit the nail on the head with your comments about what happens in most churches without comment from the pulpit. The sad part is that most men in the pulpit are too scared of losing tithes to actually operate in grace and hold their congregations to the same standard.