Mark Driscoll, who is the mega-church Lead Pastor of Mar Hill Church in Seattle Washington was removed from The Acts 29 Church Planting Network of which he helped start due to “un-Christian like” behavior. Some of these allegations have been brought to light, and some are shrouded in secrecy. Some of these allegations stem from an edgy past of which at times Driscoll has pushed the envelope too far at times in his sermons. Pastor Mark did not deny any allegations and agreed to step down from Acts 29. He has admitted that there are things in his life that he is currently seeking repentance.
I personally have always enjoyed listening via podcast to Mark Driscoll’s sermons. Although I do not agree with everything he says or does at times, I have found that when you get down to examining what he is preaching, it matches the teaching of scripture. However in light of these events, I totally agree with the Acts 29’s decision to cut ties with Driscoll. And I will add that I believe that Mark Driscoll is a man who loves God with a passion, he just fell into sin.
Although I agree with the decision of Acts 29, I am saddened and heartbroken at the reaction that many professing believers in the main stream have shown in light of these events. Countless articles and blog post are flooding the internet, demonizing Mark Driscoll as if he were Satan himself. I want us to consider a couple of things.
We All Have Fallen.
In John chapter 8, a woman who has committed adultery is dragged out of her home by a mob of angry people. Adultery was a crime back then that was punishable by death. As the crowd stood accusing and condemning the woman, Jesus addressed them. And this is what He said to them;
“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7.
In the 22 Chapter of Luke, Jesus said this to Simon Peter;
“Simon Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to have you so he may sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32.
Notice a few things from this verse. Jesus didn’t imply that Peter “might” fail. Jesus said, “WHEN you turn again”, meaning when you finally come to your senses, use what you learned from the fall that is coming to strengthen your brothers. In the same way, its not a matter of if we will fail at times, the question is when. Paul says in Romans that we all fall short, every one of us.
The only difference between us and Mark Driscoll is that he has the world watching his every move. He is a mega-church pastor and best selling author. Where as when we fall, our sins reverberate like a pin dropping. But when someone in the spotlight sins, it is heard like a nuclear bomb. In Matthew, Jesus was quite clear that we are not to be plank eyed Christian, looking to rejoice in a brother when he falls. Rather, we are to be prayer warriors in hopes that reconciliation may take place after the fall, much like most of the men in the Bible.
Imagine the shock if social media had gotten a hold of the fact that the Lord called King David a man after Gods own heart. I can just imagine the tweets now. “Thats impossible!!! He committed adultery and murder!!” “No way!! He cant even control his own family! His son raped his daughter and his other son tried to overthrow him!”
But thankfully, God sees past our failures and uses them to strengthen us if we would only repent. Can you imagine how viral things would get if Paul had a Facebook account and posted that he was now an Apostle? Paul killed and persecuted Christians but now God was willing to call Paul His chosen tool in Acts chapter 9? God told Ananias to go and heal Paul’s blindness. Ananias was a Christian but only knew Paul as a killer of Christians. Naturally, he had concerns. But God eased Ananias mind by saying this;
“But God said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument.” Acts 9:15.
This is beautiful to me, because this tells us that even in our failures, God still is in control. And He can make good out of what Satan meant for evil.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20.
Mark Driscoll has sinned because he is a sinner by nature. He fell, because he is fallen by nature.
And he needs to repent of his actions daily and turn back to Christ…… just like every one of us. I do not claim to know all of what has caused this downfall, because at this time not everything is being released. But one thing I know for sure is that my God has a track record of breathing new life into individuals who have done far worse than Mark Driscoll. God saved murders like the Apostle Paul, men who worshipped false Gods like Abram, adulterers like David, liars like Peter, and countless others from their sins and called them righteous. If God can redeem men like these in the scriptures, I have no doubt God can do the same with Mark Driscoll if He so chooses.
Instead of attempting to tally up all of Mark Driscoll’s sins in order to point a judgmental finger, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to simply pray for him? It is not our place to judge. Rather it is the Christians place to point out the error in love, and pray that by the grace of God Mark would repent and turn from his sins. Mark is a pastor that fell into sin and has at times said some things that he shouldn’t have. But so have other Godly leaders of men. Even those who are seemingly closest to God are not immune to the attacks of the enemy.
So how are we to react to this situation with the fall of Mark Driscoll? It would be very easy and human of us to act as ravenous vultures, and attack Driscoll with pointing fingers and accusing words. But lets step back off of our soap boxes for just a moment and examine how the scriptures advise us to handle a situation when a brother or sister falls into sin.
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourselves, lest you be tempted too.” Galatians 6:1.
The original Greek speaks of a brother that would be entrapped or tangled up in a sin. I see no where in this verse that we are to take joy in a fall or to chastisingly say, “I told you so!” Rather, Paul writes that we should restore him with a spirit of gentleness. And look how Paul follows this up, “Watch yourselves, because you are just as suseptible to fall as anyone else.”
I write this blog not to defend Mark Driscoll in anyway. There is no doubt he has many areas of his life in which he has fallen short and needs to repent. But again, such is the case with everyone of us. Matthew 15:18 says that if a brother sins, that those sins should be pointed out to them in love. And if he repents, then we rejoice as we have won them back from straying. Acts 29 and the Elders of Mars Hill are pointing out the areas where Driscoll has strayed. They are exemplify Matthew 15:18. With that being said, it is not our job as outsiders to this situation to look on from afar and cast stones.
The fall of a brother or sister should break our hearts. And we should pray that Mark would indeed see the error of his ways and turn back in repentance. Once again, if God can change the heart of a murderous hater of God like Saul, I have no doubt God can do the same with Mark Driscoll. Put your stones down, and pray for Mark Driscoll’s restoration through repentance. Pray for the grace of God that He may keep us from sin, lest we fall into the same sinful entanglements that we once chastised others for.