Mark Driscoll was the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. The ministry he lead greatly impacted my own life, but due to sin on his part – of which he is currently unrepentant and still living in – I cannot in good conscience recommend him as a teacher today. He has disqualified himself from the ministry and has need of being restored, if that is even possible. This would begin with humbling himself in repentance – something I pray would take place in Mark’s life. Regardless, he was a huge positive influence in my life at one time and this letter comes from that place. If these words should ever cross Mark’s eyes, I implore him to repent and seek reconciliation with those he has wronged.
Dear Mark Driscoll,
You have been a very controversial figure in Christianity – not just in recent years, but from day one. You were never perfect, and I think you know that. There were issues at the very outset of your ministry and in the early days of Mars Hill Church that would one day show themselves to be most troublesome. These problems escalated to such a point that even your most staunch defenders would have to admit that there were serious issues taking place within Mars Hill. I know this because I was one of those ‘staunch defenders’, as were many of your comrades within the Acts 29 Network.
This letter, however, is not meant to speak to those issues. Much has already been said about the serious sin that took place within your ministry at Mars Hill Church. I have no desire, nor am I qualified, to speak on that. I am, however, qualified to recount the ways in which God used you in my own life and the life of my family.
I recall many things you have said over the years, Mark – you’re a very quotable man. One saying that often came from your lips went something like this: God is able to draw straight lines with crooked sticks. The reality is that God used one crooked stick named ‘Pastor Mark’ to draw some very straight lines in my own life – in my doctrine, in my thinking, in my worldview. It is for this, for the way God used you in my life, that I would like to thank you. You have been a means which God used to shape me, and I would not be the man I am today if it were not for your ministry.
When I was twenty years old, I began devouring your sermons: I’d listen to four or five a night as I worked overnight shift at a grocery store. It was during this time that your influence was both needed and effective, used of God for His glory and my good. You taught me a great number of things: You taught me that Christians don’t have to be Ned Flanders. You taught me that even though that cute girl in the supermarket is ‘hot’, Hell is ‘hotter’. I learned from you, Mark, that adolescence is a trap – that if I were not intentional about growing up I could exist in an indefinite state of adolescence, wasting my own life. You took a young man who had previously been listening to Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer, and you taught him about complementarianism, about the incarnation, about mission, about biblical manhood, about many things. And there are a few things which I’d like to pointedly thank you for:
Thank you for introducing me to Reformed theology. Mark, if I were to sit down with you today, we’d likely disagree about some aspects of reformed theology. Nevertheless, it was your sermons that were my gateway drug into the huge world of Calvinism and Reformed theology. You spoke winsomely and clearly on God’s sovereignty, on the total depravity of mankind, on the need of unmerited favor – irresistible grace. Thank you.
Thank you for helping start and contributing greatly to the Acts 29 Network. I get to be a part of a church family that I absolutely love. The church I get to call family really believes that Jesus is everything, that the Word matters, and we get to see God at work in changing lives all the time. The church I call home is an Acts 29 church, and so for all the ways in which you influenced Acts 29 for good – thank you, Mark.
Thank you for being the voice my future wife responded to in faith. God saw fit to use your teaching – I can even name the sermon, it was the first of your ‘Christ on the Cross’ series – to bring my wife to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for teaching about Jesus and for presenting the Gospel clearly. Your teaching helped me understand the value in leading a family, in growing up, in raising Godly children – and your teaching contributed greatly to the conversion of the woman with whom I would get to do all those things. Thank you.
Thank you, most of all, for instilling in my mind that, ‘It’s All About Jesus.’ That was your mantra, Mark – that it’s all about Jesus, and you were right. You taught me how all of Scripture, including those difficult Old Testament Scriptures, were ultimately about Jesus. And you taught me that my entire life was to be about Jesus. It deeply saddens me that there were points in your ministry where this was merely a spoken conviction and not a lived conviction – but you also taught me that men will let me down, and that only Jesus is worthy of worship.
I think you’d really like the Reformed Pub, Mark. It’s just a bunch of really awesome dudes talking about beer and theology – are there any two topics you love more? Perhaps if we got into a debate about the best ultimate fighter. A lot of us here were impacted by your ministry, and so I think I may be speaking for a number of us with this letter. Most of us also acknowledge that there are serious problems surrounding you today – that you have things for which you must repent, and I pray that you do. I honestly pray for your restoration, if that is even possible at this point.
I encourage you Mark to continually remind yourself that it really is all about Jesus. He must become more, you must become less, and God’s glory is what is most important – not ‘Pastor Mark’. I think you know that. I hope you remember well your own words, that the Scriptures are given not for your information alone but for your transformation.
“…a humbled Mark Driscoll could do some amazing work for the kingdom…” – K Tanner Barfield