J.S. Park


Posts tagged with "Mark Driscoll"

Aug 9

So About Mark Driscoll and Pastor Implosions

pumpsandgarters asked:

I’m lost on what’s happened recently to Pastor Mark Driscoll and his removal from the Acts 29 church planting network, can you give me a brief summary of what’s going on or send me a link to a reliable source so I can understand what’s going on? Love this blog by the way it helps in the most arduous of moments!


Hey my dear friend, thank you for your very kind words.  Though I might not be the best source on this, I won’t pretend that I haven’t been reading on it. 

If you don’t know Mark Driscoll, he’s a “famous” megachurch pastor in Seattle, which is the second most unchurched city in America.  He’s written a ton of books, is a very strong speaker, and is especially geared towards young men.  He’s an unapologetic Reformed Calvinist with an encyclopedic memory and a sharp sense of humor.

In the last few years, he’s been accused of: plagiarism, verbally bullying other pastors and staff, paying $210,000 to get on the New York Times bestseller list, posing as a commenter on his message boards to make purposeful misogynistic statements, and misappropriating a charity fund to an unknown place.  I’m sad to say that many of these accusations have turned out true or worse, most by his own admission.  He has apologized numerous times, but I suppose most people want to crucify him.

Here are a few things to consider.


- The only reason the general public discuss Mark Driscoll is because of our current state of celebrity culture.  If this happened in the 1980s, we’d laugh him off as another Jimmy Swaggart or Benny Hinn, and it would be a footnote in history.  While I really endorse social media, it’s also made an unnecessary circus out of dang near everything.  To be truthful, I’m a bit embarrassed to be writing about this.  The fact that we even put Driscoll on a level to attack in public really speaks volumes about our insane voyeuristic blogosphere.  It’s a drunken idolatry that’s gripped the Western church, while our faithful brothers and sisters are getting killed for their faith overseas and have never even heard of a podcast.


- The Christian commenters on every online post about Pastor Mark is unsettling and disturbing.  Of course, Christians love to shoot our wounded and devour our own.  The church doesn’t look any different than the world when it comes to the internet: we’re just as much an orgy of hate, whining, name-calling, and immature butt-hurt slander.


- But the truth is: I’m no better than these commenters.  I’m no better than Mark Driscoll.  I’m no better than Adam and Eve.  If any one of us were given the immense power and under the same pressure as Pastor Mark, there’s no telling how awful we would become.  That’s not to absolve his behavior, but that’s to say I understand.


- I have zero authority in disciplining Pastor Mark.  I only have authority over what I myself say and do: and I’m unqualified even for that about half the time. All these pastors and bloggers calling for “repentance” and “stepping down” are probably correct, but that’s like going over to my next door neighbor’s house and trying to spank their kids.  So really the Christianese internet needs to sit down, close their laptops, and eat a cake or something.  All of Driscoll’s woes need to be handled internally, and it seems like steps are being made (especially by Acts 29, the network he founded) to keep him in check.  Some of these protest groups are probably justified, but if he’s broken the law, they can go through the appropriate channels and press charges.


- I’m 99% certain that “Christian watchdog bloggers” are going to hell.  I’m not kidding, and it hurts my heart.  Every Christian blogger who writes a TMZ-like column to be the “gatekeepers” of faith are wasting their damn lives.  You know who I’m talking about (just Google any famous megachurch pastor, and you’ll find the critics).  What the hell do these people even do?  Do they even care about truth?  Or site views and ad clicks?  I’m sorry to sound so harsh, and I’m normally not this way.  I do believe there’s grace for them too.  But it doesn’t matter if they serve their church or love their kids and have “a heart of gold” — they’re absolutely destroying the church from the inside, and they know exactly what they’re doing with the controversy.  They make Jesus look like an idiot: and anyone who does that is like messing with my mama.  I’m sort of defeating my own point here, except really I’m just heartbroken about it.  They have no idea how much they’re hurting the body of Christ with all this blatant innuendo and trashy classless garbage.  Before we call out some megachurch pastor, let’s call out the so-called watchdogs.  Unless you’re okay with one of them bullying a pastor’s 15 year old son to suicide.


- Instant forgiveness is cheap and pointless.  Half the online world is jumping to Pastor Mark’s defense (including me sometimes), but the truth is that he’s done some terrible things.  Forgiving someone must always directly acknowledge what they’ve done wrong, or else it cheapens the forgiveness.  So yes, Pastor Mark needs to be held accountable for what he’s done.


- But we need more grace and prayer and unity, and not less.  In the long run, whether he steps down or not, Pastor Mark still needs his brothers and sisters to love on him.  I’ve really been blessed by Pastor Mark’s ministry.  He’s one of the first podcasts I ever really listened to regularly.  I’ve heard him preach in person and I grew to like him.  He has a wife and kids.  He’s very gifted.  So I’m rather grieved over the whole thing, and if even half the accusations are true, it’s disappointing.  All this is more reason he needs our prayers.  Our faith is about restoring the losers and bums and bad guys.  To the degree which we receive them: that’s the degree to which we understand what Jesus has done for us on the cross.  Plain and simple.


- I’m a little more interested in alleviating poverty, human trafficking, and addictions in my own community.  I don’t mean to diminish those very real hurts that were suffered by members of Pastor Mark’s church.  Certainly there needs to be justice there.  But eyes on the mission.  There’s a bigger story here.  Our tight little Western ghetto subculture of Churchianity is not the only thing happening.

— J.S

About Mark Driscoll and Idolizing Celebrity Pastors


It appears Mark Driscoll keeps getting in the news for (mostly true) accusations of plagiarism, misogyny, sneaky use of funds, and being an overall poopy-face who needs a good spanking from John Piper.

Usually with these kinds of public lightning rod meltdowns, the followers emphasize all the great things their leader has done, while the bashers keep bringing up the terrible awful stuff — and so you have one side that’s blind to the obvious flaws, and the other side blind to obvious grace.

Yet the one thing I don’t understand is how Mark Driscoll’s church members get labeled “idolaters” or that they’re “idolizing” him.  Because all this online bashing of Driscoll and blasting other flawed celebrity pastors already points to a problem of idolatry and pedestal-platforms, whether it’s positive or negative, and anti-idolatry is still idolatry. 

There is zero difference between either the blindness of fanboy-ism or the blindness of tacky tabloid cheap shots.

This obsessive fascination with Driscoll’s personal shortcomings, whether you’re attacking him or defending him, points to a pre-existing issue with our encroaching celebrity culture.  The second you jump a Driscoll-defender for protecting him, you yourself have elevated Driscoll to the poster-boy for everything that’s wrong with Christianity, which means you’re legitimizing his pedestal from the other side of the fence.  Just think of how crazy this is.  It’s completely nuts that we’re even able to know about some random pastor in Seattle who messed up a few times and we have a voice to share our opinion. 

I can’t be the only one who thinks we’ve done a terrible job of speaking about this with any kind of thoughtful, productive discussion.

I just wonder what Pastor Mark is going through right now.  He has five kids and a wife.  He’s a fellow brother in Christ, no matter how much we disagree with him.  He’s in a position that no one could ever possibly understand.  His ministry will be tainted forever.  He’s been looking half-dead.  He tried to fess up and apologize, but both the church and the outside world ate him alive.  I wish I could just label him and be done with it: but I can’t.  I can’t so casually dismiss a father and a husband and a fellow pastor with a black-and-white judgment.

I’m not defending his actions.  I’m not saying plagiarism and misogyny are okay (and if you even thought I was endorsing them, then that’s part of the problem of our presumptuous blogosphere).  I just believe that if we think Driscoll is this bad, then this ought to drive us to our knees to pray for him.  It ought to move us to grief and grace, by both acknowledging his wrong and rooting for his restoration. It ought to bring us to question ourselves:

Why do we place such a spotlight on big-name pastors with big churches and big platforms?  Why am I adding this one more voice to a sea of mad voices?  How can I contribute constructively to a dying church culture that needs grace more than ever?

At times I think we’re so intoxicated with the romantic idea of grace that we forget it actually takes a real grit to hang in there with a messed-up brother, and it’s not only for the pretty people worthy of our social redemption.

If you criticize but do nothing, you sort of revoke your own right to criticize.  Anyone can blog from a basement; the true fighter brings love to the trenches.  While we’re all having arguments online to questions that no one is asking: there’s a real world dying out there who needs the hands and feet of Christ.

I could type angry on a keyboard and preach to a blogging choir.  Many bloggers build their fanbase this way.  It’s easy to jump a hater-bandwagon, even if your motives are right.  It’s easy to find something wrong with everything.  But until we are offering a way forward with our sleeves rolled up and our minds full of Christ-driven truth, then we’re only adding to the darkness of a directionless world.  We would only be tightening the strangle-hold of our strange celebrity voyeurism instead of remembering that people are just people, and anyone can lift them up or tear them down, but it takes a special heart to get in there side-by-side in the dirt.  I have failed so often at this too, and I only hope I can examine myself before I throw down the gauntlet on anyone else.  I would hope you do the same for me.  And maybe then we can turn this all around.

— J.S.

Mark Driscoll’s Apology, and Why No Apology Is Ever Good Enough



Pastor Mark Driscoll recently apologized for all the craziness surrounding his book marketing scandal, and just as with Donald Miller’s recent confession, the internet summarily exploded.

As usual, fellow Christians showed an excellent capacity for eating their own and shooting their wounded, and internet comments from Christians pretty much looked like YouTube comments with less cussing and more (abused) Bible verses.  I mean who needs context anyway.

I sort of sighed at the whole thing.  I’m pretty much jaded to internet hate from both Christians and everyone else, and the only thing that surprises me these days is grace.

Here are some observations.


1) I think most of us love to wait for someone to fail. Especially a well known pastor like Driscoll.  There’s a certain surge of bowel-tickling righteousness that climbs our collective spine when a holy figure falls on his face, or even when a celebrity is caught smoking crack on video (until she dies, and then we mourn really loud).  We get to implicitly say, “Look at him, I’m way better than that” or “If I were him, I would do this / not do this.”  There’s a self-righteous Pharisee in all of us, and we use others’ failures to add points to our moral GPA.


2) Everyone presumes everything.  When sensational events occur, suddenly everyone is a psychologist and a philosopher and an expert on anthropological development.  Everyone knows exactly why Pastor Mark apologized, because it’s another marketing scheme.  He’s not really sorry.  His wife hates him.  His church can’t fire him.  And so on.  I will also presume that all these people think they’re God and they can see inside a human brain.


3) Apologies aren’t good enough anymore; we want crucifixions.  I have no idea if Pastor Mark meant his apology.  That’s really between him and God, and perhaps up to his future actions.  But I think  we’re too quick to assume “He’s not really sorry.”  I think what Pastor Mark did what was pretty icky, but he did apologize, very graciously, with humility and self-effacing awareness.  Yet no one seems gracious enough to give this a chance — the wording isn’t good enough, he didn’t address this or that, he “already apologized in 2007” — and it only proves the old adage that you can’t make everyone happy.  It seems Christians are even less happy, because they can weaponize their Bibles into pitchforks.


4) Pastor Mark is a human being who happens to have influence.  And I don’t envy that, at all.  I can’t imagine the enormous pressure and scrutiny he’s under, every second, every day.  That’s not to throw him any pity, but I don’t think he ever imagined having this sort of social weight nor to have the media hang on his every word.  And unlike twerking celebrities with DUIs and squirmy Twitters and unrepentant childish behavior, Pastor Mark asked for forgiveness.  In return, he got a slap in the face, mostly from fellow Christians.  And this has to hurt pretty bad.


I met Pastor Mark once at a conference, back in 2011.  I was going through a really dark depression at the time.  I saw that Pastor Mark was absolutely exhausted, and he seemed to be really apologetic about himself the whole time.  He must’ve said sorry a dozen times during his sermon for his past behaviors.  And I really believe he meant it.  I believe he loves his wife and kids and he loves Jesus.  His sermon really encouraged me.  Since that time, I’ve sort of liked Pastor Mark, quite a lot.  I don’t agree with all he says — when do we ever? — but I’ve come to see him as a brother in Christ, and he needs grace like we all do.

I think our opinions of people change when we actually meet them, when we can see them up close and hear the shaking in their voice and see the uncertainty in their eyes.  I think our opinions change when we hear peoples’ dreams and see their hopes for their kids and watch them do something they love.  I think every person has a story that counts and their feelings matter and they really want you to believe they’re sorry when they say they’re sorry, and they would like for you to give them a chance to hear them out instead of waiting for them to blow it up.  I think we all fail in some pretty miserable ways and the big difference is that most people won’t ever hear about it, and we only need to say sorry to a few people, and we won’t get beat up by all these strangers who claim they love Jesus.  I think if we all extended a little bit of what Jesus extended to us, then maybe our online communities could look different than any other place in the world, and we could cheer for our pastors to be better pastors, but more importantly to be better husbands and better leaders and better human beings.  I would do that for you, and I hope you would do that for me too.

I think if we really saw someone as God’s creation, we could probably surprise them with grace instead.

— J

Hi Pastor! I really enjoy reading your blog but I realize I check it way too often and sadly you don't post every 1.5 hours haha..I was wondering if there were other blogs you checked on a regular basis that are very similar to yours. Thanks! I'll be praying for you your ministry! Have a great week!


Wow, thank you so much for the encouragement.  I have a crazy cold/flu thing, and this has brightened my week for sure.

I don’t read as many blogs as I used to nor can I read them daily, but here are a few worth checking out —

[Disclaimer: I don’t necessarily agree with everything these writers say, but I love their thoughts and I love them as human beings.  Read with discernment!]

Jon Acuff - Stuff Christians Like

Storyline - Donald Miller’s Blog

Eugene Cho

Mark Driscoll

Rachel Held Evans

Ramses Prashad (dat one Tumblr guy)

And Five Asian Guys You Should Follow

Enjoy, my friend. :)

— J

Mar 2


Question: Christians Need To Be Extroverted?

image Anonymous asked:

Does being a Christian mean that I need to be an extroverted person? In other words, is God ashamed of me for being a “nerd”? I listened to a lot of Mark Driscoll’s sermons and it sounds like he’s trying to guilt people from being a “nerd.” Like some how it is a sin to love my books and prefer quiet times by myself rather than going out there and mingling with other people or enjoy watching sports. Your answer will help me bring much needed peace to my heart.

To answer your first question: absolutely not.

God wants you and that’s why He made you you and not someone else.

The modern church has long been inadvertently biased against introverts (which is topic of a recent Christian book) — but since most people in general are not extroverts, that’s shutting out a lot of people.

In my own church, where we do our best to cultivate every single person, the kinds of people on “out-front” teams and “behind-the-scenes” teams come from a full range of personalities.  An introvert can be a praise leader just as much as an extrovert can be the sound technician.  I have stage fright yet I’m a preacher.  It’s almost random, as if God can work through anybody for anything.

No one should ever guilt-trip you about how God has wired you, so throw that off and move forward.  God would never ever shame you about that, because that’s never who He is and He has lovingly handcrafted you for His Kingdom.

About Mark Driscoll: I totally love his preaching.  I don’t always agree with what he says and does, but I believe he is a decent man of God. 

Since I’ve heard a lot of his preaching, I think what he means is that we shouldn’t do too much of one thing at the expense of the other, because after all, he is talking to a very hipster culture of Seattle dudes who are not very driven.  It’s sort of like how Francis Chan talks to lukewarm Christians or Matt Chandler yells at Bible-belt religious people — they have a specific audience in mind.  It’s all in context.

Mark Driscoll has also said in an interview he sometimes takes a whole day off to read books from his iPad for 12 to 15 hours straight.  His teenage daughter writes book reviews on Driscoll’s website.  The Mars Hill praise team looks like a bunch of dudes that never see the sun.  And since most of his church is composed of Reformed Calvinists: most of them probably blog from their basement. 

All that to say, if you were to sit down with Pastor Mark face to face, then 1) he is also kind of a nerd, and 2) I highly doubt he would shame you as one human being to another.  I’m not totally defending Driscoll, but I want to throw him some grace here because I really do think he has a good heart about this.

What I’ve seen happen though is that many Christians are in the danger of intellectual growth while never talking to real living breathing people, which is why Apostle Paul said, “Knowledge puffs, but love builds up.”  We are always on the brainy side of this slippery slope.  No Christian has ever been in danger of loving TOO much. 

We like to stay isolated in our religious rabbit-holes and lock ourselves up with ivory-tower-theology that only amounts to theory.

I don’t mean that you have to be friends with everyone or you have to serve at the homeless ministry or that you must go to every church event: but the Christian life will necessarily entail that you step out of your comfort zone and collide with others. 

For introverts, usually they are more comfortable with other introverts, and that’s totally okay.  Remember: in general, more people are introverted.  So at the soup kitchen or the sports game, you might move towards the people who are awkwardly standing on the side unsure of what to do: and out of that awkwardness is born a different kind of momentum.  Find them, love them, and empower one another.

You’ll also be surprised how much God will stretch you in this area AND how great you’ll do.  You might constantly think, “This is not for me; I can’t do this; So many people; Someone else can do it —” but when you actually have faith and take the opportunity, you’ll not only unleash talent you never knew, but you’ll have a great time doing it.  Don’t be afraid to step out a bit.  God loves the nerds, too.

Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it — made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand. — C.S. Lewis

Apple, Accidental Evangelist

The iOS6 on my iPhone has a glitch where after I hang up, the podcast app automatically starts playing. So in the middle of quiet, Mark Driscoll started yelling all up in Barnes and Noble.

Book Review: Disciple

Full review here.

By Bill Clem

Pastor Bill Clem of Mars Hill Church writes a work on defining a disciple of Jesus Christ, an ultimately disappointing book that is far too American and seldom convicting. While there are brilliant sections strewn throughout, the book is neither groundbreaking nor wholly biblical. A missed opportunity for a much needed discussion.

Despite my best efforts and Bill Clem’s best intentions, this is the definition of disciple that I gleaned from his work:

A disciple is someone who looks like Jesus and joins a small group community.

Of course, I doubt this is Clem’s goal. Yet the book is so American that I could never see it working in an urban or third world context. With an almost abstract, self-help style, Clem writes in largely conceptual strokes about mind-molding and relational-sharing, but hardly ever touches on the Great Commission to Go and to Make.

It might be unfair that I expected a book like Radical. David Platt’s seminal work on discipleship felt much closer to the biblical reality of carrying the cross, denying the flesh, and giving your all for Christ. When I read a book about disciples, I expect urgency and adventure, not megachurch-style small groups isolated in an upper-class neighborhood.

Continue Reading

Book Review: Real Marriage

Full review here.

Real Marriage
By Mark and Grace Driscoll

Mark Driscoll, the pastor of megachurch Mars Hill of Seattle, and his wife Grace write an honest, detailed, gripping, and at times explicit work on the troubles of marriage. While overly practical and less spiritual than expected, Pastor Mark and his wife have written tough words for the prideful and healing words for the hurting. Most of all they have written truth that no other pastor would dare to venture, which is both the book’s best strength and most glaring weakness.

Mark Driscoll spells controversy because of his unequivocal expression, uncompromising views, and his colorful use of language. He makes fart noises in his sermons, got busted over preaching on oral sex (essentially telling Christian women to use it as a lure for their unbelieving husbands), was publicly lambasted by John MacArthur (one of the five Big Johns, including Piper, Calvin, the Baptist, and the Apostle — so you know it’s serious), and is called a chauvinist by both lesbian atheists and evangelicals. We get it: he’s the vulgar, brash, older brother that puts you in a greasy headlock and gives you purple nurples.

But there’s no doubt the man preaches the Gospel, proclaims sound doctrine, and has a brilliant mind for practical theology. Regardless of tactics, he has once again written a clear-headed, straightforward work on marriage that is so unlike any Christian fare it’s bound to grab your attention, fart noises and all. One thing is most obvious in his writing: Pastor Mark is a pastor and loves people. He does the dirty task of writing what no one else will say, and while it may feel gratuitous, it’s true that no one else will say it. So he takes on the thankless duty of speaking to reality about as real as you can get.

Continue Reading

Feb 7

We may have experienced things in our lives that caused us to build emotional walls to protect ourselves and create systems of thinking that give us a false sense of safety. Often we are not aware that we are doing this. … If we continue to feed our old way of thinking with lies and fears, the sin of disrespect will control us.

- Grace Driscoll, on the root of disrespect

"Plan to Read Your Bible"

Mark Driscoll’s daughter writes on reading the Bible.

Great article.  Here’s an excerpt:

"5 Quick Tips for Reading Your Bible Plan

1. Pick a plan that interests you, but one that is also difficult enough to keep you engaged.

2. Have a friend or family member read along with you and keep you accountable.

3. When you read, think of how the truths can be applied to your life first, not others’ lives.

4. Have resources to help you understand difficult passages better: a pastor, parent, commentary, Bible dictionary, etc.

5. Make time to read by planning 10 to 30 minutes twice a day, every day, to make sure you are consistent.”

Continue Reading at Mark Driscoll’s Site

Shameless Plug Giveaway Winners! Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage

Here are the winners of Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll for the Shameless Plug Giveaway!

(Source: thewayeverlasting.com)