Mark Driscoll Steps Down Temporarily
Mark Driscoll, founder and senior pastor of the Mars Hill multi-campus church in Seattle, and one of the most influential of the "New Calvinist" leaders, has stepped down for at least six weeks while the church's elders consider charges lodged against him in recent months. He is under fire from elders in his own church as well as many influential "evangelical" leaders. He was recently removed from of the Acts 29 church-planting network that he co-founded and has been stricken from previously scheduled speaking engagements. James MacDonald and Paul Tripp resigned as board members from Driscoll's Resurgence Conference. LifeWay has removed his books from their stores. Charges include engaging in a pattern of abusive and intimidating conduct as a leader, plagiarism, inflating book sales to get on bestselling lists, and comments he made anonymously on a blog 14 years ago which were "abusive" to feminists and homosexuals. We find this entire episode puzzling. There must be more to it than is being stated publicly. Driscoll gained a large following in a very feminized city by exuding a "man's man" image. There's nothing new about his crude vocabulary and his "attacks" on the feminization and homosexualization of men today. The charge of plagiarizing was dismissed by his publisher Thomas Nelson. The inflation of book sales was done by hiring an ad agency to purchase copies of the books, a standard practice which some of his evangelical critics have probably engaged in. He has apologized publicly and effusively for these things. There must be more to the matter than meets the eye presently. What we want to know is why haven't his current accusers issued a warning about such things as his X-rated sex sermons, his heresy that apostolic sign gifts have not ceased, his mocking of the biblical Rapture, his vicious slander of biblical fundamentalists, his social-justice, kingdom-building gospel, his New Years' Eve champagne dance parties and other aspects of his "cultural liberalism," which is nothing more than old-fashioned worldliness, his rejection of biblical separatism, and his rock & roll "worship." The answer to this question is that his "evangelical" detractors are as guilty of these things as Driscoll is. Since Driscoll is such an influential figure, I have visited the main campus of his multi-campus church for research, and Mars Hill's contemporary music is as raunchy as any I have heard. The building is darkened, the band cranks up, and the cool, youthful Seattle crowd gets in the "spirit." It is a worldly atmosphere from top to bottom. The experience is mystical and powerful, but not godly and not scriptural. There is definitely more to this unfolding story than meets the eye. We give a lot of information about Driscoll in the book What Is the Emerging Church? E.S. Williams has recently published The New Calvinists: Changing the Gospel features chapters on Tim Keller, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll. Williams, a member of Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England, is a medical doctor, and his books The Dark Side of Christian Counselling and Christ or Therapy? are highly recommended.
(Friday Church News Notes, August 29, 2014, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
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