If there is a pastor that I enjoy, it is Mark Driscoll, pastor at Mars Hill Church. His frankness, relevence, and fidelity to Scripture is very refreshing in an age where theology and honesty seem to have taken a backseat to pragmatism and political correctness.
Following his comments on Ted Haggard where he gave encouragement to men to guard their testimony and marriage, he caught significant heat because of a true statement that caused the people at People against Fundamentalism to be offended. They subsequently labeled him as mysoginistic and set out to accomplish three things:
- To alert the city of Seattle to Mark’s pejorative language.
- To see Mark removed as a religion columnist for The Seattle Times.
- To see a sincere apology from Mark for his comments and a pledge to cease demeaning women in the future.
First, it is incredibly disappointing that a "Christian Group" would set out to try a brother in the court of public opinion over an issue without first approaching him personally as Scripture dictates. Had they gone to him directly, I am of the opinion that this still was not an issue of sin. This was an issue of strong language/advice in the presence of a strong culture of permissiveness. It was pastoral advice to other young pastors who increasingly are struggling through personal moral failure. Mark spoke strongly to them while at the same time demonstrating great compassion for a fallen pastor and his family.
The fallout is that Mark, one of the few great voices for orthodox Christianity in Seattle has indeed been removed as a columnist for the Seattle Times. The city of Seattle has been alerted. But, it has also been alerted to the intolerance Christians have for one another, fully violating the indicator of God's grace to the world. In this case, there is a whole city that now knows Christians not for their love of one another but for their disdain for one another.
Finally, Mark did apoligize to the group for using language like "chickified" when describing effiminate guys. Mark's apology engendered an apology from Paul at PAF. Yet, Paul showed up at Mars Hill on Sunday with a sign that said, "Thank you for apologizing, Mark." I think the hypocrisy of this group of liberal critics is deafening.
So what if you think that Mark Driscoll or any other pastor uses language that you find offensive to one's politically correct sensibilities? Does that give a fellow professing to follow Christ license to harm the cause of the Gospel in the public arena. Appeals for social justice are fair. But, they do not trump Scripture. We cannot afford to promote laws of our own liking above that of Scripture.
My concern and even frustration has little to do with my agreement with or affinity for Mark Driscoll. It has more to do with the family of God making tolerance for one another in areas of interpretive difference. Mark was speaking as a pastor/leader. PAF was acting as dissidents, critics, and public antagonist to Paul on behalf of a specific pet cause. This issue is hardly an issue of core Scriptural doctrine where Mark would be labeled as a false teacher. This was a pet cause of some cat in Seattle who had a bone to pick with a pastor. Rather than raising light to expel what he considered to be dark, he raised hell to expell Mark. The result is a black eye for the Gospel in Seattle, a town that could use some more strong, quirkly personalities to promote the Gospel and fewer wanna-be Rosa Parks minus the cause.
Mark Driscoll posts that tell the story 1 2 3 4 - Seattle Times article - Seattle Post-Intelligencer article - Bob Hyatt on the Driscoll Sitch - People Against Fundamentalism Blog and his columnist gloat & meeting with Mark (Paul closes comments here)