Mark Driscoll?Written by Jacob Prasch
Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp , in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the the tones, how will it be known what is played ? If the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare for battle? (1 Corinthians 14: 7-8)
Several inquirers have asked of our view of the Seattle-based American pastor Mark Driscoll whose material featured widely on the Internet and You Tube has gained some recognition in certain church circles, particularly among younger people. His critics have decried him as a proponent of the Emergent Church (despite his outspoken criticism of its most radical extremes), and faulted him for alleged coarse language and what they perceive as an over focus on sexually related matters, especially in his preaching series on The Song of Solomon.
His proponents defend him as solidly scriptural and an excellent communicator with a capacity to be relevant to a new generation of young Christians and young married Christian couples.
In this light we examined his recorded material for ourselves. If we had commenced with a biased predisposition the positive aspects of what Mr. Driscoll preaches where he presents scripturally based and unambiguous caveats against the clear errors in the modern church he correctly identifies, would have ameliorated our objections. Had we rather commenced with a positive predisposition however, our propensity to favor him would likewise have been sullied by his contradictory actions and what can only be described as "double talk" (particularly with reference to figures such as Joel Osteen whom he foolishly lauds as a brother but then goes on to dismantle).
Mark Driscoll appears to be only moderately Reformed/Calvinistic, is not ecumenical, and to his credit he articulately and unambiguously denounces the heretical book The Shack and the apostate teachings of Emergent Church kingpin Brian MacLaren as false and dangerous. In fairness, this and other virtuous endeavors must be recognized and respected. He seems to stand clearly and firmly on essential scriptural doctrine and upholds scriptural standards of morality as well as standing in opposition to such unscriptural practices as women pastors and compromise on the homosexuality issue. All of this and more is admirable. Therefore, we cannot honestly (as least not easily) rank Mark Driscoll among the overt bad guys. The question is whether we can rank him among the good guys. The sad answer to that question is that in my best opinion, we unfortunately cannot, even though I certainly would have liked to because he potentially has so much which the cause of Christ should benefit.
The undeniable and disappointing reality however, is that Mark Driscoll exhibits an inexplicable propensity for saying one thing yet doing the diametric opposite. His inconsistency for saying one thing with his well-spoken caveats but doing exact;y the contrary is staggering. Some would call it irrational, others might call it hypocritical. However we define it or gauge it, his words and actions are blatantly contradictory.
While correctly warning about false teachers, he not only soft soaps figures such as Emergent Church author Dan Kimball and the author of Blue Like Jazz, but joins forces with the utmost of deceivers and false teachers such as Robert Schuller and Rick Warren. Warren's butchering of Scripture, redefinition of Christianity based on consumerist philosophy and psychology, Warren's public back peddle on homosexuality, and his global PEACE plan calling for partnering with Muslims, Hindus, etc. is an absolute seduction from hell. No Christ "“ No Peace. God's Peace Plan is the Gospel (Isaiah 52: 7, Ephesians 6: 15, Luke 2:10-14).
God's Word plainly and conspicuously alerts us in no uncertain terms about the spiritual seduction of such counterfeit Christ-less "peace plans" that bring only false peace as devised by Rick Warren (1 Thessalonians 5:3, Jeremiah 8:11). The prophet Daniel tells us that the Antichrist will bring a false peace, and any peace plan without salvation in Christ is false and of the spirit of antichrist who is preparing the world and the apostate church for the coming of the Antichrist just as the Holy Spirit is preparing the faithful church for the return of Jesus. Rick Warren is demonically deceived and he is being used by Satan in this regard to mislead and deceive the Church. Yet Mark Driscoll again lends open credence to this seducer of the Bride of Christ. This is evil.
Rick Warren's PEACE Plan contains no Gospel or evangelism. It instead calls upon us to unite with Muslims and Hindus who worship other gods (whom Moses and Paul called "demons") to have peace. Warren even spoke at a convention of unsaved rabbis advising them how to build up bigger synagogues of Jews who reject their own Messiah and unless they accept him will spend eternity in hell without Him. Can we imagine Paul or Peter addressing rabbis and advising them to to expand and perpetuate a Judaism that rejects Yeshua?
In his Purpose Driven agenda Warren teaches a false gospel devoid of a message of repentance which he urges others to preach. Yet Mark Driscoll not only defends him but joins forces with him at a conference. Mr. Driscoll did the same with Positive Thinking swami Robert Schuller who had the Islamic Grand Mufti of Damascus preaching in his pulpit when Schuller said he would not mind if his grandchildren became Muslims. Indeed, why should he when Schuller teaches that "Jesus Christ went to the cross to magnify His ego" !
The Word of God does not teach guilt by association, but it does plainly teach "guilt by cooperation" ( Galatians 1: 8) and here Mark Driscoll clearly is guilty and stands indicted on the basis of Scripture. Mark Driscoll lends credence to two of the arch deceivers whose seminal influence is directly and indirectly responsible for so much of the apostasy in the Body of Christ today and mollycoddles other wolves who devour the sheep of Christ while at the same time posing to feed and protect the sheep of Christ. He is a like a bugler who blows the signal to "charge" but yells out a command "retreat".
I also watched Mr. Driscoll's Song of Solomon series that generated so much controversy. It was more of a series of question and answer sessions on sex and sexuality than it was a seminar on The Song of Solomon. He hardly exegeted the text of the Book at all. While he was doctrinally correct in most of what he said, he fell short in what he failed to say. Insufficient emphasis was given to the text and application of Ephesians 5, the primary New Testament source on holy matrimony which likens marriage to the relationship of Christ to the Church. In his list of "reasons" for sex, as one example, this omission resulted in him overlooking many of the the primary reason God invented it, which was "Imagio Dei"Ã‚Â "” reflecting the divine nature through "achdut" and illustrating God's marriage to Israel and Christ's to His bride the corporate church. We of course interpret Old Testament literature in light of the New Testament revelation in Christ, yet neither was there any thematic correlation to the New Testament passages drawing on The Song of Solomon such as Matthew 22 and Matthew 25. While I appreciate that Mr. Driscoll was approaching the text from more of a pastoral perspective than a theological one, he scarcely approached the text at all.
Having said that, the issues he did raise were addressed scripturally and without doubt helped people grappling with these kinds of issues, although it would have helped them a lot more had he focused on an exposition of the text as his point of commencement. As a "Q & A" event, it was rather good. As a treatment of the text of The Song of Solomon, it was abysmal to the limited extent he attempted it at all.
I did not not have a problem with the direct and at times confrontational style of communicating that characterized his Song of Solomon series and indeed his ministry generally. (I am known for much the same myself.) I did however, find agreement with those who fault him for some of his vocabulary. At times his terminology was marginally vulgar "“ not of the kind I would have an issue with in private conversation, but at times an inappropriate manner of expression for a church or gathering of the Body of Christ. Ephesians warns us not to do this. (The term is "morologos" in Ephesians 5.) I am far from being a prude yet some of his language was unduly coarse and without any real necessity with certain of his vernacular idioms. Again, in private speech I would not be offended, but in public address in a church setting it was not good and detracted from the largely worthwhile things he was actually presenting.
The Word of God indeed employs straight unabashed terminology where appropriate. (Please see the article on Isaiah 64:6). In the Song of Solomon however, the language is non-explicit; sexual innuendo is presented in symbolic poetic metaphor. The only partial exception would be one verse in chapter 7 of The Song of Songs and one in chapter 8 with overt reference to breasts. (While erotic, it is not exhibitive in the cultural setting of the text "“ much as public breast feeding is commonly accepted practice in most of the developing world even today.)
Still, Mark Driscoll relates in a meaningful way and what he says is largely right and scripturally grounded however wanton his manner of saying it may at times be.
Moriel and I do not oppose Mark Driscoll's ministry. It is with regret however, that neither can we endorse it. We can readily applaud much of what he says, but not of what he does. Is Mark Driscoll double minded?
I do not however, believe that Mark Driscoll is a nefarious character with a dubious agenda. I believe him to be genuinely saved and authentic in his motives. Being as frank and as fair as I can be, I sincerely wish that I could sanction his ministry but I cannot.
No, Mark Driscoll is not a bad man, a willful deceiver, or a false brother. He is simply an absolutely lousy bugler.
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