Driscoll….Discuss

Some people love Mark Driscoll, others can’t stand his teachings and then there are some who have never heard of him or don’t give a damn.

If you like him and his church or the opposite, please read these 3 articles.

  1. Mark Driscoll’s Church Discipline Contract: Looking For True Repentance at Mars Hill Church? Sign on the Dotted Line
  2. Mark Driscoll’s ‘Gospel Shame’: The Truth About Discipline, Excommunication, and Cult-like Control at Mars Hill
  3. A response from Mars Hill Church

Discuss.

10 thoughts on “Driscoll….Discuss

  1. It’s all very wrong. It’s not a Godly example of love, and they’re misconstruing Matthew’s gospel.

    Assuming that what Matthew Paul Turner has been told by the guy in the midst of it all is the truth, then he’s said he’s repented. And I daresay, I would assume that he’s already spent time with God seeking forgiveness for what he’s done.

    But it seems like the church doesn’t accept that – and that for him to be “walking in repentance” there’s a whole lot of things that he has to do; hoops to jump through; within THEIR terms, for him to be right with God. And it’s all that that is so horribly unbiblical and unloving and just damn wrong. In some ways, it feels very “Catholic” – that the guy seems to have to confess his sins to the pastor, and do certain things in order to be right with God. But that’s what Jesus died for!! So we didn’t have to do that anymore!

    So they then take Matt 18 and use it over his head to call him out to the church and essentially excommunicate him.

    Matt 18 is intended (I understand – happy to be corrected) for believers within a church environment who are continually sinning, have no desire to repent, yet still come to church and pretend like everything’s ok. That isn’t on in God’s eyes, and that’s what Matt 18 is all about. So in effect, their theology is correct – right up until the bit where he’s actually repented. It’s like they chose to ignore it, cos he hasn’t done it their way.

    The letter to the church members is hurtful, unloving, and unnecessary. Because of the above (i.e., that he has repented, and Matt 18 isn’t justified), it shouldn’t have been shouted to all the members that ‘this guy is unclean, we don’t want you to talk to him or associate with him, lest you end up in the same place he is right now’.

    And I worry for the attitude of that letter – suggesting to people how to respond? Argh. Just feels horribly cultish.

    • I don’t think repentance is redundant because Jesus died for us. Repenting helps us show our weakness’s and areas we need Jesus to be with us and it can be a great accountability tool. “I did this and I need help”. But it’s being forced here which is not right. Catholics have confession but you aren’t forced to go, the act of confessing is powerful I think, I’m a bit puzzled by clergy being able to then dish out duties for you to be fully redeemed but the confession part I’m ok with.

      Mars Hill deciding what discipline should be dished out is very worrying indeed.

      • Sorry, poorly worded.
        Yep, repentance still is a part of our walk with God – 100% agree. What I was making reference to with Jesus dying is the direct connection with God to seek forgiveness – previously, you had to go through a priest to seek connection with God. And while it’s not directly what they’re doing, it feels like they’re walking down that path.

        And the comparison to Catholicism could’ve been worded better too. It’s that saying what needs to be done to be fully redeemed (i.e., similar to, as a Catholic, being told how many prayers to say, etc) that isn’t in line with the Gospels.

  2. Even from this distance, you can sense that “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” (Shakespeare, Hamlet. Look it up.) The apparent lack of love and grace demonstrated to all involved – the man, his fiance, the pastors, and yes, even the blogger who posted the articles – is very disturbing. As a woman, I personally found the “weaker vessel” statement equally disturbing because of the culture it suggests may exist at Mars Hill. There seems to be a growing backlash against Driscoll. We need to pray for him and the church. We need to demonstrate the same love and grace to them that seems to be lacking in this particular situation.

    • Yes, definitely agree re the praying.
      I’ve always been uncomfortable with dishing out criticism of other Christian churches. What would non-Christians think if that’s their first encounter with God, to see us beating each other up?

      But I thought it was pretty important that people understood that this isn’t love, it isn’t what God wants in his Church.

      Will definitely be praying.

  3. You know I’m a bit of a Driscoll fan boy.

    I wouldn’t be keen to go to a church where the church discipline is like that. I wouldn’t be keen to run a church with the church discipline like that.

    I do however believe in church discipline. I haven’t figured out the best way to do it.

    I am also very thankful for how God has worked in me through the ministry of Mars Hill. And I am thankful for the way God has used Mars Hill to change so many other lives.

    I am wary of Paul Matthew Turner’s personal position. I’ve never found him to be unbiased in his view of Driscoll. While it’s hard to believe that these posts are made up, or even highly exaggerated, it’s also difficult to believe that the blogger doesn’t have a personal axe to grind against Driscoll.

    I agree with Lesley, prayer, love and grace are called for.

    These articles can add to my far removed view of Mars Hill. But as someone who does not attend Mars Hill or know anyone who does, I’ll leave this to be other people’s fight.

    • your last line worries me a bit Tom.

      “as someone who does not attend Mars Hill or know anyone who does, I’ll leave this to be other people’s fight.”

      that is a pretty selfish view to have on things, maybe it’s just for this and I hope so.

      I don’t need to care about climate change and doing something about it because I don’t know any drought stricken farmers personally, I don’t know any people in Papaua New Guenia who have been displaced because of rising sea levels. so it’s not my fight.

      None of us know this guy who has done some dodgy stuff, has said he is repentant but the church has decided he’s not repentant and must complete certain tasks or he will be publicly excluded.

      Church in my view is a place where no one gets kicked out.

      • I think there’s a difference between this case and climate change. Mars Hill is neither my responsibility nor within my influence. I think the internet is full of people fighting about stuff that is not theirs to fight about. I’m not that keen to add to the negativity on the internet.

        If I had responsibility or influence on either Mars Hill, someone who attends, Andrew, or Paul Matthew Turner, I would feel differently.

        Climate change on the other hand is my responsibility because my actions affect the world, my neighbours, the drought stricken farmer and the people of Papua New Guinea.

        On your last point I think we cannot reduce our view of church discipline to just “no one gets kicked out”. The church has to walk a line between grace and holiness, acceptance and representing God’s character through our behaviour.

        Jesus’ discussion of church discipline in Matthew 18 says that the continually unrepentant person needs to be treated “like a tax collector and a sinner.” Obviously Jesus treated these people well, but they fall under the category of people outside the faith who need to be evangelised. The hope is that people who are unrepentant would be called back to humble repentance and trust in the gospel rather than arrogant defence of sinful behaviour.

        In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul talks about the guy who’s sleeping with his step mum and tells the church to stop celebrating it and tells them they should “expel the wicked person from among [them]”. He also tells them to hand the guy over to Satan so that he might be saved. I guess the point is the ejection will lead to the guy seeing that he needs to repent and he will come back to Jesus.

        So I think church discipline is important and at some point kicking someone out so that they might be able to come back to Jesus is valid and called for.

        In the case of the Mars Hill stuff, if everything happened as the blog posts say I don’t see any need for that guy to be kicked out. I don’t think there is biblical justification for it.

  4. I have to say this stuff makes me so angry. That whole attitude that is so unforgiving of “sexual sin” (as almost all the examples given were about) but seems unconcerned with the sin that Jesus was really concerned with. When Jesus was confronted with a woman caught in the act of adultery he forgave her. I’m not saying there is not sin in the way we often deceive and hurt each other sexually and I know Jesus said “go and leave your life of sin” but he would not let others condemn the woman and confronted them with their own sin of judgment and I believe sexism in the way they treated this woman. I would be surprised to know if anyone has been “church disciplined” for not standing up against injustice to the oppressed (which often includes women) or not opening their home to their neighbours and been more generous to the poor.

    And my reading of Matthew 18 leads me to understand that the first process is for the person who has been sinned against to confront the sinner privately and if he listens and repents to go no further. Yet this step seemed to missed in this story. And certainly the way Jesus treated “pagans and tax collectors” was far better than the way this guy was treated.

    Anyway I guess this is all very ungracious of me and I acknowledge that I am a hypocrite too. But Howie I really agree that we do need to stand up against this stuff in the same way we stand up against all injustice but you seem to be doing it more graciously than me so I’ll leave you to it.

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