October 15, 2014

Exclusive: Mark Driscoll resigns from Mars Hill Church

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Mark Driscoll was an influential but edgy pastor within conservative evangelical circles for several years. Photo courtesy of Mars Hill Church

Mark Driscoll was an influential but edgy pastor within conservative evangelical circles for several years. Photo courtesy of Mars Hill Church

(RNS) Mark Driscoll, the larger-than-life megachurch pastor who has been accused of plagiarism, bullying and an unhealthy ego that alienated his most devoted followers, resigned from his Seattle church Tuesday (Oct. 14), according to a document obtained by RNS.

The divisive Seattle pastor had announced his plan to step aside for at least six weeks in August while his church investigated the charges against him. Driscoll’s resignation came shortly after the church concluded its investigation.

“Recent months have proven unhealthy for our family — even physically unsafe at times — and we believe the time has now come for the elders to choose new pastoral leadership for Mars Hill,” Driscoll wrote in his resignation letter.

Controversial megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll resigned from his church Tuesday (Oct. 15), according to a document obtained by RNS. Photo courtesy of Mars Hill Church

Controversial megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll resigned from his church Tuesday (Oct. 14), according to a document obtained by RNS. Photo courtesy of Mars Hill Church

Driscoll was not asked to resign from the church he started 18 years ago, according to a letter from the church’s board of overseers. “Indeed, we were surprised to receive his resignation letter,” they wrote.

Seven elders and one member of the board of overseers conducted this investigation, and the board of overseers provided findings and conclusions:

  • “We concluded that Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner. While we believe Mark needs to continue to address these areas in his life and leadership, we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.”
  • “Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.”
  • “We found some of the accusations against Pastor Mark to be altogether unfair or untrue.”
  • “Other charges had been previously addressed by Pastor Mark, privately and publicly. Indeed, he had publicly confessed and apologized for a number of the charges against him, some of which occurred as long as 14 years ago.”

In his resignation letter, Driscoll noted that he was not being disqualified from future ministry.

“You have also shared with me that many of those making charges against me declined to meet with you or participate in the review process at all,” Driscoll wrote. “Consequently, those conducting the review of charges against me began to interview people who had not even been a party to the charges.”

Driscoll hinted, though, that his continued presence would be a distraction.

“Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry,” Driscoll wrote.

“Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Driscoll’s boisterous personality seemed to dominate Mars Hill, a congregation he built up to an estimated 14,000 people at 15 locations across five states. Weekly attendance is now reportedly about 7,600.

“The Board of Overseers has accepted that resignation and is moving forward with planning for pastoral transition, recognizing the challenge of such a task in a church that has only known one pastor since its founding,” states the letter, signed by Michael Van Skaik, Larry Osborne, Jon Phelps and Matt Rogers.

Mars Hill shuttered its Downtown Seattle and University of Washington District churches due to financial challenges.

“During the month of August, we received $1,552,817 and expenses were $2,222,274, so our net over expenses (loss) after depreciation and capitalizing assets was $647,768,” stated a report released to church members in September and obtained by World magazine. “Our income target was $1,842,414, and we missed this target by almost 16 percent.”

Driscoll, who came into evangelical prominence as multisite churches and podcasts rose in popularity, found a niche within a largely secular Northwest culture. Though he has been controversial for years for statements on women and sexuality, several tipping points likely led up to Driscoll’s resignation.

Driscoll admitted to and apologized for comments he made under the pseudonym “William Wallace II” that were critical of feminism, homosexuality and “sensitive emasculated” men.

The church-planting network he founded, Acts 29, removed Driscoll from its membership after influential leaders such as Paul Tripp and James MacDonald stepped down from helping the church. LifeWay Christian Resources, the nation’s second largest Christian book retailer, pulled Driscoll’s books from its website and its 186 stores.

In the past, Driscoll has been provocative, occasionally profane, and has faced more recent allegations of plagiarism and inflating his book sales. “Mistakes were made that I am grieved by and apologize for,” he said late last year of plagiarism charges.

A front-page story in The New York Times on Aug. 23 had suggested that Driscoll’s empire was “imploding.”

“He was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously,” Timothy Keller, the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, told the Times. “But the brashness and the arrogance and the rudeness in personal relationships — which he himself has confessed repeatedly — was obvious to many from the earliest days, and he has definitely now disillusioned quite a lot of people.”

During Driscoll’s planned sabbatical, elders within his own church asked him to step down from all aspects of ministry. All nine elders who signed the letter resigned or were laid off.

Members of Mars Hill have sought more transparency from church leadership. A petition was launched requesting the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability to suspend Mars Hill’s membership over allegations of financial impropriety.

At the height of his influence and popularity, Driscoll admitted that he harbored grand ambitions, both for himself and the church he built from scratch.

“I’m a guy who is highly competitive,” Driscoll said in a 2006 sermon. “Every year, I want the church to grow. I want my knowledge to grow. I want my influence to grow. I want our staff to grow. I want our church plants to grow. I want everything — because I want to win.”

Driscoll conceded that he wouldn’t be content with remaining the same.

“That’s my own little idol and it works well in a church because no one would ever yell at you for being a Christian who produces results. So I found the perfect place to hide,” he said.

“And I was thinking about it this week. What if the church stopped growing? What if we shrunk? What if everything fell apart? What if half the staff left? Would I still worship Jesus or would I be a total despairing mess? I don’t know. By God’s grace, I won’t have to find out, but you never know.”

KRE/MG END BAILEY

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  • rob

    so to day I learned about some guy from a Baptist type of mega church got canned and that a mega church according to the numbers given have a whole lot less people than even a small small denomination ..

    so how is that news worthy?

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  • B

    So sad…

  • squidman

    Driscoll has made headlines over the years and is a well known (and often looked down upon) figure here in Seattle. He once claimed the movie Avatar was demonic. Glad to hear he’s gone.

  • B

    I don’t understand your take Rob… a church of 14,000 ( now 7,600) and a pastor who was listened to by millions of people world wide resigned. Just because it doesn’t matter to you does mean it doesn’t matter at all. The world is bigger than the things that matter to you…

  • B

    Your comment reaks of someone who A.) hates christianity and B.) who’s information about the man and the church comes exclusively from media critics…

  • Ryan

    Even though he could be brash, blunt, and sometimes not spirit-filled in his language, I enjoyed his teaching. I have been greatly impacted through his ministry. I hope that he can get to a healthy place spiritually where numbers and personal competition no longer plague him. Listening to his sermons, as a minister of the gospel on college campuses through the ministry of Cru, have helped me a lot the past few years.

  • B

    Agreed… far from a perfect man, but the Holy Spirit used his teaching in mine and many many others lives. It’s too bad so many external entities have the ability to influence a church and a pastor.

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  • Daniel Berry

    how is it that you can read the Gospel and not become the teensiests big wary of celebrity preachers – especially after all the stores of the last several decades of such celebrities who turned out to be charlatans, sheisters, and scam-artists? This kind of ego is very foreign to how I read the Gospel.

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  • Marilyn Glavin

    Follow Jesus, not pastors!!!!

  • S

    I am very saddened by this news and think of the way that evil won in the end, not Driscoll’s evil, but the evil of those who lied, slandered and threatened his family. I cannot wait to see what Driscoll does next and am reminded that we serve Jesus, not one man.

  • B

    I certainly am aware of past failures of celebrity pastors, but I’m also confident in the men who investigated Pr. Mark and who know him personally. I know many of those guys personally as well. Most people aren’t going to try to justify his actions in every circumstance or say he’s a guy who doesn’t have faults, but I don’t believe he has disqualified himself as a pastor.

    How well would yours or anyone elses life/character hold up to being put under the microscope like his has been? Jesus uses messed up people, messed up churches, and messed up situations for His glory. He’s done so with both Pr. Mark and Mars Hill and I wish him the best as he moves forward.

  • Larry

    One reaps what they sow.

    Driscoll made a name for himself with malicious, spiteful language towards others. To see it returned in kind is simply natural to expect. Forgiveness and grace is always a 1 way street for his type of Christian. All for me, none for thee.

    I am not surprised that he made enough enemies within his own organization to be considered too embarrassing to keep any longer. He had it coming. I hope the door didn’t hit him on the way out.

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  • Mark Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill Church. While I personally think that was the right decision, I’m not sure that was the most important need. I think the most important need is public repentance confessing sins in specificity regarding the fellow pastors and others he and the board agree he sinned against. I think that is entirely in line with true repentance and with 1 Tim 5.19-20 that says, “Don’t accept an accusation against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will also be afraid.” Even if you’re the one to be rebuked, as pastor you should initiate this public rebuke and repentance out of love and obedience to God and out of a desire to exalt God’s grace to the church and watching world.

    Christians, let’s look at the log in our own eyes, and repent before God and those he calls us to repent before. Then let’s continue to pray for God’s will to be done at Mars Hill regarding repentance and moving forward in the great commission with increasing faithfulness to Christ Jesus.

  • Karla

    Hopefully he will humble himself/Repent because Jesus said many will say
    to Me Lord,Lord and not enter heaven! 1 Corinthians 5 the whole chapter
    talks about how to deal with a guy like this. Luke 13 talks about how we
    must bear good fruit and that fruit is fruit of Repentance not good works
    because many non-believers do many good works so the fruit if fruit of
    Repentance. Bible says Repent or perish! We must Repent! Bible says
    all sin is bad! 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 lists swindlers,thieves,drunks,idolatry,
    slanderers/liars/gossips,the sexually immoral,greedy/coveters right along
    with homosexuals as people who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven
    unless they Repent! Ephesians 5:18 says don’t get drunk and also in
    1 Corinthians 6:10 it says that all drunkards go to hell. The wine Jesus
    made was diluted/made for symbolic reasons not to get drunk plus Bible
    says don’t get drunk on/with strong wine/don’t get drunk on wine for it is
    debauchery! Gambling,being mean/sharp tongues,pride,takin the Lords
    name in vain,jealousy are also wrong!. The new thing people do is say
    somethin mean then laugh after like that makes it okay or then they say
    “I was just joking” to try to cover it up. It’s the same with premarital sex.
    People sleep around then get married thinking that they covered it up
    but never Repent and agree that sleepin around/premarital sex is wrong!
    Two were next to Jesus on the Cross.Only one guy went to heaven! Why?
    Only one guy Repented and had a change of heart about their/his sin!
    Bible says Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved! We must Repent!

  • Mark S.

    Someone who hates Christianity? Maybe it’s a comment from someone who believes that “Pride goeth before a fall.” I don’t recall Jesus saying that the arrogant, bossy, and well-moneyed would inherit the kingdom of heaven, and I am certainly convinced that anyone who lacks humility is not fit to lead a church.

  • april

    This is a sad thing that is going on, He’s just a man not a god. If you don’t like his style then don’t go to his church. Why are people(Christians) so ready to attack?
    It has hurt not only his family but the church. Where is the grace that Christ followers are suppose to live by? Im disturbed even by the fact that this article describes him as DIVISIVE, Who are you to be the judge of that? Come on Church deal with your own issues and stop pointing the finger!

  • jane

    maybe its not news worthy to you

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  • B

    Thank you April… I am a member and leader at a Mars Hill church. We absolutely have problems as a church. Pr. Mark absolutely has issues that he needs to deal with. But I would challenge any church and any man to put themselves under a microscope the way Pr. Mark and Mars Hill has and come out unscaithed. Churches are filled with sinners and run by sinners yet Jesus in His abundance of grace allows them to participate in His rescue plan for the world. It’s a shame that so many are so quick to point the finger of judgement at other churches and other believers.

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  • Lynn

    Just because he can preach, does not make Mark a good leader. We are not talking about sins under a micro scope..we are talking about obvious sins of pride, arrogance, misrepresentation, abuse of power, and the list goes on. These are huge issues for a pastor, not “under the microscope”.. We are called Christians because who we are should reflect Jesus…really in Marks life, does he reflect Christ, or the worlds values…large, more, #1, look at me, etc

  • Jonn McDaniel

    Just for a moment, I allowed myself to have the fantasy that something redefining to our Christian faith story could happen from this…

    Wouldn’t it be amazing if the healing that took place out of this hurt at Mars Hill was the beginning of something new where churches became a healthy place to journey in faith? Wouldn’t it be remarkable if unhealthy pastors & church leaders began a sincere journey of self-awareness that had ripples throughout the Church where unhealthy leaders leading toxic faith stories no longer was an accepted and defended norm?

    Just for a moment, I imagined the many people who have abandoned church and possibly faith altogether were welcomed with open arms to share their faith stories and be an important part of a new, healthy faith story that focused its gaze on gifting grace rather than justifying judgment. Just for a moment, it was a pretty amazing place to be.

  • MARK DRISCOLL:
    “I’m a guy who is highly competitive,” Driscoll said in a 2006 sermon. “Every year, I want the church to grow. I want my knowledge to grow. I want my influence to grow. I want our staff to grow. I want our church plants to grow. I want everything — because I want to win.”

    Ever so humble. 🙂

    Change the word “Church” to “Bank” and this could have been said by JP MORGAN.

    “But take heart! I have conquered the world.” – JESUS (John 16:33)

    despicable.

  • Follow intelligence, not superstitions!

  • B

    Says the person that thinks everything came from nothing… the very thing you trust is the thing that proves you wrong.

  • Daniel Berry,

    “how is it that you can read the Gospel and not become the teensiests big wary of celebrity preachers”

    Because Jesus?
    He started the whole celebrity preacher concept in the first place.

    “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me WILL DO THE WORKS I HAVE BEEN DOING, and THEY WILL DO EVEN GREATER things than these” – JESUS (John 14:12)

    Christianity is a blunder and a disaster.
    It can’t be followed without destroying the people who participate.

  • Joshua

    I see a lot more arrogance and ignorance in these comments than any professed from Mark (or any pastor) at Mars Hill.

    Driscoll publicly repented and apologized multiple times for the accusations made against him. Many of the “charges” had occurred years ago (some a decade plus). And yet, the cry is for more repentance, more humility, etc.

    Controversial figures have an impact. So many christians seem to want a watered down, fluffy theology delivered by non-offensive, easy-to-digest figurehead. Anything less is considered “dangerous”.

    Jesus was labeled and treated an enemy of the state. A terrorist. Dangerous, heretical, etc. While I certainly don’t think Driscoll was any messiah, the demand for public executions by the masses has remained surprisingly unchanged through the centuries.

    The public and religious experts of Christ’s day, yesterday, and our day, love their blood sacrifices. Those furthest removed from the battle are most verbose in criticism. Well played, hypocritical commenters, another dangerous Christian now sent to public exile. Job well done *slow clap*

  • Tony

    What a piece of turd this guy is. In general, church/religion is big business. easy way to make money and control people. If it dont make money.. it dont make sense.

  • Misquoting Scripture (deliberately?) is a dangerous game, @AtheistMax. Here’s the proper Jesus quote (in context):

    “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

    A little bit of a different spin than your out-of-context misquote, no?

    Jesus was on His way to the Cross … to die for YOUR sin. He knew His act of loving sacrifice offered sinful humanity its only hope of redemption.

    So, what is it about that love which you despise so much?

  • @Mark S.

    “I don’t recall Jesus saying that the arrogant, bossy, and well-moneyed would inherit the kingdom of heaven.”

    Check again. Jesus endorsed and validated all the teachings of Yahweh.

    Looking to the Bible for information about what is good and what is right will lead you down a rathole of contradictory nonsense:

    “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread.” – (Psalm 37:25

    “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord …. Wealth and riches shall be in his house.” (Psalm 112:1, 3)

    “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.” – (Proverbs 13:22)

    “In the house of the righteous is much treasure.”
    – (Proverbs 15:6)

    No wonder the Republican Right Wing loves Jesus.

  • Joshua

    Way to go Lynn. Throw those stones, fault those leaders, make ’em pay, hyaaa!

    The church needs more critics like you. Sinners in leadership need to be faulted, publicly, in comments on blogs, by people who aren’t even members of their church, or a part of the internal investigation. Keep up the good work soldier. Because if we just had more humble leaders…you know, like you…then the Church would be a better place. Am I right or am I right, amen?

  • Joshua

    That’s right Larry. Cluck your tongue, he had it coming. Job’s friends echoed the same sentiment.

    Don’t talk about forgiveness and grace in same breath of how he had it coming and you hope the door didn’t hit him on the way out. hyp.o.krit.

  • Bill

    I accept your challenge, B.

    I attended Chuck Swindoll’s former church EV Free in Fullerton, CA. He is a man of character, accountability, humility, and yes, was scrutinized in the public eye due to his success. I was there on the day of his 25th anniversary at that location, which had grown immensely during that time. The church wanted to honor Swindoll with special recognition and I sat in the front row because it was packed. He was visibly uncomfortable with the acclaim of others on that stage and obviously wanted it to be over as soon as possible. He understood that it was not about him.

    Conversely, Driscoll makes everything about himself. “I’m a guy who is highly competitive,” Driscoll said in a 2006 sermon. “Every year, I want the church to grow. I want my knowledge to grow. I want my influence to grow. I want our staff to grow. I want our church plants to grow. I want everything — because I want to win.”

    I…I…I…I…I.

    Worse, if it stops being about him, he doesn’t know if he’ll even worship Jesus:What if the church stopped growing? “What if we shrunk? What if everything fell apart? What if half the staff left? Would I still worship Jesus or would I be a total despairing mess? I don’t know.”

    I don’t know? Nobody who says that should be leading any congregation, ever.

  • Stuart

    B, Not understanding how something works is not a basis for disproving it. People thought the world was flat and couldnt understand how it couldnt be. Then science proved otherwise.

    On the same note, wanting to believe something is true, is no reason to believe it.

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  • renee.waldron@ymail.com

    Change the “I” to Christ, and we have success.

  • B

    +1 on this comment…

  • A sad day in the life of the church. Mark’s flaws are obvious and there is no excuse for them. Bad behavior should not be tolerated especially by celebrity types but let us also have some compassion. No person is without defect, it just goes to show how the spotlight is bigger the more popular one is. Let’s not judge too serverely as we may just be exposing our own flaws. May God restor Mark and make him a better man thought it.

  • B

    It takes infinitely more faith to be an athiest than it does to be a christian.

  • Q as in Cuba

    Silly comment. Atheism requires FAITH in the belief that everything came from nothing. Christians have an answer for their faith. Atheists have a theory for theirs.

  • Pastor Rich Gipson

    I do not personally know Pastor Mark Driscoll or any of the Mars Hill members but I do know that WHAT was done to him was not based on Scripture. Sounds more like a “business” ran organization rather than a N.T. Church. It is amazing to me that the churches in America take a model out of Forbes magazine for running a business and apply it to the church. What a “graceless” bunch of leaders and members who have forced this man to resign. In my opinion he is better off without them and they will have to stand before God and answer for not following the word of God in their “discipline” methods for a God-called minister. The Apostle Paul said in Galations 6 “If anyone among you is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help him back onto the right path, remembering that next time it might be one of you who is in the wrong.” What a poor testimony to the world, no wonder they steer clear of the “church” who kills it’s wounded…

  • Stick

    “Baptist type” church? Not hardly. Take your bitterness elsewhere.

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  • And so Mark Driscoll, the broken, emotionally unstable, empathetically challenged soul whose ministry runs on equal parts hurt and hate is now a footnote of the evangelical machine, a blight on American culture and on humanity at large. Yes, this is overdue, and yes Driscoll should have packed up shop back when the first ex-Mars Hill support group appeared. But it is better late than never. The wounds of the people he has hurt are deep and full of scars that will last a lifetime.

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  • c

    Don’t be too quick too judge, Pastor Mark has realize what he has become therefore he stepdown to reflect and improve to be a better person which I think is good decision to do God is merciful and gives second chances, all of us fall short of His holiness therefore we are not in the position to condemn.

    6-8 Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

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  • Trisha Lilla Lou May Featherstonehaw (Pronounced ‘Fanshaw’)

    Call no man ‘Pr’ ?

  • B

    Wow! Sombody read part of one side of the story and has an opinion!

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  • Mike

    Good riddance..what a disgrace you are.! You slander the Lord Jesus by your actions. Repent instead of just CYA..!

  • B

    Speaking of slandering the Lord Jesus, ^^^^^^this comment ^^^^^

  • Scott

    It is sighted he is not charged with heresy or immorality, but apparently he thinks such things as abuse of power, coercion and selfish ambition are okay. Apparently such things as kindness, love, humility and honor mean nothing to him. From that standpoint he completely disqualified from the ministry. I don’t wish him ill will, but I stand against him, and anyone like him, from being in the minsitry.

  • LadyDi

    When we point a finger at someone else, we are also pointing 3 back at ourselves. I am deeply saddened by the way Pastor Mark has been attacked. He and we all have our shortcomings and character flaws. Being a public figure, as he is, makes him a target. He has blessed and helped me in countless ways. I have attended Mars Hill for 10+ years. There I was taught truths from the bible and it was there that I was given strength and hope and blessing that continues to carry me the untimely death of my son at 26 and so many life challenges. I am forever grateful for Pastor Mark and the leadership at Mars Hill.

  • Dan

    Athiest…you are a sensationalist! What do you believe in if not Christianity? Jesus was who he said he was or he was a complete lunatic. Other than just pure hatred, what skewed your perception of a man that came to save the world? If it’s religion, think relationship.

  • Dan

    @athiest

    Again, I say to you Jesus was who he said he was or he was a complete lunatic. The fact that you acknowledge Jesus Christ (Yahweh) says you are not an atheist. If you are looking for perfection from man (Dem, Conserv, Ind), you will never find it. I sit at the bottom of the rung on my knees asking/begging for forgiveness. God is Abba, Father, Dad, Daddy, then He can be your DaDa.

  • Dan

    @athiest,

    Why do you add any comments here? A true atheist wouldn’t even acknowledge this story and certainly wouldn’t comment on a Jesus that doesn’t exist.

    I’m praying for you brother. Let go…Let God!

    PS…quit your hatin!

  • Tyler Dickey

    how can you be in defense of this so called gospel you follow when you cant even refrain from using offensive words like sheister? In my opinion all christians follow the biggest scam artist of all…

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  • Jeffrey Grabow

    Who is going to want to sit under a guy who is domineering and abusive. He might not be barred from ministry but anyone with common sense is not going to have anything to do with this guy. It takes years to build a reputation and only an incident like this to shatter his credibility.

    Look at it this way: He behavior does not reflect the Spirit of God. The “natural man” built this “empire,” as were his ambitions. Under the same earthly mantle of truth he wrote books. Obviously, these books, as Lifeway Christian Bookstore has done by removing them from their stores, suggesting that his teachings and insights are carnal and not trustworthy.

    We need to ask ourselves what is his source for the motivation of his life: Is he Spirit-led or motivated by the natural man. The natural man can do wonderful things in the name of God but they are still reads works at the end of the day.

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  • What I find most amazing in all this is that A) Driscoll resigned. This is an act of selflessness on his part. B) God uses broken people to enhance his kingdom. Driscoll is being broken and stripped of his comfort zone, ego, and the whole nine yards.

    Bottom line: I’m excited to see what amazing plans God has in store for this man when, after his time of breaking, God re-forms him. Psalm 51:17

  • Brian C

    Great reply Q! Being an atheist myself, I found your comment spot on. I do not believe in a higher spirit, I do believe in science and proven theories. So lies my faith, no different than someone having faith in a higher power. We can argue all day long why your faith is better than my faith, but at the end of the day nothing will change our views. Settle down and accept that people are allowed to think for themselves and outside the box.

    “Says the person that thinks everything came from nothing… the very thing you trust is the thing that proves you wrong.” With talk like this, it’s no wonder why attendance is down.

    “It takes infinitely more faith to be an athiest than it does to be a christian.” Wow, simply wow.

    IMHO, I think “B” is Driscoll in disguise. Driscoll chose to make business the priority over his faith. He built his house of cards, now he hides under a rock somewhere.

  • @Dan,

    “Jesus was who he said he was or he was a complete lunatic.”

    No. Paul Bunyan was not a liar, nor was he a lunatic.
    He was a Legend.

    “The fact that you acknowledge Jesus Christ (Yahweh) says you are not an atheist.”

    If I say “Leprechaun’s are not real” does that mean I acknowledge leprechauns are real because I used the word ‘leprechaun’? certainly not – that is silly.

    “If you are looking for perfection from man…”
    What? so, people are not perfect. No need for it.

    “God is Abba, Father, Dad, Daddy, then He can be your DaDa.”
    I’ll remain being a grown up. Thanks.

    Remember to always keep your Christian beliefs out of our laws.
    Believe whatever you like – pray wherever you want – just don’t think for one second that any of it makes any sense.

  • Bill

    You are creating a false choice with your claim.

    I choose neither a confrontational, brusque tough guy, nor a “fluffy theology delivered by non-offensive, easy-to-digest figurehead”.

    I choose truth in the person of Jesus Christ.

    People from your church (more than one) have called people at my church (more than one) and urged them to leave it because Mars Hill was “better” and “A real church”. Does that sound biblical to you? It sounds if not cult-like, certainly judgmental, much like you claim others are doing to Driscoll and Mars Hill.

    Finally, I repeat Driscoll’s own words. No one who says this should be in charge of teaching the word:

    “What if the church stopped growing? What if we shrunk? What if everything fell apart? What if half the staff left? Would I still worship Jesus or would I be a total despairing mess? I don’t know.”

    Sounds like “fluffy theology” delivered by an “easy-to-digest figurehead”.

  • Karla

    Stuart-Read Romans 1:18-25. For you to look at the whole universe
    and say that is just random it takes more faith to believe that the
    world just came about by random chance than to believe in God.
    The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel is a good book. Bible prophecy
    that came true with 100% accuracy is why we can trust the Bible.
    Many people don’t want God to be real because they don’t want
    to be told how to live. God gave us our conscience and conscience
    means with knowledge so we know what is right and what is wrong.

  • Karla

    Read Romans 1:18-25. Creation is proof of God. How did we get
    here? Look at the universe. Creation is proof that there is a creator.

  • R

    I find it interesting that you would have faith? What is the definition of your faith and where does it come from? What is the end result of your faith?

  • R

    I find it interesting that you have faith? What is the source and the result of your faith?

  • Karla

    R-The Bible prophecy that came true with 100% accuracy is why we
    can trust the Bible. Only Jesus fulfilled what the Bible predicted and
    that’s cause only He could. Jesus is the Messiah/only way to heaven!

  • R

    Sorry, that question was for Brian C. He claim to have faith, but we know that Faith comes only by the hearing of God’s word, thus making God the source of our Faith. It’s very interesting that he would claim to faith.

  • R

    Karla, Sorry, that question was for Brian C. He claim to have faith, but we know that Faith comes only by the hearing of God’s word, thus making God the source of our Faith. It’s very interesting that he would claim to faith.

  • R

    And if you are right that there is no God what have you gain? After you lived 80-90 years and die then what? Are you not wasting your time and effort? You should live your life. Do what you want, live however you want, and care less about the opinion of others, but why do you come here to put yourself in a situation where you’ll have to defend yourself? What are you defending? If there is no God, and you’ve truly believe there is no God why defend yourself against such a foolish idea? Why remark on such an foolish idea?

  • @Q,

    “Atheism requires FAITH in the belief that everything came from nothing.”

    No it doesn’t.
    Atheism is a lack of belief in Gods that is all it is. I make no claims.
    But I challenge all of yours regarding gods.

    “Christians have an answer for their faith.”
    So do people who believe in leprechauns.

    “Atheists have a theory for theirs.”
    No we don’t.
    I have no theory – I am waiting for information. If you have data which proves that god is real I am happy to check it out – so far I see no evidence of any gods so I don’t pretend that god exists.
    I just say ‘i don’t know’.

  • @Dan,

    I’m here for several reasons:

    1. There are many people in doubt about Mark Driscoll as ‘true Christian’, I’m hear to remind people that Mark Driscoll is a very typical Christian. So I’m defending him on that one.

    2. RNS is a news site, not a salvation site for believers – and I’m interested in dealing with the problems related to religion.

    3. I study religion like a doctor studies cancer. I’m trying to learn how to safely help people get cured of it.

    4. I would like to help people who are only slightly infected from getting a full blown case of extremism.

    5. I like to remind Christians that Atheists are absolutely everywhere around them no matter where they live.

    6. I like to encourage people who are on the fence about their own religion to please consider the consequences of these horrible beliefs.

    MOST OF ALL:

    I’m here to remind Theists that we have a separation of Church and State many ex-Christians like myself are standing up to defend it by simply making ourselves present and forcing our voice into religious conversation.

    ‘God’ is just dangerous nonsense and unless we see a movement toward secularism it will be a threat to our civilization.

  • @Larry,

    “….proper Jesus quote (in context):
    “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
    “A little bit of a different spin than your out-of-context misquote, no?”

    Sorry, Larry – NO.
    The ‘context’ improves absolutely nothing.
    1. Jesus is contradictory on the question of ‘peace’ which is how we know his words in John are probably all made-up. “I come not to bring peace but a sword” – furthermore, He is stating something patently untrue, “I have conquered the world” is nonsense. Most of the world ignores Jesus every day.
    Providing the context only opens up more questions about this ridiculous myth.

    “Jesus was on His way to the Cross … to die for YOUR sin.”
    That is an empty claim. You were told that this is true but blood hitting the ground is not a valid argument for any change of the universe. You should know that.

    “He knew His act of loving sacrifice offered sinful humanity its only hope of redemption.”

    Loving sacrifice? Yahweh arranged to turn into his own son
    and he assaulted his son with the first century’s version of an AK-47 (according to the myth) and the tortured son had to bleed on the ground – the soil of the earth (we are never told why this had to be) and then God made sure he was dead.
    And if you don’t believe this far-out story (for any reason) God promises he will do even worse things to you forever and ever and ever and ever.

    Not a whiff of love in that story – NONE.
    We must have some respect for ourselves. This is nonsense.

    “So, what is it about that love which you despise so much?”
    Based on what I have pointed out here, that is not a question for me – but for you!

  • Elizabeth Gaasenbeek

    Grace. We all need it. This man knew he had to be accountable and he exercised that by acknowledging his mistakes and stepping down. Who among us hasn’t erred in how we speak, act and treat others. The difference is he’s a public figure so it’s more out there and in the face of so many. Grace. I began with it….and so I finish….Grace.

  • @R,

    “If there is no God…why defend yourself against such a foolish idea? Are you not wasting your time? Why bother, why care?”

    Wow.
    Do you read the news?
    You have the right to believe whatever you want. You should be happy.
    So why are Christian Churches (similar to Mars Hill) on a mission to destroy the rest of us? Why are you pushing ‘faith-based’ nonsense outside of your churches?

    You….as a religious person…are in favor of God’s preachments and commands. If you could keep it away from me I would be happy but most Christians and Muslims can’t seem to do it.

    Your Faith Based commands happen to include recommending the killing and raping of innocent people, to preach Hell to children (though you have no evidence that it is real) and to defend by default a series of irresponsible faith-based initiatives regardless of evidence. Creationism over science (for example) and the repression of women’s rights.
    You endorse the idea of thought crime, you ban all sorts of healthy sexuality and gay marriage laws and on and on!

    You claim ONE TRUE faith while validating others their own ‘faiths’ – even though they are mutually opposed to each other.
    Religious people are generally against scientific evidence in favor of servile cultural religious assertions and delusions. And on an on.
    These run contrary to all human freedoms.

    My hope is that you will stop doing most of that.
    I would expect Christians to just go to church, pray wherever they like and be happy!

    Why must you force Jesus onto our laws ! ?
    I don’t want your god nonsense.

    The separation of church and state is under attack – that is why I can’t let Christians get away thinking we Atheists are not here.
    We most certainly are here and we simply must argue against your juggernaut against freedom.

  • “Grace. We all need it.”

    Speak for yourself.

  • Maria Lancaster

    “Let the man who has not sinned cast the first stone”.
    Praying for Mars Hill, Mark and Grace and family.

  • Shane

    He says that he hasn’t been accused of anything illegal? Plagiarism is not legal. Taking funds from a business you work at (not own) in an attempt to enrich yourself personally is also illegal. The difference is that nobody pressed charges.

  • JLS

    He hurt unity in the church so badly because of the way he bashed women. . I could never sense the Holy Spirit in his teachings, because I was so hurt by them.

    His rants as Wallace proved how he REALLY feels about half of the earth’s population and half of the church (if not more), before he watered his misogyny down and coated it in religious language for those in his congregation.

    I hope he can be healed from this before he returns to a pulpit.

  • Nina

    You believe in “proven theories”? Do you know just how redundant that is? Theories are not laws. Evolution is a theory, but it is in fact, and it is not even proven. There are too many findings that do not coincide with the theory of evolution, but scientists don’t talk about those, because it would discredit the best explanation they have so far. You believe in current science and theories, you believe in the findings of other people and make conclusions based off of them. You, yourself do not go into the field, dig up fossils, carbon-date things, and determine with your own eyes if things match up. You athiests take the work and experience of other people and base your religious beliefs off of those, that, in itself, is a religion. You have faith in what science holds as being the answers to all, tell me that doesn’t coincide with religion? I know, because I used to be brain washed like you. But, back to Mark. May God never leave him.

  • Karla

    JLS-Let’s pray that he humbles himself and truly Repents so then he
    can be restored. Bible is full of people who fell and made mistakes then
    God still used them after. We all sin/fall short but we all need to Repent.

  • @B

    “It takes infinitely more faith to be an athiest than it does to be a christian.”

    LOL! 🙂 🙂

    You must be working overtime, then. YOU haves so much ‘faith’ that Zeus doesn’t exist
    Aphrodite doesn’t exist
    Thor doesn’t exist
    Mercury doesn’t exist

    That must be a week worth of faith right there, right?
    Must make your head spin! working on this all day long as you do!
    And
    Neptune doesn’t exist
    And Quezalquotl doesn’t exist
    And the Hummingbird Wizard doesn’t exist

    SO MUCH FAITH YOU HAVE, The ceremonies you go through every day must take so much effort and time!!
    You have so much faith that these gods don’t exist either:
    Osiris doesn’t exist
    Isis doesn’t exist
    Hoto doesn’t exist
    Saturn doesn’t exist
    Ganesha doesn’t exist!

    So much work and yet it keeps going! You must never get to sleep. All the FAITH you have not believing must keep you busy.
    HOW DO YOU MANAGE?

    And Japthera doesn’t exist
    And Toltim doesn’t exist
    and Moshup doesn’t exist
    And Kinte doesn’t exist
    And Vishnu doesn’t exist

    Do you start all over again at the end of the week?
    or do you name all the 30,000 gods from history which you are an Atheist about?

    True LOL!
    If you think it takes faith to “NOT BELIEVE” you have no idea what an Atheist is! You don’t even know that you are an Atheist of 30,000 gods?

    I just go one god more! LOL!
    And no, it take me not the least bit of effort the way I do it! 🙂

  • blake

    Good riddance Mark. Glad you had the integrity to resign before you were forced to. May your repentance be genuine and may you be restored to useful service as a far more humble and godly man.

    May others, like James McDonald, follow in your footsteps. The Church has enough unaccountable, hypocritcal, egomanics giving Christ a black eye.

  • JW

    Just a thought, I wonder how public opinion would be for John the Baptist, Elijah and many other men of God we teach about. Paul’s rebukes were often so sharp and later he lightened up. We should always seek The Lord for deeper levels of humility and deliverance in areas where we have not yet matured. If pastors only weaknesses were arrogance and harshness then he has done better than most in crucifying his flesh. Unless of course we are now expecting perfection of our men of God, which you never see in the Bible. Just my opinion.

  • DT

    Hi Atheist Max, first of all, I just want you to know that I like that you’re here and keeping everyone on their toes. Secondly, you and people like you (I’d call them non-believers) are the people the rest of us (believers) should want to talk to about things like this. How does this look from the outside looking in and what, at this point, would lead you to ever look more deeply into who the person of Jesus was and , I would say, is?
    I’m a little concerned, however, at your apparent misrepresentation of yourself. You said you “study religion like a doctor study’s cancer” and you want to cure people of religion. Well nothing you’ve said here is going to cure anyone. First of all, your quoting scripture to Christians without using any context, thats like me quoting any sentence I want in a writing by your favorite atheist to you and saying, ” see how crazy that is?”. Ridiculous, right?
    Second, you really haven’t studied real Christianity very closely because you refer to it as a religion, and if you’re trying to cure us of the cancer you need to know that it’s not religion, it’s a rrelationship. Religion says “one must do or accomplish or fulfill all this to earn heaven”. The bible says that Jesus “laid down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), that gracious salvation is by faith and not works (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that those he doesn’t have relationship with will be apart from him in eternity (Matthew 7:23). This is what we believe and if you want to cure us study that and have a better plan on how to approach us then we can have a real conversation about it. Also, if I believe there is a hell, and I do, I should be willing to go to great lengths to help you understand that, because how much would I have to hate a person if I didn’t? So go a little easy on Christians who you know mean well, because they do. Even if we ended up being wrong, we really believe that, and don’t want people to go to hell. But its the only real justice there can be when it comes to a holy and gloriously perfect God.

  • EssEm

    So what it mostly comes down to is that Driscoll had to go because he is an Alpha male. Certainly supports those who say that Christianity is not a fit religion for men.

  • renee

    Sorry, but short of home churches, ALL churches in the US are run as businesses. If money changes hands, if there is overhead, banking, accounting, bills, reporting, it is a business. This one just happens to have a multi-million dollar budget.

  • Willie Wallace IV

    Let’s hope that this whole saga ends here instead of “Lead Pastor Mark” emerging as “Big Daddy Mark” ( constistent with his patriarchy outlook) in the secluded jungle some where in the southern hemisphere with his own commune made up of folks who view him as one who could do no wrong and who alone could impart to them everything they ever desired spiritually and physically. His ego, charisma, and oratory skills make this a possibility, however remotely it might be. Of course, his current situation is not really due to his own choices and behavior but in keeping with “God’s providential will” that was predetermined even before he was born, as a true Calvinist like him would spin any situation. With such representation, among many many others in “God’s name/will”, it is no wonder that the Almighty seems to stay hidden and silent in the affairs of Earthlings, and even Martians (Mars Hill, get it?)!!

  • MARK DRISCOLL IS A HERETIC AND HE WILL BURN IN HELL!!! GOOD RIDANCE!!!

  • John

    While I don’t agree with everything Mark Driscoll does, and don’t support him in any way, I think you’re being a little harsh.

  • Lorin Partain

    Even bowing out gracefully, after having not been found in need to do so, is not enough for some people.

  • Lorin Partain

    and understanding how something works does not prove that it is merely material. Sir Isaac Newton, among other scientists, thought that by understanding the natural world better, we understood God better. I agree.

  • Sorry if I came across as harsh, all I’m saying is that this guy is not saved. He is a false teacher. You should listen to real men of God, like Tim Conway and Charles Leiter. They are the holiest most anointed men of God on earth today and everything they say is 100% true and inspired of God.

  • Lars

    Amen Marilyn! People, stop following men and follow Jesus. We are the body of Christ. We the Body, get it! Most of the teaching today is NOT spirit lead even though they tell you it is. It is apostasy! When will we all become maryter material and prepare for the future in Christ as the folks in Iraq and Syria have had to. Please stop with your comfortable ministry and challenge yourself to do what is right. Leave these false teachers and false prophets behind and follow Jesus the Messiah.

  • Lars

    If you are correct, then you and I have nothing to worry about.
    If I am correct, then I have nothing to worry about!

  • James,

    You were right the first time:

    “Kill them” ~ JESUS (Luke 19:27)

  • Matteo

    @ athiest max,, You are spending far too much energy on trying to convince people God doesn’t exist. Instead maybe focus on trying to point out the flaws in religions themselves, and really just the flaws in life in general. Belief in something you don’t believe in is not a case that can end civilization.

    Just a thought I suppose. If it’s what is real and true we will all come to the realization eventually.

  • Geoff thompson

    As a Sydney anglican pastor I can report that we are currently exploring accredited pastoral supervision “to engage a courageous dialogue between those aspects of my role that sit well with my personal vision and those that clash; […] between skills and vulnerabilities of which I am aware and those of which I am blind’ (Michael Paterson). I’m not aware of Mark’s reflective life but the truth is we are all vulnerable to ‘jars of clay’ excesses when we approach the big stage or the sacred square yard. I am thankful for Mark’s ministry and contribution and say so fully aware of his human failings.

  • Christian

    Amen! Galatians 6 (Jesus is about reconciliation, redemption, restoration) …kills it’s wounded oh how we need a Good Samaritan! But if he doesn’t repent, respond to correction…well

  • @DT,

    “Hi Atheist Max….How does this look from the outside looking in and what, at this point, would lead you to ever look more deeply into who the person of Jesus was and , I would say, is?”

    Yes, Hello DT.
    I was a Christian, for 44 years. I know exactly what it feels like to get on my knees and surrender to Jesus. I did it all the time. But I stopped believing.
    Some say that is not possible, but I assure you the VAST majority of Atheists are former Christians who believed in the sacredness of Jesus with all our hearts.

    “I’m a little concerned….nothing you’ve said here is going to cure anyone.”

    Perhaps. But if it sows a bit of doubt – or makes people consider the implications of their beliefs on themselves and society I have helped add a bit of sanity to the situation. Thinking is itself a step in the right direction.
    No cure by itself – but it is the beginning of treatment.
    I’m not against people having beliefs in Jesus (I was a Christian) but I do want the public effort to convert others to Christianity to be presented with a counter argument.

    “First of all, your quoting scripture to Christians without using any context”

    I present salient excerpts for many reasons. The context is over-rated.
    For example: God commands that a man must ‘cut off the hand’ of his wife if she touches another man’s penis.
    Does context improve the meaning? Change the message? Clarify some hidden ‘goodness’? No.

    “Second, you really haven’t studied real Christianity very closely because you refer to it as a religion, and if you’re trying to cure us of the cancer you need to know that it’s not religion, it’s a relationship.”

    Yes. I had a ‘relationship’ with Jesus once also. First if Christianity isn’t a religion it should be taxed. Second, it is a religion by definition. It professes faith as a method of finding a truth. That is religion.

    “Religion says “one must do or accomplish or fulfill all this to earn heaven”

    Exactly – Jesus says “eat of my body” and “Be baptized and believe” or “Be condemned to Hell” (John 6:53-54)(Mark 16:16). If you preach afterlife, Hell or Heaven it is a religion. Jesus is a religion.

    “The bible says that Jesus “laid down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), that gracious salvation is by faith and not works (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that those he doesn’t have relationship with will be apart from him in eternity (Matthew 7:23). This is what we believe and if you want to cure us study that and have a better plan on how to approach us then we can have a real conversation about it.”

    Well, I’m afraid you will have to include all of the New Testament and the Old Testament if you want to have a conversation. Bring it on, by all means. I don’t believe any of it anymore but I can discuss any of it you wish.

    “Also, if I believe there is a hell, and I do….”
    That is religion.

    “… I should be willing to go to great lengths to help you understand that, because how much would I have to hate a person if I didn’t? So go a little easy on Christians who you know mean well, because they do.”

    But I mean well also!
    So please don’t imagine I do not care! I care very much about people. That is what my effort is all about.

    “Even if we ended up being wrong, we really believe that, and don’t want people to go to hell. But its the only real justice there can be when it comes to a holy and gloriously perfect God.”

    And infinite place of eternal punishment for a finite crime is not a concept which can be connected to “justice”.
    Justice is about a balance – as in the scales of justice – remember?
    There is nothing ‘gloriously perfect’ about an eternal punishment for the small crimes listed in the Bible – many of which are not really crimes against anything at all.

  • @B,

    Can you blame Christians for being cruel – it is precisely what is commanded in the Name of Jesus Himself:

    “THEY SHALL GO AWAY TO ETERNAL PUNISHMENT (meaning, I shall NEVER forgive you)” – JESUS (Matthew 25:46)

    “DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH ANYONE…IF HE IS GUILTY..”
    (1 Corinthians 5:11)

    “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

  • Christian

    The double edged sword Jesus speaks about sharpens and slices…repentance (a change of direction/heart); a broken spirit and contrite heart is needed and yes God can use this for His glory! What does the Lord require of us? Micah 6:8; create in us a clean heart so the healing can begin. Blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy! Not being able to control your tongue (that little member) is just as sinful as murder or adultery.

  • Jeff

    It’s sad really that you would sell him out for popular secular opinion… He’s not perfect, agreed. Whom of you are? Who will throw the first stone? He has repented, have you? And you call yourselves Christians… Now that’s sad.

  • Jeff

    Bahahaha, so illogical. How about Newton’s 3rd law? Or is the creation of the universe a particular action that does not required an equal and opposite reaction? It just came into being without anything starting it huh… You choose to discount the possibility of God because of philosophical/emotional beliefs. That sir, is faith. Faith that your 3lb mass of meat in your skull has all the answers. Hardly something that I would put any stock in. Extremely arrogant at the least and borderline egotistical on the average. Good luck with that…

  • willdafrog

    Atheist. … Sorry, but you were never a Christian. Being a Christian is a calling not a decision you made. You were never given spiritual life.

  • BIP

    “Atheism is a lack of belief in Gods that is all it is. I make no claims.
    But I challenge all of yours regarding gods. […] I have no theory – I am waiting for information. If you have data which proves that god is real I am happy to check it out – so far I see no evidence of any gods so I don’t pretend that god exists.
    I just say ‘i don’t know’.”

    That is agnosticism, not atheism. Atheism definitively asserts there is no God, and thus bears the burden of proof for that statement. If you merely want to take potshots at theistic arugments, that is your right, but you do not get to call yourself an atheist. If you are interested in seeing real arguments for the existence of God, just about anything written by William Lane Craig is pretty good, but my favorite work on the subject by far is “The Last Superstition” by Edward Feser. It builds a powerful case for the existence of God from actual scratch, without resorting to presuppositionalist appeals to Biblical scripture, and also doubles as a fun survey of the history of philosophical thought. Even if you find it unconvincing, you’ll be much better prepared to engage with the issue.

  • Jimmy Dowds

    I beg to differ – 50 yrs ago no one would have batted an eye lid – Wigglesworth would have been crucified – Sadly we look live in an over effeminised world where manufactured grievances are King and the biblical instruction to not TAKE offence is buried .
    He calls it like it is and every single sports coach is respected for that but in the church world everything has to be pureed

  • Martyn

    Ah this is so sad… this guy has been one of the heroes of my faith since I became a Christian.

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  • “You are spending far too much energy on trying to convince people God doesn’t exist.”

    Oh, no. It is well worth the effort.

    Besides, I am interested in the separation of church and state
    first and foremost. MOST believers should agree with that at least.

  • FYI,

    If I wasn’t a Christian, nobody is.

  • @BIP,

    Atheist = “I do not believe”
    Agnostic = “I do not KNOW”

    I am both.
    I neither believe in a god nor do I know if a god exists.

    I do not claim Gods to be impossible.
    Show me evidence and i might care.
    In the meantime, I just love people very much and I care about them. that is all.

  • Atheist Max, you write that the Christian ought to believe in the multitude of gods that you mention, but that is patently false, for the Christian God could be the first cause, the gods you mention could not.
    In sum the Christian is justified in believing that the the Theistic God of the Bible is the cause of everything that exists.
    What do you think cause everything bro.

    Thank you.

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  • Robyn

    I call BS. It is COMPLETELY immoral to lue, cheat, bully, manipulate, shun, and threaten congregants. So YES THERE ARE ALLEGATIONS OF IMMORALITY.

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  • Karma is King

    Karma always catches up. What a total assh-le. Good luck finding anything else to do. You’re done robbing others of their hard earned cash to pocket yourself..and done hiding behind the internet to voice your holier than thou BS

  • Jo

    I think the elders and leadership of the church have to take some responsibility for this situation. It didn’t happen overnight. At some point there was a first time for everything they have found to be wrong. The first temper tantrum, first profanity, being provocative, etc. Why didn’t they say, “Whoa!” then? And when it happened a second time, why didn’t they say, “Goodbye”? I understand human failure, got plenty of it myself, but I do expect a lot, A LOT, from a man who says he is called by God to be a pastor. He may have some future time of ministry, but it’s going to be a VERY long time, if ever, that I would think he’d mature enough to be qualified as a pastor. IMHO

  • JP

    The abuses of masculine energy have been happening for a VERY long time. It is slowly but surely losing it’s stronghold as the divine feminine is being ushered in to take her rightful place beside the masculine. Balancing of the yin and yang is what is key here. A divine, spiritual and loving world is one where we are tender and strong all at the same time. This balance is happening all over the world. As we each walk the path that Jesus walked which is the path toward enlightenment we will become LOVE. I’m personally excited to see people take a stand for what they know doesn’t feel right. Abusive, arrogant and forceful energy is NOT love. Standing up for what is right which is taking stand against such energy is true power – that is truly in Christ’s spirit.
    “I merged so completely with Love, and
    was so fused, that I became Love.
    And Love became me.”
    ~Rumi

  • Gregg Caruso

    As a pastor I’m both encouraged and saddened. Encouraged by Acts 29 taking a stand as well as the many who did not feel respected or listened to. Saddened because Mark has so much to offer the cause of Christ. Additionally, I notice he doesn’t seem to understand the difference between personality and character yet. God seeks to liberate our personality while changing our character.

  • EssEm

    Good Lord.

  • Rose

    Um, I think she did, Atheist Max…what did I miss? Believe me, I don’t mean any unkindness in this, but it seems like you like to have the quick, one-liner comeback, but don’t always think about whether it really fits. I’m pretty sure her sincere comments showed that she KNOWS she, like all of us, needs grace and is encouraging others to extend it. Unless you meant that you DON’T need grace? I guess that would make sense if you are thinking of the grace Christians speak of, which comes from the God you don’t believe in, but even
    in purely human terms we all need grace, compassion and generosity from each other ~ it would be a sad, self centered world without it. I hope that’s not the world you live in

  • Rose

    Sorry, Atheist max, I’m new at this posting stuff, and thought my comment would come right after your response to Elizabeth Gassenbeck’s comment on ‘grace’…hope mine makes more sense now!

  • Quick Question

    At the height of his influence and popularity, Driscoll admitted that he harbored grand ambitions, both for himself and the church he built from scratch.

    “I’m a guy who is highly competitive,” Driscoll said in a 2006 sermon. “Every year, I want the church to grow. I want my knowledge to grow. I want my influence to grow. I want our staff to grow. I want our church plants to grow. I want everything — because I want to win.”

    Driscoll conceded that he wouldn’t be content with remaining the same.

    “That’s my own little idol and it works well in a church because no one would ever yell at you for being a Christian who produces results. So I found the perfect place to hide,” he said.

    “And I was thinking about it this week. What if the church stopped growing? What if we shrunk? What if everything fell apart? What if half the staff left? Would I still worship Jesus or would I be a total despairing mess? I don’t know. By God’s grace, I won’t have to find out, but you never know.”

    Sarah – Where did you find the above information you included in your article?

  • @Rose,

    I understand she meant no harm – neither did I. I was once Christian.
    But when someone says ‘we all need’ they are including me. It is only fair to point out that I disagree. I don’t think ‘Grace’ is a good thing and I’ll explain:

    Mark Driscoll’s journey is a public one and it is fair to discuss the implications of his actions on the broader Christian culture.

    “Grace” is sometimes a very gentle way of saying “Shut up, and back off leave this issue alone.”
    I am a very nice person and I hate hurting people’s feelings but we have to be aware of routine claims which are being made all around us even if it is uncomfortable to point them out.

    What is ‘grace’ anyway other than submission to a bossy pants?
    And why must everyone have it? These are very appropriate questions which Mark Driscoll’s situation brings up.

  • B

    That quote has been thrown around a lot, but it’s being taken out of context… He’s simply recognizing his weakness as a sinner, not declaring that he will leave the faith. Watching something you spent nearly 20 years of your life working on and with crumble before your eyes would shake any christian’s faith.

  • Quick Question

    My apologies. Re-read and assuming it came from the mentioned 2006 sermon.

  • B

    That’s a dangerous high horse you’re sitting on James… You’re claiming something that can only be known by God and Pr. Mark.

  • B

    Comments like this a clear indicator that you’re simply trolling christians… not terribly suprising, but please don’t do it uner the guise of trying to help or caring for others. At least be honest about it…

  • Larry

    “Don’t talk about forgiveness and grace in same breath of how he had it coming and you hope the door didn’t hit him on the way out. hyp.o.krit.”

    Of course I can, when I say that forgiveness and grace are 2 things he did not deserve nor provide to others. Because of such acts he had it coming. I hope the door didn’t hit him on the way out.

    There is nothing hypocritical about pointing out the hypocrisies of others. 🙂

  • Larry

    Its less throwing stones as returning the ones that were already hurled one’s way.

    Sinners in leadership DO need to be faulted in public. They hold a position of authority beyond merely organizational. They pretend to act as moral authorities as well. When one who wields moral authority, does so in an abusive manner, one must call them out for it. One cannot treat them as people worthy of the title and power which they act with.

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  • Rebecca

    @ Max, I hope you find hope and contentment in your life. Keep searching brother 🙂 I pray your heart would realize it’s worth and that glory would find you. Not your own glory or that of created-ness but that of the Creator. There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear. Max you are are so treasured by the One who is keeping your heart and mind in tune with each other. I pray he brings you to the edge of existence where you see faithfulness and reality collide. May your hope be found in the entity that is The Lord. Sovereign and unweighted by the works and fears of man, but full of compassionate ease for his love- people! 🙂

  • Charles

    Atheist Max is having a great time. He is happy that a man of God is experiencing problems and cannot accept that in HIS time the problem will be fixed.

  • Sharon

    I visited that church one time and the message he conveyed clearly stated that if you have any type of “sin” in your life, that Mars Hill was not your church. One bad apple spoils the rest he said. That was my last visit.

  • @B,

    Are you not familiar with the Parable of the Minas?
    If you are serious about pushing Jesus on people like me, you better be ready to defend your Jesus.

    Mark Driscoll is just one more holy roller train wreck
    created by following a bad philosophy of life – and pushing it on others.

    And That absolutely needs to be heard by Christians
    who are all too ready to hop on the next Holy Roller Train to Nonsense!

  • Karla

    Sharon-Bible says that we must Repent so maybe you aren’t living right
    and that’s why you really left. Mr. Driscoll messed up and he is paying
    the consequences so I hope that this will humble him so he Repents and
    the Bible is clear the gate is narrow/we need to Repent/follow Jesus and
    Jesus said you are one of Mine only if you follow Me! If that you say you
    love Jesus and then you don’t follow the Bible/religion no Truth is in you!
    Bible says Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved. We must Repent!

  • Thanks Rebecca, for your kind sentiments.

    I return them in my Atheist way – lots of love to you and yours! 🙂

    I’m good without the god stuff but you go ahead and enjoy it yourself (be careful though!) ….Cheers!

  • @Marvin,

    “Atheist Max, you write that the Christian ought to believe in the multitude of gods that you mention…”

    Oh, no. Not at all.
    I was addressing a person who said it takes ‘faith to be an Atheist’.

    I was pointing out that Atheism is not a ‘faith’ as it is the lack of a belief in any gods. And it takes no effort to NOT believe. No faith is required.

    IF however, someone wants to argue that Atheism is a faith, they would have to explain how they actively DISBELIEVED and which list of Gods were they actively disbelieving in.

  • Drena

    I agree with this statement. Leaders in a church should be held to higher standards, and should be liked to as examples of leading the Christian life and following Jesus as Lord. While the attacks on Mark have gone over board, that does not mean he works get excused for what his track rescued had been. Further more, he should not even be considered for Christian leadership again till he has a long hard chat with Jesus. Hopefully he understands what that really means after the chat and lives accordingly.

  • Marc

    Athiest: are you gay?

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  • Alestorm

    We are here to drink your beer
    To steal your rum at the point of a gun
    Your alcohol to us will fall
    Because we are here to drink your beer

  • Christian

    “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone (at her).”
    John 8:7

  • P

    Nobody deserves Grace. That is why it’s called Grace. God alone is the judge, because only He is suitable to judge. Why is there all this warring around this? Because just as James says they it is because of the desires, and passions which are at was within us. And as Jesus said, we are all murderers when we have even called our brother a fool. But thanks be to God that even though ALL have sinned and fallen short of God standard of perfection, ALL are freely saved justified by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus. God did not send His son into the world to condemn it though that is what we all have deserved, but rather God sent Him so we could be saved. This is regardless of whether we have been a “good” person, a jerk, a criminal, in the church, out of the Church. Our ” good deeds” are like filthy rags to Him. There is no way anyone can earn, or or in our own right deserve salvation. But. He who said “love ypur enemies and pray for those who persecute you” did both of those things for each of us. So we should follow His example by showing love and forgiveness to anyone who has offended or otherwise wronged us. I don’t know whether or not Mark Driscoll, never met him, never been in his vicinity as far as I know. I’ve heard of Mars Hill, but that is about it. I’m not here to defend or accuse him. I just happened across this article by chance and for some reason started reading the comments, and suddenly found I had to say something. But just to give a heads up, I probably won’t be checking any responses to my comment. I can’t even keep up with my Facebook friends, so I’m not going to try to keep up with this. ANYWAYS, If Mr. Driscoll has done wrong, he is not beyond the forgiveness of God, and therefore, he should not be beyond the forgiveness of you and me. And we should also be forgiving of each other for any words that have been spoken in anger. By the way, I’m directing my post to the whole series of commentators, not just to Larry or Joshua. To those of us who consider ourselves Christian-we should not let satan have a foothold by allowing a bitter root to grow up in us. May we speak the Truth in love. May we not let any unwholesome word come out of,our mouths. Let the Mars Hill leadership decide what it will, and move on. Let us pray for the family of Mars Hill. If are pieces which need to be picked up, lives that need to be mended, let brothers and sisters in Christ do so with the same kind of love that God poured out on us when He sent His son to pay the price for what we have done.

  • P

    Sorry about the typos folks.

  • P

    Sorry about the typos folks.

  • P

    🙂 Glad you chose that song, and not “keelhauled” to post. 😉

  • Marc

    @Athiest

    I have a different term for you…IGNOSTIC = Ignorance

    An Athiest is one who denies the existence of any God. You say you do not KNOW the existence of any God.

    I don’t have contempt prior to investigation…

    I read much of your blog. It appears you had a sort of traumatic reaction to a couple of events where many innocent people died and as a result questioned your faith at that time. Understandable and your faith was forced upon you by, as you say in your blog your family etc…

    I had the opposite experience in my upbringing. I was raised by a scientist who was a true Athiest. He didn’t just not believe there is NO God. He also proclaimed there is no possibility of any God and no afterlife. He would attempt to prove to you the Big Bang and evolution etc…

    Growing up I believed all of that. Very sad for a child to believe he came from apes who for some reason evolved while others are still apes.

    In college I began to question science. The Big Bang, evolution, global warming, the recreation theory. I learned they were all theories. Science actually motivated me to study the religions of the world and ultimately to read the bible and like a good scientist I read with skepticism and a fine tooth comb.

    I am glad science clouded my mind with a multitude of theories which are still emerging and continually proven wrong. Those unanswered theories caused me to search elsewhere.

    Thank you Athiest, for you have reminded me of how grateful I am to no longer be hoping for that rock solid piece of evidence that proves the existence of God.

    Ignorance really isn’t bliss when it comes to mortality. Based on your own reaction to tragic deaths.

    Keep up your efforts to convert Christians. I can see it only fuels their fire for God. Maybe someone will get motivated to do something for God thanks to you.

    I believe your quest for “proof” if you dig deep enough and educate yourself in recent scientific theory as well as biblical archeology you would ultimately come back to the God who was forced upon you and have the knowledge of the truth revealed to you.

  • Emma-Marie

    Churches are not filled with sinners. They are filled with former sinners. You can’t keep on sinning and call yourself saved and a friend of Christ. That doesn’t mean Christians don’t sin, it just means they will not keep on sinning. I don’t think it’s right to point the finger of judgement without first taking the plank out of one’s own eye, so that one can rightly judge. But rightly judge we must, or we will be responsible for many lives being damaged. Or do victims not matter?

  • Karla

    Christian-After He/Jesus said that He told the woman caught in adultery
    to go and sin no more! He told her to change the/her behavior..that part
    gets left out far too often. He told her to change. We must Repent/change!

  • Kathleen

    Max, You have obviously chosen to reject Jesus’ free gift of salvation. I hope you can get all you want from this life because there will be no remedy for you when you die. Now, for all Christians here, there is a time when we are not to “cast our pearls before swine”. Max is not worth arguing with. His mind is made up. Get the Word of God out to those who want it and let the chips fall where they may. We are the sowers and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

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  • This is a lesson for Mark as well as for the rest of us. It is also a test…

    http://bareknuckle.org/2014/10/08/holding-onto-christ-when-the-church-goes-haywire/

  • Linda

    Max, you seem like a thoughtful guy I would encourage you to consider the book “A Case For Christ” written by an atheist who set out to prove through scientific, geological and archeological study, that Jesus was a myth. What have you got to loose?

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  • Robert Brown

    Amen P

  • BDT

    By way of correction to the article. The downtown Mars Hill location closed and joined with the Ballard location because it lost its lease. Period. It had nothing to do with the situation concerning Pastor Mark. Finding a new facility downtown Seattle is daunting and very expensive. Downtown Mars Hill was healing and growing after the last sham of a lead pastor, Tim Gaydos, left abruptly for his own self-interests.
    The Church isn’t Mark Driscoll. It will continue because Jesus is faithful. But, I do believe this is a great loss to the church today. Mark’s commitment to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ resulted in many being saved. That’s his legacy. I know of zero mega church pastors who are known for their humility. I guess today both of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, would be considered abrasive, proud and arrogant…..Truth is hard for many to hear.

  • BDT

    And you allow Christians their freedoms?

  • Art

    @ AM.
    “The ‘context’ improves absolutely nothing.”
    That is… for a self absorbed mechanic like you AM. With all due respect 🙂

  • Hi Linda,
    I’ve read them all. Hundreds of books for and against Jesus.

    Please check out my blog if you are interested in how a grown man went from God to Godless. I hope it answers your questions.

  • @Kathleen,

    It wasn’t ‘free’. Nothing worthwhile ever is.

  • @Marc,

    Ignorance is not only what you don’t know.
    It is what you won’t know.

    Atheism is only the lack of belief in a god. Atheism is not a claim that god is impossible. Who knows? God may exist – but perhaps he only cares for Atheists?

    My blog is linked to my name if you care to learn what Atheism is about – rather than what you have heard from your pastors.

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  • Some guy

    One of the qualifications of being a church leader is being “above reproach” . . . Driscoll’s inability to do so should be note worthy.

    Being the leader of a church is a very high calling . . . one that is the most demanding and requires character full of integrity. Just because someone is a gifted communicator does not automatically make them “qualified”

    In the end, God will be faithful to grow His church . . . He will bring and raise up men to proclaim His word

  • @Art,

    The real mechanic is God.
    Unfortunately he cannot fix Iron chariots (Judges 1:19)

    And God is also a Contractor in the Home Decorating business.

    🙂 Even Martha Stewart could learn this excellent trick
    to fix molds and plagues which involve cutting a bird in half
    and squeezing its blood into some water.

    But you probably knew all this 🙂

    🙂 God’s Holy MOLD REMOVAL: How to Remove God’s Most Defiling Molds and Mildew

    “The Lord said….As for any fabric that is spoiled with a defiling mold—any woolen or linen clothing, any woven or knitted material of linen or wool, any leather or anything made of leather— if the affected area in the fabric, the leather, the woven or knitted material, or any leather article, is greenish or reddish, it is a defiling mold and must be shown to the priest.”

    The Priest Will Employ the Holy Magic of Yahweh’s Sorcery to Remove the Mold

    “The priest is to examine the affected area and isolate the article for seven days. On the seventh day he is to examine it, and if the mold has spread in the fabric, the woven or knitted material, or the leather, whatever its use, it is a persistent defiling mold; the article is unclean. He must burn the fabric, the woven or knitted material of wool or linen, or any leather article that has been spoiled; because the defiling mold is persistent, the article must be burned.”

    The Priest Will Employ the Holy Magic of Yahweh’s Sorcery to Remove the Mold

    “But if, when the priest examines it, the mold has not spread in the fabric, the woven or knitted material, or the leather article, he shall order that the spoiled article be washed. Then he is to isolate it for another seven days. …. must be washed again. Then it will be clean.”

    “These are the regulations concerning defiling molds in woolen or linen clothing, woven or knitted material, or any leather article, for pronouncing them clean or unclean.”

    (Leviticus 13:47-59)

    🙂 GOD SAYS HE CAN MAKE A HOUSE DISEASED
    BUT DON’T BOTHER HIM WITH PRAYER TO ASK HIM TO CLEAN UP HIS MESS BECAUSE OTHERS MUST HELP HIM
    🙂

    “And the Lord spake …
    When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession….

    he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying,
    “It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house”:

    ….Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:

    🙂 THE PRIEST MUST TAKE THE HOUSE TO THE DUMP 🙂

    And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house..
    And if the plague come again…Then the priest shall come and look…
    And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the morter of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into the town dump.

    THEN THE PRIEST MUST KILL A BIRD
    TO SQUEEZE ITS BLOOD IN A VOODOO MAGIC SPELL

    And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:
    And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times…
    But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.”

    (Leviticus 14:33-57)

    🙂 THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD 🙂

    Too bad God didn’t think of reaching into the future (because he is limitless) and handing people vaccines or mildew removers.
    I mean, if he’s gonna make a suggestion – shouldn’t it be one that actually WORKS?

    Bird Blood! Seriously, God!? 🙂

    But Art, Hey! What do I know?
    Put it in context for me!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • E. E.

    Brian, your position – that we should calm down and accept that people can think for themselves and outside the box – makes sense.

    By the way, I don’t see any conflict between having faith in science, proven theories and God. Neither did the early scientists and mathematicians who delved into research based on their faith that there was a God of order behind natural laws and mathematical proofs.

    I find Atheist Max’ position to be self-refuting. If I were to believe him and turn from Christianity, I would be doing so because of a lack of evidence for it. But to insist on having evidence for the basis of all beliefs would be to insist on not believing him because I have no evidence for him. I’m not saying that there is none, I’m sure he could supply ample evidence, I’m just saying that I have no evidence, so until I do, I can’t accept what he is saying. So for him to be consistent, he would have to supply ample evidence of who he is, and irrefutable evidence of everything he is saying, every time he makes an assertion.

  • E. E.

    That’s Jesus quoting the lord – a “severe” and “hated” man – in the parable.

  • @E.E.,

    The nobleman in the Parable of the Minas is a not-so-veiled reference to JESUS himself. Every interpretation of the Nobleman by the every Christian organization and study group claims that Jesus is referring to himself:

    “bring to me those who would not have me as their King and execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

    “be baptized and believe and eat of my body” or “be condemned” – JESUS” (John 6:53-54)(Mark 16:16)

    This is loveless, indefensible, fascist nonsense.

  • Byllie

    James, You are not just harsh; you are extremely judgmental. Remember judgment comes before a fall. It doesn’t sound like you even know him but you’re ready to condemn him to hell. What extreme arrogance. Fortunately that’s God’s decision. There is that occasional, deceived so called Christian, who thinks they are without sin so they can cast the first stone. If those who judge will be judged; I think you are in big trouble with God. I think it’s your salvation which is at risk. I don’t think Jesus called us to shoot our wounded. This kind of wicked judgement is a blemish on the church. I’m sure it grieves the heart of God and I’m sure God loves Mark Driscoll and has plans for his future. He is not walking perfection and obviously you are far from it.

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  • Shannon

    @ Atheist Max

    We, as Christians, are called to Love above all else. I am sorry that you and others have been hurt by Christians. It is not our cause to judge others, only to love. Unfortunately, some in the church today believe and behave differently. But, that’s not a reason to distrust God. Get to know Him first, then make your choice. Max, you have talent, God given, to write, to paint, to inspire. God wants to encounter you, right now. Just speak to Him as you would a friend, or someone in the room next to you, and see what happens. He is real, He loves you.

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  • Joe

    It’s no one else’s burden but yours that you know nothing or care nothing about something you chose to read and comment on.

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  • JIm Green

    Rob, I don’t mean to sound harsh but you kinda sound like a jerk!

  • Ryan

    You lost me at “who’s”.

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  • Russ Davis

    Satan’s usual accusing of the brethren, Revelation 12:10. It only impresses the Biblically illiterate, bigoted, gullible fringe types who fondle all the lies they’re told, having not a clue about what Driscoll really taught. Godly John Piper (of Desirig God), a true friend of Driscoll, is none of those, why he still supports him. The self-deluded, gullible hacks and tools of satan (Rev 12:10) like E.W. Williams are all of those, profiting from their bogus, proof-texting false accusations, violating Romans 14:4 in bearing false witness, publishing books like algore.

  • Rob

    At the height of his influence and popularity, Driscoll admitted that he harbored grand ambitions, both for himself and the church he built from scratch.

    “I’m a guy who is highly competitive,” Driscoll said in a 2006 sermon. “Every year, I want the church to grow. I want my knowledge to grow. I want my influence to grow. I want our staff to grow. I want our church plants to grow. I want everything — because I want to win.”

    Driscoll conceded that he wouldn’t be content with remaining the same.

    “That’s my own little idol and it works well in a church because no one would ever yell at you for being a Christian who produces results. So I found the perfect place to hide,” he said.

    I think that say it all, Idols and Pride, two things God isn’t to fond of and that drive can cause people to lie and do criminal things. Well God will net lot sin be hidden and looks as if God is cleaning that house. Pride does indeed come before a fall…

  • Rob

    Actually not righteous judgement;John 7:24 judge with righteous judgment

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