Mark Driscoll

Pastor Mark Driscoll apologizes for missteps, quits social media

(RNS) Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll has written a letter to his congregation to explain recent controversies, including the marketing campaign intended to place the book, "Real Marriage," on The New York Times best-seller list.

Mark Driscoll photo

Mark Driscoll photo

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Driscoll has been an influential pastor within Reformed evangelical circles for several years, helping to found a church planting network called Acts 29. His own Mars Hill Church attracts some 14,000 people at 15 locations in five states each Sunday.

In recent months, however, reports have emerged that Driscoll plagiarized some of the material in his books. And earlier this month, World magazine reported that Driscoll hired a firm to buy copies of the book he penned with his wife, Grace, so that it would top the best-seller lists.

In a letter posted on Reddit on Saturday (March 15), Driscoll apologized for using the marketing strategy.

"I am sorry that I used this strategy, and will never use it again," he wrote. "I have also asked my publisher to not use the '#1 New York Times bestseller' status in future publications, and am working to remove this from past publications as well."

The church's spokesman, Justin Dean, confirmed that a letter from Driscoll to Mars Hill Church was posted to the church's internal network as "a private family communication."

"At this time we have chosen not to publicly release the letter," Dean said, adding that the pastor was not available for interviews.

Driscoll also apologized to his church in 2007 for lacking humility.

In the new letter, Driscoll said he would quit social media for the rest of 2014 to "reset" his life. "The distractions it can cause for my family and our church family are not fruitful or helpful at this time," he said. 

Driscoll also wrote that "my angry-young-prophet days are over."

"I understand that people who saw or experienced my sin during this season are hurt and in some cases have not yet come to a place of peace or resolution," he wrote. "I have been burdened by this for the past year and have had private meetings one at a time to learn from, apologize to, and reconcile with people."

He said that he will not do as many speaking engagements in the future. "I don’t see how I can be both a celebrity and a pastor, and so I am happy to give up the former so that I can focus on the latter," he wrote.

Driscoll also apologized for how recent staff turnover has been handled.

"I am deeply grieved and even depressed by the pain we have caused," he said. "Many have chosen to air their concerns online, and I apologize for any burden this may have brought on you, and I will do my best to clarify a few things without, I hope, being angry or defensive."



  1. You are human. Trust God to make you a best seller, not by your own hands because there are opportunities in every journey. If you go ahead of His plan, you miss the lesson. Or maybe you didn’t.

  2. I think this is a move in the right direction for Pastor Mark. Prayfully he can get his life in order according to God’s will for his life. Pastor Mark is a good Pastor, he is just human and has made some mistakes. May he feel God’s grace and focus on his redirection in the right direction, as he said. Praying for you Pastor Mark and your family and staff.

  3. I have been greatly blessed by Mark’s sermons and have great respect for him but also have been quite concerned by things that others have written and sometimes his attitude while preaching – isn’t it great when leaders admit when they have sinned and fall short and so lead others to do the same. I have greater respect for such leaders than for those who appear perfect from the outside and never seem to struggle with sin at all.

  4. I hope this is sincere, but at least we’ll be spared his tweets for the rest of the year.

  5. You can’t serve the god of your ego and God the Father at the same time.

    In the new letter, Driscoll said he would quit social media for the rest of 2014 to “reset” his life. ”The distractions it can cause for my family and our church family are not fruitful or helpful at this time,” he said.

    So an 8 month sabbatical and you think you’re cleansed and ready to retake the helm? If you TRULY had humility, you would step down and let someone else take the reins.

  6. St. Paul persecuted Christians yet God made him one of the greatest saints of the bible. Your comment is terrible and has no mercy. That’s not being Christian. What did Jesus try to teach us by forgiving Mary Magdalene? The man is a human being just like you and deserves a second chance. Have respect, mercy and love for those who ask for forgiveness. That’s what being a Christian is all about. Why don’t you repeat the Lord’s prayer and then when you get to the part that says, “forgive us AS we forgive those who have sinned against us” and meditate on this. Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you. How can God forgive you of your mistakes if you don’t forgive this man?

  7. Mark,

    I think the jury’s still out on your “Saint” Paul.

    Don’t you think there’s a good deal to the notion that he was, like many organizational kingpins, a mega-scale fabricator of fictions?

    Funny that you should bring him up in the context of this Driscoll fella, who seems to have learned the lessons of Paul, but not the lessons of ordinary human decency.

    Driscoll at least seems to be trying — or at least of making motions of humility commensurate with the fact that he’s been caught.

    Commensurate with being caught, let us be clear, not necessarily commensurate with actually repenting…


  8. IF the jury is still out on St Paul, then why even bother writing on Chrisitan themes which in your world are fraught with mega-scale fabrications. Are you a troller of things Christian? Do you like to torpedo young believers quoting the serpent, ‘has God truly said’? I find your even being here a conundrum. Not that you aren’t welcome of course.
    I also find it interesting when people tell other people who their pastor should or shouldn’t be. Especially when one has publicly apologized.

  9. “I’m sorry that I used that strategy”???? That sounds like an Obamaesque or Clintonian NON apology. Schysters will use and abuse the good Christian Souls and manipulate their forgiving nature. I am NOT his judge, but I sure can assess. I know what a true heartfelt humble apology sounds like and this ain’t it. If he wants to truly repent and humble himself, let him do it from the pews, respecting a new Shepherd. One who is NOT a strategist trying to pump up his ego using Church money to do it. Use some discernment here people.

  10. I am using discernment , Jim, and it seems you have a lack of peace made worse by spiritual pride. I do not sense any Christ-like mercy in your comments. As for Driscoll, Jesus said, “You shall know a tree by its fruit.” Time will tell. You must be patient to wait and see the kind of fruit this confession produces. In the mean time, work on your own fruit. It tastes a little sour.

  11. Comparing him to Paul is silly. Paul was not a Christian, was blinded, took some time off, and then became a follower of Christ and then a preacher.
    Mark is/was a Christian preacher,sinned, and is now going to stop tweeting.
    Says a lot that the pastor cannot take time off. Either he is putting himself before Christ because he won’t take time off or his followers are putting Mark before Christ.

  12. This is not the first time I have read about Mark’s behavior and his wounding of staff, etc. This has been an ongoing problem. This man is full of pride. Very sad and very, very hurtful to those who have to deal with it.

  13. You also have to give Mark credit for not responding publicly to people complaining publicly about him. It takes a lot of self control not to try and clear your name and point the finger back when others are talking (gossiping) about you. I know there are always 2 sides to a story and I’m sure Mark could write blogs about those people and their actions. I don’t know any of them but am quite familiar with the way people stretch the truth – perhaps the people that have aired their grievances publicly aren’t as innocent as they profess to be? Surely bringing down a brother in front of all and sundry shows a lack of trusting God… Just sayin…

  14. Benign “Pastor disasters” like these always put a smile on my face.

    Mark Driscoll said, “I don’t see how I can be both a celebrity and a pastor, and so I am happy to give up the former so that I can focus on the latter,”

    Nice fall back plan.
    Go back to the religion, the preaching, the teaching – now that you can claim to be ‘humbled’ instead of ‘humiliated’.

    Nevermind that the source of Mark’s trouble is the core of the whole charade. Religion is fakery of the highest order.

  15. “Get out of my way, I’m on a mission for the Lord”

    That’s the most prideful thing anyone could ever say. Yet that is the doctrine.
    Such ‘humility’ has always been laughable.

  16. It would be tragic if Mark were to step down completely. Never have I heard someone present the gospel and other biblical truths the way that Mark Driscoll has done. He has been gifted by the Lord. I understand that some people (especially men it would seem-probably men with big egos and authority issues) have a hard time with a man like Driscoll. But lets not deny the fact that the Lord has blessed him and his ministry for a reason. And that reason is (in my words), “he is HANDS DOWN the BEST preacher I’ve EVER heard”. A lot of people agree. Lets not forget that king David (prideful, adulteress, murderer) was a man after God’s own heart.. Two things that I know are: 1. We all make mistakes & 2. Driscoll has more giftedness in his baby toe than most of us do entirely. Also – its ridiculous to say that his supporters put Mark above Jesus. What kind of person would even come up with that?

  17. Writh all due respect to Mr. Driscoll I think he should consider the following. I know people make mistakes and that shouldn’t be an excuse. I forgive him and i also know that just because God forgives someone the consquence are still there. Anyone who sins there will be a ripple effect and who knows how that will effect other people. I believe he should do the right thing and examine is life. To truely see if he is really following God and sure that he has the proper gifts for the pastoral role. If doesn’t he should step down an apologize to his church for failure to follow biblical truths. If he is not willing to lead a Christ centered life than please step down and stop doing harm to God’s family. I have been to the church in Everett. and was shocked to hear the kind of worship music and the fact that i had to watch a preacher on screen. I felt this was inpersonable and no way i could connect with my pastor. There should be a pastor (with the correct biblical. gifts) lead the church in my area. My point is this, if you are not following what God has said in his word than please step down with what dignity you have left and give
    your position to a person who meets the biblical requirements. It should be about Christ centered focus not Mr. Driscoll focus. Please do the right thing and if you have to step down may God give you the strength.

  18. An organization like Mars Hill cannot live in the light.

    But in 2012 a lot of media and other “light” was turned onto Mars Hill through some people being very hurt by their evil ways and telling about it. These hurtful ways were enabled by the thwarting of the by-law process in 2007 which formed what I would call a very non-church entity.

    So now if you simply use your favorite search engine to look into:

    mark driscoll by-laws

    mark driscoll inurement

    mark driscoll plagiarism

    mark driscoll crut (that is: C R U T)

    mark driscoll bus

    mark driscoll in the news

    mars hill in the news

    You will find good reason to stay away from mars hill. And that is good for everyone.

  19. Peter publicly denying Jesus not once but three times. He didn’t even apologise just said that he loved Jesus three times. If he was really humble he would have handed over his position as an apostle to someone else.

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