Ethics Institutions

Mark Driscoll’s books pulled from the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay stores

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

(RNS) The nation’s second largest Christian book retailer has pulled megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll’s books from its website and 186 stores.

Driscoll has been an influential but edgy pastor within conservative evangelical circles for several years.

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

Leaders at the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay Christian Resources, informed stores on Friday to stop selling books by the Seattle pastor who has been in hot water.

Last week, leaders of the church planting network Acts 29 removed Driscoll and his churches from the group he helped found and asked that he “step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help.”

Driscoll has been an influential but edgy pastor within conservative evangelical circles for several years. His Mars Hill Church attracts some 14,000 people at 15 locations across five states. He has been provocative, occasionally profane and has faced allegations of plagiarism and inflating book sales.

The mushrooming set of allegations led the publishing arm to suspend sales while it “monitors the developments of his ministry,” said LifeWay media relations manager Marty King.

LifeWay Christian Stores logo, courtesy of LifeWay.

LifeWay Christian Stores logo, courtesy of LifeWay.

“It was a cumulative effect,” King said. “The Acts 29 leadership asking him to step down was certainly a part of that.”

At the time of the decision, LifeWay’s stores were selling just one of Driscoll’s titles, “A Call to Resurgence,” King said.

A spokesperson for Mars Hill did not respond to LifeWay’s decision.

Driscoll recently admitted to and apologized for crude comments he made about feminism, homosexuality and “sensitive emasculated” men on an online discussion forum under the pseudonym “William Wallace II.”

Blogger Warren Throckmorton, who broke the news, has also reported allegations from former ministers that Driscoll publicly asked their wives about their favorite sexual position.

Acts 29’s decision was unusual because ministries usually leave matters of church discipline up to local churches. But a letter from Acts 29’s board suggested that it could not lean on Mars Hill’s own board to discipline Driscoll. The Acts 29 statement came after evangelical leaders Paul Tripp and James MacDonald resigned as members of the church governing board.

In 2012, LifeWay halted sales of a breast cancer awareness Bible tied to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, an organization that has drawn controversy for its partnership with Planned Parenthood. The same year, it pulled “The Blind Side” from shelves after complaints over the film’s profanity and use of a racial slur.

YS/AMB END BAILEY

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About the author

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey is a national correspondent for RNS, covering how faith intersects with politics, culture and other news. She previously served as online editor for Christianity Today where she remains an editor-at-large.

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