Friday, January 11, 2008

The Pride and Presumption of Men Upon Grace the contemporary church embraces worldliness


"The church has lost her testimony. She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion and not meant to sound bigoted."

"Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by its culture, actually stands in sharp opposition to it." 
-A.W. Tozer

"Bars" Hill Church - Serving Up 100 Proof Culture
This post is my initial response to Mark Driscoll's and the leadership of Mars Hill Church's lack of wisdom in the New Years Eve bash they held 12 days ago (some pics from last year's event); which among other things featured an open champagne bar to toast in the New Year (if you had a proper ID).  I'm not a teetotaler, but in a public gathering of God's people other considerations should take precedence (Roms. 14;15).  BTW, whatever happened to sparkling white grape juice?  I do like the fact that Mars Hill had something going on in their church on NYE.  That is something that is missing in too many churches today.  But you can still have a great night of celebration without the revelry.  Why not a great contemporary worship concert that includes a sit down dinner; share testimonies of what the Lord has done over the last year by people in the church; followed by a communion service where the Word is read and the gospel proclaimed; and then pray in the new year together with more music?  IOW, why not make Jesus the center and honor of the celebration?

Pulpit Porn?
This is also my initial response to Mark's unfortunate scatological message he gave this past Sunday, and the vulgar Q and A that followed, addressing his first question on his ask-anything promotion concerning child birth. Mars Hill rated the Q and A, MH-17, and even Mark personally called it "really offensive."  (BTW, he said they have broken down their content into only two categories: "offensive and really offensive."  How about "biblical or unbiblical?")  My primary concern here is not should we ever talk about this subject; but in addressing them in the fashion he did, there was little or no fear of the Lord or reverence for God - two staples that should always mark biblical preaching.  Graphically unfolding individual sins as opposed to powerfully unfolding the victory offered through Christ Jesus the Lord was, IMHO, an error in judgment. 

Muslims and Christians Together - The New Evangelical Ecumenism
And this is also is my initial response to the A Common Word Between Us (Muslims and Christians Together) document signed by several leading evangelical leaders trying to promote peace and unity among our faiths.

Charles Spurgeon and The Presumptuous Man
My heart is too heavy today to say more about these things. We don't need to just squabble about these things, we need real answers for these things.

I want to direct you to two places for those answers: 1. The Word of God; and 2. Pastor Charles Spurgeon. The excerpt below from this sermon is one of the most convicting I have ever read and I highly commend it to you. May we all keep our hand to the plow and not look back; and may the Lord keep us from being a presumptuous people. (You can read the entire sermon by clicking on "Pastor Spurgeon" above.)

Time is too fleeting to spend away our days on trivial pursuits and our own reputations. We should spend them serving the Lord and for His glory. Let us redeem the time today.

For Christ and His glory alone.

From the crucible of grace...
2 Cor. 4:5-7

A Caution to the Presumptuous

"Let him that thinketh he standeth
take heed lest he fall."

—1 Cor. 10:12

By Charles Spurgeon

IT is a singular fact, but nevertheless most certain, that the vices are the counterfeits of virtues. Whenever God sends from the mint of heaven a precious coin of genuine metal, Satan will imitate the impress, and utter a vile production of no value. God gives love; it is his nature and his essence. Satan also fashioneth a thing which he calls love, but it is lust. God bestows courage; and it is a good thing to be able to look one's fellow in the face, fearless of all men in doing our duty. Satan inspires fool-hardiness, styles it courage, and bids the man rush to the cannon's mouth for "bubble reputation." God creates in man holy fear. Satan gives him unbelief, and we often mistake the one for the other. So with the best of virtues, the saving grace of faith, when it comes to its perfection it ripens into confidence, and there is nothing so comfortable and so desirable to the Christian, as the full assurance of faith. Hence, we find Satan, when he sees this good coin, at once takes the metal of the bottomless pit, imitates the heavenly image and superscription of assurance, and palms upon us the vice of presumption.

We are astonished, perhaps, as Calvinistic Christians, to find Paul saying, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall;" but we need not be astonished, for though we have a great right to believe that we stand, if we think we stand through the power of God—though we cannot be too confident of the might of the Most High, there is a thing so near akin to true confidence, that unless you use the greatest discernment you cannot tell the difference. Unholy presumption—it is against that which I am to speak this morning. Let me not be misunderstood. I shall not utter one word against the strongest faith. I wish all Little-Faiths were Strong-Faiths, that all Fearings were made Valiants-for-Truth, and the Ready-to-Halts Asahel's Nimble-of-Foot, that they might all run in their Master's work. I speak not against strong faith or full assurance; God giveth it to us; it is the holiest, happiest thing that a Christian can have, and there is no state so desirable as that of being able to say, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him." It is not against that I speak, but I warn you against that evil thing, a false confidence and presumption which creepeth over a Christian, like the cold death-sleep on the mountain-top, from which, if he is not awakened, as God will see that he shall be, death will be the inevitable consequence. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."

My first business shall be to FIND OUT THE CHARACTER intended by the presumptuous man, the man who thinks he stands. I could find a multitude of such if I might search the wide world o'er. I could find men in business filled with an arrogant hardihood, who, because they have in one speculation been successful will wade far out into the stormy sea of this contending life, risk their all—and lose it too. I might mention others who, presuming upon their health, are spending their years in sin and their lives in iniquity, because they think their bones iron and their nerves steel, and "all men mortal but themselves."

I might speak of men who will venture
into the midst of temptation,
confident in their boasted power,
exclaiming with self-complacency,
"Do you think I am so weak as to sin?
Oh! no; I shall stand.
Give me the glass; I shall never be a drunkard.
Give me the song; you will not find me a midnight reveller.
I can drink a little and then I can stop."

Such are presumptuous men.

But I am not about to find them there; my business this morning is with God's church. The fanning must begin with the floor; the winnowing must try the wheat. So we are to winnow the church this morning to discover the presumptuous. We need not go far to find them. There are in every Christian church men who think they stand, men who vaunt themselves in fancied might and power, children of nature finely dressed, but not the living children of the living God; they have not been humbled or broken in spirit, or if they have, they have fostered carnal security until it has grown to a giant and trampled the sweet flower of humility under its foot. They think they stand. I speak now of real Christians, who, notwithstanding, have grown presumptuous, and indulge in a fleshly security.

Pride is the most pregnant cause of presumption. In all its various shapes it is the fountain of carnal security. Sometimes it is pride of talent. God has endowed a man with gifts; he is able to stand before the multitude, or to write for the many; he has a discerning mind, he has a judgment, and such like things. Then says he, " As for the ignorant, those who have no talent, they may fall; my brother ought to take care: but look at me. How am I wrapped in grandeur!" And thus in his self-complacency he thinks he stands. Ah! those are the men that fall. How many that flamed like comets in the sky of the religious world have rushed into space and been quenched in darkness! How many a man who has stood like a prophet before his fellows, and who would exclaim as he wrapped himself in his conceit, "I, only I am alive, I am the only prophet of God;" and yet that only prophet fell; his lamp was quenched, and his light put out in darkness. How many have boasted of their might and dignity, and have said, "I have built this mighty Babylon," but then they thought they stood, and they fell at once. "Let him that thinketh he standeth," with the proudest talents, "take heed lest he fall."

Others have the pride of grace. That is a curious fact; but there is such a thing as being proud of grace. A man says, "I have great faith, I shall not fall; poor little faith may, but I never shall." " I have fervent love," says another man, "I can stand, there is no danger of my going astray; as for my brother over there, he is so cold and slow, he will fall, I dare say." Says another, "I have a most burning hope of heaven, and that hope will triumph; it will purge my soul from sense and sin, as Christ the Lord is pure. I am safe." He who boasts of grace, has little grace to boast of. But there are some who do that, who think their graces can keep them, knowing not that the stream must flow constantly from the fountain head, else the bed of the brook shall soon be dry, and ye shall see the pebbles at the bottom. If a continuous stream of oil come not to the lamp, though it burn brightly to-day, it shall smoke to-morrow, and noxous will be the scent thereof. Take heed that thou neither gloriest in thy talents nor in thy graces.

Many are worse still; they think they shall not fall because of their privileges. "I take the sacrament, I have been baptized in an orthodox manner, as written in God's word; I attend such and such a ministry; I am well fed; I am fat and flourishing in the courts of my God. If I were one of those starved creatures who hear a false gospel, possibly I might sin; but oh! our minister is the model of perfection; we are constantly fed and made fat; surely we shall stand." Thus in the complacency of their priviledges they run down others, exclaiming, "My mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved." Take heed, presumption, take heed. Pride cometh before a fall; and a haughty spirit is the usher of destruction. Take heed; watch thy footsteps; for where pride creepeth in, it is the worm at the root of the gourd, causing it to wither and die. "Let him that thinketh he standeth," because of pride of talent, or grace, or privilege, "take heed lest he fall."

I hope I have touched some here; I trust the lancet has been sharp; I have taken the scalpel, and I hope I have discovered something.


glip said...

Steve, I watched a good chunk of Mark's sermon. I saw nothing wrong with it. "Vulgar" would be the last adjective I would use here. I dont quite understand where youre coming from, and why you give Driscoll such a hard time, so to speak. Sure, the Q&A is not for the faint of heart, but he speaks very maturely, and..guess what he uses Scripture. Just my two cents. Thanks for your ministry and music. Scott, Psalm 16:3

SJ Camp said...

The issue with Driscoll is: there is no reverence of God, fear of the Lord, or trembling at God's Word in his preaching; and to Mark, cultural is the new hermeneutic that mandates ministry. IOW, the church should do all that it can to adapt to culture and to contextualize the gospel.

That is an unbiblical view of ministry and missions.

But what continually marks his teaching is flippancy, degrading humor even using the Lord Jesus Christ as his punchline (which continually stuns me), his scatological speech and he doesn't mind partnering with heretics like Robert Schuller or T.D. Jakes in ministry.

This latest stint on NYE, is just a symptomatic of his worldview.

Have you been or do you go to Mars Hill? I have been before and will post on it in the future. But I noticed how this was carried over to the service: no public reading of Scripture; no biblical instruction before communion was taken; no corporate worship in song; and a lack of careful exegesis and exposition.

One pastor defined him his brand of preaching as smash-mouth-exposition -- and he meant it as a compliment.

His message on the Q and A is was not just for the faint-hearted, it was void of Christ and honor to Him. It was Mark doing Mark... and in very vulgar terms.

If I went to that church, there is no way in Phoenix I would ever allow him to counsel my family or my future wife. He revels in using shocking terms for the purpose of cultural identification rather than to preach the Word. And by his language he has now planted in the hearts and minds of people what he and his wife due sexually with each other which shows a complete lack of respect for his wife.

I have written before about things I do like about Mark, Scott; but these things are not indicative of revered pastoral ministry.

He lacks discretion and discernment.

I appreciate always your thoughts and thank you brother for commenting here.

Anonymous said...

I listened to the Q&A session, and while the questions were tough, they are real issues nonetheless.

I've heard things from Mark that do make me cringe, but I can't say that given the subject matter, his comments were out of place.

In fact, I found him to be honestly assessing his answers in light of the truth of Scripture. I think he should be commended for even taking on such difficult subjects.

As I said, these are real issues -- and I know of very few folks (none in fact), that address such issues head-on.

Instead of approaching this from a negative perspective, why not look at some of the positive things that can be gleaned from such a difficult topic.

All in all, I thought it was good.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I don't know how to set up an account. If you can direct me to setting up a profile, I would be glad to do so.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I think I figured it out...

glip said...

Thank you Steve, and for making me feel welcome. I am just now watching some of his clips via YouTube, and praising God for the stuff hes saying. It may not be in the vein of Spurgeon..or MacCarthur, but I mean it's right on, IMO. In one clip he's talking about 'Jesus vs. Religion' (check it out for yourself, and get back to me on it if possible), and I dont find an irreverant vibe anywhere. IMHO, he just uses a very matter of fact, 'real' way of communicating. If that is what you mean by scatological, I see nothing irreverent about it.

No, never been to Mars Hill. I live in Madison, WI..and grew up in a church called "Elmbrook Church" outside of Milwaukee. I know you know it well..hehehe and I saw you perform (a few times) but missed out on the teaching.

I understand in a way what youre talking about by "reverence" and "fear". I long for that as well. My question can that be measured? What are the parameters? Is that not simply subjective to the listener? "Oh, he's not fearful enough"..or "he's not using enough Scripture"; there's a fine line between accountability and nitpicking. I admit I'm kind of guilty of it myself - e.g. a church I go to here..its an Evangelical Free church, the Pastor preaches right on from the Word, good Scripturally based sermons but I feel like its not very "deep". I shouldnt criticize him though, and be thankful. My two favorites are Stuart Briscoe and Zacharias.

Anyway, you are right as to the Q&A - it was totally over the top and too much. I would look forward to your posts about MHBC.

May I ask you to please pray for me Steve..and thank you for your thoughts. Sincerely, Scott

glip said...

Paul, I do like your point "but I cant say given the subject matter, his comments were out of place". I mean right, it may have been over the top but I think generally he handled it well, as odd and questionable as the whole thing was. He did call sin sin, and did make clear references to Scripture.

cyd said...

Speaking maturely in a Biblical sense and speaking maturely in a Driscoll sense are ENTIRELY different things.

Truly mature teaching and preaching is marked by reverence, holiness, conviction, repentance, fear, joy, peace, and an overwhelming view of the Most High God who alone is worthy of all our praise and adoration. Biblically mature teaching involves a serious, joyful reverence for the holy, solid truth of God’s Word that brings Him glory. This kind of teaching is usually accompanied by the rustling sound of Bible pages being turned because folks are following along in their scriptures, focusing on the LORD alone and what He is saying through His Word to their hearts and minds.

This other is strange teaching to say the least. I am continually bewildered by Christians who excuse and coddle it.

Steve, thank you for this post, links and all. Pastor Spurgeon was never more timely!


1 Tim.6:11-16

glip said...

Steve on a sidenote, I just looked up the meaning of 'scatological', hehehe.

His style may be a bit unorthodox, but God still speaks to me through what I've seen. Amen for him defending Jesus.

SJ Camp said...

I don't allow anonymous posting here for one reason: when someone's identity isn't known, they will say the most outrageous things either doctrinally, personally, etc. They are emboldened to voice themselves in an unhealthy way.

To post here, blogger requires you fill out a profile. You don't have to fill in every section, but I do want to know who I am speaking with. I think that makes for real good dialogue on any issue. Once you have completed the profile make sure you enable it so others can see it when we click on your nick.

Say what you want to here; come at me or support me - your choice; no drive-by's; no swearing (I realize that limits my Seattle audience somewhat); and if you are a Christian try to drive your thoughts biblically and not just react.


Have at it...

And remember: theology matters; doctrine matters; truth matters. Issues like this one are not personal, they are biblical. I like Mark personally, but IMHO he is missing it on this big time.

Keep on...

SJ Camp said...

To All:
Have any of you actually read the Spurgeon sermon I put on this post? It is very powerful.

What do you think about it. What about the highlighted quote in maroon I have on the right hand side of the post from the sermon?

If you have read it, do you think Spurgeon would think Mark's technique's and shock jock messages were good? Mark considers Spurgeon his favorite pastor, theologian... Do you think Spurgeon would approve of his antics?

Don't answer flippantly - think about it...

HWales said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HWales said...

Steve, Dude!!
You have missed the cultural boat.
Boorish Ear-Tickling is IN.
If you want to be hip, do this:
Use wild street talk.
Preach about private matters.
Write steamy "Christian" books.
Sprinkle in a little Scripture here and there.
Throw big club-style church parties. WITH alcohol.
Be like the world.
Reach out and join 'em!
And by all means --

2 Tim.4:-- "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions"

DaWildBoar said...

I very much liked this sermon. Charles Spurgeon is one of my favorites.

I'm new to the blogosphere and commenting on blogs. But I do have a question for you Steve: why would Mr. Driscoll want to promote himself in this way, when his duty as a minister of the gospel is to promote Christ and His gospel?

Anything that takes away from the glory of the Lord and puts the attention on us, is only concerned about man and his glory.

I am not trying to be judgmental against Mr. Driscoll for I am not too familiar with him. But even just a taste of what he is preaching in this message and q and a has left me saddened and disappointed.

Is this really the trend of pastoral ministry today? God help us!


SJ Camp said...


I know the ebb and flow of ministry today is to become like the times rather than transcend them. That is why I posted those Tozer quotes at the front of this article.

This one to me really says it: "Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by its culture, actually stands in sharp opposition to it."

Welcome to the blogosphere and to this blog. I hope you will continue to stop by here and comment more in the future.

To you question: sadly i don't know why Driscoll promotes himself in this way. One blogger calls the manner in which he preaches "smash mouth exposition." This article and thread are indicative of that MO. We are talking about Mark--not about the Lord he should be preaching.

I don't know Mark's heart, but this is his pattern. He is the star--not Jesus. He preached a message a few months ago on humility because the text in Phil. 2:1-5 demanded it. But has he demonstrated humility since then either in the manner he preaches his messages or the content of those messages themselves? I don't see it brother.

So, is this the future of pastoral ministry today? For now, Mark is the young hot ticket. But for my dollar, give me MacArthur, Sproul, Olford, Boice, DML Jones, Mohler, Dever, Mahaney any day of the week.

The strange thing is this: why are men like Piper endorsing Driscoll? Like Hwales suggested, if I would only learn how to swear when I preach, use scatological speech in my songs and sermons, make fun at the Lord's expense, talk about sexual things in graphic inappropriate language, make culture my sovereign, and dress like a biker wanna-be - then maybe Piper endorse me too? :-).

Well I'm not buying it.

I noticed on your new blog you have the 95 theses of Luther. I wrote ten years ago The 107 Theses being concerned about CCM and general ministry in evangelicalism today. Check it out at

Grace and peace,

Anonymous said...

I am not a support of Driscoll -- in fact, at one time, I was subscribed to his podcast and watched his sermons. He had a tremendous amount of truth and an incredible ability to convey the truth. However, I was not always comfortable with how it was presented -- perhaps it was preference, perhaps more? And, since I have limited time to listen to sermons, I decided to focus on a couple of ministries that really have blessed me.

Driscoll is being very candid about "taboo" subjects. Christians don't talk about these things...and perhaps that's part of our discomfort. Yet, if you go to some "Christian" forums, you will see people that are wrestling with these topics and asking questions anonymously. The issues are real -- and he's presenting them in a real way. It's uncomfortable -- I'll agree. But, that doesn't mean they don't need to be addressed.

But I will make this point...Since we are comparing Spurgeon to Driscoll, can anyone provide material where Spurgeon addressed the "m" topic?

...and yes, I read the Spurgeon sermon.

SJ Camp said...

I can't point to a Spurgeon sermon that specifically talks about the "m" issue. BUT, it's not necessary. Spurgeon talked about sin and yes he even talked about sensuality in sin. BUT, it wasn't necessary to unfold all the debasing elements of any sin for people to know how to have victory over it.

THAT is one of the differences in our day: sin takes precedence over the Savior. What I mean is that relating to ones sin and spending hours defining each of our owns proclivity in sin, is worshipping the sin and giving it a priority it doesn't deserve.

I was waiting for someone here to justify Mark's use of graphic sexual language by saying, "this stuff needs to be talked about in the church... real people -real problems - yada yada yada"

However, Spurgeon and other great pastors in redemption history can and did speak of honoring your bodies and satisfying your spouse. It wasn't necessary for them to describe parts of the body and techniques in doing so.

That is what a friend of mine calls: PULPIT PORN.

For Mark to even suggest buying books describing ways to satisfy ones mate is going beyond the purview of biblical counsel.

I would have much rather had him simply say, "read Song of Solomon and do what it tells you to do..."

But that isn't sexed up enough for him I guess.

What say ye?

gigantor1231 said...

SJ and all

The problem is that men have lowered there view of God! Now it is acceptable, to many, to bring the ways of the world into the church. A sister recently went to a wedding shower for a young lady in the church, it was a wedding shower that intentionally excluded the older ladies in the church because they were not contemporary and they would not understand. The young lady that attended the event was very conservative and the whole event made her uncomfortable, what really tells the whole story is that she was ridiculed because she did not imbibe in the alcohol that was available. This is the church of men like Mark Driscoll, go figure.
So, to you that support Mark D. and liberal Christianity Psalm 50:21 applies to you;

21 These things you have done, and I kept silent;
You thought that I was altogether like you;
But I will rebuke you,
And set them in order before your eyes.

The New King James Version. 1982 (Ps 50:21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Anonymous said...

You wrote, "BUT, it wasn't necessary to unfold all the debasing elements of any sin for people to know how to have victory over it."

In a sense, I agree. You are assuming, however, that those in attendance understood what is and isn't sin (big assumption given the state of our church today). To have victory over sin, you have to know it's sin first. It might be clear to might be clear to me, but think of many young people in our church today that lack discernment. I think Mark was able to make some of those distinctions.

You wrote, "is worshipping the sin and giving it a priority it doesn't deserve." I didn't see where sin was being worshipped. I (along with glip) saw a man addressing a difficult topic and pointing folks to NOT sin. To say that Mark or his teaching is "worshipping the sin" is perhaps a bit extreme.

You wrote, "However, Spurgeon and other great pastors in redemption history can and did speak of honoring your bodies and satisfying your spouse. It wasn't necessary for them to describe parts of the body and techniques in doing so." All Christians, I would hope, agree with your first sentence. Mark also spoke of honoring your body. So, is the language the only issue you had? It wasn't the content, but the delivery? To say his focus was not on honoring your body and refraining from sin, I think fails to be less than accurate in the review.

You wrote, "For Mark to even suggest buying books describing ways to satisfy ones mate is going beyond the purview of biblical counsel." Are books such as "The Act of Marriage" by Lahaye and other such books unbiblical? If the "m" word is mentioned, does it mean that the material should be avoided?

Have you ever heard Tommy Nelson (Denton Bible Church in Texas) teach through the Song of Solomon? Wonderful series.

I understand the concerns...I really do. But, there is a big void in Christianity to provide wisdom on such matters -- i.e., the practical application of God's Word to our daily lives. "M" is a real issue and it would seem to be perfectly appropriate to address it in light of God's truth.

Of course, I could be wrong! :)

littlegal_66 said...

Great quote from the sermon:
"My first business shall be to FIND OUT THE CHARACTER intended by the presumptuous man, the man who thinks he stands. I could find a multitude of such if I might search the wide world o'er. But I am not about to find them there; my business this morning is with God's church. The fanning must begin with the floor; the winnowing must try the wheat. So we are to winnow the church this morning to discover the presumptuous. We need not go far to find them."
Is this not personally unmasking? It is for me. Notice where Spurgeon, that "spiritual surgeon," places the first incision of his scalpel.......right in His sanctuary-in His us. I would add, it's difficult to resist following after self-indulgence when church leadership is setting a precedent of sanctioning such pursuits, although obviously that wouldn't justify my taking part.

Perspectives on this from Ecclesiates 2:

"1 I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself." But behold, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter, "It is mad," and of pleasure, "What use is it?" 3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.
10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun."

littlegal_66 said...

Also, I wanted to reference one particular quote from "A Christian Response to 'A Common Word..........'" (although I know it's always possible that you would address that issue in a separate post):

"The future of the world depends on our ability as Christians and Muslims to live together in peace."

Could someone tell me where in God's Word this is even hinted at or implied, much less stated? My copies say that He is the light of the world, that He is our hope; He is our future.

"...............To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God,'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'" Revelation 1:5-8, ESV

cyd said...

you wrote, To have victory over sin, you have to know it's sin first."
Yes. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin through God's Word. He grants us repentance, and the Lord brings victory over sin as we abide in Him. We do not do it on our own just because we now know what it is.

Then you wrote: "It might be clear to might be clear to me, but think of many young people in our church today that lack discernment. I think Mark was able to make some of those distinctions." No. He is simply enjoying his naughtiness. He's like a pubescent teen who just discovered Playboy magazine and absolutely has to share it with the entire congregation.
Young people KNOW. Come on. We are drowning in a sexually explicit society. We have a conscience, and unless it is totally seared beyond repair, we look for and ask rhetorical questions because we want to excuse our sins. Mark preaches on this rot because he likes to.

Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."(Jn10:27)and this voice is not it. It's strange.

SJ Camp said...

Great quotes and thoughts expressed - thank you.

12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."


Anonymous said...


You wrote, "The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin through God's Word. He grants us repentance, and the Lord brings victory over sin as we abide in Him. We do not do it on our own just because we now know what it is."

As best I understand your statement, I have no problem with it. No Christian that I know would disagree. (Galatians 5:16)

You wrote, "He is simply enjoying his naughtiness. He's like a pubescent teen who just discovered Playboy magazine and absolutely has to share it with the entire congregation"

This is where it moves from a biblical discussion to "personal opinion". While you may not like Mark or his approach (and that's ok), your case would be better presented with facts versus cheap shots.

You wrote, "We are drowning in a sexually explicit society. We have a conscience..."

I'm know sure if you caught MacArthur's recent series on Sexual Purity by Grace To You. Excellent. He addresses this issue of the conscience very clearly. If one ignores the warning signals, there comes a time when his/her conscience will not condemn them. So, to argue that conscience tells these youth when they sin is not entirely accurate. Maybe...maybe not.

You wrote, "Mark preaches on this rot because he likes to."

In other words, you believe that Mark relishes on sin and likes to share it with others. It seems your arguments stem from feeling versus fact quote often.

This is quite amazing considering I'm not even a fan of his...but folks, look at your arguments. I'm in your corner, but the arguments should be biblically based, not emotionally or biased based. That's all I've seen thus far.

Anonymous said...

sj - see my comments above. Dr. MacArthur did a wonderful job discussing the conscience in recent weeks with his series, "Sexual Purity". If it's not programmed correctly, the conscience can be wrong.

Appreciate cyd's and your dialogue however.

gigantor1231 said...


You said;

'While you may not like Mark or his approach (and that's ok), your case would be better presented with facts versus cheap shots.'

Here are some facts that one can obtain by simply listening to or reading Mark's sermons.

1. Mark regularly uses profane language to convey his message, he has done it often enough, yes I have heard him, that he has earned the title the cussing pastor.

2. Mark does not care that his representation of God in Christ is that of a Holy God, he tailors his sermons in such a way that it communicates to the greatest number of people as possible, he gives them what they want to hear. Christ never did this, He was consistently Holy and Pure in all that He did because He is the perfect representation of the Father See John 6 (Christ wanted submitted hearts not superficial relationships, He would let those go who's hearts were not his)! What gives Mark the right to represent Him in any other way?

3. Mark will turn his church into a bar or disco to attract numbers, he promotes the use of alcohol to achieve his ends. None of this is biblically acceptable, if you do not understand this you have a problem!

4. Mark will use the profane itself to gain a laugh, as exhibited by his example his use of Ec. 9:10. He has done this many times before!

We serve a holy God and we are called to be holy as He is holy, Mark apparently does not consider his representation of Him as important since he blatantly uses the profane or flirts with it. This issue has been addressed to him many times and he does not change. What a terrible thing that there are those that actually portray him as a model Christian. Truth is that he holds to the form but denies the power!

Anonymous said...

Yes, those are some of the issues I have with Driscoll as well. Good points.

SJ Camp said...

pds and all here
We are in the same camp (no pun intended) and I do appreciate you and your thoughts expressed here.

My sole concern is from a doctrinal perspective. If you look closely at the qualifications for pastor/teacher/elder in 1 Tim. 3:1-9; Titus 1:4-9 and then the character of that office and our responsibility to them as described in 2 Tim. 2; Acts 20; 1 Thess. 5:12-22; Heb. 13:7, 17, then we are confronted with a weighty task beyond any person and one that is completely dependent upon the Lord and His Word.

When a pastor of a church (and I can't stress this enough here) - when a pastor of a church, an under-shepherd of Jesus Christ to His people, is repeatedly acting and promoting ways that are not consistent with Scripture i,e, unwholesome talk; degrading humor; flippant sensuality; mocking the Lord through humor and apparel; using Scripture even to draw the punch-line on lascivious behavior, even stretching the biblical record to fabrication, etc. then we must question biblically the validity of that brother in that office.

Mark claims to be reformed, but the reformers had three key common and magnificent qualities of ministry: 1. A high view of Scripture; 2. A high view of God; and 3. A high view of the gospel. The by-product of this was a reverence for the Lord, a faithfulness in shepherding, and they took seriously the process of sanctification and holiness in the daily life of believers.

Dr. MacArthur has written about Mark's "grunge Christianity" and has dramatic concerns over his form of faith and what it means to the health of the church. Phil Johnson has also addressed quite powerfully in his recent posts at TeamPyro these same concerns as well as in his recent dialogue in the combox at another blog.

Listen, I am aware deeply of my own failings and shortcomings in the Lord. The wickedness of my own heart and how easily the impulse of my life can be altered to things less holy even in desire and thought. I am not trying to pontificate over Mark; on the contrary: I identify with him

But his duty brother before the people is three fold: Preach the Word; regard and approach the Lord as holy when coming before Him in worship in the gathering of the saints; and that God alone must be glorified (cf, 2 Tim. 4:1-5, Lev. 10:1-3; 1 Peter 5:1-5; 2 Tim. 2:15, etc.). What I see Mark giving week to week is "strange fire" rather than the fire of the Lord that proceeds from His glory.

I know you ache over this too brother. These words are not easy to say about anybody. But it is obvious after this first message, that Mark has not come from the presence of the Lord before he preaches. For any man that has wrestled with God in private, will limp with humility in public.

Isaiah 66:2 says it this way, " this one will I look; who is humble and contrite of spirit and who trembles at my Word..."

What I say in those videos was a man puffed up with himself; thinking he a clever raconteur; who did not preach the Word with fear and trembling; and sought to use scatological speech and sensual humor to garner the laughter of his people, but failed to call them to repentance in tears and godly fear. He even used Scripture in a mocking way regarding the act of masturbation. Unthinkable for the man of God in a church service who is to preach the Word.

He is a pastor; that demands a lot and that says a lot. Anytime we get shocked again by Mark and his manner of ministry, it gradually weakens the defenses as to what will shock us next time. Our consciences will become increasingly more tolerant and dull to the biblical standard as we get wooed into the postmodern hermeneutic of culture and situational ethics.

Let's pray for him; let's pray for each other; and repent where each of us need to and pray that the Lord will break Mark's heart, crush him in his arrogance, and cause him to have a sober-mindedness about the calling to preach the Word and shepherd God's people.

In His sanctifying grace,
2 Cor. 3:5

gigantor1231 said...


And while we pray we need to remember that it is important that we present a proper defense of the truth, we need to restore gently yet attack untruth with a skillful and accurate sword. We should not accept what Mark says as right because of the numbers he reaches or because he says some great things, Mark's representation of God in Christ as Holy is of utmost importance, it is something that should never be compromised, for any reason!

SJ Camp said...

One more thought that needs to be said here: we should never be treat mockingly, humorously, or sarcastically that which drove Jesus to the cross.

I am referring to our sin and shame. (cf, Isaiah 53; 2 Cor. 5:21; Matt. 27:15-55).

Anonymous said...


You wrote, "We are in the same camp (no pun intended) and I do appreciate you and your thoughts expressed here."

I agree.

You wrote, "Listen, I am aware deeply of my own failings and shortcomings in the Lord. The wickedness of my own heart and how easily the impulse of my life can be altered to things less holy even in desire and thought. I am not trying to pontificate over Mark; on the contrary: I identify with him"

I, too, echo those thoughts. I recently found Dr. MacArthur's book, THE VANISHING CONSCIENCE, a wonderful re-read. The struggle is to gain a victory over sin -- to sin less -- and yet, there is some comfort that even the Apostle Paul struggled (Romans 7).

You wrote, "Let's pray for him; let's pray for each other; and repent where each of us need to and pray that the Lord will break Mark's heart, crush him in his arrogance, and cause him to have a sober-mindedness about the calling to preach the Word and shepherd God's people."

I guess that would be the biggest challenge -- ensuring that we are humble and desire that God be glorified in the situation.

At the end of the day, may those who are most passionate in their disagreement of Mark, be those who are most passionate in their prayer for him.

cyd said...

“but the arguments should be biblically based, not emotionally or biased based.”

I just offered this same encouragement to someone else this past week. You are absolutely correct, and I thank you for the reminder!

Thank you.

Amen. Thank you for always pointing us back to the Cross and our precious, blessed Lord Jesus.


DaWildBoar said...

Your lengthy comment here was the burden of my thoughts I tried to express earlier.

Thank you,

Debbie said...

Tozer – Doesn’t he always say what needs to be said precisely and powerfully? On Spurgeon’s sermon excerpt -- Pride, by its very nature, always acts presumptuously (rudely, arrogantly, inconsiderately, disrespectfully). Whether in handling God’s Word or in the choices we make every day, when done from a posture of pride rather than dependence on Him, we are acting presumptuously. I’m learning how difficult it is to be both prideful and dependent at the same time. The two are incompatible. And yet, dependence produces confidence – not self confidence, but quite the opposite, confidence in Him. We can, in a spirit of dependence, confidently walk in obedience. The moment we no longer depend on Him, we are at risk of overstepping the bounds in even the most seemingly inconsequential areas – imagine the risk in those of greatest consequence.

Psalm 1 comes to mind – it beautifully and vividly shows us this contrast.

SJ Camp said...

Powerful words! Tozer does seem to always have the perfect thought to pinpoint the truth on most issues. What makes it most amazing, is that his words were penned over 50 years ago.

Also, Psalm 1 is THE Scripture passage for all of us on this issue. What a reminder of God's provision and our duty as well to "meditate on His Word both day and night."

Thank you again,
Col. 1:15-20

Prayerbone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
andy said...

oops i delted that wasn't sure if my post need to show my name now..

This all sounds so very one sided,,also rather harsh to keep regurgitating pass failing,after all some were a long time ago..

I was pleasantly surprised that Mike Corly decided to ACTUALLY go and visit our brother,and then we get an entirely different picture to this tread...

Your friends with Mike arn't you Steve? He strikes me as a very straight talking, but fair guy, not easly swayed

SJ Camp said...

1. "This all sounds so very one sided,,. also rather harsh to keep regurgitating pass failing, after all some were a long time ago.."
All these examples mentioned here have happened relatively recently. I don't think it's been harsh; but honest and forthright. Andy, don't you think that Mark bears the responsibility on this?

2. "I was pleasantly surprised that Mike Corly decided to ACTUALLY go and visit our brother,and then we get an entirely different picture to this tread..."

Did you know that I have been out there too? I did not meet with the leadership, but I have attended a church service there. This is not personal with Mark brother, but biblical. I think in all fairness you would have to admit that his weekly pastoral actions are a bit shocking and concerning - which he seems to revel in.

I do know Mike and he is a great guy. Very fair and solid in the Word of God--I do trust him.

But again, my concerns here are not personal, but they are doctrinal in relation to ecclessiology - and I am far from being the only one who shares this concern.

Many fine men of God have also expressed concern over Mars Hill and Mark in particular in several of the same areas. This past weekend Phil Johnson and his blog have dealt specifically about this; and Pastor Dr. John MacArthur has also been very outspoken concerning these things in calling Mark's brand of faith "grunge Christianity." You can read about here at Pulpit Magazine.

My question for you brother is this: why aren't you concerned? Do you approve of Mark's actions in these areas and think this is a godly example for any pastor to have? If so, do you have a biblical model you could point to that gives license in these things?

Again, I have written in the past about many things I like about Mark... but these things are critical in pastoral ministry.

What are your thoughts? I appreciate you commenting here.

Grace and peace to you,
Col. 1:9-14

andy said...

Hi Steve thks for your kind reply..

Part of me feels a certain empathy toward Mark,we have very similar upbringing,we both grew up in working class families with non Christian friends,its shaped us.

I would hazard a guess: that Mark would be more upset if a friend posted he's sold out,over a thousand Christians commenting oh no Mark cussed..

I just think we have something inside us,that as to sell God to our past..

I'm not saying its right,we both just need to grow up a little ;-)..

But i think he's less of the heretic,and more a work in progress..

(Also i think this new book death of a grown up as a point to)

Anonymous said...

A question that has bothered me for some time. I think we all agree that Mark does present some wonderful truth -- yet, there are many many ministries (White's, Jakes, Copeland, Roberts, all those being investigated etc...we could go on forever), that are, in essence, opposed to the true gospel. They are false teachers. In contrast, Mark gets the gospel right.

Is our effort better spent on addressing Mark and his ecclesiology or on these "ministries" and their heresy? Or, is this a 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 issue?

Finally, if we believe Mark has sinned, who is to confront him? And, ultimately, who has the authority to exercise church discipline and what does that discipline look like in practical terms???

...just interested in getting your thoughts as these are some that have bounced around in my head for some time.

SJ Camp said...

Thank you both for your thoughts...

"1. But i think he's less of the heretic,and more a work in progress."

I've never said that Mark is a heretic; but he is not reverent in how he approaches the sacred desk to preach from week to week. And that does impact his ability to preach with conviction biblically.

We address both the heretic and those who are introducing methods and principles of ministry not in accordance with God's Word (1 Timothy 3l Titus 1). When a pastor in the pulpit is constantly given over to and known for unwholesome speech, scatological nomenclature, degrading humor, fabricating the biblical record to get the laugh or create a straw man to support his own vulgarity - then yes, something must be said.

The discipline of sin of anyone is only through the local church and that's where it must be left. BUT, because Mark does aggressively market his messages and books and videos and poscasts and vodcasts to the world at large, then anyone in that world at large has the open door to at least address those messages through the lens of Scripture in that same arena.

I have never commented about Mark's personal life nor would I. He seems like a very likable guy and probably has a wonderful wife and amazing kids. I do appreciate the fact that he is constantly boasting of them and talking about them publicly. Being a Dad of five also, I really admire that.

But doctrinally or biblically we can comment as to the veracity or soundness of any public ministry - publicly. Again, you commenting here on this blog is proof of that. You didn't contact me privately to address your concerns over what I may be saying or discerning about Pastor Driscoll. And I appreciate it that so many here are faithful Bereans challenging me in what I teach and represent here. The iron sharpening the iron.

Hope this helps a bit more to clarify and explain.

andy said...

Hi working nights,so just saw your comment..

I didn't mean to imply you thought he was a heretic,just hoped we could lighten up on him a little..

Anyhow on a more positive note,ive committed myself to the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge,the book list is over at Timmy Brister site..I'm intrigued/frustrated by reform theology,so its going to be interesting lol
(i hope you don't mind me mentioning this)

Sean Rice said...


I haven't read all of the follow-up replies because they were starting to get repetitive; however, I managed to catch about 3/5 of the comments. I'm just going to do a point-by-point bit with some of the objections to Pastor Mark's sermon and Q & A.

(1) Explicit Detail (Body Parts)

- I honestly don't see how you can read the Bible straight through and still be shy on the subject. It's got everything. The pullout method is right there for readers of Genesis, and right in there with it is some pretty straight talk about circumcision (for those of you that don't know, there's a body part involved there...)

Go further in the pentateuch and there's talk about "night time emissions" (wet dreams or the 'm' subject--it's not clear), a few passages about testicles, graphic descriptions of prostitution and rape in the historical books and prophets (along with the body parts involved, including a really embarrassing and specific bit in Ezekiel).

If you back up and go into the wisdom literature, you have proverbs talking about rejoicing in your wife's "breasts" (that's a body part), and you have Song of Solomon which is VERY specific and metaphorically but explicitly describes oral sex.

Sorry I couldn't give you a scripture reference, but these passages are easy to find because they're all over the place, so I figured you could easily go find them on your own. You may already know the specific passages that I have in mind.

With all that said, I don't really know why there's so much heat on Pastor Mark for saying 'breast' or 'semen' (feel free to censor that). If those words were that dirty, then God should not have used them when He inspired Scripture. If that is the case and God is in the wrong, then I applaud your purity of speech and strong Christian morality, and I believe you should go and let God know that He's been a very bad Boy and shouldn't use those words any more. Let me know how that goes for you.

Your problem with the clear and frank discussion in Mark's sermon has a lot to do with a once-worldly view of 'good manners' that Christianity picked up on and made its own. It has resulted, in the name of etiquette, in our inability to speak frankly from the Bible concerning issues that English middle-aged women in the 1800's did not want to hear about.

(2) Christian Sex Manuals

- Okay, so we should just read Song of Songs. Why? If the Bible is frank on the issue of sex and describes sexual intercourse and how to go about it, then it is obviously not a sin to write frankly on the issue of sex and describe sexual intercourse. If it were, then once again God would be a sinner for inspiring writers to do so in the Bible. If I might state the obvious, isn't it a bad thing to try to be more righteous than God?

(3) Drinking vs. Spurgeon

- It's not a secret that Spurgeon smoked tobacco, which was (and is) known to be addictive. In view of that, the quote talks about not being arrogant or believing that it's impossible for you to fall into alchoholism, but it wouldn't seem to argue for total abstinence either. The approach would be to drink while knowing that we must be careful.

*There is sarcastic humour in this reply, but it's an attack on the position and not an attack on any specific person. I use sarcasm because in some cases it is the most effective means by which one may argue against a position.

SJ Camp said...

Thank you for posting here and sharing your thoughts.

First off, you didn't fill out the blogger profile fully enough so that I may know who you are when posting. You must do so immediately or your previous post will be deleted (read the rule #4) and all other future comments as well. This is just a basic rule for people who post here to foster good discussion.

One initial response though to you in the meantime: the issue here isn't the mention of body parts, talking about sexual issues, etc. The issue is handling any subject Scripturally and with propriety. Is it done biblically and with reverence or in a flippant scatological manner that seeks to be graphic for graphics sake?

The Puritans used to call the pulpit the sacred desk because of the reverence and honor they had for God in the preaching of His Word. That solemnity and respect has obviously been discarded in our day...

FYI: I have a friend who has some dear friends at Mars Hill who love and appreciate Mark greatly. But even they were deeply offended at his message.

The pastor's first duty in ministry is to preach the Word (2 TIm. 4:1-5). When that is abrogated, then you are left to cultural invective and situational ethics in sermonizing. Paul's further instruction to Timothy in the content of that instruction was to: "avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, (2 Tim. 2:16)

Consider his admonition to the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 4:29-30: "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

That's it my brother. Unwholesome talk is not consistent with pastoral ministry even under the pomo-cultural guise that "shouldn't we be talking about these things in the church?"

Eph. 5:4 "and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."

And also: "Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret." Eph. 5:11-12.

Did you hear that? "Disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret." Was Paul just being Victorian and out of date by saying this? Was he culturally naive and stunted? I mean how could the folks in Ephesus really deal with all of the sexual issues of the day if he didn't graphically unpack them in church for them?

You don't have to be vulgar to speak clearly and biblically about vices (Titus 3:3). Besides, what was most fascinating in Mark's sermon was that the "ask-anything" question was specific about birth control, not sexual stimulation or intimacy.

May I humbly say to you, that your comment here bears the characteristics of Mark's emphasis in preaching: high on culture, low on Scripture.

Fill out blogger and then let's keep talking...

Grace and peace,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Alice said...

I write as one who is not too familiar with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill other than interviews (w/ him) I have read and various blog posts/discussions. I did not have a chance to listen to the sermon posted, but I did listen to the Q&A. I'll admit I went into it with a closed mind. It certainly wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and I actually appreciated the way Mark dealt with some of the questions (though the Ecc. reference really bugged). My main point of contention with this actual session is not, as the commenter above states, that I'm squeamish or shy or offended by these topics or words, but...I'm thinking that if you're rooted and grounded in Scripture as a believer, a lot of these detailed questions of conduct and purity will be answered by your knowledge of what God requires of you. And if you're not a Christian (as Mark indicated probably many in the group weren't), then you've got bigger immediate problems to deal with than worrying whether or not you're technically a virgin.

Again, I'm speaking as one who has formed an opinion of Mark based more on reading and hearsay rather than personal experience, but that point is actually relevant to what I want to say. Steve has referenced the book of Titus in these comments a couple of times--our church just finished a thorough study of the book called "Godliness for the Sake of the Gospel." There is much in Paul's letter to Titus that addresses the character and conduct of a pastor, but the key seems to be that his conduct be above reproach, not able to even be called into question. Obviously pastors are sinners too, and obviously they grow in the Lord throughout their ministry, but their lives are to be characterized with reverence, and again--their conduct should be above reproach. Being best known as a controversial figure seems to contradict clear directions in the Bible for pastors. That's my main concern about Mark.

SJ Camp said...

"but their lives are to be characterized with reverence, and again--their conduct should be above reproach."

Bingo! Excellent thoughts in your comment.

Grace and peace,
2 Cor. 3:5

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

sj --

You wrote, "We address both the heretic and those who are introducing methods and principles of ministry not in accordance with God's Word (1 Timothy 3l Titus 1). When a pastor in the pulpit is constantly given over to and known for unwholesome speech, scatological nomenclature, degrading humor, fabricating the biblical record to get the laugh or create a straw man to support his own vulgarity - then yes, something must be said."

I happen to agree (smile). We need to address both. I guess my concern is that, while there are serious concerns about how Mark approaches the Scripture (and I agree), we can rejoice in the fact he gets the gospel right. There are ALOT of individuals that have "ministries", tapes, podcasts, who miss the most important point -- the gospel. I live in Tampa -- we have a firsthand example in Randy and Paula White. With our limited time and resources, should we not sound the alarm a bit louder on these false teachers? Once again, please do not misunderstand my comments as condoning any of Mark's behavior. I'm not. But, ultimately, what's more offensive? Someone doing the things above or one that is preaching a different gospel by rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ and misleading many in their unbelief versus "snatching them out of the fire" (Jude 23)?

You wrote, "But doctrinally or biblically we can comment as to the veracity or soundness of any public ministry - publicly. Again, you commenting here on this blog is proof of that. You didn't contact me privately to address your concerns over what I may be saying or discerning about Pastor Driscoll. And I appreciate it that so many here are faithful Bereans challenging me in what I teach and represent here. The iron sharpening the iron."

Agree. I can only imagine the number of letters that Dr. Sproul, Dr. MacArthur and many of our great Christian leaders receive daily about their "heresy". I assume they go in the trash, as they should. My point is that I'm sure Mark receives similar correspondence. It seems church discipline would have to take place locally (within his church with elders) and then by his peers (Christian leaders). I think the rest of us are wasting our time by thinking we could send something for him to read that would cause him to reconsider. I'm sure that what we're saying is nothing new to him. So, I believe it would have to be addressed in the local body...and individuals like John Piper (among others) would need to privately meet with him. If that didn't work, then perhaps Piper (and other leaders) need to meet with Mark's church leadership -- not just Mark. If that doesn't work, then I'm not sure what you do.

But, my point is that I don't think a voice outside of Mars Hill is going to have any bearing unless it comes from a peer of his in the ministry.

Appreciate your thoughts...and this challenging discussion. May the Lord be honored.

andy said...

Hi the thing that irks me most, is why your so worried about Mark,surly theres bigger fish to fry ?

With Mark we have a great young minister making mistakes,but on the whole solid,who's hopefully growing..Compare to people like Chalke,Pagitt etc etc i'd take Mark anytime..

I'm confused how someone like John Piper got past all this, but you can't,i ask this sincerely is there a hint of jealousy in all this?

Detoured By Travel said...

Eye, ear, and NOW nose and throat the world we are supposed to be foreigners too many ways. Is this what WE'VE grown to expect from the Church?

Or do we expect fear of the Lord, holiness, reverence, humility.... I can understand where Jesus would stand here. He WOULD have answered the tough questions and would have measured all answers by God's own Word. But I'm not so sure that the Son of God would have stood for the attitudes in that place. Remember what Jesus did when confronted by demons? He commanded them to be silent.

The bottom line here is the soul. What did any of this have to do with getting souls saved? Was the hard truth of repentence for sin and acceptance of Christ's sacrifice as our punishment for sin represented here? That will be the bottom line with God 100 years from now when we are all either raptured or buried.

I may be considered old-fashioned but I just don't see these things as something that is in ANY way many in the modern Church seem to.

I just know that God is the ultimate judge here...and the Judge of all the earth will do right.

Steve -- thanks for your minstry. I've appreciated being able to come here over the years and place my mind on the whom my trust lies.

SJ Camp said...

detoured by travel
Tremendous thoughts and insights here brother. And thank you for your gracious encouragement as well. To God be the glory - amen?

No question Chalke, Pagitt, McLaren, Bell, T. Jones, Burke, Ward, Sweet, etc. are a real concern. They are outside the purview of orthodoxy on a myriad of issues. AND, when they rear the unsound teachings against any essential of the faith, then we need to faithfully do what Paul said in Titus 1:9b "...refute those who contradict [sound doctrine]."

The issue with Mark is not jealousy at all (if you knew me or my background in ministry you would know how little fame, notoriety, numbers, etc. mean to me). And it is not about having "fish to fry." This is not a witch-hunt at all.

What does matter is the truth and how any of us in ministry communicates the truth (life an doctrine). We are all sinners in need of God's sanctifying grace every day. Mark has really captured the hearts and minds of so many in the reformed baptist, SBC, charismatic calvinist camps who seem to have thrown discernment out the window when it comes to his methods and manner of ministry - all except a few. With influence comes responsibility; and how you spend that currency says much about you.

I am not certain, as you suggest, Dr. Piper has "got past" these kinds of actions or not. Maybe he hasn't and is patiently praying, waiting, disciplining, mentoring behind the scenes. I don't know... .

But I do know this: it was Dr. Piiper's name, platform and complete support of Mark that promoted him into some pretty strong evangelical circles that otherwise may have been more distant from his reach otherwise.

But it would be very hard for me to believe that a brother like John would condone this kind of pastoral behavior from Mark or anyone for that matter. JP has stood for holiness, God's glory, sanctification, and biblical worship more than just about anyone in evangelicalism these past fifteen years. And, IMHO, it would incongruous for him to just "get past" this kind of thing.

I'll say it again, there are some things in Mark's ministry that I appreciate and have spoken very positively about. But, Andy, as a pastor of a church this is just reckless on his part to continually act in this manner. AND, because he has no qualms about marketing his material in many different forms to as many people as he possibly can, then we also have the open door as one of those he is marketing too, to speak about what he is saying as a minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in light of Scripture. "Test all things; cling to which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21). That is a command.

So here is my question for you: I want to know why you feel compelled to defend the indefensible in this situation? I mean really; how bad does it have to get before you say - "time out here brother; this has gone way beyond the limits of godly behavior and is not representing the Lord Jesus, His Word, or His people in a manner that is either above reproach or in keeping with Christlikeness?

Be discerning my brother; and don't drink the Kool-Aid.

I appreciate your voice in this discussion greatly.
Grace and peace,
Col. 1:9-14

andy said...

Hi OK let me stress one point...

Ironically in light of my post,i do not agree with bad/crude language in Church,its Gods house.In fact it bugs me,i don't even like it when a pastor says screwed,i knowwww i'm a prude ;-)..

So i don't disagree with your concerns Steve,just a little more flexible about it (or tolerant)..

Debbie said...

"Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God." A. W. Tozer

Living in a very secular and liberal part of the country has made me appreciate churches and pastors who “entertain high thoughts of God.” They are more scarce than you might imagine. The issue being discussed here, though Mars Hill appears extreme, is systemic and must be addressed. There is far too much at stake for it to be swept under the rug.

Alice said...

One of our pastors attended John Piper's Desiring God conference in 2006, to which he (Piper) had invited Mark Driscoll to speak. He had some interesting thoughts on the presentation as well as Piper's comments about Mark after he left. You can (hopefully) find it here:

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments by Piper.

Anonymous said...

Jon Pipers comments should be considered in light of his response later on Marks site...

In particular this part seems rater apt!

quote "Good grief. I am glad I don't read the web very much. I would sin with anger too much. "Roaring debate" !-- these people have too much time on their hands."

Anonymous said...

That was a very interesting email exchange. Thanks for linking it.

Does Piper get it right?

glip said...

Has anyone here watched the video interviews featuring Mark on Piper's website (from DG '06 conference)? Check out the "Relating to Sinners" clip. This should challenge us to come out from our 'ivory pulpits' so to speak and strive to live as Christ did. I know..the issue here is whether or not he's qualified to minister as a pastor; but you wont be able to help yourself from saying a big "Amen!" to brother Mark here. Awesome.

Again, Matthew 10:32-33

Albert said...


Have any of the signers of "A Common Word Between Us" come out and explained what their reasoning was for jumping on board this document? I'm shocked by some of the names that are on this paper.

Al Mohler has talked about the document (just Google news search this).

gigantor1231 said...

Andy, PDS, glip and anyone else who is interested:

What is amazing to me with the defense of Mark Driscoll is that so many are so willing to accept an obviously compromised Christian walk for the sake of promoting 'what they see' as the Gospel. The truth is that the Gospel is all about Christ and Christ is all about the Father, He is God in the flesh. It seems to me that many think that He, God, is like them when we should not even go in that direction;

Psalm 50:21;

These things you have done and I kept silence;
You thought that I was just like you;
I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.

God is not like us at all but we should always desire to and try to be like Him!
When I see and hear Mark Driscoll preach I try to think of Christ and what I have found Him to be like as He is in the word of God! Mark falls well short of the standard, as a matter of fact I would have to say that Mark is the Lenny Bruce or, if you do not know who he is, the Howard Stern of the Christian world... Other than being a Christian what is the difference?
My whole point here is that Jesus was never like Mark in any way, shape or form. The model that Jesus left for us never went close to the world in order to win the world, He never made the tax collectors and prostitutes feel good about what they were doing by making lite of their condition, He was with them to show them the truth of who He was, but He definitely became a offense to the world. He has told us many times in the word that the world would hate us because of who we are. Now I know that many here are going to want to eisegete Paul's words and say that we should become all things to all men, but if you do that you might as well just jump on the compromise wagon in order to see if 'You' can save some. The point is that 'what ever you save them with is what you will save them to', I know that is so cliche but it is so true. Look, if you have kids you know that they are going to parrot you in what ever you do, they are going to become like you in many ways, So it is with those that sit under Mark, he will bring them in to relate to them with the vile and foul, yes praise the Lord that he preaches the "Gospel", but what he will win them to is vile and foul! Now can you imagine relating to your children with that which is vile and foul in order to get them to do what you want them to do or be what you want them to be... if you defend Mark that is exactly what you are doing, saying it is OK to disciple others with the vile and foul. I do not know any other way to put it but that is just plain stupid.
Lets get away from this garbage, yes there are others that are as bad or even worse than Mark, and we have addressed them here in many of Steve's blogs, but we are addressing Mark here and now. Mark has a problem, lets not make it ours, but lets not overlook it either. Our discussion here should drive each one of us to prayer that we may not stumble in the same things, we should also pray that Mark's heart would be exposed to the truth, his lips be touched with a burning coal. We need also walk more towards Christ and away from compromise, let our swords be sharp and at the ready to dispel all that is untrue and let us walk more fully in his light that we might know what is true and teach others the same without a shred of compromise. Christ never compromised the word of God and neither should we!!!

Anonymous said...

gig -- it sounds like Piper has less of a problem with Mark than I. So, I take it that you think Piper gets it wrong?

Anonymous said...

Gig quote "What is amazing to me with the defense of Mark Driscoll is that so many are so willing to accept an obviously compromised Christian walk for the sake of promoting 'what they see' as the Gospel"

Not at all,i just know i'm as compromised,and don't want to be a hypocrite..

On a side note Dylan wrote a great song about Lenny on his Saved album,Dylan the first emergent hahaha ;-)

gigantor1231 said...


If Piper coddles Driscoll and he is not up front with him about his methods then he is absolutely wrong. Bottom line is that what Mark is doing is catering to the flesh. As is, Mark seems to be OK with blending the things of the flesh with what he preaches and teaches, nothing seems to be out of bounds including turning his church into a party place complete with booze and a worldly band, I don't think the Lord is really pleased with that type of activity.


'Not at all,i just know i'm as compromised,and don't want to be a hypocrite.'

I am curious, is it OK to ever point out anyone's errors? If I follow your logic I should not even correct my children because, after all, I am just as compromised as them and I do not want to be a hypocrite. Or perhaps Paul should not have written anything that pointed out the errors of those in the Galatian or Corinthian church, everything should have been very positive and geared to produce dialog...right? After all they were just as compromised. Do you think that the Apostles were compromised? Because of things that they wrote addressing the problems of individuals or churches they were being hypocrites?
We as Christians are obligated to present the truth to others gently and set them on the right path, the path that God's perfect word directs us in! Mark needs to be set on the right path. I am not certain though that he wants to be set on the right path because it would cost him numbers and I am not so sure he is willing to sacrifice that.

Patrick Eaks said...

If appears that CJ Mahaney is rubbing elbows with Driscoll. He
has agreed to speak at the Resurgence Conference: Text and
Context. You can read about it here:

Anonymous said...

gig -- so Piper is wrong...and CJ must be wrong...anyone else you want to add to this list?

Seems like you're quite angry?

Patrick -- thanks for the link. I've read CJ's book "Humility" and it was very convicting. There is no doubt that God's providence is at work in bringing a man such as CJ into the life of Mark.

Anonymous said...

"I am curious, is it OK to ever point out anyone's errors?"

For myself not often,because they would turn round and say thats rich of you andy!!

Maybe thats the differences between us,i'm compromised,it would be a case of "people in glass houses" Maybe your more Christ like??

gigantor1231 said...


Angry, not at all, but it is interesting that you make such a judgment on so little knowledge. I base what I say about Mark from what I have learned about him, primarily from his own mouth. If what I say is not true please point it out to me, I have had the courtesy to do the same for you and have attacked you in no way... or perhaps you somehow feel threatened by what I have said? If this is so please forgive me for what ever I have done to make you feel the way you do. I assure that all that I have said has been said from much prayer and study of what I say.


If you are saved then the righteousness that you have attained is the same as mine, it is on account of Christ that I have or am anything.
Now perhaps you could answer some of the questions that I have posed in what I have written, rather than being knee jerk in your responses. I am a mathematician and being in such reality does not afford me the luxury of being wrong in my calculations. Salvation is much more important than mathematical calculations and wrong or inaccurate information is no less if not much more important than what I deal with. You must understand that we are held accountable for every word that comes from our mouth and as a pastor Mark Driscoll is held to a even higher standard.
You say that you are corrupted just as Mark is, if Mark is saved he is cleansed by the blood of Christ and 2 Cor. 5:17 applies to him just as it does to you, if you are saved. All due respect Andy, you need to educate yourself in the word of God so that you at least know who you are as one saved by Christ, your spirit is born again and you need to be dead to your flesh but that being said your lack of knowledge does not change the truth and or any of it's facts with regards to Mark Driscoll!

gigantor1231 said...


If you would have been careful enough to notice I never said Piper was wrong, rather I said that if there were certain conditions that he was exercising he would be wrong. Are you saying that Piper is coddling Mark Driscoll in what he does?

Andy and PDS

Now, you are both confronting me about the words I have said here and is so doing you are stating that I am doing something that you feel is wrong. If I am a hypocrite for calling Mark D. or Pastor Piper wrong, then what are you for telling me I am wrong based on much less information?

Anonymous said...

gig -- wasn't saying you were wrong. Just was clarifying who you thought was wrong in their opinion of Driscoll.

P.S. Glad you aren't mad! :)

Anonymous said...

Gig ive replied to you 2x,and both times i was critical of myself and not you,i said i would feel hypercritical..

We will have to agree to disagree about Mark..I see him as a slightly immature person whos growing,you see it worse..

Carla Rolfe said...

I find this a rather interesting exchange, and would like to offer some food for thought.

While I will not say either John Piper or CJ Mahaney are "wrong" for their overall opinion of Driscoll (I haven't read or heard everything they've ever said about him, nor have I spoken to them one on one to hear it straight from them) I will say with all due respect for both of them, that we all need to be very careful that we don't elevate such leaders in the evangelical church to the level of infallibility.

I'm not saying that anyone here is doing that, but the evangelical community does do it, even if folks don't actually call it that. Further, from what I do know of both John Piper and CJ Mahaney, I think that they would both agree with the idea that we need to be careful in this and not simply presume that because Brother So and So said XYZ, that this settles the matter (whatever the matter happens to be).

We all know both of these men are on record as supporting Driscoll. My question is, would they support his Q&A message that has been discussed? Would they find no fault or error in the way that was handled? I don't know, and as far as I know there is no mention of it from either of them.

What I do know, is that if either of them (or anyone else for that matter) came out and said "yes, I support this" I would firmly disagree with them - as I do currently with anyone who finds this to be an acceptable matter.

It is entirely possible to respect and admire the work of leaders in the evangelical community and still respectfully disagree with certain positions or opinions they hold.

Just something to think about.


SJ Camp said...

"I will say with all due respect for both of them, that we all need to be very careful that we don't elevate such leaders in the evangelical church to the level of infallibility."


That is why it is dangerous to excuse Mark's behavior by simply saying, "well if Piper and Mahaney and Carson and so and so embrace him, then who are you to criticize him?"

Well done...

PS - Maybe Driscoll should spend more time reading THIS BOOK of discernment! My favorite by the way.

Anonymous said...

Hi,two reform Christian telling us not to elevate famous reformist now thats ironic..

Please listen to Mark on Corly show today, he answers all the above and more.
If his answers aren't good enough for you,no-ones else's will be..

For me he's gone up in my estimates,and as Corly says whoopee they had a toast on N/Y eve..

Patrick Eaks said...

I have a question and a thought.

At what point does someone taint their own ministry by supporting and speaking at someone else's questionable ministry?

Sometimes biblical seperation can do more to bring people back on balance then joining with them to try to win them over.

littlegal_66 said...


You wrote:
"At what point does someone taint their own ministry by supporting and speaking at someone else's questionable ministry?"

Although I believe you intended this to be a rhetorical question to ponder, I offer this question as a response: Could it possibly be at the same point someone has someone questionable speaking at their ministry event?

littlegal_66 said...


Just out of curiosity, based upon your visit(s) to MHC, what would you consider the age demographics and gender demographics of the congregation to be?

gigantor1231 said...

Andy and Steve (a question for you at the end!)
You said;

'We will have to agree to disagree about Mark..I see him as a slightly immature person who's growing,you see it worse.'

I see him as immature too, and that is the problem. Here you have a 37 year old man, a father of 5, leading a church of thousands, being allowed to have a tremendous amount of influence in evangelicalism. In the year that I have observed Mark, being gracious and believing that perhaps men Like John Piper, John MaCarthur or C.J. Mahaney would have some positive influence in his life, I have observed no change! Actually Mark seems to be more emboldened in the use of things that are vile or crude to get his message to those he wants to reach. Mark simply does not represent the Lord in a biblical manner, nor does it appear that he understands his place in ministering to the lost. It is not his place to draw men to Christ or to save them, his place is to equip the saints and if he is evangelizing, just as Paul and Apollos, he is to sow and water, he is nothing, it is God that brings the increase!
As for Piper or C.J., I hope they can reach him and influence him, I also hope they speak out about his vocal and public misrepresentation of Christ, if you want details as to what I mean here look back at my previous posts they are specific and verifiable.
Now to what good does my commentary do with regards to this issue? Hopefully folks that care are informed and they will educate themselves about Mark and his methods. Hopefully the assessments that they make will be according to the word of God! I harbor no animosity towards Mark, but given the opportunity I would certainly talk to him about what he does and the type of example that he is to others, especially to those that are young or new to the faith, let alone those that are weak in the faith.
As for the 2x's that you replied to me and you were critical to yourself, I thought that you were being sarcastic with regards to being less righteous and compromised. If you actually feel that way I would humbly suggest that you read 2 Cor. 5: 17 and take it to heart, if you are truly saved then you are a new creation in your spirit, the old has passed and the new has come, you are absolutely no less righteous but exactly as righteous because of the blood of Christ. Now the question is, are you born again, do you understand what it means to be born again? I do not mean to be condescending in any of this, I am genuinely concerned. I am probably wrong but you seem to hold to some type of post modern thought or perhaps you are part of the ECM, forgive me if I am off base here but I thought I would ask. How did Nicky Cruz's book change your life? I met him when working with YWAM in Hollywood, also met David Wilkerson there and did street evangelism with him on the strip. That was quite a memorable time of life for me, met Keith Green a week before he died at a event called Jesus West Coast at a place called Devonshire Downs. Steve, did you play their?

Anonymous said...

gig - does Mark get the gospel right? Is he right on essentials?

gigantor1231 said...


Sure, Mark gets the gospel right, at least in it's fundamental presentation. Alexander the copper- smith preached the Gospel too, and Paul praised God for him doing so and I praise God that Mark does too. Mark is still disobedient to the word of God though and he has little or no respect for holiness and purity from what I can see, I am not certain that he sees it as relevant to what he is doing so he is willing to jettison it to become relevant. I certainly would not direct someone to Mark as a good example of Christ likeness for that reason.
I spoke to my pastor today about this, he has pastored the same church for 25 years, he is one of the most humble men that I know, he trembles at God's word and is unwilling to compromise in any area. I know that he is a old guy and, to many, his wisdom is probably not significant because, to them, he is probably not relevant to this day and age, just as many old folks that follow those old paths are deemed non relevant. OK, so whats my point? Point is that his opinion is that Mark is just disobedient, he thinks he should be removed from his position and schooled on what a real man of God is like that fills the pastoral ministry, he says he needs to learn what it means to live a life that is above reproach. In his opinion he is just another immature individual who has gathered numbers of people to himself by his pragmatic methods and because of that he is recognized. Anyway, that is just a opinion of a old guy that has pastored a church for 25 years, his credentials are my boast not his.
So, praise God for the Gospel being preached but it does nothing for my respect for Mark, he is still vile and crass, what a tragic thing!

SJ Camp said...

"met Keith Green a week before he died at a event called Jesus West Coast at a place called Devonshire Downs. Steve, did you play their?"
I did; BUT I don't think it was at that particular one when Keith was there. Those were sweet days of ministry back then--I miss them.

To All:
Driscoll does get the gospel right and for the most part, he is orthodox on the essentials.

The problem with Mark that continues almost from week to week is his practice of ministry. He influences many young pastors who think he's reformed and that it is OK to act in flippant demeaning ways as a pastor especially when preaching the Word. That is unfortunate and profound. I believe it will have a negative impact on the church in future years - if not already.

Even Mark mentioned in his public announcement that he is pursuing more humility (which is pride); that his actions have negatively impacted young men within his own church and they are bearing the consequential fruit of those actions.

As to being a Berean about MHC and Driscoll and does that spill over to any other ministry that would confront them; there is no guilt by association here. We all must daily come to the Lord and seek to do His will, repent of sin; pursue holiness; and do so with others within the church that call on the Lord from a pure heart (cp, 2 Tim. 2:22).

I am grieved over this. I watched and listened again last night to Mark's current sermon from this past Sunday on humor and he didn't even address the question asked of him in the ask-anything series. This is just bordering on the ridiculous at this point and we all have much better things to do with our time if not for the fact that he is a wide-spread listened to voice that carries weight of influence who is backed by the likes of Piper and others.

That is disturbing and should concern us all.

Ministry is serious stuff beloved and Mark's brand of it is no laughing matter!

Grace and peace,
Col. 1:9-14

Patrick Eaks said...

Littel Gal:

Thanks for the link. It was helpful and very good. Although I don't believe that the two are exacltey the same the post does apply to the men discussed here.

I like how Steve called them both to repentance on the linked post.
And that may be what is neeeded to the men talked about on this post.

Anonymous said...

gig -- thanks for your response. As I already mentioned, there are some concerns I have with regard to some of Mark's stuff that I've listened to, but I praise the Lord that he gets the essentials right. He's in our corner...and may we encourage him to grow in Christ. (and, yes, I understand the higher calling for elders). I just continue to go back to the fact there are many who DON'T get the essentials right (as elders)...perhaps that's Piper, Mahaney's point?

sj -- I will be checking out the latest sermon on my IPOD later today or tomorrow.

Detoured By Travel said...

"I did; BUT I don't think it was at that particular one when Keith was there. Those were sweet days of ministry back then--I miss them."

So do I...more as the days go by. With the exception of selected worship music, I still find myself pulling out the old Keith Green, Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Second Chapter, and oh yes...Steve Camp CDs to listen and worship with.

It's not so much that there's nothing else out there, it's just that what I hear on CCM radio doesn't sit well with my spirit. It could be a sign of my age, but I don't think so.

[ shakes head to clear out memories ]

Getting back on topic, I am reminded of Jesus' statement about those who lead others astray. I for one would not want to be judged as someone who would have been better off with a millstone tied around my neck. But this is the path I fear many grounded and un-grounded believers may be led down. I really hope Mark would at least consider this, and tremble before the Lord here...before he'll have to stand before Him up there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gig i read Nickie's book as a teen,like i said before no-one in my family are Christians,so it was all very foreign to me..

In some ways the book was the best and worse thing that happened to me,sometimes when you read bios your expecting the same experiences,so i got very frustrated and in some ways even more sinful and became worldly..

As i'm sure you know David Wilkerson and Carter Conlon though not reformed,are full of integrity,and greatly influenced me..

I know everything you could possibly say about conversion i.e God picks us,or R Comforts ideas on the sinners prayers,Paul washers ideas on carnal Christians etc i'm not ignorant to my condition( which boarders on double minded),..I'm NOT a emergent i detest their ideas more so then reforms, i can respect a reformist they at least believe 100% and don't cherry pick..Thats why i don't entirely recognize myself in Steve's recent thread,i can be as bratty against emergents.

There are biblical comparrison to Mark..The disciples as they grew in their new faith,were full of pride John and James,temper lying & violence Peter,doubt Thomas,lack of faith (Jesus words after they didn't heal someone),fear post-cross..
No-ones perfect,and i wonder what we would be posting about the disciples,if they were alive today.

gigantor1231 said...


While it is true that others have faults we should not look to them to be our guides, look through them to Christ. God will hold us all accountable and 'no ones perfect' just doesn't hold water with Him because He is!
I do not consider myself reformed, just someone who has found the truth, Jesus Christ, the perfect reflection of the Father, God's word. I am following it as if my life depended on it because it does. I can relate to you totally though, in my past I allowed my flesh to get in the way and interfere with my relationship to Christ. It was just a few years back that I decided that I wanted to leave a legacy to my children of something more than just being among the imperfect. So with no pre conceived notions or expectations I immersed myself in God's word and I discovered that Heb. 4:12 is true. I can guarantee that if anyone will dedicate themselves to the Word of God and do the same they will be changed forever. Then perhaps we will see once again men like Spurgeon or Edwards rise up from the ash heap, it is high time.

Ken said...

I am a child of the 80's. I was in jr high/hs during the start of the CCM (Christian Contemporary Music). I remember the great controversy over this music. It was deemed evil and accused of leading people astray. There were discussions/debates over this. Was CCM Biblical? Let us not forget that ominous 'satanic beat' that was so prevalent in the CCM movement. Many people condemned CCM simply because they didn't like that particular style of music. I remember hearing music by artists such as Mr. Camp and being challenged by it. There were new ways of looking at the material I had heard ad nauseum throughout my life as a PK (preacher's kid).

I must say I was surprised when I heard about, and read this post. I would have thought that Mr. Camp, after the persecution he and others like him went through, would be more sensitive. That he would understand the difference between a style preference and a content issue. It seems that age and distance have altered this.

Many above have slammed Mr. Driscoll for speaking of these issues from the pulpit. I personally, am impressed by the courage he shows by answering questions off the cuff. I am equally impressed that, given the opportunity, Mr. Driscoll and his staff did not filter out the tough questions and only let through the 'softball' questions. He was asked some very direct, and controversial questions and faced them head on. He called sin, sin and encouraged the people asking to grow. I don't know that he would have been able to find a way to answer the given questions in such a way that those here would have found acceptable.

It was said that the youth are able to discern morality on their own and don't need a pastor speaking of such things. It seems obvious to me that there were at least four people in the audience who were unable to do this and needed direction from someone.

It has been said by Mr. Camp that these things are not appropriate conversations for the pulpit. Mr. Camp has also said that Mr. Driscoll should not have directed them to Christian writings on sexuality. Rather, he should have refered them to Song of Solomon where they could get all the answers they need. Following that logic, we could have saved many a forest over the years if people such as Spurgeon and MacAurthur had not written about theology and simply referred people to the Bible. After all, everything we need to know is right there for us. We could also do away with church and pastors altogether. After all, if we are able to discern all we need from the Bible on our own, what do we need them for?

Pleae don't think that I am calling for the abolition of churches and pastors. I am saying this to make a point. The above seems silly right? Well, so does the church's refusal to discuss sex. And is it so taboo that none of you are even willing to type the word masturbation? Does typing the 'M' word have any less meaning than saying it?

We are doing the youth of our day a diservice by not being willing to openly and frankly discuss sex, sexuality, and God. If we don't talk to them about sex, they are going to learn it from their friends. Do we really want that?

cyd said...

Dear Ken,

God's Word is sufficient for His people. Hebrews 4:12 speaks to this.
You said, "We are doing the youth of our day a diservice..." No. They talk about it with their friends anyway. The diservice is talking about anything BUT God, or placing Him last in the pulpit.
We live in a sex-driven world. It sells everything from cars to toothpaste, and is the common drving force behind everything from politics to Hollywood. Saying that we now need to hear about it openly and frankly from the pulpit is just an excuse for the fact that some in the church crave compromise; as if the Lord Jesus Christ is no longer enough for them to preach about. Are we really that bored with the King of kings and the Lord of lords?? God forbid!!
When the people of God find that they prefer hearing more THAN Him over more OF Him, we are grieviously sinning against the Lord Himself.

Beware of straying from your First Love. Galatians 3:1-5

cyd said...

I meant Colossians 3:1-5, not Galatians.


glip said...

Hi Cindy and all,

By no means am I trying to dissuade anybody from the loathing they have for Mark Driscoll...but would anybody on this board be willing to actually watch (in their entirety) any other of Mark's sermon videos besides this one and the accompanying Q&A? Go to the MarsHill website..push play..and watch. Come back to the board, and relay your thoughts. I'd be curious to see what people say, or send an email whatever.

And Steve you know what I'm referring to; as I would assume you've already seen it...

Just curious that's all..and thanks.

Scott, your friend in Christ.

cyd said...

Dear Glip,

Loathing? No. Grieved and upset? Yes.
I have heard and watched many of sermons from Mars Hill, including the Ask Anything series thus far and have read Driscoll's writings. So, please understand that I do not offer my thoughts here lightly. To reiterate Steve's point, the issue with Driscoll is this: there is no reverence for God or trembling at His Word in his preaching. That is a constant issue. I pray the Lord will break his heart and bring him to repentance over it, because then we will see a man consumed with God and His Word.
And that will be a wonderful day for all of us.

Psalm 2:11,12

glip said...

Cindy thanks. Its just that the statement "no reverence for God or trembling at His Word in his preaching" is well...again we just view all this very differently, and that's..ok. We are believers together and that is the main thing (Psalm 16:3). You answered my question honestly about watching and listening to his stuff - and I really appreciate that, it was important for me to know in order to understand people better.
Now what about the current video up at the MH website on 'predestination'..that's what I suggested people to watch (as others have on the more current post; I kept it here to "keep on topic" hehe) My question is would you find any "reverence" or "fear and trembling" in that sermon. I put those in quotes since obviously people will always view things differently thru many different filters (i.e. doctrinal stands, denomination, predilections, personal experience, etc, etc). I thought it was really really good.

Anyway, all the best to you always.
With utmost sincerity, Scott

Ken said...

I am not sure why you think that he is not focused on God? Is it because he doesn't use God's name every sentence? I am sorry, but I just don't see it. I thought his answers were very Biblical. They called sin, sin. Other than using God's name to punctuate every sentence, I don't know how else he could have answered those questions to your liking.

I ask again, is it the method of delivery or the content? I saw nothing blasphemous with what he said. I also don't see the lack of reverence for God. Everyone keeps saying that, but I have yet to see an example of such.

He is not to everyone's taste and that is fine. I have no problem with you worshipping as you wish. For the most part, how you choose to worship is a personal preference. So long as it allows you to grow closer to God, it is good. Everything else is details and personal preference.

perplexed said...

I live in Seattle and have attended Mars Hill Church for 3 years, so my comments are based from seeing and hearing Mark Driscoll in person every week, being an integral part of this church in community and in leadership. My wife and I have recently resigned our membership with Mars Hill. This was a very difficult decision as it would be to leave any church where you have a history of friendships and strong ties. Overall I have been inspired with what Mark has said each week. He has challenged my life in a way that I've needed for many years. I have been a Christian for 35 years and been in full time ministry for 12 of those). Though I have been motivated to change through Mark's messages there are troubling things about Mark and his church that I can longer reconcile, most of which has nothing to do with the various perceptions that I have read on Steve's blog. One thing I do agree with is that much of what Mark says seems to revolve around Mark himself, rather than Jesus. Mark IS Mars Hill Church and that is probably the biggest reason I have needed to leave. A few years ago he told us that he believes himself to be a chosen "apostle". On several occasions he has told us that God speaks to him "audibly". What he communicates has made him bigger than life, a super-pastor, creating a congregation of mostly young very impressionable people (half which are single)who tend to not think for themselves, but look to Mark for all bible interpretation and guidance. I don't have so much any problem with what Mark says, but how people are directly affected and influenced who attend his church. This church has evolved into the Church of Mark. Contrary to what Mark and others say, the church I have attended is no longer focused on Jesus of the Bible. Its is focused on Mark's Jesus. Mark feels empowered by his emerging renown. As another MH member has said, "He is increasingly presenting himself in an unconventional and controversial way in order to further his name. Though he intends to further Christ's name, the one who is getting the attention here is Mark. Ultimately this is at the expense and detriment of his church body." Since this last fall, dozens have left his church, many who are seasoned believers who have seen enough. Some of those members have felt it necessary to post some of their observations on The Rise and Fall of Mark Driscoll web site. Postings are from a mixture of anger and sadness, but they are first hand experiences. I believe that God has used Pastor Mark in ways that has truely spoken to the church at large. Not everyone will receive what Mark says and there will always be criticisms in some form. But I do ask that those who respect him and those who don't would pray for Mark and especially his church in Seattle. There is a lot of internal strife right now and so far Mark and his elders will not address it. To many good people have left this church or have been asked to leave to just excuse Mark's behavior as a pastor any longer. I fear this church is going to implode and Mark's ministry with it unless there is some form of godly intervention. Mark has no real accountability (see the bylaws on the The Rise and Fall of Mark Driscoll)and thus he is beyond confrontation. I really don't know what else to say here and perhaps you will just go on with what you like or don't like about Mark. I guess I just needed to get things off my chest.

gigantor1231 said...


Wow, you have just confirmed what I saw a while ago and what I have seen in the mega church that I used to belong to in Portland, Oregon and that is that instead of being like John the Baptist 'decreasing that Christ might increase' Mark has built his own dynasty in Seattle. This is not a boast of mine that I see this but I have just experienced it all to much in my 35 years of being a Christian.
I will and have been praying for Mark for about the last year and a half in regards to this situation. I greatly appreciate you coming and sharing this with us. Thank You!

Detoured By Travel said...

Perplexed -

Words truely cannot express the GRIEF I feel in my spirit over reading your post. I remember all too well how badly I was hurt as a baby Christian over internal Church strife (and the resulting split).

It is ONLY by God's grace and by His own hand that I can stand here today and still proclaim that I am His.

I will indeed pray for what you have requested, but even more than that for those young Christians who hang on Mark that will fall HARD when the sinking sand they are standing on collapses under their feet. I will pray that they will turn to God for resolution instead of to bitterness and disillusionment.

Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered.

cyd said...

Dear Perplexed,
Thank you for sharing your heart here. This is a very painful thing to go through. I know that many of us are hurting over Mars Hill and Mark as well -- we will continue to pray. Rejoice in the LORD. He will not share His glory with another. Psalm 130.

Gigantor and Detoured,

Thank you and Amen.

Ken said...

Perplexed... thank you. You are the first one on this blog to actually point to something specific. I have a difficult time with people who generalize and condemn without every being able to point to a specific.

I can appreciate how hard that decision was for you. You are torn between loving the church and people around you and realizing that you no longer belong there.

I hope and pray that your concerns (however real to you) are truely unfounded.

I also don't know that you can place blame on Mark for the actions of those attending the church. Many a pastor has unintentionally ended up with a congregation that gave more weight to him than is healthy. I think that Spurgeon would be surprised by the devotion some christians put on him. That is not a comment necessarily on what Spurgeon said, simply that we sometimes loose sight of where the message is truely coming from.

I pray that you (perplexed) will find another church where you can be at home, challenged, and supported.

SJ Camp said...

My shoulder was bothering me and couldn't sleep; so I just read your heartfelt burden you so powerfully expressed about your relationship with MHC.

I will be praying for you; for Mark and these Executive Elders; and the elders of the church that Christ would be honored; His Word followed; and whatever unfortunate and skewed leadership practices and convictions that are adversely impacting this church.

Keep on...
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Ricky Rickard said...

I am usually the first one to step up and defend Mark Driscoll. But I can't do that this time. I agree with Steve. This steps over the line. Does sex need to be addressed by the church? Yes. But not in such a flip and arrogant way, making fun of it, and laughing about things that carry a lot of weight. Uncalled for and out of line. Steve is right in saying that we need a return to pastors and preacher that have a reverence for the things of God, in particular the Word of God. This is what is lacking in the vast majority of churches today, and sadly it seems it is lacking at Mars Hill Church. We must pray them and their leadership.

SJ Camp said...

We are all saddened by this unfortunate situation. May we continue to pray for Mark and Mars Hill Church during these days of confusion and misuse of the pulpit that the Lord would bring him back to his senses with a healthy fear of the Lord in ministry once again.

2 Cor. 3:5

Rob said...

Whether one agrees with his methods or not, if anyone thinks that Mark is being unbiblical or doing something that is to the detriment of the body of Christ, then they need to follow the biblical mandate and speak with him directly. Complaining about how he goes too far on a blog does little to bring about healing and restoration in the body. Mark is not perfect, but if his stated intention is true (his desire to put Christ first), and he's not doing it, then he needs to be told face-to-face, and not read about it in someones blog. Spurgeon wasn't perfect either, having smoked cigars for much of his life (though I suppose that depends on whether smoking is viewed as a sin). We can nitpick each other all day, we should instead love each other through our ACTIONS, and not through words that tear down.

John said...

Come on, Steve, lighten up a little! You sound like one of the Pharisees who critized Jesus for going to Matthew's party. Jesus didn't worry too much about offending religious people.

John said...

Steve, you said this: "there is no reverence of God, fear of the Lord, or trembling at God's Word in his preaching; and to Mark, cultural is the new hermeneutic that mandates ministry. IOW, the church should do all that it can to adapt to culture and to contextualize the gospel." How can you make this judgment? Please be careful. I see none of what you fear in Mark's preaching. I don't know what you're talking about, and I tremble at His Word.

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