Protest at Mars Hill Cancelled…Reluctantly

Mark Driscoll prays before a serviceI appreciated Pastor Mark’s apology for an ill-considered statement on his blog. Pastor Mark seems a sincere and humble man with the edification of the church at heart.

On the other hand, though “People Against Fundamentalism” (which was started in response to Mark Driscoll specifically) has cancelled its protest at Mars Hill, I think it’s appropriate to recall what Paul Chapman et. al. told SeattleST were their goals in protesting:

What’s the ideal outcome of the December 3 activity?

1) To see Mark removed from his position of influence in Seattle. We are ashamed and sorry that our faith is associated in the minds of the people of Seattle with such bigotry. We would like to see Mark fired from his position as a columnist with the Seattle Times.

2) To see him lose his power within the Christian Community at large. Unfortunately, Mark is seen as a bit of a wonder boy within Evangelical Christianity and trains hundreds of pastors to act like he does. We would like to see Evangelicals become so outraged over his disgusting comments that he is no longer given a platform to spew his garbage.

3) Mark has surrounded himself with men. Ultimately, we would like to see Mark fired as Pastor of Mars Hill and forced to work in the real world where he has to interact with women on a regular basis.

It originally blew my mind that Christians were contemplating a protest against other Christians, until I read the Seattlest interview. Chapman describes his church as a “a small spirituality group in our house (something Christians might call a ‘house church’, though [we] have people with many different understandings of faith).”

My question is this: “Why spend your energy fighting this man—without following the guidelines of Matthew 18, I might add—when there are people out there doing real damage to people?”

EDIT: I should have at least noted that Chapman’s apology to Driscoll for calling him a misogynist seemed sincere. Or at least as sincere as a blog post will allow. (I still lament the tendency in Christianity toward preemptive vilification.)

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4 thoughts on “Protest at Mars Hill Cancelled…Reluctantly”

  1. I’m not sure which comment you’re referring to as “ill-considered,” but if it’s the one I’m thinking of I didn’t find anything wrong with it. There have been plenty of others he’s said that I’ve had to smack my forehead and say “why?” But it seemed to me that particular comment was completely taken out of context and misquoted because the man has enemies with axes to grind, not that they actually considered what he was trying to say.

    “Why spend your energy fighting this man—without following the guidelines of Matthew 18, I might add—when there are people out there doing real damage to people?”

    Great question. So Driscoll has ruffled some feathers. Big deal. He hasn’t said anything heretical, he hasn’t said anything not defensible with the Word of God itself.

  2. It’s the pastor’s wife comment from the Haggard e-mail. And when I say ill-considered, I don’t mean that he was sinning, as the PAF and others have suggested. I know Mark has made other, wilder statements, but this one seemed too much of a generalization, and assumed he could know what pastor’s wives were thinking and that they would think such a thing at all.

    I do not agree with most of the hullaballoo around the comment, especially the drivel produced by PAF, but it wasn’t a fair or defensible with the Word of God. I’m pretty much a complementarian myself, or nearer that than egalitarian, but that seemed a bit much. And he knew he was going a bit further than he probably should. It wasn’t, for instance, the kind of thing I’d want my pastor saying to my wife.

    I think it would have been smarter to make a more even-handed statement, one that encouraged pastors and their wives to remember the impact physical appearance has on marital relationships. Plenty of pastors balloon up to 300 pounds without thinking about it, or thinking much the same thing Mark suggested for their wives.

    This ‘gender’ stuff is a sticky business.

    All that said, starting a “revolution” to bring down a solidly Christian pastor? That sounds like the work of a fringe group. And so it is.

  3. I suppose I should have qualified what I meant by defensible with the Word of God. I was referring to the things Driscoll says from the pulpit, the things he teaches. What I mean is that I’ve never heard him say anything heretical, I’ve never heard him spout off bad theology or doctrine. One may disagree with his interpretation, but you’d be hard-pressed to say there’s no basis for his beliefs.

    But then again — about the issue at hand — on some level, I think you can make a case for what Driscoll said being defensible with the Word (and I’m thinking of 1 Corinthians 7.)

    His comment, for those who don’t know, was this: “A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.”

    When I read that comment, I didn’t think he meant that it applied to pastors’ wives across the board, and he wisely didn’t define what “letting oneself go” is and is not. He didn’t say anyone needs to look like a magazine cover. And honestly, he didn’t say anything I haven’t heard respectable Christian women say themselves.

    From what I gather, Driscoll has become a pastor to pastors and has no doubt heard countless tales of affairs, pornography addiction and non-existent sexual relationships between pastors and their wives. And I believe he offers counsel to many of them. He could have worded it better, but I don’t think it’s outside a pastor’s “jurisdiction” to also address the fairer half of the marital union. In that sense, I don’t think it’s unfair.

    Granted, the Apostle Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7 doesn’t address physical appearance, and the apostle is quick to offer the advice as “a concession, not a command.” But it’s not too difficult to see Pastor Mark’s intended message (of the comment) as an appropriate subtext to that biblical passage, is it?

    “I think it would have been smarter to make a more even-handed statement, one that encouraged pastors and their wives to remember the impact physical appearance has on marital relationships.”

    I agree with you on that. I guess I have a thicker skin about things like this than some people and wasn’t offended. I read that post of tips for young pastors and felt encouraged and better-equipped for a life of ministry (even though I’m not a pastor). But just so you know, I ran this whole deal by Annabelle last night and she wasn’t offended by what Driscoll had to say in the slightest. I guess we’ve listened to him enough to know he has a very high, respectful view of women. If anyone gets the brunt of his wrath, it’s the men he calls to be better husbands and fathers — those he calls to love the women in their lives as they deserve to be loved.

  4. Whoa, whoa, whoa! What you quote is preceded by: “It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness.”

    What you quote is absolutely defensible with Scripture. I (and my wife, incidentally) agree totally with that portion of Driscoll’s advice. It’s the other remark that is, I think, far too generalized to be able to defend with anything. That’s what was ill-considered.

    I, too, felt very encouraged by Driscoll’s post, and terrified too. Ministry is a mine field these days, and I know too many pastors who’ve fallen because of the myriad temptations that find their way into the minister’s field of vision.

    We also deeply respect Pastor Mark, and have since I first read an interview with him in Leadership some years ago that discussed the idea of the anam cara, or soul friend. But I digress…

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