Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Ephesians 4:29 NIV)
Abraham Lincoln: “ Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
Sex sells, even from the pulpit. Mark Driscoll, the “sexpert” pastor from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, has gained much notoriety and is revered by many Christian leaders as the “dude” whom pastors should emulate. He’s on a mission to reform churches across the globe (reformission), but just who is Mark Driscoll?
We (the blog hosts) have only begun to understand Mark and his ministry. If you had asked us just a few months ago what we thought of him, we would have said he’s a pastor who seems to have an effective ministry in reaching a younger generation. One of us has a friend who is a member of Mars Hill Church and the other has a daughter who read Radical Reformission last summer prior to attending a leadership retreat for Campus Crusade for Christ. That was basically the extent of our knowledge of Pastor Mark. Much has changed since then!
For those of you who have never heard of Mark Driscoll, he’s the “hip” pastor who planted a church in his living room when he was in his mid-20’s. Now at the age of 38, Mark has captured the attention of the Christian world by building a successful mega-church and helping establish the Acts 29 network of independent churches. These Acts 29 churches hold to a Reformed (Calvinistic) theology and are missional in nature as they seek to communicate their particular brand of theology to a contemporary culture.
Incredibly, Mark Driscoll has propelled himself to mega-status through his punk persona and racy sermons that are at times pornographic. Once labeled the “cussing pastor”, Mark Driscoll has repented of that sin; however, he continues to make offensive remarks for which he must apologize. Because Pastor Mark dares to go where no pastor has ever gone before, he understandably has attracted significant media hype. Here’s a recent clip from Nightline.
While Mark Driscoll has his share of critics, which we will present tomorrow, he also has influential supporters like John Piper, one of the most well-known Reformed pastors of our day. Take a look at why John Piper invited Pastor Mark to speak at the 2008 Desiring God Conference.
And here’s Pastor Mark explaining why he feels justified in using harsh language when he preaches.
To give you a taste of the kind of material anyone can view at the Mars Hill Church website, here’s a clip on a subject Pastor Mark discusses with some regularity. View at your own risk!
Ironically, Mark Driscoll often quotes a passage from Song of Songs that says, “Do not awaken love before it’s time”; however, his erotic language seems to do just that. One teenager wrote the following letter to a Christian advocate who speaks out against what she believes is an inappropriate use of language by Mark Driscoll:
“Dear Mrs. Schlueter,
I wanted to thank you so much for your latest post exposing the foul-mouthed “pastor” Mark Driscoll. I am an 18 year old Christian young woman who has struggled with pornography. You have no idea what reading and watching Mark Driscoll’s material did for my spiritual life. I was instantly reminded by my sinful flesh just how much I enjoyed my despicable sin, and was repeatedly tempted so strongly that I had to stop reading his article. I should have been able to find refuge in a godly pastor’s words, not even more temptation. I should be made to think of Holy Scripture, not of the perverted images that I have a hard enough time trying to keep out of my mind.”
We can’t help but wonder what kind of effect Pastor Mark’s “grunge Christianity” is having on men (and women) who are suffering from an addiction to pornography. And what about the impressionable teenagers at Mars Hill Church (maybe there aren’t any) and on the internet who are being exposed to this kind of graphic language?
As Christians, we are not to cause our brothers and sisters in Christ to stumble, and we fear there are many who have fallen into sin by being exposed to Mark Driscoll’s “sex talk”. Pastor Mark knows that sex sells, and he uses it to tickle his listeners’ ears! Let’s be honest — this isn’t rocket science!!!
The big question we want to leave you with for now is: “Where does a pastor cross the line when trying to be relevant to society while honoring Jesus Christ and His Holy Word?”