"Some people see me primarily as a loving, gracious person and others have seen me as a person who's angry or short-tempered or careless with words and harmful and so that contributes to the confusion."
Mark Driscoll (in an interview with Brian Houston)
A month ago we reported on the 'disinvitation' of Mark Driscoll by Brian Houston at a Hillsong conference 'down under'. At the top of that post we included the familiar phrase "Houston, we have a problem."
Well, it turns out that Houston didn't have a problem after all and went on to conduct the interview with Mark Driscoll prior to the conference, despite a well-publicized protest. At the Hillsong conference in Australia, the pre-recorded video interview between Brian Houston and Mark and Grace Driscoll was shown on the big screen. You would think that 'Pastor Houston' would have had a little compassion for those who have been hurt by Driscoll and are in the process of trying to heal their wounds. As far as we're concerned, Houston's charade only served to re-open those wounds. So what's really going on here, and why did the Driscoll show have to go on?
It appears that Mark Driscoll — the pastor currently without a church — is attempting to relaunch his ministerial career after a leave of absence that has lasted close to a year. Although Driscoll has recently delivered a few sermons as a guest preacher, it has been Brian Houston who has given Mark Driscoll a very public platform. Then in very short order 'Pastor Mark' published his upcoming speaking schedule on his website. Looks like the Driscoll show must go on… The BIG QUESTION is, how many will be attracted to this Phoenix Rising out of the
Mars Hill Mark's Hill ashes?
Getting back to the pre-recorded conversation between Brian Houston and Mark and Grace Driscoll, we are grateful to Warren Throckmorton for sharing the audio of the almost hour long interview. It was obvious that the line of questioning had been prepared ahead of time and that the Driscolls had scripted responses. In case you decide to forego the interview, here are what I believe to be the main points the Driscolls wanted to make.
– Mark Driscoll started the ministry way too young. He was just 25 years old and admits he should have been mentored by a seasoned senior pastor before planting a church. (02:40)
– The last year has been really hard for Mark and Grace. The Driscoll children have been terribly hurt because the church felt like an extension of the family. (05:30)
– Reformed in his theology. Mark Driscoll explains his theology to Brian Houston and says in the past he would have fought for reformed theology. (07:50)
– Mark Driscoll has become controversial and in the minds of some people, even Toxic. Driscoll went on to say: "Some people see me primarily as a loving, gracious person and others have seen me as a person who's angry or short-tempered or careless with words and harmful and so that contributes to the confusion." (08:44)
– Driscoll says he drove himself to a point of not being well as he built the ministry (fatigued adrenal glands and two intestinal ulcers). It drove the team beyond their limits, and he now regrets that. Now he wants to draw people and not drive people. (11:14)
– If Driscoll could change something about the past, he says he would have waited longer to start the church, he would have brought them under a Godly spiritual couple in oversight to pastor them, he wouldn't have gone out until they said it's time, he would have had them serve as his oversight in governance, he would have paid more attention to emotional health and well-being and any bitterness in his own soul so there wasn't anger or hurt of defensiveness that was driving some of his motivations. He would have more keen to draw Grace out and worked on the friendship with her in the early years. (14:10)
– Houston says that Driscoll created an angry world and then asks whether the world he created devoured him. Driscoll responded that to some degree that was true. (16:37)
– Houston points out that one of the reasons Driscoll was so controversial was because of his strong criticism of others. Houston mentions Driscoll's criticism of Joel Osteen, who is a good friend of his. Driscoll shares that he has reached out to Osteen and privately apologized. (18:48)
– Driscoll mentions his reformed and charismatic bent. (22:47)
– Driscoll says he has learned quite a bit about relationships and how your life is defined by your relationships. (24:05)
– Driscoll says as the leader he has to bear responsibility for the lion's share of the break-up of Mars Hil Church. (25:20)
– Driscoll admits that he has said some ungodly, unwise things about women. He posted under a pseudonym in his late 20s – took a character role and was fighting. He had it taken down, and in 2014 the content was reposted ont he internet. He said it is one of the great regrets of his life. He said he can't read some of the things he wrote now. (26:00)
– Brian Houston specifically mentions some of Mark Driscoll's inflammatory remarks, and Driscoll responds. (27:50)
– Houston says the Christian leaders say a lot of words, and inevitably some regrettable words will slip out. (30:00)
– Houston and Driscoll discuss their differences regarding women in leadership roles in the church. Driscoll goes on to admit that Mars Hill would have been better off with some Godly women in ministry. They Houston asks where the barriers are between men and women serving in ministry. Driscoll clarified saying he believes in male governance and male and female mnistry. (30:30)
– Mark Driscoll says he is not a misogynist, but the things he has said have led people to believe that. Grace says she has never seen her husband as a misogynist. (36:00)
– Houston asks whether Driscoll's apology is too little too late? (38:47)
– Driscoll says he never got to say good-bye to the church members. He didn't expect to resign, but it got complicated. (39:35)
– Pride, anger, and domineering leadership were character flaws the Board pointed out, and they wanted Driscoll to work on these before coming back in early January. Then he explains that the Lord spoke to him and Grace about leaving Mars Hill Church. (Mark gets very emotional). Then he explains how they submitted their resignation letter the next day. (42:00)
– Houston says: "So there's a lot of grief", and the Driscolls agreed. Then they talk about how God is the great restorer. (43:50)
– Brian Houston says he understands that Driscoll is not trying to defend his actions and then asks whether anything was said that was so untrue and so hurtful. Driscoll says he would like to, but he declines to respond because he says his goal is not to win. Then he receives a round of applause. He believes holding his peace would be best for the gospel. (45:05)
As they wrapped up the interview, Brian Houston asked Mark Driscoll what are three to five things he has most learned in recent years to which Driscoll responded
1. A deeper appreciation for the grace of God.
2. Exceedingly grateful for my wife.
3. Faith – we don't know what's next. I would like to teach the Bible. The plan is to not get ahead of the Lord.
Houston explained after the interview concluded that the actual conversation lasted one hour and fifty-three minutes. An entire hour was edited out. We understand that this video will be shown at the Hillsong Conference in Great Britain, which will be occurring in a little over a week. You may recall that Mark Driscoll had some highly offensive words to say about the Brits in his interview with Justin Brierley a couple years ago.
There was a peaceful protest in Australia which played a big part in Mark Driscoll not being interviewed live at the Hillsong Conference. We understand that protestors passed out flyers that included the following (see screen shot below):
There are plans for another protest in Great Britain when the Hillsong Conference takes place.
Wenatchee the Hatchet has written a series of posts (14 in all) discussing the Brian Houston interview. In one post Wenatchee shares his reaction to the portion of the Houston / Driscoll interview dealing with Driscoll's resignation (which he has transcribed). These are his concluding remarks:
Driscoll told Houston "we never got to say goodbye". That's what the resignation letter already did. It turned out Mark Driscoll resigned from the only church he was eve ra member of, a church he co-founded back in 1995. He resigned after he had, as he told Houston, both initiated an investigation and agreed to submit to the findings of that investigation right up to the point that he heard some voice say "a trap has been set."
Was that voice worth resigning over? Was that voice worth actually or just potentially dismantling the social lives of the Driscoll children over? After all back in 2007 it wasn't unknown that the Driscolls and Petrys visited each other. When Munson's shunning edict came down it's not like that didn't establish as policy an ending of social interactions between families.
So if the latest Driscoll account is true (and it does seem to fit the Thrive narrative, more or less) then the Driscoll resignation comes across as impulsive and reactionary; it also comes across as a decision that flatly contradicted what Driscoll said he would agree to comply with. It's not difficult to imagine, as Driscoll said was a concern since the resignation, that there'd be some worry the Driscoll kids might be upset or resentful about their parents decision to bail on the church they helped plant that the kids grew up in.
And as Mark Driscoll used to teach about husbandly/fatherly headship, it means that it's your responsibility even if technically you'd say it wasn't really your fault. Regardless of whether Mark can claim God said " a trap has been set", it was Mark Driscoll who decided to interpret that as "we should quit" rather than to submit to the leadership he said he was going to submit to and see where things led.
In an interesting twist, Brian Houston / Hillsong will be coming to Seattle on October 26. It appears there will be no shortage of topic to discuss in the coming months regarding Mark Driscoll and to some degree Brian Houston.
Will Driscoll be able to rise from the ashes and build another ministry? We will definitely be watching…