Mark Driscoll has apologized. Now he needs to resign.

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Mark Driscoll has apologized.

Again.

And now he needs to resign.

It’s time. Hell, it was time in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, and six months ago.

But now—either today or possibly tomorrow because it’s a Sunday!—it’s time for Mark Driscoll to step down, to leave Mars Hill, to possibly even leave Seattle.

Late last night Driscoll released this apology to his church members and also to Christian Today:

While the discussion board itself was a bad idea, my decision to attack critics who were posting there (I did so by posting under the character ‘William Wallace II’) was an even worse idea,” Driscoll said in his letter Friday, provided to CT. “I was wrong to respond to people the way I did, using the language I used, and I am sorry for it and remain embarrassed by it.

In his Friday apology, Driscoll noted that, in his 2006 book, he used the forum posts as an example of “something I regretted and an example of a wrong I had learned from.”

The content of my postings to that discussion board does not reflect how I feel, or how I would conduct myself today,” he told his church members Friday. Over the past 14 years I have changed, and, by God’s grace, hope to continue to change. I also hope people I have offended and disappointed will forgive me.

Is there more to this apology somewhere? I mean, it’s not that I don’t accept Mark’s apology, though I’m not really the intended audience for an apology from Mark. But if this really is all that Mark said (and that seems to be the case), then this is a pretty sad excuse for an apology, even for Mark Driscoll.

I mean, it just sounds like Mark Driscoll is tired of apologizing. Which makes sense. How could he not be tired of issuing apologies? He’s apologized a lot. And this time he doesn’t seem to even know who he’s apologizing to or why he’s apologizing. It feels forced, formulaic.

And God knows that faithful-to-fault communications guy at Mars Hill–what’s his name again?–has got to be tired of writing apologies on Mark’s behalf. I’ve chatted with Justin Dean. He seems like a nice guy, far more aware than he lets on. Though he’d never admit this, chances are even he thinks it’s time for Mark to bid farewell to Seattle.

But seriously, how many times can you ghostwrite unemotional statements of forgiveness on the behalf of somebody you know to be an absolute tyrant to work for before you’re secretly writing fake resignation letters and sending them to your friends?

Which is why its time for him to go. Mark hanging on to Mars Hill is like ABC hanging on to Grey’s Anatomy, it’s getting desperate. It’s time for this part of the Mars Hill story to end. It’s time for somebody else to begin writing the next chapters.

I mean, it’s not like I’m suggesting that Grace needs to take the kids to Argentina while Mark secretly works as a lumberjack somewhere in No Man’s Land, Canada. I wouldn’t wish that Dexter ending on anybody.

But I do think that it’s time for Mark to leave… for his family’s sake, for his church’s sake, and for the sake of all of those who Mark has hurt…

Listen, I believe Mark. I believe he’s embarrassed. When your career as a pastor has managed to offend nearly every person on earth except the white people who read The Blaze, how can you not be embarrassed? Of course he’s embarrassed. He should be embarrassed.

And I do believe he’s probably changed. But I’m not convinced that these changes have made him a safer leader, a leader who should be trusted, a leader who should be left in charge of a church full of victims.

And that’s what Mars Hill needs, a kind, humble gracious shepherd to lead them into Part 2 of the church’s story.

But there can’t be a part 2 with Mark Driscoll still in charge.

The only kind of apology that moves this situation forward is the kind that comes with a resignation.

So come on, Mark, man up, walk away… with Grace… and grace.

Comments

  1. rectorphoto says

    “Mark hanging on to Mars Hill is like ABC hanging on to Grey’s Anatomy” … actually, I wish it were that harmless. In fact, it’s deadly. This whole thing turns my stomach.

  2. rectorphoto says

    “Mark hanging on to Mars Hill is like ABC hanging on to Grey’s Anatomy” … actually, I wish it were that harmless. In fact, it’s deadly. This whole thing turns my stomach.

  3. arnizach says

    So… You don’t feel that Driscoll’s apology is sincere. So he needs to resign. For the future of Mars Hill? 

    Does not compute, Matthew. I don’t see a good reason for his resignation, at least not in this article. I’m by no means a defender of Mark Driscoll, or even a fan. But this is far from convincing.

  4. arnizach says

    So… You don’t feel that Driscoll’s apology is sincere. So he needs to resign. For the future of Mars Hill? 

    Does not compute, Matthew. I don’t see a good reason for his resignation, at least not in this article. I’m by no means a defender of Mark Driscoll, or even a fan. But this is far from convincing.

  5. mmcnw says

    arnizach Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1Timothy+3&version=NIV#fen-NIV-29736a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.    

    It’s kind of obvious he shouldn’t be a pastor/overseer.

  6. mmcnw says

    arnizach Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1Timothy+3&version=NIV#fen-NIV-29736a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.    

    It’s kind of obvious he shouldn’t be a pastor/overseer.

  7. Professor Pooma says

    Matthew, have I told you, “I love you” today? Of course, I mean it in the most brotherly of ways. After reading your book, “Churched”, I realized we had a similar experience during childhood, so I really get a kick out of how you turn tables now. Carry on.

  8. DivorceMinister says

    What hurts my heart about this is all the people who have been damaged by this line of teaching. Arrogance and bullying is not acceptable in God’s Church and certainly ought not to be accepted in leadership positions. This is true whether you are bullying a young man or bullying a young woman. Neither is acceptable or godly. 

    And sadly such arrogance and bullying tactics do not end with an apology from a leader here or there. They reverberate in the actions of followers who believe this modus operandi is godly or proper behavior for Christians. While I never was a member of MHC, I experienced the arrogance and spiritual abuse of a MHC member who tried to manipulate me using MHC materials and contract-like spiritual voodoo. Distorted, yes. However, this member thought it alright and wise to lecture a minister of God about the Bible after going through a few MHC classes. Such arrogance and manipulation tactics were modeled. And this individual took it from there. This is just one example of how these teachings have disastrous ramifications far beyond MHC and that infamous chat room. 

    My hope is that you are right, MPT, and MD is truly embarrassed, grieved over his sins. But if this is really the case, what actions have been taken to bring healing to those directly hurt by his words and example? An apology does not do enough to stem the tide of damaging arrogance and bullying initiated by such an example. Resigning and then working full-time to repair such considerable damage may be a start. I don’t know. Thankfully, God is still on His throne, and I truly wish MD plus his family the best as he follows God on this matter as he is ultimately accountable to God–not us–on it.

  9. ljann says

    Thanks for finally vocalizing what everyone knows to be true (even MarsHillians, I think, in their heart of hearts). 

    The dissemination of Mark Driscoll’s ‘style’–which has been particularly harmful, and without excuse, in seminaries–has encouraged many other pastors to indulge their own fleshly authoritarian tendencies, rather than submitting their hearts to the servitude that Jesus models.  May all of their reigns of terror come to an end.

  10. ljann says

    Thanks for finally vocalizing what everyone knows to be true (even MarsHillians, I think, in their heart of hearts). 

    The dissemination of Mark Driscoll’s ‘style’–which has been particularly harmful, and without excuse, in seminaries–has encouraged many other pastors to indulge their own fleshly authoritarian tendencies, rather than submitting their hearts to the servitude that Jesus models.  May all of their reigns of terror come to an end.

  11. StephenGonzalez says

    I totally agree, it’s time for him to step down. Not so we can cheer and throw a party but so that the Spirit in his community can begin really dealing with what is in his heart. I long to not hear of him because he is quietly serving the body and his community and no longer putting himself in a place that he is sadly and clearly disqualified. 

    I pray he see’s that being a repentant follower of Jesus is better than being a pastor of a mega church. I love the dude, he’s jacked up like me, and Jesus is a big Savior, his story is not over yet.

  12. StephenGonzalez says

    I totally agree, it’s time for him to step down. Not so we can cheer and throw a party but so that the Spirit in his community can begin really dealing with what is in his heart. I long to not hear of him because he is quietly serving the body and his community and no longer putting himself in a place that he is sadly and clearly disqualified. 

    I pray he see’s that being a repentant follower of Jesus is better than being a pastor of a mega church. I love the dude, he’s jacked up like me, and Jesus is a big Savior, his story is not over yet.

  13. LeanneZeck says

    It is not ungracious or unforgiving to suggest or request a leader in a church to take a sabbatical or step down. As a pastor myself, I have known colleagues to take a sabbatical when they needed to get healthy. It is easy to become entrenched in the system that the church has become–even more so when it is a congregation you have created. All the baggage of that community and all the expectations the community has for the pastor and the expectations the pastor has of the community can be obstacles to getting healthy. It would be very wise for Driscoll to take a sabbatical in order to find health–for his sake, his family’s sake, and for the church.

  14. LeanneZeck says

    It is not ungracious or unforgiving to suggest or request a leader in a church to take a sabbatical or step down. As a pastor myself, I have known colleagues to take a sabbatical when they needed to get healthy. It is easy to become entrenched in the system that the church has become–even more so when it is a congregation you have created. All the baggage of that community and all the expectations the community has for the pastor and the expectations the pastor has of the community can be obstacles to getting healthy. It would be very wise for Driscoll to take a sabbatical in order to find health–for his sake, his family’s sake, and for the church.

  15. ljann says

    A forgotten aspect of I Timothy 3 (and Titus 1) is that these passages are instructional to the congregation as well:  they define who we are to allow to have influence over us, and what the boundaries of pastoral authority are.  

    A church member who allows a leader to violate those boundaries with impunity is not honoring these scriptures.  All pastors err.  But if individual church members took their responsibility to I Timothy 3 seriously, those who do so repeatedly would simply find themselves without a congregation.

  16. ljann says

    A forgotten aspect of I Timothy 3 (and Titus 1) is that these passages are instructional to the congregation as well:  they define who we are to allow to have influence over us, and what the boundaries of pastoral authority are.  

    A church member who allows a leader to violate those boundaries with impunity is not honoring these scriptures.  All pastors err.  But if individual church members took their responsibility to I Timothy 3 seriously, those who do so repeatedly would simply find themselves without a congregation.

  17. ljann says

    willadair That’s to forgive a brother, not to decide whether a brother should be a pastor.  No one has a right to be a pastor.  According to Scripture, they are to comply with the requirements of I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 to do so.  

    A pastor who truly loved the church, and saw that he was hurting it or bringing shame to it, would willingly step down; giving his life for the sheep as Jesus instructs.

  18. ljann says

    willadair That’s to forgive a brother, not to decide whether a brother should be a pastor.  No one has a right to be a pastor.  According to Scripture, they are to comply with the requirements of I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 to do so.  

    A pastor who truly loved the church, and saw that he was hurting it or bringing shame to it, would willingly step down; giving his life for the sheep as Jesus instructs.

  19. Paul Petry says

    “While the discussion board itself was a bad idea…” 

    Actually, it was a good idea.
    But he regarded it as a bad idea because he could not control the discussion.

  20. Paul Petry says

    “While the discussion board itself was a bad idea…” 

    Actually, it was a good idea.
    But he regarded it as a bad idea because he could not control the discussion.

  21. lydiaofthyatira says

    Without going through all the firings and coup de tats over the last 6 years or so, what makes you think it is not “Marks” church? It is his organization. It was built on cult of personality. He has gotten rid of any dissenting elders and even has outsiders on a Board of Advisors (albeit they are resigning too.. were they.paid positions?)
    Cult of personality organizations don’t last without the personality. He has always been the draw no matter how big it became and how many campi.

  22. lydiaofthyatira says

    Without going through all the firings and coup de tats over the last 6 years or so, what makes you think it is not “Marks” church? It is his organization. It was built on cult of personality. He has gotten rid of any dissenting elders and even has outsiders on a Board of Advisors (albeit they are resigning too.. were they.paid positions?)
    Cult of personality organizations don’t last without the personality. He has always been the draw no matter how big it became and how many campi.

  23. brianinsanjose says

    I admit I am a pathetic person, even demonically controlled, at least that is what I am told. I hope Pastor Driscoll is restored and all of the people hurt are healed. That is stupid on its face and maybe even satanic in its hope as God wants to be proven and to win. Why does God need to win? I never got that. I am a pragmatist if Pastor Mark is restored he could echo the Gospel of grace and show the world Jesus is real. I do understand that cant happen even of the God of glory wills it, it cant and wont, to many people hate Driscoll so God needs to do the godly thing and take him out. I dont wish that but I am a heathen and need to repent of my desire to see him restored. I cant. sorry.

  24. brianinsanjose says

    I admit I am a pathetic person, even demonically controlled, at least that is what I am told. I hope Pastor Driscoll is restored and all of the people hurt are healed. That is stupid on its face and maybe even satanic in its hope as God wants to be proven and to win. Why does God need to win? I never got that. I am a pragmatist if Pastor Mark is restored he could echo the Gospel of grace and show the world Jesus is real. I do understand that cant happen even of the God of glory wills it, it cant and wont, to many people hate Driscoll so God needs to do the godly thing and take him out. I dont wish that but I am a heathen and need to repent of my desire to see him restored. I cant. sorry.

  25. chrismiller262 says

    KentFaver Here is an article that provides some (alarming) insight into the elder situation at Mars Hill… http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/why-the-mars-hill-faithful-have-started-to-question-mark/Content?oid=20257920

  26. freddyeddy1 says

    Property and payroll.
    The two primary problems in the institutional church.
    Man made businesses, with man made management systems.
    Where
    is the mutual submission and is it possible when you have a cash cow
    empire marching forward and taking willing participants to temporal
    glory once a week?
    I think not.
    BTW and FTR, the necessity of death of Jesus is continually demonstrated by each one of us, unfortunately on a regular basis.
    God have mercy.

  27. freddyeddy1 says

    Property and payroll.
    The two primary problems in the institutional church.
    Man made businesses, with man made management systems.
    Where
    is the mutual submission and is it possible when you have a cash cow
    empire marching forward and taking willing participants to temporal
    glory once a week?
    I think not.
    BTW and FTR, the necessity of death of Jesus is continually demonstrated by each one of us, unfortunately on a regular basis.
    God have mercy.

  28. JudyP says

    1st amendment. If you are offended by him, don’t listen to his sermons and don’t read his blogs.
    I would be offended by many news organizations and TV shows. To not be offended I simply do not tune in.
    I personally have listened to his 46 parts of Genesis and am on part 66 of Luke.  I find nothing offensive about his
    preaching. If God offends you, don’t read it.

  29. JudyP says

    1st amendment. If you are offended by him, don’t listen to his sermons and don’t read his blogs.
    I would be offended by many news organizations and TV shows. To not be offended I simply do not tune in.
    I personally have listened to his 46 parts of Genesis and am on part 66 of Luke.  I find nothing offensive about his
    preaching. If God offends you, don’t read it.

  30. flounderfoot says

    ljann willadair No… A pastor would repent, not necessarily step down.

    So if Mark Driscoll was caught having a gay relationship with an intern … he should step down.  Because it reveals that there was something deep still going on.  But he was caught being crass and careless with his anger (towards sin and those who might promote it) 14 years ago … and he should now step down?  Geeze.  What if he forgot to return the library book?!! I guess he should also step down.

  31. flounderfoot says

    ljann willadair No… A pastor would repent, not necessarily step down.

    So if Mark Driscoll was caught having a gay relationship with an intern … he should step down.  Because it reveals that there was something deep still going on.  But he was caught being crass and careless with his anger (towards sin and those who might promote it) 14 years ago … and he should now step down?  Geeze.  What if he forgot to return the library book?!! I guess he should also step down.

  32. flounderfoot says

    ljann What if their role model is John the Baptist?  Or Elijah?  Or Jesus when he was chewing people out and telling them that they were going to hell?  Why is it always, when Jesus was with the little children.  We tend to mold Jesus into the model that we feel more comfortable with.  

    The Gospel isn’t comfortable.  It is painful and offensive by its very nature.  It requires sacrificing our all and trusting in Jesus Christ rather than our own strength to bring us to God.

    I think I’m going to start my own church.  I’ll call the “Bloody Cross Church”  (smile)  We like the terms “Holy Cross” and “Good Shepherd” and forget that Jesus will be the one that will judge all of mankind, and MOST (according to Him) will be going to hell.  If you really love someone … would you be willing to get in their face and tell them they are going to spend eternity in torment?!!  Maybe Mark is less the issue .. and it is more me and you not confronting who Jesus really is.

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