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Why is Mark Driscoll Interesting?

My post excoriating Mark Driscoll’s idolatrous concept of Jesus has skyrocketted to my most-viewed post ever written in a mere two weeks.  It has also garnered some responses around the blogosphere, some of which I may respond to at some point.  However, what I find intriguing is how, in two weeks a post on Mark Driscoll’s lunacy could become the most popular post on my blog.  What is it that makes nutty figures like him major topics for discussion?  I suppose people intent on polarizing things will always bring discussion out of the woodwork, but I find that unfortunate.  As long as the most interesting theological discussions are ones that are radically polarized, I fear we won’t have that many good discussions.  They may be fun (and important), of course, but ultimately I doubt they are the conversations that really, really matter.

However, in light of all the discussion that was had over that post, and the amount of stuff by Driscoll that I’ve read in light of that discussion, I am more convinced than ever that the Jesus he preaches and the ministry he oversees is a blight on the gospel which is tragically leading people into lives of bondage and death rather than the liberation of the gospel.  In light of this, stay tuned for more posts about his books which I’m painfully continuing to digest so as to speak more clearly to the issues that are raised by his sub-Christian theology and ministry.


  1. Halden,

    Although i haven’t commented on your thoughts on Driscoll, i’ve been reading them. I wonder if it is actually the intensity with which you criticize him that garners so much attention.

    Anyone can criticize another’s views, but when someone’s beliefs are called “a blight on the gospel” that enslaves people, then the shock value factor goes up.

    Now i tend to agree with you on Driscoll, but i wonder if the way you criticize is what makes him interesting.

    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink
  2. nick wrote:

    “I am more convinced than ever that the Jesus he preaches and the ministry he oversees is a blight on the gospel which is tragically leading people into lives of bondage and death rather than the liberation of the gospel.”

    right on the money. i would say the same for much of the neo-reformed movement, which espouses a highly interiorized, other-worldly gospel and places a premium on cognitive assent to THEIR particular teachings under the false auspices of “intellectualism” and “valuing doctrine/orthodoxy.” i definitely agree with some of their critiques of the emergent church, but their idolatrous view of christianity as a rational exercise and the cultural property of a white middle-class existence leaves them no better off.

    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  3. Hill wrote:

    Well said, Nick.

    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  4. I think it is the culture of evangelicalism that propels this sort of fascination with every new answer man. Evangelicalism has a really unworkable, unrealistic and unsatisfying view of the Christian life that stems from its revivalist heritage – that there is an instantaneous, immediate conversion and personal relationship with God. When this is coupled with its marketing oriented and hyper-consumeristic ethos, the result is a fickle culture in which evangelical churchgoers are desperately and anxiously looking for the next , new ‘answer’ to their spiritual woes. So, inasmuch as Driscoll is a faddish figure who is trying to rally yet another movement that gets right what is supposedly wrong, evangelicals will gather around him and vigorously apply and defend his teachings as the solution to all their problems.

    This is, admittedly, a pessimistic reading, but it is one way of explaining the explosion of evangelical sub-movements and why the bubble of followers are so eager and hyper.

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 3:29 am | Permalink
  5. Jason Oliver wrote:

    Those are some fighting words, Halden. I’m sure Driscoll would like to lay the smackdown on you! :-) Nevertheless, your previous posts on Driscoll are filled with truth which many evangelicals should consider when trying to find the next representive of evangelical subculture.

    Also James,

    I couldn’t agree more. For example, a friend of mine sent me a text message about praying for revival. Granted I was in Atlantic City but I wonder why is there so much calls for revivals.

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 1:01 pm | Permalink
  6. jake wrote:

    I think we need to develop an intelligent and MELLOW, non agressive critique of Driscolls theology. When Driscoll is googled, there are harldy any dissenting voices. I think it is important to allow people to see both sides of the coin, as well as having a resource for study, as of now this doesn’ t exist. Lets focus this energy and develop a way to intelligently and seriously challenge but in a way that is humbled and not aggresively attacking, that way it will reach more people.

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  7. Phil Sumpter wrote:

    Halden, Driscoll is nothing compared to this guy when it comes the evangelical masculine identity. And what he says is all true: in Germany, the “men” really do sit down!

    Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 5:46 am | Permalink
  8. Phil Sumpter wrote:

    The link is here:

    Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 5:46 am | Permalink
  9. Just so you know, I edited the Jesus Manifesto post when it came in and added the link before publishing. I too have a lot of disagreements with Driscoll’s theology and methodology, but the point of the link was basically that I needed to reference where Driscoll had discussed his view on “wimpy Jesus,” and the Relevant archive was just plain boring.

    Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 8:58 am | Permalink
  10. Geoff wrote:

    I heard a q&a with driscoll recently and the question was, “what is the Christian life?”

    Driscoll responded with something like, “the Christian life is a trinitarian life.”

    Anyhow, the guy seemed to genuinely take joy in telling how repenting and believing the gospel of Christ as crucified and risen Lord brings the individual and the church into the life of the Trinity.

    I read one of his books to, but not much of his theology was in it, it was simply an adventure story. Anyhow, I don’t think he’s completely destructive simply because he’s crass, even if his machismo becomes the ground work for his whole worldview.

    BTW, I love making fun of driscoll, especially those choker necklaces he wears.

    Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 8:50 am | Permalink
  11. parishioner wrote:

    I’m a little late to the conversation, but as to why he’s interesting . . . These are some of my conclusions thus far. (Keep in mind they’re particular to our culture.) If I may?

    I hold these Driscoll Demonstrated Truths to be self-evident:

    1. Any meathead who declares that masturbation is not a sin is guaranteed a crowd of slavering, troglodytic followers.

    2. When vulgar comedians are the chosen role models for a pastor’s preaching style, “polemics” becomes the sanitized term for what Scripture condemns as “contempt,” “strife,” “divisiveness,” and “meaningless quarrels.”

    3. When major evangelical players covet the media fame brought by a peer’s bad behavior, they put videos on YouTube defending their association with said bad boy.

    4. When machismo is more desired than Christ’s character, it is always the case that:

    a. derogatory terms for homosexuals will be bandied about

    b. women’s roles and male headship will be distorted and perverted

    c. bullying behavior will be attributed to Jesus

    d. love will be portrayed as “feminine,” “emotional,” and unbecoming to males

    e. you’ll know a tree by its fruit, but you’ll know a man by his piercings, tattoos, profanity, and violence

    f. darkness in atmosphere, architecture, decoration, and attire will prevail–as seen in the steadfast refusal to wear any color of the spectrum. Only shades of black, gray, and brown which the photosensitive rods of the human eye perceive in relative darkness are acceptable. Those with repressed metrosexual urges might wear navy.

    g. all masculine insecurity will be denied and compensated for by a-f

    As far as Jake’s thoughts go, I’m with him but not intelligent enough to proceed.

    I’m still waiting for someone to make the connection between the heresy of Openness Theology (espoused by Eldredge) and the lunacy of the masculinity movement. There must be some connection between the way God is wickedly anthropomorphised and the rejection of Jesus as Lord for behavior standards. However, I’m no Halden and every time I try to speak intelligently about the issue I fail, and my comments degenerate into parody. The man is a buffoon with the behavior of a caricature, and I struggle to critique him seriously. I’m also too ignorant of heresies to spell out the problems in a coherent way, and hampered by an IQ at least 50 points lower than Doerge’s.

    Also, it is just my imagination, or are those who fixate on eternal security and who talk about Calvin more than they talk about Jesus some of the worst behaved Christians on the planet? I always get the sense that they think they can be as nasty as they wanna be, because they’ve got their fire insurance.

    “If we claim to have fellowship with Jesus, we must walk in the light.” Their Bibles don’t seem to have any conditional clauses in them . . .

    Monday, February 9, 2009 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  12. parishioner wrote:

    My bad. Observation #1 should have read, “Any meathead in church leadership who declares that masturbation is not a sin and who has a link to ChristianNymphos on his site is guaranteed a crowd of slavering, troglodytic followers.”

    I’ve been thinking more about it and have decided that Mark Driscoll isn’t very interesting, after all. I’ve decided that what IS interesting is the lack of discernment surrounding him. Perhaps we should instead ask the question, “Why are U.S. Christians so blind and so ignorant of Scripture?”

    It’s astounding to me that Christians are capable of witnessing such an absence of love and of being so untroubled by it. Romans 13:8-10 spells it out:

    “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

    Are we so deceived that we believe love is an option, no longer the fulfillment of the law? Do we really believe that it is a saccharine sentimentalism co-opted by greeting card companies, whose primary customers are female? Have we really decided that it is OK to disregard Jesus’ words during his last seder, and say we’re Christians out of one side of our mouth, while out of the other side we’re selfish, sexually-fixated, profane mockers who express pejorative terms more than brotherly love? What happened to Peter’s exhortations to “make every effort?”

    And this? “Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:17-24)

    And this? “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” (1 Tim 1:5-7)

    Unfortunately, that sounds like someone I know. He has no seeming concern for a pure heart. No seeming concern for a good conscience. No seeming concern for a sincere faith. What he does have is a propensity for bullying and for proclaiming his eternal security.

    Paul was constantly warning Christians that their actions needed to reflect their relationship with God. This is where I puzzle over Driscoll’s “security” fetish, wondering if he feels no warnings ever apply to him. Why are there thousands in his church who do not ask him about his lack of loving behavior? Why are men so prominent in the evangelical community unwilling to rebuke him in love, both for his behavior and for being a theological nutter?

    This is what I find truly interesting. And truly grievous.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

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