Driscoll in Australia
Phillip Jensen and Mark Driscoll
In September 2008, Phillip Jensen, the Dean of Sydney at St Andrew’s Cathedral, had the pleasure of hearing an American preacher, Pastor Mark Driscoll. During a two-week visit to Australia, Driscoll spoke in many venues, including the Cathedral. He twice addressed a packed gathering of Christian workers and in his second address challenged the evangelistic ministry of the gospel in Sydney.
The Dean of St Andrews was very impressed with Mark Driscoll. Jensen writes: ‘He lovingly told us of eighteen problems that he saw we had. It was an address that has caused some considerable discussion amongst Sydney’s evangelical community. Since that address I have been approached by many people wanting my opinion on Mark Driscoll and in particular on his critique of Sydney’s evangelism. As one of those who invited Mark to speak to us, I am keen to keep the conversation going and to ride the enthusiasm that he has engendered amongst the next generation of Christian leaders.’
Jensen was effusive in his admiration. He said: ‘Mark Driscoll is a fine Christian man, gifted and blessed by God to undertake a great ministry in his home city, Seattle. He loves the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord. He upholds the great Reformation doctrines of grace and seeks to teach the Bible as he reaches the lost with the Gospel. His gifts in oratory and communication are enormous. He is a great evangelist: able to communicate with his generation, making the gospel clear and its claims compelling.
His address to us in the Cathedral was more that of a prophetic preacher than an expositor of the Bible. He spoke as a Christian friend about the problems he sees we have. As such, it is important that we weigh what he says (1 Corinthians 14:29).’
Jensen continued: ‘Mark is a remarkable man with many clear and great insights but he is not the only one, nor is he always right about everything, nor would he want people to follow him instead of Jesus. The prophet is without honour in his own country but has great honour overseas. It is humorous to hear of the respect that our preachers have overseas, and the honour that overseas speakers have in Australia… Mark is not the only voice to listen to and learn from. It is immature to think that any single person is the answer to all our problems.
Mark Driscoll’s challenge to us is timely and helpful. But his criticisms may be more helpful than his solutions.’
He concluded: ‘I was glad to host Mark speaking to us because he is challenging us to change in the very direction that we want to change… If Mark never returns it will be a shame and our loss. But it will be an irrelevance to his message – for his challenge to us was to get moving, to take initiative, not to wait around to be told what to do next.’
It is more than alarming that the leader of Anglican evangelicals in Australia is so given over to the false teachings of Mark Driscoll. It is an important duty of Christian leaders to protected their flock from false teaching. Christian believers are told ‘do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world’ (1 John 4.1). By 2008 the evidence of Driscoll’s unworthy conduct was widely known, from his sermons and books.
In his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church (2006) Mark Driscoll wrote, ‘Our church was still nearly all college students and singles, with a few young married couples and families with small children mixed in. I assumed the students and singles were all pretty horny, so I went out on a limb and preached through the Song of Solomon in the fall. I printed up a nice lengthy introduction to the book, with a lot of information about sex and marriage… Each week, I extolled the virtues of marriage, foreplay, oral sex, sacred stripping and sex outdoors, just as the book teaches, because all Scripture is indeed profitable. I was frank but not crass and did not back away from any of the tough issues regarding sex and pleasure. This helped us a lot because apparently a pastor using words like “penis” and “oral sex” is unusual; and before you could say “aluminum pole in the bedroom”, attendance began to climb steadily to more than two hundred people a week.’ (pp94, 96) Driscoll’s fame has been achieved largely through his explicit sexual messages from the pulpit, based on his interpretation of the Song of Solomon, which he handles as a sex manual for married couples.
In May 2006, the sermon ‘The Weaker Christian’ from 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, dealt with the issue of tattoos. Driscoll said from the pulpit: ‘You are free in Christ to be weird… How about this one, tattoos? How many of you grew up in that fundamentalist church where they told you about the one verse on tattoos? Where is it? What book? Leviticus! Are these dudes in the front twitching! Dudes with tattoos! Leviticus, Leviticus… Let me just say our position is this—tattoos are not a sin, right. Jesus Christ is going to have a tattoo—Revelation says on his second coming. It says that down his right leg will be written King of Kings and Lord of Lords, which will be really freakish for all for the fundamentalists to see Jesus all tattooed up. I can’t wait for that day… Make sure you go to a good tattoo parlour, two of the best in Seattle are actually members of Mars Hill… go in there for a biblical new covenant tattoo, is what we would recommend.”
In the last quarter of 2006 Mark Driscoll preached a series of sermons on ‘Vintage Jesus’, which formed the basis for his book Vintage Jesus. In the sermon entitled, ‘How human was Jesus?’ (15 October 2006), he took delight in his pottie joke about our Lord. The ‘Vintage Jesus’ sermon series was characterised by blasphemous t-shirts worn in the pulpit, including Driscoll’s favourite t-shirt—‘Jesus is watching you download porn’. Another blasphemous t-shirt had the words; ‘Jesus dies for our pins’. While in Australia Driscoll wore a number of his t-shirts.
In 2007 Mark Driscoll preached a sermon, entitled ‘Sex, a Study of the Good Bits from Song of Solomon’ in two Scottish churches. These sermons were so crude and sexually explicit that they caused outrage. Pastor John MacArthur referred to the sermons as soft porn.
In February 2008, during the third seminar on Spiritual Warfare, entitled Christus Victor, Mark Driscoll gave church leaders advice on how they should help people with demonic issues. [Spiritual Warfare Part 3: Christus Victor, Pastor Mark Driscoll | February 05, 2008 | 01hr:01mn ] In this seminar Mark Driscoll said: ‘Some people actually see things. This may be gift of discernment. On occasion, I see things. I see things.’ Driscoll went on to describe in some detail his vision of adultery in a cheap hotel room.
By 2008 Driscoll had expressed his views in at least three books, such as The Radical Reformission (2003), Confessions of a Reformission Rev (2006), and the outrageous Vintage Jesus. His reputation was that of the cussing pastor. This was the track record of the man that Phillip Jensen invited to Australia.