The Mark Driscoll Controversy


Mark Driscoll has a firm supporter in Pastor John Piper. In an interview on 13 November 2014, Piper says he has no regret for befriending Mark Driscoll, despite Driscoll’s many flaws.

Mark Driscoll resigned as leader pastor of Mars Hill Church, Seattle, on 14 October 2014, despite the fact that the elders investigating his conduct do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.

While Mark Driscoll has rightfully been accused of shameful behaviour, the corrupt fruit of his ministry identifies him as a false teacher. ‘Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them’ (Matthew 7.20)

Storm clouds gather over Mars Hill Church, as a large number former and current church leaders have lodged formal charges against Pastor Mark Driscoll, accusing him of creating a climate of fear through his verbally abusive language, lack of self-control and arrogant domineering attitude.

In August 2014 the board of Acts29, the church planting network founded by Mark Driscoll, expelled him, and his Mars Hill Church, from membership on grounds of his ungodly and disqualifying behaviour.

Janet Mefferd, the prominent Christian radio show hostess, in her well argued article, makes an impassioned plea for true Christians, who understand the Word of God, who love the Lord Jesus, to withdraw from the flawed ministry of Pastor Mark Driscoll.

Pastor Mark Driscoll, founder of Mars Hill Church, Seattle, is one of the biggest names among evangelical Christians in the USA. This website is the result of our examination of Pastor Mark Driscoll’s ministry. Our aim is to warn believers in the UK, and the USA, and elsewhere, of the false nature of Driscoll’s ministry. We highlight areas of Driscoll’s ministry which should cause grave concern to true, discerning Christian believers. We believe that Driscoll’s approach to a variety of issues, discussed on this website, is unacceptable and ultimately makes a mockery of the Christian faith.

You can learn more about Mark Driscoll’s ministry in the book, The New Calvinists (2014), published by The Wakeman Trust and Belmont House Publishing.

  The Driscoll controversy rages on. Now Liberty University, the largest Christian University in the world, has invited Mark Driscoll to hold a conference on his book Real Marriage. But many people are very unhappy with this amazing turn of events, as we explain in our article Driscoll at Liberty?

Our recent article draws attention to the evangelical leaders in the USA and the UK who have supported and encouraged Driscoll’s false ministry.

Mark Driscoll founded The Resurgence, a theological cooperative that works acts292with the Acts 29 Network of churches. He also works closely with the Desiring God Ministry of John Piper, and The Gospel Coalition, that includes Tim Keller and Don Carson. Indeed, Driscoll is so well regarded in evangelical circles that he is council member of The Gospel Coalition. He is regularly invited to talk at Christian Conferences in the USA and across other parts of the world.

In May 2011 Mark Driscoll was invited by evangelical Christians to preach before 4,000 men at the London Men’s Convention in the Royal Albert Hall, London, England. He was invited to the Men’s Convention by a group of evangelical ministers and leaders, made up of Richard Coekin (Chair) of Dundonald Church Wimbledon; Trevor Archer of Chessington Evangelical Church; Tim Thornborough of The Good Book Company; Wes McNab of Slade Evangelical Church; Richard Perkins of Christ Church Balham and Wanyeki Mahiaini of All Souls, Langham Place.

But despite his popularity in the evangelical world, Driscoll’s ministry has proved to be highly controversial because of his unconventional ways and dubious methods, which he describes as ‘theological conservative and culturally liberal’.

We are concerned that Mark Driscoll is undermining the Christian faith, and leading many young people astray. Incredibly, he has built a ministry, in large part, by preaching and teaching about sex, and by using crude language. He is skilled in mixing the holy and profane—in his book, Confessions of a Reformission Rev (2006), he explains his technique for achieving church growth: ‘I assumed the students and singles were all pretty horny, so I went out on a limb and preached through the Song of Songs in the fall… 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.’ [pp 94, 96].

So the question has to be asked. Is Mark Driscoll a false teacher?

Our Lord warned: ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit’ (Matthew 7.15-18).

Driscoll’s ministry is a corrupt tree that exhibits the following bad fruits, as we show on this website:

1. Perverse language and corrupt communication

Driscoll frequently uses perverse and crude language. He often mocks Scripture and makes fun of men of God.  He dresses in a casual way that is unworthy of the pulpit.

2. Sexual licentiousness

Driscoll has frequently said that his favourite book of the Bible is Song of Solomon, and this gives him an opportunity to talk about sex in the most sensuous and irreverent way. His latest book, Real Marriage (2012), deals with self-stimulation, the use of sex toys and forms of cybersex. The most provocative of all involves sodomy within marriage. [Challies blog]

 3. God loves punk-rock music

Worldly punk-rock music forms a major part of Driscoll’s life and ministry. He has referred to hip hop artist Jay-Z as a genius, and referred to Christian rap artist Lecrae as a missionary of the 21st Century.

4. Jesus loves tattoos

Driscoll’s church proudly supports tattoo artists in their work. The issue of tattoos is discussed on the Mars Hill Downtown Campus under the headline: Jesus Loves Tattoos. Driscoll has no objection to Christian people being tattooed.

5. Visions of past sins

Driscoll claims that he has the gift of discernment that allows him to see the sins of his congregation.

All these issues are dealt with on this website.

‘I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth’ (Isaiah:62:6-7).

The Bible warns that false teachers will come into the Church

First, dear reader, all believers need to understand that false teaching is a major theme that runs throughout Scripture. As Christians, we must be aware of those who seek to destroy the Church from within. The following Scriptures are pertinent:

 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15).

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (Mark 13:22).

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13).

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3)

 The warning is clear—the threat of false teachers is ever present and so the gospel of truth must be defended against the ministers of Satan. An essential attribute of false teachers is their ability to mix truth with falsehood. Another attribute is their moral laxity that often deteriorates into immorality. So false teachers, while appearing to preach sound doctrine, will often legitimize sinful, sensual conduct in the Church. Satan’s aim is that his ministers of light (false teachers) are able to convince believers that their sinfulness does not really matter. False teachers will frequently encourage an attitude of worldliness and a love for the things and attitudes of the world. The Church must expose false teaching and false teachers must be identified and put out of the Church.

The intention of this website is not to provide a platform for discussion on the ministry of Mark Driscoll but rather to provide primary evidence from Driscoll’s own mouth and written works, as an opportunity for discerning believers to weigh up against Scripture, the doctrines and conduct that are being propagated by Driscoll’s ministry.

A helpful introduction to the subject can be found contained in Cathy Mickel’s Memo to Church Leaders regarding Driscoll’s suitablility for ministry. Other articles and examples of questionable teaching can be found throughout this website.

Witness at London Men’s Convention

On Saturday, 7 May, the London Men’s Convention took place at the Royal Albert Hall. As there was an extensive report in the 22 / 29 April English Churchman about the LMC and the controversy regarding one of the main speakers we will not repeat the same material but refer readers to that particular issue.

A small witness to protest took place in the vicinity of the Royal Albert Hall. Three men arrived early in the morning and they set up large posters with relevant Bible verses in full view of those queuing to go into the building. The posters displayed the following: Jude 1:4  turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness; Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ;  Ezekiel 22:26  they have put no difference between the holy and profane; 1 Thessalonians 5:22  Abstain from all appearance of evil. One large poster displayed the article which appeared in the EC. There were tourists who took photos of the posters.

Many leaflets were given out warning people of the dangers of Mark Driscoll’s teachings. There was widespread ignorance regarding Driscoll. There were many conversations with people. Some were friendly and some were hostile.

Two of the protestors left after the people entered the building for the 10.00 a.m. start of the conference. One stayed to continue witnessing till people came out at lunch time and at the close of the conference in the late afternoon. He was joined by another friend who supported the witness.

The organisers of the convention and people who attended were alerted to the dangers. As predicted, Driscoll was well behaved during the conference and it was reported he spoke well and was careful with his language.