Conduct unworthy of the pulpit

Driscoll’s flippant and irreverent dress

A characteristic of Mark Driscoll’s ministry is the large range of provocative t-shirts he has worn when preaching in Mars Hill Church. Examples include:

Jesus watches you download porn

From Driscoll’s sermon: ‘The T-shirt I’m wearing is an example of drag queen Jesus. You’ll notice he has very long hair, beautiful curly, and a nice feature is a bit of rouse on his cheeks; he didn’t look like that. And it also says that Jesus watches you download porn which is theologically correct and actually true. ‘  There is much laughter from the audience, and Driscoll smiles and chuckles in apparent delight at his joke. He then continues, revealing what is really in his heart. He says, ‘This is one of my favourite t-shirts, actually.’


Jesus is my homeboy

 According to Driscoll the T-shirt is worn by Madonna, Pamela Anderson, Ben Affleck, Ashton Kutcher and Brad Pitt.


Jesus as a DJ (disc jockey)

  Here is the comment of Defending and Contending blog Administrator, Pilgrim, on the Jesus DJ shirt. “MD’s shirt is just an extension of what’s deeper. His blasphemy of Jesus Christ on his T-shirt comes from a willingness to blaspheme Jesus Christ from the pulpit.”

 The Real Jesus

The image on this T-shirt is of Che Guevara, depicted as a crucified  revolutionary. See the image below.


WWJD For a Klondike bar?

WWJD stands for What would Jesus do for a Klondike bar? According to wikipedia, “Klondike” is a brand name for a dessert generally consisting of a vanilla ice cream square coated with a thin layer of chocolate-flavored coating. It is known for its jingle slogan “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?”

If I have to find Jesus does that mean he’s hiding?

This T-shirt has the following words: “If I have to find Jesus does that mean he’s hiding.” The joke is that Jesus is playing a game of hiding-go-seek. Below we see that the T-shirt has been produced by T-shirt

Body piercing saved my life

Here we should remember that Mark Driscoll is rather keen on body piercing and tattoos, which he believes is acceptable behaviour for Christians. (See page on tattoos). In a sermon on the crucification of Christ, Driscoll is apparently happy to display this trite, ambiguous statement.

 Think on these things

Two further examples of Driscoll’s T-shirt images while preaching from God’s Word. The apostle Paul gives believers this encouragement: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4.8)

Mark Driscoll’s undignified conduct

The main characteristic of Driscoll’s T-shirt ministry is the flippant and irreverent nature of the message. Jesus Christ is presented as a homeboy, a disc jockey, a revolutionary, someone who likes Klondike bars, someone who watches members of his church download porn.

Driscoll’s T-shirt ministry is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Scripture. Apostle Paul commanded young Timothy:

“Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation (conduct), in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4.12).

A church leader is to be an example in both word (doctrine) and conduct. What example in conduct is Mark Driscoll, leader of Mars Hill Church? Is it appropriate for a minister of the Church of Jesus Christ to wear irreverent and flippant T-shirts when preaching God’s Word in God’s House? Driscoll just announced on his blog that “in conjunction with each sermon” this month he will be “modeling a goofy Jesus t-shirt to provide a few additional laughs.” [hat tip Jesus Politics]

Godliness and dignified conduct

Scripture is clear that all Christian people should be dignified in behaviour and conduct. The apostle Paul writes to Timothy that prayers and petitions and thanksgiving should be made on behalf of all men “in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour” (1 Timothy 2.1-3). Scripture is clear that love of God (godliness) and dignified conduct go together.

Elders and deacons

Scripture is clear that church leaders must set an example in conduct. Elders and deacons in the Church of Jesus Christ must be dignified in their conduct and behaviour. “An overseer, then, must be above reproach… he must be one who manages his own children well, keeping his children under control with all dignity” (1 Timothy 3.4).

Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not doubled-tongued” (1 Timothy 3.8).

Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2.6-8). [Scripture quoted from New American Standard Bible]

The two Greek words, semnos and semnotes, are used to describe the conduct of church leaders, and are translated dignity or dignified. Semnos (G4586) is used in 1 Timothy 3.8 and 11, and in Titus 2.2. The word means venerable. That is honourable, grave, honest. According to Vines: “The word points to seriousness of purpose and to self-respect in conduct.”

Semnotes (G4587) is used in 1 Timothy 3.4 and Titus 2.7.  The word means venerability, that is probity, gravity, honest. According to Vines expository dictionary: “A necessary characteristic of the teaching imparted by a servant of God.”

Oxford Dictionary defines dignity: 1) a composed and serious manner or style. 2) the state of being worthy of honour or respect.

A man of dignity, described in 1 Timothy and Titus, is one who takes his life and work seriously as a part of his devotion to the Lord.

What is Driscoll’s motivation in wearing such shirts in the House of God? Is he being faithful to God’s Word? Is he being an example to believers? The apostle Paul warns that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4.1-2).

Obviously Mark Driscoll gives a lot of thought to the T-shirts that he brings to the pulpit. Therefore, in his T-shirts we see the overflow of Driscoll’s heart. As he mocks Scripture with his words, so he mocks Christ with his T-shirts. He wants a Jesus that is a revolutionary like Che Guevare, a Jesus that watches his followers download porn, a DJ Jesus that plays punk rock CDs. So in Driscoll’s choice of T-shirts we see his real ministry—the holy is mixed with the profane.

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.