I’ve been watching Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill/Seattle for a long time now. I remember hearing a talk that Driscoll did at a conference called “Soularize.” It gave me hope for the evangelical church. Here was a guy who was clearly connected to culture yet held to an orthodox evangelicalism, and both were evident in his speaking. He knew who Limp Bizkit was, yet he boasted in Christ. At that time (early 2003), this combination was quite uncommon. I resonated with his love for the gospel and for people.
Sure, Driscoll would drop the f bomb every once in a while. I e-mailed him once and said something like “Mark, you’re such a solid preacher and you have a great grasp of doctrine, but I wonder if people ever challenge you on your language.” He never wrote back, but he did clean up his language soon after, so I guess it worked. Curiously, Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz referred to Driscoll as “the cussing pastor”. Donald heard it,too: the irony of solid, biblical preaching that you could never listen to around your kids, parents, in-laws, neighbors, etc.
Today, Mark leads a church of nearly 1 million — when you count his local/franchise sites and his podcast listeners. 90% of what he does is simply outstanding, gospel-centered, Christ extolling and relevant. It’s that pesky 10% that keeps getting in the way. I won’t use this space to go into detail (for the google will provide all the mud you’re looking for), but I will say that a man is a man and Jesus is the Savior. Key: follow the right one.
I like to remember what Mark did for me as a young pastor: showed me that you can love the world (John 3:16) without loving the world (1 John 2:15), and that it’s okay to believe something and (lovingly) say it out loud. Learn from humans. Live like Jesus.