During this week a pastor named Mark Driscoll resigned from his ministry at Mars Hill. This came to a shock to me, or not so much of a shock given what’s gone down on the Hill lately. There was a time in my life when I waited on every word the man said, so even though my phases of admiration has long concluded I still feel compelled to think about it.
Mark Driscoll is a very harsh, bullheaded man; a theological pit-bull that can’t shake an issue. Many disagree with him for his pastoral styles, myself included, and see him as insensitive and overly positivistic regarding certain issues. He is a Reformed superhero, despite living in an age where postmodernism has crumbled the impersonal, procedural logic that Reformed Theology/Soteriology so heavily relies upon to function. Everything about him is simultaneously relevant and, paradoxically, antiquated. But he’s still my pastor.
The strength of Mark’s preaching style is his tenacity to chase something. He’s something of a warrior for theology and the pursuit of holiness that up until the early 2000s had all but disappeared in the USA in favor of wishy-washy non-denominational theology. There’s something to be said about taking a stand. Stand up and fight for something. Believe in what you say and mean. That is the way Mark handles his business. They keep saying that Mark hasn’t disqualified himself from ministry, that he’s done nothing wrong. That’s where I disagree. I think he has sinned, only not in the way people at first imagine. His sin, I think, was pride. For all the controversy, I think it was the mega church that he started that became the issue. After going to a small neighborhood church now for almost five years, I am convinced that humans were never meant to worship corporately in a room full of five thousand people, where the pastor is a demagogue and surrounded by an entourage of personal assistants.
I hope and pray that Mark moves on from Mars Hill, that this experience motivates him to re-evaluate his personal missiology and the way he deals with people. I hope that he can spend time with his family and take a long vacation and finally let go of his responsibilities. I hope that he decides to pastor a church again, and continue to change the lives of people, and I hope his church never exceeds 200 people.
Mark has been a huge influence on my life. It saddens me to see him move on. But it’s God’s will, and I hope he grows closer to Jesus for it.