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Hip-Hip-Horray, Driscoll's Going Down!

It’s pretty hard to miss the hype right now surrounding recent activity at Marshill Church and the ministry of their founding pastor, Mark Driscoll. He did what?! Who said, she said, he said, blah, blah, blah. Accusations fly. Bookstores pull his books. Bloggers blog. Pastors talk. Gossip flies. And we who are afar off sit in judgment with the self-righteous proclamation, “I saw this coming”.

Mark’s on vacation right now with his family. Couldn’t they have waited till he was back in the saddle rather than when he was trying to recuperate??? I imagine this is just what he needed while trying to find some rest. Cats away, the mice play. When #$%! flies in my church while I’m on holidays, I can pretty much guarantee you it’s not from God. Period. By the way, if you’re wondering why you haven’t heard a response from Mark in light of these recent allegations, that would be why.

I think it’s all mostly bogus - the stuff coming against Mark. Sure, there’s always a bit of truth in every criticism, but most of its reeks of petty accusations and cheap shots, with many people actually sounding glee-ish over his struggles. It stinketh to me, this passing of judgment, as if any of us have the right to do that.

Yes, Mark is not perfect. Yes, he has things in his life and ministry he should be working on, as do we all. But I have to say, I know of no other pastor or public figure that is SO willing to confess his sin and apologize publicly. Mark has done this on several occasions in response to criticism from his inner circle and beyond, with great humility. Yet the shots still come from small-minded people who can’t see farther than their own...navels. Please note: the present action by the Acts 29 Network of removing Mark from the network, does not appear to be rooted in anything new (unless I'm missing something). And they did it without talking to him first (which is a black and white indicator that it’s likely off-base).

It’s all old stuff, mostly connected to the unique DNA of Pastor Mark and the church he leads. Sure, there’s cons to the whole approach, but so it is with any specific way of expressing local church. Yes, he’s out there, a little edgy. BUT. We need him to be that way. He is in so many ways exactly what the church needs for this season (along with many other out-of-the-box thinkers). Martin Luther King Jr’s words come to mind.

The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority. ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Taming Mark would be a terrible tragedy.

I issue this as a warning to all my friends, people in Evangel, and beyond: be extremely careful when passing judgment on others.

Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. - Matt. 7:1-2 (Message)

You do NOT walk in their shoes. You do NOT have all the facts. You are looking on the outside and making a judgment about the inside, and this is VERY dangerous. In fact, Jesus said you’d be judged in exactly the same way that you judge. Neither you, nor I, want:

  • others passing judgement on us based on what they see from afar
  • people judging us that don’t know us
  • people judging us who don’t have all the facts.

So don’t do any of these to others. Honestly, most of us judge Mark simply because we don’t like Mark or some of things he believes. And that’s wrong.

You’ll know someone by the kind of fruit they produce (Matthew 7:16). Folks, you have to be blind to not notice that Pastor Mark and the Marshill Church are a vibrant orchard of fruit-bearing activity. Last Easter they baptized over 500 people in a service at Qwest Stadium that drew almost 20,000 people (video link here). Book of Acts anyone?! In one of the most secular cultures in the United States, they are impacting lives, seeing thousands come to faith, planting churches around the globe. It’s beautiful.

Still, leaders have fault lines and they should be in accountability to others. Pastor Mark IS. Right now the church is going through a series called “Greatest Sermon Ever” where they bring in guys from around the globe to speak into the church. These are individuals that have walked alongside Marshill throughout it’s journey as elders and fathers to the house. That’s call accountability, being under covering.

So put away your judgment. And if you have to be concerned about what’s happening in Seattle with Marshill Church, why don’t you pray for them. Pray for Pastor Mark and his family. I can’t begin to imagine the pressure, the spiritual opposition, that they are under as they lead one of the most significant revivals of our time, in one of the darkest places on the planet. Pray. Stop posting on Facebook and pray. And pray blessing. Prayer wisdom. Prayer discernment, strength, righteousness. Pray for the peace of that house of worship.

Just shut up and pray.

About the author

Tony Warriner

Tony Warriner

Tony is an author and lead pastor of Evangel Chapel in Fort St. John, and is known for his unique approach to local church & spirituality. Check out his first book, Boondock Church. · Fort St. John, BC ·