Finally, a Driscoll Post
Now, if you’re reading this, chances are you have heard of Mr. Driscoll. Megachurch pastor, best-selling (sort of, not really, never was) author, public face (along with several other pastors around the country) of a new, more muscular brand of evangelicalism.
And, most relevant to me, rhetorical firebrand when it comes to issues of faith and gender.
Mark Driscoll is currently under fire. Just the other day, Lifeway Bookstores announced that they would no longer carry Driscoll’s writings. And last week, Acts 29, a church planting consortium founded by Driscoll, cut ties with the pastor, in hopes that “the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored.” Let me say that while I laud the move, I wish Acts 29 had attributed their decision specifically to Driscoll’s history of vitriolic words about women.
Before I continue, it is worth noting that Mark Driscoll has apologized, saying, “I was wrong to respond to people the way I did, using the language I used, and I am sorry for it and remain embarrassed by it.” It is also worth remembering that Mark Driscoll is a person and while we can and should challenge his words and actions, we ought not sin against him.
When I’ve started but not finished posts about Mark Driscoll, they have for the most part fallen into one of two categories.
When I’m particularly steamed at something that Driscoll has said or done, I’m tempted to rant about how he represents everything that’s wrong with modern-day evangelicalism. Once, when he described men who drive mini-vans as “mini-men,” I took one look in my garage, confirmed that, indeed, I drive a 2004 Chrysler Town & Country, and dreamt up the title of “Hey Mark Driscoll, Let’s Not Talk About Your ‘Mini-Man.'”
Not proud of that one.
OK, maybe a little…
Alternatively, there have been seasons where I’ve felt a degree of compassion, or perhaps pity, for Mark Driscoll. As in, maybe he hasn’t had, or hasn’t taken, opportunities to grow in his understanding of gender issues. Maybe he’s on a journey and we just need to nudge (or shove) him along. In fact, sometimes, it’s caused me to reflect with gratitude on my own journey. Once I cooked up a post entitled “I Could be Mark Driscoll.” It was sort of a “there but by the grace of God go I” piece.
This time, I think I’m ready to finish and post. Why? Because I think I now know where I stand on Mark Driscoll:
I think, more than anything else, that Mark Driscoll and his comments about women make the point that we must be vigilant and persistent with this conversation about male privilege in the church.
After all, some 1,800 years have passed between when Tertullian wrote this:
“You are the Devil’s gateway; you are the unsealer of that tree; you are the first foresaker of the divine law; you are the one who persuaded him whom the Devil was not brave enough to approach; you so lightly crushed the image of God, the man Adam.”
And when Driscoll wrote this, to a woman on an online discussion board:
“I speak harshly because I speak to men. A woman might not understand that. I also do not answer to women. So your questions will be ignored. I would however, recommend to you a few verses to memorize: I Timothy 2:11-15 I Corinthians 14:33-35.To learn them, ask your father or husband. If you have neither, ask your pastor. If she is a female, find another church. If you are the pastor, quit your job and repent.”
In my first post, I commented that statements like these represent “a school of thought of which Tertullian was one pupil. And here’s the thing, if you ask me, that school was in session before Tertullian, and, significantly, we’re all enrolled in it today.”
So when it comes to Mark Driscoll, here’s what’s troubling for me:
Because of his reach and influence, Driscoll is teaching in a very large classroom.