Steal a soundboard, start a ministry?
by Jesse Locken
Mark Driscoll and his Seattle megachurch Mars Hill (MHC) has continued to draw increasing attention in the press, typically in reference to controversy. Whether it’s Driscoll’s views on male/female relationships and marriage, Mars Hill’s “church discipline” practices, and even acts of vandalism to church property, it seems as if there is no slowing down the continual stream of debate—-whether for or against the organization and its leader.
In addition to the typical secular liberal response one would expect to Dricoll’s polarizing statements and the organization’s seemingly traditional “conservative” Christian values, many Christians have expressed valid Biblical criticism of Driscoll’s theology and church practices. However, when questions of Driscoll’s character, church-growth techniques (and claims Driscoll and MHC make pertaining to said growth), and church hierarchy are brought into the discussion, many of the big names Driscoll is associated with–such as John Piper, Al Mohler, and even Doug Wilson (who is now apparently in support of Driscoll's Resurgence.com)–are surprisingly silent; it is almost as if the man and his church are above criticism from the “Neo-Reformed”. In my own research, I have not come across anyone questioning Driscoll and MHC’s lack of a stated Biblical stance with regard to subjects that lie outside the typical “theological” sphere, such as economics, politics, civil justice, education, and war. (If there are such resources, please make me aware of them).
An example of the lack of criticism in reference to Driscoll’s character can be found in a recent video in which Driscoll admits to stealing an audio board from another church in order to start his own “ministry” (at about the 9:20 mark in the video). Where are the big names Driscoll is associated with advising him to truly repent and follow the Biblical mandate of restitution (Exodus 22)? The man certainly makes enough money to restore fourfold what he’s taken from the church whose college ministry he used to formerly “pastor.” And why doesn’t Driscoll appear to have enough of a Biblical worldview to take such an opportunity to teach those who are following him and his church how Christ and the Word of God truly change the heart and actions of believers by following the basic principles found in Scripture?
Instead, Driscoll seems to actually boast about his theft and implements it into his video as a commendable thing in the quest of MHC to reach people so that they “meet Jesus.” Keep in mind this is in a video entitled “God’s Work, Our Witness.” As if God is pleased with a witness that approves of theft of property, as long as somehow it can be shown to “reach people for Christ.” I wonder how Driscoll would feel if others would deem his church as “unworthy” of the property they possess, choose to take it from him, and start their own church in some empty warehouse in Seattle? This is simply a small example of the contradictory nature of Driscoll and his organization that we know about and can easily document.
When one investigates who Driscoll claims as inspiration for his theology and ministry, it becomes clearer that he is (in a small way albeit) a part of a larger global plan for the future of the Evangelical Christian church. While on the surface much of the theology may be in line with what is considered Orthodox Christianity, when looked at in detail and taken in the context of the actions of Driscoll and his organization, we find some striking fundamental ideas that line up more with the philosophies of Wundt, Kant, Hegel, and even Marx. Such ideas have consequences, and there will be a generation of “Christians” who will have Driscoll's theology and teaching down pat, but who will be difficult to approach in conversation from a truly Biblical worldview; in fact, they already exist. I know; I've had discussions with them.
Megachurches along the lines of Mars Hill with leaders like Driscoll are not only teaching questionable theology, they are also leading people directly away from the Scriptures as applicable to all of life. They are replacing God's Word with a truncated, watered-down view of God, Jesus, the Bible, and the church. These watered-down views are heavily influenced by pragmatic philosophies that are more in line with occult mystery religions than with the Kingdom of God. It is not surprising then, that we find them externalizing these philosophies in their structures, hierarchies, and teaching. I will be examining this influence in further detail in future articles.
Jesse Locken is an average guy with a full-time job as a sales consultant who desires to apply God's Word to all of life. He resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest in Seattle, WA. He blogs, rants, analyzes, and vents at his website, FrequencyPropogation.