A quick overview....
- Driscoll founded Mars Hill about 20 years ago as a basically brand new Christian in the most unchurhed city in America(Seattle)
- With a brash and engaging style Driscoll oversaw explosive growth that quickly led to him being the new "IT" guy in evangelicalism.
- He wrote a number of "best sellers" that detailed the churches growth and his theology. These books were treated as "Church Growth Manuals" for many young pastors coming up who wanted to emulate MD's success.
- MD oversaw a church planting network(Acts 29) that has planted hundreds of churches world wide in just over a decade.
- In the last two years the bloom has fallen off the rose as destructively unhealthy leadership by MD and his "executive" elders has come to light.
A couple of general thoughts and reminders....
- The Bible is littered with flawed people who would be kicked out of most churches for their sinful behavior if they were doing it today.
- God still used these broken sinful people for His purposes...not that He ever gave a pass for their culpability, but His sovereignty ruled over the sin. God even chose a murderous adulterer(King David) to be the line through which the Messiah would come.
- Even our greatest sins and failures do not limit the redemptive power of the Cross. As Paul says, as long as Christ is preached.... EVEN when it was done for selfish ambition!!!
Personal Responses and Convictions......
- If Acts 29 or Mark Driscoll have been a blessing to you in any way at any point....GREAT. We are capable of benefitting from God's work, even when the vessel that delivered it is tragically flawed. We don't stop reading the Psalms because David was a pretty screwed up guy.
- Who are you attaching yourself to? Our celebrity driven culture is excessively unhealthy. When we begin to follow man instead of Christ, we are setting ourselves up for a fall. Even if Driscoll did not have any of these problems, we should have never been so undiscerning by how much "worship" we were giving him. And this includes anyone else out there. Whether it is your favorite theologian, or, your local pastor. They are flawed people that God can do great things through, but everything they do and teach must be weighed against the Cross and God's word.
So what now? I hope a lesson we can draw from all of this is that sin that is allowed to fester becomes more and more damaging with a far greater fall out. To borrow from a good law enforcement statement, "If you see something, say something". One of the red flags at Mars Hill was when they bylaws were changed in a way that consolidated "absolute" power with Mark Driscoll. This is unbiblical. Should Elders lead the church. Absolutely. Is it an authoritarian unaccountable paradigm. Never. If you are a part of a church, and leadership is unaccountable, treats members as a bunch of little children who have invalid opinions....run for the hills.
In John chapter 7 the Pharisees are furious about what Jesus has been saying and how the people are seemingly "buying into it". They say, that mob, they know nothing!! Only these high and mighty self-righteous guys are able to really know what is going on. Everyone else is a bunch of idiots. But it was actually the "mob" who got what was really going on!
Read your bible, test everything you hear according to God's word. Love and trust your leadership, EVEN when they make mistakes. But don't excuse sin and mistakes just because someone is a leader. Nip it in the butt. And if it doesn't change. They can't be leaders.
Use this image to ask yourself how your leaders are doing