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My aim in working through these episodes is to help folks think through the church they attend, the leadership culture of their church, and, potentially, identify things that might not be apparent. I will not provide a “Monday morning play-by-play” critique. I hope you will gain personal insight through this review as well as applications to your teachers and the church you attend.
According to Christianity Today’s (Proverbs 18:17) sound bites in the first five episodes, Mark Driscoll had a hyper-complementarian worldview, which is different from a complementarian worldview. As stated in the last episode, Mark built the church on a specific niche—masculinity. Masculinity, gender, and sex were a running theme in the preaching diet of Mars Hill.
They asked Kristin Du Mez to weigh on this problem. (She’s the woke author of Jesus and John Wayne.) She says this type of “masculinity-centered worldview” comes from the post-WWII Cold War era. She’s only about 2,000 years off in her assessment since the Bible teaches hierarchy, manhood, womanhood, complementarianism, leadership, and submission. It is mind-boggling and frustrating that CT would use this author to investigate what went wrong at Mars Hill. The masculinity that CT presents has two extremes.
It would be better for CT to talk about a harsh, crude, crass, gross, angry, authoritarian preacher who preached some ideas found in the Bible—using the Bible to make a better case for where he was wrong. Unfortunately, Christianity Today clouded the clarity they could have presented from God’s Word. For example, they could have said,
Here is what God’s Word says about complementarianism, manhood, womanhood, leadership, submission, and authority. The Bible teaches all of these concepts, not the way Mark Driscoll did. So, before you throw the preacher and the ideas out, research the Bible to see how many of the concepts are in Scripture.
There is no question that Mark Driscoll is not qualified to be a shepherd based on the plethora of sound bites from the first five episodes. Mark Driscoll put many women at risk to their husbands. He also warped the hearers with his messages—if they believed everything he taught. Mark had a biblically immature audience, though not entirely. And he did not shepherd them well. Mark did not care for their souls.
He manipulated them, showboated, built his brand, and went on a wild ego-trip with no accountability. I am not faulting the Mars Hill audience but saying they were vulnerable to a wolf-like person. If you fill a room with a group of new or non-Christians and put someone like Mark Driscoll in front of them, there is no way it can go well.
As Rachel Denhollander said, “[He] gave them a false gospel and a false god.” An illustration of this was at the three-quarter way through the podcast, where they talked about Mark’s view about oral sex. It was an eisegetical rant and grossly out-of-bounds. Thankfully, CT did talk to Rachel Denhollander in this episode. An evangelical who loves the Lord has a sufficiency of Scripture worldview, which is a departure from many of their interviewees.
CT does ask a good question at the end of the podcast. They say, “It works, but is that the right question? It’s not ‘is it working,’ but is it worth the damage?” I fully concur with focusing on the damage more than the results. If you’re only results-oriented, you can blind yourself to your methods. We must scrutinize the process while asking the Lord to bring the results.
I do not recommend this series for three reasons:
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).