Contend Earnestly: Mark the Cussing Pastor

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mark the Cussing Pastor


Alright, seriously, I am not a "cheerleader" for Mark but it seems as though of late I have been. I guess I just feel terrible for coming to conclusions about a guy and his ministry before I truly read about and took a good look at his ministry. This will be the last time for a while that I post on Mark Driscoll, I promise. Just one last thing I thought was of interest: Mark's stance on being called "the cussing pastor." I got this from the Acts 29 Network website and thought it was of interest. You can get the entire interview here.

Mark the Cussing Pastor


This infamous phrase is like the high school photo in the yearbook that you hope no one sees. In 1997 as the church was just getting started, a man came up from Oregon having heard what we were doing and was considering moving to Seattle to be a part of Mars Hill Church. Donald Miller was just getting started and had not published a book yet. At that point our church was very small and visitors stuck out. I took Don out to dinner to try to entice him to come back to our church. We went to a pizza place afterward and talked about the church. He really wanted to stay in Portland if a church like Mars Hill existed there. A friend of mine Rick McKinley did start a church in Portland and Don became a member there. For the first few years his book, Blue Like Jazz didn't sell many copies. He didn't even talk to me about the book but I must have said something over dinner that led him to label me as the cussing pastor. So over a decade later at a casual dinner my brand was immovably affixed. Don is a friend of mine but I just wish an off-comment at a meal isn't my defining moment.

What gets me into trouble is my humor. It is what keeps me sane. I have a stressful life and I fear that I will be the guy that shows up at work unknowingly with his underwear outside of his pants. The pressure and stress is great. I receive death threats. Our church has gone from 1,200 to 6,000 in four years. It is very intense. I have had no one else to lean on. So for me, telling jokes and being light hearted is my way of coping with stress. But sometimes when I get overly stressed, my mouth and anger gets me into trouble. My tone, my attitude and my mouth are indicators of how closely I walk with Jesus. I have come to realize that I speak for more than just Mark Driscoll. I speak for Jesus. I know I can't be this foul-mouthed, gunslinger for Jesus. I still think strong language and a prophetic edge is appropriate. But shock-jock language isn't.

23 comments:

Jake said...

Seth- Don't feel too badly about all the Driscoll posts... the guy gets hammered by everybody. Liberals hate him for his message and fundies hate him for his methods. I'm sure it's refreshing for people from Mars Hill to see someone with good comments about their pastor :). And on the off chance Mark himself sees it (although I know he quit googling his name a long time ago... lol), I'm sure he'll appreciate your support. Even if you did say he was buzzing over at Irish Calvinist ;).

luvvom said...

"fundies" isn't a nice word.

I'm glad to know that Mark sees the wrong in foul language. No one is perfect but not admitting to sin is where people get into trouble. Now we get have to wait for God to show him the error of letting the world into his church just like the rest of us have to do every day in our own lives.

luvvom said...

Seth,
here is a review of the lastest book that Mark wrote. I think it answers the question on whether Mark is really trying to get a handle on foul language and topics. See what you think.

http://stevenjcamp.blogspot.com/2006/05/emergentcya-brief-look-at-one-of-ecs.html

Seth McBee said...

sarah.
I have read the book and really, really liked it. Were there things in the book that made me "cringe"...yeah...but overall, the book was a good eye opener to Mark's love for Christ and His life changing word in the lives of everyone.

If you want to take a look at my review you can check it out...

http://contendearnestlybooks.blogspot.com/2007/03/confessions-of-reformission-rev.html

If you want to see Mark's, in my opinion, new "calling" take a look at this review of this new book...

http://contendearnestlybooks.blogspot.com/2007/03/listening-to-beliefs-of-emerging.html

I said it one of my posts before, but I will say it again. I think Mark will be kind of like a modern day "John Gresham Machen." Machen fought the modernists where Driscoll is calling out the Emergents.

To this point, I believe, we are going to owe God a lot of praise for giving us a man that stands up so strongly against his VERY CLOSE FRIENDS...

Bob said...

luvvom, thanks for the link.
The comments following that blog were very revealing to me. I find it very interesting the lengths that people go to in trying to justify Mark's use of inappropriate language from the pulpit. Unfortunately there is a "cult like" feel to what some of those respondants have to say. I still think a through reading/study of Jude is called for here.

It' true that there's something going on with the Driscoll movement. Only the fullness of time will reveal whether it is of satan or Christ. I'll be watching to see which way it goes, and praying that no one is mis-led.

Barry said...

Enough with Driscol postings. :-) I love the guy and appreciate his ministry. It is a shame that people label others so much.
But I came here for an update from Friday night dude. How did it go riding with the guys in blue?

Seth McBee said...

Bob...I agree with some of your sentiments, but I will say, as you already know, that I believe that Mark's ministry is straight from God. Of course, like always, God is using a broken and weak vessel for His use. So with weak vessels comes the Refiner's fire that we all need...

Barry...yeah, yeah I know. You like the male cheerleader? Lol...

Friday night went "okay" by my standards, but not excellent. I had no opportunities to share the Gospel as we were busy doing Police work with no let downs. Hopefully next time I'll get some chances to actually evangelize. But I also have to know that it is in God's hands and not my own. So I will continue to succomb to my Saviour and His usage of me. Whatever that may be.

William D said...

Personally, I like Mark, when I listen to him speak, I hear a regular guy who seems to be a man's man that I can relate to. However, I have heard him use phrases like "what the hell" which is unappropriate for a preacher. We as preachers are not college frat-boys who can look, act, and talk however we please because it's cool. I appreciate alot of what he says and does, but his mouth is his Achilles Heel.

Jeff Fuller said...

Everywhere I see posts about Driscoll, Steve Camp's post eventually creeps up. But Steve Camp is obnoxious in his own way. That whole slippery slope fundie seperatist thing that he does when he writes blog articles makes me wish he'd keep to singing songs. Do we really need to look at how everyone is doing it wrong? If so, I don't have to look much farther than a mirror to fill the pages of some watchblog.

As for Driscoll, his sermons really inspire me as I go to the jail each week. For someone who preaches to an audience of men (and criminals at that), his perspective helps me address the issues these guys face.

luvvom said...

Jeff,
there's is nothing wrong with pointing out each other sins when done in humility and love and in fact is Biblical for us to hold each other accountable. If I care nothing for a person, I won't take the time and effort to help them and will, instead, have the attitude, "That's their problem. Let them answer to God for it." I sure don't want people doing that to me. I think Mark is a good pastor. He just has sins that we all need to accept are not acceptable no matter how great of a pastor he is just like we don't accept the sin in our own lives and hopefully others don't either. It's about purity of the church and how we reflect Christ. There are many things in my life that are horrible sins and many things that reflect Christ. I don't ever want someone to think that just because I reflect Christ in some areas then it's ok to let the other parts slide. We all have to mortify our sins all of the time. Also, Steve Camp is our brother in the Lord and we shouldn't be calling him a fundie separatist. I'm sure he is a fundamentalist who strives to be separate from the things of this world as Christ calls us to be, but using derogative language isn't showing correction in humility and love.

Jeff Fuller said...

"Steve Camp is our brother in the Lord and we shouldn't be calling him a fundie separatist."

I'm sorry for the confusion... read my comment a little closer and you'll see me pointing to a style of writing Camp engages in when he is "pointing out each other sins."

Steve Camp regularly employs fallacy of reasoning when he writes in the manner of "pointing out each other sins." When he does this it embellishes his position. Using logical fallacies isn't good apologetics because it paints a picture that is untrue and skeptical.

David Shaw said...

Seth,

My wife and I talk quite often about overcoming sin. People will say that they are trying to quit something doing something but there is no evidence of change. Example, if someone is trying to quit cussing then there should be a decline of their use of curse words. If over a period of time there is no decline then they are not trying to quit. I have not listened to all of Driscolls sermons but what I have listened to over the course of time shows me that there is no effort of quitting that coarse language he uses. It seems as though he has given in to the fact that he can't overcome that problem.

I mentioned his language to many people who had not heard him preach and they said that they would walk out of his service if he said those things while they were there. I explained to them his comments about having problems and trying to overcome them and that didn't matter to them.

I don't want to come across as being perfect, I am far from it, but when problems are displayed as they are in Driscolls case it becomes something that needs to be dealt with and people warned about.

Seth McBee said...

David...

I have listened to many of Driscoll's sermons and listened to him before there was podcasting and the like when I attended his church for a little while. I actually left over music, which now that I look back, I was merely a punk kid with little theological convictions, so leaving over music was my issue not Mars Hill.

I have seen Mark change a lot over the years and repent over some of his coarse language that he used in the past. Maybe the truth is a difference in what I think is coarse language compared to others. I say "suck" and "crap" which I find weird if someone thinks that is cussing. I say "ass" sometimes which I probably shouldn't but the fact is that when I was in High School and even some in college I cussed like it was going out of style, so in my view I have tamed quite a bit, and I bridal my tongue even better when preaching and when I am with others that I don't want to offend. I don't believe that the cuss words that society sees as cuss words, such as "sh%t" "dam it" and others, are appropriate language, so please don't get me wrong.

But, I listen to Driscoll and really don't hear much in the way of coarse language...sometimes yes, but I see it as rarely happening, not the norm. I am not trying to defend his use of inappropriate language but I might be seeing some things as "okay" when you are seeing them as "inappropriate." I guess we'll never know unless we sit down and draw out a list...but there was this one group who drew up lists of "don'ts" and I believe that Christ called them "vipers" and making "double the sons of hell than they were." He also had eight woes to them...ever heard of them? ;)

David...don't worry, not saying you are doing this, so don't get me wrong...just trying to make a point...plus I really like you and like what you write.

But, I don't want to make a list. I do have priorities and thoughts on the language, and can see your point to a degree, but maybe we are just different in this area...who knows...

Personally, I believe my tongue is tame, but maybe to others it isn't...so maybe this is the same with Mark, I don't know...

Seth McBee said...

David...also...listen to more of his sermons to get a better feel...

David Shaw said...

Seth,

I agree with you completely about the type of language we all use. I use words that 50 to 100 years ago would have dropped jaws. I also watch television programs that are not Christian in any way and my wife and I are going to stop watching them so that we don't pollute our ears with that type of material (but that is another discussion for another day).

Thanks for informing me about his change in language. You mentioned last week that unless we listen to what he preaches then we should hold our judgment/comments. I tried to listen to enough of his teaching but it wasn't enough to get as informed of an opinion as you. You have a good way of informing people when they are in error. That is a great quality to have.

You make a great point about not making lists of the things people say/do that we consider wrong. As you know I Corinthians 13 specifically deals with that in the context of love.

I believe the mark of a developing Christian is the fact that there is a progression towards holiness and the decrease of sin in their lives. This seems to be the case with Driscoll.

David Shaw said...

Seth,

I was typing up my previous comment when you posted about listening to more of his sermons. I will do that in time. I will tell you that he is not a "Christianity Lite" preacher and that is very admirable. I look forward to listening to more of his teaching (although I will have to tune out some of his language). :)

Seth McBee said...

David...thank you for your kind words, and since you deal with me and my comments I can tell that you can take a joke...my humor sometimes gets me into trouble...always has...

I would also be careful not to be too hard on yourself when it comes to entertainment, but also not too lenient. Your probably saying, "thanks for the insight..." But what I am really trying to say is don't become a legalist in your enterainment for it will lead you into legalism in your life as well...I should know...for this described me very well. I came out of my life of sin, deep sin, even though I was a preacher's kid, and went so far the other way with the flag of "holiness" when in reality it was legalism wrapped up in a nice pretty package labeled incorrectly as "sanctification."

I started to look at what I did to point to my salvation instead of what Christ did...very dangerous...

Barry said...

You said "ass" ...hemm hemm... eh..eh (Beavis & Butthead laugh)

Ah, sancification is a mighty blessing of God's grace. Thanks for being transparent Seth, it encourages.

luvvom said...

I just got through reading this link and thought of you! http://www.oldtruth.com/blog.cfm/id.2.pid.629

Anonymous said...
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Robert L. said...

On the issue of cussing: what counts as a cuss word? As far as THE BIBLE is concerned, only the Lord's name is listed as profanity when used improperly. Paul even uses the equivalent of sh*t/crap when he says "I count all things but 'dung'." nothing in the bible ever indicates that there are improper words for discussing feces(sh*t/crap), rear ends (ass/butt), or sex (f*ck) etc.. These are culterally based profanities, the bible says nothing of them. And if you research the F word, you'll find it's actually nothing more than an accronim; Fornication Under Consent of the King.
The use of "hell" I would deem improper because hell is not something to be taken lightly, the same would go for D*nm. And what I especially hate is OMG. That is exactly what is forbidden in scripture, yet it's tossed about commonly among young children, and very rarely considered to be a cuzz word in any circles. Driscoll might try to shape up if for no other reason than to lessen his own stress, but I can hardly condemn a man as transparent as he is. Especially when he's bringing so many people to te saving race of Christ.

Seth McBee said...

Robert.

I agree with most of what you said...if you want to read some more recent posts, check out the posts under the label, "language" on the blog...here is the link

Language

andrew said...

well marks in good company just look up W.P. Nicholson, the preacher in the midst of the revival in ulster

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