Contend Earnestly: Death by Love by Mark Driscoll

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Death by Love by Mark Driscoll


Cathy Mickels said...

Based on all of the mixed and confusing messages and comments delivered by Mark Driscoll, and also his associations, support and promotion of men and ministries which promote ideas and theology in contrast with biblical Christianity, I concur with John MacArthur's analysis: "I have great concern about (Mark Driscoll)." Therefore, I cannot recommend any of his material.

How can we overlook the fact that he distorts and twists Scripture as if it was material for a stand-up comedian? How can we ignore or support a ministry that paints a picture of Jesus that turns his character into a joke to feed a so-called edgy audience?

For example, according to Mark Driscoll, Jesus was not only a dude, who by the time he was thirty years of age was "a classic underachiever with no wife, kids, stable career, or even much of a home," but he also says, "...God came to earth and he kicks things off as a bartender....."

Can you imagine the saints of old talking like this about the King of Kings?

Mark also pokes fun saying that ".....everytime they (the religious leaders) see Jesus, it agitates them that he is always surrounded by a crowd telling knock-knock jokes to miscreants who love his sense of humor because his perfection had to have included comedic timing." Mark's picture of Jesus depicts Him returning as a "tattooed" King! Think about this description. ...the spotless lamb returning with a worldly tattoo?

This is also a man who states he learned "to trust the Scripture and to love Jesus without feeling like we had a thinly veiled homosexual relationship." What kind of talk is this?

Luke 6:45 comes to mind: "...out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Most of you have probably already read his version of Jesus' family in Vintage Jesus. Driscoll writes, " Jesus' mom was a poor, unwed teenage girl who was often mocked for claiming she conceived by the Holy Spirit. Most people thought she concocted the crazy story to cover the fact she was knocking boots with some guy in the back seat of a car at the prom." Concocted the crazy story?...Knocking boots with some guy in the back seat of a car?

Mark's figments of his imagination also included the mocking of serious Old Testament stories stating that all good humor begins in the book of Genesis. In fact, he describes the Old Testament as "a redneck hillbilly comedy" suggesting much of it sounds like it took place in a
white trailer park," which explains the humor he finds in the story of Noah. He laughs about it and says, "Noah, who nevertheless ends up having a bad day, gets drunk, and passes out naked in his tent like some redneck on vacation." For sure this is not the picture of Noah found in Hebrews 11.

In the story of Adam and Eve, Mark plants a suggestive, sensual idea about Eve that is over the top for a man in the pulpit. He says, "...God creates a perfect woman who is beautiful, sinless and naked, - the same kind of woman every guy ever since has been looking for." What makes Mark think that is what every guy is looking for?

Mark undermines the seriousness of the messages of Jeremiah by describing him as someone "who cries like a newly crowned beauty queen all the time." Mark claims one of the stories in Judge sounds like a Monty Python story and he even finds humor in Ezekiel 4 when "God says, go to the bathroom, and stack up the feces, light the poop on fire, and cook over it." As a result, once again, he undermines and distorts the seriousness of the message and the integrity of God's word.

I wont take the time to go into his version of Galatians 5 describing "the circumcision checker," which he also calls the "cut off your pickle joke."

Even a writer for Christianity Today noted, "That's what you get from a pastor who learned how to preach by watching comedian Chris Rock."

Yes, on the one hand, Mark can deliver a sound sermon, yet in the other hand, he attacks and undermines Scripture and presents a picture of our Savior that is not found in the Word of God. I submit there is something wrong with this picture. A.W. Tozer warned," We should and must learn that we cannot handle holy things carelessly without suffering serious consequences."

Mark Driscoll also send mixed messages regarding the emerging church. On the one hand he distances himself from the controversy surrounding emergent leaders such as Brain McLaren, yet he wholeheartedly promotes The Leadership Network who in essence helped organize the emerging church and promotes the teachings of emergent leader Brian McLaren. Furthermore, in reality Mark shares a similar viewpoint as the emergents regarding contemplative spirituality, stating "I am big on the spiritual contemplatives: prayer, silence, solitude, fasting, meditation and study." In addition, under his "Acts 29" reading list was a selection of what is referred to as "worthy literature." The list included books by Richard Foster, Dallas Willard and a book called The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Thomas Merton is also on his recommended list. According to the research complied by Deborah Dombrowski at, " for someone to say they don't promote the emerging church but then promote contemplative is faulty thinking because the latter is so much worse- it is contemplative that makes the emerging church so heretical."

To top it off, Mark is all over the board in his other associations. I reiterate, on the one hand, he will hang out with John Piper, but he also seems to have no problem speaking at Rick Warren's SaddleBack Church or preaching at Robert Schueller's Crystal Cathedral. In Driscoll's book Confessions of a Reformission Rev, he positively claims "the changes brought about by Warren are revolutionary and very important....God has used Warren's insights to bring untold numbers of people to Jesus and Warren has become one of the most important Christians in our generation." In referring to Rick Warren, he also says, " ...his work is the most effective church growth strategy for the kind of people who are best reached by the ....evangelical church." Perhaps there are some of you reading this who would disagree.

As you can clearly see, I have many questions regarding Mark Driscoll. Actually, I feel sorry for him because instead of us either directly or indirectly validating his ministry, he needs to be encouraged to take a time out.... I was also puzzled and heartsick to read his story about taking his young son with him to a barbershop in Seattle that "provides the finest selection of waiting -area pornography in our city." What an interesting way to describe the filth of pornography and I am stunned that he would actually risk exposing his son to such a filthy place. It also seemed odd for a pastor to detail his experience in a gay bar talking about guys hitting on him. In another book he tells about going in for a massage where he was also hit on by the woman rubbing his back. He says, "The beautiful woman performing the message was hot ---like hell. I was nearly asleep during the massage, until the moment she kindly asked me if I wanted any sexual favors and began to list her impressive skills." I say, SPARE US THE DETAILS!

Are we going to also ignore his revelation on drinking alcohol in the church, or his comment stating he was convicted of his "sin of abstinence from alcohol" also saying ,"I personally long for the return to the glory days of Christian pubs where God's men gather to drink beer and talk theology. If anyone should take me up on this suggestion, I would offer the following as possible brand names for your brews: Lord's Lager, Holy Hefeweizen, Pastor's Porter, Alleluia Ale, Saintly Stout, and Lucifer's Light." The negative consequences of this kind of thinking should be obvious.

There is something wrong with this whole picture, and if the church cannot see it, we are further down the downgrade than we think. However, what is just as disturbing is to hear evangelical leaders giving Mark Driscoll a platform, which will serve to bring even more spiritual confusion into the church. What is wrong us?

I live close to Seattle. My own son attended this church one Sunday with a friend. On that particular Sunday, Mark was givng his version with graphic details of the crucifixion of Christ. In mixed company, I will not repeat what he said, but my son was embarassed and would have walked out except for the fact that he knew he needed to share his concerns with his friend. Once again, I say, there is something wrong with this picture.

Lastly, in response to this posting regarding the promotional video of Marks new book, Death by Love, the video is dark and weird.

Seth, in Christian love, I ask you to please consider that even though Mark can teach some things right, there are far to many things he is getting wrong.

All of this saddens me deeply.

Cathy Mickels,
co-author, Spiritual Junk Food: The Dumbing Down of Chrisitian Youth

Seth McBee said...


I suspect that you are coming through to just throw in your two cents and then not coming back...but I will give you the benefit of the doubt and respond...but if you do not come back, I will simply delete your comment.

There is so much to respond to in this I am not sure if it is possible to get through all this.

I think context is at issue with most of what you talk about in regards to Driscoll speaking about Christ. Does some of it make me uncomfortable? Yeah, sometimes...but not much of the time. Do I agree with everyone he hangs out with? No. But I believe he shows us some true understanding of being willing to look to others for better understanding on certain topics. But, it definitely isn't dumbing down or watering down his theology or messages.

To say that he distorts the scriptures is way over the line...and I don't have much respect for what MacArthur says about Driscoll...he has never interacted with him and the interaction that they have had through the media Driscoll was the more upstanding and forgiving individual.

You do show how much you have set up your own barriers to seeking the lost. I find it interesting that you think that Driscoll was in the wrong for going to a homosexual bar to preach Jesus. He goes to sinners and you just say, "yuck" Way to go.

You also say one of the most stuck up things I have seen in a while:

Lastly, in response to this posting regarding the promotional video of Marks new book, Death by Love, the video is dark and weird

I wonder how you would interact with people who have gone through these "dark and weird" moments in life. Do you realize that everyone's life isn't described like it is on Christian radio? Do you realize that there are actual people who have had their father sneak in to have sex with them at night? To beat them because they spilled their milk? So, you might call it dark and weird, but for some, this is there life.

So, when you say, "In Christian love, I ask you to please consider..." It is far from Christian love to come on here and call other people's darkest struggles as "weird"

Sorry, but I don't buy it.

If you come back we can discuss more details.

Cathy Mickels said...


I need to clarify. My comments were regarding the promotional video (the music, the creepy pictures)NOT the content of the book. Of course, as a mother of three children, I have deep compassion for the trauma that some people experience.

I will continue talking to you but for now its too late. Because of my schedule, I will not be able to reply until Wednesday.

Perhaps this is going to be an issue we will have to agree to disagree on. I think we have been more affected by our culture than we are willing to admit.

I have heard you preach and I know you have a heart to serve the Lord.

Blessings to you,

Seth McBee said...

I have to say I am surprised that you came back. Thanks for the interaction.

And, with your comments from the first are probably right, we probably won't agree on much in regards to Driscoll and his stance for the gospel.

I of course don't agree with everything that he does, but I will say that his preaching and ministries have affected me greatly because of his focus on the supremacy of Christ.

To say that we have been affected by our are exactly right...I hope we have been, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it does not negate Sola Scriptura.

I am more than willing to talk about anything that you find as troubling with Driscoll, although it will just sound like I am his male cheerleader and that gets a little weird...:)

Not sure how you heard me preach, but I am glad that you could read my heart through it. I just want Jesus to be glorified.

I will screw up many times and do many things that I will later shake my head at, but that is why we have a Saviour...yes?

Soli Deo Gloria.

May God use us both for the futherance of the Gospel of truth.

Cathy Mickels said...


It is Wednesday night and I AM BACK! :)

Where do I begin? Since it's been a couple of days since we last spoke, I will briefly reiterate again one of the many reasons why I am deeply concerned about the ministry of Mark Driscoll.

For what it's worth, I have noticed that "age" seems to play a role in whether or not someone is offended by Mark's use of worldly imagery such as "a dude" to describe the ONE who has the name above all names...In the book of Jeremiah, scripture states, "Now this is His name by which he will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Jeremiah 23:6) In the same chapter, the Lord says, "...My people error... by their recklessness.......(vs. 32) .....for you have perverted the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God."

Similarly, there is a reverence for God that is increasinglyy missing in our day and I believe the case can be made that American Christians have become increasingly arrogant and reckless with the Christian faith. This is rooted in a lack of understanding of what scripture calls "the fear of God." We would be wise to consider we do not serve God on our terms, but His terms. Moses learned this lesson when God told Moses at the burning bush, "Take off your sandals. You are standing on holy ground." A.W. Tozer understood this important biblical principle when he warned, "We should and must learn that we cannot handle holy things carelessly without suffering serious consequences." In fact, throughout Scripture we hear echos of the same cry; "If then I am the Father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, Where is My reverence? says the Lord of host." (Malachi 1:6)

When Mark Driscoll turns to humor to describe serious accounts in the Bible or disrespectfully characterizes men of God, including our Lord and Savior, in ways no other generation has used to describe them, our antennas should immediately go up.

For example, as I wrote earlier, Mark said he found humor in the stumbling of Noah. But, there is nothing funny about that story. Intended or not, Mark's remarks are a put down and his description of Noah is in direct conflict with the honor given him in Hebrews saying Noah was "moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." Of course, Noah was not a perfect man, but by what authority does Mark have to distort in any way the character of biblical men such as Noah, and Jeremiah, another man Mark poked fun at?

I dont want to repeat myself, but Seth, it is breathtaking that Mark would refer to his salvation experience by saying he learned to...."love Jesus without feeling like we had a thinly veiled homosexual relationship." This comment should make us cringe.

This is God and His word we are handling and "rightly dividing" the word of truth means we must "cut it straight" -- a reference to the exactness demanded by such professions as carpentry or masonry. Precision and accuracy are required in biblical interpretation, beyond all other enterprises, because we are handling God's word. I submit, Mark Driscoll is careless with God's word.

I can hear those saying, "This lady needs to lighten up, " and I say, "We are standing on holy ground! This is not where we need to 'lighten up' " Like I said earlier, it is shameful to turn the truth of God's word into material Mark uses for a good laugh. I will say it again and again, something is wrong with this picture.

What will be the biblical jokes of the next generation if truth today is not cut straight? Will handling of God's word recklessly today help usher in unbelief for tomorrow? I believe a case can be made we are undermining the Christian faith and we will reap a harvest of worldly Christians.

It is impossible in this format for us to really have a constructive discussion any further so I will stop here.

Seth, it is no coincidence our paths have crossed. I live about two hours from Maple Valley. I am willing to meet you at any Starbucks or any other restaurant in the area to discuss this further. If not, please consider me a friend and contact me anytime.

Warm regards and blessings to you,

Related Posts with Thumbnails