Mark Driscoll, the pastor of Mars Hill Church, has long been a polarizing figure among Christians. In fact, when you type [Mark Driscoll] into Google, the first autofill suggestion is [Mark Driscoll controversy]. That's because he's stirred up so many. Needlessly.
Which is why Jonathan Merritt found the message of Driscoll's latest book so surprising. A press release claims that in A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future Driscoll "issues a prophetic warning to the church that 'dark days are ahead' if we don’t stop the in-fighting and refocus our efforts on preaching the gospel immediately.
Merritt then proceeds to recount some of Driscoll more memorable moments of Christian in-fighting.
Just this month Driscoll showed up at a conference run by John McArthur to stir up trouble, then lied about how security treated him. Last January, upon President Obama's second inauguration, Driscoll tweeted:
Praying for our president, who today will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.
Before that there was Driscoll's query to his Facebook followers:
So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you've ever personally witnessed?
And then here's a litany of insensitive and offensive comments about Catholics, Jews and Muslims.
All of which leads Merritt to this point:
I hope that Driscoll is having a change of heart, that he is reconsidering his past behavior and changing course. But the book’s jabs and the way he’s chosen to promote it seems to align more with the pattern of behavior he’s displayed for years.
So I agree with Driscoll’s book on its core message—Christians should learn to pick their battles better—but with such a long pattern of divisive rhetoric, name-calling, searing sarcasm, and downright offensive insults, I’m not convinced he’s the right messenger to carry it forward. If Mark Driscoll wants Christians to stop infighting, maybe he should start with himself.
(That seems particularly the case when just this week--that's right, after Driscoll began promoting his new intra-church peacemaking book--Driscoll attacked Christian pacifists with this message: "Jesus is not a pansy or a pacifist; he’s patient. He has a long wick, but the anger of his wrath is burning. Once the wick is burned up, he is saddling up on a white horse and coming to slaughter his enemies and usher in his kingdom. Blood will flow.")
Well worth reading Merritt's whole piece here.