fbpx

Get articles delivered right to your inbox

Get the weekly article and occasional special updates delivered right to your inbox. Receive a sample chapter of my latest book just for subscribing.

By subscribing, you agree to share your email address to receive the weekly article and occasional special updates from Aaron Armstrong. Use the unsubscribe link in those emails to opt-out at any time.

Five opportunities to glorify God in Mark Driscoll’s resignation

Pastor_Mark_Driscoll

So… Mark Driscoll resigned.

There’s a lot that could be said about this, and undoubtedly much will be. Some of it will be helpful, some of it will be… less so. Hopefully this will be the former, and not the latter.

In all honesty, I’m very glad that Driscoll is out of ministry. After years of controversy, and in recent months the unceasing barrage of issues coming to light—including plagiarism, financial mismanagement at Mars Hill and a pattern of abusive behavior—this needed to happen, for the good of the people who have been hurt, for the people at Mars Hill and for Driscoll himself.

And while, undoubtedly, there are going to be some who will read his resignation and point out some of the troubling aspects (including his not being found disqualified despite being disqualified by his “domineering style of leadership,” [1 Peter 5:3]), I would love to focus on five opportunities to glorify God arising from this:

The opportunity for Mars Hill Church

Mars Hill’s at a crossroads: if the church is all about Jesus, now’s the time to prove it. The best place to start? Honestly evaluating their structure.

The model they’ve been running on—with an outside board of accountability—simply doesn’t work, nor is it biblical. If they’re serious about getting healthy, they need to put in place a model of governance where every leader really is one vote at the table, and are held to account. They need to become autonomous churches with elders who are biblically qualified and capable of preaching the Word.

They need to not be what they’ve been for the better part of the last decade if they’re serious about getting healthy and continuing on with Jesus’ mission to make disciples of all the nations. If that can happen, I believe God will be glorified.

If not, then it’s time to turn off the lights and shut the doors.

The opportunity for Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll is also at a crossroads. The pattern of public behavior we’ve all witnessed over the last several months have shown us what can happen when a man with natural ability but lacking in spiritual maturity puts himself in a position of great authority. One cannot escape from such a scenario unscathed.

While he says he was not disqualified by the investigation (and really, did anyone expect him to be), one thing is unquestionably clear in all of this: he desperately needs help. Driscoll desperately needs to do some real soul searching and ask himself hard, honest questions: How did things get this bad? Is he seeing his own role in this drama correctly? What would God have him do going forward.

And although, I’m glad he says in his resignation that he and Grace will be receiving support and counsel from men and women across the country, he needs something else: to be a member in a local church. He needs to be under the authority of someone (or rather, multiple someones) for the first time in his adult life.

To be perfectly honest, my hope for Mark Driscoll is that he stays far away from the spotlight and far away from ministry for a long, long time. He’s got serious issues that need to be worked out. The best place for him to do that is as a member of a local church, not as a leader in one. If that can happen, I believe God will be glorified.

The opportunity for those injured

For those who have been injured over the years at Mars Hill, I’m not certain the news offers much comfort. Some, understandably, had hoped to see him disqualified and fired. Instead, he’s resigned of his own accord.

Regardless, he’s gone. Whether the church stands or falls remains to be seen. This is an opportunity to be at peace and heal, even if the way the end came about isn’t the way they’d hoped. If that can happen, I believe God will be glorified.

The opportunity for those on the sidelines

Finally, those of us on the sidelines have a number of choices to make. Some have made their reputations blogging about these sorts of controversies (to varying degrees of helpfulness). For these bloggers, their work is more or less done, at least as far as the negative side of these events is concerned. My hope for them is they’ll be able to focus on what is good and pure and true, and celebrate what God inevitably does out of this situation.

Some bloggers have chosen to be silent about these sorts of issues in general and this one in particular. Sometimes it’s for good reasons, such as not having anything to say or not wanting to be accused of chasing controversies. I don’t really have an issue with that. But my hope for all of us— particularly those of us who claim to be “gospel-centered”— would be an increased willingness to confront evil, especially when it appears in our own houses. We should be willing to decisively condemn such practices. If that can happen, I believe God will be glorified.

The final opportunity

Finally, we all have one final opportunity to glorify God in this, and that is to pray. We need to pray for God’s will to continue to be done in the lives of all who have been affected by the drama at Mars Hill Church over the last several months and years.

  • That those who have been injured would find peace.
  • That humility would reign in the hearts of the remaining leaders at Mars Hill as they choose how to move forward.
  • That God would truly break Mark Driscoll’s heart in a new way so he can be closer to God as he says he desires to be.
  • That we wouldn’t just wait for the next rockstar megachurch pastor to implode, but would pray that God would cut through the garbage they’ve surrounded themselves with.
  • That we would put our houses in order and not sacrifice people and mission on the altar of celebrity.

If we can pray for those things, I believe God will be glorified.

1 thought on “Five opportunities to glorify God in Mark Driscoll’s resignation”

  1. Aaron, let me say that I appreciate what you have written and that I think your stated goal—that this be helpful—was largely achieved. It is so easy to jump on the bashing bandwagon, which you have not done. Thank you! I would like to suggest a couple alternatives to what you’ve said, though, and with the same hope: that they be helpful comments, provoking thought rather than argument.

    First of all, there are certainly some structural things at Mars Hill that need to be evaluated, but I’m not sure I would fully agree that “an outside board of accountability—simply doesn’t work, nor is it biblical.” Nor is an “autonomous church” wholly biblical. Paul demonstrated both outside accountability for the churches he planted, as well as a level of mutual accountability among churches; e.g., he sought guidance from the church in Jerusalem to resolve issues arising in Galatia. That said, for a local church to rely solely on an outside board and not local, “internal” elders is certainly not aligned with the Biblical/Pauline instructions. Biblically, no [local] church is truly autonomous; we are ONE body, and we need to humbly serve and submit to one another as [local] churches, not only as individuals. That is especially true in times of leadership crisis.

    I appreciate your emphasis on Mark Driscoll needing to be a member of a local church, and specifically “under authority.” I wonder if the best and most appropriate—and most difficult—place for that to happen is right at Mars Hill. If there is true humility and an earnest desire to grow, learn, and be restored, then perhaps the place where Mark is best known is the place for him to be. Imagine the powerful message of grace that could be proclaimed if he were to truly humble himself and sit under the authority of the church which he led. Too often when a leader fails, he is removed from the very place of failure—and therefore, removed from the opportunity and necessity of seeking forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration, and healing for those whom the leader has hurt.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top