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08 June, 2007 / theexpositor

My Interview with Mark Driscoll

Click here to hear my INTERVIEW WITH MARK DRISCOLL, JUNE 7, 2007 

I spent about 40 minutes talking with Mark Driscoll this week. My decision to interview Pastor Driscoll came about for a couple of reasons.

First, I am personally fascinated by the man and his ministry. Driscoll was very open in our discussion to say that he has totally disassociated himself from the Emergent Church and that in fact the leaders of that movement, in his words, “have nothing to do with me” theologically. My fascination stems from the fact that Mark and I are in agreement almost totally theologically, both of us upholding the reformed tradition. I will admit though, there are some areas involving methodology that still raises concerns for me. 

Second, he has highly regarded by other men of God whom I respect greatly, such as John Piper, Mark Dever and C.J. Mahaney. Piper welcomed Driscoll to the most recent Desiring God conference; Mark Dever’s 9Marks website recently featured an article by Driscoll on narrative preaching, and I read recently where C.J. Mahaney visited Driscoll in Seattle and is very encouraging of their ministry there.

Thirdly, I did want to speak to the man myself and have the opportunity to ask him personally questions that I have been pondering since first learning of Driscoll and his ministry. While I am not endorsing the EC concept of “conversation” just for the sake of conversing, I did think it was a positive to establish a line of communication there.

As I said before and after the radio interview, there will be some who think I was too soft on Mark Driscoll, and there will be some who think I was to hard on him. Mark is a big boy and can obviously had either. But I personally found him to be very open and willing to admit his faults, failures and dependence on the Lord. Do I agree with everything he says or the ways he says it? No. But I am not as quick to rush to judgment in regards to the ministry of Mark Driscoll as I was before. Quite frankly I want to know and see more.

 That is why I have requested the opportunity to travel to Seattle and visit Mars Hill myself and see first-hand what goes on there through the ministry of Mark Driscoll. I have also asked for such an opportunity at The Journey in St. Louis, Missouri. I want to go to these locations, see whats going on, write on what I see and hear, do some interviews and hopefully even do some live programs from there and at least try to understand some things.

I am not backing off of my concerns with the Emergent Church by no means. Yet it is my prayer that through all of this the Lord will help us, me, to better reach those in the emergent church movement, and everyone, with the Truth.





  1. Mike / Jun 9 2007 2 37


    I think it’s important to distinguish Driscoll from “Emergent” proper.

  2. Chermone B. / Jun 9 2007 9 13

    I have to think that my opinion of Pastor Driscoll has changed some because of this taping. I really thought that he was going about preaching sermons and cussing through them entirely. I am glad to hear that is not the case. I have had to repent because I jumped to conclusions about him before I had even heard him speak. I heard other prominent men of God tear into him over being called the “cussing pastor.” I am glad the conversation took place. I had seen before where he spoke of being reformed and such, and it bothered me that he would try to be both reformed and of the world (as far as the cussing went). I just pray that we as Christians can grow from this and encourage one another in the faith- the right way (which is Christ’s way).

  3. Elizabeth / Jun 9 2007 14 05

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks so much for your interview with Mark Driscoll. It was interesting to learn more about who he is, and hear what he has to say.

    Some of his final thoughts on young men prompted me to write. I have one of those 20-something young men who have left the church. We sent our son off to the Navy 5 years ago. He finished his service last fall and came back a very different young man. I would love to have a church with a pastor that has a heart for these lost young men. Mark is right – the church is so feminized, at least in our area, that it makes young men run out the door. In fact, here in Bangor, Maine the church is in such a mess that my husband and I have been without a church home for almost 4 years. We visit, but it’s been almost impossible to settle somewhere. The Word has all but disappeared in our churches, but that’s a story for another letter.

    It is my hope and prayer that more men will rise up with a heart to minister the Word to these young men. I understand that there are issues that surround Pastor Driscoll and his methods, but I hope you will encourage him to keep reaching out to these young people who so desperately need to hear the truth. Please tell him there is one mother in Maine that will be praying for him.

    I also want to thank you for your program on Several of the recent programs have really blessed me. I discovered your site through a link from an article on another website. If memory serves me right, it was either the Slice of Laodicea or Christian Research Network. I will be praying for you.

    God Bless You!

  4. John / Jun 9 2007 14 06

    I must say I am confused. You did throw softballs.

    Let me give you a few examples:

    1. Do you believe it is Scriptural to preach in bars? What Scripture
    defends that and show me where Christ or his disciples preached in a house
    of prostitution (not to prostitutes but in their place of business) or bars
    (where you have an audience that may be drunk). Mars Hill was Paul in the
    book of acts going to the Greeks in their society but how did he get there?
    He was awaiting Timothy and Silas who wanted him to get away from the
    current persecution in Thessalonica(Acts 17:1-16). He finds himself, a
    scholar in his own right, in a city of scholars, judges, and philosophers.
    He sees an inscription ” TO THE UNKNOWN GOD”. So Paul is now doing what he
    does best. He is evangelizing. Open air preaching. Just like a Ray Comfort
    in Venice Beach. Last time I checked, Ray Comfort does not use crude
    language or silly talk with the Venice Beach audience. I would match the
    Venice Beach crowd to Mark’s grunge crowd any day of the week. Ray Comfort
    preaches in Compton to gang members. His audio and video are available on
    line. He even asks gang members to not use crude language. And guess what?
    They respect his requests. Now that is radical. Ray could be shot at any
    moment in Compton. I have no problem walking the grunge area of Seattle. I
    do not walk around Compton.

    2. Do you believe Scripture says that preaching in Seattle is absolutely
    different than preaching in Mississipi? I am sorry but put Voddie Baucham in
    any of those settings and the Word works. He preaches the same to college
    students in the East, the West, the North and the South. Put Ray Comfort in
    any one of those places and he does not change his speech and become rude
    and crude like his audience. The Word is powerful and does not need us to
    make it culturally relevant.

    3. You could have given him the five basic questions that you requested
    from your audience on what they would ask an emerging pastor. He should have
    easily passed that test and you would have tied your audience to that
    response. It could have been a point of common ground.

    4. You could have just listed the Scripture that John MacArthur and Phil
    Johnson referenced in their articles. Let us hear Mark Driscoll teach from
    the Word in his response. The classic problem with Emergents is they ramble
    on. Sorry but Mark Driscoll tends to ramble on. I have listened to many of
    his sermons. We are looking for a definitive answer. For example, when is
    being culturally realtive going too far? Would you explain what Scripture,
    in context, says that?

    5. Why do we think it is okay to say “well that was ten years ago and I
    have changed” yet we see no transformation. If I told you that your words
    have caused others to stumble would you not totally change your approach to
    not sin? I never have heard Mark talk about how when confronted by sin Mark
    has radically gone the other way. If my words are haunting me ten years
    later then my pattern of speech should not even be close to what it was ten
    years ago. Yet everyone who hears Mark called the “Cussing pastor” says,
    yeah it fits. No one says to me that “Oh no John, Mark has changed. Mark now
    is very careful with his speech and I have never heard a crude sermon from
    Mark in the last 8 years”. He still is crude. He was then and is now.

    Just some of my immediate thoughts.

    In His Service,


  5. nathan / Jun 9 2007 16 26


    Thank you SO much for this interview. This says more about your heart than Driscoll’s. You did not back off from your opinions, you were kind and courteous, and you had a great conversation with someone you don’t see eye to eye on every subject. More people in the discernment community should take note. I walked away actually believing that you were open to listen and open to share. More of this open dialogue should happen, rather than just ministry hate blogs. Thank you again

  6. Darrin Patrick / Jun 10 2007 15 25

    Hey brother, I just found your blog saying that you might be interested in coming up to St Louis and visiting our church. I wanted to give you a specific contact so that we can make this happen.
    Please contact my assistant Josh and tell him who you and we’ll figure out a good time for you to come up to the midwest. I appreciated the tenor in which you dealt with Mark. I am in aggreement that we must learn to talk to each other instead just talking past one another. Looking forward to connecting soon

  7. Steve Camp / Jun 10 2007 21 55

    Dear Mike:

    I appreciate you as a co-laborer in Jesus Christ greatly. I was forwarded your website and interview with Mark Driscoll links just the other day.

    I have written a few articles at my blog on Mark that have been very heavily discussed and circulated. I forwarded them to him before I published them, but have never received any reply by phone or email. He might be a little timid when speaking to me–but hopefully he will have a change of heart in the future.

    I enjoyed listening to your interview and wanted to offer a couple of additional themes to suggest for possible follow-up with him.

    1. The issue with Mark’s scatological speech isn’t so much with cussing; but that it is what Paul refers to as being “unwholesome speech.” His humor even extends to using the Lord as a punch line for his jokes. THAT goes way beyond cussing…

    2. Mark has recently shared the platform with T.D. Jakes – a known heretic due to his anti-Trinitarian beliefs. Jakes denies the One Triune God of the Bible and therefore worships a different god. Driscoll knows this and agrees that he is a heretic; but yet, still had no problem sharing the pulpit with him at a pastors conference held in Dallas, TX just a few months ago. There is no justification for this kind of partnership in ministry. Mark never even confronted the issue in his preachment.

    Just a few years ago he went and ministered at Robert Schuller’s church as well and spoke glowingly of him and his ministry afterwards. If you have ever heard Michael Horton’s interview with Schuller, you will hear him clearly not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Why would Mark knowingly partner with known heretics against the gospel he says he loves so very much?

    3. Mark’s PR strategy is to position himself as being Reformed. That really isn’t the case. He is pragmatic to the core (his emerging missionality is nothing more than seeker-sensitivity with an edge–audience driven and contextualized); he is Amyraldian in his view of the atonement; and as MacArthur rightly labeled it – his kind of Christianity is grunge Christianity.

    4. Lastly, Here is quote from Driscoll’s recent message at the C3 Conference where he shared the pulpit with heretic T.D. Jakes: “In that moment when God made Him who knew no sin to become sin, that though Jesus was sinless and pure a Lamb without spot or blemish, on Him was laid sin; He became a pedophile, a homosexual, a fornicator, a pervert, a thief, a liar, an alcoholic, a drug addict, He became that. He became the most despicable, ugly, disgusting, accursed thing in all creation—in that moment on the cross. Because He took our place and He became our sin; and He died to pay the penalty for our sins.”

    That is blasphemy my brother and certainly is not representative of biblical Christianity or the Reformed faith.

    These are issues that Mark should be required to answer at some point.

    Again, I appreciate you Mike and thank the Lord for your ministry. I hope these comments are thought-provoking and profitable.

    Grace and peace to you,
    2 Cor. 4:-57

  8. dani / Jun 11 2007 1 10


    Thank you so much for your great interview with Mark Driscoll, a pastor that I appreciate very much. He’s a brother in Christ and I really admire how you handled the interview. And because he is a brother, I agree with Nathan… “more people in the discernment community should take note.”

    Thank you!

  9. John Daly / Jun 11 2007 11 28

    I heard an interview that the White Horse Inn did with Mark and they were “soft” on him and they ended the interview pleased with his answers. Mike, I thought your interview was well done. I think the Soutern drawl has a way of putting people at ease 🙂 Hopefully this isn’t a case of the interviewee knowing their audience and answering the questions accordingly. I have a few friends who attend The Journey so if you come up to the STL I’d be honored to assist in whatever needs to be done for your trip to be God honoring and Christ exalting…anything less than that isn’t worth the price of gas.

    John in St. Louis

  10. Jeff / Jun 11 2007 16 14

    I have often felt that Mark is misunderstood. As discerning Christians we need to understand what a person preaches and believes before we label that person as a heretic. In the discernment ministries out there like CRN and slice there is all too much of that. Mark preaches the Word, uncompromised. Obviously, Mr. Steve Camp didn’t (really)hear the interview with Mark that Mike did, Mark said he will preach anywhere. And when he preaches we will preach the word uncompromised. So who gives a care if he preached at Schueller or Jakes Church? Does Steve know what he preached, has he heard the sermons? My guess is no, Steve’s arguements are very baseless and shallow.
    Steve, I think dani and Nathan are talking to you when they wrote “more people in the discernment community should take note.”

    The Style may not be what you like but the preaching should be.

  11. amandajane / Jun 11 2007 16 41

    I enjoyed your interview with Mark Driscoll. I thought it was fair, balanced and very good natured. Mark responded well to some of the criticism that has been thrown his way.
    I am from England and was brought up in a fundamental evangelical church, so I can understand some christians getting a little upset about his sense of humour. However, as an English Christian, I find him completely non-offensive – he often uses irony to make a good point – and sometimes that can get misinterpreted by those who don’t really “get” the joke.
    Over here, the alcohol thing really wouldn’t be an issue for us. The Bible says don’t get drunk, it doesn’t say don’t drink. I wouldn’t drink with a recovering alcoholic, or drink-drive or drink with a brother/sister that didn’t – but over here, it would be a complete non-issue.
    On the few occasions I have been to America and attended church, I have been surprised by the amount of Christians that go straight from “Bible-Belt-Baptist-Church” to the Mall for lunch (and say a loud grace before their meal). Over in the UK, by most evangelical churches, that would be the biggest “No-No” of all.
    I think what I am trying to say is that some of Mark’s detractor’s comments are cultural assessments about his rendition of culture, not based on biblical doctrine. Some of my brothers over here would be just as critical of his detractors going out for Sunday lunch.
    So – don’t throw mud guys – it does nothing for the gospel.
    And Mark – go ahead and preach where-ever and when-ever you are – the bar, the baseball field, or the bath – its all OK with me!

  12. Brendt / Jun 11 2007 17 22


    Thank you for being Berean about Pastor Mark. The “cussing pastor” moniker was given to him by Donald Miller, an author who is very big in emergent circles. Most critics of Driscoll (including the people that you cited generically — and thank you for that, too) probably wouldn’t consider anything else that Miller wrote to have any value or even equate it with truth. Yet they latch onto “cussing pastor” as though it appeared in the Canon itself.

  13. andy / Jun 11 2007 20 42

    @Steve Camp,
    I know you have spent your life in service to the gospel. I thank you for that. But I cannot figure out why you (and, to be fair, others) attack Pastor Mark so fervently without ever really listening to the man preach. Pastor Mark has also given his entire life to the service of Christ (often to his own health’s demise).

    On your blog, you outlaw “drive-by” commenting that uses poor logic. I hope you will allow me to respond to your post. There is rebuke to be found here and I try to give it charitably.

    1. Do you believe that Jesus and Paul refrained from preaching to heretics? How else should we interpret Paul’s admonitions to Timothy and Titus to correct false doctrine? Especially this: “Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:25-26).

    Who are the teachers that are preaching TRUE gospel to people like TD Jakes and his followers? Are you? Is your music reaching them? Pastor Mark knows all men – NO MATTER CREED – need the sacrifice of Christ. Paul said, “I have become all things to all men so that by all means possible I might save some. I do all this FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor.9:22). Why do _I_ think Pastor Mark preaches in those places? One, he’s faithful. Two, he wants to be happy by sharing in the gospel’s blessings.

    Your comment to close point #2 is telling. “Why would Mark knowingly partner with known heretics against the gospel he says he loves so very much?” I don’t want to intimate too much, but that statement explains a lot about your displeasure. These heretics are people Mark loves. Preaching the gospel and befriending heretics are not mutually exclusive, but one and the same. At base, we’re all heretics but for the grace of God!

    2. Pastor Mark doesn’t have to “position” himself as Reformed. By definition, he IS Reformed.

    3. I can’t imagine when you make music that you’re hoping no one listens to it. You want it to reach people. Pastor Mark is no different. He preaches the gospel in an engaging way and people respond. We’re not talking Joel Osteen or some other prosperity gospel pastor, Steve. The gospel isn’t supposed to repel all people (although, the perishing don’t like it). I can’t imagine you’ve ever listened to one of Pastor Mark’s sermons. He is one of few preachers who can bring me to tears in his description of the beauty of Christ. It is genuine and from his heart.

    Your argument about Pastor Mark’s preaching style…did Jesus preach a de-contextualized gospel? No, He gave people many hooks into His teachings that were rooted in the culture. Was He not concerned with the seeker? He was. There is nothing wrong with being seeker-sensitive. The bane of the seeker-sensitive movement is that it waters down the gospel. Pastor Mark doesn’t do that.

    4. When did pragmatism become anathema? What is the end of good theology if not praxis? What good pastor fails to give application to his sermon? Theology and pragmatism are not mutually exclusive either. The book of Romans is a prime example. Eleven books of theology and 5 of application.

    5. MacArthur’s use of the pejorative “grunge Christian” is overly emotional. MacArthur himself in that post said that Pastor Mark’s “soteriology is exactly right.” He then goes on to virtually negate all of Pastor Mark’s ministry, theology, and character. I don’t understand how MacArthur feels justified with such a personal attack – ESPECIALLY when they agree on the core issues of the faith. That, to me, is absolute foolishness.

    6. I am certainly no theology expert, but when the bible says that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us” (1 Cor. 5:21), what does that mean? Doesn’t it mean Jesus WAS sin? “To be sin…” Perhaps not. I may truly misunderstand this doctrine, but how Pastor Mark said it is how I’ve understood it. Why did Jesus yell, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Wasn’t it because God’s wrath for sin was being absorbed by Christ there on the Cross?

    7. This whole thing makes me sad. I’m a 27-year old guy who just loves Jesus. Mark Driscoll has helped me to love Him more and more and explained things about the gospel to me that I’ve never known. It was with grateful tears in my eyes that I met him and thanked him for his ministry to me at the 2006 DG Conference. The example that older, supposed-to-be wiser Christians are giving guys like me is too bad.

    Steve, you hoped your comments had been profitable. In honesty, I do not find them profitable but harmful to the Name and to Mark Driscoll personally. On almost every core issue of the faith, I believe you would agree with Pastor Mark. Your personal preference of different methods, while questionable in themselves, is not occasion to fragment the Body of Christ. Many souls are being won to Christ in Seattle and through the Acts29 network. I thank God for Mark Driscoll today. He is a laborer in our common faith and deserves the hand of fellowship, not a back hand. Yes, I believe Pastor Mark will continue to mature and leave some of his childish ways behind him, but we ought to HELP him in that, not completely overlook all the good he is accomplishing!

  14. Stephen / Jun 11 2007 20 44

    I think one of the things that needs to be noted is that John Piper invited this man to National Conference. I have personally listened to more than two dozen of Mark’s sermons and as being a young twenty-something Christian I may be biased towards his preaching but I find it refreshing and informative. I personally believe that if John Piper would invite him to his conference just further shows that Mark does not deserve most of his criticism.

  15. Jeff / Jun 11 2007 22 17

    Wow, some of you folks are brutal and it’s a real turn-off. I’m new to this whole debate but I’ve recently listened to a dozen sermons and been to the church. There is nothing and I mean nothing that deserves this level of acrimony. The guy is a force in this city for Jesus. And he’s a reformed Calvinist! I have to tell you that living in Seattle, he’s a sight for sore eyes! Could he be more humble? I suppose. Is he perfect? No, but y’all sure seem to be hucking a few stones his way. Chill! Methinks you doth protest too much!

  16. Carmen / Jun 12 2007 0 24

    Dear Mike,

    I don’t think you were too soft with Mark Driscoll. This was the first time I had hear “from” him, instead of about him. He seemed interested in your questions and concerns. I look forward to your further contact with him.

    John MacArthur has said that the gospel has always been opposed to culture….any culture of any time period or geographical location. Just preach the Bible. It can take care of itself.

    We desparately need pastors who are actually capable of preaching the Bible. That is what God calls them to do. Anyone else can do the entertaining, and I might add, speak about sports and drink beer.

    In Christ,

  17. Debbie / Jun 12 2007 18 06

    Dear Mike,

    I appreciated your programs on Mark Driscoll. He has an endearing quality but I still am concerned. I receive his podcasts and listened for a while and I was turned off by his use of the word “sucks.” He said it at least 6 times in one sermon. He made fun of little old ladies being afraid of guys with tatoos. He said he should give those guys some red contact lenses and let them pass the collection plate to see the reaction of the old ladies. Things like this, while they may get a laugh are very disrespectful. I see “worship” of the youth as an unbalanced church. We are to learn from those who are older and not treat them disrespectfully.

    There is one gospel and it goes forth unhindered by the Holy Spirit in all cultures. All things are permissible as long as they don’t violate scripture. His unwholesome talk is sin. Also, in his book he described certain situations in a “crass” manner. Tim Challies caused an uproar on his blog by reprinting the offensive material.

    I also share the same concerns as Steve Camp regarding Schuller and Jakes.

    Driscoll said he was a prophet in one sermon. Ask him about the radio show where he “knew” a guy was cheating on his wife. I guess it was a word of knowledge. Also, he gave a prophetic word to a Church in Canada. This all came up in his spiritual gifts sermons.

    I like the guy but he definitely is relying heavily on his charismatic personality. In listening to his podcasts, I realized that I could learn better by listening to people like John MacArthur who truly honor the Word of God. I can get caught up in the raunchy humor of Driscoll like everyone else but I don’t think it helps me grow as a Christian.


  18. Bev / Jun 12 2007 18 07


    I enjoyed your talk with Mark Driscol. I still have questions about the direction he is going, but I have to say I saw him differently after listening to your program. I listened to him speak online today…it is his talk from the Creative Conference…I have to say it was excellent. Sounded like he may have even been addressing TD Jakes. You should take a listen if you have not heard it yet:

    Thank you for what you do. I am not a fan of the emergent conversation…there is nothing new under the sun….I would like to hear more about the modern reformation…and more from Paul Washer.


  19. Brendt / Jun 12 2007 19 07


    Thank you for citing some specifics regarding your concerns about Mark. I do not agree with all of them, but at least you’re not operating on 17th-generation hearsay like most Driscoll critics.

    Your old-ladies/guys-with-tattoos story gives me pause. As Mark noted, Seattle is a different city, and the crowd that he is speaking to is fairly unique. His primary calling is to shepherd the flock at MHC, which is largely young. We are simply fortunate enough to live in an age where we get to “listen in”. But catering to younger folks is hardly “worship” of youth.

    Disregarding that point, though, was the illustration appropriate for even that audience? I would argue that it was. While I haven’t heard the sermon to which you refer, your re-telling of the story seems to indicate that Mark was making light of preconceived notions and prejudices that others have. And in the culture that MHC finds itself in, that’s guys with tattoos, who are perceived by (among others) little old ladies as trouble, not missionaries to China (like my friend, Jamie). While Mark’s was a lighter topic, it is no different than a pastor here in the Southeast decrying racism.

    Such things as that, we are definitely NOT to learn from those who are older.

  20. andy2 / Jun 12 2007 21 58

    Hi all i loved the interview,and i have a lot of time for Mark,hes young hes made mistakes, but so did Thomas, so did Peter were they still being hounded about that 10 years later? “there goes that doubter” “there that denier” the all “like jazz” book was 10 years ago folks,lets move on..

    I think theres a lot of jealously about Mark,about his church and that people like J Piper are inviting Mark to conferences etc..I find it rather ironic that Mark seem to be hounded from both sides left and right,which makes him all the more interesting..

    kind of reminds me of that scripture

    ‘We played the flute for you,
    and you did not dance;
    we sang a dirge
    and you did not mourn.’

    you really cant win sometimes
    😉 aj

  21. John / Jun 13 2007 1 43

    Andy again I must say that I am confused. Let me try and see if I can find a common ground in your reasoning based on Scripture:

    Your opening point : “Pastor Mark has also given his entire life to the service of Christ (often to his own health’s demise).”
    – And Bill Clinton worked the hardest he could his first 100 days in office and could not cut taxes.
    – Brigham Young worked for his gospel to the detriment of his life.
    – The logic does not follow that if you work hard for what you think is service means that it is the true gospel. And if you agree that Mark is reformed then what does it matter? A reformed theologian knows that our works are still worthless without the saving work of Christ. Our works are worthless unless seen through the cross. So a reformed theologian never counts their works as good or useful. I would argue that a reformed theologian, especially in this day and age, points to the Cross and what Christ has done (the indicative).
    – By the way, ever visit John MacArthur’s church? Ask members of his congregation how many times John and his family have been physically threatened. They can tell you the story of the horror that filled John’s heart when a man entered and threatened his daughter with a knife.

    Your point 1: “Do you believe that Jesus and Paul refrained from preaching to heretics? How else should we interpret Paul’s admonitions to Timothy and Titus to correct false doctrine?”

    – 2 Tim 2:25-26;
    o 22Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
    – The logic of this passage should have convicted you and you should never have led off your argument with : “On your blog, you outlaw “drive-by” commenting that uses poor logic. I hope you will allow me to respond to your post. There is rebuke to be found here and I try to give it charitably.” Using your interpretation of this passage, you could be considered to be quarrelsome. Why? Steve is not being deceived yet the context of 2 Tim 25-26 is for those who are deceived. So your whole approach could be considered to be “words of no profit” (2 Timothy 14).
    – You keep changing the context of your argument. Are you dealing with Steve Camp’s post on The Expositor or on Steve’s blog?
    – Now back to 2 Tim 2:25-26. In context the passages appear to fit the overall theme of 2 Tim 2:14-26 where the man of God is a worker, a vessel and a servant. The whole section of Scripture appears to deal with idle and fruitless arguments with those who preach heresy.
    – So is your point that Steve should be “gentle” in how he corrects Mark Driscoll because Mark is being deceived by heretics like Robert Schuller?
    – So are you now in agreement with Steve that Mark is deceived? Then 2 Tim 25-26 could be used to argue your point. If you do not agree with my premise, Mark is deceived, then I believe 2 Tim 25-26 has no place in your argument.

    Still in your point 1: “Who are the teachers that are preaching TRUE gospel to people like TD Jakes and his followers? Are you? Is your music reaching them?”
    – Steve Camp made the point that Mark did not even share the triune God with TD Jakes. That is a valid statement.
    – So what is your point?
    – Are you critiquing Steve’s music. Then give us examples. You are being argumentative just to be argumentative.

    Still in your point 1: “I have become all things to all men so that by all means possible I might save some. I do all this FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor.9:22).
    – This has got to be the most misquoted part of Scripture since the start of the seeker-sensitive/growth movement out of Fuller Seminary.
    – 1 Cor 9: 19-23
    o 19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
    – This passage does not allow you to weaken or change the Gospel.
    – Remember that the historical point of this passage is that Paul was ministering to a society full of Greek intellectuals that flourished under the rule of Rome.
    – Remember that in Colossians 2:8 (8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.) Paul had an admonition to not pursue human wisdom.
    – In 1 Cor 1:17- 2:5 (too long to quote here but I will pull out sections) Paul notes:
    o In 1:20- 25 he notes that the Greeks will find the Gospel foolish
    § 20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
    o In 1:19 he notes that the cleverness of their world has not solved any human problems.
    § 18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.
    – Let me stop there and get back to your quote from 1 Cor 9. Paul is not being pragmatic as the seeker sensitive and church growth would espouse. Reading 1 Cor 9 in context with note to the Colossians and other 1 Cor passages I have used would show that Paul did not remove the offense of the Gospel but rather Paul practiced self-denial and deference so that he could preach. He was courteous. To those who ate meat, let them eat meat. To those who did not he abstained from meat. Mark Driscoll references that when he goes out to eat with a vegan. That is a proper use of the 1 Cor 9 passage. But that does not give a pastor the right to be crude, which would cause the weak to stumble (potentially blaspheming), or in any way compromise the Gospel.

    I am going to stop here since this post is already pretty long. I will be more than happy to continue my critique, if you desire, or help you through my points in more detail based on Scripture and logic.

    In His Service,


  22. Kevin Hurt / Jun 13 2007 13 47

    Thank you Mike Corley for offering (in my opinion)a fair and balanced interview with Mark Driscoll!

    It is with great anticipation that I listened to the interview. Although I had never read any of Mark’s books (I have them on my book list to purchase and read), I was somewhat familiar with his speaking. I had listened to one of his messages a few weeks ago. As I heard and saw Mark’s delivery of that message, I was convinced that Mark was straightforward and passionate about the gospel. Even as I listened to Mike’s interview with Mark, I was further convinced that Mark is still straightforward and passionate about the gospel. At time marker 21:50, Mark responded, “The gospel is the power of God. And the Scriptures don’t return void. And the Spirit of God works through the Scriptures which He inspired. If I believe my theology, then I should believe that it could actually change people’s lives. And I should expect God to honor his Word and to honor His Son.” There is no waffling here! Mark is solid!

    At time marker 39:28, Mark said, “I think the preaching needs to lead the mission, preferably expository, Christ-centered, Bible-teaching needs to be constant in the church so that there is clarification. The Bible, is the authority, Jesus is the Savior, sin is the problem, hell is the consequence, salvation is a gift; those kind of big gospel biblical themes, needs to be constantly articulate in the pulpit.” Amen!

    At time marker 24:10, Mark declared, “I’m preaching: don’t have sex before marriage, get married; make babies, mom stays home to raise the kids, men lead the family.”
    Mark’s statement at time marker 42:38 sparked a keen observation! In addressing Mike’s concern of “the method changing the message argument” Mark responded, “…You are afraid of the sin of going too far into the culture? Is there also a sin of not going far enough? Most people who are Bible-believing are far less afraid of not going as they are of going too far. And they don’t see a sin on both sides. I know churches that are Bible-believing, Jesus loving. I would agree with all of their theology but people don’t get saved there.” What a wake-up call for the church today!

    I think Mark’s discourse at time marker 40:05 challenges the church to be sensitive to the culture in order to earn the right to be heard. “The gospels tell the story perfectly but do so differently. They were trying to figure out Greeks, Romans, Jews – how do we articulate this personal work of Jesus in a way that is most effective for these groups of people?”

    I remember my training for a mission trip to Taiwan several years ago. We spent weeks learning the culture in order for us to have some level of respect as we strived to verbally share the gospel. One part of that training was that we were told to leave our shoes at the door before entering a Taiwanese home? Why? In order for us to be respectful of the culture of the people for whom we were ministering. I think the same mandate relates to many aspects of our culture here in America. That may mean understanding the culture and striving to minister to the culture sometimes when it very uncomfortable. Many times in the debate, we are talking truly talking about differences in the method – not differences in the message! As Mark said at time marker 38:37, “Engaging the culture to me as a missionary (is) figuring out the culture and then coming in as an evangelist to find out how to articulate Jesus to those people, in a way that makes sense to them so that they can understand.”

    In closing, Mark’s final remarks were probably the most pronounced. Marker 44:35 –“My heartbeat is young men…Over sixty percent of people who attend church are women. The least likely person to go to church is a young man in his twenties…I have this deep concern that we have built this church that is effeminate in it’s architecture, effeminate in its preaching, effeminate in its theology, effeminate in its music, effeminate in its programming. It works really well for grandmas, it works really well for moms, it works really well for kids, but strong godly intense men are attracted to sports and business and everything but church. My belief is that if you lose the men then you don’t have leaders to come up, you don’t have pastors to come up, you don’t have church planters, you don’t have husbands, you don’t have fathers, you don’t have grandfathers. And the result is that you never change the culture. You are continually following around picking up the messes – single mom, here’s the abused wife, here’s one of the forty percent that go to bed tonight without a dad. We need to build all these programs that the mess willful sinful men are making. I want to get the men. I want to beat them up. I want to tell them what to do. I want to introduce them to Jesus. I want to treat them like a military unit. I want them to be good Christians, good husbands, and good fathers, and good protectors, and good providers. I want them to give and serve. I want them to change the culture and grow their church. And I want to see their knuckle-head buddies get saved and I want to see those guys go out and plant more churches. I am intense, focused and fierce on the young guys. If we don’t get them, then I think church is for old ladies and women who have been abused by men.”

    Mike, thanks again for the opportunity to learn more about Mark’s ministry. As previous posters have commented, truly a commendable Berean act has taken place with the interview with Mark Driscoll

  23. Jeff / Jun 13 2007 14 04

    Hey Mike, I heard you read my blog post about Steve on your radio show. I have to say I sounded harsher than what I meant to. That said, part of it might be with my recent findings in the discernment ministries. There seems to be too much painting with a broad brush, without fully investigating the issue. Maybe Steve has looked into Driscoll, but his comments didn’t seem to indicate that. Driscoll is Bible believing and Bible preaching. He is clear that, while he is friends with McClaren and Pagitt, he rejects their theology.

    So I guess what I am saying is, let’s identify who the real wolves in sheeps clothing are and stop picking fights with people just because they don’t fit your style or your churchy preference.

    Also, I heard you mention the Ed Stetzer interview, I heard that also, and I heard him mention the “contemplative disciplines”, when you go to Seattle can you dig further into that? He might just be talking about getting alone with God, and simply fasting, praying and reading the Word. I would be surprised if he is doing the repeat a word until you are in union with God form of contemplative prayer.

  24. Jim / Jun 13 2007 16 06


    Thank you for your program with Mark Driscoll. I found myself agreeing with several statements he made. I have listened to some of his messages and found them to be Biblically sound.

    Seeing Mark featured on Nine Marks Ministries website & speaking at John Piper’s conference, gives me the impression that this young pastor is on the right track.

    In addition to Steve Camp’s onservations, my confusion is caused when I see Mars Hill Church act as host for one of the National Pastors’ Conferences, which focuses on the emerging church movement. Driscoll & Doug Pagitt are featured. This occured June 1 & 2, 2007

    Do conferences have a spiritual immunity for all who partake? Perhaps Mark Driscoll wishes to act as an evangelist to the emergent. If so, he should say state his intention and boldly call the leaders of this movement to repent, instead of inviting them to his house.

  25. andy2 / Jun 13 2007 18 00

    Hi Jim was the conferences connected with the book “Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches”? Maybe its some commitments to Zondervan,they have been touring the book..

    Its great Mark got to write a chapter,and voice some different views from the other writers..If hes in conversation with these people, but standing firm to biblical truths shouldn’t he be congratulated?


  26. andy / Jun 13 2007 23 05


    I really appreciate your response, however I don’t think you address many of my points.

    1. You are right to call me out for asserting that Mark giving his life in service to the gospel has much bearing on the issues at hand. I just wanted to point out that he should be afforded AT MINIMUM the respect of having his sermons listened to before being critiqued so heavily.
    2. I never really insinuated anything negative about John MacArthur other than that I felt his critique of Driscoll was far too heavy-handed. I imagine he has suffered many hardships for the gospel as well. I have no beef with MacArthur other than that particular blog entry. I think he’s a fantastic teacher and I profit from him also!
    3. When you bring 2 Tim 2:25-26 and attempt to convict me of being quarrelsome, you’re conflating two points I was making. The first was not me being vindictive, but reminding Steve that my forthcoming critique was on the basis of the ground rules of his own site (though, in retrospect, I AM convicted that only Scripture should guide me in correction). The second point I was making, and the reason I used 2 Tim 2:26, was to explain why Mark was sharing the stage with known heretics. I was not positing that STEVE was deceived, merely answering HIS question of why Mark would knowingly share the stage with heretics. Answer: to correct them. Granted, he may not have done it how YOU would do it, but God hasn’t afforded you that opportunity. He did Pastor Mark and I cheer him in whatever truth he DID preach there.
    4. The context of my argument was always Steve’s comments. I don’t think I ever changed the context.
    5. You said, “So is your point that Steve should be “gentle” in how he corrects Mark Driscoll because Mark is being deceived by heretics like Robert Schuller?” First, I think it is a leap to say that Driscoll is deceived by Robert Schuller. I haven’t heard the interview Steve referred to, but I should note that not all heretics are wrong about all things. Mark may have been complimenting Schuller on an issue completely unrelated to heresy. Moreover, I never mentioned anything about Steve needing to be gentle (although we’re supposed to be – 1 Peter 3:15).
    6. I say this with all humility, but it would APPEAR that you are also unfamiliar with what Driscoll teaches as you would be hard-pressed to find any false doctrine in his teaching. So, to answer your question, I do NOT agree with your premise. I do NOT think Driscoll is deceived. 2 Tim 2:25 stands in my argument. It is a good cite.
    7. Really, the burden of proof is on you and Steve here, John. Please tell me specific instances and actual words of when Pastor Mark has said something heretical. I don’t understand what Steve says when he calls Driscoll “Amyraldian” and that’s on me, but I would be interested in hearing how Pastor Mark is deceived other than “guilt by association” for preaching with Jakes and Schuller. By that line of reasoning, Jesus was a sinner because He hung out with sinners and didn’t always correct every imaginable thing they incorrectly held.
    8. As for Steve’s music. I wasn’t critiquing it. I was making the assumption that the likes of TD Jakes and his followers probably aren’t listening to it. And so they need to hear the true gospel somehow. I wasn’t being argumentative in any way.
    9. You go on to correct my usage of 1 Cor. 9, citing the abuse of the seeker-sensitive movement. You say, “This passage does not allow you to weaken or change the Gospel.” Amen, John! But I said explicitly in my previous posts’ point 3, “The bane of the seeker-sensitive movement is that it waters down the gospel. Pastor Mark doesn’t do that.” He doesn’t. So I stand by my cite of 1 Cor. 9 (although I do admit that Pastor Mark gets carried away sometimes).
    10. At the DG conference, Pastor John (Piper) made a comment similar to yours in saying that Mark needs to be careful because he is “culturally clever.” In a personal letter to Pastor Mark, Piper explains what happened the day after he made that comment:

    “A brother came to me this morning before I spoke and said, “You know, Pastor John, Mark is clever with pop culture, you are clever with academic culture.” I looked at him and said, “That is VERY perceptive and I receive it as a God-sent exhortation.” So when I stood up to speak I narrated that exhortation to me in front of all the people and said, “So you can see that Mark and I are in this battle together. We both want to speak in a way that is NOT boring about the greatest things in the world and is not worn out and tired and hackneyed. It is a sin to bore people with God. So pray for us. The line is fine between choosing words to strike the soul with glory and strike a clever pose.”

    11. Such humility by Pastor John! But the POINT is that cleverness is not outlawed in those passages, John. You seem to think so. I would disagree. Too much reliance on them, yes. That it overshadows the gospel? Yes. Your opinion is that Pastor Mark overshadows the gospel. I should note that Pastor John disagrees with you (and many others) when he said to Pastor Mark in that same letter, “…tell the world that, I would not have .001 seconds hesitation in having Mark Driscoll come back tomorrow to our church or our conference. I LOVE being on the same team and consider my self a learner in your presence more than a counselor.”
    12. Paul becomes all things to all men as a METHOD. The MESSAGE, however, is Christ crucified. Pastor Mark preaches all Christ all the time.
    13. As I closed my first post, I’ll close here. Pastor Mark can get carried away. He has matured over the years and, walking in the Spirit, will continue to! How many older theologians: Luther, Calvin, et. al. have many things we wish they hadn’t done/said? Another example is the life of King David, who on the surface, seems to be in violation of far more sins than Driscoll. Those men deserve our thanksgiving in spite of their shortcomings. Pastor Mark is no different. We shouldn’t treat him poorly simply because he’s a contemporary or sins in ways we don’t. He deserves far more from many people who hastily judge his ministry without ever even listening to him. He’s not perfect; he’s a man. I don’t excuse some of his questionable behavior or language but neither do I condemn him out of hand. He’s helped me to understand Scripture and love Jesus far too much for that!

  27. Mark Willard / Jun 14 2007 4 41

    This is my first time to this blog. I came here through a link from Justin Taylor’s blog. I’m all about having correct doctrine, but some of you are so nitpicky it makes me sick. For those of you critiquing Driscoll, have you listened to him?

    -He is not emergent. He has publicly opposed emergent theology and emergent leaders numerous times. I’d recommend you check out his talk at the 2006 DG National Conference where he does just that in the middle of arguing for orthodox theology.

    -I have listened to a ton of his sermons and never once have I heard him cuss. If he used to do that, it must have been a while ago.

    -John Piper, who by definition is more reformed than MacArthur (at least theologically — I’m not sure what you guys would consider “Reformed methodology” but evidently you think there is such a thing), went publicly on record as saying he considers himself a learner in Driscoll’s presence! Obviously Piper’s endorsement doesn’t mean anything if Driscoll’s teaching doesn’t line up with Scripture, but I’ve yet to see any convincing evidence that that is the case.

    -Please, please, please give me examples of Driscoll teaching, preaching, or defending heretical theology. The man has been picketed for being outspokenly complementarian for Pete’s sake. If he was as “seeker sensitive” as you all seem to think, he would have either shut up or changed his tune well before it got to that point.

    -Yes, Driscoll culturally contextualizes his messages. So does everyone else. We live in a culture. Most of you drive a car to work, pay taxes to Uncle Sam, speak English, and eat a more or less American diet. You do that because you’re American. Jesus spoke Aramaic (although I read recently that now historians think it was Hebrew?), walked or rode a boat or the occasional donkey everywhere, rendered unto Caesar what was Caesar’s, and greeted other dudes with a kiss. He did this because (in addition to being the incarnate Son of God) He was a first century Jew. You cannot preach (or even talk for that matter) in a vacuum. Even by communicating in a given language, you’re contextualizing to your audience. Those against contextualization are really just against contextualizing for any culture other than their own (namely, in most cases, a white middle-class suburban already-Christian American audience). It makes sense to, rather than contextualizing to the culture that you are comfortable with, contextualize to the culture your audience is a part of, so long as this does not involve sinning or watering down the gospel. Driscoll does neither of those. If you’re going to argue that he does, please include examples.

    Honestly, with friends like this, who needs enemies?

  28. John / Jun 16 2007 16 32

    Andy, you make some fine points.

    May I encourage all to listen to Voddie Baucham and his challenge to how we preach to post-moderns.

    Here is are links to the audio and video.

    In His Service,

    John O

  29. adam / Sep 10 2007 2 57

    I noticed the last response to this post was in June so I’m not sure if anyone will see this comment.

    I don’t usually respond to posts but I felt compelled to here, because I find it disheartening, and frankly amazing, how an argumentative and judgmental attitude comes so easily to us as believers.

    The main thing I wanted to post, though, is a link to a great sermon from a missionary that I think encapsulates these ideas of cultural relevance, missional ecclesiology and what it means to live, as Piper put it, as if we are at war.

    Questions of culturall relevany are not aimed the power of the gospel, but at the best means of displaying that power to the dying and broken world around us.

    Ed Stetzer is one of the pastors at my church and he made a great statement on this issue.

    Too often we say, “I want to make the Bible relevant.” No need. It already is. Our job is to present it in ways that help the hearer see that it is relevant—in this and in every culture. We do so by starting at their understanding and taking them to Scripture for the whole answer.

    For those interested, the semon I mentioned earlier can be found here:

  30. Rich / Feb 22 2008 0 51

    I am just now finding this and would like to hear the interview, but the OnePlace archives do not seem to go back this far. Is there still a way/place to download the interview?

  31. theexpositor / Feb 25 2008 23 36


    Sorry Im so late getting back to you. I will research the original link for the Driscoll interview and get back to you via email.



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