>Mark Driscoll’s preaching made me repent.

Posted: 11/11/2009 in Mark Driscoll, masculinity

>As some of you know, I have been listening to the Minister Mark Driscoll’s pod casts over the last week or so. Following the some veins of tradition, Driscoll passionately denounces sin and then calls people to repent before God.

Mark Driscoll has led me to repentance. I have repented of every time I have ever acted like Mark Driscoll.

The last sermon I was listening to was entitled “Trail: Marriage and Men.*” The subject of Christian masculinity (or lack thereof) has been of interest to me for a few years now. Driscoll has a reputation on this subject, so I thought I would give him a listen.

Eloquently, Driscoll divided men who miss the mark of masculinity into several archetypes. One is called “Little Boy Larry” which is the kind of guy who is in his mid to late 20s and fairly irresponsible. He needs his girlfriend to be his mommy. Another guy is an authoritarian boss man, who intimidates both his wife and his children. There were several others that could be listed as moral failures. He seemed quite right in his list.

The issue I have with Driscoll is not the sinful behavior he rightly denounces, but the excessively angry and borderline hateful tone in which he does so. He is not just using strong language, he actually starts screaming at people. No, I am not exaggerating. Go listen to the pod cast. At one point he has this to say to people, “in love” presumably:

Some of you guys are a total joke. I have no respect for you at all. You can’t get a job, keep a job, you can’t keep your hands off a girl, you can’t stop downloading porn…

Are the sins he denounces serious? Sure. But it would take an incredible amount of mental gymnastics to believe at that a statement like this is simply “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric. This is an overt, naked, insult intended to make the listener angry. But this is only the tip of the iceberg, as Driscoll (by his own assertions) does this on purpose. He even said that in this sermon his speech (and screaming) was restrained since it was going on the internet.

There is even another incredible level of irony in Driscoll’s approach. At one point in this sermon he denounced men who use brute intimidation and their own authority in their families as veritable bullies. Yet this sermon and many others are riddled with fear appeals and unrestrained, authoritarian, moral judgment. Is it really that credible to think that which is moral vice when dealing with families becomes a moral virtue when being a minister?

I cannot imagine this kind of rhetoric actually helping the Little Boy Larrys of the world. One of them came to my small group a few months ago. His immaturity was obvious to everyone in the room, and his pot habit was obvious to me. At one point in the discussion, Little Boy Larry was talking out of turn and would lot not let a certain subject, in this own case sexual/relational struggles, go.

We all knew that he was not ready for a relationship and that is probably why God did not send him one. I kept my mouth shut, but eventually one man verbally and publically denounced him in front of the whole group. At this point he went from defensive to extremely defensive. Wisely, the leader took him aside and had a private conversation with him. It should have happened sooner. I felt doubly bad for Little Boy Larry. On one hand, he clearly had some years to go in regards to maturity, on the other hand he got a public verbal lashing from a older man (not the leader).

I am fairly certain that screaming at that guy would not have been a good idea.

But on personal reflection, I realize that I have been about as bad in my mind as Driscoll is with his words. I have shown little patience with those people, especially young men, who I consider my moral inferiors. I have stupidly believed that harsh treatment inspires people to virtue. I have failed to show patience and Christian charity to the others not like myself. Foolishly, I have made blanket judgments on people before understanding them.

So thank you Mark Driscoll for inspiring me to repentance. I repent that I might never preach like you.

Thanks for reading.

* It can be found at Mars Hill Podcasts. The message was delivered 3/23/2009

  1. Dan says:

    >Don't be too hard on yourself or Driscoll. In my honest opinion (whatever that amounts to), I believe that many men will not respond to loving encouragement and challenging words. They need to be beat up side the head. It's just the way it is. We are hard-headed. It's ok to be hard-headed. The Kingdom needs that. But in many cases, you must meet force with force. A guy beating his wife is a joke, and needs to be told so. He also needs to be handled. I know that many men are abusive because they were abused. I understand and accept that. But they are men now, and must accept responsibility for their actions. I have had to accept responsibility for my actions. It's how God works. We are needed by the kingdom, but we must be confronted. This is just one example of course, but it is what I believe.

  2. […] few years ago, I criticized Driscoll’s angry, self-righteous, antics. At the time, I had only read praises of his popularity, and thought I was one of the few critics. […]

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