I don’t write much these days. I feel like I’ve said that every time I’ve written something over the past six months. It takes a lot of time and mental energy just to come up with writing topics, and even more time and energy to make sure they are gospel centered and God glorifying. But every once in a while, something happens that stirs my heart in a way that compels me to put pen to paper once again.
Last week Pastor Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church were removed from the Acts 29 Network, a church planting movement co-founded and led by Driscoll for many years.
Guys, this hits me hard. Driscoll has been very instrumental in my Christian walk. It was his Marriage and Men sermon that brought conviction to my heart, and catapulted me back toward walking in Godliness and righteousness. I have benefited greatly from his wisdom through sermons and books. If he wasn’t faithful to start and lead the Acts 29 Network, then The Village might have a different look and feel to it than it does now, and my best friend Mike may not having a group under which to church plant when it comes time.
All of that aside, what hurts the most is that it had to get to this point. That a pastor, a Christian, walked so steadily in courses of action that this had to happen. It feels like watching a combat instructor get shot on the battlefield. It’s taken much effort to get past the “he’s supposed to know better” thoughts. The reality is that this proves our need for the gospel, and for a savior.
Many people on social media have been railing against Driscoll for years now. Some of it just because they don’t like what he teaches. Some of it with legitimate complaints that were silenced when they tried to go through more official channels.
There are many, myself included, who were quick to defend Driscoll’s views of Scripture and even his actions for a while.
To all of us, I would say this: This is not a time to celebrate. Mark Driscoll is not our enemy. He is far from perfect, as we all are, but he is not our enemy. He is our brother, and right now he needs much prayer.
He needs prayer on his behalf that God would work in his heart. He needs prayer to cope with the inevitable feelings of betrayal, because almost every man on the Acts 29 board knows Driscoll personally. I’m sure he is wrestling with the fact that his friends had to remove him and his church from a network that he co-founded.
Many of those who have spoken out against Driscoll claimed to do so because they “needed to raise awareness.” That’s understandable. Awareness has been raised, and action has been taken. This is not the time to keep railing against Driscoll, or to try to kick him when he’s down. It’s time to stop speaking out on Twitter and start praying to Jesus.
The actions of the Acts 29 Network are not vindictive. Our hearts should not be either, even if Driscoll personally caused you pain. The Acts 29 Network took this action in hopes that God would move on Driscoll’s heart, and that he would repent.
I am confident that it is their hope, and it is my prayer, that Driscoll and Mars Hill would repent where necessary and, in time, be reconciled with and rejoin the Acts 29 Network.
We should never rejoice when we see a brother or sister fall, even one as controversial as Driscoll. We should realize that this is a short-term victory for sin and Satan, and we should pray against the effects of both in the Acts 29 Network, in Mars Hill, in Driscoll’s heart and family, and in those who were adversely affected by some of the practices of Driscoll and Mars Hill.
If our hearts are vindictive toward Driscoll and Mars Hill, then we need to pause a moment and realize that we are reacting out of pain and anger, not a love for Driscoll or the gospel of Jesus Christ.