Therefore an overseermust be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. - 1Timothy 3: 2-7 (ESV)
Yes beloved after a little more than a year we are now seeing the resurfacing of disgraced former pastor Mark Driscoll. In October of 2014 Mark resigned as pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, resulting in the dissolving of a fellowship that had grown to 14,000 people. Since then he has kept busy by relocating to Arizona and preaching a handful of times as a guest, always playing the victim of the events that transpired in the great northwest. Before we get to the bulk of this writing it is important to lay the foundation so everyone remembers. Mark Driscoll led a phenomenal growth at Mars Hill. He was brash, sexually explicit, and relatively inappropriate during his tenure but his people loved him. I know many people today who would welcome him back into ministry with open arms and to them I would politely point them back to the Bible. There is no way Mark Driscoll should be standing behind a pulpit. Let us recount the still unrepentant list of offenses:
1) Mark stole over $200,000 in tithe monies to promote his book on marriage. The fact that his handpicked board allowed it does not make it right. Imagine standing before Jesus trying to make such a wickedly carnal argument.
2) Mark then took that money and paid a company to game the NY Times Best Seller system and cheat his way onto the list. It is still unclear exactly how much money he personally profited from because of this.
3) He gleefully preached that all the people he has hurt at Mars Hill were a "pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus and by God's grace it would be a mountain by the time he was done." Thankfully God removed him from ministry.
4) He has been caught plagiarizing every single book he has written. Before you think this is not a big deal, remember that plagiarism is essentially theft. I think the Bible speaks pretty strongly about that.
5) There are countless stories of individual hurt from former leaders and regular congregants. Stories of bullying and intimidation. Stories of blatant disrespect and personal attacks.
Now beloved, there are other things as well but to me these are the main things which led the Acts 29 Church Network, which Driscoll founded, to disassociate themselves from him in 2014. These are the things that led his own board at Mars Hill to finally decide on a plan for church discipline. But Driscoll wanted to be able to pretend that he was never disciplined so before they could, he claimed a direct revelation from God as did his wife. They claimed God audibly told them that the church discipline plan was really a trap and He was "releasing them" from ministry at Mars Hill. Let me paraphrase that for you. He lied that God told him to leave so he could avoid being properly disciplined. Now, a mere 15 months later he has started a corporation, not a church, in Phoenix Arizona as if nothing ever happened. He is now in the good graces of the Seeker-Friendly Industrial Complex, who he used to criticize. He has preached at Robert Morris' church where Morris shilled for him. He was interviewed by Brian Houston at the Hillsong Conference and Brian propped him up as well. Now he is due to speak at a leadership conference hosted by New Spring Church. New Spring is the home of Pastor Perry Noble. For those who do not know him. Noble is the guy who famously referred to the people in his church who wanted to go deeper in the Word as "jackasses." He is the guy who played heavy metal band ACDC's "Highway To Hell" during service. He is one of the typical seeker friendly purpose driven, heretics leading churches of over 10,000 people in this country. He tried to re-write the Ten Commandments last year during a sermon. To make them more palatable. So Perry is hosting a leadership conference, which is hysterical to begin with. He has invited fellow heretic Steven Furtick and the aforementioned Mark Driscoll to speak. He must be getting some push back on Driscoll though so he doubled down with the following video:
Beloved, this video beautifully shows why Perry Noble should not himself be a pastor. Not just because of the whoring he does to prop up Driscoll but the complete butchering of the Bible to do so. His opening excuse for why he supports Mark Driscoll essentially restoring himself to ministry is the story of the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas over Mark.
And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are." Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. - Acts 15: 36-41 (ESV)
Perry then spins a yarn about this story that is not in the text. He declares that Paul had given up on Mark but thank God for the Barnabas' in our lives. Those that are willing to not give up on people. That Perry will now be a Barnabas to Driscoll. Ugh. How many ways can you mishandle a text? There is nothing in this story that Mark did that rises to the level of sin that Driscoll has committed. Mark deserted Paul on his first missionary journey so he did not want to bring him along for the second. Most people would call that understandable. As to why Barnabas chose to side with Mark perhaps Perry is unaware that Mark was the cousin of Barnabas!
Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions--if he comes to you, welcome him), - Colossians 4: 10 (ESV)
The larger point however is that the text does not indicate that Paul gave up on Mark. Just that he refused to have him come on the journey. Perry correctly notes that the Bible does indicate later that Paul and Mark must have made amends because of the above verse from Colossians and another reference in Paul's second letter to Timothy. What escapes Noble however is how much time had elapsed between the disagreement and the restoration. Colossians was written over a decade later and Second Timothy over 15 years later. Mark Driscoll is trying to come back in 15 months. Noble then launches into what he does best; beating his sheep:
"Some people have said, but Perry, he has hurt people. So have you. Do we want to talk about the people he has hurt or do we want to talk about the people you have hurt?" - Perry Noble