"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. -- John 10:1-13 (ESV)
Mark Driscoll is a wolf who is currently still avoiding the church discipline he knew was coming several years ago. His abuses were many and well chronicled. For me the most egregious acts exceeded the horrific tales of sheep beating and abuse. We always start with the fact that Mark Driscoll is a thief and a cheat. He stole $250,000 in tithe monies from his former church, Mars Hill Seattle. You see, he had just published a book with his wife regarding Christian marriages and he had visions of being able to lay claim to the prestigious title of "NY Time Best Seller." Instead of relying upon people to buy his books individually, he hired a marketing firm that specialized in gaming the NY Times system by buying bulk quantities in short order to inflate sales. That firm's price tag was $250,000. Instead of taking the money out of his own pocket, the millionaire preacher stole it from the tithe monies collected at his church. The only defense he offers is that his hand-picked board of elders approved the expense but good luck explaining that to Jesus. This is akin to a bank robber saying it was ok to rob the bank because his accomplices gave him permission. Let us also not lose sight of whoever finished number 11 on the NY Time list the weeks Driscoll's book unethically finished in the top ten. He essentially stole the right to be a NY Times Bestseller from that person as well. I've heard it argued that Driscoll was intending on donating the proceeds of the book to charity. To that I say who cares? When did Christianity base its morality upon Machiavellian standards? The end does not justify the means. Not to mention, Driscoll stood to be able to make a lot more as a writer by claiming he was a former best seller.
Then there is the Mars Hill Bus. Driscoll is an acolyte of Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven Church. Unashamedly so. One of the purpose driven teachings Driscoll really took to was blessed subtraction. This is where you get rid of any sheep that dare question your vision or leadership. This led Driscoll into a decade of abuse of elders and sheep alike. The low point of which was when he said the following in a sermon:
Here's what I've learned. You cast vision for your mission and if people don't sign up you move on. You move on. There are people that are going to die in the wilderness and there are people that are going to take the hill. That's just how it is. Um. Too many guys waste too much time trying to move stiff-necked, stubborn, obstinate people. Um. I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus (chuckle) and by God's grace it'll be a mountain by the time we're done. You either get on the bus or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options, but the bus ain't gonna' stop. And, uh, I'm just a, I'm just a guy who is like, look, we love you, but this is what we're doing. There's a few kinda' people. There's people who get in the way of the bus. They gotta get run over. There are people who wanna' take turns driving the bus. They gotta' get thrown off (chuckle). 'Cause they wanna' go somewhere else. -- Mark Driscoll
Yet he hung on for years after this because he had cherry-picked the board in a power consolidation. Eventually the abuse tales started to go public and then viral. Soon the Acts 29 Church organization, which Driscoll founded, kicked him out. Soon even the cherry-picked elders realized they had to discipline him and just when they were going to, Mark packed up his family and left his flock for dead. He claimed the Holy Spirit had warned him that the enders were "setting a trap for him." He has been a fugitive from church discipline ever since. After laying low for a few months, Driscoll resurfaced first at mega-heretic Robert Morris' Gateway Church. Next, Brian Houston invited him over the objections of his own sheep, to be interviewed at the annual Hillsong Conference. Once he had sufficiently apologized for previous criticisms he had made towards Joel Osteen, the seeker-friendly industrial complex welcomed him back with open arms. Not only was there never any discipline or repentance, but Driscoll still paints himself as the victim. Mars Hill disintegrated, and thousands of bloody sheep still dot the Seattle landscape as Mark and his family simply opened another church in Arizona. I say this as the backdrop to commenting on the above linked article from Mark's wife, Grace Driscoll. The title reveals she is writing about how Satan uses church hurt to derail you. While I was hoping this would be a confessional article of sorts, imagine my surprise when it turned out not to be. Let us reason once more beloved.
"As a pastor's daughter, I have unfortunately experienced and witnessed the harm done by evil people many times. I remember a situation during my elementary school years when a woman in my dad's church told a lie about him. There was zero truth to what she said, but she convinced a faction of people to leave, which also meant I lost my closest friend. As a child, this was so confusing and hurtful. I didn't understand why we couldn't be friends all of a sudden and why her mom would lie about my dad. The woman had her own pain and didn't want to deal with it, so she hurt others in return. About 20 years later, she came to my dad and apologized for what she had said and done. I'm glad she finally repented, but the damage was done, and the fact that so many families were impacted was very sad. My dad chose to forgive at the time it originally happened, so when she finally apologized, he wasn't bitter." -- Grace Driscoll
God is always speaking to us but it is a miracle we ever hear what He is saying because we constantly apply it to other people. I remember at my old church after my pastor was forced out by demonically led influences we would gather for prayer on Friday nights as always. One of the interim pastors, who had a hand in the damage that was wrought, would travail from the pulpit every Friday that God was showing him that someone needed to repent and call the former pastor to seek forgiveness. He would go on for several minutes in devout sincerity but never realizing that God was speaking to him. While I am glad that the woman in this story repented it is sad that Grace cannot see that God is speaking to her. There are thousands upon thousands of sheep in the Seattle area that her husband will answer for. Sheep he gleefully ran over with the Mars Hill bus and even though Grace was not driving, she has always operated in a co-pilot capacity. The damage has been done Grace and it is sad that so many families were impacted but you can make it partially right if you would just own what belongs to you and your husband and do what the bible commands.