Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your s alvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. - Psalm 51: 10-12 (NIV)
Let me start by saying that every moment God gives us should be a teachable moment. At the core of Christianity is forgiveness, Christ forgave us of everything and thus we are to forgive each other. My heartfelt desire involving the recent debacle with Mark Driscoll would be for genuine repentance and confession. Such would be met with a hearty devotional on forgiveness. Unfortunately, this will not be such a devotional because the recent "apology" from Pastor Mark Driscoll simply does not pass the smell test of sincerity or even from a details point of view is seriously lacking.
Some may balk at this notion and wonder if too much is being made of this but the reality is that Mark Driscoll has accepted the mantle of the pastoral office. He is not some random Christian in the laity. He is held to a higher standard because of the office he holds. I know that we have dumbed down the Gospel in modern churchianity and diligently seek to sing kumbya rather than adhere to Biblical truths but that does not make it right. Let's take a closer look at the letter Driscoll wrote to his congregation which was leaked to the press this past weekend.
I have received a great deal of love and encouragement from you for more than 17 years. I genuinely appreciate every person who prays for my family and me. Also, I continue to find great joy in teaching the Bible every week to people I have grown to love with a father's affection.
The first problem is that this letter, while gently addressing the recent controversy does nothing to address the previous scandals. The ones that were brashly covered over or ignored. For Mark Driscoll to say he has grown to love the people he teaches omits the fact that his love is reserved solely for those who agree with him. He has preached from the pulpit that there is a "pile of bodies behind the Mars Hill Church bus and by God's grace it will be a mountain by the time I am done." This pile of bodies he was referring to are the people who have disagreed with him over the years. A disciple of Rick Warren, Driscoll has learned to simply get rid of the sheep who disagree as opposed to pastor them. This despite the fact that he will answer for every sheep that was entrusted to him. While the recent allegations were quite serious, any "repentance" needed to start with apologizing to the soon to be mountain of bodies he mockingly admits have been left in his wake.
In my worst moments, I was angry in a sinful way. For those occasions, I am sorry. As I've expressed in several sermons, I needed to mature as a leader, and we needed to mature as a church.
Two quick points here. First of all, here is the first utterance of apology but it is lacking any specificity as to what he is sorry for. The general sense of being angry in a sinful way is simply not clear. Is he sorry for the pile of bodies? That would be welcomed. Secondly, one of the recurring themes in this letter seems to be to want to share the fault, this time with his congregation. The "I need to mature as you needed to mature" appears very unseemly. Especially since it is his responsibility as pastor to oversee their spiritual growth!