John MacArthur: Ask Piper and Mahaney Why They Haven’t Addressed Mark Driscoll
NOTE: The latest post on this issue can be found here.
In part 4 of the ‘Rape of Solomon’s Song’ Dr. John MacArthur addressed the need for Mark Driscoll, and his less-than-savory speech to be not only noted, but responded to by John Piper and C.J. Mahaney, as well as others. As Dr. MacArthur stated, “Enough is enough…..I hope you will write and ask them.”
Dr. MacArthur says:
“When 1 Timothy 5:20 says, “Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all,” it is talking about elders in particular. Those in public ministry must be rebuked publicly when their sin is repeated, and public, and confirmed by multiple witnesses.
Nevertheless, I have written Mark privately with my concerns. He rejected my counsel. As a matter of fact, he preached the sermon I have been quoting from seven weeks after receiving my private letter encouraging him to take seriously the standard of holiness Scripture holds pastors to. Here is a small selection from the six-page letter I sent him:
[Y]ou can[not] make a biblical case for Christians to embrace worldly fads—especially when those fads are diametrically at odds with the wholesome speech, pure mind, and chaste behavior that God calls us to display. At its core, this is about ideology. No matter how culture changes, the truth never does. But the more the church accommodates the baser elements of the culture, the more she will inevitably compromise her message. We must not betray our words through our actions; we must be in the world but not of it. . . . . It’s vital that you not send one message about the importance of sound doctrine and a totally different message about the importance of sound speech and irreproachable pure-mindedness.
Mark Driscoll’s response to that admonition and the things he has said since have only magnified my concern.
Mark did indeed express regret a few years ago over the reputation his tongue has earned him. Yet no substantive change is observable. Just a few weeks ago, in an angry diatribe leveled at men in his congregation, Driscoll once again threw in a totally unnecessary expletive. A few weeks before that, he made a public mockery of Ecclesiastes 9:10 (something he has done repeatedly), by making a joke of it on national television. So here are two more inappropriate Driscoll videos being passed around by young people and college students for whom I bear some pastoral responsibility. In their immaturity, they typically think it’s wonderfully cool and transparent for a pastor to talk like that. And they feel free to curse and joke in a similar manner in more casual settings.
“IT’S PAST TIME…”
It is past time for the issue to be dealt with publicly.
Finally, it seriously overstates the involvement of John Piper and C. J. Mahaney to say they are “discipling” Mark Driscoll. In the first place, the idea that a grown man already in public ministry and constantly in the national spotlight needs space to be “mentored” before it’s fair to subject his public actions to biblical scrutiny seems to put the whole process backward. These problems have been talked about in both public and private contexts for at least three or four years. At some point the plea that this is a maturity issue and Mark Driscoll just needs time to mature wears thin. In the meantime, the media is having a field day writing stories that suggest trashy talk is one of the hallmarks of the “New Calvinism;” and countless students whom I love and am personally acquainted with are being led into similar carnal behavior by imitating Mark Driscoll’s speech and lifestyle. Enough is enough.
Yes, I did inform John Piper and C. J. Mahaney of my concerns about this material several weeks ago. I itemized all of these issues in much more thorough detail than I have written about them here, and I expressly told them I was preparing this series of articles for the blog.
“I HOPE YOU WILL WRITE AND ASK THEM.”
To those asking why pastors Piper and Mahaney (and others in positions of key leadership) haven’t publicly expressed similar concerns of their own, that is not a question for me. I hope you will write and ask them.”
Here are links to the series:
UPDATE: (4/29/09): See post “Why Haven’t Piper and Mahaney Responded to John MacArthur’s Request To Address Mark Driscoll?”
I haven’t heard the Scotland sermon. I’ve heard some of the Peasant Princess sermons and from what I’ve heard, they glorify Christ, honor sex in its proper place (marriage bed) and challenge men particularly to sexual purity and leading their courtships in sexual purity, waiting ’til marriage.
I also think Mac is a little off here:
Just a few weeks ago, in an angry diatribe leveled at men in his congregation, Driscoll once again threw in a totally unnecessary expletive. A few weeks before that, he made a public mockery of Ecclesiastes 9:10 (something he has done repeatedly), by making a joke of it on national television.
First, the joke is goofing on this guy ripping Scripture out of context to justify sinful behavior. He isn’t mocking Scripture per se.
Secondly, I’m not sure what the expletive is he’s talking about. I didn’t hear anything that stuck out at me as out of place. Additionally, his sermon was a sharp challenge at men to be men of God and repent of sins of omission and commission connected to abusing the office of husband.
I don’t know the men in Driscoll’s church. He does. Maybe there are very many young men who needed that sharp rebuke. He rightly called a “joke” men whose childish behavior is a joke, and nearly everyone I know who’s a man and has heard that sermon has said it was a sharp rebuke and welcome refreshing challenge to them.
I am not sure that I can agree with the comment about Mac being off… He has been in ministry for a long time and time has proved him to be above reproach. Mark D on the other hand, in a short space of time, has gained a bad rep for his mouth; soundness of speech is required for a Preacher of the Holy Gospel. He should repent and quit the trash. Then get on with the job of preaching the Gospel. It is a sign of immaturity to continue to speak in such a way. I believe that he is a man who loves God and wants people to hear the truth and live transformed lives but… but because of his slippery mouth it brings the gospel down… I like, for the most part, listening to his sermons and am challenged by them, greatly so, but I agree with others that most of the things that accompany the soundness need to be cut out. Imagine the impact and the joy of God the Father that Mark D decided to be pure in speech; avoiding all forms of evil… he’d be behaving like the Father, holy!
you guys take yourselves way too seriously. You spend too much time worrying about a guy who is not your pastor. Don’t you think there are things which your energy would be better spent writing about?
You need context to be able to critique this way, and it appears to me that you do not understand this context.
Sorry to be short but i find it comical that you are so worried about an expletive more than the general trajectory of ministry… wouldn’t a discussion of MH’s methodology be more helpful?
I believe the word that MacArthur was speaking of was the use of “hell” near the end of his sermon. “Who the HELL do you think you are? You’re not God. You’re just a man–and you’re not an impressive man.” Some of you might not think it’s too big of a deal, and I’m kind of hedged on this issue.
However, in response to Steve’s comment, the character of the shepherd matters a lot because his personal character will direct his ministry. The “general trajectory of ministry” is pretty solid so far, but the issue is the legacy of his ministry. By that I want to use an illustration from John Piper. Driscoll, if he is off, is only slightly off. However, that slight misdirection, taken 100 years from now, can lead someone horribly off course. It’s like drawing two lines that start at the same point and only diverge about a millimeter. However, if you take that line and continue to draw it out, the divergence will increase until they are far apart from one another. Leaders, elders, pastors–they are all held to a higher standard because of the influence they will have on others. If you open the door to sin just a crack, it can cause immeasurable sin to run rampant and unchecked in the body. Driscoll might not be doing anything horribly wrong by using words such as “hell” (as a curse-word, not as a destination for unregenerate sinners) or by speaking of sexual intercourse so descriptively, but it opens up a door for pastors five generations down the line who could potentially have no control of their speech or their lustful desires. Pastors, especially, should take the utmost effort to deny themselves of things that might not necessarily be sinful in order to remain “above reproach” (1 Timothy 3) and set a standard of purity and holiness for their church congregation and for future generations of church leaders.
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I listened to the sermon by Mark Driscoll and I personally think he was p***ed (is that a bad word?) at the immaturity he was seeing in some of the men of his church. I think his passion to lead his men is honorable. I know that many of the people who attend Mars Hill aren’t Christians at all. It feels like we are wanting to remove an entire ministry that affects thousands of people over a word that he used in a passionate sermon pleading with the men of his church to step up and be men. To not find out why he was so passionate about this and so broadly disregard what he and his church are doing over a word that many in his congregation wouldn’t even consider to be vulgar seems disappointedly Pharisaical. Should his motives be questioned by those around him and those in his accountability circle? The answer is yes, but do we simply dismiss all that he has done to further the gospel because of one word? To be honest, I love my wife and kids, but there are times that I need to be reminded to wake the H… up and be a better father and husband. I don’t see a pastor who is poo poo-ing the scripture and swearing all the time. I see a pastor was furious against sin that was being committed and wanted the men in the church to know that it would not be tolerated. The take away from watching this sermon was not, “oh my gosh … he just used a curse word.” Rather, the message from the sermon was Men/fathers step up into the role that God has placed you in and stop being little boys.
There seems to be a problem and from what I can see … he is into “How to Practice Meditative Prayer’ and he is a ‘Contemplative Proponent’. Looks like a whole new spirit is taking over his language.
In His Grip
Pastor Driscoll is “potty-mouthed”. Because he is a calvinist and can communicate well people put up with his behaviour. The one does not make up for the other!! To see his links with Robert Schuller really worries me. I fear that, like John Piper – linked now with Rick Warren – he is heading for a fall.
I really don’t think this is John MacArthur, because first, the style is pushy, John isn’t like that. Second it has a view that isn’t very well based. Also MacArthur wouldn’t say anything if he didn’t know Mark.
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MacArthur sounds “religious” Mark is being allowed to reach the masses via careful preaching of God”s Word.. Thank you that the Lord has provided Seattle with an expositor who dearly loves The Christ and His Word. Ministers have got to be real. There are sufficient I am above sin stuffed shirts occupying our pulpits. I kind of see Mark as a John the Baptist, one difference being that Mark lives in a better section of town..
MacArthur: Get real. You probably check out chicks with tight skirts like most guys. Tell your congregation you sometimes get p***ed off. Tell your congregation that perhaps you have sinned that week. As Swindoll once said. The church is a bunch of sinners led by another sinner with the title pastor.
Yes, Mark…it is better for a preacher to sound like a worldling than a stuffed shirt. After all, we wouldn’t want a pastor who actually works to rise above sin and worldliness, now would we? It’s better for preachers to be just like everybody else so the world can be comfortable in their presence. That is what it is all about … Who needs a preacher who actually tells us about the expectations placed upon the Christian life? You catch more flies with honey than with doctrine and application anyhoo…(sarcasm intended) 😉
Indeed, thanks for the sarcasm! Its about losing your “saltiness”.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. (Matthew 5:13)
Jesus tells us that genuine Christians will bring good fruit into the world that they touch:
Christians like salt are to “flavor” that which we touch with goodness. Like salt, we are to be a “preservative”, (preventing decay, not causing it); like salt we are to be a cleansing agent, (not a pollutant)
By the grace of “repentance unto life” we may regain our saltiness.
Mark Driscoll is an awesome man of God and so is John MacArthur. I thank God for both of these men. By the way, we are only men and so are they. Both men are sinners-and both men speak scripture. All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
Thanks for praying with me for both of them and thanking God for them!
FWIW: Piper as late as 2009, and as late as fall 2012, even Mahaney, were at MacDaddy’s “Resolved” youth conferences.
In 2007, Mahaney filled in for Piper @ the Shepherds Conference when Piper had to bow out of his only invite there. Piper has not appeared at the Shep-Con.
Since then, only cessationist Baptists have appeared at the conference. (& R.C. Sproul via video these days.)