There is no more polarizing figure in the church today than Mark Driscoll. Period. Because he is such a lightning rod for controversy, there have been probably millions of blog posts written about him. Some defending him. Some demonizing him. He's either loved, or hated.
This post is neither of those.
I went through a period in my life where I was huge supporter of Driscoll and his ministry. I bought books, downloaded podcasts, and drove to Seattle on a couple of occasions to visit Mars Hill and hear him teach.
I've come to the point, however, where I am no longer a supporter. Not that I don't support Mars Hill, or what God is doing there. I can't support Mark. For a number of different reasons, I find him to be sensationalist, sometimes childish, and needlessly abrasive, and often abusive.
As I was going through my library a month or so ago, I came across several of his books. I debated selling them, or donating them to Goodwill. For a brief moment in time, I contemplated starting a fire with them (I didn't.) As I was talking to my wife about what I should do with them, she had an idea that struck me.
"Why don't you send them back to him with a letter explaining why?"
So that's exactly what I'm doing. The following letter will be placed in a box and sent back to Mars Hill Church. I don't expect a response. I don't expect to ever hear from anyone there. I'm doing this because I feel like it's the best way to get these books off my shelf.
Please understand that my intention is not to demonize Mark. There's a lot of his teaching I agree with. But there is more of it that enrages me. I'm simply trying to communicate. I have friends who are actively involved with Mars Hill. Our church has partnered with Mars Hill Portland and there are fantastic people there. God is moving and doing fantastic things. I'm simply clearing my chest.
Dear Pastor Mark,
You don't know me. We've never met. I've attended your church several times while in Seattle. I've bought and read a number of your books. I've downloaded more podcasts than I can count. We agree on a lot of things. I think God has done some incredible things through your ministry there at Mars Hill. There's no telling how many people have come to Jesus since Mars Hill was founded. I believe you love Jesus, and I'm proud to call you a brother.
That being said, you will find enclosed copies of three of your books: Religion Saves, Death by Love, & Doctrine.
Over the last couple of years, I've began to notice some things coming from various avenues (Twitter, YouTube, etc) that have caused me to decide to distance myself from your teachings.
When you tell your congregation that God hates some of them, you've lost me.
When you boil the gospel down to "Jesus died. Love him or end up in Hell," you've lost me.
When you demonize stay-at-home dads, saying that they would come under church discipline at Mars Hill, you've lost me.
When the only way Jesus can look is like a UFC fighter, come to slaughter people, you've lost me.
Again, I'm not wanting to discount what God is doing at Mars Hill. I believe he's moving. I believe he uses imperfect people like you and I. God is bigger than you and I. I would simply pray that you would more carefully consider the way you choose your words, They carry great weight, and though they have spoken truth, I've also witnessed them bringing great destruction and immense hurt.
Please take these books and do whatever you see fit with them. Put them back into circulation at Mars Hill. Recycle them. Whatever you would like to do with them. I simply cannot have them in my home any longer. To have them is an endorsement of you and your teachings and I simply cannot.
I hope you understand.