Who is Mark Driscoll?
Mark Driscoll (1970 - present) is an pastor and author. He is the founder and former preaching pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, co-founder of Churches Helping Churches and the Acts 29 Network. Driscoll served as president of the Acts 29 Network, which was also housed at Mars Hill Church, for a short period of time until he passed the presidency to Matt Chandler and moved the offices to Chandler's The Village Church in order to focus more on Mars Hill Church and his writing. Driscoll continues to serve on the board of Acts 29. He has contributed to the "Faith and Values" section of the Seattle Times and the "On Faith" section of the Washington Post. With his wife, he authored Real Marriage, which reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List in January 2012.
Driscoll was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and was raised Roman Catholic in the Riverton Heights area of Seatac, WA, which is located just south of Seattle, WA. He is a 1989 graduate of Highline High School in Burien, Washington, where he served as student body president and editor of the school newspaper. He earned a Bachelor's degree in communications from Washington State University with a minor in philosophy and holds a Master of Arts degree in exegetical theology from Western Seminary.
Style of sermons
Driscoll's style, he says, is influenced by stand-up comedians like Chris Rock. Driscoll preaches series like Vintage Jesus, Religion Saves and Nine Other Misconceptions, The Peasant Princess, and Trial, focusing on a book of the Bible or topical sermons. Driscoll delivers his sermons with a Systematic Theology approach. Rob Wall, a professor at Seattle Pacific University, explains the success for the church in Mark Driscoll's direct answers to complicated spiritual questions: "His style of public rhetoric is very authoritative. Whether it's about the Bible, or about culture, he is very clear and definitive."
In a Crosscut.com article, his style was described this way: "Pacing the stage at the main Ballard campus, he delivered a sermon on marriage roles as he saw them set forth in the Song of Solomon. He told stories from his own marriage, offered statistics, and dropped jokes without their feeling forced. Every few minutes he would sniff in a thoughtful, practiced sort of way. This untucked, down-to-earth demeanor was the opposite of a huckster televangelist, but polished in its own way. It makes the guy easy to listen to.”
Driscoll has been widely inspired by other theologians including Augustine (especially on predestination), John Calvin (especially on city transformation), Martin Luther (especially on the gospel), along with the Puritans, Jonathan Edwards and, Charles Spurgeon. And he finds himself in connection with contemporary theologians including Lesslie Newbigin, Tim Keller, Ed Stetzer, J. I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, John Stott, Wayne Grudem, Don Carson, John Piper and David Wells.
Driscoll distinguishes between double and single predestination, and says that unlike John Calvin, he believes only in single predestination. Driscoll denies the orthodox Calvinist view of Limited Atonement and believes instead that Jesus died for all people in some sense, and for some people (the elect) in another sense. He thinks this position was what John Calvin believed, saying in a humorous tone: 'Calvinism came after Calvin... I will argue that the Calvinists are not very Calvin.
I will argue against Calvinism with Calvin... What kind of Calvinist are you? I'm a Calvin, not a Calvinist, that came later'. Driscoll also believes that this position (or slight variations thereof) was held by men like Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, Martin Luther, and Richard Baxter. Driscoll has on several occasions cited Charles Spurgeon as having a major influence on his theology, pastoral ministry and preaching.
His description of his association with, and eventual distancing from the Emerging church movement: In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God's sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake.
Driscoll holds to a complementarian view of gender roles. He sometimes asks his wife to come up on stage to help him answer questions texted in from the audience, and believes that this does not clash with his understanding that preaching/teaching by women is prohibited by Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12. When the Evangelical leader Ted Haggard left New Life Church in Colorado, Driscoll raised an uproar with the comment on his blog: "A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him either." Driscoll later apologized for his statement.
When the Episcopal Church elected a woman as its bishop, Driscoll wrote on his blog, "If Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God's men." Driscoll believes that homosexuality is sinful and that marriage is between one man and one woman, as was defined by God in Genesis 2:24-25.
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