Friday, November 14, 2014

What John Piper Said When He Finally Addressed the Issue of Mark Driscoll......What We Wish He Had Said Instead

Posted by Christine Pack

Dr John Piper (L) and Mark Driscoll (R)
Mark Driscoll, former pastor of the Seattle-based megachurch Mars Hill Church, recently resigned amid charges of spiritual abuse, bullying and plagiarism in what was once pointed to as an oasis of biblical truth in the largely unchurched Pacific Northwest. (A comprehensive detailing of the problems with Mark Driscoll's leadership and his resignation can be found here.Driscoll, who was still a relatively unknown pastor up until 2006, was introduced to the world by widely respected pastor and theologian John Piper at Piper's annual Desiring God conference at which Dr. Piper highlighted Driscoll as one of his keynote speakers. From there, Driscoll rapidly grew in influence; he authored several books, keynoted at countless Christian conferences nationwide, pioneered the multi-site church model, and set up the Acts 29 network which serves as a worldwide church-planting mechanism and which eager young church planters taken with Driscoll's edgy, brash way of doing church have used to set up their own churches.

Since his resignation, Driscoll has reportedly fled the biblical process of church discipline at Mars Hill, perhaps in favor of setting up another church elsewhere with those willing to turn a blind eye to his sins and unresolved conflicts at his former church. (For documentation of Driscoll's having fled the discipline process, follow this link to hear audio of Mars Hill pastor A.J. Hamilton speaking at the 10-19-14 Mars Hill church service, beginning at the 37 min mark.) Understandably, many eyes have now turned to Dr. Piper, who has said that he considers Driscoll to be like a son to him. In a recent interview, Dr. Piper was asked if, given the magnitude of the scandals now associated with Driscoll, he had any regrets in partnering with Driscoll over the years. In essence, Dr. Piper stated in the interview published 11-13-14 that despite "mistakes that Mark may have made" or instances in which "he might have walked out of step with the truth," that he had "no regrets" over partnering with Driscoll, and that despite some misgivings he had, he felt that Driscoll was on the whole a solid teacher. (The entire interview can be read here, and listened to here.)

After this interview with Dr. Piper was released, Janet Mefferd of The Janet Mefferd Show wrote a brief statement detailing what she wished Dr. Piper had said, in lieu of what he actually said, about his association with Mark Driscoll. (Lest we forget, it was Mefferd who held the now infamous interview with Mark Driscoll in the fall of 2013, during which she asked him about plagiarism in his newly released book. Mefferd, in preparation for her interview with Driscoll, who was making the rounds on talk shows promoting the book, had read Driscoll's book A Call to Resurgence in preparation for her interview with him, and had discovered several instances of plagiarism.) Mefferd's statement of what she wishes Dr. Piper had said instead of what he actually said:
What John Piper Should Have Said 
I recognize that a lot of people have heard me promote Mark Driscoll, and today, I am here to apologize. I deliberately overlooked obvious evidence of Driscoll's lack of godliness and lack of ministry qualifications early on, simply because I liked his doctrinal statement and wanted to be supportive of a Christian outreach effort to pagan Seattle. Unfortunately, I made a huge mistake in doing that. I knew about Driscoll's ungodly character a long time ago, and I chose to overlook it. Given the further evidence that has now come out about his lying, his serial plagiarism, his deception with ResultSource, spiritual/verbal abuse of so many people and continuing lack of true godly sorrow about all that he did, it is clear that Driscoll was never pastor material, and as an older and more mature Christian, I should have recognized that a lot earlier than I did. I should have refused to help him increase his platform, but instead, I made choices that helped him increase that platform. And by doing so, I unwittingly enabled him to hurt a lot of people and ultimately destroy a church, all while dragging Jesus' name through the mud. I am thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed at my role in propping up Mark Driscoll. I knew better. I also should have spoken up a lot sooner than I did as the revelations about his duplicity came to light. And so, I am here to apologize. I am deeply sorry for my sin, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I hope you will forgive me for my lack of discernment and judgment. And especially to the victims of Mark Driscoll, please forgive me. A shepherd has the biblical responsibility to love and care for Jesus' sheep, and I have failed in that. You matter to Jesus, and those who could have protected you - like me - fell down on the job. I am so sorry. Most of all, I ask the Lord to forgive me and to help me to exercise more biblical faithfulness in the future. (online source)

 Additional Resources 

Mark Driscoll: A Timeline of His Downfall

Thoughts On Driscoll and The Biblical Qualifications For A Pastor

Former Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll Considering New Ministry, Still Has Not Repented, Sought Reconciliation Say Former Mars Hill Members/Elders

Documenting the Problems with Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll [UPDATED]

Janet Mefferd's Interview with Mark Driscoll - 11-21-13

Mark Driscoll's Failed Publicity Stunt That Ended With Him Lying About What Really Happened

Mark Driscoll Repents? Not So Fast, Say Phil Johnson and Chris Rosebrough

John Piper and Mark Driscoll: Lessons Not Learned? (Pyromaniacs)