Attacks against Seattle megachurch Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll have reached such a crescendo that some have called for his resignation in recent days, according to several publications. Driscoll has been criticized for his alleged “coarse” language.
Will Driscoll step down? Not likely. A message to members of the church told them to bring their Bibles with them to church at Mars Hill Sunday when the famed pastor returns to the pulpit after a vacation.
The criticism regarding the “coarse language” issue first became public following a sermon Driscoll presented in Scotland regarding a passage on the Song of Solomon. He reportedly gave a more toned-down version of the sermon to his Mars Hill congregation at a later date.
Respected preacher John Piper has come to his colleague’s defense. Piper is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis as well as the head of Desiring God ministries. Piper’s defense came in the wake of withering criticism by John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California.
MacArthur’s criticism directed at Driscoll’s method of preaching the Song of Solomon from the Bible. The well-known MacArthur said that Driscoll’s way of preaching the Song of Solomon “is tantamount to an act of rape. It tears the beautiful poetic dress off Song of Solomon, strips that portion of Scripture of its dignity, and holds it up to be laughed at and leered at in a carnal way. Mark Driscoll has boldly led the parade down this carnal path. He is by far the best-known and most prolific popular proponent of handling the Song of Solomon that way. He has said repeatedly that this is his favourite passage of Scripture…”
Piper’s response to MacArthur’s shot across the bow was as in pertinent part as follows: “I’m right in the thick of it. Everybody knows that I’ve been friendly with Mark Driscoll, because he’s been at two of our conferences and I’ll be with him in two weeks…..John MacArthur sent four blogs criticising Mark Driscoll two weeks ago, and Mark has stuck his foot in his mouth quite a few times. I would encourage nobody to become coarse, filthy, ugly, trashy….I know how easy it is to create an effect, and with a certain young crowd it’s hip, it’s cool…I don’t think your mouth needs to be dirty in order to relate to 20 somethings in Seattle, and I think Mark knows that….I count him as a good friend; I spent an hour two weeks ago, at the Gospel Coalition, talking about these these things. The difference between me and MacArthur is that I’m not drawing the line that John has drawn from the imperfections of Mark’s ministry to his unfitness for ministry. That seems to be where John has gone, he says it’s over, Mark should resign, nobody should go to his church. I’m not going there, not at this point anyway. I’m going directly to Mark, getting in his face and I’ve got more issues than language that I’m talking about in his face…..”
Piper went on to say that he was sent a copy of Driscoll’s now famous Song of Solomon sermon in Scotland. He said that after listening to the sermon he immediately got on the internet and sent Mark a three-page letter in which he said among other things, “That’s over the top!” He said that when Driscoll preached on Song of Solomon at Mars Hill later it was “way more mellow, and way more acceptable, which simply says to me Mark is growing…..he is rock solid doctrinally and he is accomplishing things in Seattle which noboby else is accomplishing.”
Driscoll, MacArthur and Piper all three were voted to Preaching Magazine’s Top 25 preacher’s list of the past 25 years.
Barnabas Piper said, “I respect both John MacArthur and Mark Driscoll,” according to World Magazine.
A Facebook post said, “We don’t support Mark Driscoll because he has been a blessing to us but because he supports Jesus just like we do.”
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