God Doesn’t Throw People Away…


I’ve been very careful to avoid public comment around Mars Hill and the ministry of Mark Driscoll in recent months amidst the controversy. I know many people who are on staff and attend Mars Hill and I have deep affection and respect for their ministry, passion and heart for our city and region. I’ve followed the stories closely and prayed for the community that is all around us of people who love Jesus and desire Him to transform our city and the most secular region in the country.

I believe that God’s plans for Mars Hill are secure and the future of the church here is strong, because of Jesus’ plan and power to rescue people and set them free to a life and eternity that they don’t deserve but that we’re all desperately searching for. Mars Hill continues to proclaim the incredible truth that people are separated from God in their choices and their nature of rebellion but that Jesus lived perfectly, died dreadfully and was raised to reunite us with Himself. Mark preaches this and the people of Mars Hill know this well.

I know enough to know that there are areas of personal growth that Mark is pursuing that are difficult and will require time, I don’t know how much or if he’ll ever be in a position to resume the progress and role at Mars Hill that he’s had…BUT, I trust God to work in Mark, just like I trust Him to work in me. The ultimate reality is that God doesn’t throw people away. I’ve watched as people who don’t like Mars Hill or Mark pile on and use the recent controversy to bury him, which they wanted to do regardless of the offenses that have surfaced. Even if all the aspects of Mark’s leadership are as they have been portrayed, there is still a path to reconciliation and restoration.

In the Bible Paul is probably the starkest example of change as a guy that went from killing Christians to helping them build churches and wrestling with personal battles (Rom.7) amidst his leadership. He often deals strongly with false teachers but he always points to an available hope for those who have strayed to return to Jesus. In 1 Timothy 1 he mentions Hymenaeus and Alexander, he handed them over to Satan! But the verse goes on to indicate that the point was for them to learn not to blaspheme (mischaracterize God and His work in their life and the world).

Too often we take the approach that once we see the cracks in someone’s life we work hard to devastate them the rest of the way and write them off as second-class citizens for the rest of their lives/ministries. God doesn’t throw people away and neither should we. The life of a believer is a life of repentance and we create cultures where that isn’t safe when we seek to destroy people rather than give them an opportunity to be honest about what’s going on inside of them.

I’m not Mark Driscoll and neither are you but if you had the level of exposure that he does…neither one of us would come out clean, that’s why we need Jesus. When the expectation is total perfection or God throws you away – then we all hide, let’s give each other permission to stop hiding.

I’m praying for Mars Hill…and Mark Driscoll.  We need churches and Pastors that love Jesus and people.  We need MORE churches that make eternal deposits into the lives of people in Seattle and the northwest.

3 Comments on “God Doesn’t Throw People Away…”

  1. I was happy to listen to Mark, seeing that he has the integrity not to back away from the reasonable reasons for a time for reconciliation, reflection and humbling. And I was equally, if not more happy to see that he has the integrity to also not back away from proclaiming his baptism in Christ, true to the foundation of the Gospel that he teaches and now even more so visibly rests his life upon.

    Thanks for writing this blog. We’re often prone to rivalry because of jealousy, wanting big names to go down when we don’t like their style. My hope is that many would faithfully love Mark by being honest about the content of his message, that people would become bold to teach reformation theology in a culture that only wants better. You da man Phil.

    God Move in Mysterious Ways. http://indeliblegrace.bandcamp.com/album/joy-beyond-the-sorrow-indelible-grace-vi

  2. “I’m praying for Mars Hill…and Mark Driscoll. We need churches and Pastors that love Jesus and people. We need MORE churches that make eternal deposits into the lives of people in Seattle and the northwest”

    Love Jesus and people. It is the latter I am unsure if Mark Driscoll understands how to do properly. I went to a single service with Mark Driscoll. It was the pre-opening of the Bellvue Campus. The service where Mark Driscoll wanted to pay for the whole site. That morning Mark made a personal appearance; a real treat I was told by my friends who had gone to Driscolls Church and called it home. All though I had know idea who Mark Driscoll was at the time I did know he was a “famous Christian,” and I must admit I was excited. I was excited even though I thought it wierd when Driscolls family was awkwardly put on display in front of the congregation and almost immediately left for better things. Most of my excitement was broken when I heard a half put together sermon on why the congregation should give money (to completely pay for the Bellvue Campus that morning). When they took the offering from what I could see was a very young congregation. I felt my excitement come back, to see what God would do this morning. And when they gave the official count. I was astonished! I had never heard of a congregation of that size and that young giving so much. Driscoll, on the other hand, was less than impressed. So much so he went on for a decent amount of time saying horrible degrading things I had never heard come from a pastor let alone directly from the pulpit. I sat there in shock wondering if I had fallen asleep during the sermon and was dreaming. Sadly, I was not. But the grand finally was yet to come. When he had exhausted all that his anger and frustrated wanted to say he finished with a pray. One that ended in this exact quote, “God I just don’t know what to do with a people who don’t give a damn!”

    To this day I still cannot believe that someone would say such horrible thing to a congregation espically when it is not theirs. Mark Driscoll might be the guys who is videoed in to preach in the morning, but it is the Mars Hill Campus Pastor that is there being the Shepard to the congregation. After that day I did some research on Mark Driscoll and was in shock that he is infamous for this kind of behavior, I was also deeply saddened by it. Because if someone comes to Driscolls church on a day that he is lashing out in such a way that could be the last time an individual would ever come to a church. That’s the sad and hard truth.

    With all of this said, I am praying for Mars Hill…and Mark Driscoll. Because we desperately need churches and Pastors that love Jesus and just as importantly love people. We need more churches that can make eternal deposits into the lives of people.

  3. Spiritual restoration of broken relationships requires 3 people to come together with a like mind and heart desiring that those who have been hurt/damaged be healed and those who have caused the hurt/damage be humbled before the Lord and confess their sins to the Lord and those they have hurt and humbly seek a path of personal restoration that will bring them into a closer conformation to Christs heart.
    I see that most if not all those who have been hurt have had a desire to seek reconcilliation and restoration. As yet I do not see evidence of that from Mr. Driscoll. It could just be me but I would have rather seen him respectfully ask the congregation to not give him the standing ovation he recieved on sunday when he read his confessionary letter. It just seemed that it was once again all about him and not about seeking the heart of the Holy Spirit by possibly having the congregation break into small prayer cells for 5 minutes and ask the Holy Spirit for his help, wisdom, mercy and in this great matter. I too visit MH Sammamish from time to time, have family that still attends MH and will pray in ernest for Mark, those who have come forward in heartfelt spiritual pain and for the whole MH church.

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