The ABC reports…
“Hillsong has canned the appearance of controversial US pastor Mark Driscoll, who once likened women to “penis homes”, with the church founder labelling his past comments “outrageous”.
In a statement, Hillsong founder Brian Houston said he had heard of some of Mr Driscoll’s statements for the first time in the past week.
“After personal interaction with Mark Driscoll today, we have agreed that he will no longer be coming to Australia or the UK to attend Hillsong Conference,” he said.
“It is my hope that Mark and I will be able to speak in person in the coming weeks to discuss some of the issues that have been raised, what – if anything – he has learned, and for me to understand better how he is progressing in both his personal and professional life.”
Mr Houston said the teachings of Christ were based on “love and forgiveness”, but that he did not want “unnecessary distractions” during the conference later this month.
“I will not write off Mark as a person simply because of the things that people have said about him, a small minority of people signing a petition or statements he has made many years ago for which he has since repeatedly apologised,” he said.
“It was clear to me that Mark’s attendance had the potential to divert attention from the real purpose of Hillsong Conference, which is to see people leave encouraged in their own spiritual journey.
“Clearly Mark has held some views and made some statements that cannot be defended.
“One or two of the more outrageous things he is purported to have said, I have heard for the first time through the media exposure over the past week.”
Mr Driscoll was forced to resign as pastor of Seattle’s Mars Hills Church in October last year after staff protests and an internal church review found him guilty of arrogance, “responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner”.
Two weeks later, Mars Hill Church was effectively dissolved.
Mr Driscoll had also invited criticism for remarks he made about homosexuals and women, some in a blog and some under a pseudonym in an online forum.
In what was dubbed the “Testosterone Gospel”, he preached of a muscular, angry Jesus and told men to take responsibility and stop being “wusses” and told women to serve men.
But it was the more extreme of his remarks that upset some of his female parishioners, in particular when he referred to women as homes for a penis.
“Ultimately, God created you and it is His penis. You are simply borrowing it for a while,” he said.
“While His penis is on loan you must admit that it is sort of just hanging out there very lonely as if it needed a home, sort of like a man wandering the streets looking for a house to live in.
“Knowing that His penis would need a home, God created a woman to be your wife. And when you marry her and look down you will notice that your wife is shaped differently than you and makes a very nice home.”
An online petition was launched protesting Mr Driscoll’s appearance in Australia.
So far it has attracted more than 3,000 signatures.”