Listen to Mark Driscoll interview
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports…
“Ex-Mars Hill Church senior pastor Mark Driscoll, bounced from the agenda of a mega-church conference last month, instead showed up on tape to acknowledge he has not always acted with “grace or with appropriateness.”
Driscoll had been slated to be interviewed on stage at the annual Hillsong conferences in Sydney, Australia, and London, but his scheduled appearance drew protests and was canceled.
Instead, without promotion, he appeared on a big screen at the Sydney conference with mega-church founder Brian Houston, and delivered what amounted to a measured, controlled contrition — or in a phrase made famous during the Watergate scandal, a “modified limited hangout.”
“I don’t believe that every day I was a combative, maybe a loud-mouthed person, but certainly, sadly, that was part of my ministry and I think that can be confusing for people.”
Driscoll built a congregation that started in his living room into a mega-church with “campuses” in five states and an estimated 13,000 weekly worshipers.
It all unraveled last year, amidst charges ranging from bullying to plagiarism. It culminated with an investigation by church elders, which substantiated charges of abusiveness, bullying, intimidation and unChristian behavior. Driscoll resigned on Oct. 15, and Mars Hill Church announced its dissolution two weeks later.
Driscoll started making his comeback weeks after resigning. He has marketed sermons, and has popped up at mega-churches and conferences from Mill Creek, Wash., to Dallas-Fort Worth. He usually prefaces preaching by saying he would “rather talk about Jesus than me.”
But Driscoll did talk about “me” in his conversation with Houston.
“Some people have seen me primarily as a loving, gracious person and others have seen me as more short-tempered or careless with words, and harmful, and so that contributes to the confusion,” he said.
Driscoll was brought down, in part, by remarks he made years ago. Using a pseudonym, he referred to the United States as a “pussified nation.”
In a famous sermon on gender, he declared: “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 different than you and makes a very nice home.”
Driscoll disavowed the bad old days in his conversation with Houston.
He is “horrified” when confronted with his past pronouncements, said Driscoll. “It is one of my greatest regrets in life.”
“I can’t read some of the things I said in text . . . I feel horrified that I shared some of this sentiment . . . that perception of what I think about women is entirely my own fault, I have no one to blame but myself.”
“Looking back on that, that was not a healthy person working from a godly place.”
Driscoll was joined by his wife, Grace, for the interview. She told Houston that she has never thought of her spouse as a misogynist
Protests led to Driscoll’s appearance at Hillsong being canceled. But Houston joked, “Now that you’re not appearing at the conference we’ve had some delegates, not many but some, who wanted a refund because he wasn’t coming.”
Driscoll singled out for praise persons outside Mars Hill who reached out to support him after his resignation.
“The whole Bible is ultimately about the personal love of Jesus, and when it comes to salvation, it is the work that God does and we respond to that but we don’t participate in that,” he said.
Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor who reported the Mars Hill implosion in Patheos, commented Monday:
“At one point, Driscoll said those who have reached out in love have been those outside of his tribe. This seems like a real slap at his elders who reached out to him with a plan of restoration. However, as we now know, Driscoll resigned rather than respond favorably to his elders.”
“The problem with this,” Throckmorton added, “is that Driscoll said he wants not to be a divisive figure but he hasn’t reached out to the people where there is division. If one wants to be a person of peace, that person should try to make peace.”
Settling past accounts presents a challenge for a high-profile figure who is back in circulation and finds himself a sought-after draw.”