In 2014, Pastor Mark Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill Church in Seattle after a series of simply awful behavior. It was so bad that his church was dropped from the Acts 29 church planting network he started due to “ungodly and disqualifying behavior.” Former colleagues also said weeks later that Driscoll lacked self-control, was guilty of “verbally assaulting others,” and “created a culture of fear.”
Among other things, Driscoll was found to have trolled his own church website’s forums, used church funds to game the system and turn his book about marriage into a bestseller, and committed plagiarism. Former church members were calling for his resignation. And then there was all the sexist and provocative comments from over the years.
At that point, his church was bleeding members and money. If he didn’t resign, there was a good chance he would’ve been forced out.
And then, less than two years later, he decided he was all better now and began a new church in Arizona that’s still up and running today.
Keep all of that in mind when you read the excerpt from his forthcoming book. Just look at how he characterizes the reason for his move to Arizona:
My wife Grace and I have five kids — three boys and two girls. We moved to Arizona for a hard reset of life and ministry after years of feeling like a crash test dummy in a car with no airbags. After about two decades in ministry, I took some time off to heal up before entering the next season of God’s will for our life. For some months, we had church in our home as a family on Sunday mornings before we relocated for safety reasons.
He took “some time off to heal up”? He felt like he was getting beaten up on all sides like a “crash test dummy”? That’s Christian gaslighting for you. He was actually forced to take “time off” because he was ruining the lives of those around him and making all kinds of disastrous decisions.
Everyone else needed protection from him, not the other way around.
But that’s the thing about abusers. They always think of themselves as the real victims.
Driscoll says he was going through a rough patch, and God had something greater waiting for him on the other side. The reality is Driscoll was finally confronted about his abuse, ran far far away, and then began a new church where he could attempt to rewrite his own story. There’s nothing wrong with seeking a fresh start, but there’s something deeply troubling about a man who never truly made amends for what he did being given a second chance, then glossing over his own bad behavior while preaching about how God had a plan for him.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Portions of this article were published earlier)