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This is going to shock you

I’m going to post something from Mark Driscoll, agree with it and prayerfully learn from it and grow through it. Yeah, I’m feeling a bit woozy but it’s gotta be done.

Here’s a transcript (ht: Bob Hyatt, ht: Justin Taylor) of a bit from the beginning of a statement from Mars Hill pastor and recent outspoken critic of Emergent/emerging, Mark Driscoll:

“I believe that humility is the great omission and failure in my eleven years of preaching. I believe that this is my greatest oversight both in my example and in my instruction.

I therefore do not claim to be humble. I do not claim to have been humble. I am convicted of my pride, and I am a man who is by God’s grace pursuing humility.

But I truly believe that were there one thing I could do over in the history of Mars Hill it would be in my attitude and in my actions and in my words to not only emphasize sound doctrine, encourage in strength and commitment and conviction but, to add in addition to that, humility as a virtue.

And so I’ll start by asking your forgiveness and sincerely acknowledging that this has been a great failure.

And I believe that it is showing up in our church in the lives of men and women who have sound doctrine but not sound attitude. They may contend for good things but their motives are bad and their methods are bad and their tone is bad and their tactics are bad and their actions are bad because their attitudes are bad even though their objective is sometimes good. I see this in particular with the men. I see this with men young and old, men who have known Jesus for a long time and should know better, and men who are new to Jesus and are learning sometimes the hard way.

I will take some responsibility for this. Luke 6:40 says that when fully trained, disciples are like their teacher, and I am primary teaching pastor of this church and I can’t simply look at the pride in some of our people and say that I am in no way responsible or complicit.

I’m a guy who is pretty busted up over this personally and it really came to my attention last December just in time for Christmas. The critics really brought me a lot of kind gifts of opposition and hatred and animosity. Merry Christmas. And some of those most vocal and nasty critics were Christians – some of them prominent Christians. So I was getting ready to fire back (my usual tactics). They hit you, you hit them twice and then blog about your victory. Which I don’t have any verses for and don’t say it was a good idea. But it had been a pattern in my life until a man named C.J. Mahaney called.

I’d always considered humility to be cowardice and a compromise. In the name of humility you give up biblical conviction and passion and the willingness to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and to fight false teaching. What he was describing was orthodoxy in belief and humility in attitude and that those two together are really what God desires. And so it got me thinking and studying and praying through pride and humility and repenting and learning and growing. So I would start by saying that I thank my dear friend C.J. Mahaney for his ongoing friendship and the kindness he has extended to me and the things I’ve been able to learn through his instruction.

Furthermore, I apologize and repent publicly to you, the church for whom I am responsible, for much pride in the history of my ministry that some of you have poorly imitated and for that I am deeply sorry.

And thirdly, to say that I’m not a humble man but as result of study I’m a man who is acknowledging his pride and pursuing humility by God’s grace.”

– Mark Driscoll, sermon on Philippians 2:1-11 (November 4, 2007), part 5 in The Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Humility (3:16-8:40)

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  1. Tia Lynn — November 9, 2007 #

    I am no fan of driscoll, but I could sense his sincerity and revelation of his errors in his words. Sometimes people get so caught up in being “right” (self-included), that they resort to all the wrong methods in expressing their “rightness.” I am so thrilled that the grace of God extends so far as to redeem the most blinding and vicious of sins: pride. Good for Driscoll.

  2. Mike Clawson — November 9, 2007 #

    Wow. That’s great. Let’s hope he keeps at it.

    And chalk another one up for Rose Swetman! Though he doesn’t name her by name, it was mainly her efforts as well as those of Rachelle and Paul Mee-Chapman last November/December that he was referring to which finally gave him a wake-up call about his attitude.

  3. Jennifer — November 9, 2007 #


    Yes! Which is so ironic since Mark has not believed he could really be taught by a woman.

  4. Jonathan Brink — November 9, 2007 #

    Ooooooh myyyyy God.

    I’m laughing because this is just one more reminder that God really does change lives.

    Consider me shocked Makeesha…but a good shock.

  5. Ariah Fine — November 9, 2007 #

    Wow, that is some good stuff. Let’s see if it carries out into the way he talks and walks from here on out.

  6. Angela — November 9, 2007 #

    Wow! Thanks. A reminder about staying humble is ALWAYS good for me. :)

    Hope that you are doing well. The pics of your girls are ADORABLE!!

  7. Dan — November 9, 2007 #

    Wow, Mark Driscol… I am reluctant to say that I just downloaded his podcast… and last night I watched offensive teaching about women-like men in the church… I hope this is a new time for him to recognize that being a Christian man doesn’t mean that I have to dig movies about war, sex with my non-exisitant wife, and the love of sports. It is good to be reminded that we need to be humble in our strong philosophical opinions.

  8. Don — November 9, 2007 #

    That’s a wonderful first step. I pray that this is the beginning of a long journey of change for him. And I also pray that I too could truly be humble.


  9. Shawna R. B. Atteberry — November 9, 2007 #

    Like others I’m shocked. And I hope this sticks as well.

  10. sally — November 10, 2007 #

    good for him… thank you for posting this

  11. Mak — November 10, 2007 #

    Mike - I assumed that was the case. I very distinctly remember that whole “thing”.

    Dan - you’re such glutton for pain hehe

    Thank you Angela, *I* think they’re cute ;) by the by, you don’t give a blog, how did you find your way here?

    Jonathan - I know!

    thanks everyone for your comments - glad to know I’m not the only one stunned.

  12. Duncan McFadzean — November 10, 2007 #

    Mak, thanks for highlighting this. I love Mark’s passion for Jesus and his ability to communicate clearly and simply. When combined with this sort of attitude, that has to be good. I wouldn’t like to have gone through what he has in the last year, albeit some of it may have been self inflicted.

  13. Jennifer — November 10, 2007 #

    Amazing…I posted a link on my blog to spread the example, thanks for putting this up!

  14. Geoffrey — November 10, 2007 #

    I do believe that I do not like computers anymore. They say third time is the charm, so here goes, and I shall sum up what I tried to say earlier as quickly as I can. Ahem.

    Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.

    That’s what I heard this Driscoll character saying. Not knowing who he is, or what he has said in the past (other than bits here and there where he has been critical of the whole Emergent thing), all I can say is he doesn’t seem to get humility at all. I trust the words were sincere, but if they were, it only shows that he just doesn’t quite get it.

    Where is this Mars Hill Church? Never heard of it.

  15. Jennifer — November 10, 2007 #

    Where do you think he’s gone wrong?

  16. Geoffrey — November 10, 2007 #

    Where has he gone wrong? To sum up what he has said, as I read it:
    “I’m a great leader and role model. People criticize me because I’m great. Therefore, I am lacking in something. It must be humility. Please make me the greatest humble person there is, equal to my sound doctrine and preaching, which my opponent do not like.”

    It is really quite comical, actually.

  17. Angela — November 10, 2007 #

    Sorry, I forgot to leave the website. :)

    I’m sure you remember me now. (grin)

  18. Mak — November 10, 2007 #

    ah, yep, sure do :)

  19. Jennifer — November 10, 2007 #

    Maybe you missed this part?

    “And thirdly, to say that I’m not a humble man but as result of study I’m a man who is acknowledging his pride and pursuing humility by God’s grace.”

    I’m not arguing with you…just trying to figure out if I missed something that you can see more clearly.

  20. Mak — November 10, 2007 #

    I’m a cynic, a pessimist and I don’t trust easily - it’s my natural tendency to look askance at this. But I’m going to yield to my better nature and the Spirit within and give Driscoll credit for the effort. We are all cracked eikons in need of grace and regardless of my personal feelings for him as a person based on listening to his messages and reading his articles, there is truth to his statements about the need for humility.

    I still don’t like what the guy stands for and I’m not keen on how he runs his church or his church planting network - I will never be able to endorse him as long as his “convictions” (no matter how humble) include intentional exclusion of women in the home and church, an unhealthy view of marriage and sexuality, WAY TOO MUCH talk about sex (THIS concerns me, deeply), an overly militaristic view of our faith, view of homosexuals that border on the bigoted, an overly simplistic view of the atonement and a narrow and sickeningly stereotyped gender view - - HOWEVER, I can and must give him credit for this statement at face value.

  21. Paul — November 11, 2007 #

    hi Mak, thanks for putting this up. it’s a very helpful piece. If only to make me wonder what impact/imprint i have as a leader - i might be more humble but where is my blind spot :)

  22. Angela — November 11, 2007 #

    HEY! Was that “uh, yep” said in a teasing way or a sarcastic way. I’m guessing teasing because of the smiley face. :)

  23. Mak — November 11, 2007 #

    actually it was “ah, yep sure do” - very different tone between ah and uh

    no, not teasing or sarcastic, just acknowledging that I know who you are now :)

    glad to see you commenting here :)

  24. Pingback - The Problem of Certainty « Missio Dei — November 13, 2007 #

    [...] One of the tensions I’ve observed between the traditional church and the emerging church is the debate between truth and doubt, or certainty and faith. I hear a lot from people who don’t like that those in the emerging church don’t have all the answers and are okay with that. Certainty is this intense drive to prove out what we believe by finding every known doctrinal point that will build up our point. It creates a way of seeing the world that is often missing quite a bit of humility. Mark Driscoll’s confession (ht) is a shockingly simple example of what I mean. The desire for certainty often comes at the expense of relationship, which is what Jesus was trying to accomplish in the first place. [...]

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