John MacArthur on Mark Driscoll – Part 2

As a follow up to the original piece John MacArthur on Mark Driscoll there has been a flurry of recent activity on several fronts addressing what seems to be fast becoming a latter day Great Downgrade Controversy of sorts.

Recently Phil Johnson, director of Grace to You, editor of several of John MacArthur’s books, co-pastor of the Grace Life Pulpit at Grace Community Church, webmaster of The Spurgeon Archive, and blogmaster of Pyromaniacs preached a scathing Biblical indictment against the “pornification of the pulpit” entitled “Sound Doctrine, Sound Words” at the 2009 Shepherd’s Fellowship Conference.

Now Dr. John MacArthur has weighed in on this important and timely issue in a series of four articles entitled “THE RAPE OF SOLOMON’S SONG” which zeroes in on the gross, heinous, and wholly unbiblical perversion of scripture perpetrated by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church.


By John MacArthur – April 14th, 2009

Apparently the shortest route to relevance in church ministry right now is for the pastor to talk about sex in garishly explicit terms during the Sunday morning service. If he can shock parishioners with crude words and sophomoric humor, so much the better. The defenders of this trend solemnly inform us that without such a strategy it is well-nigh impossible to connect with today’s “culture.” (In contemporary evangelicalism that term has become a convenient label for just about everything that is uncultured and uncouth.)

Continue reading Part 1 here.



 By John MacArthur – April 15th, 2009

It’s frankly hard to think of a more appalling misuse of Scripture than turning the Song of Solomon into soft porn. When people can no longer read that portion of Scripture without pornographic imagery entering their minds, the beauty of the book has been corrupted, its description of righteous love perverted, and its role in sanctifying and elevating the marriage relationship deflected. That preachers would do this in public worship services is unconscionable.

Continue reading Part 2 here.



 By John MacArthur – April 16th, 2009

 [Editor’s Note: Readers should be warned that this article contains offensive material. Nonetheless, it is included here for the sake of substantiating the thesis of this article.]

I emphatically agree with those who say the Song of Solomon is not mere allegory. It is best understood when we take it at face value, like any other text of Scripture. Many interpreters whom I otherwise hold in high esteem (including Spurgeon and most of the Puritans) have unfortunately done more to confuse than clarify the Song’s message by treating it in a purely allegorical fashion that eliminates its primary meaning.

Solomon’s Song is, as I’ve said from the outset, a love poem between Solomon and his bride, celebrating their mutual love for one another, including the delights of the marriage bed. To interpret this—or any other portion of Scripture—in a purely allegorical fashion is to treat the interpreter’s own imagination as more authoritative than the plain meaning of the text.

However, those who pretend to know the meanings of poetic symbols that are not clearly identifiable from the text itself commit the very same error. Their speculation is likewise a way of exalting their own imaginations to a higher level of authority than the plain sense of the text.

That’s a particular problem when the interpreter sees a mandate for oral sex in the simple metaphor of a fruit tree or imagines that the best way to contextualize and illustrate portions of the text is by verbally undressing his own wife in order to make the point as vivid as possible. In such a case, not only has the speaker given far too much weight to his own speculative imagination; he has given a fairly clear signal that his imagination is not altogether pure (Luke 6:45).

Continue reading Part 3 here.


By John MacArthur – April 17th, 2009

Before we close this brief series, I promised to answer as many questions as possible from people who have commented here, via e-mail, through Twitter, and at

I first want to thank Tim Challies for his courage in hosting a discussion about this topic. The very mention of propriety and language obviously stirs contemporary evangelical passions—and not necessarily in a way that is helpful. It’s not easy to find forums on the Internet where such a volatile matter can be openly discussed with profit. And because of some of the very problems this series has addressed, even Christian forums aren’t always safe havens from profanity and grossly carnal behavior. I’m grateful to Tim for sponsoring a more dignified level of dialogue.

I resounded with the utter shock Tim expressed when he was exposed to some of the material from Driscoll’s Scotland sermon (the message that sparked this blog series). After reading some of Driscoll’s outrageous statements, Tim reacted the way any pure-minded Christian would react:

I have a real problem with anyone interpreting Song of Solomon like that . . . .  To be honest, words fail me when I even try to explain myself—when I try to explain how I just cannot even conceive of Song of Solomon like that. The poetic nature of the Song is entirely eroded when we assign such meaning to it: such specific meaning. And I think as well of what it may do to a couple to be able to say “Look, this specific sex act is mandated in Scripture. So let’s do it.” That may be said to a spouse who has no desire to do that act or who even finds it distasteful. And yet with our interpretation of Song of Solomon, which we really have no way of proving (at least beyond a reasonable doubt) we are potentially bludgeoning an unwilling partner into doing something. I just … again, words really fail me here.

Tim, you were right to be shocked. The most shocking thing to me is that some people do not seem to be shocked at all. What would easily receive an NC-17 rating by the world is being heralded and defended by some in the church.

Continue reading Part 4 here.

In closing, among the many thought provoking comments, concerns and questions addressed by Dr. MacArthur is the oft raised objection that Mark Driscoll is secretly “being discipled” by the likes of John Piper and C.J. Mahaney, and whether or not he (John MacArthur) has attempted to contact Driscoll, Piper, or Mahaney directly.  Dr. MacArthur reveals that he has in fact done so to no avail and he asks his readers directly to contact Piper and Mahaney and ask for their response to MacArthur’s inquiries.  I leave you with MacArthur’s concluding comments, and I would encourage the interested DefCon reader to follow his advice on this subject.

MacArthur well says:

When 1 Timothy 5:20 says, “Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all,” it is talking about elders in particular. Those in public ministry must be rebuked publicly when their sin is repeated, and public, and confirmed by multiple witnesses.

Nevertheless, I have written Mark privately with my concerns. He rejected my counsel. As a matter of fact, he preached the sermon I have been quoting from seven weeks after receiving my private letter encouraging him to take seriously the standard of holiness Scripture holds pastors to. Here is a small selection from the six-page letter I sent him:

[Y]ou can[not] make a biblical case for Christians to embrace worldly fads—especially when those fads are diametrically at odds with the wholesome speech, pure mind, and chaste behavior that God calls us to display. At its core, this is about ideology. No matter how culture changes, the truth never does. But the more the church accommodates the baser elements of the culture, the more she will inevitably compromise her message. We must not betray our words through our actions; we must be in the world but not of it. . . . .  It’s vital that you not send one message about the importance of sound doctrine and a totally different message about the importance of sound speech and irreproachable pure-mindedness. 

Mark Driscoll’s response to that admonition and the things he has said since have only magnified my concern.

Mark did indeed express regret a few years ago over the reputation his tongue has earned him. Yet no substantive change is observable. Just a few weeks ago, in an angry diatribe leveled at men in his congregation, Driscoll once again threw in a totally unnecessary expletive. A few weeks before that, he made a public mockery of Ecclesiastes 9:10 (something he has done repeatedly), by making a joke of it on national television. So here are two more inappropriate Driscoll videos being passed around by young people and college students for whom I bear some pastoral responsibility. In their immaturity, they typically think it’s wonderfully cool and transparent for a pastor to talk like that. And they feel free to curse and joke in a similar manner in more casual settings.

It is past time for the issue to be dealt with publicly.

Finally, it seriously overstates the involvement of John Piper and C. J. Mahaney to say they are “discipling” Mark Driscoll. In the first place, the idea that a grown man already in public ministry and constantly in the national spotlight needs space to be “mentored” before it’s fair to subject his public actions to biblical scrutiny seems to put the whole process backward. These problems have been talked about in both public and private contexts for at least three or four years. At some point the plea that this is a maturity issue and Mark Driscoll just needs time to mature wears thin. In the meantime, the media is having a field day writing stories that suggest trashy talk is one of the hallmarks of the “New Calvinism;” and countless students whom I love and am personally acquainted with are being led into similar carnal behavior by imitating Mark Driscoll’s speech and lifestyle. Enough is enough.

Yes, I did inform John Piper and C. J. Mahaney of my concerns about this material several weeks ago. I itemized all of these issues in much more thorough detail than I have written about them here, and I expressly told them I was preparing this series of articles for the blog.

To those asking why pastors Piper and Mahaney (and others in positions of key leadership) haven’t publicly expressed similar concerns of their own, that is not a question for me. I hope you will write and ask them.




26 thoughts on “John MacArthur on Mark Driscoll – Part 2

  1. Coram,

    HEY NO FAIR!! I was just getting ready to post on the same thing! In fact, I had saved a draft last night for part 1!

    My favorite part was when Dr. MacArthur shot at broadside at the hip, cool, relevant crowd that try and say “nobody ever teaches on Song of Solomon”:

    I would be the last to suggest that preachers should totally avoid the topic of sex. Scripture has quite a lot to say about the subject, starting with God’s first words to Adam and Eve (“Be fruitful and multiply”—Genesis 1:22). God’s law has numerous commands that govern sexual behavior, and the New Testament repeatedly reaffirms the Old Testament standard of sexual purity. Finally, in the closing chapters of Scripture we are told that sexually immoral people will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). So there’s simply no way to preach the whole counsel of God without mentioning sex.

    But the language Scripture employs when dealing with the physical relationship between husband and wife is always careful—often plain, sometimes poetic, usually delicate, frequently muted by euphemisms, and never fully explicit. There is no hint of sophomoric lewdness in the Bible, even when the prophet’s clear purpose is to shock (such as when Ezekiel 23:20 likens Israel’s apostasy to an act of gross fornication motivated by the lust of bestiality). When an act of adultery is part of the narrative (such as David’s sin with Bathsheba), it is never described in way that would gratify a lascivious imagination or arouse lustful thoughts.

    The message of Scripture regarding sex is simple and consistent throughout: total physical intimacy within marriage is pure and ought to be enjoyed (Hebrews 13:4); but remove the marriage covenant from the equation and all sexual activity (including that which occurs only in the imagination) is nothing but fornication, a serious sin that is especially defiling and shameful—so much so that merely talking about it inappropriately is a disgrace (Ephesians 5:12).

    Above all, Scripture never stoops to the lurid level of contemporary sex education. The Bible has no counterpart to the Hindu Kama Sutra (an ancient Sanskrit sex manual supposedly transmitted by Hindu deities.) Nothing in Scripture gives any vivid how-to instructions regarding the physical relationship within marriage.

    That includes the Song of Solomon.


  2. I appreciated your last post of apology and repentance. It was convicting to me as well.

    Something mystifies me about Dr. M’s series of posts. Driscoll took down the most offensive sermon last week and wrote publicly his regrets for speaking it and posting it. He also said he was working on doing a better job with the SoS text. I don’t understand 2 things.

    1) Why post a link in Dr. M’s article to a sermon that has already been taken down? Driscoll said in his article, “I don’t want to draw attention to the content because it will only cause those who have not listened to it to flock to it.” If it was offensive and it has been taken down, why REPOST it at MacArthur’s blog? That seems really inappropriate to me.

    2) Even if Dr. M thinks Driscoll’s “repentance” in this article isn’t enough, why not meet him where he is and prompt him to take further measures? Driscoll says, “Some of my critics were concerned by the older content, and I think there is wisdom in some of their concerns. So we have pulled that content.” Instead, Dr. M dismisses this admission on Driscoll’s part. Why not praise God that Driscoll has taken this step and then encourage him to greater examination of himself?


  3. FP – you snooze you lose! 🙂

    But seriously, that four part series – including the subsequent discussion threads – are excellent examples of godliness, apologetics, and Christ-honoring iron sharpening iron. May the Lord be glorified and may His people be edified!


    Thank you for your kind response.

    Both of your questions are addressed with great clarity and precision in the comments metas within the four linked articles. Please understand that I’m not dodging your obviously genuine and heartfelt questions, but others far more capable than I have already addressed them. I highly encourage you to read both the articles, and the comment threads, and I trust that you’ll be edified as I was.



    Where is the distinction between the world and the church when they’re using the exact same titillation, innuendo, and double entendres and eliciting the exact same *tee hee* *wink wink* *nudge nudge* reactions from their respective audiences?

    It’s hard to read the book of Judges and not come to the spiritual realization that the church is engaged in the same cycles of rest, rebellion, retribution, repentance and reconciliation as OT Israel. Phil Johnson did a masterful exposition of these phenomena in a sermon series on the wrath and love of God.

    What is the predictable result when the absolute authority and perspicuity of scripture is abandoned in favor of the vain imaginings of men?

    “…every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

    In Christ,


  4. Does it strike any of you, as it does me, that the church seems to be in competition with a culture obsessed by sex, as to who has the best sex message? it’s become a real drawing card, I fear.

    I think I may have already shared this, and if I have please forgive my ‘part-timers’ memory:

    A few weeks ago my husband and I were having breakfast at a restaurant here in town. There is a new church opening next door. On its new state of the art digital sign there was a banner going across, which said “Let’s talk about sex.” My husband and I couldn’t believe it. So we went over to talk to the pastor, who was out of town. However, we did get to talk to another man there, and we him told the sign was offensive because we believe Christians should be talking about Jesus in the church instead.

    We went back the next week and the offending remark had been changed.

    Still no mention of Jesus, however. And, unfortunately, that’s becoming the norm in our part of the country. Everything but Christ is advertised in our churches – pizza parties, marriage encounters, retreats, and on and on.

    Why, I wonder, if I were an unbeliever, would I want to bother to go to church to participate in things like that, when it’s all so readily available everywhere else?


  5. I too have reservations about speaking explicitly from the pulpit when the text prefers to speak poetically etc.
    Sure we need to preach positively what the Bible says about sex, but it should not decend into crudity.

    I find it very telling that Mark himself saw fit to take down the audio sermon from the site.

    However I believe that this problem is not caused primarily by Mark’s wanting to be pastorally helpful, or merely being naive. Given his character he most likely is trying to help.

    I however would suggest that Mark can improve by changing his method of preaching. Taking only a few notes into the pultpit and using a conversational style leads him to say things he hasn’t carefull worked through. This is something I point out on my Critique of his sermon on Worship using Revelation 5.

    My prayer and hope is Mark will think on what I wrote there and become a better preacher than any of us for God’s glory and Kingdom.

    In Christ


  6. This is an interesting post and in many ways I agree with John Macarthur. I have always respected him and agree with almost everything he has to say.

    As a Seattleite I have visited Mars Hill a few times and watched some of Mark Driscoll’s videos. I appreciate the dedication that Mark shows towards family, grace, reformed theology (especially in a time of hip postmodernism, even within Christianity), and Christ (man/God, Crucified/Resurrected) when so often churches that appeal to younger audiences (the future of this world) gloss over the WHOLE POINT of the Bible, which is Christ taking on our sins upon His perfect life and recieving the judgement and wrath of God in an act of propitiation to save us and glorify Himself. Mark’s solid theology, his concern for the spread of the Gospel (and a gospel that nobody would call heretical), and his heart for ministry in broken lives cannot be overlooked.

    But, when dealing with his technique in preaching and his use of “profanity” and “grossly carnal” language, I agree that he needs to grow up and see that he is leading a congregation consisting of many new believers and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, HE IS representing CHRIST. I like his conversational approach, but I think it can (and obviously does) lead to misunderstandings.

    I was actually at the service where he addressed oral sex and while 99% of what he was saying I agreed with, there was something about what he said here that made me think he was probably reading into the scripture and creating controversy out of something that doesn’t need to be controversial, even if it may allude to a sexual act. But the focus of his sermon was sexual freedom WITHIN the marriage. He never condoned abuse, he never condoned any sort of mastering of the mate, and he DOES NOT condone ANY sexual activity outside of marriage. I understood his main point, which was that men and women within marriage should not be afraid to be free with each other. They should not feel ashamed to do a certain act as long as it is within the obvious bounds of marriage and is not abusive or against the other’s will.

    What I find tiring is the need to call this “NC-17” and “grossly carnal”, when in fact any thinking person can see that it is NOT! You are living in a box if you think this is “NC-17” material! While I have never seen an NC-17 movie, I have seen R and PG-13 movies. His comments, weighed within the context of his message, AND CONTAINING NO VULGAR WORDS would be perfectly acceptable in a PG movie with adult themes. I concede that it would more likely be in a PG-13 movie, but his words are no more suggestive than Leviticus 15, which is (obviously, but stated to make a point) in the Bible. It is frustrating to me to be surrounded by Christians who don’t want to wrestle with the sin around them and act as if they don’t sin. If you think that you don’t sin, go follow Joyce Meyer. I’m more impressed with people like Paul, Peter, and Martin Luther, who were as ADAMANT about their sin as they were about Christ’s Saving Grace.

    In regards to the concern over the Christian Church trying to rival the world as to who has the best sexual message: the Christian Church HAS THE BEST SEXUAL MESSAGE!!! People need to know it! IT IS NOT WRONG TO DISCUSS SEX. Repeat after me: IT IS NOT WRONG TO DISCUSS SEX. Especially when we give the CORRECT alternative to the world’s LIES. Most of the problems in this world can be attributed to lies about sex: adultery, fornication, broken homes, troubled youth, jealousy, hate, murder, abuse, disillusionment, rape, disease. If we have the correct alternative, PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW!!! Why would we hide it? Why would we act as if the Bible says nothing about it? John Macarthur is RIGHT ON when he says that the Bible deals with it. Mark Driscoll is RIGHT ON to discuss it. It is not the only issue in the Bible and, RIGHTLY, Jesus must come first, but that does not make it unimportant. Paul dedicated much of his letters to discussing sexual perversion and the Christian alternative. It is not an off-limits topic.

    Mark Driscoll needs work. Like Hansel, he’s so hot right now. And I think it might be too soon for him. He used to swear from the pulpit on occasion, even being labeled by Donald Miller as the “swearing pastor”. He has since repented of this and halted any further profanity. I think that he just needs to clean up his act a little more and keep it in his mind that he is representing Christ to millions.

    Mark Driscoll is also tremendous for Christianity. He is preaching Reformed theology (including the sanctity of scripture and sovereignty of God, which is questioned by half the church these days) to unbelievers and they are, LO AND BEHOLD, believing! That is commendable. He is unflinching on his doctrine. I am very very very happy that he is an alternative for the young generation seeking to follow Jesus, opposed to the Rob Bell’s and other emergent post-moderns. And people tend to harp on John Piper and C. J. Mahaney for supporting Mark, without realizing that Mark is also a portal into Piper and Mahaney’s solid teaching. More often than not I agree with Piper over Driscoll and I just wish I lived in Minnesota, but to know that at least two solid Christian leaders view Driscoll as a worthwhile teacher is reassuring to me.

    Pray, pray, pray for Mark Driscoll. That he would grow in Christ. That he would lead lost souls to the gospel. That he would continue on his path to proper understanding of the scripture. Pastors are people with IMMENSE responsibility and will be held accountable before God for their actions in a degree that the average person would not undertake. It is, however, important to note that they ARE people. Paul was anointed by God, but he did not walk on water. Peter was anointed by God, but he did not raise himself from the dead. These leaders point to something higher and more perfect and worthy than themselves.

    Heresy is different than signs of immaturity. For those people who say that Driscoll is a sign of the endtimes and that he is prostituting Christianity, open your eyes and look at what the Catholic Church did for 1500 years. As long as Mark Driscoll preaches the Cross, then I count him as a brother. Read your Bible and acknowledge your sin. Christ is your lifeboat.


  7. Adam, what you spoke was great insight in to the whole matter and I appreciate you’re call to pray. Aren’t we all being worked on? Isn’t the Holy Spirit at work in all of us? I pray that this is sincerely true.


  8. Wow Adam. You took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you so much for the time and thought you put into that.


  9. Thank you John MacAruthur for being a faithful Christian, upholding the truth of the word of God in an uncompromising way, in this age of great compromise, when men seem more interested in honoring men more than honoring the holy, righteous, pure, clean, wholesome, almighty God, and His word.

    I have read some of Driscoll’s books, and listened to numerous sermons of his. Sure he preaches some doctrinally sound sermons. Sure he verbally uplifts the name of Jesus. Sure his ministry brings in the crowds. It is shocking to see that for so many professing the name of Christ today, that’s all that seems to matter. Everything else is written off as “secondary”. For all those who excuse Driscoll’s foul mouth, remember Jesus? The person we’re actually supposed to be following, obeying, and giving our lives to serve? Shouldn’t we consult Him on what He considers important? Jesus clearly tells us (Matt. 7:21-23) many will call Him “Lord”, and do many wonderful works in His name. Yet He says “depart from Me, I never knew you, you who work iniquity”. To Jesus, it doesn’t matter if you believe in Him, or even if you are engaged in apparent Christian ministry. To Jesus, if you are also doing what is contrary to His word, you are not His. And that’s pretty sobering! Christians are forbidden by God Himself to use language that is unwholesome (lets be real, we all know what He’s talking about). Christians are forbidden to engage in coarse jesting (we all know what that is too). Yet I have to say I was offended at the perverse sexual joking I have heard from Driscoll’s own mouth, from the pulpit. Not just once or twice, but in numerous sermons.

    One of the things Driscollites continue to say is that Driscoll is young, that he has to grow more. Even his own followers acknowledge that. But that disqualifies him from being in the pulpit (“…not a novice…” 1Tim.3:6). The qualifications of overseer also require he be blameless, as well as of a good report among the unsaved. Yet he has gained a reputation in the world for his foul mouth.

    Driscoll regularly drops back to “it’s all about Jesus”, or “I love Jesus”. If he truly does, then he must show repentance of the coarse jesting and the unwholesome words, for Jesus says “If you love Me, keep My commandments”.

    Jesus is not at all impressed by mere sound doctrinal statements, or good intentions. To the seven churches in Revelation He rebuked 5 of the 7 for a range of what many would consider today “secondary” issues. He acknowledged that the church of Ephesus did good works, but rebuked them for losing their first love, so offsetting of their good works that He threatened to remove His candlestick from them unless they repent. Pergamos and Thyatira got searing rebukes for allowing false teaching. Jesus wasn’t impressed by what good the churches were doing. He took very seriously when evil was present in His churches which He requires to be holy and pure, and free of every sort of evil.

    And as for the idea today that as long as people are “coming to Christ, that’s all that really matters”, Sardis had a reputation for being “alive”, perhaps a cool, hip, happening church that lots of people flocked to. Yet Jesus said they are dead!

    It is very apparent that many of those who name the name of Christ are increasingly “no longer enduring sound doctrine”. People are so willing to overlook what Jesus certainly does not overlook. To Jesus, everything taught in His word is of primary importance. We ignore it to our own peril.


  10. Martin,

    Wow, I have to disagree with you. No, I do not agree with Driscoll’s foul language, but you are teaching salvation by works, which directly contradicts God’s Word. To question whether Driscoll is saved over this is going too far…by your standard some one can look at your severity of words afainst Driscoll, and conclude that you are not loving as Christ taught to love and therefore you are aren’t saved.


  11. Quincy, What prompts you to accuse Martin of teaching salvation by works? What is your scriptural basis for this accusation?
    There seems to be an increasing outcry against anyone who speaks the word ‘repent’. This word usually brings the false accusation of teaching salvation by works. Is this what you are basing your accusation on?
    Here is just one passage spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself concerning repentance, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. ” Luke 24:45-47
    I look forward to your biblical response to my question.


  12. Dear Martin:

    Thanks for your comment. It was well written and like a refreshing glass of water in a discernment desert.

    Dear Quincy:

    Martin spoke nothing of salvation by works. What he was speaking of is that IF one is truly saved, their lives will reflect that. Not in some “doctrine” they can repeat or rote memorization of creeds, but in a true conformity to the holiness of Christ.

    The Biblical standard that Martin referenced in 1 Timothy 3:6 is from God, not man, and certainly not from Martin.

    Furthermore, you said, “by your standard some one can look at your severity of words afainst [sic] Driscoll, and conclude that you are not loving as Christ taught to love and therefore you are aren’t saved.” Would you be willing/able to justify that from Scripture? After all, would you not agree that Martin’s comment pale in comparison to our Savior knocking over tables in the Temple and calling those in attendance that they were thieves? Yet to Jesus was not in sin was He?

    Jesus not only taught love, Quincy, He also taught that we should watch out for the wolves, be discerning, live holy, and that there is a coming judgment that will be swift, righteous, and terrifying. Sadly these are all axioms that are foreign to so many today who profess Christ.

    – The Pilgrim


  13. I must respond. Martin quoted Matt. 7:21-23, and he said, “many will call Him “Lord”, and do many wonderful works in His name. Yet He says “depart from Me, I never knew you, you who work iniquity”. To Jesus, it doesn’t matter if you believe in Him, or even if you are engaged in apparent Christian ministry. To Jesus, if you are also doing what is contrary to His word, you are not His.” That is a direct implication that Driscoll is not saved. That is what he was implying. That implication means that even though Driscoll preaches the Word and even though he has led multitudes to Jesus, even though there is good fruit, that because he has stepped out of line with his mouth (which he has), that means he is not saved. He is dead wrong in how he talks, but I think it is going way too far that include him in those the Lord does not know of Matthew 7:21-23. By that criteria, no one would ever be saved, because no one is righteous…no one is perfect.


  14. Those who continually walk in disobedience to any of God’s word prove they are not in Christ. Disobedience is not a characteristic of a true servant of the Lord. That’s not to say we don’t sin, we do. BUT, the true believer continually walks in repentance. I don’t think anyone here is flat out calling Driscoll an unregenerate, time will tell if he is a sheep or a goat. He definitely is not qualified to be an overseer/pastor/preacher. When I read about men like Ryle, Spurgeon, or McCheyne, who used to throw his head down into God’s word and weep for lost souls; compare them to Driscoll, who, thinks it’s necessary to be relevant and cool. What a contrast. That certainly is not how the godly men from days gone by acted or spoke. Even in this present day, godly men such as MacArthur, Washer, Noblit, Mbewe, Baucham, and many others tremble at His word. They understand fully what reverence and fear are all about. Christ Himself said you can tell them by their fruit. To continue using foul language, sexual innuendos and the like from the pulpit will prove Driscoll’s true identity. If he really belongs to Christ, he will repent. If not, he’ll continue to dress like a twelve year old with locker room language. Driscoll is a repeat offender, that makes him suspect. He is in need of prayer; he shouldn’t love the world so much that he tries to be like it. We are called to come out and be separate; rather than worry about who may be wary of Driscoll’s dirty language, filthy mind, and childlike behavior, pray for his soul. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


  15. Quincy~In my prior post, I failed to ask, {again}, for your biblical support of the accusation of Martin’s teaching of salvation by works. Could you please elaborate?

    Another comment you made, “That implication means that even though Driscoll preaches the Word and even though he has led multitudes to Jesus, even though there is good fruit, that because he has stepped out of line with his mouth (which he has), that means he is not saved.”…what exactly do you mean by ‘led multitudes to Jesus’?

    I found this from Oswald Chambers, I thought it may be edifying to you…

    “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

    Paul was a scholar and an orator of the first rank; he is not speaking out of abject humility; but saying that he would veil the power of God if, when he preached the gospel, he impressed people with his “excellency of speech.”

    Belief in Jesus is a miracle produced only by the efficacy of Redemption, not by impressiveness of speech, not by wooing and winning, but by the sheer unaided power of God. The creative power of the Redemption comes through the preaching of the Gospel, but never because of the personality of the preacher.

    The real fasting of the preacher is not from food, but rather from eloquence, from impressiveness and exquisite diction, from everything that might hinder the gospel of God being presented. The preacher is there as the representative of God – “as though God did beseech you by us.” He is there to present the Gospel of God. If it is only because of my preaching that people desire to be better, they will never get anywhere near Jesus Christ.

    Anything that flatters me in my preaching of the Gospel will end in making me a traitor to Jesus; I prevent the creative power of His Redemption from doing its work.

    “I, if I be lifted up . . . , will draw all men unto Me.” ~ Oswald Chambers

    May we always bear in mind this passage from Luke 17:10, “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'”


  16. I haven’t kept up with this post, so I was surprised to see some of what I said taken so out of context by a reader. So for clarity, no, the Scriptures do not teach Salvation by works, nor would I teach that. No, I am not implying Mr. Driscoll is not saved. I don’t know whether he is saved or not. Jesus is pretty clear on who He considers to be His, and who He does not. Matt. 7 and Rev. 2 and 3 are God’s words, not mine. To say that Mr. Driscoll is unsaved just because of “stepping out of line with his mouth” is a gross misinterpretation of what I said. Obviously lyn and The Pilgrim have rightly understood what I attempted to say, and I thank them for their clear defense of God’s truth.

    Too many are merely looking at the pragmatic results of what appears to be “effective ministry”, and ignoring what else Jesus has said about what He approves of and what He doesn’t. And because of such limited focus, too many seem content to allow sin in the church as long as “people are coming to Christ”, which seems to be the bottom line for them. To Jesus, that pragmatic concept is not the Gospel, nor is it taught anywhere in Scripture. And it’s what John MacArthur has been warning Christians about for quite a few years now.

    Scripture says “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Act.2:47). Our job as Christians is first and foremost to be obedient followers of Christ. Not to be friends with the world, not to be like the world, not with wisdom of words to draw them into the church, not to overlook sin in the church as long as “people are coming to Christ”. He will add to His church. But what He wants is a pure and spotless church.

    We all sin occasionally out of weakness. When we confess it to Jesus and repent of it as in 1Jn.1:9, we are forgiven. As lyn, and the Pilgrim have so well pointed out, repentance must be evident in the true believer’s life.

    But a pastor must be a spiritually mature Christian who is an “example to the flock”. Though not perfect, he still must be blameless, and of good reputation to the unsaved world. God has listed very specific rules as to an overseer’s qualifications. Mr. Driscoll clearly doesn’t meet those qualifications. This isn’t about Mr. Driscoll’s salvation, it’s not condemning him for any personal sins. It’s about his pastoral qualifications in the Scriptural sense.

    Nor is this a case of some little pastor in some little town with influence over some small congregation. Mr. Driscoll has world-wide influence, has a church planting network, has disseminated his misrepresentations of Scripture in books, as well as on the internet for millions to download. He has a very real influence upon churches and Christians worldwide. And because of his immense influence, this whole issue must be dealt with seriously and Scripturally.

    Personally, I love Mark Driscoll enough to pray for him. And I pray for his sincere repentance. I pray that in that regard, he would pull all offensive material from his Mars Hill site, pull all recommended reading materials from false teachers from his Resurgence site. I pray that he would submit to those more spiritually mature than himself. And I pray that he would grow and mature into a mighty man of God.


  17. Dear Brother John,

    Your stand for righteousness is critical today. I cannot understand why anyone would validate Mark Driscoll’s ministry to anyone. His mouth is so vile, that it gives no evidence of salvation. Why not tell the Body of Christ that it is okay for them to go to the x-rated movies. Why wouldn’t the whole church be offended by his leud tongue? God’s word states very clearly that “let no unwholesome talk come from your mouth, but only that which is edifying for the listener to hear. His word is the final judgment on this potty mouth. Yes, he needs to be removed from the pulpit and those who choose to stay and listen to this, and to those are not offended by this, are going to be judged with him. I cannot understand why his wife would not take a severe stand against this and refuse to be in anything that promotes this darkness. Why has he been called to speak in conferences? I am alarmed at John Piper that he does not take the same course of action as you have taken. This x-rated mouth does not belong in the fellowship of those who worship and praise the one who gave Himself for this. May God’s judgement be meated out against those who partake in this darkness.

    Horrified at the acceptance of this,
    Ms. Young


  18. David,

    If you notice, your comment has not seen the light of day. When you call a brother in Christ “an arrogant old fool” and “idiot” and talk about “when he finally croaks” and you end your comment by calling us “Stupid close-minded Calvinist cult members” you can be sure that none of your comments will ever make it out of the spam collection.

    So long forever.


  19. To a few brothers here:

    Since when does the Church of Jesus Christ have a problem with sex? If anything, our problem is that we have taken on the world’s flippant and casual attitudes with sex, to the point that many of us have indulged in sexual sin constantly, while still being part of the Body of Christ.

    To say that this younger generation needs frank talk about sex in order to free them up from some horrible oppressive teachings is like saying Tiger Woods needs frank talks about sex because he hasn’t experienced enough of it.

    Get on your knees and learn Christ, you who think He’s concerned about your petty cultural sensitivities. Mark Driscoll needs to come out of the pulpit and live the Christ-life like the rest of us are learning it. Without fame, fanfare, or fans. He is living an undisciplined life because our churches are so out of order, with no mature leadership, and an incredible dearth of authoritative teaching from the Word of God.

    I’m from Seattle, and who cares? I’m tired of the grunge gospel gang, and their constant “me, me, me”. Christ is not about self-fulfillment. He calls us to die to our lives in this world so that we may live to Him. He calls us to forsake the cultural trends in order to follow Him. I don’t care which generation you’re from. The true life of Christ in us never changes, and if thousands follow the new “subcultural icons of Christianity” that makes no difference to God. Mark Driscoll and all others like him are subject to Him, and His Word, not me.

    Blessings on all those who follow Christ with a pure heart,
    A. Brother


  20. I grew up where every second word was a swear word. By God’s grace I didn’t take on the habit. The real problem is that mark lacks understanding of God’s character. WE all lack understanding of Who God is but the more we grow in this understanding in mind and heart the more our lives will be revolutionised. Just because you preach well on some areas it doesn’t give you a pass on everything else!

    If its sin its sin and if you cause a child to sin then BEWARE! And even if it was mark’s freedom if it hurts someone else stop!

    We teach our children to grow in their vocabulary. We don’t leave them in their infancy of words. Same as new believers that have grown up this way you teach them through example of pure speech.

    And people are not getting saved because of him they are getting saved because God showed grace. To give him the glory for this is denying God of His glory. God does not need any of us so Piper saying because mark’s ministry is effective doesn’t mean it makes his methods right.

    I grew up in the same world that mark ministers in and I didn’t think it was Christ-like when I was younger and the more I study our beautiful Christ the more mark’s speech becomes more unbeautiful!

    It’s a very simplist view to think that you can use any language and teach a truth anyway you want is okay. Seriously, this is a no brainer!

    Mark grow up in the Christian faith and lead men to become more Christ-like not mark-like!


  21. To those who have no problem with Mark’s immature methods and others like him. In addition to what Dr. MacArthur and others have stated, I would like to share a story with you. Mark’s foul mouth and poor communication is common today amoung those who think they need to do things SO THAT they can “relate” to unbelievers and then the unbeliever will listen to them. I have a friend who use to say that it was okay for him to go to bars with his unsaved friends and drink because they saw that he was relating to them. I told him, “if you think you have to stoop to worldly things, speech, music, etc. just to share the Gospel, then you have NO understanding of the POWER of God’s Word and His Spirit.” I ran into that friend recently and I said hi to him as he was trying to hide his cigarette. The last I knew he wasn’t attending church.

    Another story, same MO. Two men were going on a mission trip to visit a tribe in the deep jungles of Cambodia. The men of the tribe had long hair and wore long robes so these two friends of mine thought it would be cool to “be” like the tribal men. That way they would have a better chance of success in sharing the Gospel. So they let their hair grow and had it styled just like the men of the tribe. I said they were crazy and that they didn’t have to do that. Just go as you are and share God’s love and His Word with them and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. About three months after coming back to the states, word reached us that the men of the tribe thought my two friends were crazy and they didn’t understand why they dressed like tribal men.

    This is what Mark Driscoll doesn’t understand. The power of God’s Word. Mark doesn’t have to shock people. He doesn’t have to do anything to “RELATE” to people. Just preach Christ and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.


  22. Dr. John MacArthur … I find your comments regarding M. Driscoll true. God’s Word is powerful and alive .. He relates to each of us through the Holy Spirit individually in every issue of the uniqueness of our humanity that He created. Driscoll’s rawness is not only unnecessary but blasphemous in the preaching of the Word and also terribly unkind to those (especially the youth) he is preaching to. And God will not hold him guiltless unless he seriously repents.


  23. This past debate over the meaning of SOS is really sad, and I suppose a sign of the times. Whereas one side defiles the book, the other ends up debasing it, which from God’s view might not be any better. Our spiritual forebears were almost all agreed with Spurgeon – “Communion with Christ is a high mystery that is never learned in the dame-school of repentance, not often in the grammar-school of faith, but we must go the university of repentance to learn it, leaning our head on Jesu’s bosom, and having foretastes of the fellowship which makes heaven what it is; this is one of those rare experiences which can only belong in its frequency to the full grown believer. I do not wonder that some people cannot read Solomon’s Song. We do not expect that they should. If I put a book of algebra or a table of logarithms into the hand of a child who has just learned the multiplication table, I do not marvel that he should not understand it. The fact is, that the Song is to the whole Bible what the holy of holies was to the temple. You may walk into the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospels, and say, “Here I am in the outer court of the temple;” you may go to the Psalms and to the Epistles, and say, “Here I am in the court of the priests;” but the Canticles are the holy of holies; and he that has not learned to enter with the high priest into that which is within the vail, will never be able to read Solomon’s Song. These experiences, I say, are for men of full age, who have had their senses exercised.”


  24. According to the definitions of sodomy, it is oral or anal sex so how can a Christian legitimize this type of behavior in their marriage bed? It seems that the “Church” is so enamored with the ways of the world that they want to be able to say this is okay. Seriously, can you do it unto the Lord, does it exhibit Christ’s love for the Church? It’s humiliating at best and subjugates the woman. What’s more, God destroyed the Canaanites for participating in it why would we want it in our bedrooms? Legalizing abortion, sodomy and homosexual unions does not make them right in God’s eyes

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I appreciate DC allowing new comments on older articles. In light of all that has come to pass concerning Mark Driscoll I wonder how many would care to, extend and revise, their previous comments. The fact that some are saved even by those who preach out of vain glory does not justify the method.

    Meg I want to caution you concerning your hermeneutics on ANY TOPIC. Allow me to illustrate my point with your comment on the topic of sodomy. You have used a modern dictionary to define sodomy rather scriptures. My concordance lists Sodom many times and sodomite a few times and sodomy not once.
    The Bible itself never describes the physical act of biblical or unbiblical sex itself. It does list those whom you may lay with and whom you may not lay with.
    We are not to read things into a text or go beyond what is written. On any topic if the method of arriving at your conclusion is flawed then the conclusion must be suspect at best. Being suspect makes nothing either true or false.
    What we know from scripture is that the men of Sodom wanted to KNOW, “the sojourning men”, in Lots house. Was it the sexual positions required that is condemned in scripture or was it the act of men laying with men that is condemned. Scripture teaches that only the sacred union of a husband and wife are a type of Christ and the Church.
    When something is implied we must guard against imposing bias into the conclusion on any topic.


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