The Pathway

Official News Journal of the Missouri Baptist Convention



Various Quotes from Mark Driscoll,

President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network


The following excerpts are taken from Driscoll’s Books:  “Confession’s of a Reformission Rev.” (Confessions) and “Radical Reformission” (Reformission)

(Bold Print Emphasis Ours)


Driscoll: Writing for the furtherance of the emerging church: 

“Now that the time has come to write, I am presenting this book as a contribution toward the furtherance of the emerging church in the emerging culture.”   (Radical Reformission, p.17)

“I invite you to turn the page and begin a radical journey with me as we explore what life in Christ can mean in the context of an emerging church in a changing world.”  (Radical Reformission, p.23)

What kind of “gospel” does the emerging church proclaim?

 “The emerging church proclaims a gospel of freedom.”  (Confessions, p. 25)

Why did Driscoll start Mars Hill Church?

“So I decided to start a church, for three reasons.  First, I hated going to church and wanted one I liked, so I thought I would just start my own.  Second, God had spoken to me in one of those weird charismatic moments and told me to start a church.  Third, I am scared of God and try to do what he says.”  (Confessions, p.39)

Driscoll’s vision for his Church:

“I envisioned a large church that hosted concerts for non-Christian bands and fans on a phat sound system, embraced the arts, trained young men to be godly husbands and fathers, planted other churches, and led people to work with Jesus Christ as missionaries to our city.”  (Confessions, p.40)

Just a few minor problems in the secular music ministry: 

“In its first few years, the Paradox [a secular music ministry of Driscoll’s church] hosted about 650 concerts for about 65,000 kids.  We have had only a few minor problems, like the Japanese punk band that got naked during their set for no apparent reason and another band that set off fireworks during their show.”  (Confessions, p.127)

No position on stealing?

“Our church services started to stink a whole lot less.  We scraped together enough money to buy some big honking speakers, and I stole an unused sound console from my old church along with a projection screen, which were sins that Jesus thankfully died to forgive.”  (Confessions, p.62)

Stolen Electricity?

“We never paid for electricity in our office apartment because the building was illegally hooked up to the power grid and all our power was stolen.”  (Confessions, p.125)

Driscoll’s R-rated sermons on sex: 

“Some of the sermons on sex were R-rated, and we gave warnings to parents and sometimes saw whole visiting youth groups walk out blushing halfway through the sermon.  On other occasions, people walked out during the sermon and flipped me off on their way out, a trend that has continued.”  (Confessions, p.134)

Just an occasional R-rated movie at church: 

“Pastor James continues to lead our monthly film and theology class, at which attendance rises to more than two hundred people depending on the film.  He continues to show an occasional unedited R-rated movie to train our people to think critically about the themes preached through film, which is the new cultural form of preaching.”  (Confessions, p.157)

A passion for “cool?”

“I had grown facial hair, started cussing again (I had stopped for about fifteen minutes after I got saved), and briefly considered taking up smoking but had asthma, which kept me from achieving my full cool potential.”  (Confessions, p.50)

Tithing and cussing issues?

“Apparently, the Ghost only led people to give once every presidential election, and I hit rock bottom one Sunday when our offering was $137.  I stood alone in the room, counting the money and cussing at the offering box for being filled with one-dollar bills and the ominous smell of imminent death.”  (Confessions, p.47)

Gambling for God?

“I occasionally bought lottery tickets and promised God I would tithe if he’d let me win, but to no avail.”  (Confessions, p.58)

Why does Driscoll continue to be thought of as the “cussing pastor?”

“This season [at church] was messy and I sinned and cussed a lot, but God somehow drew a straight line with my crooked Philistine stick.”  (Confessions, p.130)

Teaching the men of Mars Hill the essentials of life: 

“We also began a ‘boot camp’ for our young men, teaching them how to get a wife, have sex with that wife, get a job, budget money, buy a house, father a child, study the Bible, stop looking at porn, and brew decent beer.”  (Confessions, p.131)

Why the confusion in Driscoll’s church?

“I also did not explain in written form that we were theologically conservative and culturally liberal, which caused great confusion because half of the church was angry that the other half was smoking, while the other half was angry that I taught from the Bible.”  (Confessions, p.46)

(Driscoll also writes about being “culturally liberal yet theologically conservative” in his book, “Radical Reformission,” p.22)

Adam and Eve: “Happy, horny [and] holy?”

“The Bible could end right there [in Genesis], after only two chapters, with the man and woman naked, eating fruit, and trying to fill the earth all by their happy, horny, holy selves.”  (Radical Reformission, p.28)

Abraham: “a cowardly old man?”

“As time rolls along, God also works through a cowardly old man named Abraham, who is happy to whore out his loving and beautiful antique of a wife to avoid conflict.”  (Radical Reformission, p.28)

Driscoll speaks of Mary and Joseph: 

“And to top it all off, God comes to earth.  He has a mom whom everyone thinks is a slut, a dad whom they think has the brilliance of a five-watt bulb for believing the ‘virgin birth’ line, and brothers who likely pummel him frequently, because even God would have to get at least one wedgie from his brothers if he were to be fully human.”  (Radical Reformission, p.29)

Jesus telling “knock-knock jokes?”

“To the religious leaders, Jesus is a scandal – his followers are felons – and every time they see Jesus, it agitates them that he is always surrounded by a crowd, telling knock-knock jokes to miscreants who love his sense of humor (because his perfection had to have included comedic timing).”  (Radical Reformission, p.30)

Jesus kicks off  His ministry as a “bartender?”

“Anyway, Jesus shows up at the wedding and begins his public ministry.  God has come to earth, and he kicks things off as a bartender.”  (Radical Reformission, p.30)

A steady diet of the things of this world will make us better missionaries? 

“I am encouraging Christians on reformission to involve themselves in their local cultures not merely for the purpose of entertainment but primarily for the purpose of education.  As a missionary, you will need to watch television shows and movies, listen to music, read books, peruse magazines, attend events, join organizations, surf websites, and befriend people that you might not like to better understand people that Jesus loves.”  (Radical Reformission, p.103)

Driscoll:  Repenting of his sin of abstinence from alcohol?

“After I entered the ministry as a man of legal drinking age, the drum was again repeatedly beaten for me by well-meaning older pastors.  So I never drank alcohol until I was thirty years of age.  About that time, I was studying the Scriptures for a sermon about Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine, as reported in John’s gospel, a miracle that Jesus performed when he was about my age.  My Bible study convicted me of my sin of abstinence from alcohol.  So in repentance I drank a hard cider over lunch with our worship pastor.”  (Radical Reformission, p.146)

Driscoll is clear on alcohol:  If abstinence is a “sin,” then beer-brewing lessons at church for the men of the church is a logical end result of such thinking.  But in light of Driscoll’s admitted problems with “cussing,” “anger,” “stealing,” etc., is it logical to think that he and the men of his church will be faithful in avoiding drunkenness by always drinking in “moderation?”  Below, Driscoll rightly identifies the problems associated with drinking too much alcohol.  However, because “self control” will always be a serious problem for sinful humanity, why would any responsible Christian pastor/leader entice the people of God toward such destructive, addictive behavior as alcohol, especially with its long, devastating history?  One failure at “moderation,” and any of the below Biblical examples of drunkenness (with the right circumstances) can become an unwanted personal reality.    

“Biblical Problems Caused by Drunkenness

·   Incest (Gen. 19:32-35)

·   Violence (Prov. 4:17)

·   Adultery (Rev. 17:2)

·   Mockery and brawling (Prov. 20:1)

·   Poverty (Prov. 21:17)

·   Late night and early morning drinking (Isa. 5:11-12)

·   Hallucinations (Isa. 28:7)

·   Legendary antics (Isa. 5:22)

·   Murder (2 Sam. 11:13-15)

·   Gluttony and poverty (Prov. 23:20-21)

·   Vomiting (Jer. 25:27; 48:26; Isa. 19:14)

·   Staggering (Jer. 25:27; Ps. 107:27; Job 12:25)

·   Madness (Jer. 51:7)

·   Loudness combined with laughter and then prolonged sleep (Jer. 51:39)

·   Nakedness (Hab. 2:15; Lam. 4:21)

·   Sloth (Joel 1:5)

·   Escapism (Hos. 4:11)

·   Depression (Luke 24:34)

·   Staying up to party all night (1 Thess. 5:7)” 

(Radical Reformission, p.148.  Reprinted as it appeared.)


From Driscoll’s Book:  “Vintage Jesus” (first printed 2008)

Driscoll’s thoughts about Mary, the mother of Jesus: 

“Jesus’ mom was a poor, unwed teenage girl who was mocked for claiming she conceived via the Holy Spirit.  Most people thought she concocted a crazy story to cover the ‘fact’ she was knocking boots with some guy in the backseat of a car at the prom.”  (p.11)

Driscoll’s view of Jesus according to the Gospel of Mark: 

“The Gospel of Mark, for example, revealed a Jesus who was antithetical to the ‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild’ sung about in Wesley’s famous hymn…  In the first chapter of Mark, Jesus starts off by yelling at complete strangers to repent of their sin, like the wingnuts with billboards who occasionally show up at shopping centers.  Shortly thereafter, Jesus orders some guys to quit their jobs and follow him, and before long Jesus is telling a demon to shut up and healing a leper only to tell him to shut up too.  In the second chapter, Jesus picks a fight with some well-mannered religious types and does the equivalent of breaking into a church on a Sunday morning to make a sandwich with the communion bread because he was hungry. 

“In the third chapter, Jesus gets angry and also grieves and apparently needs Praxil.  Then he ignores his own mom, which threw Focus on the Hebrew Family into a tizzy, so they quickly issued a position paper renouncing his actions.  In the fourth chapter, Jesus rebukes the wind, which caused an uproar with the local pantheists.  In chapter 5, Jesus kills two thousand pigs, sending the animal rights activist blogosphere into a panic and creating a bacon famine only rivaled by the great Irish potato famine.  In chapter 6, Jesus offends some people and apparently needs sensitivity training.  In chapter 7, a few religious types have some questions for Jesus, and he cruelly calls them ‘hypocrites’ and goes on a lengthy tirade about them, which seemed very intolerant of their alternative theological lifestyle. 

“In chapter 8, Jesus sighs in frustration, spits on a handicapped guy, and calls Peter ‘Satan,” although thankfully no one sued for assault or slander.  In chapter 9, Jesus gets sick of folks and asks them, ‘How long do I have to put up with you?’  That’s just before telling some other people to cut off their hands and feet and to gouge out their eyes – a statement which led to picketing from the local body dysmorphic disorder recovery group.  In chapter 10, Jesus tells a rich guy to sell all his stuff and give the money to the poor, which put him in bad graces with the local prosperity-theology luncheon for pastors who were hoping for Bling Christ.  In chapter 11, he has one of his guys take a donkey without asking like some kleptomaniac donkeylifter, proceeds to curse and kill a fig tree, which really upset the environmental activists who were promoting justification by recycling, and goes on to loot some small businesses and whip some small business leaders who were decent, taxpaying Republicans. 

“In chapter 12, Jesus tells people they are wrong and don’t know their Bibles, which upset the postmoderns because Jesus was clearly using a narrow modernist epistemology.  Jesus also tells some Sunday school teachers they are going to hell, which made the universalistic Emergent folks immediately engage in a conversation about the mythology of hell and fingerpaint about the emotional wounds caused by his words.  In chapter 13, Jesus threatens to destroy the temple, which put the nation on heightened security alert that included taking off one’s sandals before boarding a camel.  In the fourteenth chapter, Jesus actually yells at his friends for taking a nap late at night after running them all over the place for about three years as an obvious workaholic who needed to start drinking decaf and listening to taped sounds of running water while doing aromatherapy so he could learn to relax.  In chapter 15, the religious folk killed him for being like that, which seemed perfectly fine to everyone except a few women.  The story ends in chapter 16 with him alive again and the trembling, astonished, and frightened disciples getting it and heading out to handle snakes while they go to offend the whole world with the gospel. 

“In summary, the Jesus of Mark’s gospel is not fitting for old ladies in hats and men in suits like those we see at church.”  (pgs. 43-44)

The calling of Matthew:

“An example of Jesus’ priestly work in the life of one person is found in Matthew 9:9-13.  We meet a man named Matthew, a crooked thief and tax collector who is despised by everyone.  While sitting at his tax booth extorting people one day, none other than Jesus walks by.  Rather than confronting Matthew as the prophet, Jesus surprisingly extends a hand of friendship to him by inviting himself to Matthew’s house for dinner.  Joining them later at the party at Matthew’s house was nothing short of a very bad hip-hop video, complete with women in clear heels, dudes with their pants around their ankles and handguns in their underwear strap, lots of gold teeth, bling, spinners on camels, cheap liquor, and grinding to really loud music with a lot of bass.  When word got out to the religious folks, they were perplexed as to how Jesus could roll with such a jacked-up posse.  Jesus’ answer was purely priestly.  Jesus said that they were sick and needed mercy.”  (p.77)


Other Quotes from Mark Driscoll

From Driscoll’s Resurgence Blog:  “I will not be drinking [or] cussing…”

“Nonetheless, the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., has extended to me a very kind hand of friendship for which I am truly grateful and want to publicly declare my thanks. They have invited me to join my dear friend Dr. Ed Stetzer along with others such as Daniel Akin to speak at their upcoming Convergent Conference. The details are here or below for anyone wanting to join us. For the record, I will not be drinking, cussing, or sprinkling infants and calling it baptism but do hope to honor Jesus with my message.”

From the Mars Hill Church Website:  “Beer-brewing lessons” at the church?

“Some have asked the question, ‘Does Mars Hill know how to rock the flock?’  That’s been answered with a slew of talented musicians leading worship and the volume turned up as loud as is legally possible.

“Others have asked ‘Does Mars Hill know how to enjoy a good brew (coffee or beer)?’  That has also been answered with extra-strength java generously available at all church services and beer-brewing lessons whenever a large group of MH men get together.

“But there is one big question that has remained unanswered for years: ‘Does Mars Hill know how to party?’  (sorry, swaying to the music during worship doesn’t count as a sufficient answer). Well, folks, the results are in. Mars Hill can indeed part-ay. This was emphatically confirmed by the fabulous time that was had by over 700 partiers at the recent Red Hot Bash on New Year’s Eve.”

From an interview with Mark Driscoll by Ed Stetzer:

Driscoll’s response to:  “Mark the Cussing Pastor”

“This infamous phrase is like the high school photo in the yearbook that you hope no one sees. In 1997 as the church was just getting started, a man came up from Oregon having heard what we were doing and was considering moving to Seattle to be a part of Mars Hill Church. Donald Miller was just getting started and had not published a book yet. At that point our church was very small and visitors stuck out. I took Don out to dinner to try to entice him to come back to our church. We went to a pizza place afterward and talked about the church. He really wanted to stay in Portland if a church like Mars Hill existed there. A friend of mine Rick McKinley did start a church in Portland and Don became a member there. For the first few years his book, Blue Like Jazz didn't sell many copies. He didn't even talk to me about the book but I must have said something over dinner that led him to label me as the cussing pastor. So over a decade later at a casual dinner my brand was immovably affixed. Don is a friend of mine but I just wish an off-comment at a meal isn't my defining moment.

“What gets me into trouble is my humor. It is what keeps me sane. I have a stressful life and I fear that I will be the guy that shows up at work unknowingly with his underwear outside of his pants. The pressure and stress is great. I receive death threats. Our church has gone from 1,200 to 6,000 in four years. It is very intense. I have had no one else to lean on. So for me, telling jokes and being light hearted is my way of coping with stress. But sometimes when I get overly stressed, my mouth and anger gets me into trouble. My tone, my attitude and my mouth are indicators of how closely I walk with Jesus. I have come to realize that I speak for more than just Mark Driscoll. I speak for Jesus. I know I can't be this foul-mouthed, gunslinger for Jesus. I still think strong language and a prophetic edge is appropriate. But shock-jock language isn't.”


Is Driscoll Really Distancing Himself from the Left-Wing of the

Emerging Church Movement – “Emergent”?

The Latest “Version of Liberalism” coming from within the Emerging Church Movement:

“I had to distance myself, however, from one of many streams in the emerging church because of theological differences.  Since the late 1990’s, this stream has become known as Emergent.  The emergent church is part of the Emerging Church Movement but does not embrace the dominant ideology of the movement.  Rather, the emergent church is the latest version of liberalism.  The only difference is that the old liberalism accommodated modernity and the new liberalism accommodates postmodernity.”   (Confessions, p.21, published 2006) 

From Driscoll’s Resurgence Blog:  January 13, 2006

“In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God's sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake.”

The following is from the Christianity Today blog site where Driscoll chastises Brian McLaren and his “Tonto,” Doug Pagitt, from Emergent Village for their views on homosexuality.

For me, the concern started when McLaren in the February 7, 2005 issue of Time Magazine said, “Asked at a conference last spring what he thought about gay marriage, Brian McLaren replied, ‘You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that there's no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.’” Sadly, by failing to answer, McLaren was unwilling to say what the Bible says and in so doing really hurt God’s feelings and broke his heart.

Then, Brian’s Tonto Doug Pagitt, an old acquaintance of mine, wrote the following in a book he and I both contributed to called Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches edited by Robert Webber and due out this spring:

“The question of humanity is inexorably link[ed] to sexuality and gender. Issues of sexuality can be among the most complex and convoluted we need to deal with. It seems to me that the theology of our history does not deal sufficiently with these issues for our day. I do not mean this a critique, but as an acknowledgement that our times are different. I do not mean that we are a more or less sexual culture, but one that knows more about the genetic, social and cultural issues surrounding sexuality and gender than any previous culture. Christianity will be impotent to lead a conversation on sexuality and gender if we do not boldly integrate our current understandings of humanity with our theology. This will require us to not only draw new conclusions about sexuality but will force to consider new ways of being sexual.”

And on January 23rd McLaren wrote an article for Leadership that is posted on this blog. In it he argues that because the religious right is mean to gays we should not make any decision on the gay issue for 5-10 years.

As the pastor of a church of nearly 5000 in one of America’s least churched cities filled with young horny people this really bummed me out. Just this week a young man who claims to be a Christian and knows his Bible pretty well asked if he could have anal sex with lots of young men because he liked the orgasms. Had I known McLaren was issuing a Brokeback injunction I would have scheduled an appointment with him somewhere between 2011-2016.

Lastly, for the next 5-10 years you are hereby required to white out 1 Peter 3:15 which says “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” from your Bible until further notice from McLaren because the religious right forget the gentleness and respect part and the religious left forgot the answer the question part. Subsequently, a task force will be commissioned to have a conversation about all of this at a labyrinth to be named later. Once consensus is reached a finger painting will be commissioned on the Emergent web site as the official doctrinal position.

In conclusion, this is all just gay.

Pastor Mark Driscoll 

This article can be accessed here:

With all this opposition to the “Emergent stream” of the emerging church movement, Driscoll co-authors a book in 2007 with the very Emergent leaders he claims to be distancing himself from.  His church then hosted a conference with these same Emergent leaders on June 1-2, 2007. 

“My friends at Zondervan have recently begun shipping a book titled, Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches, edited by Dr. Robert Webber. Contributing to the book are five pastors (Karen Ward, Doug Pagitt, Dan Kimball, John Burke, and myself) with varying beliefs on the assigned issues of the Trinity, the atonement, and Scripture. As is common in counterpoint books, we each wrote one chapter, and then briefly responded to the chapters written by the other contributors. We never did meet for the project, but over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting each person in various contexts, so that was helpful in allowing me to understand something of their ministry and theological perspective. Anyone wanting to order the book can do so here. You can also view and download a portion of my chapter that Zondervan has made available here.

“Also, beginning on February 6th at the National Pastors Convention in San Diego, each of the contributors will be part of an extended discussion (you can find more information about the conference here. And, Friday June 1- Saturday June 2 we will have the authors in Seattle for an event hosted at Mars Hill Church where we will discuss/dialogue/debate various theological issues that are some of the hot topics among varying streams of the emerging church.” 

Note:  Karen Ward is a member of the Board of Emergent Village and Pagitt [McLaren’s “Tonto”] is a Senior Fellow at Emergent Village.  Brian McLaren is chairman of the board.


Why Does Driscoll continue to involve himself with those he claims to so strongly disagree?

“But I assure you that I speak as one within the Emerging Church Movement who has great love and appreciation for Christian leaders with theological convictions much different from my own.”  Taken from:  (Confessions, p.23)

Click here for Driscoll’s historical account of his involvement with the emerging church movement.,2%20APastoralPerspectiveontheEmergentChurch%5BDriscoll%5D.PDF 

John MacArthur on “Mark Driscoll the Cussing Pastor”

Below is an excerpt from an article written by John MacArthur, titled “Grunge Christianity and Cussing Pastors?  What Next?”  The full text of the article can be accessed here:

Worldly preachers seem to go out of their way to put their carnal expertise on display—even in their sermons. In the name of connecting with “the culture” they want their people to know they have seen all the latest programs on MTV; familiarized themselves with all the key themes of “South Park”; learned the lyrics to countless tracks of gangsta rap and heavy metal music; and watched who-knows-how-many R-rated movies. They seem to know every fad top to bottom, back to front, and inside out. They’ve adopted both the style and the language of the world—including lavish use of language that used to be deemed inappropriate in polite society, much less in the pulpit. They want to fit right in with the world, and they seem to be making themselves quite comfortable there.

Mark Driscoll is one of the best-known representatives of that kind of thinking. He is a very effective communicator—a bright, witty, clever, funny, insightful, crude, profane, deliberately shocking, in-your-face kind of guy. His soteriology is exactly right, but that only makes his infatuation with the vulgar aspects of contemporary society more disturbing.

Driscoll ministers in Seattle, birthplace of “grunge” music and heart of the ever-changing subculture associated with that movement. Driscoll’s unique style and idiom might aptly be labeled “post-grunge.” His language—even in his sermons—is deliberately crude. He is so well known for using profane language that in Blue Like Jazz (p. 133), Donald Miller (popular author and icon of the “Emerging Church” movement, who speaks of Driscoll with the utmost admiration) nicknamed him “Mark the Cussing Pastor.”

I don’t know what Driscoll’s language is like in private conversation, but I listened to several of his sermons. To be fair, he didn’t use the sort of four-letter expletives most people think of as cuss words—nothing that might get bleeped on broadcast television these days. Still, it would certainly be accurate to describe both his vocabulary and his subject matter at times as tasteless, indecent, crude, and utterly inappropriate for a minister of Christ. In every message I listened to, at least once he veered into territory that ought to be clearly marked off limits for the pulpit.

Some of the things Driscoll talks freely and frequently about involve words and subject matter I would prefer not even to mention in public, so I am not going to quote or describe the objectionable parts. Besides, the issue has already been discussed and dissected at several blogs. Earlier this year, Tim Challies cited one typical example of Driscoll’s vulgar flippancy from Confessions of a Reformission Rev. The sermons I listened to also included several from Driscoll’s “Vintage Jesus” series, including the one Phil Johnson critiqued in October. 

The point I want to make is not about Driscoll’s language per se, but about the underlying philosophy that assumes following society down the Romans 1 path is a valid way to “engage the culture.” It’s possible to be overexposed to our culture’s dark side. I don’t think anyone can survive full immersion in today’s entertainments and remain spiritually healthy.