Mark Driscoll’s Open Letter Apology: Has the Mars Hill Pastor Finally Heard the Singing of the Whos Down in Whoville?

driscollI was a Mark Driscoll fan…and then I wasn’t!

Back in 2007 I didn’t know much about Driscoll other than he was that “swearing” pastor Donald Miller mentions in Blue Like Jazz.  Then a friend suggested I read his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. (Conveniently I worked at Barnes & Noble at the time which meant just grabbing it off the shelf) 

Reading it I was struck by the raw energy Mark Driscoll possessed.  Here was a guy who had grew a church in Seattle Washington (no easy task) and seemed to just call ’em as he saw them without a lot of regard to popular opinion (an attribute I have a particular soft spot for.)

When he took the men in his church to task saying something like “the Kingdom of God is not going to advance with guys who have their pants down around their ankles and a tissue in their hand” I nearly fell out of my chair.

Yep, I liked him

But then… the other stuff started coming out;

The Anger Guy

The Misogyny Guy

The Plagiarism Guy

The Control Freak Guy

The neo-Calvinist “God Hates You” Guy

Then there was the high profile exits of fellow Mars Hill Church leaders.

Finally last week news broke that Driscoll’s church had paid a marketing company US$ 210,000 to manipulate book sales of Mark’s new book Real Marriage to catapult it up to the top of the New York Times Bestseller lists.

Perhaps that was that final straw that did it…

Christianity Today is breaking a story of an open letter of apology Driscoll has written to his congregation.  In the letter he:

acknowledges an unhealthy spiritual aspect in himself and the church:

… it was clear that both the church and I were unhealthy in some ways,.. For years, I felt a joy in teaching the Bible and love for the people, but frankly was overwhelmed on how to organize and lead all that was happening… I was frustrated at my shortcomings, but needed help from people who were more experienced and mature. In my worst moments, I was angry in a sinful way. For those occasions, I am sorry.

apologizes for the recent controversy involving his new book:

Instead, I now see it as manipulating a book sales reporting system, which is wrong. I am sorry that I used this strategy, and will never use it again. I have also asked my publisher to not use the “#1 New York Times bestseller” status in future publications, and am working to remove this from past publications as well.

reaches out to leaders who left the church hurt and bitter:

I understand that people who saw or experienced my sin during this season are hurt and in some cases have not yet come to a place of peace or resolution. I have been burdened by this for the past year and have had private meetings one at a time to learn from, apologize to, and reconcile with people. Many of those meetings were among the most encouraging moments in my time at our church. Sadly, not all of those relationships are yet mended, but I am praying that God is gracious to get us to that place of grace. Now that others have come forward, my desire is to have similar meetings with those who are willing.

pledges to a new direction in regards to ministry

I have been deeply convicted by God that my angry-young-prophet days are over, to be replaced by a helpful, Bible-teaching spiritual father.


Is it possible?  Has the proverbial Grinch sitting atop his lair on Mars Hill finally heard the joyful singing of the Whos down in Whoville?

Could Mark Driscoll’s heart suddenly have grown three sizes that day?

We’ll have to see how this plays out I suppose but one thing I do know…

God loves Mark Driscoll and that means anything is possible!

I was a Mark Driscoll fan…and then I wasn’t…

…maybe I could be again!