Yet, Mark is quoted in the article as saying something that I find quite disturbing. After the New York Times makes it known Driscoll has little patience for dissent, the newspaper writes that in 2007, two church elders protested a plan to reorganize Mars Hill Church. The elders, according to the newspaper, felt the reorganization consolidated power in the hands of Driscoll and his closest aides, giving to the pastor too much authority and control. Driscoll told the congregation that he asked advice on how to handle stubborn subordinates from a “mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighter, good guy” who attends Mars Hill.
“His answer was brilliant," reported the pastor. “He said, ‘I break their nose.'"
The New York Times goes on to report that when one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. Pastor Mark Driscoll then gives to the New York Times the money quote that ought to send a shiver up the spine of every member of an evangelical, conservative church in America. Pastor Driscoll said:
“They are sinning through questioning."
The Bible tells us that true leadership is found through men who are courageous enough to be questioned. Jesus said that real leaders are servants, not masters. The incredible notion that a member of a church should be shunned, persecuted or disciplined for simply asking questions of the pastor has more in common than the cultic practices of Jim Jones than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let me be clear. Those kind of pastors - pastors that advocate an authoritianism inherent in the pulpit, that stifle any and all dissent from the members of their congregations, that humiliate and denigrate the members who for the sake of conscience ask questions - could very well be considered great expositors of the Word of God and doctrinally orthodox. Yet those pastors display a character that is the antithesis of the character of Christ, an ironhandedness that is the opposite of genuine grace, and a disposition that should cause their congregations to realize that their pastors are but one step away from falling over the precipice of moral failure in terms of their church ministries or personal lives.
The problem in conservative pulpits of America is not a denial of the Word of God, the problem in conservative pulipits of America is the preacher acts as if his words are the Word of God.
In His Grace,