Inside Mark Driscoll’s disturbed mind

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

[Content note: crude language, slurs, misogyny, homophobia]

I haven’t blogged about Mark Driscoll in ages.  

In the past, I’ve been critical of his bullying tactics and his views on sex and gender, but lately it seems the influential Seattle mega-church pastor has made plenty of news on his own, as it was recently revealed he plagiarized, used church funds to buy a spot on the New York Times bestseller list, and engaged in other alleged misappropriation of funds. 

Driscoll has long been known for his authoritarian leadership over Mars Hill Church, and for his controversial teachings regarding gender and sexuality. He made national news in 2006 when he blamed Ted Haggard’s affair with a male escort on Haggard’s wife for “letting herself go” and has often repeated the teaching that women who fail to please their husbands sexually (by providing regular oral sex and maintaining their attractiveness) bear some responsibility for their husbands’ infidelity.

Driscoll refers to pacifists as “pansies,” the emerging church as “homo-evangelicals” who worship a “Richard Simmons hippie queer Christ,” and churches with women in leadership as “chickified,” warning that “if Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God’s men.” 

He has long spoken out against the supposed “feminization” of the church and argued in support of a more violent, macho-man Christianity, stating “I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”  In 2011, he issued a call on Facebook for his followers to share stories about and ridicule “effeminate anatomically male worship leaders.” 

Those of us who have been following Driscoll’s rise to popularity within the neo-Reformed movement over the last decade have been warning that teachings like these reveal a disturbed and dangerous man who needs counseling, not a place at the pulpit. But many of his supporters continue to back him, arguing that though his language is salty, his teachings are “biblical.” 

This week, several bloggers have uncovered some of Driscoll’s online rants from his early days as a pastor.  In his book, Confessions of a Reformission Rev, Driscoll writes about how he posted as “William Wallace II” on the discussion board on his church Web site. Here are his words:

Well, it seems those posts have recently been reassembled here. Below are some excerpts from the 100+ pages of Driscoll's rants.

Driscoll on young men: 

“We live in a completely pussified nation. We could get every man, real man as opposed to pussified James Dobson knock-off crying Promise Keeping homoerotic worship loving mama's boy sensitive emasculated neutered exact male replica evangellyfish, and have a conference in a phone booth. It all began with Adam, the first of the pussified nation, who kept his mouth shut and watched everything fall headlong down the slippery slide of hell/feminism when he shut his mouth and listened to his wife who thought Satan was a good theologian when he should have lead her and exercised his delegated authority as king of the planet. As a result, he was cursed for listening to his wife and every man since has been his pussified sit quietly by and watch a nation of men be raised by bitter penis envying burned feministed single mothers who make sure that Johnny grows up to be a very nice woman who sits down to pee…”

“One day Johnny finally gives in to the pressure of his pre-humpers singles ministry and gets stuck with some gal left on the shelf long after her expiration date that is just like dear old mom who wants him to shut up like Adam, take his beating, and join a church men's group that is really a woman's group in disguise complete with cookies and crying and antidepressants to cope with the insanity. Poor Johnny is by now so completely whacked that he's afraid of having kids and hold off his taking on any more responsibility as long as he can because Johnny is a boy trapped in a man's body walking around in a world of other boys all trying to keep their pee pee behind their zipper and do just like their momma told them and be good women.

And so the culture and families and churches sprint to hell because the men aren't doing their job and the feminists continue their rant that it's all our fault and we should just let them be pastors and heads of homes and run the show. And the more we do, the more hell looks like a good place because at least a man is in charge, has a bit of order and let's men spit and scratch as needed. And all their whining and fighting is nothing more than further evidence that we are still kings and unless we do our job everyone and everything is getting screwed except Johnny (metaphorically speaking of course).”

Driscoll on gay Christians: 

“Can I be a gay Christian? In the infamous words of the now metaphysically challenged and likely kindling ex-pentecostal pastor Sam Kinison "How can one man look at another man's hairy ass and find love?" What an insane conversation. Every man knows you can't build anything with bolts and bolts. Damn freaks. And the pastel cashmere wearing sensible haircut clean shaven loafer wearing minivan driving suburban sympathizers contend "But they really really love each other." I love dogs, but I don't stick my tongue in their mouth and lobby congress for a tax deductible union. "But we need to be nice." What the hell for?  A man is free to knock boots with any sad hairy lump of clay desperate enough to climb in the sheets and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that total depravity is an understatement, but what the hell you want from me? Should we form some form of homo Promise Keepers so we can all climb into a stadium and hug each other and cry like damn junior high girls watching Dawson's Creek. I'd tell you to kiss my ass, but I'm afraid you'd take me up on it.”

Driscoll, in response to a woman on the discussion board: 

“I speak harshly because I speak to men. A woman might not understand that. I also do not answer to women. So your questions will be ignored. I would however, recommend to you a few versed to memorize: I Timothy 2:11-15 I Corinthians 14:33-35.To learn them, ask your father or husband. If you have neither, ask your pastor. If she is a  female, find another church. If you are the pastor, quit your job and repent.” 

Driscoll, in response to posters who objected to his comments: 

“I have been thinking and praying about this whole string and I am really sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings. I am sorry if men of God had their inner child spanked. I feel terrible for all the tears you guys have shed over the pain of my words. Please forgive me. Please come to my house right now so I can hold you tightly in my arms and draw you to myself and whisper oh so sweetly in your ears...shut the hell up."

“Please hike up your skirt and come to my house. I'll bake you something and pretend like I care.” 

Driscoll on “pussified” men: 

“This thing has become a bloody mess. You quasi-homo thinking men have screwed the whole thing up. But, thank you for making my point so clearly. I am not a woman. So, scrap all you want. Hurl insults. Throw your petty theological  darts. Have a good cry. Whatever. But do not lose sight of the issue. At some point you will all learn that I don't give a crap about how you "feel." Why, because I am not talking about your right to your feelings. That is the result of feminism, psychology, and atheism which says we are all good and need to have freedom to express our goodness and receive goodness in kind. If you are a man I want to teach you a new word. Duty….My feelings and rights turn me into an idol of self-worship that mitigates against Him. I am screaming at you to do likewise. And yes I am screaming, why, because listen to all the noise we've got to cut through. Even from "Christian" men who are basically practical queers that freak out when a man shows up because it become obvious that they are completely pussified.” 

Driscoll on using the "rod of law" in marriage: 

The bottom line is very simple. Men are supposed to rule on Christ's behalf, sometimes with  a rod of law, and sometimes with a tender touch of grace. And, young Christian men are doing very little of either, and hardly anything with the rod of grace. I assure you I speak from a very wide range of experience.”

Driscoll’s “definition of terms”: 

pussified - any man who has lost his rocks and completed the process of remaining biologically male but become female in all other ways

male lesbian - any man who thinks and acts like a woman because he thinks that makes him a better person

legion - the countless number of men who have become male lesbians

feman - a woman who thinks and acts like a man because she believes it makes her equal to

 men whacker - a man who is a porno freak and chronic masturbator

manly man - any regenerate man who loves God and his neighbor and demonstrates it with grace guided practical living and rigorous theology

half a man - any man who takes a wife and does not serve as the financial and spiritual head of his home but believes the relationship is 50/50 and she should make half the money and do half of his job at home pitch a tent club - men who allow their wives to nag them so incessantly that they want to sleep on the roof of their own home

rock free - any man who attends a church with a woman pastor

mixed nuts - any man who claims Christ but is actively involved in homosexual activity

kindling - any man who does not repent of his sin and receive God's grace in Christ

homoerotic huddle - any men's group where the men cry inordantly and hug each other with deep affection

feminism - the enemy of every man, every woman, every child, and God Almighty

rocks - the courage a man must have to be a manly man

the jar - that place where unmanly men store the rocks that they never wear

artistesticularless - men who expect women to take care of them because they play guitar or paint

Marty Stewart - any man who stays at home with his kids while his wife goes off to work to provide for his family

King & Lord - Jesus

Now, Driscoll has often referred to these as his “angry young prophet days,” and says he hopes to move to a more fatherly role as he continues as a pastor and leader in evangelical Christianity. But let’s be clear: There is nothing “prophetic” about degrading women, bullying men, and using hateful slurs to talk about LGBT people.

It's true that these words were written nearly 14 years ago when Driscoll was closer to my age, (about 31), but what they reveal is the ugly heart behind Driscoll's continued teachings -  the workings of his troubled mind, which need to be addressed for his own health and the health of his congregation.

Listen up, Church:  Misogyny is real.  Homophobia is real. And a man this notorious for both, a man this severely disturbed, should not be in a position of leadership in a church. He needs counseling, not a pulpit. He needs discipline, not a megaphone. 

But many of us have been saying this for years…and years…and years. And still Driscoll pastors Mars Hill. Still Mark Driscoll headlines evangelical Christian conferences and authors evangelical Christian books. 

I’m as sick as everyone else of talking about this guy. Believe me. But it makes me even more sick to consider what will happen if we don’t, if his leadership goes unchallenged and he continues to hurt people with his teachings. This is not some obscure pastor with no platform. He’s not a random internet troller who is best left ignored. This is one of the most powerful and influential pastors in evangelical Christianity. 

But he doesn’t have to remain so.

Not if good people speak up and wise elders respond. 

Misogyny and homophobia are not okay. This is not an issue of using “salty language” or “unconventional tactics” to preach the gospel,  because there is not a trace of gospel in this. 


(If you would like to contact the elders and leaders at Mars Hill, find them here.


I'm going to close the comment thread on Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. EST  just because it's getting a bit hard to manage. Thanks for understanding! 

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