There are two polarizing words in ecumenical circles that conjure feelings of “in need of deliverance” and “is that cat saved” – Mark Driscoll.

A "Mark Driscoll Inspired" church marquee

A "Mark Driscoll Inspired" church marquee

Consider, this is a pastor of a megachurch whose sermons – you know, like discussing dogma and all things God – are so peculiar that YouTube won’t even publish the bulk of them.

I can’t imagine how his church bookstore deals with the drama message titles like, “Biblical Oral Sex” and others that require a parental advisory sticker.

No, this isn’t rap music – it’s Jesus stuff, only minus the Jesus to some. However, is it buffoonery proselytizing or just what is necessary to touch a largely godless society? Check the article in the New York Times and judge for yourself:

…An anonymous audience member has just text-messaged a question to the screen onstage: “Pastor Mark, is masturbation a valid form of birth control?” Driscoll doesn’t miss a beat: “I had one guy quote Ecclesiastes 9:10, which says, ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.’ ” The audience bursts out laughing.

OK: A.) No kidding that dude was anonymous, much like most of the folk in Christendom dealing with lust. B.) Nice rote memory of the scriptures. And C.) How many were offended that I even posted that excerpt. Come on, show of hands.

However, it works for someone because this is the same droll and vulgar guy has almost 7,600 members in seven campuses. People all over the theological map have opinions mixed up more than Sybil’s (or Herschel Walker’s) brain pan.

Conservatives call Driscoll, “the cussing pastor” and wish that he’d trade his fashionably distressed jeans and taste for indie rock for a suit and tie and placid choral arrangements. Liberals wince at his hellfire theology and insistence that women submit to their husbands. But what is new about Driscoll is that he resurrected a particular strain of fire and brimstone, one that most Americans assume died out with the Puritans: Calvinism, a theology that makes Pat Robertson warm and fuzzy.

So, I got to thinking and would like to pose this question to the Wall Watchers out there: “Is what this guy is doing working, and is it necessary?” Here’s some chum for thought:

  • If he was so opprobrious and unmannerly in the pulpit, why are droves of people who call themselves Christians gathering to hear him in it? Maybe, just maybe, it’s because folk are tired of seeing the reprobates on TBN and need some reality with their Jesus cocoa.
  • Is cussing in the pulpit shock value to sell a few books and get a few headlines, or – God forbid – is that truly par for the course to get the attention of the unrighteous? In the real world, people do… oh, what’s the word… um, it’s a taboo word in churches these days… oh yeah, SIN. Now, pastors should live according to the precepts of God, but should also be a person of pragmatism and show that anyone can do it.
  • Are people so stained with skepticism by the country club they see on Christian TV that they are willing to sit through an hour of BET’s Comic View and hope to get some spirituality out of it? I hope that is nowhere near the case. In order to reach the lost, you need reality, but you also need righteousness! Jesus was not only man who dwelled among us, but he was a man like us.
See, he knows sports humor too.

See, he knows sports humor too.

So, the ubiquitous question: WWJD? To get people’s attention these days, who knows. But I doubt it would be to throw eff bombs and follow up with “Oh, and my Daddy loves you.”

That said, I’ll bet Jesus would seriously rock some “True Religion”.

Makes sense… and a little bit of irony, right? See there, he can be funny and keep it clean. What a funny guy. G’head Jesus! Teach Marky Mark a thing or two.

  1. 11 says:

    Well, now! I didn’t know Rev. Harold Scrivner
    1) had a child who would blog about the new “cussing preacher”
    2) had the middle initial “i”.
    This blog-site was found with an old email address & name ALREADY ENTERED 07:24GMT+2 13apr11

  2. Michael says:

    I’d be interested in the link to that, just so I know what you’re talking about. Mark has said himself that he makes mistakes, he gets passionate, and sometimes he says things he regrets later. Okay, he’s a sinner too, we all screw up occasionally. If you’d care to look at the body of his work, you will find him to be very sound, very biblical and with mentors like Piper and Grudem and Carson and Packer I think he’s certainly got the goods.

    My dig about Reformed theology was just to see if it would generate some extra comments. I’m a bit of a stirrer like that. :p

  3. hiscrivener says:

    I doubt it came from “Tangle”, “GodTube” or whatever, but I had a few readers send me a video clip of Mark during an passionate message and an “S-bomb” jettisoned out of his mouth.

    And oh by the way, to all those reading, no one is objecting to reformed theology. The only issues are what needs reforming and what works but is just not used effectively as-is.

    Thanks for the commentary.


  4. Michael says:

    Hey, someone else found this and I got an email! You’re quite right Jordan, the worst word I’ve heard Mark use is “hell” as in “who the hell do you think you are?” Given the context (men who mistreat their wives/girlfriends), I think it was absolutely appropriate.

    I just re-read some of the original article and realised there’s something else to object to. YouTube carries most of Mark’s stuff, even the “saucy” (by American Standards) Peasant Princess series.

    By the way, to anyone else who may read this. Reformation theology is correct. 🙂

  5. Jordan says:

    You know, I’ve never actually heard Mark cuss. And I’ve listened to a lot of his stuff. I’ve never heard him use the “eff-bomb”. I’ve never even come across an actual Driscoll quote where there has been any cussing whatsoever.

    Am I just crazy here?

  6. […] take steroids and HGH to grow, talk about sex… a lot, cuss in the pulpit… also, a lot and when things are particularly carefree, these megachurches (Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal or […]

  7. Michael says:

    Hi, I download and listen to Mark’s sermons pretty much daily. In Australia, we don’t share your feelings about “cussing”. His presentation is like one of his interests – Ultimate Fighting – “no holds barred”. I like it. I have learned more about Jesus and what it truly means to have faith in Jesus and his saving grace in the last year or so of listening to Mark than I have in over 30 years of sitting in church every week. I have never CARED so much about the message of Jesus. I have never been more fired up to defend the faith, to be a missionary wherever I can be, to trust in Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I have never been more discerning of false teachers and false messages. I have never tested the messages of speakers more closely than I do now.

    I have never been more convinced of the timeless truths of the Bible. As Mark puts it … “timeless truths, timely message”. Not like others, the liberal post-moderns who are “questioning truth” to the point that they reject known truth and express contempt for people who say there are things in Scripture we can be sure of.

    Yes, Mark’s presentation is sometimes over the top, but I challenge you to find something that is theologically incorrect in what he’s teaching. Go on, seriously, I dare you. 🙂 I’ve been trying to find something I disagree with – something that he’s teaching that isn’t able to be strongly backed up by Scripture – and so far I’m coming up empty handed, but feeling so much closer to God as a result that I have no choice but to respond to posts like this …

    Have a nice day! 😀

  8. Mark says:

    Hi thanks for a great post. I’ll be back 🙂

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