What the fudge, Mark Driscoll?
I generally like Mark. I have learned a lot from him and have been inspired by him. While I disagree with him on some points of theology, I still find him to be someone I respect.
But now he has left the camp of orthodox Christianity and is teaching a false gospel.
He is teaching that God hates you… God doesn’t only hate the sin, he hates the sinner. He has contempt for you.
Here is one quotation from the message (feel free to watch the video below for more context):
“Some of you, God hates you. Some of you, God is sick of you. God is frustrated with you. God is wearied by you. God has suffered long enough with you. He doesn’t think you’re cute. He doesn’t think it’s funny. He doesn’t think your excuse is “meritous” [the word he’s looking for there is “meritorious]. He doesn’t care if you compare yourself to someone worse than you, He hates them too. God hates, right now, personally, objectively hates some of you.”
This is bad theology, bad exegesis, bad preaching and bad evangelism.
In other words, it is just bad… and wrong.
Mark makes it sound all scriptural by pulling a few verses from the Old Testament (almost all Hebrew poetry from Psalms… not always easy to interpret, translate and apply poetry… especially that which is written in an Ancient language.) Mark manipulates the text to support his own worldview — namely that only a special group that share his own theological bent are saved and loved by God. Ironically, the very thing Mark accuses others of doing in this message, he is guilty of here.
The problems with Mark’s theology here are plenty… let me highlight a few things:
1. He complains that people want to have God “only be love” while He is also other things. He says that when we make God only love, we make him one dimensional. The real problem is that Mark has a one dimensional view of what love means. Justice is not the flip side of love; it is part of it. Judgement and correction is not the opposite of love, it is an expression of it. The Bible declares that “God is love” and I believe it.
2. Mark’s theology makes Jesus into a sinner and/or liar. We know that Jesus is 100% human and 100% God and that He perfectly fulfills the commands and the laws and that he perfectlt models for us full obedience to the Father. In the New Testament, we find (among many others) three specific commands regarding love: (1) Love one another (within the community of faith); (2) Love your neighbor (defined by Jesus as pretty much everyone we have contact with); and (3) love your enemies. Between these three, it is pretty inclusive. For God to hate those who are his enemies would be sin.
3. I agree with Mark that the idea of “hate the sin, love the sinner” is pretty silly, and impossible (and never found in the Bible). You can read my 5-part series arguing that we should reject the “hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner” model here. The Bible teaches that we are to spurr each other on to righetousness, love justice (and hate injustice), hate the condition and consequences of SIN and leave judgement to God.
4. The true Gospel is this: God created you (and me and all human beings) in his image and is madlly in love with each and every one of His creations… and there is nothing we can do — either good nor bad — that will ever change how much God loves us right now. In other words, God is incapable of loving us more or less than He does right now at this moment. Period.
What disturbs me about Mark’s teaching is that it is false Gospel and harms the cause of Jesus. He makes it sound spiritual and even biblical, when it is neither — it is really a bunch of bad theology based on manipulated scripture designed to guilt people into conversion. This is not the Good News — the Gospel — at all.
And for the record, I think this kind of manipulation of the scripture and bad/sloppy exegesis and hermeneutics is what allows Mark to deny women the ability to use their spiritual gifts of leadership within the church and allows the condemnation and exclusion of LGBT folks from full participation in church life. This stuff is dangerous and has serious implications.