Mark and Grace Driscoll. Photo is undated. (Photo: Mars Hill Church)
One of the most troubling aspects of the resignation of Mark Driscoll and the response issued by his former church, Mars Hill, is the undermining of the Bible’s qualifications for elders.
The Bible clearly outlines the type of man a pastors/elders/overseers must be in order to hold the precious position in Christ’s church. Nowadays, this seems to be ignored more often than not. This is dangerous and will only lead to the harm of Christ’s people and His blood-bought bride.
The Christian Post reported the following:
The Mars Hill Board of Overseers’ statement on his resignation affirms that although “Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner,” they did not find cause for him “to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.”
The board goes on to note, “Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.”
To many people today, the fact that he was not charged with “immorality, illegality or heresy” might mean he should have stayed in leadership. After all, he wasn’t committing crimes, sleeping around, or rejecting essential doctrines of the faith, right? Wrong.
The Bible actually says that someone who is characterized by arrogance, a quick temper and harsh speech, etc. is unqualified for leadership. Despite what Mars Hill’s board of overseers might say, the Bible is very clear on these matters. Let’s turn to God’s inspired Word to find out the truth, shall we?
“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:2–7, ESV)
And one more:
“if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:6–9, ESV)
Let’s look at some of the things that disqualify Mark Driscoll that are not “immorality, illegality or heresy.”
1. Must be self-controlled, respectable
2. Must not be quarrelsome
3. Must not be arrogant
4. Must not be quick-tempered
And most importantly…
An elder must be above reproach! Plagiarism is hardly above reproach. The same goes for paying a company to get yourself on the New York Times’ bestseller list.
Suffice it to say, Mark Driscoll disqualified himself from leadership without committing “immorality, illegality or heresy.” I sincerely hope that the Mars Hill board of overseers would have removed him if he did not remove himself.
Now, as Christians, we must pray that this humbles Driscoll and that he lives out his life in a manner worthy of the gospel. I assume that he is a believer, so I encourage everyone to pray for him and his family as he goes through this hard time. May he be a faithful follower of Christ who submits to another biblically qualified elder in a local church and live out the rest of his days as such.