NEWS | John Sandeman
Mark Driscoll, the pastor who went from church planting hero to zero, is back seeking to plant a new church, this time in Arizona, according to his former home town paper The Seattle Times.
Driscoll was a hero when his church plant, Mars Hill, blossomed into a megachurch with several campuses and thousands of members in the most atheistic city in the US (think inner city trendy), Seattle. He founded the Acts 29 church planting movement which has planted some very successful churches in Australia.
He rapidly became a zero as rifts with his elders revealed a domineering personality, IVP Press discovered plagiarism from the New Bible Dictionary in one of Driscoll’s books, and a bulk buy scam was used to push another of his books into the New York bestseller lists. Dissidents also uncovered a series of vulgar social media rants which demeaned women, which Driscoll had posted using a pseudonym.
The Seattle Times this week reports that Driscoll has assembled a high powered team of some “two dozen Christian leaders”, including megachurch pastors. Trinity Church, Driscoll’s new plant, has a website which lists Driscoll and two other ex-Mars Hill pastors but does not say they used to work at the Seattle church.
Eternity reported in June last year that Driscoll told Hillsong leader Brian Houston in a recorded video interview, “I hope there’s a way in the future to be a person of peace and not a point of division. I appreciate this opportunity to make an effort at that.” (Report here)
Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill Church in 2014. Acts 29 had already asked Driscoll to leave and he had earlier resigned from the council of The Gospel Coalition (a US-based network of conservative pastors).
Driscoll expects his new church to start this year. Many Christians will ask: Has his “time out” been long enough?