Driscoll is Back (Again), and Some Patheos Bloggers Aren’t Happy

Mark Driscoll has been a train wreck. Now he’s in the news again. Here’s how we’ve covered the Driscoll saga (in reverse chronological order).

Driscoll defends Roman Catholic doctrine, says Roman Catholics are Christians (link).

Perry noble tries to restore Driscoll (before falling himself due to alcoholism) to ministry (link).

Driscoll plants ‘Trinity Church’ in Phoenix (link).

Driscoll teams up with Steven Furtick and Perry Noble for leadership conference (link).

Driscoll publicly repents at Hillsong conference for…criticizing Joel Osteen (link).

Driscoll returns to guest preach – with standing ovation (link).

Driscoll returns to stage at “Thrive Conference,” given tickets to Disney Land (link).

Driscoll goes Word of Faith (link).

John Mark Reynolds, Eastern Orthodox Idolater and Patheos Blogger

Different news outlets have reported repeatedly in recent days that “Mark Driscoll is back.” Well, Driscoll has been back, well…forever. He never went away; he just made it onto smaller stages with dimmer spotlights. He never “took a break” from ministry. He never went on a sabbatical. At the juncture when his elders had already asked him to step down, Driscoll claimed to have received an audible word from God that told him to go do other things, which included (apparently) planting a church in Phoenix. Driscoll has also taken to a different stage. Whereas he was once standard fare for New Calvinists and the pseudo-Reformed community, Driscoll is now running almost exclusively in the charismatic community, being supported by such megachurches as James River Assembly, the largest Assembly of God church in the nation.

Patheos has announced that Driscoll has been recruited to move his blog to their platform. Not all at Patheos are happy about this move, but some are excited.

John Mark Reynolds – an Eastern idolater – writes, “Evangelicalism is a big tent . . . Big enough to include me, thank God. Evidently our little piece of the blog-o-sphere is getting a big name: Mark Driscoll. The Socratic based teacher in me rejoices! ”

Well, evangelicalism doesn’t include Reynolds, because Reynolds isn’t a Christian. But considering that Reynolds was recently invited to debate the “Christian” side of a debate at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, it makes sense that he would be confused. So, here’s an Eastern Orthodox idolater who is excited that Driscoll is snuggling into this big tent of evangelicalism with him. Reynolds’ excitement may have been tongue-in-cheek, however, as he followed up with these topics he hoped would be discussed…

What is the nature of church discipline? When should a disgraced pastor return to ministry? Is plagiarism wrong?  What is the nature of misogyny? Is crude language a form of abuse? If so, when?  Is extensive ghost writing compatible with Christian witness? Is anger from a person in authority a “lesser” sin? 

Reynolds’ point, so it seems, is that these issues haven’t gone away just because three years have passed. Who, besides Charismatics who will restore absolutely anyone, will embrace Mark Driscoll?

Driscoll writes in his inaugural post:

Thank You, Patheos!

We want to sincerely thank our new friends at Patheos for their kindness in inviting and welcoming us to be part of their online community of content creators. It is an honor to be invited to share our Bible teaching with you. We hope to provide a positive ministry focused on who we are for (Jesus Christ) and what we are for (the Kingdom of God). We seek to help people think and live Kingdom down instead of culture up.

Reynolds writes on his Patheos sub-blog, Eidos (misidentified under the tag, ‘Evangelical’),  “I promise you this: every word here is my own. My wife and a friend will correct the typographical errors caused by my vision and defects in my grammar, but the words and ideas are all mine. They add nothing. Will you assure us of the same? Are we meeting you? Arguing with you? Or are we talking to a twenty-something working in a gnosis mine?”

Without the deep coffers of the Mars Hill megachurch to pilfer, it’s doubtful that Driscoll can afford ghost-writers at Patheos, and Reynolds concerns are probably unfounded (although not with precedent, obviously). Driscoll plans to do a short video answering a question, provide leadership advice, and a blog post about twice a week. He will co-author it with his wife, Grace.

Time will tell exactly how well the Patheos community embraces Driscoll. In real truth, being added to Patheos is not that big an honor, and neither is it a big deal. Patheos is an online media conglomerate of blogs, both religious and irreligious in nature. Neither is Patheos’ invitation to Driscoll an endorsement of the orthodox, as the site also hosts Brian MacLaren, Scott McKnight, and Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer.

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