Mark Driscoll, Let’s Talk!

Pastor_Mark_DriscollI try not to react to everything I read on the internet, but sometimes something so egregious comes along that I have to respond. Recently Mark Driscoll, megachurch pastor, posted on his blog an article titled, Is God a Pacifist?

Driscoll is preaching through the 10 Commandments, and he has arrived at “Thou shall not kill.” I’m okay with his saying that this passage addresses murder–intentional and malicious killing. I’m okay with Driscoll pointing out various Old Testament texts that prescribe the death penalty for certain offenses within Old Testament Israel. And, I’m even okay with whatever his apocalyptic theology is, even though I don’t think the Book of Revelation is to be read literally. That, after all, is the nature of apocalyptic literature, but respected scholars and pastors hold different interpretions of Revelation.

None of that bothers me. He’s entitled to his opinion. However, Driscoll isn’t content with his interpretation of these passages. He has to go one step too far. He states that among the enemies Christ will destroy are those who believe that Jesus was a pacifist. Here’s the end of his article:

“Today is a season of patience as Jesus Christ waits for people to come to repentance. Jesus is not a pansy or a pacifist; he’s patient. He has a long wick, but the anger of his wrath is burning.

Once the wick is burned up, he is saddling up on a white horse and coming to slaughter his enemies and usher in his kingdom. Blood will flow.

Then there will be peace forever as the Prince of Peace takes his rightful throne. Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist.

Jesus is no one to mess with.”


So, the early Church Fathers, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, the Quakers, the Mennonites, the Church of the Brethren, Leo Tolstoy, Dorothy Day, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (oh yes, and forget the Hitler thing), Thomas Merton, and so on, are all enemies of Christ who will be slaughtered on the day of judgment? Just because they believed and lived a life of Christian pacifism?

Boggles the mind. Mark, come on, let’s talk.

12 thoughts on “Mark Driscoll, Let’s Talk!”

  1. Seems to me Mark’s intent here is to urge those in his congregation who live a life of habitual sin that this is not a sustainable lifestyle. While God’s nature is clearly patient, compassionate, graceful and forgiving, He is also just and cannot be changed. Judgment will come, that’s the Word of the Lord. Those who tempt God’s patience in unrepentant sinful lifestyles of ANY kind at all, will face that Judgment.

    1. I get that and I agree, but then he had to go and throw in that stuff about those who “wrongly” taught that Jesus was a pacifist. Seems a little harsh, not to mention judgmental. My opinion.

  2. pansy – to turn the other cheek, to keep trying to mend bridges, to not fight – this takes more strength than punches someone on the nose. Pacifism is not wishy washy or lukewarm, it is spreading the love of Christ to everyone even those who pick their nose or point a gun at you or watch (insert whatever tv program you don’t like.) Pacifism is an act of defiance in this dark world that we will not be of the world but set aside, a remnant for the glory of God

  3. I took Mark’s use of the term “Pacifist” in referencing Jesus as someone who would never get angry, never hurt anyone, never judge anyone, never kill anyone and never teach anyone that Jesus could do any of those things. Jesus doesn’t pull any punches about what is to come and that there will be a day of judgment and it will be Him that comes in wrath on God’s behalf. Anyone teaching that Jesus is a Pacifist that would never do what He says He’s going to do on Judgement Day is teaching false doctrine and attempting to give people a pass and a free ride to continue living willfully sinful lives because “Jesus is a Pacifist” and you’ll never be judged or risk going to hell for the way you live your life. God will not be mocked. Read Isaiah 59. He may have come in peace 2000 years ago but His promise to come again will be fulfilled in the end with God’s Judgement and wrath poured out upon mankind. The book of Revelation, if anything, is a warning to mankind of just how terrible God’s wrath and judgement will be and should prompt us to act and do everything we can to save as many as possible from it. I’ve read it several times and I for one do not want to be around to see it in person. Jesus is God’s instrument of Grace and Salvation and certainly a man of peace who models for us how to live that way in order to lead others to His saving grace. Be He is also God’s instrument of wrath and final judgement who will rule for eternity and all enemies of God will be made His footstool. He alone is worthy of such a thing.

    1. Well, you and I read Driscoll’s comments differently. The thing that gets me is that Driscoll includes as the enemies of Christ (and those who will be destroyed) people who taught that Jesus was a pacifist. In other words, some people are condemned to destruction just because they teach that Jesus taught his disciples to turn the other cheek and not repay evil for evil (sounds like a pacifist to me). Here I thought Driscoll was a sola fide kind of guy, but I guess faith alone doesn’t include teaching he doesn’t like.

    2. Chuck, Does teaching peace as a better way to live absolutely and necessarily equate to actually being a pacifist (someone who refuses to fight or use violence)? I prefer peace and I will preach it as the better way to live every day of the week and three times on Sunday. But I am no pacifist and I will fight, if necessary, to defend my life, my family, my freedom and my Lord. Turning over tables and whipping money changers doesn’t seem like the actions of a Pacifist to me and there is NOTHING Pacifistic about what He will do in Revelation. Nobody is suggesting that Jesus’ teaching about peace and those who teach the same are going to be condemned. Mark was merley suggesting that people who teach Jesus was a Pacifist (because he taught peace) are spreading false doctrine because the Bible tells a different story. Jesus does warn against that and that those people would be judged and condemned. You are admittingly reading your own definition of Pacifist into what Mark is inferring to as someone teaching false doctrine. Those who teach Jesus (as a Pacifist) would never judge or hold people accountable for their sins are teaching false doctrine. The book of Revelation testifies to that truth. He is going to judge those one day who refuse to repent of their sins. To say otherwise is heresy and there’s going to be a repercussion for that too.

      Have you actually contacted Mark and asked him to clarify his remarks and/or his definition of the term Pacifist? Or are you simply content with crucifying him in the court of personal and public opinion without a trial? We are on the same side for crying out loud and he is both our brother in Christ. You talk of peace but fail to go to the man in peace and “restore a brother gently” if he has indeed committed some heinous interpretation of Scripture as you claim.

  4. Driscoll doesn’t allow comments on his site, and I’m sure he doesn’t care what I think anyway. I thought his comments were arrogant and uninformed. As for crucifying him, I would use that term carefully. Driscoll puts his stuff out there and is provocative with his opinions. I just wanted to go on record as disagreeing with him. Obviously we are not persuading each other on this subject.

  5. You have totally misunderstood what Driscoll is saying. Actually read the line you are quoting:

    “Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist.”

    He is describing one person, not two. He is describing an individual who has PRIMARILY not repented of their sins. Secondarily, this person also happens to be mistaken that Jesus is a pacifist.

    Driscoll is refuting universalism, the concept that God will accept everyone to heaven no matter what (even if they haven’t claimed Christ’s forgiveness through the cross). He is saying that Jesus isn’t just ALL love but also embodies the characteristic of being just; since Jesus is loving and just, it means that there will be aggressive penalties for those who haven’t accepted Christ’s sacrifice in their place.

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