There are many things to say regarding Jesus’ mother. Pastor Mark has many wonderful things to say about her and rightly holds her up as a model of faith and a model for women. He also rightly points out that many Non-Catholic Christians have forgotten Mary altogether because they perceive idolatry on the part of Catholics and Orthodox Christians and he encourages his congregation at Mars Hill to value her example. I support this completely and hope that Pastor Mark always encourages the people of Mars Hill to seek the truth concerning her, and I hope that those who stumble upon this post will ponder what I have to say, just as Mary Pondered the Word in her Heart (Luke 2:19).
Mark Driscoll was raised Catholic. I know this because I’ve read many of his sermons and every time he mentions Catholicism he points out that he was raised Catholic. He also likes to mention how Irish he is and how his last name was actually O’Driscoll before his ancestors immigrated to the United States. Oh, and his Grandma liked the Latin Mass. And he was an altar boy. That is how “Catholic” he was raised.
Driscoll and other fallen away Catholic’s like to throw it out there that they were raised Catholic, I guess, because they think that doing so makes them some kind of expert on the subject. Folks, if you think that being “raised Catholic” makes you an expert on Catholicism, please continue reading!
Mark Driscoll is clearly not an expert on Catholicism. In his March 28th Sermon, “Jesus as Sabbath Lord,” Mark Driscoll points out that (you guessed it) he grew up Catholic. He then says that he has no idea why he gave up meat on Fridays growing up. That’s pretty basic. Somebody who was raised Catholic should at least know basic stuff. I don’t know how many times Mark went to Mass on Sunday or how many times he served as an altar boy growing up, but somebody who went often probably wouldn’t be so clueless as to what Mass actually was.
Mark knows why this is. He simply wasn’t raised Catholic very well. In a Sermon on Mary, he even quite humbly points out that he knows many Catholics who are, by his definition, real Christians but he, “wasn’t one of them.” Mark Driscoll did not fail Catholicism. Catholics failed Mark Driscoll.* That’s the unfortunate part of having so many humans working for the Church. Humans fail sometimes, and in the case of Mark Driscoll, we failed. Mark was taught “the rules.” He just wasn’t taught the faith that “the rules” are there to serve. “The rules” should never be passed on as obstacles for authentic worship of Jesus Christ as they were for so many Catholics Mark’s age. We here at DriscollWatch would agree with Mark that following rules for the sake of following rules does nothing for the believer. But we also hope to point out that many of “the rules” that Pastor Mark rebelled from can actually serve worship of Jesus Christ and we invite you to keep reading DriscollWatch to learn why that is.
Mark Driscoll speaks a lot about Catholicism from his own particular experience. I (and other contributors who will hopefully be here in the future) have different experiences. I don’t expect the reader of this blog to choose between my experience, Mark Driscoll’s experience, or anybody’s experience when making judgments over the Catholic faith. I expect them to make these judgments based on the content of the faith itself, which we at DriscollWatch will be trying to present to you as clearly as possible. We hope to be of service to you whether you have never had any experience of Catholicism, whether you consider yourself to have been “raised Catholic,” or whether you currently practice the faith.
In the meantime, lets all keep in mind that simply being raised in any Church, Catholic or otherwise, does not immediately make you a credible witness to the content of that particular faith.
Some things people say about the Catholic Church annoy me a lot. When people falsely accuse me of worshiping Mary, I get annoyed. When people say I believe that my works will get me into heaven, I get annoyed. When people tell me I follow the traditions of men, I get annoyed. I don’t like being annoyed, but it’s better to be annoyed than to feel personally attacked.
When people comment on celibacy I will admit that I sometimes feel personally attacked. As I mentioned in my testimony, I feel called, by God, to serve His Church as a priest and, yes, that means that I will never take a wife and will never have children. I certainly don’t think marriage is bad. I also don’t think it is less of a dignified way of living the Christian life. It is just that God has chosen this way of life for me and I am responding to it out of obedience.
Sermon Review: The Mass
So on to our first Sermon Review here at DriscollWatch. Because it is our first Sermon Review I’m going to make it really brief and only talk about a couple of short sentences of Mark Driscoll’s sermon titled, “Jesus the Sabbath Lord.”
Shortly after 43 minutes into this Sermon, Pastor Driscoll (after pointing out that he was raised Catholic) says to the Catholics in attendance, “Very glad to have you. Welcome to Mars Hill, enjoy our mass.”
This is a really short version of Why I am Catholic. Hopefully I will have a chance to share more about why I love the Church and how the Church helps me to love God even more every day.
I first “got saved” at summer camp the summer before 4th grade. The camp director asked if anyone wanted to give their life to Jesus that they should stand up, so I did. I had an encounter with Jesus that week. A bunch of my friends did too. It was wonderful, and I knew that I would always live for him because of what he did for me.
Until a few weeks later when the Jesus high wore off. I remember wishing that it didn’t and that I would always feel that good about being a Christian, but it wore off. As a fourth grader I couldn’t really make sense of it. When I went back to camp I asked my counselor about it and he gave me some good advice. He said that sometimes we can get swept up in emotion and not let the Gospel penetrate us as deeply as we want it to. He never said I wasn’t saved, but he did say that it wouldn’t hurt me to stand up and give my life to Christ again. So I did. I “got saved” the summer before 5th grade at summer camp.
That one didn’t work either. Neither did the next few. At camp Malibu (a young life camp) I “got saved” again, for the last time. Malibu was amazing, and this time was different. I could drive now and so when the week was over I could go to a Church that I wanted to go to.
I didn’t like going to my family’s Church very much. Although I kind of thought it was cool to be Catholic, I really didn’t like Mass very much. Even though I went to Catholic School for 9 years, I really didn’t know what I was supposed to believe concerning Jesus or anything. The lesson that sticks out most in my mind was when my teacher taught us that the Pope was wrong about banning condoms and not ordaining women to the priesthood. So when my friend and I started going to the non-denominational Church near the local University, called The INN.
I loved the INN. Lots of young Christians who I could really relate to. I decided to keep going to the INN after I enrolled at the University.
I made a close friend at college who also went to the INN. He knew I was “Catholic” and one day asked me a series of questions which really caused me to think. I couldn’t answer these questions, which were very, very basic. When I gave protestant answers (like that we are justified by faith alone) he said that he was pretty sure the Catholic Church didn’t believe that. So I needed to figure it out. Was I Catholic? Was I Protestant? Was I something else like a Mormon? I honestly didn’t know. All I knew was that Jesus was very important to me and that I believed that he died to save me from my sins.
I decided to research the questions on Catholicism. I went to a Church near the University that was specifically for University students. I remember my first impression. I said to my self, “These people seem so… protestant!” They had zeal. They were every bit as committed to Jesus Christ as the evangelicals at The INN. And, they all knew why they believed what they believed. For every question I asked I received very deep answers. My sophomore year I prayed with these people, studied the Bible with these people, and hung out with these people. They changed me, and I found more depth in the Catholic Faith than I ever thought I would find.
I began to attend Mass every day. I grew closer to Jesus Christ by attending Mass daily, praying in front of his substantial presence in the Eucharist and saying the Rosary (yes, you do grow closer to Jesus through this prayer, and EVERY Christian should be encouraged to pray in this way). I even worked for the Ministry. I even came to understand that God had a special plan for my life. He wanted me to serve Him and His people as a priest. God willing, I will be ordained in June of 2011.
God gave me a great love for Him and His people. I feel called by him to share that Love by helping to straighten out many of the misconceptions held by protestants and non-Christian about what His Church teaches, so that they can enjoy all the gifts that God has given to His Church, especially the sacrament of the Eucharist, which is the substantial presence of Jesus Christ. For this reason, I have begun DriscollWatch.
Mark Driscoll is an alright guy. Or at least he seems like he’s an alright guy. According to his Wikipedia page, he was born in North Dakota, a state that I honestly can’t say anything bad about. Of course, I can’t say anything good about it either. In fact, I can’t really say anything about it besides that Mark Driscoll was born there. Mark Driscoll is also a Christian and he is the “Preaching Pastor” of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, which is a place I can say all kinds of good things about.
So thats really all you need to know about Mark Driscoll. But why did I decide to start a blog about the man? Really for one reason only. Because as a Roman Catholic who has friends who attend the Church, I can’t stand to listen to how he misrepresents my Church. His people at Mars Hill deserve a pastor who is going to take seriously what the largest Christian Church in the world believes, not ridicule them and misrepresent them with straw man arguments.
So here is what I plan to do. I plan to go through all content that Pastor Driscoll has written or said about the Catholic Church and explain why he has misrepresented it. I will then attempt to explain all the doctrines with the seriousness that they deserve (and maybe I’ll even point out a thing or two he says that I like!). I do not wish to do this all alone, and hope I can convince a few of my friends to join me.
I’d like to make a special invitation to any Mars Hill Church members to comment and ask questions about this site. I hope to answer any questions you may have about the Church that Jesus Christ himself started. I love Jesus Christ, I love that he gave me a Church that gave me so much, and I don’t want to hog it all for myself. There is plenty here for everybody, and I pray for the day when we will all be united in truth, worship, and action that our Lord wants from us.
God Bless you all, and enjoy!