Mark Driscoll and Acts

Hi!  Welcome to DriscollWatch!  Happy to have you.  

To catch you up to speed, I’m a Catholic. Mark Driscoll (the guy who this blog is about) was Catholic when he was younger, but now he is not Catholic.  Now he’s the preaching pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, which is where I’m from.  I don’t usually pay too much attention to Evangelical Christians, but Mark Driscoll is different.  He’s a very talented preacher and his Church is growing by leaps and bounds.  That doesn’t bother me at all.  What does bother me, however, is that at times he lures people into his Church by lying about what Catholicism is and what Catholicism does.  So, I started this blog to set the record straight on what it is my Church teaches.

And its been fun!  There have been good comments, some nice emails, some not nice emails, and lots of interesting search terms people have used to find this.  A common theme is, “Catholic response to Driscoll” or something like that.  I get a couple like that a week.

Recently, Mars Hill began a sermon series on one of my favorite books of the Bible: The Acts of the Apostles.  Some of the social media updates sent out by Driscoll and company are… a little combative.  It seems – just seems – like he’s going for the Catholic jugular here.  My hunch is that as the series continues, I’m going to get more hits on the blog.

I’d love to pay close attention to this series… but I can’t.  I’m in the process of moving, and its a pretty big move.  I’ve been busy for weeks preparing and will continue to be busy for weeks in the future.  So… don’t expect a post about this series unless its completely egregious.

In the meantime, if anyone lurking has any questions about the material from a Catholic perspective I’d be happy to answer questions.  Just send me an email to driscollwatch@gmail.com.  It might take me a little while to get back to you, but I will respond.  I would especially like to invite you to email me if you’re a Catholic (currently or formerly) who had an experience like Mark Driscoll who described it thusly:

I was raised—some of you know my story—Roman Catholic. I thought, OK, church is very formal. You kneel and sit and stand and genuflect, and an old—like, very old—person has to be the preacher. He’s this close to Jesus, so he knows the most, you know? And that church was supposed to be not very exciting, not very enthusiastic, not super passionate. I stopped going to church when I was in my teen years.

If this describes you then I want to help you get excited for our amazing, wonderful Catholic Church.  So email me so we can talk!

Sincerely,

Z

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6 comments on “Mark Driscoll and Acts

  1. SadCatholic says:

    I grew up Catholic in the Seattle area. I went to Catholic school. I am just barely younger than Mark Driscoll. In fact, I went to Catholic church until fairly recently. I am very well-versed in Catholic doctrine and agree with 99% of it. For a long time, I defended Catholic doctrine. However, I stopped going to Catholic church after many years of witnessing the deadening spiritual malaise within the Catholic parishes I was a part of.

    Today, I attend Mars Hill Church.

    The problem with the Catholic Church is not the doctrine. If you read through and study the Catechism and you understand the Catechism and what it’s saying, you will know what I’m talking about. I do have a little bit of a problem with the focus on Mary and her role, but that was not enough to make me leave the Church. I have more issues with the doctrine of Mars Hill Church.

    So, why do I go to Mars Hill Church and not the Catholic Church? Because, very simply put, Mars Hill Church is alive and the Catholic Church is dead. Ask your average Catholic what they must do to be saved and you’ll get something in reply like, “Ummm. Be good. Go to Mass. Don’t commit a lot of sins.” Ask the average Catholic why Catholics pray to Mary and you’ll get an answer like, “Uhhh, because she’s the mother of Jesus and she was really good.” BTW, Catholics don’t pray to Mary but most Catholics believe they do. They are asking Mary to pray or intercede for them in the same way that you’d ask anyone else to pray for you. How often does the average Catholic read the Bible? To most Catholics going to Mass is a chore and not an opportunity to refresh their relationship with Christ.

    The Catholic Church has failed to pass on and transmit the most important tenet of Christianity: love. In my opinion, most Catholics today are not truly Christians. Don’t get me wrong, there are Catholics who are some of the best Christians in the world. A Catholic who is on fire for God with love in their heart is a beautiful thing. But they are exceedingly rare. In my estimation, based on my experience, more than 90% of Catholics cannot really be defined within the camp of Christianity

    The absolute last straw came for me, one day several years ago. My wife had just left me. I was devastated. I wanted with all of my heart to save my marriage. I went to Mass that Sunday. After Mass, the priest typically stands outside the church as parishioners file out out. I waited for everyone to leave and then approached the priest. I explained to him that my wife had just left me, that we had a young son, and that I was devastated. Would he please pray with me? He looked at me kind of perplexed; like he had just tasted something foul. He told me to call his secretary and that maybe he could pray with me sometime later in the week.

    I never went back. I started attending Protestant churches. I can confidently say that if I asked any Protestant pastor to pray with me, especially given the circumstances I presented to the priest above, that they would most certainly take fifteen minutes right then and there to sit down or kneel down and pray with me and over me. I had Protestant pastors on more than one occasion make long drives to visit me at my house to pray with me and talk with me during my very difficult divorce. Mars Hill Church has pastors and deacons available after every service specifically to pray with people.

    To me, the mission of the Church is love. The Catholic Church has the doctrine but really doesn’t seem to have the love.

    I’m praying that Pope Francis will begin to change the spiritual decrepitude of the Catholic Church. He is inspiring and seems to be full of love. He fills me with hope for the Church. May he lead the Catholic Church into a new era of love.

    • zeeehjee says:

      Dear Sad Catholic,

      I’m sorry you’re sad. I’m also sorry you left the Catholic Church. You perceive the Catholic Church to be dead, but that is because people like you have abandoned ship! I know the life of the average Catholic parish leaves a bit to be desired, but how do you expect it to change if everyone who loves God leaves to join other Churches? The average Catholic might not know their faith, but that is why we need people like you to teach them! I agree with the reformers that the Church is in constant need of reform – but true reform comes from within. It doesn’t come through schism, and nowhere in the Bible is schism ever mentioned as a solution to solving the Church’s problems.

      I’m happy you’ve found some love from Mars Hill, and I hope they’ve helped you to cope with these terrible things you’ve gone through. But, I’m sorry to say, I feel a bit abandoned by you. I’m truly sorry you didn’t get the pastoral care you needed when you needed it, but you also have a role of serving the Church and your own presence in the pews is itself a witness – a witness the Catholic Church no longer has.

      This paragraph might be going on a bit too long, but I think you’re also making too much of your own particular experience. Not every experience is the same. When I was in college I fell in with an incredibly vibrant group of Catholics – Catholics who are now on fire for Jesus and serving their parishes in various capacities. Why should either of our experiences matter when we choose which Church to attend? I know that might sound odd at first, but think about it. Why should anyone’s bad experience in the Church be evidence that a Church is “dead.” Similarly, why should anyone’s good experience in a Church show that its “living.” The only reason I am a Catholic is because I believe it is the Church Jesus started. If that’s true, then other Churches not connected to it are in schism and lacking full communion with the body of Christ.

      Here is a thought experiment. Lets say that in 10 years, another cool, hip Church comes to Seattle and a lot of young Christians leave to join that Church. Mars Hill starts to go stale and a couple bad scandals occur. Would you then leave Mars Hill and join this other Church? Is that what Jesus intends for his Church to be? Just a bunch of people bouncing around from Church to Church looking for some type of spiritual resource to consume? Or is the Church a family? Is the Church a group of people with messy lives trying to do their best and constantly making mistakes yet staying together because we’re family?

      Blessings,

      Z

  2. Chris says:

    The Bible says nothing about praying to Mary. In fact, Jesus himself said the only way to talk to God the Father is through Him. John 14:6

  3. jeff says:

    Bahahaha, you actually post as “Z”… If you are going to talk smack about someone at least have the balls to use your real name. Even the non-religious legal system is setup so that if you accuse someone you have to use your real name. Scared? That alone immediately makes me consider your comments and blog garbage. I was raised high anglican and personally I find Mark Driscoll honest and real. Yes a little harsh, but if he offends you then you should check why and I bet that you will find a non-biblical concept behind it.

    Regards,
    Jeff.

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