“If anyone buys my book, maybe some young punk will talk trash about me in a few years, and then I’ll know I’ve done something important enough to be criticized too.” ~ Mark Driscoll
Recently, I decided I would review Mark Driscoll’s book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. It is Driscoll’s second book, published by Zondervan press in 2006. As many of you know, Driscoll is the primary founder of the now-defunct Mars Hill megachurch in Seattle, WA–a church that fell to several scandals and allegations of spiritual abuse due to Driscoll’s actions.
Some may wonder why I would choose to review a book that is 10 years old and authored by a fallen pastor. There are a few reasons:
– A Seattle news outlet reported in December that Driscoll is starting a new church called The Trinity Church in Phoenix, Arizona–less than one year after the closure of Mars Hill.
– Despite the implosion of Driscoll’s church in Seattle, many people are still buying his books and listening to his sermon podcasts.
– Driscoll’s Confessions was written as a manual for other pastors and church planters. It tells how he planted Mars Hill and grew it to 14,000 members. It gives vital insights into his methods, qualifications, and vision for ministry.
Driscoll planted Mars Hill in 1996, so Confessions is his look back at his efforts and missteps over 10 years of ministry. While Driscoll briefly summarizes his particular theology (i.e., conservative, Calvinistic, Reformed, and Complementarian), it is not a theology book. Hence, I won’t be tackling those particular subjects…this time.
But what it does provide for review is far more interesting. It is, in brief, the story of how a charismatic young man who met virtually none of the biblical qualifications for pastoral ministry planted a multi-facility church in one of the nation’s most liberal cities and became an evangelical guru on church planting. It is the story of a man so obsessed with his “mission” that he was willing to sacrifice his family, health, friends, supporters, and integrity to make it a reality.
It is the story of the Evangelical Industrial Complex at work.
Instead of doing a chapter-by-chapter review, I’m going to approach this review thematically. Each post will cover a different aspect: Driscoll’s qualifications, theory of ministry, attitude, methods, view of women and masculinity, and so on.
The book has led me on a series of shocking rabbit trails that have had me digging deeper into the story. So on occasion, I will be pulling in some additional research I’ve been doing in the background.
What I appreciate about this book is that it allows one to evaluate Driscoll by what he says about himself. There are some who might be critical of this review, who might accuse me of slander or attempting to portray Driscoll in a certain way. But Driscoll has portrayed himself in a certain way, in this book and elsewhere, and that is what is being evaluated.