35 Comments on “Mark Driscoll on Heretic Teachers

    • I’d like to actually hear the section at 24:17 in the link you mention. Since it’s in [] it’s a paraphrase. I can’t comment on a single quote without context.

      • Hi Peter+,

        Well the link I provided has a link at the top to the official recording of the talk. But when I try to play it, I can’t. I wasn’t sure if this was due to my technical inadequacy or that the recording has been disabled. So, I used the search feature for the MP3 player and clicked on Mark Driscoll. It listed two talks, but not the controversial one about the Song of Solomon. Hmmm, I wonder if he requested it be disabled after it became controversial.

        However, John MacArthur heard the recording and he discusses it here
        MacArthur says:

        We’re assured moreover that the shocking hidden meanings of these texts aren’t merely descriptive; they are prescriptive. The secret gnosis of Solomon’s Song portray obligatory acts wives must do if this is what satisfies their husbands, regardless of the wife’s own desire or conscience. I was recently given a recording of one of these messages, where the speaker said, “Ladies, let me assure you of this: if you think you’re being dirty, he’s pretty happy.”

        Such pronouncements are usually made amid raucous laughter, but evidently we are expected to take them seriously. When the laughter died away, that speaker added, “Jesus Christ commands you to do this.”

        As far as I am concerned, Driscoll is like the mullahs in Afghanistan who say wives are required to be sexually available to their husbands according to Allah. Driscoll may be right about sex outside of marriage, but his ideas about sex inside of marriage are basically promoting sexual abuse of woman using Jesus’s name.

        • I’d still like to hear the original in context.

          I know that there is some controversy over this particular sermon series (Song of Songs) that Driscoll has preached, and that if he’s anything like me as a preacher there are sometimes he’ll say things from the front that he’ll later regret. That said, I think I’d want to look for the best angle on what he said (encouraging married couples to not get guilty about aspects of their sex life) rather than assuming that he is “promoting sexual abuse of woman using Jesus’s name” (which I really don’t think he is).

          • Just so you know….
            Driscoll preached ‘that’ sermon a couple of years ago in Edinburgh. It was available on download for a while, until Piper got to hear about it.
            Piper phoned Driscoll up and, from what I can gather, read him the riot act. Within the hour, the sermon was taken off the Edinburgh church web site and Driscoll’s own web site.
            Piper’s response was that Driscoll handled it like a son who has been corrected by his Father.
            Thank God for people like Piper who are able to influence people like Driscoll and help them rather than shoot them.
            We all say things we regret and probably when you are as quick-witted as Driscoll, its probably easy to fall into sin – however, he repents well and learns from his mistakes.
            I find it abhorrent that people keep bringing up the same-old same-old stuff about Driscoll,
            Move on people….
            God remembers it no more

            • If this is the case, then it appears that Driscoll should have been upfront about his mistake, admitted it publicly and apologised to all those whom he offended (and they were many).

              Instead, according to what you describe, he hid it away, and is now pretending that the mistake was never made (and he certainly has never apologised for it).

              It is much easier for people to forgive and forget if the person who has erred has the humility to acknowledge their error and ask for forgiveness.

              This, Driscoll appears not to have done, by your own account.

              • Actually….
                I don’t know the guy personally – but if you listen to anything he’s said over the last few months he has been very publically repentant about mistakes in his ministry. his line is “he is pursuing humility…” something he got from CJ Mahaney.
                He also prepared a video response to John Mac and Phil Hall about their complaint for them to show at their conference. But they chose not to.

                • Hi jw,

                  Is there anything you can direct us to online that give the specifics of what Driscoll repents?

                  I mean, obviously he regrets being caught out by the big guys, Macrthur and Piper. But does he actually retract his words? What does he say? Does he show any recognition of why his words were a problem for women?

                  If there is nothing online by him about this then the obvious conclusion is that he is covering up something that he stills believes and is just trying to make the controversy go away.

                  • to be honest, I’m only finding stuff on the internet like everyone else – I don’t know driscoll or anything.
                    But I found this – a reply to another blog…

                    I appreciated your last post of apology and repentance. It was convicting to me as well.

                    Something mystifies me about Dr. M’s series of posts. Driscoll took down the most offensive sermon last week and wrote publicly his regrets for speaking it and posting it. He also said he was working on doing a better job with the SoS text. I don’t understand 2 things.

                    1) Why post a link in Dr. M’s article to a sermon that has already been taken down? Driscoll said in his article, “I don’t want to draw attention to the content because it will only cause those who have not listened to it to flock to it.” If it was offensive and it has been taken down, why REPOST it at MacArthur’s blog? That seems really inappropriate to me.

                    2) Even if Dr. M thinks Driscoll’s “repentance” in this article isn’t enough, why not meet him where he is and prompt him to take further measures? Driscoll says, “Some of my critics were concerned by the older content, and I think there is wisdom in some of their concerns. So we have pulled that content.” Instead, Dr. M dismisses this admission on Driscoll’s part. Why not praise God that Driscoll has taken this step and then encourage him to greater examination of himself?

                    Perpetua –
                    you make up your mind – did he just get caught out and is sorry – or is he truly repentant? There are two ways of seeing it.

                    For the record, I heard the Glasgow sermon, and although I like Driscoll, I didn’t like it at all. I am pleased to see its gone.

                    Since then, I have found him to be a lot different and I think, like us all, he’s learnt a few valuable lessons on the way.


                    • Hi jw,

                      1)Where did you find this? Can you please provide a link so we can all see the context?

                      2) The author of your selected text suggests that “Driscoll took down the most offensive sermon last week and wrote publicly his regrets for speaking it and posting it.” So my question is:
                      Where is this “public writing”?

                      jw, you provide an unsourced claim that does not provide a link. We would need a link to the text you have provided. And the text you have provided would need to have a link to the “public” writing of Driscoll.

                      A genuinely humble person who was genuinely repentant would want us to see the specific wording of the repentance in order to determine what he was repenting. A genuinely humble person wouldn’t demand that this be forgotten, but respect the needs of others to understand what happened.

                    • I have no further source data apart from the blog I read. I’m not going to link to it, because it just perpetuates the whole scenario again and gives it another unwholesome airing.
                      I’m not qualified to read into this any more or less than anyone else….

                      I think you have to make your own mind up

                  • Hi jw,

                    Thank you for the links, but I can’t find Mark Driscoll’s repentance on either of them.

                    I did follow the first link to another which had Driscoll justifying his joke at the beginning of the talk about not wanting to have a homosexual relationship with Jesus.
                    In this he is not apologizing or repenting but basically putting himself in the right and making the people who objected wrong. And there is nothing there about his having said Jesus commands that wives perform oral sex on their husbands.

                    Regarding the the second link you provided, to the Resurgence website, what do you see there? Did you find a specific post there relevant to this discussion?

                    • In the video he says he is talking about a ‘false’ jesus who people promote – to put it in context.

                      I found his quote on Resurgence – it has an excellent search engine which you could try.

                      I’ve nothing more to add really –
                      Hope you find what you are looking for

                    • OK, I found this on the Resurgence website using the search function.


                      Driscoll does say that he thinks there was wisdom in some of his critics concerns, but he does not explain what he thinks was wrong with the talk. He does use the word “repenting” once, but I don’t think that qualifies as publicly repenting.

                      Two, I want to thank my critics for teaching me that I have multiple audiences and that in addition to the room I speak to I am often also speaking to the world and need to keep repenting, learning, and growing in this skill for the sake of the gospel. In that way, my critics are helpful, and for them I am grateful.

                      As I read it, his only real concern is that people beyond the room to which he spoke later heard what he had said. He doesn’t seem to regret what he said, just that the wrong audience got hold of it.

  1. Although it is handy that O’Driscoll gives the game away by telling his kids that gay and lesbian Christians – irrespective , presumably,of whether they are actually engaging in homosexual practise – are heretics. And I see he’s repeating the accusation that +Gene left his wife for a male partner. Isn’t lying a sin? And apparently said liberals don’t care about parameters of sexual relationships. Really? I’m very much not having sex with everything that moves and neither is any LGBTQ Christian I know. Are we atypical or – more likely – is O’Driscoll repeating smears and lies to support his bigotry

    • I don’t think he’s saying that GLBT Christians are heretics. Perhaps you’d like to tell us the minute and second in the clip he says that.

      Same again on Gene Robinson. What he’s arguing is that Gene shouldn’t have got divorced.

      • Listening to it once is bad enough.
        O’Driscoll talks of heretics, he mentions his kids wondering what GLBT means when they see it on the billboards (those evil gays! will no one think of Our Children?) and then he explains the acronymn. They say that they thought sex outside of marriage is wrong, O’Driscoll says yes, the GLBTQ church are heretics.
        And what about the part where he says those in sodom identified with that they ought to have repented of? Is he seriously arguing that something like a gay identity existed in the gang raping men of Sodom and that *this* is their principle sin? And is the fact that Jewish tradition very much didn’t see the principle sin of Sodom as homosexuality not something of an argument *against* the evangelical/fundamentalist position – proclaimed here by O’Driscoll – that these passages are obviously about Sodom being destroyed for sexual sin?

        • Let’s be clear. He says that the church leaders are heretics if they teach that sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. The argument for the destruction of Sodom is to do with all the sin that they committed, including sex outside of marriage.

          I think that in this case you’re not listening to him Ryan and instead hearing what you want to hear, not what Driscoll is actually saying.

  2. I always find this so interesting – Driscoll goes through a list of many things, claiming that anyone who denies any of these things (i.e., doesn’t believe these things) is a ‘heretic’.

    Presumably a ‘heretic’ isn’t a Christian, right?

    Then Driscoll goes on to say that anyone denies that salvation is through grace alone, through faith alone, through Jesus alone – is a heretic.

    Yet what has Driscoll done, but set up a whole list of ‘extra things’ one ‘has to believe’ in order to be a Christian (or in order to escape his charge that they are a ‘heretic’!)?

    It sounds to me like Driscoll – by his own definition – is a heretic! :-)

    I’m being flippant, but this is a real problem in fundamentalist, evangelical circles. How can our salvation be by ‘faith in Jesus Christ alone’ when there is this whole set of circumscribed rules/beliefs/Biblical interpretations/particular view of the Bible that must be adhered to in order for one to be a Christian?

    If all that is the case – if you have to believe ‘exactly the right thing’, then your salvation is based on works, not God’s grace through faith.

    • Carolyn,

      Driscoll has not setup a list of extra things. What he has done is go through 2 Peter 2 and unpack what the Scripture says are the marks of the false teacher.

      It’s called exegesis.

      • Peter,

        I think you should go back and listen to what Driscoll says again are the marks of a ‘heretic’ (and presumably a non-Christian).

        They just happen to coincide with Driscoll’s version of Christianity, with all the theological points that Driscoll himself happens to subscribe to. Imagine that. :-)

        Theological points, I might add, that are nowhere found in the 2 Peter 2 passage. Driscoll has essentially added in layer after layer of things you ‘have to believe’ (i.e., you have to believe exactly what Driscoll happens to believe) in order to be a Christian, and not a heretic.

        Which, of course, contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture that:

        ‘For by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.’ (Romans 3:23)

        And as for the homosexuality issue – it is Driscoll’s interpretation of Scripture that holds that God doesn’t condone any sexual expression outside that between one man and one woman.

        But I’ve already shown you where that interpretation of Scripture is dodgy (since God gave David all of his wives – and neither you nor Philip nor Gervase have yet offered a Biblical explanation for how God performs actions which He himself calls sinful/heretical).

        So I’m not inclined to think that Driscoll’s exegesis on other issues is going to be all that great, you know?

        And at any rate – the key issue for me (again) is the fact that, by his own definition, Driscoll is a heretic, as he has added a whole heck of a lot of extra things one has to beleive in order to escape being called a heretic. Grace and faith in Jesus most clearly isn’t enough in Driscoll’s brand of theology.

        Unless, of course, you think that being a heretic is compatible with being a Christian? If Driscoll is willing to admit that, then I’ll admit that he hasn’t hoisted himself on his own petard.

        Otherwise…I think he stands accused of heresy by…himself.

        • And the part near the end – where O’Driscoll uses an analogy that we don’t love paedophiles the same way as others (!) – makes me think that there should be a “reductio ad paedophile” label to go with Godwin’s Law. It’s somewhat ironic that O’Driscoll speaks favourably of Falwell (!) whilst denouncing others who have overly narrow definitions of what constitutes a heretic.

  3. O’Driscoll is saying that if you believe something that is contrary to what the bible teaches and what the church has taught over two millenia then you’re a heretic.

    I can’t see how someone could have a problem with that unless that someone believes/teaches something unbiblical and not consonant with the doctrines of the church.

    • Gregory – can I ask you a question (and anyone else feel free to answer as well!)?

      Do you think that someone who is a ‘heretic’ can also be a Christian?

      If you do, then why the charge of ‘heresy’? Why not enter into a discussion with that individual about where you differ, to try to understand those differences and to allow the Spirit of God room to convict where people are wrong?

      And if a heretic cannot be a Christian (as I would assume Driscoll would believe, although I admit I could be wrong) – could you tell me what you think it is necessary to believe in order to become a Christian?

      If I know where you are coming from with respect to this issue, it’s easier to enter into a dialogue where we both can understand one another. :-)

      • My first thoughts on this.

        Driscoll himself says that heresy is not simply being confused or not understanding key Christian doctrines properly (i.e ignorance) He also said it does not involve disagreement over secondary issues. I would also like to add that I do not see honest doubts or questions about key doctrines as heresy.

        In my view, the line is crossed into heresy when a person elevates their own (individual or group) autonomous understanding above the teaching of scripture and in doing so deliberately reject the teaching of scripture. This involves an element of active choice i.e “I know what the bible teaches, but I’m not going to believe it/I can’t believe it” etc. When this takes place, God’s word has been rejected and therefore God himself has been rejected. So it is hard to see how a person can be a heretic and a genuine christian at the same time!

        It is sometimes easy to see where the line has been crossed but sometimes it is not so easy. For example, how can I as a mere human know if a person is really regenerate but confused and doubting or when that has hardened into heresy?

        There are lots of difficult questions about this though which must be dealt with pastorally. Who is a heretic, and if we think someone is a heretic, how should Christians deal with them?

        • Thanks for that reply, Matt – it’s interestng.

          Do you have any thoughts on what exactly one ‘must’ believe in order to be a Christian? I’d be interested in Scriptural references, as well. :-)

          Because, of course, 2,000 years of Scriptural interpretation, re-interpretation, schism, division, new denominations, more re-interpretations, etc – they all testify to the fact that ‘the teaching of Scripture’ is not ‘clear and evident’, you know?

          So – what is it necessary to believe, in your view, in order to be a Christian?

          • Hi Carolyn,

            I only have 5 minutes but I’d disagree that scripture is unclear (at least on key doctrines). These would include the existence of a transcendent God who nontheless reveals himself to us, the deity of Christ, his atonement for us on the cross, the authority of scripture and the necessity of faith for salvation. I don’t have a bible to hand at the moment!

            I think many of these problems you listed above don’t depend on the inclarity of scripture but on this process of human autonomy I talked about, although of course each generation presents new questions and problems for the church to deal with, which is absolutely legitimate.

            • So – am I correct is surmising that your quick list is what you think is necessary to believe in order to be a Christian?

              Could you clarify what you mean in terms of ‘authority of Scripture? Does it mean that one has to read the Bible/understand the Bible in a certain way? And that if one doesn’t, one isn’t a Christian?

              I really would like to get pinned down exactly what it is that conservatives feel one must believe in order to be a ‘proper Christian’.

              I’ll also quickly point out that Driscoll goes quite far beyond your list in accusing people of heresy.

              • Hi Carolyn,

                I guess I would summarise my view of the authority of scripture like this. a)Where the bible teaches something, we are obliged to believe it b) Where the bible commands something, we are obliged to do it.

                Now some qualifications.

                This shouldn’t be understood in a simplistic way. For example, this doesn’t mean literalism where it is not appropriate. We need to work hard at hermeneutics and understanding our world so we can apply scripture properly.

                It also doesn’t mean everything is clear. We are finite humans and we are not perfect, so we won’t always understand everything. We need each other to develop our understanding.

                We should be aware of God’s grace. We all hold heretical views to some extent and God therefore saves us despite what we believe!

                • Hi MattS,

                  I would agree with your last sentence – we do undoubtedly all hold heretical (in other words, not quite right!) views, and God saves us despite what we believe…absolutely!

                  So you’ve probably answered the other question I was going to ask, which is – do you think others have to hold the exact same view you do on the authority of Scripture in order to be a Christian (I’ll assume, from how you end your post, that the answer is ‘no’ – but you can correct me if I’m wrong).

                  But in listening to Driscoll, he doesn’t appear to hold your position – he does seem to be saying that people who hold what he deems to be ‘heretical’ views aren’t Christians.

                  Which brings me back to my original point – that he then condemns himself as a ‘heretic’ when he points out that we are saved by grace, through faith – which appears to be the exact opposite of the position he’s just espoused with regard to all of these other issues.

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