by Matt Slick
In the emerging church movement, Mark Driscoll is another breath of fresh air. He is clearly devoted to orthodox biblical theology and mixes that devotion with the intention of reaching both Christians and non Christians with the uncompromising word of God. "Like many other pastors of emerging churches, he rejects postmodern philosophies and methodologies in favor of a hard-hitting, text proving argument for the Christian faith."1 Driscoll's dedication to the Bible is needed in the emerging church.
In his contributing article to the book "Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches," Driscoll unashamedly proclaims the inspiration of Scripture, Jesus as "the key focus of Scripture", and the defense of the doctrine of the Trinity. Of the latter topic he says, "There is resistance to the doctrine of the Trinity because of the pressure from our pluralistic culture for all religions to sand off their edges and arrive at a vague spirituality that is shallow enough to embrace all faiths."2 He's right. Thankfully, Driscoll does not stop there. He goes on to talk about the vicarious atonement of Christ, our sinful natures, of how God hates sin, and how God deals with all sinners through Jesus. He even is so bold as to actually uphold the biblical doctrine of hell. Reading his article and the booklets I acquired from his church, is a refreshing experience. Praise God for Mark Driscoll.
In June of 2007, I drove from Idaho to Seattle, Washington to attend Mark Driscoll's church service at Mars Hill. I was fortunate enough to have a friend up there who showed me around. Mars Hill is located on a large facility that held around 600 people. The stage was big. Mark got up and preached on propitiation (the sacrifice of Christ that turns away wrath). Mark did a thorough and very satisfactory job. I could not have been happier with his biblically consistent preaching about the wrath of God being diverted from all who trust in Christ and his sacrificial work.
I wanted to get a look around the church so after the sermon and during the final time of worship, I dismissed myself and meandered around the facility. I had a black leather jacket on with jeans and I slowly checked out the layout of the place, any literature laying around, the people, etc. I was quickly intercepted by a guy who worked at the church and was obviously concerned about me; after all, Seattle is not known for its pro-Christian stance and Mark Driscoll had made comments about how he occasionally needed protection during sermons. I smiled and told him who I was what I was doing. My escort smiled and stayed with me a few more minutes. After he was convinced I was not a wacko, he encouraged me to check the place out. I did.
I remember that one room that had a TV screen with a couch and tables strewn about. There were people with Bibles open, listening, talking, drinking coffee, and following Mark's message. I liked it. It felt very comfortable.
It didn't take me long to find the bookstore. You can always tell a kind of a church by the books it offers. I'm glad to say Mars Hill had some very good titles.
The doctrinal statement of the Mars Hill Church can be found at the Mars Hill website.3 Driscoll affirms the verbal inspiration of Scripture as being inerrant. He affirms the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the sinfulness of man, the person of the Holy Spirit, the vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, his literal physical resurrection and return, salvation by grace through faith, eternal security, and that the church is comprised of all born-again believers. Good stuff.
While at the church, I collected a number of booklets in the Mars Hill theology series: baptism, church leadership, Jesus' resurrection, the New Testament, and who is God. Within the pages of these booklets I found very sound teaching. It is clear that Mark Driscoll has a very good understanding of Christian theology, that he pulls no punches when defending the Christian faith, and that he is not afraid to stand on its truth. Praise God.
Would I recommend anybody go to Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church? Absolutely yes. Not only will you get good teaching, but you'll encounter a vibrant community of believers in the midst of a very unchurched society. Keep up the good work Mark.