Thinking Out Loud

February 20, 2012

Mark Driscoll to UK Church: You Suck

His offensiveness knows no borders. I wrestled with the headline (post title) for this one, but there’s no polite way to encapsulate the partial transcript of this radio interview with Seattle’s Mark Driscoll and Surrey, England’s Justin Brierley host of the radio show Unbelievable, whose wife happens to pastor a local congregation across the pond…

This is just a sample, click the link at the end to continue reading –if you dare! — or just click over now. (The link in the first paragraph takes you directly to the full podcast.)  Commentary is by Chris Massey.

Justin Brierley, the unfailingly polite host of the British radio program, Unbelievable, recently podcast the entirety of his hour-long interview with Mark Driscoll.

Things did not go well.

There are many moments in this interview that could provide fodder for discussion. For example, Christians in the UK may be rather non-plussed by Driscoll impugning their entire country for not having, well, Mark Driscoll:

Driscoll: I go too far sometimes. Almost every other pastor I know doesn’t go far enough and that’s okay ’cause the church tends to be led by people who are timid and fearful of going too far. I mean, let’s just say this. … Right now, name for me the one young good Bible teacher that’s known across Great Britain.

Brierley: Hmm …

Driscoll: You don’t have one. That is a problem. There’s a bunch of cowards who aren’t telling the truth.

Brierley: So you think that the Bible teaches …

Driscoll: You don’t have one. You don’t have one young guy who can preach the Bible that anybody’s listening to on the whole earth.

I’ll leave it to the Brits to decide whether their churches suffer from a glut of cowards and a want of controversial celebrity preachers.

Much of the interview revolved around Driscoll’s views on women and their role in marriage and the church. When Brierley confessed that his own wife is, in fact, the pastor of his church, things got incredibly awkward:

Driscoll: I’m not shocked by the answer, by the questions you ask. I love you, but you’re annoying. ‘Cause you’re picking on all the same issues that those who are classically evangelical, kind of liberal, kind of feminist do.

Brierley: I think it’s because those are the issues here that people are thinking about. … [Brierley says he’s impressed by much of what Mars Hill Church is doing].

Driscoll: ‘Kay, let me ask you a few hard questions.

Brierley: Go ahead, go ahead.

Driscoll: So, in the church that your wife pastors, how many young men have come to Christ in the last year?

[It’s clear from the tone of Driscoll’s question that this is not a bona fide inquiry about the souls in Brierley’s church. It’s a veiled criticism. Driscoll is going to prove that women pastors can’t get the job done (i.e. attracting men to the church) and he’s going to belittle Brierley’s wife & church to do it.]

Brierley: Well we’re not a huge church, unlike yours, but I’d say there’s two or three probably in the last year who certainly, yah, I’d say have come to Christ in a pretty meaningful way.

Driscoll: Okay and in the church, what percentage is young men, single men?

Brierley: It’s difficult to say off the top of my head, but I’ll freely say it’s certainly not a big percentage, no.

Driscoll: Kay, and are you okay with that? Do you think that’s the best way to go?

Brierley: No, but can it be so easily put down to the fact that the church is being run by a woman? I mean, is that …

Driscoll: Yup. Yup. You look at your results, you look at my results, and you look at the variable that’s most obvious.

[Yes, he did just say that. His results are better than hers. And it’s because he’s a man and she’s a woman.]

continue reading Mark Driscoll’s efforts at international diplomacy



  1. So sad.

    Comment by Brian — February 20, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

  2. I listened to the whole thing and it was the first time I’ve ever heard Mark D. and really don’t know who he is. In listening, I don’t think he comes off as bad as in the transcript where we can more easily ‘read into’ it. But he does come off bad and certainly becomes paranoid and defensive.

    The praise worthy host never failed in graciousness. We could all learn lessons from him. And I also learned some things from a man I’d never heard before. D.A. Carson offered an excellent corrective to Mark D’s ‘you suck’ scenario.

    Comment by Michael Snow — February 23, 2012 @ 8:38 am

  3. […] has been a lot of recent buzz in the media- local, international, and in particular, Christian- about Seattle mega-church Mars Hill. And indeed, one wonders about […]

    Pingback by Megachurch Megaliths and Megalomaniacs- Pt. 1 « frequencypropogation — March 2, 2012 @ 3:29 am

  4. Hmmmm……… now I have another good reason I left the ministry…….. Driscoll is a wanker in the extreme…… If only I’d realised it was a competition, i have personally converted more single men and saved God all the effort………..silly me

    Comment by Ray Bramford — September 12, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

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