I was sent this audio clip of a Q&A at the recent Expositor’s Conference. Al Mohler was asked a question that concerns many pastors: “I work with college students…and one of the big influences on their lives right now is Mark Driscoll. What do you think the effects of sitting under Driscoll on Youtube or on his website, and what kind of things do I need to be prepared for ministering to college students listening to his teaching?”

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  • http://closetcalvinist.com CC_

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m glad to hear Dr. Mohler addressing it.

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  • http:gccmadison.com Craig Wilson

    Thanks for posting this, Dr, Mohler gives a very gracious and well reasoned response to what could have been a very delicate question. I especially liked his statement that there are plenty of other good places to find Biblical preaching than youtube.

    Also I agree with Dr. Mohler that there are some subjects that should not be dealt with from the pulpit ever. I fear in our efforts to reach out and be relevant we are dragging the church down into the gutter.

    • http://thefloridabrowns@hotmail.com mike

      I live in Seattle and have been to Mars Hill and listened to a lot of Driscoll. He has changed much. In all humility I have to say there is even an arrogance and pride in folks like Mohler. Even his initial response was not mature. I saw a panel where he pretty much discounted the Acts 29 movement because they didn’t have the numbers of the SBC. I think contextualization goes on much more than us speaking english and the examples Mohler gave. Mars Hill is making a great impact here in the Puget Sound. The arrogance and pride of the theological elite is subtle and the good ole boy club has its own hazards. I pray we can all get along as there is so much more we have in common. I mean the theological position of Mohler and Driscoll is almost identical. Ridiculous and makes me lose much respect I have had for Mohler.

      • Chad

        Pragmatism isn’t our God. Mark and his kids sometimes forget that.

        • Phil

          Mark denounces pragmatism and indeed much of the folly in Evangelicalism today. He’s not hated by the post-modern “emergent” and liberal crowd for no reason, ya know.

          Critics should actually listen before criticizing… bloggers sometimes forget that.

      • Jennifer

        I thought Mohler was graceful in his response-he praised Driscoll several times for his boldness in spreading the gospel. His main point of disagreement was Driscoll’s choice of subject matter in some of his sermons. This is a viewpoint not unlike those expressed by many others in the clergy regarding Driscoll. I’m sure his response would come as no surprise to Driscoll himself.

        Mohler provided the contextualization examples that he did to show the finer points of contextualization, and that there is no way around it. There is certainly a purpose for it, but we must use discernment with context when delivering a message from the pulpit.

        I have to agree, and I’m not “theological elite” by any stretch, or a candidate for the old boys club. :) There are appropriate places and situations for discussion on some of the subject matter that Driscoll has preached about-but the pulpit is not one of those places. We need to ask, “is what is being preached from the pulpit glorifying to God?” – while there will be some disagreement, I think you would find that most do not find the pulpit the place for subject matter such as describing graphic visions of rape/incest.

      • Francis Murphy

        As a pastor over in the UK which is much further down the road in terms of secularisation than the United States, I find Mark Driscoll’s preaching engages with a post-Christian/ pre-Christian culture in a way that few others do. Yes, there are hazards in trying to balance gospel/culture, but if we are to be effective missionaries in our day, we must engage culture and all its forms. I have listened to a lot of Driscoll and read his books, and yes his sermons on sex make me feel uneasy at times. But then maybe that’s because I was raised Catholic! But what I have found counselling younger couples and speaking with teenagers is that they are much more candid in talking about sexual matters than I was at their age. They are asking questions that I would never dared ask a pastor. So what are we to do? How are we to disciple them. I honestly believe that much of the raw and edgy teaching and subject matter that characterises Mark Driscoll, has come about through real pastoral encounters and trying to disciple mixed up people and show them exactly what it means to follow Jesus. The bible itself makes use of edgy language, which in our English translations is often covered over to protect our sensibilities. e.g. Philippians 3:8 Paul says he ‘has suffered the loss of all things and counts them as dung’ literally – excrement/sh*t. Isaiah 64:6 decribes our righteousness as ‘filthy rags’, literally, the cloth a woman would use when she was menstruating/i.e. a tampon. When I have heard Mark Driscoll at his crudest, it was not merely to get a laugh, but to explain what is actually there in the text. His sermon series on Song of Solomon has caused controversy because he chose not to interpret that book as an image of Christ’s love for his church as many have historically done, but rather, preached it as it was originally meant in it’s original language, as an erotic love poem. Hence the reason why even today Orthodox Jews do not allow their sons to read Song of Solomon until they are deemed old enough.
        Driscoll has his flaws and raw edges like anyone else, but I think he is often misunderstood. What he does excel at is being a missionary to his city and he loves Jesus.

      • http://www.matthewmccraw.com Matthew McCraw

        Are you sure you listed to this without prejudice? It seems like you’re hearing more from Mohler than I did. It seems like to me he is just suggesting that we be careful and discerning when listening to any other pastor, including Driscoll.

        For someone who wants us all to get along, you sure had a strong reaction to a pretty mild statement.

      • Lamar Carnes

        The Bible even states clearly that we are NOT to offfend our brothers and sisters when they have convictions on certain matters. I was saved out of the “bars”, the “dives” and the “drinking alcohol” clubs. I never touched the stuff now that I am saved. It is a brew that makes me actually sick because of what it did to me and how it harmed me. In fact, my testimony would be shot through if I even lifted a bottle to my lips in front of a lost person.
        Drinking doesn’t make you cool or clever or helpful to anyone at all. I am not saying you can’t perhaps have a small taste of some type of beverage that may have alcoholic content and if you do you have sinned. However, it is a bad beverage to say the very least. It is a drug and that is a fact. It is not a social beverage to taut and display to our young children at all. So it is still destroying lives every day, kiling people every day. You and I as a Christian and/or a Pastor have a higher calling to lower ourselves to the “gutter of the worlds favorite brew” in order to try and reach them. That is absolutely not true. I was in it and when saved from it when I was born again, I know how the “lost” people think about stuff like this. I can assure you 100% that a lost person doeesn’t get impressed because you lift a bottle of “bud” or a “snort of whiskey” at a party or any place he is located. If you, or Mr. Driscoll or anyone else thinks that they have lost all sense of reason and logic and also haven’t really “read” the hearts and minds of folks out there looking for something they can’t find except in the bottle! That “idol” they have “you” and others like “you and Driscoll”
        seem to think is “fine to portray back to the idol worshipper” isn’t the way to go (I suppose you support the drinking stuff and if not I apologize)! So, we all need to re-evaluate all of this. I would be offended if you drank a beer, glass of wine, or whiskey in my presence if you called yourself a Christian. I can sit with a lost person as they drink knowing they are lost and don’t know better, but a Christian should know better than set up a standard which brings about a fall to countless millions! Having “solid theological” content on the Gospel doeesn’t make one a healthy Christian in the real world at all. We have many denominations which have on paper solid, strong theological words they say they believe, but their lives are far removed from living it out in real life. I like Paul am glad the Gospel of Christ is preached for whatever reason, but not happy to see the trend of “worldliness come into our church life” which had already had enough of that to start with! Now sanctioning it makes it doubly worse!

        • http://www.vineandshoots.blogspot.com michelle

          Thank you for sharing your testimony and perspective here, Lamar.

      • Matt

        I agree. I have been listening to Mark Driscol on my ipod for over a year and I have never heard him say things that are rude or crude. I have heard he used to, but has changed. Mark is a very Godly man and brings his preaching to life by explaining the history and meaning of the passage. He explains the gospel so clearly. His preaching has changed me by getting me to look to Christ for everything.

      • Theodorus

        “Mars Hill is making a great impact here in the Puget Sound.”

        Yes. But not an entirely positive impact. People who are bored with their churches, especially young people, are leaving their ho-hum boring churches for the excitement and multi-million dollar audio-visual spectacle that is Mars Hill on Sunday, and they are hearing a message laden with sexual innuendo their itching ears find stimulating. As for the world and the unchurched, they have been impacted by the negative stereotype created by a spiritually abusive system masquerading as “the Gospel” which recently brought disgrace on the church among the community – again. http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/02/01/mark-driscoll-mars-hill-church-and-the-merchant-of-venice

      • http://mandoinky@yahoo.com Armando

        Ironically your post does is not helpful for the goal you desire.

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  • Randy

    YouTube is a terrible place to go to church. Absolutely true. I wonder though if people are uploading the more sensational things Driscoll has said on YouTube and taking them out of context. Every message he has given is available on the Mars Hill site so why would anyone need to go to YouTube? I have been listening to Driscoll’s teaching from Luke the last several months and several of his recent conference messages. There has been nothing, in my opinion, that I would call excessive contextualization. I think the YouTube stuff that people are getting uptight might be older stuff. About a year ago Dr. MacArthur publicly made remarks about Driscoll (in true no-grace to you fashion) at the same time Piper wrote Driscoll a message privately. I am thinking Piper was much more effective and Driscoll has since tried to avoid the “excessive contextualization” however, the bell cannot be un-rung.

    • http://thingsfindothinks.com AndrewF

      Mars Hill hasn’t helped the cherry picking – take this recent example from the Luke series..

    • Lamar Carnes

      There are just some things a minister cannot engage in at all or they will lose their testimony totally and should resign from the ministry. If they do not have a “good report” of those who are “without or outside of the camp” they can’t even be a Pastor. Danger lurks when ministers “look like”, “act like”, and “engage in” all of the carnal acts of the flesh which seeks to burst forth in all of us at times. One of the first things a man given grace and was saved from death in the Flood was he “got drunk”! Lot also played around with the carnal fleshly desires and got drunk. In both cases havoc resulted. Yes, I know, drunkenness is the sin and not “just” short drink. But remember, in whose presence that “short” drink you engage in just might damage. A weak brother or sister who has been delivered from the beverages and would be tempted. We have responsibilites to others and Pastor’s for sure have a higher calling and greater responsiblity to the flock than to “engage” in filthy language, rude comments, and drinking booze to try and show how Liberal they are to others. In fact, other lost folks probably think the person is a fake and a hypocrit. I know I was saved from a life of that kind of stuff and I turned 100% away from it all with no regrets and if during my early days of following Christ I would have seen or heard something like this from a minister I would have never sat under his ministry for one moment! No, that is not legalistic. That is recognizing that God DOES teach us standards of conduct which when we walk in the Spirit the flesh and carnality are put down and kept in control. No, we are not perfect, but we don’t “clap our hands” that we engage in fleshly carnal appetites utilizing harmful drugs, bad words and harmful thoughts passed on verbally to others! We have a big job setting the standards out there and should not endorse “weak” “carnal” “fleshly” appetites or weaknesses in such a manner others can use that againsst us and the Gospel.
      Ephesians chapter 5 clearly tells us what we need to know on these issues! It appears no one today seems to believe these Holy Spirit given words. They do not teach us we are “saved” or “sanctified” by not engaging, but it does teach when we are “saved” things follow in our life that are the opposite of those things generally – recognizing we may fail but we confess and repent and walk forward again in faith and holy living! The push toward being “culturally relevent” doesn’t imply at all we need to “lower” our standards of holy conduct and living to influence others for Christ. In fact, the opposite could occur. Making friends, eating with them, talking with them, helping them, etc., doesn’t mean we have to “act and be like them in conduct” at all! When you become “one of the good old boys” you have just lost your influence for Christ with them! You may get them in the door but what have you got them into and did Christ put them there? Only HE knows but I think it is a dangerous thing to go to far in this matter! We set the standards in the Church and they world must come “up” to them and the Church doesn’t go “down” to the world in their corruption but rather, keep our self unspotted from the world say’s the scripture!

  • John Balog

    Is a transcript of this available? Not able to see the clip.

    • Ben Thorp

      It’s audio – nothing to ‘see’. There is a download link above too, if the flash player is failing to work.

  • Michael

    ugh…flash player. no iPad love? how bout a html5 media player plugin for wordpress like this one? thanks!


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  • http://morris-pressingon.blogspot.com Morris Brooks

    I was at the Expositor’s conference and Mohler was very gracious, not just in the words he said, which you can link to here, but also in his demeanor. He could have taken the hammer to Mark, but did not.

    Also, FYI, I saw a clip by Mark Driscoll a couple of years ago in which he said that John MacArthur had written him a letter expressing his concern.

  • http://www.rbfhaleyville.webs.com Patrick

    I find it outrageous that Driscoll fans are saying, “In all humility, Mohler is arrogant”. No one (except Arminians) is attacking Driscoll for heresy against core doctrines of the Christian faith. In fact, no one is attacking Driscoll at all. When I first heard of him, I was glad. The problem is that Driscoll’s “methods” deviate from scripture, and, if you honestly examine them, are a practical denial of the sovereignty of God. The Apostle Paul abstained from intentionally offending Gentiles but didn’t try to conform to their culture or lifestyle to be relevant. Even further from biblical standards is profanity in the pulpit, (lets call it sin,) boasting about drinking beer and still being spiritual and the latest youtube of what has been called “pornographic divination”. There was even the instance of a pornographic eisegesis with the verse, “Whatsoever your hand findeth to do”, speaking of masturbation. But God judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (i.e. Even looking with lust is adultery.) This is brazen unrepentant sin within the pulpit. No one in the Mars Hill camp is speaking out about how this seems offensive to the brethren, and more importantly, offensive to God. The problem is that Driscoll is the one who has rejected rebuke of his behavior and has unapologetically defended his position. “That” sounds like arrogance. Labeling the likes of Mohler and McArthur with the title of “Theological Elite” is like a student saying that a teacher with degrees and years of faithful service has no right to critique the student’s work. This is a form of rebellion against those who you should respect and listen to. It is anti-intellectualism and is not in keeping with the bible’s admonition to listen to those who are wise and have proved themselves trustworthy. The scriptures tell us to abstain from even the appearance of evil. We are also to be quick to repent and reconcile. Not for the purpose of one person’s ministry being exalted above another’s, but so that the power of the gospel might be shown and that we might give the lost no good reason to blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ. Anti-intellectualism is what has gotten the church in the shape it is in today. May we be wise, and seek wisdom, but may we be harmless to the faith of others. We are to conform to the image of Christ, and I cannot say that Driscoll’s speech and actions embodies what we want the world to think of Jesus and His church.

    • Phil

      Patrick you said: “There was even the instance of a pornographic eisegesis with the verse, ‘Whatsoever your hand findeth to do’, speaking of masturbation.”

      WRONG!!! This is a lie. What Mark Driscoll actually said was that some guy tried to justify masturbation and hinted at that verse, and Driscoll said no you can’t use that verse to justify it. Quite the opposite of what you’ve falsely said, Patrick, Driscoll actually used this situation as an example of how people mis-apply verses inappropriately. I have the sermon in my library and he’s references that incident a few times, so it’s well documented what Driscoll really said.

      You say that Driscoll has “rejected rebuke of his behavior” but this, too, is a LIE. Driscoll has responded to many of his critics and openly repented of many things — including taking entire sermons out of circulation and offline! He may not follow all the criticism of your personal pet teachers (MacArthur and Mohler) but he’s welcomed by many more respectable ones like Piper, Tchividjian, the Gospel Coalition, etc. These are Godly men with Gospel-centered focus and great success — real success, not pragmatism — in ministry. If Driscoll was really living and preaching like your false accusations assert, he would most certainly not be welcome in those circles. If he were unrepentant, unteachable, and unwilling to reconcile, then he would not be welcome among those Godly ministers.

      RE: “…the bible’s admonition to listen to those who are wise and have proved themselves trustworthy.” Patrick, I hate to break this to you, but there are men on Earth other than Mohler and MacArthur who have proven themselves trustworthy (both in and out of the SBC) and Driscoll has clearly listened to them. Now, it’s clear that Driscoll doesn’t share the 100% of the views of your pet teachers who *you* think are some exclusive anointed class with whom apparently no one can disagree, but that doesn’t mean so for the of the world.

      Much of what you speak against him in your post is a malicious mix of false witness and personal bias. You might want to actually *listen* a bit more to Driscoll instead of out-of-contect YouTube clips, misinformation from so-called discernment bloggers, or whatever.

      Your post here basically accuses him of not even being a Christian; living an life of open unrepentant sexual sin with an arrogant, unteachable, unregenerate heart …oh, and somehow *he’s* the arrogant one. I see.

  • Phil

    So Mohler believes that there are “some things that are on the screen” when it comes to “Gospel application.” Wow. So he’s saying that there are things to which he can’t see a way to apply the Gospel. Now let’s be honest — whether anyone wants to say it or not — the bones of contention here are alcohol and sexually-oriented topics, m’kay? If Mohler can’t see how Gospel redemption can be applied to sex, well, that’s his problem. If Mohler believes there are things that the Bible can talk about but a Bible preachers can’t, that’s Mohler’s skewed restriction not a Biblical one. If the church doesn’t address these issues Biblically and openly, then the world will. We don’t have to be vulgar like the world, but we need not cede any topic to the world. Also, whenever Driscoll has discussed adult themes from the pulpit he has *clearly* warned the entire congregation about the content. Though Mohler didn’t say it (and few SBC’ers will own up to it) Driscoll is still dissed partly because he had displayed teetotalerism for the folly that it is, and many still loathe him for it.

    Also, as others have noted, Driscoll has matured substantially over the years. There are reasons that Driscoll has chosen not to post certain sermons from many years back: he’s repented of some of the things he’s said and no longer wants those dishonoring sermons distributed. You’ll never hear the haters and critics acknowledge this.

    • Phil

      Typo, first line: I think Mohler said “AREN’T on the screen”. Sorry.

  • http://www.sermonaudio.com Steven Lee

    For those interested, here’s the complete Q&A:

    The Driscoll comment can be found 35:30 into the video.

  • http://csaproductions.com/blog/ Brendt Wayne Waters

    “in his better moments” ?!?! (5:16)

    Someone please explain to me how a phrase like that can NOT mean that Mohler’s thought is that Driscoll’s default mode is that he wants to be a rock star. That’s a bigger slam than most of what comes from the yahoos that sit around all day criticizing Mark (and everyone else they don’t like).

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  • http://www.danielthrelfall.com Daniel Threlfall

    Regardless of what one thinks of Mohler or Driscoll, contextualization is a key issue. Mohler’s comments on contextualization were helpful in this regard.

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