Mark Driscoll recently resigned from his pastoral role at Mars Hill Church. Those keeping everyone in the know have been insistent that Driscoll committed no “immorality, illegality, or heresy.” But I completely disagree.
Concerning Driscoll’s leadership, a report from the church’s board of overseers said, “We concluded that Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner.” However, the overseers noted, “Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership” (Charisma News).
So, he’s not charged with any immorality; only arrogance, anger, harshness, and a domineering disposition as a leader, pastor, and shepherd.
Have we truly come to a time when these behaviors—FROM A PASTOR—are no longer immoral?
Our culture has deceived us. We’ve forgotten what true leadership should look like. And Jesus is our ultimate example. Philippians 2 makes his leadership model abundantly clear:
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself…” (Philippians 2:5–8).
Jesus’ kingship is unlike any other kingship. His entire social construct is completely backwards from ours.
Jesus’ model calls the poor, the meek, the mourners, and the sufferers blessed. He calls the first last and the last first. In Jesus’ kingship, up is down and down is up.
And in Philippians, we are told of how Jesus gave up every single “right” He had in heaven to humble himself and step down to earth in the form of humanity. He emptied himself. He gave up all his rights as the ruler and creator of the universe to save humanity.
Even as Jesus walked the face of the earth, in the one moment he allowed a bit of praise to be directed his way, he did so while riding on a donkey—the ultimate beast of burden—rather than a stallion.
Jesus would have never driven a brand new Bentley. He’d be rollin’ in a 1971 Ford Pinto.
Don’t be deceived. If you’re ruling harshly and with a heavy, domineering hand, you’re sinning. Such actions are immoral.
Far too many leaders today are full of themselves rather than full of God. And whoever wants to claim that this mindset from Driscoll wasn’t immoral is simply wrong. Jesus gave a better model.
The model of Jesus proves that before we ever seek to be “filled”, we’d better make sure we’re first—and forever—emptied.