Tears Flow as Mark Driscoll Discusses His Resignation Publicly for the First Time

Mark Driscoll sent out a newsletter to his Resurgence email list last night. It was one of the first public messages he shared since resigning from Mars Hill last October. In the email Driscoll shared the news of his family’s move to Phoenix, Arizona, his desire to pursue local ministry and he also shared a link to a deeply candid interview Mark and Grace did with Hillsong’s lead pastor, Brian Houston, during the Hillsong conference. Houston offered Driscoll the opportunity to share the story of his resignation, failures, regrets and their new value on relationships.

The video is close to an hour long, but the major highlights are captured below.

Their Roughest Season

Houston asked the couple how they are both doing…

Grace answered emotionally while Mark wiped away tears, “Thank you for asking. It has been a hard year. And we’ve seen God’s faithfulness amidst the trial and we’re thankful for that. There’s been a lot of loss. And we love our church and have loved being a part of it and felt honored that God would call us to help lead such an amazing group of people. So, that has been hard. And watching the kids, and the pain that they’ve had to experience and the grieving process.”

Houston empathized with them, “I totally understand that with the children. I always find that children feel things for us even more deeply than we feel them.”

Driscoll acknowledged he has been viewed as more and more controversial to the point of being toxic in people’s minds. He’s been largely out of public ministry over the past year and has been seeking godly council.

“I had a godly, wise older pastor – someone that we really look to as a pastor in our lives. He said that we need to put down the binoculars and pick up the mirror. Stop looking at what everyone else is saying and doing and look at yourself. So that’s really been the focus particularly for me, but to a lesser degree for us this past year. And I think that there’s no way for me to say that I’ve always acted with grace or with appropriateness.”

The conversation turned to a discussion on what happens when you become a victim of the world you’ve created. Mark felt there was a measure of truth to that.

“You can’t have a certain tone or disposition, and when that is reciprocated toward you feel that you’re a victim. What’s been interesting in this too, the people that have walked toward us with their hands out to love and encourage are people that are outside of our tribe. There are some old friends that have stuck with us, and been very wonderful to us, but a lot new friends too and people that we would disagree on some secondary theological issues… but love and grace is good theology.”

On Public Attacks

Houston gently pointed out that he has been known for public criticism and attack of other pastors and teachers including his friend Joel Osteen.

A subdued Driscoll said he would not defend that. He felt he lost any right to criticize long ago. He has since contacted and apologized to a long list of pastors including Osteen.

When asked his beliefs about women and women in leadership, he confessed that he said and did things that were “ungodly, unwise and unhelpful” and the misperceptions of his beliefs are entirely his fault. This is one of his greatest regrets especially now that he has a godly, strong daughter.

Houston pressed for more understanding as to his beliefs. Driscoll gave a brief explanation saying he believes in male-governance with male and female ministry. Driscoll believes the man should govern the home as a loving, humble, sacrificial, Christ-like leader who complements his wife and in the church men should govern, teach and serve as elders. However, he also wants to help nourish his daughter and women to lead in their gifts as godly women.

The media has not spared words for Driscoll and Houston asked him if he is or ever was misogynist as the media has pointed out. Driscoll replied by saying, “No, but because of things I’ve said foolishly that impression in entirely my fault. And I have no one to blame but myself.”

He said he has a passion to see young men grow up and take responsibility, which he sometimes communicated in a way that demeaned women. He hopes to change that moving forward.

Grace jumped in to add she has never seen him as a misogynist. She said his methods were wrong, but she knows his heart was right.

Resigning from Mars Hill

The most emotional moment of the interview for the Driscolls was their recounting of the moment of their resignation. Driscoll had invited the board to examine him and his leadership to which they concluded he was prideful, angry and domineering, but they didn’t see anything disqualifying his leadership. The board decided on a break to heal and then his return in a few months. However, shortly after that conversation, God spoke to both Mark and Grace individually.

Tears flowed as they shared God had told them “they were released from Mars Hill.” Driscoll went on to say that God impressed on his hear that a trap had been set and there was no way to return to leadership. After praying and seeking wise council, they submitted their resignation.

There was much grief in losing the church and the people. Driscoll shared it was a great honor to be their pastor and see 10,000 people baptized, many get married and have children. Sadly, there are many hurt Mars Hill people that no longer attend church, which is heartbreaking for the Driscolls.

Houston’s Exhortation

In his closing remarks, Driscoll shared how grateful he is for the 18 years of being a pastor and teaching the Bible and how thankful he is for his wife who is his best friend. They don’t know what’s next, but want to stay close to Jesus and to each other. He hopes to teach the Bible again someday, but wants to wait and learn and not prove himself.

Brian closed by offering encouragement and humble advice to make sure Driscoll has done all he can with restitution.

“Good endings help good beginnings. Be sure you really have done all you can to heal people, the past and heal up yourselves. And, stay with good council like you are and move into all God’s got ahead for you. I’m a great believer that the best is yet to come. And I’d like to speak that over both of your lives. I pray in Jesus’ name that the best is yet to come in every way.”

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