Mark Driscoll 2019: Young, Restless, and Freudian

He Has Read As Much Freud As He Has Calvin

I think everybody’s view of God is a rejection or projection of their earthly father…Atheism says, ‘I have no Dad.’ Agnosticism says, ‘I never met him and I’m not looking for him. Deism says, ‘he used to be here but he went far away.’ Progressivism says, “My dad is more like a big brother. He let’s me do what I want.’ Arminianism says, I have a Dad who lets me make my own choices. He doesn’t tell me what to do.’ Reformed theology is, ‘I have a Dad who is powerful. He is in charge. He’s non-relational. He lives far away and don’t make him mad because he can get angry really fast and hurt you.’ And then feminism says, ‘Let’s just be raised by a single parent called god is mother.’ And so almost every theological group within Christianity is somehow a rejection or projection of their earthly father. And the problem is they are starting with their earthly father and looking up. They’re not starting with their Heavenly Father and looking down and judging their earthly fathers. I’ve gone so far as to say I think the whole Young. Restless, and Reformed movement—Time Magazine said I was one of the thought leaders that helped create that. I don’t hold to the five points of Calvinism. I think it’s garbage, so blog about that, but anyways, because it’s not biblical. But nonetheless, that whole Young, Restless, and Reformed—God is Father but he’s distant, he’s mean, he’s cruel, he’s not relational, he’s far away. That’s their view of their earthly father. So then they pick dead mentors. Spurgeon, Calvin, Luther. These are little boys with father wounds, who are looking for spiritual fathers. So they pick dead guys who are not actually going to get to know them or correct them. And then they join networks run by other young men so they can all be brothers. There’s no fathers.

Mark Driscoll June 4, 2019. Interview transcript.


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  1. It’s no surprise, with his Hypothetical Universalist understanding of the atonement, (even though he’s a staunch proponent of PSA according to Part 1 of the video series). He could never quite sign on to Limited Atonement. I was a member of his church for 2 years back in college, and he would quote “the dead guys” all the time. Him and our former worship leader, the lead singer of Thrice, seemed to have jumped off the YRR bus very quickly and forcefully.

    Was he more so “adopted” into the YRR movement, or did he himself claim to be a part of it? Was he in it just to be “cool” and associated with a rising movement he wanted to ride the tide with?

  2. You know, the whole church polity, oversight, and submission to church authority within the Reformed (see Presbyterian) churches never really works well for a guy like Driscoll anyway. Irony of all ironies, MD saying the YRR join networks run by other brothers, exactly what he did. When that doesn’t work I guess you just start over and try to reinvent yourself.

    • My recollection is (after his Catholic days) he was a Youth Intern/Pastor of some sort in a Presbyterian Church in Seattle, I believe? Either a Session saw something in him they were wary of, of Driscoll was far too autonomous to sit under the authority of a Governing body. Seemingly the same sort of thing happened to James McDonald, who formed his own “Governing body” of Harvest Bible Chapel churches.

  3. To be so blithe and dismissive about our fathers in the faith is impressive. The five points are “garbage”. Good grief. But perhaps the most telling thing – and not surprising as someone who was a member of MH for 6 years and on staff during that time – is that it turns out the only “objective” view of God, after he has cast all others aside, is the Driscoll view. Convenient.

  4. How many Starbucks triple shots did Mark savor before being interviewed? I won’t view the entire transcript, lest I lose my lowly latte. The excerpt alone puts me in mind of a tortured, Joycean stream-of-consciousness passage. SUCH eloquence: “I don’t hold to the five points of Calvinism. I think it’s garbage, so blog about that, but anyways, because it’s not biblical.”

    “What is this babbler trying to say?” Those with itching ears strain to hear…

    Mark, listen to “Who” from The Newsboys of old:

    …There’s no use explaining what can’t be contained
    I’m not following a God I can lead around
    I can’t tame this deity
    That’s why Jesus is the final answer
    To Who I want my God to be.

  5. Seems like a lot of “they” language from someone who named his own son Haddon after Spurgeon. I do not find it surprising his views have changed with time. That is normal. I do find it ironic he himself is incredibly complicit in this phenomenon he is slamming and yet he does not even acknowledge that.

  6. It’s unfortunate we’re even discussing this guy’s antics again. It’s like a waking up with a bad theological hangover. Him changing his views and turning aside from biblical soteriology is probably symptomatic of a deeper problem. Maybe it is the quest for fame and audience, and morphing his theology to what’s trending in American “evangelicalism.”

    It seems when one departs from biblical soteriology there is always a devolution to Arminian, Process Theology, Open Theism and eventual Unitarianism. God slowly becomes less God and man slowly replaces Him.

    • Sad Driscoll has gone this route. I heard him years ago and was wondering if he might flame out. I guess I’m one of those little boys with a father wound (shades of an Eldridge book for real men)… that has been mentored by those dead theologians. Actually.. I’m ORR (old restless reformed).

      Don’t understand this guys issues or why he got so stinky but I do appreciate many of the good “networks” and faithful godly men and women that follow your blog. Maybe he got to big for his britches.

      Great comments everyone.
      Keep up the good work Scott.

      I do appreciate your Heidleblog and a space hear where I can read others excellent comments.

  7. It seems to me that Driscoll is being consistent in that making provocative statements is what built his first kingdom. Having a lot of gall can carry a person quite a long way.

    • Indeed. He’ll milk that to the end. He’s a theological chameleon.

      I don’t believe he was ever truly Reformed. I’m so glad I missed that whole YYR thing whilst coming from the Lutheran side to the Reformed side.

  8. He’s completely off-track with his theology though I can’t fault what he’s said concerning the failure of fatherhood and the resultant young men seeking real mentors.

    However the two positions aren’t absolute opposites; who says we’re forced to choose between earthly fathers and “dead old men”? Who wouldn’t love an involved father who is also eager to share the wise treasures of Calvin, Spurgeon and Luther?

    • Thran,

      I don’t think one may separate his bad theology from his Freudian psychology—that is theology. Perhaps it always was.

      Yes, good fathers are important but that’s quite beside his point. This is a thinly veiled attack on his former congregation(s) in Seattle whereby Driscoll is the stern but good father who has been cast away by rebellious children. In fact, he was an Narcissistic abuser of the sheep, a hired-man, who, after destroying lives and congregations has moved on to greener pastures and even more vulnerable Pentecostal sheep. Now he’s peddling health & wealth Pentecostalism. God help those poor people.

  9. Driscoll’s premise is silly.

    “And so almost every theological group within Christianity is somehow a rejection or projection of their earthly father.”

    Their earthly father? Thelogical groups of people have *a* father? What a lazy formulation. Is he so dense as to believe that all or most people within each theological grouping have essentially the same father? I don’t think he even believes what he says – he’s just trying to sound edgy or insightful. His charisma is what draws people to him. Too bad he isn’t really interested in using his gifts for God’s glory and for the building up of the church.

  10. “To believe in God the Father, therefore, is to believe in that God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and to believe that he is also my Father, and as such has a fatherly affection toward me, for and on account of Christ, in whom he has adopted me as his son.” -Zacharias Ursinus, The Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, p. 140. See also Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 26.

  11. I had completely forgotten about this guy. It’s no surprise to see where he has ended up.

    FWIW, Janet Mefferd deserves a lot of credit for her part in Driscoll being exposed and dethroned and thankfully removed from the evangelical conversation.

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