It was somewhat dispiriting to return from holiday and open the September edition of Evangelicals Now (an excellent paper which I would highly recommend). And not because it means that holiday is over and summer is slipping away, but because one of the first articles my eyes fell on announced that American pastor Mark Driscoll is back leading a church in Arizona. For those who don’t know, he was the pastor of megachurch Mars Hill in Seattle until 2014 when it collapsed and he resigned, accused of bullying and plagiarism and using church money to promote one of his books. And he’s back with a difference, now denying and mocking as “garbage” the Reformed theology he once preached.
It got worse when I turned the pages and read that another high-profile American pastor, Joshua Harris, has announced that he and his wife are separating after 20 years and that he no longer identifies as a Christian. He, like Mark Driscoll, was one of the ‘young, restless and Reformed’ leaders in The Gospel Coalition that many looked to.
This is clearly a deep personal tragedy for these men and their families and the congregations they once served. But this is nothing new. The New Testament warns us repeatedly, with examples, of leaders deserting the faith and leading others astray with them. However, the apostles refused to let this dent their confidence in Christ. In fact, it shows me how much I need Christ. Were it not for his grace I have no idea what kind of mess I would be in, but it would not be pretty.
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)