The world loves when celebrities fall from grace, and that extends to celebrity pastors. A little less than a year ago, Mark Driscoll resigned from his position as pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington amidst accusations of plagiarism, buying his way onto the New York Times Bestseller List, and his domineering leadership style. This past summer Tullian Tchividjian admitted to marital infidelity following his wife’s admission of the same thing. Towards the end of July, Driscoll announced his intentions of continuing ministry in the Phoenix area. This past week Tullian has filed for divorce.
Both pastors were very popular with many, but they both have also had their share of criticism prior to their respective falls. Driscoll reviewed criticism from John MacArthur for being too “grungy” and Tullian had a following out with the Gospel Coalition for discrepancies on their understanding of sanctification (or has Barnabas Piper has said, because Tullian likes grace too much.). It is easy to call Driscoll emergent or Tullian an antinomian amidst these controversies. It is easy to dismiss all the good that they have done and publicly butcher them. Driscoll had to move from his house do to threats and Tullian has been accused of advocating “dangerous theology.” (I guess grace is dangerous LOL.) Anyway, criticism is easy. We know these guys have both messed up. It doesn’t take much to bash them. It is harder to pray for them and their restoration. No doubt many have been hurt by Drisoll and a family has been torn apart in the case of Tullian, but they don’t need scorn piled on to the shame. They don’t need you to revel in their misery. I for one hope to see both succeed again in the future. I hope to see Driscoll’s ministry in Phoenix thrive. I am not really sure of the ramifications of adultery in terms of future ministry, but I hope to see Tullian thrive as well. Both of their ministries have meant so much to me at different points in my life. In high school, Mark Driscoll was my go to for YouTube videos. I learned so much about Reformed theology from him. And Tullian. At a time when I felt that God had no grace for me, Tullian’s unwavering commitment to the grace of God kept me going amidst very dark times. I am so thankful for both of them.
And I am no better than either of them. Like Driscoll, I get angry. No I have never cheated on the wife I don’t have, but I have listed before. What are we to expect? We are all the same. Sinners who need a Savior. I am not excusing their sin, but we shouldn’t be surprised when a celebrity pastor falls. They are no different than us. Hopefully this at least reminds us that out heroes are flawed as well.
The world loves when people fall from grace. God loves to redeem them.