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What Todd Bentley & Mark Driscoll Have in Common

Posted by Radical Resurgence | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 02-09-2014


by Jeffrey Yoder

The recent Mark Driscoll scandal has caused me to see a connection to the Todd Bentley scandal several years ago.

The sins of Bentley – who was a Charismatic celebrity – were sexual immorality and drunkenness.

The sins of Driscoll – who was a Neo-Calvinist/Reformed celebrity – were emotional abuse, dishonesty, and verbal assault.

Both Driscoll and Bentley were popular figures in the Christian world.

Both stepped down from ministry.

Both lost thousands of fans.

But both were promoted by respected leaders who have very large platforms.

I want to make two big points in this piece.

1. Sexual immorality and verbal/emotional abuse are equally serious sins in the New Testament. Yet evangelicals by and large have made sexual immorality the big sin, while giving a pass on swearing at people up one side down the other and emotionally abusing them with hurtful words and fits of anger. Paul puts these sins on the same level in Galatians and 1 Corinthians. Sexual immorality is no more serious than verbal abuse.

2. The people who promoted Bentley and made him a star later got off the Bentley ship (excepting Rick Joyner). But to my knowledge, none of them made any public confession that they were part of the problem. They should have asked for forgiveness. They should have owned the fact that they gave Bentley a stage. They erred in judgment for promoting Bentley in the first place, exposing him to the Church. This was wrong and they should have come clean with it.

This pattern is repeating itself.

The people who promoted Driscoll and made him a star are getting off the Driscoll wagon, but I’ve not seen any admissions or repentance for promoting him in the first place. They knew of his temper problems, his profanity, his harshness in dealing with people, and looked the other way. Why aren’t we seeing confessions by John Piper, Matt Chandler, Rick Warren, and the other people who gave Driscoll a platform? This was a major error in judgment and they were part of the problem.

It’s not too late for those who offered Bentley and Driscoll platforms to make public admissions and ask for forgiveness.

By the way, the problem with Driscoll wasn’t his theology. People have held to the same Reformed views that women should submit to men and that homosexuality is sin (which is held by most evangelicals today). The problem is with Driscoll’s character defects.

Let me say this again. I’ve seen some people denounce Driscoll because he believes homosexuality is a sin and that women shouldn’t be part of the workforce. Many leaders in the evangelical world have held these views for centuries, including Anabaptists. Those aren’t wrong even though some may disagree with those positions. Driscoll’s sins are verbal assault, emotional abuse, using profanity against others in fits of rage, and slander. He’s also known to misrepresent the views of other authors without doing due diligence.

Those are the sins that should be focused on in the Driscoll case, not his belief system which has been held by upright men and women through the centuries. Theology is not the issue!

But something is wrong with Christianity when Charismatics and Calvinists who have huge platforms offer them to the wrong people and ignore other people who are just as or even more gifted, have an important message for our time, and who possess character.

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