Stale’s Ruth Graham rectally published a delightful and thought provoking article on an evangelical Pastor by the name of Mark Driscoll. Driscoll is a typical evangelist and after doing some research it would be easy to think he is deliberately trying to see how outrageous he can make a sermon and still have followers. His misogynistic, almost Machiavelli style leadership is also really blatant:
Driscoll reveres masculinity even in matters that seem merely aesthetic: He’s a fan of mixed-martial arts but calls yoga “demonic.” If Mars Hill’s discipline practices are indeed oppressive, it’s hard not to make the connection to Driscoll’s fascination with powerful manhood.(Stale 2012)
Mars Hill is nondenominational, which means it doesn’t formally answer to any outside institutional bodies, so Driscoll holds the power. He has preached against “sinning through questioning” and once said publicly he would like to “go Old Testament” on dissenters. He has reported that he can sometimes “see things” about his members’ past sins.
The psychological issues of someone needing power and control are now commonly known. What better than religion to provide this for Driscoll? Driscoll is so determined to control his followers they even need to sign a contract called a ‘covenant’ that says:
I covenant to submit to discipline by God through his Holy Spirit, to follow biblical procedures for church discipline in my relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ, to submit to righteous discipline when approached biblically by brothers and sisters in Christ, and to submit to discipline by church leadership if the need should ever arise.
One doesn’t need to look up the definition of fascism to understand just how unbelievably tyrannical this is. Graham goes on to explain just how brutally Driscoll ostracized a member for cheating on his fiancee. Although cheating is a deplorable act Driscoll’s punishment was hard, fast and forced his follower to fight back. This incident also forced the important question of just how much control anyone should have over another person’s personal life.
Incidents like this need to be talked about, it helps remind everyone just how dangerous religion is. Cults like traits don’t need to be apparent for religion to be tyrannical either. All a person needs is a Bible, a Koran or other ‘holy’ book to exercise complete control over entire civilizations, as modern Islamic republics demonstrate.
Driscoll and others may end up doing the cause of freedom a service. By serving as constant demonstration of why the world is better off when religion either doesn’t exist or is so minimized it no longer has the influence it needs to endanger people the way it does.