I think it is probably common knowledge that I am not a fan of Mark Driscoll and his misogyny among other things. I’m certainly not a fan of the things he has done that have gotten public scrutiny and rightly so. But I have to say that the man has issued an apology for the things he did wrong (a copy of it in an article can be found at one of my favorite Christian RELEVANT magazine), in fact he has gone so far as to ask his publisher to remove the title “New York Times Bestselling Author” off of his books. Not only did he issue an apology, he also acted in repentance and is taking steps to try to make amends for what he did.
I know there are many things that I struggle with, over and over again, that I apologize for and make amends for and yet I turn around and do them again. People judge the sincerity of my repentance even though it is genuine every time, because that is what people do, and I can’t say that I blame them. However much I dislike him and however much I would recommend never buying his books or listening to his sermons, it is because of the teachings contained therein.
But when someone issues a pubic apology and takes steps to make amends, even if he has issued a public apology before, I think we should take his word for it, and strive to treat him with the grace that we would like to be treated with had we been the one that screwed up. While I can understand the hesitation to forgive and show grace, if we truly want to follow Jesus our instructions are to forgive him and show him grace. It doesn’t mean we have to expose ourselves to his teachings.
Some of the things that Driscoll teaches have been personally damaging to me, but that isn’t the issue here. I don’t want to show him grace because of such hurtful teachings, but the Jesus that I claim to follow wants me to. I know I would want others to give me a second, third or twenty-fifth chance were I to apologize for screwing up. And all of those who know me know that I need that twenty-fifth chance. Let’s show Driscoll same grace, and give him a chance to demonstrate his repentance. We need to separate his terrible teaching from his apology and forgive him for the things he has admitted he has done wrong. It’s what we are called to do as part of the teachings of Christ.