Gospel Relevance

Gospel-Centered Resources For The Gospel-Driven Life

An Open Letter To Mark Driscoll

Dear Pastor Mark Driscoll,

I remember the first time I heard you preach. Honestly, I didn’t like it.

An Open Letter to Mark Driscoll

I was a young Christian in college and my roommate kept raving about this preacher from Seattle with a fast-growing Church. He suggested that I listen to you, and he finally convinced me to give it a shot. I thought the content was good, but felt like you used too many jokes. It just was a turn off for me. I wasn’t used to that style.

But something in me wanted to give it a second chance. And boy, was I glad that I did.

I went to a secular University. As a fairly new Christian, the first year of college was a trying time in my faith. I just got baptized the previous month and felt strong starting the semester, but my passion would quickly fade as attacks from the enemy engulfed me in the first week. Living in the unisex dorms, the sexual temptations were massive. Marijuana and alcohol were offered to me almost on a daily basis. Add that to the fact I didn’t have a strong community of faith yet, and one could easily see that I was starting to drown.

I secretly wanted to backslide and indulge myself into sinful activities. I thought, “I’ll just do my own thing for four years, and come back to the Lord after college.” But the Lord had other plans.

The Jesus you preached in your sermons seemed way better than a life of sin. The Holy Spirit used you to open my eyes to the beauty of the gospel, and I began to see Jesus as the great Treasure of the Universe, not just some add-on to my life. Indeed, it was a thrilling revelation.

I remember reading, “A Book You’ll Actually Read on The Old Testament.” I was 20 years old. I think I read it on one sitting. Up to this point of life I hardly read any books, but this book opened my eyes to not only the necessity of reading, but the beauty of it, and propelled me to become an avid-reader. I think I have read almost 100 books since.

What else can I say?

  1. You introduced me to the New Calvinism theology, something I am extremely passionate about.
  2. You introduced me to Christ-centered preaching.
  3. You introduced me to missional living, and showed me that all Christians are missionaries.
  4. You introduced me to biblical masculinity and what it means to be a godly man.
  5. You introduced me to the Church — and how we all should love, cherish, and serve the Bride.

And the list goes on and on.

I don’t know what to believe when I read stuff online. I’m not sure how many people you’ve hurt — or helped. I’m not sure what your salary is. I don’t know what your private life is like. I don’t know how you treat your family. I don’t know what you did with the money of Mars Hill. I don’t know what you plan on doing next. There’s a lot of things I don’t know, but there is one thing that I do know: Your ministry helped save and sustain me during the most difficult time of my life. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

I’m sure you are unlikely to read this, but I felt like I needed to write it. I wanted to write something positive about you amid all the negative that is going around — which is a lot, and probably more than you deserve.

Blessings in the gospel,

David Qaoud

You Might Also Like:

  1. Mark Driscoll on 6 Reasons Why God Created Sex For Marriage
  2. Mark Driscoll’s 6 Principles for Dating
  3. The 10 Biggest Lessons Learned In 10 Years of Ministry

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. Learn more>

11 Replies

  1. Well written article. keep it up dear.

  2. Well written, ending with a positive note. It is so easy to focus on the bad, the negative. Philippians 4:8, 9 tells us what God wants us to think about. It isn’t easy, but we are to be useful to Him, we must ask Him to help us be a positive people. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are exactly right. Thanks for reading.

  3. Job Estrada

    Great letter; I have had a similar journey as yours. I too greatly am greatful for how God has used and will continue to use Mark Driscoll. I grew up as a secretly angry PK (pastors kid) and had drifted far from Jesus; God in his providence allowed me to stumble across a preacher that dressed like me, talked like me but had a message that profoundly convicted me. At first it made me angry all over again like when my father would “preach” at me, but then a sweet comfort came in hearing the message of repentance with new ears and seeing with new eyes. Praise God for His grace through Jesus!!! Keep up the social media revolution brotha!!


    1. Wow. That is truly an amazing story. I’m so grateful that God in his providence brought you near when you were far. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks David for coming by and liking my blog. I like what you had to say here and even more that a good pastor kept you growing in Christ. My story is much like yours although I was starting my life with my husband. My first two pastors helped lay a solid foundation for which I am eternally grateful. That foundation saw me through numerous storms, a couple shipwrecks (figuratively), and a faith that is exploding now! God is good, oh so good! Blessings…

  5. Shanna Crowell

    Thanks for coming by my blog, David. I liked this post and your letter to Pastor Mark Driscoll. Pastor Mark Driscoll continues to be one my husband’s favorite pastor’s and listens to his recorded sermons online. We were both saddened for Mars Hills when everything “went down.” And yes, like you said, we do not know him personally, or know anyone in the church or if what we read was true. None the less, it must have been devastating for all who were involved. When I heard him preach, I heard conviction, truth, and passion. As a pastor’s wife, I often think of his wife and kids and how they felt and fared through this trial. It is comforting to know that God is in control and the church is His. He moves us and uses us in ways we could have never imagined!

    1. Very true. I wanted to write something positive in light of all the bad stuff going on. My heart aches for his family. I’ve been keeping up with his blog and his tweets. We’ll see what the Lord has in store for the Driscoll family in the future.