Mark Driscoll – The Hulk Hogan of Pastors: Top 10 Quotes

A couple of years ago Tom Tapping gave me two books written by Mark Driscoll, the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. One was called Confessions of a Reformission Rev and I read it straight through laughing out loud. This book is an antidote for church-builders under pressure. The other book was a thought-provoking manifesto called The Radical Reformission. If you’ve heard preachers discuss how to relate the church and the gospel to our culture, they were probably inspired by this book.

Mark Driscoll has been called the Hulk Hogan of pastors. (Watch this and you’ll see why.) He says a lot of things that shock people and this has given him a reputation as a controversial pastor. My view is that he is a passionate, red-blooded man who is sick and tired of a church that has become emasculated and irrelevant. But he is no mere critic. He has a plan – his radical reformission – to convey the truth of the gospel to the lost. The world needs more leaders like him.

Whatever you think of Driscoll you will agree that he is certainly quotable. Here are 10 of my favorite Driscoll quotes:

1. “So I decided to start a church, for three reasons. First, I hated going to church and wanted one I liked, so I thought I would just start my own. Second, God had spoken to me in one of those weird charismatic moments and told me to start a church. Third, I am scared of God and try to do what he says.”  (Confessions, p.39)

2. “You have been told that God is a loving, gracious, merciful, kind, compassionate, wonderful, and good sky fairy who runs a day care in the sky and has a bucket of suckers for everyone because we’re all good people. That is a lie… God looks down and says ‘I hate you, you are my enemy, and I will crush you,’ and we say that is deserved, right and just, and then God says ‘Because of Jesus I will love you and forgive you.’ This is a miracle.”

3. “I occasionally bought lottery tickets and promised God I would tithe if he’d let me win, but to no avail.”  (Confessions, p.58)

4. “I’m in my jeep minding my own business, when I turn to Christian radio for the first time in a long time. Last time in a long time.” (uncited)

5. “Isn’t it odd that we are apparently becoming a nation of attractive people who sit at home alone at night with our pets, watching television shows about relationships and taking medication for the depression brought on by our loneliness? Meanwhile, our neighbors, whom we do not know, are spending their evenings in much the same way.” (Radical Reformission, 82)

6. “Jesus, could you please rapture the charismaniac lady who brings her tambourine to church?” (chapter title from Confessions)

7. “Even a cursory reading of the book of Ecclesiastes shows that culture is a stationary bike that each generation climbs on in hopes of getting somewhere only to die and fall off so that the new young stud can take his turn peddling and, like a fool, make pronouncements about his progress. We would be wise to see postmodernity as simply the new guy on the old bike and not mistake cultural change for kingdom progress.” (Radical Reformission, 161)

8. “Jesus and Paul were serious dudes. They had teeth missing. Jesus was a carpenter, Paul was in prison. These guys didn’t eat tofu dogs and bean sprouts. They didn’t play tennis. If there were trucks back in their times, they would have been doing driveway lube jobs on a Saturday afternoon. Same thing with King David. Yeah, he might have played a lyre, but he slaughtered thousands of guys.” (re:tool and re:load conference)

9. “Flipping through a phone book once, I saw one church advertising itself as ‘Separated’ and ‘Reaching Out to Seattle,’ presumably much like a boxer reaches out to an opponent with a jab. (Radical Reformission, 141)

10. “Work like an Arminian, sleep like a Calvinist.” (uncited)

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  1. Tom NeSmith says:

    When I watch his sermons, I have to ask myself “Does this man have any concept of God’s grace?” What comes off is a sense of his self-importance.
    Hulk Hogan of pastors? More vulgar purveyor of condemnation.
    “God looks down on you and says ‘I hate you, you are my enemy, and I will crush you,’”? Actually, He looks into our hearts and says “I love you!”. He wants us to find that place of desolation where His love can enter our hearts and heal us.

    • way to not finish that quote… keep reading. and try reading in context next time.

    • Chris Wileman says:

      Thank you!!!
      Whether you “finish the quote or not” it’s a horrible way to portray God. If you’re in to self mutilation, enjoy it… but don’t put this stuff forth as though we can only have this view or we will be cast out forever.

      Jesus said “for God so LOVED the world”

      Sorry, not a fan of Driscoll. I think his message is one of fear and bondage, guilt, manipulation and condemnation. But what do I know? People are eating it up as they sip coffee at their mega-churches.

      • God doesn’t love us because of Jesus. God never hated us… ever. God is not suffering from schizophrenia. And thats just what penal substitution makes God out to be.

    • Go read the Old Testament. Mark’s not ignoring God’s grace: he’s putting it into perspective.

    • That’s good, Tom. I agree. Living in Seattle, I find Driscoll to be a total local embarrassment. He knows nothing about real grace. Paul, why have you quoted him like this? Really. He’s more like Frankenstein’s monster.

  2. Driscoll’s message is nothing new. The people he’s trying to reach are the ones who are running away from him because they’ve been fed the doctrine of fear their whole life. I’m one of them.

    • the people he’s trying to reach are the people tired of seeing God painted as a wuss. to believe that God is gracious only is to believe that He is not just, and therefore not entirely God. Driscoll demands that we view God both as a gracious, merciful, loving God while at the same time recognizing him as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the conquering King, the feared and victorious enemy of sin and death.

      • God’s justice is to love unconditionally.

      • Patrick Bezanson says:

        You are right Jon S. – his message is Biblical and if you are okay with Driscoll being a Christian than you really can’t argue with what he says (and most times how he says it). If you are presuming God’s characteristics from another worldview than yes you can argue against Driscoll’s points. These trite comments and defamatory remarks of Driscoll here are clearly noted as hatred against how he preaches and what he says, but lack any significant rebuttal to scripture. They have no weight except in their rhetoric. The place of desolation where God can reach us? Yes, it’s called understanding our sin and how the wrath of God is upon us – that’s why there is a Gospel, which actually means Good News (if you did not know). Those who attempt to soften the attributes of a holy God and the significance of our sinful nature, show only their contempt of truly good news – that of Jesus being the only means of our salvation through his grace and mercy.

      • I agree, when people jump from one extreme to another they are called bipolar. When God does it, its called divine. This is because God has all the facts and all authority – we, and all men, unfortunately do not. When we take a stand and speak out for God we certainly become a target. Mark may be a lot more like Jesus than people realize. Remember Jesus despised religious leaders due to their jealousy and hypocrisy and they despised Him and set out to kill Him. That was a bigger stir then than Mark is creating now!

  3. Why not find something positive about Mark Driscoll and comment about that? Just a thought. We aren’t in a position to judge and the measure we use is the measure God will use to judge us. Why not say…”I don’t agree with Pastor Mark on this point but I know he’s a brother in Christ so I’ll pray the Lord gives him wisdom.” “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Fear is necessary. Mark is doing his job and doing it well. God bless.

  4. Anyone who takes the view that God already loved us, makes the claim that Jesus’ sacrifice was wholly unnecessary and attempts to rob the cross of its transformational power. We are all baseless sinners who deserve nothing but death, hell and damnation but receive, instead, the unmerited grace of a loving Saviour! Thank You Jesus!

  5. Mark Driscoll has rock solid ideology and theology. He is reaching out to tens of thousands of unbelievers and is helping new Christians develop a mature relationship with Christ while providing guidance in navigating the Bible. He is fulfilling his ministry. So many Christians are getting wrapped up in areas that truly aren’t important and dissecting his sermons like a Pharisee, waiting for something possibly, not as rock solid as the rest of his message.

    • Mark Driscoll is leading thousands to a wasteland of constant cycles of sin and repentance., sin and repentance, sin and repentance. His theology is as rotten as it gets.

      • You may not know this, but Christians are called to faith and repentance – that’s what our lives should consist of daily. If you deny this, you deny much of orthodox theology that ground our understanding of classical Christianity.

      • Sin and repentance is the only legitimate God given cycle in the Bible, check it out at 1 john 1:9. If you think love trumps repentance, i would say you do not understand love or repentance. God loves and grants our repentance. Love covers our sin through repentance. If we say we have no sin, we are liars and the truth is not in is. 1 John 1:8 and 2:4

      • Charles, you may be interested in this post on 1 John 1:9.

  6. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Fear is necessary. Mark is doing his job and doing it well. God bless. then we have a contradiction in the bible folks because perfect love cast out all fear. I love how people look at the word fear and place it into what we think of fear is you know scared, frighten, but thats not what the bible means to be in the fear of the lord. it means to be in wonder in awe of him, trembling in awe of his majesty. remember when look at the attributes of Satan in the bible it’s the same as describing Christ now would we say Jesus is like Satan ? Satan is the loin in the darkness ready to consume, he is the morning start, the false light but a light in any case. the opposite of love is fear and fear breeds hate. so if God is love and those that walk in love know God is the bible wrong ? is God the abusive husband if you don’t love I’ll beat the s— out of you light you on fire and watch you burn ? if thats true then God realy is not love and his love is never unconditional but comes with conditions which again is not realy love now is it. yes God love is not all rainbows and lollipops God has all ready defeated the enemy, yes Sin took a beating and lost which is good news because sin no longer separates us from God sin no longer is the issue that stops us from entering heaven so yes God love can be bad ass. and I’m thankful I can live in the victory. but for mark to use fear and intimidation to win people to Christ man has missed the mark and I would ask if he realy know Jesus at all

  7. People don’t like Mark Driscoll because he is not the kind of pastor that pats you on the back and says it’s okay to have sin in your life, everything will be okay. Mark Driscoll teaches bible based truth and people don’t like the fact that they have to surrender to Jesus and how he paid for everything on the cross. Everyone thinks God is some god that says everyone is going to heaven because he is a god of love and a God of love wouldn’t send people to hell. I’m sorry, its true that God is love, but its a false pagan idea that everyone is going to heaven. The bible is very clear that everyone is a sinner and needs to accept Christ by faith because no one is good enough to measure up to God’ s perfect holy standard. Jesus said anyone who trusts in me is not condemned but those who reject me stand condemned already. And Galatians 2:21 says, if grace could be achieved by obeying the law then Christ died for nothing! You need Christ.

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      Hi COLeG
      Yes Jesus paid for everything on the cross, there is nothing left for you to pay for, unfortunately no sacrifice left for us. Only obedience to his message of grace and mercy.
      There is only one thing I disagree with you on, it may be the thing that will cause you to not know who you really are.
      Under the old covenant it was impossible to measure up to Gods perfect holy standard.
      Under the new covenant and in Christ we can now achieve this Jesus said that just as he is perfect an Holy so should we be, sinners will also not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
      I can assure you that in Jesus I measure up perfectly to God,s perfect holy standard the thing is that you do to. You just have not accepted how much Jesus has done for you, or you may be relying to much on what you feel you need to do to be perfect and holy.

      • I fail to see any error in what COLeG wrote – it seems as though you are on the same note, although perhaps relaying on the “we can achieve this” emphasis which is certainly in error. If you mean to say we are good with God because Jesus achieved this for us, great! If you mean in some way we can now act perfect because of the work of Jesus, that’s religious legalism. And that’s what it sounded like.

  8. chrisvanrooyen says:

    Hi Kidzslam
    the issue is what happens to sin of the believer, I believe there are only two destinations for sin the cross or judgement, we cannot repent our sins away. So I leave it for you to answer is there another destination for sin that you know of and were does sin on this side of the cross end. Do we continuously crucify Jesus or did he die for ALL sin.

    • Hi Chris,
      I’m afraid I don’t understand how what you wrote addresses your previous comments against COLeG, though that may be my inability. Are you taking exception with what COLeG or myself wrote? Gal. 2:21 as noted summed up the idea quite well.

      • chrisvanrooyen says:

        My comments are not against you but for you and COLeg. It is not ok to intentionally sin but if you fail and you will and you sin even intentionally it is ok ,Knowing it is ok gives you the power to not sin, Fear of it not being ok feeds the Law and you will fail.
        Repentance before the cross is repentance for sin, repentance after the cross is repentance for the cross Gal 2;21 we should be aware of Gods grace. Not repent.
        Daily faith and repentance No
        Daily faith and awareness of Gods Grace yes , But as Paul said do not us this as licence to sin.

  9. I may have lost the understanding of what you’re trying to say Chris. In any regard, faith and repentance go together, you can not promote faith and neglect repentance. It has nothing to do with fear of God’s judgment as you are suggesting I’m saying. So in this I agree with you. However when you turn from sin you are turning to Jesus, as Tim Chester more vividly remarks. Faith and repentance need to be daily marks on the Christians life.

  10. Patty Mc. says:

    Before reading this post I never heard of Mark Driscoll (relation of Phil’s?). What I see here is a group of fellow believers (I presume) fighting over whether or not to follow this guy. Bottom line is, who does he follow? Is it really important to be a fan of his? So important we put each other down if there is no consensus? Mark Driscoll is putting out what he believes. This is the same choice we all have. Doesn’t this sound a bit like Paul explaining that he and Apollos are working together but that one plants and the other waters? Go back to your Bibles and quit following people!

  11. Logicpoints says:

    According to this study, there has been evidence found that strongly connects ‘believing in an angry god’ (such as Mr Driscoll’s “god”) to ‘all sorts of metal illnesses.’ Which explains the complete absence of empathy in Mr Driscoll’s overall message. No, this is not some crackpot study, it’s quite credible. Read and research for yourself.

  12. John 14:7 Jesus said, If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. God is love always, irrespective of a man’s understanding about Him. That was Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:18 And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. 19 Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you.

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