The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Driscoll again

Another article in the Seattle Times concerning Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll:

Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll: Mormonism is a cult

These newspaper pieces on him seem to draw a whole bunch of comments. The article links to his paper on Mormonism.

Here is the last paragraph of his paper:

To me this whole thing is not really about loving concern for the eternal state of Mormons but rather an attempt to keep the members of Mars Hill sufficiently scared that they too may also be worshiping a false god if their beliefs are not 100% orthodox and the only way to maintain 100% orthodox beliefs and therefore guarantee heaven is to believe what Mars Hill tells them to believe.

In other words fear is a favored control mechanism of the Mars Hill leadership.

It seems to me that cults operate foundationally upon fear.

Ironic isn’t it.

I only care about this because I live in the Puget Sound area where some churches in my view are affected or maybe I should say infected by Mars Hill and this sort of fear mongering cultishness.

Maybe I’m totally off base here but this kind of stuff really makes me angry.

Hi David, No, I don’t think your observation is off base. I think any church leader who uses fear to scare people into believing in the “right” things needs to pause and take a long slow look in the mirror. I’m not sure what Driscoll’s appeal is. I have a few Washington State connections and I’m surprised that his tough-talking, shoot from the hip style does so well there.

I am very familiar with Mars Hill/Driscoll as I have some very close friends who began the church with him in it’s very early days. Needless to say they have left after seeing the control that abounded.

It’s a very interesting theological landscape right now as many of these neo-Reformed are actually playing right into the vision of Evangelical Universalism. On our new website+blog we show how it is their recent teaching (last 10 years) on the cosmic scope of redemption coupled with their emphasis on the “missional” aspect of the gospel that left us on the brink of EU. It didn’t take much to make the last small leap. We actually affirm their teaching as foundational to our EU position. I believe God is using them to bring all the parts of the whole together. Read their quotes on our About Us page and also on our blog post entitled “Things Theologians Say They are Not Supposed to Mean”. They are astounding!

I did not include Driscoll among these quotes although he has certainly reflected these same sentiments. I chose to mainly focus on Keller since Driscoll is a “student” of his (and Keller doesn’t have an ego that scares me).

Check out our Open Letter to Tim Keller and the 150+ questions challenging the reformed as well as Arminian perspective. I invite your feedback especially since you are familiar with Driscoll and the neo-Reformed position.

Grace and peace,
“A Case for Evangelical Universalism”

One of the board participants here (can’t remember who) mentioned that there are a few bigshot evangelical scholars out of the Seattle area that are now saying that there is quite a bit of good scriptural evidence for UR, and have even traveled to talk to this person’s pastor in the NW about not breaking fellowship with him for believing in it!

Yup, that was me.

The pastor of my church came from some sort of Mars Hill organization and is still a part of the Acts 29 thing I think. He is very Calvinist. To his credit he let me present my EU viewpoints to the church leadership and then consulted with several of his high profile mentors about whether or not he should ask me to leave the church. His mentors told him it wasn’t necessary and that he would have a hard time overcoming some of the EU logic. The one stipulation was that I needed to be mission minded which I was told most EU proponents aren’t. This was strange because the gist of my presentation to the leadership was how should I present the Gospel.

Wait, run that by me again. I live in the NW and our family has been attending an A29 church here in Seattle for several years. That sounds incredible. What a giant step! So far we do not feel it is the right time to let our position be known. At this time only our “unchurched” friends, that we have been hanging out with and sharing our faith with, know what we really believe!

That was an interesting page. On the one hand I think some of the people you quote would say you are quoting them out of context to imply something they would never say. On the other hand, maybe the Holy Spirit is behind all this and a convergence is going on. :astonished: Your emphasis on being missional is very helpful, I think.
Have you received any replies or requests to take down their quotes? Tim Keller is interesting. I have enjoyed some of his books including “The Prodigal Son” and even parts of “The Reason for God”. The only time he sounds unconvincing is when he defends ECT, as in the ill-conceived Q&A session at the Gospel Coalition conference earlier this year and the chapter on this topic in “The Reason for God”.

Hi Phillip,

Just to be clear I presented my views to my local church leadership which itself is not part of Acts 29 - although our head pastor is somehow part of it. The head pastor of my church turned to his mentors and I don’t know if that included Mark or not. I do know the names of a couple guys he talked with and they are well known Christian theologians.

A giant step? Well for me and my wife it was - coming out of the closet so to speak. For the ones at our church that heard our position and hope in EU - it was sort of like we were trying to tell them the moon was made of cheese. Just totally beyond the realm of sanity and worse in my opinion not even that interesting to them. Of course my way of presenting probably has much to do with that.

We were very involved in our church prior to our revelation and now we’ve kind of migrated towards less and less involvement. Not because we’ve been treated badly - it’s more that we just have a hard time supporting some of the very things (control mechanisms) that seem designed to keep people from finding truth.

I pray for the day when the EU conversion experiences become more and more prevalent in the churches like mine.

I really appreciate your graceful tone on and I hope you have great success with it.

I live way out on the east side between Carnation and Duvall - maybe we could meetup some time?


Hey David,

Any chance you could share the names of those couple of guys your pastor talked with? I’m really curious. (I have been since you first posted about this). I mean, if well known evangelical scholars are starting to recognize the strength of the UR position…
I’m only about three hours south of you in Portland, btw.

Well that would betray a confidence I’m sure so it wouldn’t be right for me to.

And yes, I became more hopeful as well (quite shocked actually) but nothing really has since become of it in my local church anyway. My pastor did mention in a sermon shortly after all this happened that EU had some veracity but he didn’t buy into it at all. It was treated sort of as a footnote in a sermon about judgement and final destinations.

Progress I guess but not what I dream of seeing. For me I can only describe the EU realization as a true life changing rebirth experience. So strong it was that I couldn’t not tell people about it.

It’s funny, when I found this site it was the many stories of others describing almost verbatim my same experience that I have found most comforting and exhilarating. For this type of sharing, discovery, and rebirth to begin happening in-person in churches on Sundays, and for the general consciousness of the church to become foundationally shaped around the the true Gospel, I can for now only imagine.

my wife and I have shared UR with a few people, we’ve had some good reactions some bad. One of the couples we shared with I assumed wrote us off, because we haven’t seen them since. My wife was talking with the other wife yesterday, and the friend said she talked to her dad and wanted to tell him she believed hell wasn’t eternal (this was news to me, praise God), her dads response was I agree!

She was mad that he hadn’t taught her that, or shared it with her. This is for real folks, its happening, the new song is being sung, the wave has just begun.

I have also had a few people take a passing interest in it, but for most the pull of tradition is just too strong, and most aren’t willing to do the work to look into it for themselves. Most churched people recoil at the idea, and dismiss it, at least initially. Most stay there, unfortunately.
The momentum is growing though, and the Holy Spirit is waking more and more people up to the truth all the time. If things continue as they are now, I could see it becoming a mainstream belief again (though not universal) in 20 years.

Yes I believe it’s happening too.

I also believe it is primarily being held back at this time by doorkeepers such as Driscoll. The instillers of fear that keep the common people from feeling free to think and find the truth for themselves.

My wife shared the good news of EU with a friend of hers at church and her friend listened but didn’t say much. She came back the next week and talked about how she had been overcome with fear each time she thought about it and felt like the devil was trying to get her to believe something that would send her to hell. She even apparently had nightmares. All this because of the idea that maybe God was after-all working to redeem all of creation?

Now, I wonder if this ladies reaction would have been different had her pastor stood up and officially revealed his strong hope and belief in UR?

Maybe the doorkeepers are the key and the good work of many on this site (Parry, Talbott, Wilson, and many others) will convince these doorkeepers and the masses will follow. Or, maybe it will turn out to be a grassroots thing and guys like Driscoll will have to change or begin to look more and more like a cartoon caricature.

BTW, I find what revdrew is doing with his congregation just simply amazing! I hope in a year there are 1000s more like him.

I’m waiting too and imagining the day! 20 years seems too far off. Tradition seems still to be holding tightly to people. It’s probably true that fear plays a big role.

I am sorry to hear that it went that way. My heart kind of took off running as I imagined the implications of churches beginning to allow believers in UR to actually remain members and the fact that that decision was endorsed by “leaders” in the church. It still seems like a significant thing to me because it’s the cracking open of a door previously locked tight and I can see the tide of people just ready to push on that door. Maybe you didn’t see it in the leaders of your church but I believe this is going to be a grass roots thing for the most part.

I do understand this totally. That’s basically what has happened to us as well. While we did not come out of the closet completely we shared with one of the teaching elders what we were thinking about. (He told the other elders) We have not in any way been treated badly but we feel their caution and distancing. And yes, it has been hard to get on board with some of the “agenda”.

We do dream of that as well brother! I do not see it taking 20 years but rather that soon there will be a spiritual “tipping point” orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. There are so many Christians that have left the church and there is so much tension building over this paradigm that’s not working. Add the God-ordained internet and I see something happening quite rapidly!

Thank you. Our prayer is that it will be a place where believers can wrestle through these issues and know when the time is right to ask these questions of their leadership. We of course would love to see the questions and letter work their way up to Mark Driscoll or Tim Keller someday. But if just one person finds deliverance from the bondage of this doctrine and finds the freedom and worship we have experienced we will be grateful.

That would be wonderful to meet you. Besides our own family (some of our grown children) we have little face to face fellowship over these things. You can contact us through the site at


Hi Andrew,
The point is that we explain that they are indeed taken out of context. But often a very large portion of that context as they sometimes go for chapters in their books or preach entire sermons without qualifications. So they are what they are as such and we want the readers/parishioners to judge if they deem that fair play with words (not to mention their hearts and emotions). Also I think it is important to note that statements like these are a new phenomenon within the Church. The ideas of the missional church called to “be a blessing to the world” and that of the cosmic aspect of the gospel are both emphasized and expressed in ways never before. (Do you agree?) I think it is reasonable to ask these theologians what exactly it is they mean by dispensing these unqualified promises.

Yes, I really do think we are witnessing the Holy Spirit orchestrating and “converging” these ideas. It appears He is doing an inside job!

The site is too recent to have reached anyone who might be representing Keller etc.,and request the quotes be taken down. I feel that would be unfair censorship but I would comply of course if that’s how they felt. I hope the message gets out and circulated before that ever happens.

Yes, his books are very good. I agree, he is “marred” only by his position on ECT. I have a written transcript of the Gospel Coalition conference and have been working on a response. (Don’t know if I’ll finish…wish someone else would do it!) The one thing I was challenged by in that panel discussion was Keller’s appeal for the EUists to present their view graciously as he felt Bell did not do. He took a lot of offense at Bell’s style and tone. I didn’t read it that way but of course I already agreed with him. But since I see Keller himself as a humble and gracious man I desire to engage him from the site in that manner.
(Now Driscoll’s another matter. I don’t think I could trust my attitude addressing Driscoll so I probably won’t!)

grace and peace…

I’ve been over 50 years in this Christendom business and if I had a pound for every time someone predicted imminent revival or a new move of God, then I’d be a very rich man. So, with that said, I can’t tell you how great it is to, for the first time, believe that we are now witnessing a breakthrough that will sweep through Christendom. I can imagine many people jumping on to the bandwagon when it becomes ‘orthodox’(thankfully), but what a blessing and gift to be amongst the first few who have to pay a price in order to proclaim the good news of Jesus!

Through intersecting and connecting with other individuals about UR through our new website we have been made aware of some very exciting and groundbreaking advances coming about. So pray! It really is happening…

                           "It's not by might, not by power by by My Spirit says the Lord."  Zech 4:6