2014 - Salon.com (external - login to view)
Calvinist super-star Mark Driscoll is the iconic figure at the heart of a church empire that spans five states and fifteen locations. Founder of the Mars Hill franchise, Driscoll boasts a flock of 14,000 members plus hundreds of thousands of listeners and readers via web and print media, including, until last month, 466,000 followers on Twitter alone.
While fans and critics heatedly debate whether Mar’s Hill is a church or a cult, there can be little doubt that the brand relies heavily on a cult of personality. Every Sunday Driscoll appears on stage not only in person at his primary location but on life-sized screens at others. He opens at times with a rock band that one secular detractor confessed was “the best indie music I’ve heard all year” and that Driscoll himself has said will “melt your face off.”
Driscoll has a knack for getting attention and, in particular, for using controversy to spin up his visibility. During the second Obama inauguration, he tweeted, “Praying 4 our president who today will place his hands on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.”
Though Driscoll rarely dabbles directly in politics—his followers know implicitly where he stands—his comments about queers and, in particular, women have been a source of ire (external - login to view) for many. When Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals was caught with meth and a male prostitute (external - login to view), Driscoll pointed the finger (external - login to view) at Haggard’s wife: “It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness.” Outrage on the part of feminists merely stoked Driscoll’s fire.
Christian right mega-church minister faces mega-mutiny for alleged abusive behavior - Salon.com (external - login to view)