Mark Driscoll and the Hatred of God?
I ran across an interesting blog post today. The author of this blog informs us (in a rather pointed way) of a recent Mark Driscoll sermon, in which Driscoll claims that God hates people. Here is a quote (taken from the above cited blog, which took it from Driscoll’s sermon):
“Some of you, God hates you. Some of you, God is sick of you. God is frustrated with you. God is wearied by you. God has suffered long enough with you. He doesn’t think you’re cute. He doesn’t think it’s funny. He doesn’t think your excuse is “meritous” [the word he's looking for here is "meritorious"]. He doesn’t care if you compare yourself to someone worse than you, He hates them too. God hates, right now, personally, objectively hates some of you.”
First off, I want to make mention that the video of Driscoll saying this quote has been taken off both the church’s website and youtube. This means that I have no way of hearing this quote in context. We have already seen (on this blog) what has happened when a personal attack is made based on an out-of-context quote (and it just happens to be about Driscoll and God hating people!). Because of this, I feel that it would be wrong to make any judgement of the character or theology of Driscoll. The neo-Calvinism that he represents stands in stark contrast to the Arminianism I was raised in and embrace, yet that is not the issue at hand.
I want everyone reading this to think back to how the neo-Calvinists blasted Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins, before they had ever even read it. They took quotes completely out of context and based their arguments against Bell on a promo video for the book. By bashing Driscoll because of this out of context quote, what would make me any different? A negative response to Driscoll as a person would be just as grossly inappropriate and wrong as theirs was to Bell’s book.
That said, and with the understanding that this quote sits alone without any context, I want to look at the content of the quote in question. The first two major points, “God hates you,” and “God is sick of you” are never, ever true.
The next few points, however, I believe are spot on. “God is frustrated with you. God is wearied by you. God has suffered long enough with you. He doesn’t think you’re cute.” One of the basic ideas behind Christianity, whether the theology is Arminianism or Calvinism, is that we are all sinners. Because of that, we frustrate God! God is surely wearied by our sin! I am sure that God has suffered us, as a people, for far, far too long.
Driscoll has the right idea in mind when he tells his listener that comparing oneself to one who does “worse” things is not a valid point. If I sin, and say, “well at least I didn’t kill anyone like that guy did,” I am doing nothing but pointing a finger and not dealing with my own sin. God, however, does not hate that person.
The problem with using “hate” as a verb attributed to God is that “hatred,” when directed at people, is not something found within the character of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. The overused John 3:16 is clear on the love that God has for the world, not hatred.
EDIT: I found another excellent response to Driscoll here.