When I first wrote about former young, restless, and reformed icon, Mark Driscoll, in 2009, I received no small kickback from prominent Southern Baptists informing others I was spreading gossip (I wrote several pieces on Driscoll since the first one; note my pieces on Driscoll speaking at Liberty Universtiy as well; an exhaustive list on Driscoll at SBC Tomorrow may be helpful). The kickback in the comment threads on the posts represent much of what I'm referring to in the private realm.
Now that Driscoll is no longer being touted as "the" model of church planting for Southern Baptists to mimic (though Driscoll's undeniable influence is still at work amongst us in the Acts 29 Network), evangelicals nonetheless must cope with church planters who take Driscoll's in-your-face masculinism to an entirely new level. In other words, some are now out-doing Driscoll in rank masochistic, bad-boy image.
Consider (wih caution) the article linked below on Heath Mooneyham, Lead Pastor of Ignite Church in Joplin, MO. For the record, it's hard to tell from Ignite's belief statement if they are officially part of the young, restless, and reformed movement. However, whether or not many young evangelicals took Driscoll's theology, they certainly have been detrimentally affected by Driscoll's methodology as Mooneyham's profile shows.
"Sex, Guns, and Jesus: Inside America's Manliest Church," an article published September 22 on Vocativ and written by Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, rehearses the scary scenario when young evangelicals take Driscoll's machoism methodology to its logical conclusion. Please be warned: Kavanaugh pulls no tasteless punches when describing Mooneyham's offensive rhetoric. In short, some of the images in the article are powerfully vulgar and go beyond what I've personally heard and/or read from Mark Driscoll's repertoire.
Even so, perhaps the most telling aspect of all in the article is the surprising information Vocativ learned within an hour after it posted the original article yesterday. It reads:
UPDATE: Within an hour of publishing our story today, Vocativ learned that Pastor Heath Mooneyham was arrested in Joplin for a DWI on Sept. 16. At no point during the writing and fact-checking of this article did Mooneyham or other leaders of Ignite church reveal the arrest, which occurred a few days after our reporter returned home from southwest Missouri.
Ignite announced on Sunday that Mooneyham will relinquish “direct leadership” for a “period of time” while he seeks counseling. “I have made an incredibly foolish and reckless mistake,” said Mooneyham in an apology now posted to YouTube. “It’s not just this one event, though, but rather a lifestyle of rebellion and unnecessary reckless behavior that has continually put the very mission I passionately love in real jeopardy (youtube video link original to article)
Yes, I would think it was an incredibly reckless, foolish mistake. And evangelicals are no less incredibly reckless and foolish for biting the Jesus-was-a-REAL-man bait in the first place. That goes double for Southern Baptists.
Is this the inevitable outcome for the heirs of Mark Driscoll's unchecked leadership and lifestyle model?
Here's another interesting story concerning Mooneyham: