Transcript of Brian Houston’s ‘nice’ interview with Mark & Grace Driscoll

We have decided to transcribe the interview between Brian Houston and Mark/Grace Driscoll that was aired at Hillsong Conference 2015. Brian Houston stated that he talked with Mark and Grace Driscoll for “an hour and fifty three minutes” but managed to edit the interview to be “fifty minutes” long. So we would greatly appreciate it if people can help fix any errors or fill in words or phrases that we could not understand. To listen to the audio of this interview – click here.


Brian Houston has given Driscoll a platform to repackage, re-market and re-launch as a Pastor on the preaching network. The result was a one-sided, orchestrated, kangaroo court where Driscoll elicited sympathy and support.

We called it all right. Driscoll played the victim card at Hillsong Conference 2015.

Before reading the interview, we would emphatically encourage you read to read the below article, researching all the things Mark Driscoll has done to people in his church. Does Mark Driscoll come across as someone who qualifies the biblical requirements of “pastor” in Titus and 1 & 2 Timothy?

You know something is wrong with Driscoll when he is invited to speak at Hillsong Conference…

We believe with certainty that Brian Houston’s interview with Mark and Grace Driscoll was crafted to rebuttal the negative media attention. How did we come to this conclusion? If you re-listen to Sunrise and Lateline’s broadcasts concerning Mark Driscoll coming to speak at the Hillsong Conference, both make mention of his derogatory remarks towards women and his bullying behavior towards staff and congregant members. In this interview, Mark Driscoll is given the opportunity to clarify and apologize for his misogynistic messages along with his abusive attitude.

So what’s the problem? What if you were told that Mark Driscoll misused church funds to buy his way onto the New York Times Best Seller’s List? What if you were told that several of Mark Driscoll’s books contained plagiarized material? What if you were told that on page 105 of Mark Driscoll’s book, “Vintage Church,” he wrote, “plagiarism… subverts God’s work in and through you…If you use the work of others, you are not a teacher, and you should quit your job and go do anything but speak?” What if you were told that Mark Driscoll was teaching young pastors to throw people “off the bus” and “run them over” if they didn’t get behind their visions? (“I believe in blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus [sycophantic laughter] and by God’s grace there’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done.”)

After reading the transcript below, ask yourself these questions:

1. Did this interview shed light on any of Mark Driscoll’s past sins or only offer eye candy?
2. Why hasn’t Brian Houston called Mark Driscoll to repent of ALL the sins he’s committed?
3. Since Mark Driscoll did NOT publicly repent for any of these past sins and attempt to fix his wrongs and be up front, is he truly repentant?
4. What were Brian Houston and Mark Driscoll implying other Christians were if they did not embrace Driscoll’s crocodile repentance?
5. Where was the gospel that makes people accountable to Mark Driscoll’s sins?

What was on display was their low standard of godliness, repentance, their low standard of church discipline and behaviour towards others; and their low standard of responsibility to those they shepherd. Which doesn’t surprise us considering how Brian Houston has let leadership immorality slide in the past regarding the Guglielmucci scandal, the Pat Mesiti scandal and Brian Houston’s own personal scandal involving him covering up his father’s paedophilia.

Please consider this as you read the below transcript. Take time and ponder each of the points made and consider the implications. A lot is done under the guise of ‘nice’ in this interview.

We will offer a more deeper analysis of this interview in a later post.

Brian and Driscoll interview


Brian Houston: “I, uh, appreciate you taking the time to talk to me, and looking forward to having a conversation about you guys, your past, and where you’re at right now. And some of the pain perhaps, and some of the joys that have gone with your journey. And ultimately, what you see for yourselves ahead. So, welcome.” (00:01-00:19)

Mark Driscoll: “Thank you, yeah, thank you for making time for the both of us we really appreciate it.” (00:19-00:22)

Grace Driscoll: “Thank you for having us.”

Brian Houston: “Great. And so you Mark, how did you come to faith?” (00:24-00:26)

Mark Driscoll: “We, uh, Grace graduated a year before me, and went off to college and then I graduated and went off to a different college and she came back to a little vibrant relationship with the Lord at that time. And, uh, she had given me actually this bible, it’s why I brought it, it’s a special Bible as a gift and I started reading it in college as a freshman and God saved me reading the Bible.” (00:25-00:48)

Brian Houston: “That’s good and so how old were you, were you then?” (00:48-00:49)

Mark Driscoll: “I got saved when I was 19 a freshman in college.” (00:50-00:53)

Brian Houston: “Good age to get saved.” (00:53-00:56)

Mark Driscoll: “We got married in college.” (00:56-00:57)

Grace Driscoll: “Before our senior year we got married in college. And, started a church community together and started teaching bible studies right away. And anything he learned he’d teach right away to someone else because we was so excited about the Gospel.” (00:57-01:12)

Brian Houston: “So now you’ve been married how long?” (01:12-01:14)

Grace Driscoll: “Twenty-five years.” (01:14-01:16)

Brian Houston: “Children?”

Grace Driscoll: “Five kids.”

Brian Houston: “Five kids?”

Grace Driscoll: “Nine, eleven, thirteen, fifteen, and seventeen.”

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah, three boys two girls. We’ve been together 27 years. Neither of us was a math major.” [Laughter]

Brian Houston: “I hope the door’s not open.”

Mark Driscoll: “We’ve dated 4 years so uh, we’ve been married 23 years. I think.” [Laughter]

Grace Driscoll: “Yeah, maybe two.” [Laughter]

Brian Houston: “Those kids, those kids. So what was the journey towards starting Mars Hill?” (01:14-01:46)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah when I was uh, a new Christian in college I went to my first men’s retreat uh, with the church. And uh, was just getting time out praying with the Lord. And he spoke to me and said, “I want you to marry Grace, preach the Bible.” And so, I had with me [Inaudible] Bible with me at the time, “to train men and to plant churches.” And he spoke to me on those four things and to confirm that I brought that back to my Pastor. And said, “I think the Lord spoke to me,” and said, “What did he say?” So here’s what he said, “Well that sounds like something the Lord would say so that sounds reasonable.” So, um, so we felt called to move back to Seattle, we were about a 5 hour drive from the college back to Seattle. We moved back and um, interned in a church doing college ministry as a volunteer for a year or two. And then started a Bible study in our home that we taught together that was the core for Mars Hill. And uh, and then that ultimately got planted as Mars Hill church um, 18 years ago would be now.” (01:47-02:48)

Brian Houston: “So you were 25 I was 29 when I started Hillsong church. So, I felt like I was young. Well, at the time I didn’t really, but I look back now and think that’s young. So 25 is quite young, so.” (02:48-02:58)

Mark Driscoll: “I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and one of them was going too fast. There’s the Lord’s calling and then there’s the Lord’s timing. And, uh, I should have waited, uh, longer, I should have been under Godly spiritual authority for Grace and I to be under a Godly couple that was senior pastor so that we could learn and grow. And I, I, my character was not caught up with my gifting and uh, and I did start too young. And I believe God called us to start the church and he was very very very gracious to us uh. But had I do it over again I would not look at a 25 year old and say do what I did.” (02:59-03:35)

Brian Houston: “Well your heart for the church then. And what was, your, what were you really, what did you have in your heart, what did you have in mind for the type of church that you wanted to pastor?” (03:35-3:44)

Mark Driscoll: “Um, I’m a Bible teacher, and I wanted to see people to meet Jesus. Um, Seattle at the time was one of the least churched cities in America and we went into the urban core and we felt called specifically to go after young college educated males. Um, and uh, that was really my heart. I wanted everybody to meet Jesus, but I, I felt particularly uh, if we were going to make a difference in the city and in the legacy of families. And the way, you know, women and children and culture is is, is, is treated that getting young men to love Jesus would be paramount. So that was really the focus, and I didn’t think, we didn’t think the church would amount to much. The first three years we didn’t collect a salary, it was very small, we met at night, we moved a lot because we kept loosing our well locations, the offices were in our house. And so it wasn’t a big deal and we didn’t anticipate that it would become what it ultimately did.” (03:44-04:40)

Brian Houston: “So when, what stage did you start really getting attraction and momentum?” (04:41-04:43)

Mark Driscoll: “Um, well, we got a small building given to us a couple of years in and started our first morning service. And we had only done night to that point, and that went from 40 to maybe 800 in a year. And at that time the church was small, maybe 100 people, and so a lot of people got saved, massive conversions. And so, um, we had some surges like that in the history of the church, it was really amazing, it was God’s grace, we were able to baptize altogether, um, around 10,000 people. I think the majority of which were single college educated men who didn’t come from Christian families. And so, we would have seasons were just a lot of people get saved. And uh, it was just the grace of God, there’s no other way to really, uh, to really explain what God was doing, yeah.” (04:44-05:32)

Brian Houston: “So the last year obviously has been a turbulent year for you both, personally, and for your family. In fact, I’m sure more than the last year, the last three years, uh, and, obviously for your former church as well, Mars Hill. I guess the first question is how you’re both doing.” (05:33-05:48)

Grace Driscoll: “Thank you for asking. [Laughter] Um, it has been a hard year, and uh, we’ve seen God’s faithfulness and it’s the trail, we’re thankful for that. There’s been a lot of loss and we love our church, and loved being apart of it, and felt honored that God would call us to help lead such an amazing, um, group of people. So, that has been hard and watching the kids and the pain that they’ve had to, to experience in the grieving process.” (05:49-06:24)

Brian Houston: “You know, I’m totally sorry, I don’t mean to cut you off, but I totally understand that with your children. I always find that children feel things for us more deeply than we even feel, and uh, that’s always been a pastor’s son and understand as a Pastor’s kid, you know, in my own family I think maybe only those who’ve been in that situation can understand.” (06:25-06:46)

Mark Driscoll: “Well when, the, the kids grow up in the church it feels like an extension of the family. So, like for our oldest, she uh, she was born right around the time we sort of, started the church. So, all the original bible studies were in the living room and she was on people’s laps. And she was, you know, part of that church. And so she was, she was someone who grew up in the church and grew up with the church. And so you have that line as the founding family between church and family it gets a little blurred. And so when the church family transitions it leaves the kids in a difficult place. And you don’t want them to become embittered, you don’t want them to be angry, you don’t want them. I mean, even for my contributions and my sins and my faults I feel something I don’t want my kids to become embittered against me or anyone else or with the Lord. And so, we’ve been walking through that with them.” (06:47-07:44)

Brian Houston: “Alright. If I could change track a little, you’re reformed in your theology?” (07:45-07:48)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah.” (07:49)

Brian Houston: “So, can you explain to me in two or three sentences what that means, to be reformed?” (07:50-07:58)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah, I, I would say it’s God centered not man centered. Uh, that the whole Bible is ultimately about the personal work of Jesus, and that when it comes to salvation it is a work that God does. Uh, and we respond to that but we don’t participate in that. Uh, I, I wouldn’t want to argue over the five points of Calvinism or get into all the details back and forth. Um, but historical protestant christianly, um, and I’d say in the past. I, uh, would’ve fought for reformed theology since it’s supposed to be a theology that’s centered in grace, fighting for it is probably not the best representation of it.” (07:59-08:43)

Brian Houston: “If I asked a third thing broad question. Obviously in recent years, you as a, as a person, as a leader, as a pastor, has become more and more controversial, and in the minds of some people, toxic, and, is there any, I mean, big picture how do you feel about that?” (08:44-09:03)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah this whole season I’ve been largely out of public ministry for around a year with a few, you know, exceptions. I have a Godly wise older pastor somebody that we really look to as a pastor in our lives he said that we need to put down the binoculars and pick up the mirror. You know, stop looking at what everyone else is saying and doing and look at yourself. And so that’s really been the focus, particularly for me, uh, but to a lesser degree for us this past year. And uh, and I think that, uh, there’s no way for me to say, uh, that I have, um, always acted with grace or with, um, uh appropriateness. There has been anger, there’s been, uh.”(09:04-09:09:49)

Brian Houston: “Were there mistakes did you ever respond with grace?” (09:51-09:24)

Mark Driscoll: “I I believe so, yes, I don’t believe every day I was a, uh, a combative, and uh, maybe uh, loud mouthed person. But certainly, um, that has been sadly, part of my, uh, ministry leadership. And so, um, and I think that can be confusing for people. Some people see me primarily as a loving, gracious person, and others have seen me as a person whose angry or short tempered or careless with words and harmful. And, and so, and so that contributes to the confusion.” (09:25-10:28)

Brain Houston: “Yeah, at the very least you become polarizing when I say because at the Hillsong Conference interestingly now that you’re not one of our speakers or even being interviewed at the conference, we’ve had some, not too many, but we’ve had some delegates who want a refund. They don’t want to come anymore because you’re not coming. And of course, there was protests and so on because you were coming.” (10:29-10:49)

Mark Driscoll: “I apologize that you were put in that position, um, that is my doing, and, and I would say-“ (10:49-10:55)

Brian Houston: “I don’t feel like you owe me any apology though.” (10:55-10:56)

Mark Driscoll: “Well, but I do, and you’ve uh, and I mean even this is an act of grace and you don’t owe me anything, and uh, and I, I, man, I hope there’s a way in the future to be a person of peace and not a point of division. Uh, and so I appreciate this opportunity to, to make an effort that…” (10:57-11:13)

Brian Houston: “Sure… You once said Mark [Applause] I had a good mission that some of my tactics were born out of anger and burned out, and I did a lot of harm and damage, what attracted a lot of attention. Um, so I guess my question is, do you feel like it’s been sort of your tactics, your message, and the message of the Gospel has been lost to the controversy.” (11:14-11:35) 

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah, there were times that I uh, I drove myself to a point of uh, you mentioned some of the physical I’ve had, fatigue to drainal glands to intestinal ulcers. There were times where I drove myself to a point of not being well. And, and what that does as well as it drives your team uh, beyond their limits, and they feel unloved or uncared for. And uh, and now taking this time off, and really reflecting on all of that I see that. And I regret that and I hope whatever the Lord has for me in the future that I will draw people in and not drive people and that my empathy level will increase.” (11:36-12:18)

Brian Houston: “So so would the word bully be would’ve been an accurate description you think?” (12:18-12:22)

Mark Driscoll: “I think for sure on occasions yeah. I think, um, I think on occasions sometimes, um, strong leaders there’s a line where you’re, you’re wanting to advance a mission and you need everybody to be aligned with that. And there are other times where there is a lack of grace or empathy. I mean one of the things that’s been really helpful in this season for me is some godly older families. Pastors and their families who have opened their lives to us and we get to enter more in that grandparent season and we get to see them with their spouse and with their children and then see them on the stage and then see them with their board and see them with their staff. And there’s a, there’s a, a more parental leadership style, like a mom and a dad that love, and still carry a lot of authority and create unity.”

Grace Driscoll: “More good.”

Mark Driscoll: “But more good for the people. And um, and so, you know, my hope and my prayer for myself through all of this is then to learn how to grow in that kind of uh, strong, but parental loving, nurturing, affectionate leadership. Um, you know, and one of the things that was convicting in this more recent season we were talking through the spiritual gifts and my sons when we got to encouragement and mercy they said. “Oh, like you dad,” and uh, I thought wow, nobody has ever accused me of that, but I thought but they’re seeing it all somehow I, I do love them. And I, I want good for them and they know that, and like I said observing some of these other families that are mature in leadership how to transition that sort of parental affection into pastoral ministry.” (12:23-14:09)

Brian Houston: “You, obviously you can’t live in regret. But if you did have your time over again what would you change?” (14:11-14:16)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah, I mean I would’ve waited longer um, to start the church. I would’ve brought us under a godly spiritual couple and oversight to pastor us. I would’ve not went out until they said it was time. I would’ve had them service my over sighting governance. Um, I would’ve paid more attention to, uh, emotional health and well being and any bitterness in my own soul so that there wasn’t anger or hurt or defensiveness that was driving some of my motivation. Uh, and uh, I would’ve been, uh, more keen to draw grace out, um, so that we could work through some issues in our past so that we would’ve been more aligned and better friends early in the ministry. In more recent years we really worked on the friendship and we’re really close, but the early years we, we didn’t have that kind of connection that we do in more recent years. And that, that contributed to my, to my tone and my anger and affected my disposition negatively, and that’s my fault.” (14:17-15:20)

Brian Houston: “I think for me over the years my perception of strong leadership has changed dramatically. I think what I thought was strong then was probably hot head basically and what I see as strong now is coming out of a place of security, Godly confidence, knowing where you’re going. So I can identify to a point at least in your journey, and, and the truth is everyone’s made mistakes, some obviously much bigger mistakes with much more difficult outcomes than others. But anyone who has been in the ministry for any period of time and especially started young have made mistakes. Uh, I don’t feel personally like you’re on your own in that, but obviously there’s been a huge fallout from some of the mistakes you have made.” (15:21-16:10)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah.” (16:10)

Brian Houston: “Yeah.” (16:11)

Grace Driscoll: “There’s better progression from youth and trying to control things to make them happen verses over maturing years influence and loving people through that influencing them. Um, by loving them to what’s best for them and so I’ve watched that progression and it’s been wonderful to see.” (16:12-16:36)

Brian Houston: “May I ask you the next question by telling you a story. Many years ago I knew a pastor in another part of the world who very legalistic, very rigid, very legalistic, and in that very hard on other people. And then, came to a point in his life where he made a mistake and he desperately needed people and the people weren’t there for him and he basically because a victim of his own world. You know, his own world devote. And so if I look at your world and the way you’ve ministered even publicly in your earlier years, and, you know, you created a name for your world. Um, and you feel like perhaps it was that angry world that devoured you, the world that you yourself created?” (16:37-17:21)

Mark Driscoll: “I think there, there is a measure of truth in that and I have no one to blame but myself. You can’t, um, have a certain tone or um, disposition and then when that is reciprocated toward you feel that you’re a victim. Um, so, and what’s been interesting in this too the people that have walked towards us with their hands out to love and encourage are people that are outside of our tribe. Um, there are some old friends that have stuck with us and have been very wonderful towards us but a lot of new friends too and people that, um, that we would disagree on some secondary theological issues. And uh, I have a friend who is maybe more like this person, or pastor, pretty legalistic, and, there’s a box for everything and you gotta to check all the right boxes. And he said, you know, I don’t some of these people’s theology is right. And I said, well, I think love and grace is good theology. And it’s not just what we put on paper, it’s how we treat one another.” (17:22-18:24)

Brian Houston: “I know some of the people who have stuck with you, and was that a surprise to you? Some of the people who have come and sort of just stood quietly with you?” (18:25-18:33)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah, and it’s been very humbling. Um, and it’s been very encouraging and very hopeful, like, knowing whatever God has for us next these are the people that are wise counsel, um, we’re just very richly blessed by that.” (18:34-18:46)

Brian Houston: “I guess one of the, the things that you were known for several years that’ve gone by was public criticism of other pastors and leaders. And probably the first time I’ve actually ever heard of you wasn’t because of your Bible teaching or because of your books. Or, it was actually because of your attacks on other people. So I guess would that be another area where you have regrets? Or, would you still defend that?” (18:47-19:11)

Mark Driscoll: “I would not defend that. I feel like I’ve lost any right to criticize another pastor or leader. I believe that the lack of the cause made to think I knew what they were going through or what they should say or what they should do. Having gone through this very complicated season, I don’t know what I’m supposed to say, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, and I certainly don’t feel the right to tell others what they should say or do. And, um, yeah, I think going forward with the fact that some of the people that I’ve criticized have been the most loving and kind toward me. Um, it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance and sometimes that kindness comes through others who have no obligation to be kind and gracious because you have not been with them. And so, um, yeah, so we’ve seen, we’ve seen some remarkable grace and kindness from people that, I did not give that to them, but they’ve given that to us. And that has been deeply convicting and brought about repentance, and there’s a list of people pastors who I have contacted to call to apologize to, to ask forgiveness from. And I don’t want to do that publicly because I don’t want to cause them more drama or pain, but that has been part of the journey.” (19:12-20:32)

Brian Houston: “I’ve always had a huge personal problem with, people doing that, people criticizing other pastors even though perhaps were are different on some issues. You know, and Joel Osteen is a personal friend of mine. And so, again, one of the first things I knew about you was, you know that you talked and made a joke publicly. So when I first met you I was paranoid because the last thing I wanted was Mark Driscoll speaking against me publicly.” (20:32-21:00)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah, I can, I think through the providence of God I can honestly say it was a couple of weeks ago that the Lord convicted me of that sin against Pastor Joel. And so I, through a mutual friend, have contact with his team, and have asked permission to send him a private apology. But in addition to that I appreciate this opportunity to publicly apologize to him. When anyone dies they’re going to stand and give an account and it won’t be to Mark Driscoll.” (21:00-21:25)

Brian Houston: “Yeah, I just feel that life has too much to hold us all together. We can so easily build around the things that pull us apart and difference. I’ve often said at pastor’s gatherings I don’t know who your enemy is but they’re not of this room. [Murmurs] And, you know I just feel like God is big, God is diverse and none of us have all of the truth. And uh, in our hands and in our power, and so I just love to have an attitude where, sure right and right and wrong is wrong, but at the end of the day we’re all on the same side. I think if I look at our own world I think if you talked about the tone, the tone of voice, if you’d like, of our church and our minister leaders is definitely grace oriented. Hopefully it’s definitely generous not just with finance but with words and heart, and being spirited. And that’s why I guess some of that, you know that anger that’s in some sections of the body of Christ feels so shocking to me.” (21:26-22:32) 

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah and, and I think that, uh, the age of internet and social media increases that. Um, because you can make a lot of statements and declarations without relationships. And uh, I am theologically reformed in my core convictions and I am also charismatic so I kind of flow between both worlds. But um, but once Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis it seems like every 20 year old guy with a blog is going to try to do the same thing on the internet. You know, here’s my declaration to the world of how the church should be. And so um, I think Luther had some good things to share, guys like me and others, perhaps didn’t have as much crid to share.” (22:32-23:11)

Brian Houston: “My my flesh when it comes to sometimes the angry people the angry brothers on the, on social media is uh, obviously relatively big high platform. And often times the interview is a very small platform. And my, my temptation often is to react which is really just giving them a leg up onto my platform, and so.”(23:11-23:33)

Mark Driscoll: “I’ve failed at that many times. And it’s shameful.”

Brian Houston: “Well I have to admit I’m ashamed when it happens.”


Brian Houston: “Good, well listen, just on the area of theology, and in the outworking practice of that theology, you’ve obviously had some time to reflect and to meditate. Is there any aspect of what you believe that you would soften or the outworking the every day outworking of what you believe you would soften from days gone by?” (23:40-24:03)

Mark Driscoll: “Just, overall a massive increase in evaluational relationships. I was talking to, as I was traveling just to go meet with pastors and learn one said, he said “your life is defined by your relationships, for good or for bad.” And uh, I’ve been journaling a lot, cause I, there are some days I’m a little brain foggy, and I don’t want to forget. I want to remember these things and integrate them into my repentance and integrate them into my life and revisit them. And I wrote that down and thought, “Yeah, I think for sure, you look at the Bible and it’s so simple but it’s so obvious. I mean, God is a relational God, Father Son and Spirit, it’s not good for us to be alone, that sin separates and Jesus reconciles and part of the outgrowth of good, Biblical thinking and practice is loving, healthy, functional, supportive relationships. And so, we’ve learned a lot, I’ve learned a lot, but that this is grace centered relationships. And so this season has been okay, relationships, what needs to grow and mature um, in me and around me?” (24:04-25:18)

Brian Houston: “So do you I guess take accountability for the breakup effectively of Mars Hill Church?” (25:19-25:25)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah, I think as the leader I have to bear the lion’s share of responsibility for that.” (25:26-25:29)

Brian Houston: “So again, you know, looking at you from a distance. When I first heard about you, your theological belief about women and women in ministry and women in leadership. Uh, my feeling was, if there was one thing that was going to be a red raid to the bull to the secular media it was that subject right there. Has that proven to be the proof?” (25:30-25:55)

Mark Driscoll: “Well, the fact that I can’t even come see you in Australia indicates that you were on to something. Um, yeah for me I would start by saying that some of the misperception is entirely my fault. On some things I said and did that were ungodly, they were lies, and they were unhelpful. And it was on a chatroom in 2000 getting angry, taking a character roll fighting, very ungodly, nothing defensible, things that I’m completely sorry for and the offense is completely justified.” (25:56-26:33)

Brian Houston: “How old were you then?” (26:34)

Mark Driscoll: “Uh, I was in my late 20’s.” (26:35-26:36)

Brian Houston: “In your late 20’s.” (26:36)

Mark Driscoll: “And then, uh, had that taken down, met with the people that  I knew were involved and weren’t under pseudonyms and apologized to them. Uh, thought that it was, you know, removed. In 2006 I wrote a book where I listed it as one of the failures in my leaderships, things I had done wrong. And then in 2014 that content was reposted on the internet. I made a public apology and acknowledgement for that, um, it is one of the grave regrets of my life um, especially now that I’ve got a daughter who is a godly, strong leader. It’s just like, I can’t read some of the things that I said because I feel so horrified that I should’ve, um, [Inaudible] I wouldn’t seek to justify or blame anyone or make any excuses. I publicly want to apologize for that, I want to sincerely apologize for that and that perception of what I think about women is entirely my own fault and I have no one to blame but myself.” (26:37-27:45)

Brian Houston: “For me what was strange the stone that was being repeated over and over in mainstream media, was what is quite vulgar, it was, that, women are penis homes. The Israel women as being a home for a penis. And of course, that’s, that uh is very inflammatory. So what was going on in your own life at the time that you would say something like that?” (27:46-28:06)

Mark Driscoll: “That is not a position, that uh, what I said um, is not representative of what I think or how I feel. Looking back on that, um, that was not a healthy person working from a godly place. And so I would have a hard time explaining it I wouldn’t even make an effort to defend it.” (28:07-28:30)

Brian Houston: “The other thing that the Australian Media was showing over and over was something I had actually seen before. And it was when I think you were talking to men and you were screaming, “Who the Hell do you think you are?” So I’m sure you remember that moment.” (28:31-28:44)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah that was uh, that was a moment in first Peter where it talks about husbands, you know, be compassionate and kind and tender with your wives. And I started talking about men who abuse women. Um, I, the times that I do sometimes get angry is when men are physically sexually assaulting women. And it’s uh, and I think that pornography helps men have a mindset that causes women to be devalued.” (28:45-29:17)

Brian Houston: “So that was the context.” (29:18)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah.” (29:18)

Brian Houston: “You were talking to people.” (29:19-29:21) 

Mark Driscoll: “To men who abuse women like men who hit their wife or girlfriend and who sexually assault or abuse that was the context that was first Peter.”(29:21-29)

Brian Houston: “But you did sound very angry.” (29:29-29:30)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah.” (29:30)

Brian Houston: “It was very passionate. And the fact again, one of the first preaching clips I’d saw of you was someone showing me that.” (29:31-29:36)

Mark Driscoll: “I yelled a lot.” (29:37) [Laughter]

Brian Houston: “So the heart behind it was good. But the-“ (29:38-29:40)

Grace Driscoll: “Yes, the desire was good, the method was not mature or Godly.” (29:41-29:46)

Brian Houston: “And again I think going from where I stand, you’re not the only one whose got the method wrong from time to time. The thing about life is, it’s long. And we, as believers, and especially as preachers and teachers we say a lot of words. Yeah, a lot of words come out-“ (29:47-30:02)

Mark Driscoll: “Paul says when words are many sin is not absent.” (30:02-30:05)

Brian Houston: “Yeah. Unfortunately you can’t pull them back again. So I don’t know of any public speaker who has done it for any length of time who wouldn’t have said something sometime that was a little silly or with a bit of regret. But it’s amazing how we can look at someone else and somehow seems worse when it’s them then when when it’s us.” (30:06-30:22)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah but then again I think if we’re fair. I you know, as you treat others you’ll be treated in kind, and so I brought some of that on myself too.”(30:23-30:30)

Brian Houston: “When it comes to women and ministry, and especially in ministry and in church life and in leadership, you would know indefinitely be taking a different stance as Hillsong. We’ve got women involved in leadership roles at most areas of church life. Pretty much in everything else women are involved. So that’s why I’m intrigued with women and where we stand on it.” (30:32-30:59)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah, um. First of all, I don’t want to be critical or negative, and I hope that maybe even the way we interact on this on can um, a graceful way to set the beginning of an example for people to disagree. Um, I would say, uh, one of the primary issues of the trinity in the bible and the resurrection of Jesus and the forgiveness of sin and those close-handed matters, you and I agree.” (31:01-31:23)

Brian Houston: “Uh-uh!” (31:24-31:24)

Mark Driscoll: “On the secondary matters, they’re not unimportant but people who are going to heaven uh- disagree on those matters, this may be one that we do. I would say that uh- um- the culture at Mars Hill would have been different and better with the increased involvement of Godly women. And I think uh, at least what I have learnt today is. Uh, I believe in male and female ministry and that men and women are created equal and likeness and image of God. That they receive all of the spiritual gifts. And that when it comes to governance, in the home, a man the husband is supposed to be the humble, sacrificial Christ-like leader of the home. And then his wife and him walk together like a right hand and a left hand, complimenting one-another. And then in the church, I would feel comfortable with male governance, with male and female ministry. Um, and that being said-” (31:25-32:24)

Brian Houston: “So by male/female ministry works for certain people, what does that mean..?” (32:25-32:29)

Mark Driscoll: “Leading worship, being on staff, going to seminary, umm… serving communion and baptizing-“ (32:29-32:34)

Brian Houston: “So where’s the barriers?” (32:34-32:35)

Mark Driscoll: “I would say governance. And really what we’re down to there Brian, uh I don’t want to do this on camera I want to do this privately I’m enough of a nerd I would [Inaudible]. It comes down to like 1 Timothy 2 the second half, you know, I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man and then it goes into 1 Timothy 3 where it talks about an elder. And uh, what we’re down to there is a bible study about how would you go with that and how I would go with that. What I would say, however, is uh, I don’t feel that it is my position to critique you, it is not my position to correct you. Um, if anything, I want to come into different families of churches to learn and not to argue. And to see the areas that they’re right and I’m wrong and the areas that they can teach me where I can grow, and that has not been largely my disposition up till the point. It’s been more “I’m here to teach, and I’m here to correct, I’m not here to learn and I’m not here to be corrected.” And if there’s a way for me to not violate my conscience and my convictions while also not separating my relationships I’m hoping to get to a point of doing, um, better. I’m a guy whose had a tremendous failure and it’s not looking to tell everyone else how to do it right I don’t think I have the right I don’t think I have the authority I would feel comfortable with male governance, with male and female ministry. And, yeah, and as long as the people involved are Godly I think that the details will get sorted out in the context of relationships. Alright I really appreciate this opportunity, and you probably thought I’m come out and fight you, I, I just-“ (32:35-34:25)

Brian Houston: “No I didn’t know, I probably wouldn’t have asked the question if I didn’t think you the second half of the question if [Inaudible] were in the fighting mood at all. But uh, you’re a very bright man, and I mean that, you’re very bright, you have a very sharp intellect. When I first met you you were like Google. You knew more about Australia than I do. And Sydney than I do, so I understand that you’re a learning person. I’m a simple man, so let me ask you-“ (34:24-34:46)

Mark Driscoll: “I’m an unemployed guy, so.” (34:47-34:48) [Laughter]

Brian Houston: “Let me ask you one more thing, that’s good, I like it. Just from a very simple point of view, but I kinda grew up being taught that women would be silent in church that we had a situation where the men sat on one side of the church and the women sat on the other side. While the men were conducting the very spiritual business of church, the women were, you know, if I were to exaggerate a little, submitting and talking and chatting. And that’s kind of how I was taught that you would sit totally different.” (34:50-35:22)

Mark Driscoll: “That sits totally different with me. I, I don’t wanna put my wife on the spot but we’ve raised, we have five kids our oldest is a girl. Leader, driver, um, led mission trips, raising money for international relief traveling, um, she’s a great writer.” (35:23-35:42)

Grace Driscoll: “She’s using her gifts. And we’re not holding her back from what that looks like.” (35:43-35:46)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah, she won the principle’s leadership award and we hung out with the principle and she may have been the only female in the history of the school to win the award at least in the last 20 years and so-“ (35:46-35:55)

Grace Driscoll: “But it’s again it’s a condition of the heart. Her desires are not to impress men and women, they’re to serve the Lord. And if that’s in mind there’s a lot of things women can do, if that’s not in mind there’s a lot of things men and women can’t do.” (35:55-36:09)

Mark Driscoll: “So I guess we needed to delve details into what we talked about earlier like what’s a father’s heart. And I wanna have a heart for the women that in the future that allow me to be their pastor that I had for my daughters, and that is if they have leadership gifts and are called from God and they’re Godly I want to help them achieve that potential and encourage and nourish that and be a support for that.” (36:11-36:34)

Brian Houston: “So when in Australia your visits started to rise to the floor in secular Australia that word misogynistic. Uh, started being thrown around fairly liberally. I looked it up in the Oxford Dictionary and it says, “dislike of, contempt for, or engrained prejudice against women.” Are you, were you ever misogynist?” (35:35-36:55)

Mark Driscoll: “No, but because of things I have said foolishly, that impression is entirely my fault, and I have no one to blame but myself. That’s now how I feel, that’s not what I think, um, but for certain, have uh, allowed that to become an impression.” (36:56-37:15)

Brian Houston: “Sure, and those are things you said when you were in your late 20’s.” (37:16-37:18)

Mark Driscoll: “Yeah, and I have a heart to see, part of this Pastor Brian is, young men aren’t going to church, young men aren’t going to college, young men aren’t marrying women young, young men are not raising their children, and I have such a deep burden and passion to see men. You know, 1 Corinthians 13 when I was a child I thought like a child I spoke like a child I acted like a child, when I became a man I put childish ways behind me. I want to compel young men to grow up to take responsibility and sometimes in doing that I have communicated that in a way that demeans women and that’s not helpful and that’s not right and in the grace of God I need to repent and do better at that. But I still want, I mean no one would say that young men are in the western world highly impressive and we’re all encouraged. There’s a lot of work to be done. And so, I regret the times that I have not communicated in such a way trying to compel them and up and it seems I’m pushing the women down and that’s my fault.” (37:19-38:20)

Brian Houston: “That’s how you feel. You can change moving forward?” (38:21-38:23)

Mark Driscoll: “I hope to with the Grace of God yeah, absolutely.” (38:24-38:27)

Brian Houston: “Good.” (38:28)

Grace Driscoll: “I mean, I’ve never seen him as a misogynist, and never even thought that him of that at all. So, I’ve witnessed the opposite and so, and I’ve known him 27 years And so I can say yes there were methods that were wrong in the beginning but I knew his heart.” (38:29-38:46)

Brain Houston: “I know you’ve tried to apologize a lot of times, I’ve heard some of that myself. Um, it seems there’s a lot of people who just aren’t prepared to accept for his apologies. Do you feel like maybe it was too little too late when it came to apologizing?” (38:47-39:03)

Mark Driscoll: “That’s a good question I don’t know. Um, you know I had someone in the middle of this say. I wrote it in my journal so I wouldn’t forget it it says, it’s never the wrong time to do the right thing. And uh, yeah I don’t know if I’m going to place it I have a great answer for it, I think I’m in the process of processing and praying with wise council. Kind of revisiting the 18 years of my life and trying to learn from it all, yeah.” (39:06-39:31)

Brian Houston: “So in your resignation letter, you you detailed, I feel that about, mistakes you had made and offenses that you had caused. And did you feel like that was received by people?” (39:32-39:44)

Mark Driscoll: “I never got to say goodbye to the church and to the people, um, and so what went public was uh, actually the resignation letter that went to the legal governing board that was in authority over me. Um, and so, um, I uh, I know under the circumstances that there wasn’t a way to do that would’ve been clean or easy. I don’t have any criticism of the board. I think for the people it, it meant there wasn’t closure and I didn’t, we didn’t get to say anything. And so, we didn’t expect to resign I met with the board there was a whole list of things that were charged by current former leaders and there was an internal governance struggle, and threats of legal action, and it got very complicated. And a lot of it was anonymous and through the internet so you don’t know who’s saying or doing what. And so I invited the board to do a full examination interview anybody anything, and we would submit to whatever verdict that they determined. Um, and when I think about 8 weeks we met Friday and Saturday, October 10th and 11th, I remember because the 11th was my birthday. And so Grace and I were present with the Lord. And they said, uh, we see in your history of leadership less in more recent years, more particularly in the past, pride, anger, and domineering leadership style. That would be the three exact words they used. We don’t see anything disqualifying, these are areas we want you to grow, we want you to return to leadership of the church soon. They wanted to do some clean up internally. We want you back on January 4th in the pulpit give you time to heal things to cool down and for some changes to be made. We agreed to that. I sent in a go forward plan and then we went home to have birthday cake with the kids. Um, I think it was on Monday night I was in the bedroom Grace was in the living room and so we had told the board and told the kids you know, come back and was done preaching and love and serve and fix what was a struggling church. And uh, and God had provided a way for us to do that as volunteers and so I was to come back as volunteers. And then on that Monday night I was in the bedroom and Grace was in the living room. And um, he spoke to me and he spoke to her in a supernatural way that neither of us anticipated or expected. And so Grace walked in and she said, “I feel like the Lord just spoke to me and said what we were supposed to do.” And I was like, “I thought the Lord just spoke to me and said what we were supposed to do.” It’s not what we wanted, it’s not what we agreed to, it’s not what we planned for, and so I asked her well what did the Lord say to you because I didn’t want to influence her and so she said, uh, she said we’re” (39:45-42:42)

Grace Driscoll: “We’re released.” (42:43)

Brian Houston: “We can take a moment.” (42:52)

Mark Driscoll: “So, she said well what have you heard so I can hear it. “Well the Lord revealed to me that, you know, a trap has been set there’s no way in which to return to leadership.” And I didn’t know what that meant or what was going on at the time. And um, I said, he said well release too we need to resign. And so, um, you know, this is not what we anticipated, and uh a lot of people thought you know, maybe he’s got another plan, or, we didn’t. We didn’t know what we were doing. And Grace fell to the floor and she was just sobbing uncontrollably and I’ve never seen my wife like that she was devastated. Um, so we prayed and slept on it decided that we would make sure we got this right, and uh.”

Grace Driscoll: “Speak with wise council.”

Mark Driscoll: “Sought the pastors of those we trust and sent in our resignation in on that, it would’ve been that Tuesday, yeah, and resigned.” (42:53-43:57)

Brian Houston: “So there is a lot of grief, uh, delusion of the church [Inaudible](43:58-44:00)

Mark Driscoll: “Well, and, for the people, you know, who. I mean it was a great honor to be their pastor for 18 years. And uh, amazing to see 10,000 people baptized, and people married and kids born, and people helped and healed out to see churches get planted. And mean that was, it’s, it’s, there was a lot of joy and a lot of gratitude. But, um, but also just uh, for the people in the church who have been hurt, and uh, some have scattered, and not attending church, and, that’s the part as a pastor that’s devastating.” (44:01-44:43)

Brian Houston: “Yes, yeah, it’s always the fallout.” (44:44-44:45)

Mark Driscoll: “Yup… Yeah…” (44:46-44:48)

Brian Houston: “Well I guess we can all believe that God’s our restorer and he’ll work in each of those people and bring them back to a place of wholeness.” (44:49-44:57)

Grace Driscoll: “They’re still his people, the way he’s got to minister to them.” (44:58-45:01)

Brian Houston: “So understanding, um, that you’re not trying to defend you know I totally understand you’re not trying to defend your actions or anything that relates to your leadership. But are there any particular things that were said that were just so untrue and just so hurtful that you would like to mention them?” (45:02-45:22)

Mark Driscoll: “I would like to, but, yeah, [Whispering] I don’t want to. In this, my, my, and I appreciate you hearing me Pastor Brian, in all honesty my goal in all of this is not to win, and so,” (45:25-45:44) [Applause]

Brian Houston: “Well that’s a good answer. [Inaudible] hold your piece.” (45:47-45:52)

Mark Driscoll: “And and I am not good at holding my peace, but I believe that that would be, um, I believe that would be best for the Gospel.” (45:52-46:00)

Brian Houston: “We believe you’re getting better at it, at holding your piece. [Laughter] So from the whole thing experience that would last 1-4 years, what if you had to bring in 3 to 5 key lessons that you’ve learned what would they be?” (46:01-46:22)

Mark Driscoll: “Oh boy. I mean that’s a, yeah, I’m not very good with short. [Laughter] Um, it was a tremendous honor to be a pastor and to teach the Bible. And um, to have the things that God did are remarkable and God works through his people. And so, I have come to more than ever be grateful for the 18 years that I got to serve, for the opportunities I got to teach and the things I got to see God do through his good people. Um, and so just a deeper appreciation for the people of God and for the grace that we enjoy. I mean very genuinely. Number 2 I’m exceedingly grateful for my wife. I know I have a wonderful woman but the fact that she’s still with me and my dearest friend and loving and gracious and confronts me and is a truth teller in a loving way. Um, so, I just publicly want to thank you. I mean, she’s the best and I’m really blessed to have her so thank you, [Applause] and um, and faith that we don’t know what’s next. We, people have, you know, speculated, I don’t know. I would like to teach the Bible and love people what that looks like we don’t know. And I’m a planner and a driver. And and right now, um, you know, the plan is to seek wise council, to not get ahead of the Lord, to not rush like I did the first time.”

Grace Driscoll: “To wait in line.”

Mark Driscoll: “To wait in line and not try to prove myself or have my comeback, I, I really, I really am not motivated that way at present. And so it’s just sticking close to Jesus, and to Grace, and the kids. And as we have opportunity thanking the people that were really wonderful for us and then waiting to see what the Lord has next.” (46:23-48:15)

Brian Houston: “My last question really was along those lines it’s, what now?” (48:16-48:19)

Mark Driscoll: “I don’t know, I mean this would be the time I would tell you my next thing and it’s the public launch, and I don’t know. We’re going to go home, and kiss the kids and pray and see what’s next. Yeah, um, I hope to teach the Bible, yeah.” (48:22-48:35)

Brian Houston: “Well I personally think that you’re anointed to do so.” (48:36-40)

Mark Driscoll: “Thank you.” (48:40-48:41)

Brian Houston: “Yeah you’re an outstanding teacher. I’ve already told you we’re probably a little different on some things. But, you know, I personally find your teaching very stimulating and very, very powerful. And I know a lot of people even in my team do as well. So personally I think you should do some teaching again, and my personal feeling for you is to see you flourish in ministry and have your best days ahead of you. [Applause]

And I guess it’s [Inaudible] restitution with individuals as well as collectively and corporately. And- you know endings always- good endings help good beginnings. Bad endings don’t have good beginnings. So I guess if I could- uh- be- uh- officious enough to offer counsel. I would say, just be sure that- you know- you really have done all that you can to heal people, the past, heal up yourselves, stay with good counsel like you are, moving to all that God’s got ahead for you. I’m a great believer that the best is yet to come. And I’d love to speak that over both your lives. I pray in Jesus name that the best is yet to come- and that’s in every way. [Applause] I have found [Inaudible] so let’s believe in God for that together. In Jesus name.” (48:40-50:10)

Mark Driscoll: “Thank you pastor Brian. Thank you for giving us an opportunity.” (50:11-50:15)

Brian Houston: “Thanks for giving me the honor in asking you the questions. I- uh- really, I think I asked you some of the tough questions. I am sure there would be some people who would think that the questions should have been tougher. But- uh- I know, I know, Pastor Mark and Grace, there are a lot of people out there who want good for you in the future. And [Inaudible], just like all of us, that you learn from your past.” (50:16-50:38)

Mark Driscoll: “Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity.” (50:40-50:44)

Brian Houston: “Great.” (50:45-50:55)


Brian Houston: “Thank you! We had great conversation. We actually talked for um, an hour and fifty three minutes. So that is cut down to just over forty five minutes. I think fifty. Fifty minutes. But the entire interview is an hour and fifty three minutes. So once we get past Hillsong Europe, Hillsong London Conference, we may put excerpts of all the interview, the rest of the interview, uh, so up on to the web as well.

And uh- when we had that conversation it was a really powerful conversation. I could feel the power of God in the room. And so, it was an honor [inaudible] to uh, have the opportunity to talk so frankly and so boldly to- to Mark. And ah- you know, as grace-filled Christians, let’s just believe in the best of them both.

Everyone’s made mistakes as leaders. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. If I’d been held in to all of my mistakes, I’d probably be out of my church too. But thank God I had kinder more to gentle people in our church who uh, turned one blind eye and kept loving me.

So fantastic.” (51:11-52:20)

Source: Hillsong Conference 2015, Interview aired 30/06/2015.

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