In December Justin Brierley, who presents Unbelievable? on Premier Christian Radio interviewed Pastor Mark Driscoll on behalf of Christianity magazine. We released some extracts from the interview ahead of publication in the February issue, which was widely reported online, including Christian Today. Pastor Mark wrote a blog post attacking the interview – in particular Justin’s theology and his ‘disrespectful, adversarial and subjectlve’ interview technique.
Here is Justin’s response
I asked Pastor Mark and Grace if it was ok to do a general profile interview, as well as to talk about their new book Real Marriage â€ he said he was happy to. We spent 20 minutes or so talking about Real Marriage before moving on to other things â€ I asked questions that any journo would ask him. I did very little to prompt his comments about British preachers â€ he offered it spontaneously in the course of our interview.
I got chastised by Pastor Mark for asking about the controversial "Can We ______" chapter, but again â€ wouldn't any journo? I also had plenty positive things to say about the success of Mars Hill etc. I did ask some questions of Pastor Mark about controversial statements he's made in the past, which he clarified and gave context to.
The Christian Today article is their own â€ the one I wrote will be in the February issue of Christianity magazine. On Pastor Mark’s blog, he describes the interview as "the most disrespectful, adversarial, and subjective" he’s done on the book. I beg to differ, but you can be the judge when the full article is released and the audio goes up. I did ask questions of Grace during the time we spoke of Real Marriage but the rest of the questions for the profile interview were for Pastor Mark.
My wife is a church minister so I asked the final question of the interview a bit tongue in cheek (for my own curiosity really). Pastor Mark then turned the tables and started asking me questions; we discussed whether my wife's church was the poorer having a woman up front. We disagreed on that! Then he asked me my view on Eternal Conscious Torment â€ I admitted I side with John Stott â€ an annihilationist. He asked me if I believe Penal Substitution â€ I said it’s valid and one of a number of ways to view the cross, but can be expressed in an unhelpful way. He said I was wishy washy for qualifying things like that. That's just me, I'm not overly dogmatic on that issue.
I would not describe myself as a liberal Christian â€ I believe Jesus is the son of God, rose from death and people are saved through him. I'm not a complementarian but I do believe people can choose to reject God I see the cross in a variety of ways (including substitution). When presenting the show you don't get much of my personal take on specific doctrines, but Pastor Mark has forced my hand!
P.S. Pastor Mark, you concluded our interview saying "it was fun" â€ I'm genuinely sorry you feel differently in hindsight. I’m also genuinely sorry if I upset you both, it was never my intention to do so.
Ruth Dickinson, editor of Christianity magazine, says: ‘Justin’s interview with Mark Driscoll was robust and fair, and I utterly reject the claim that it was adversarial, disrespectful or subjective. We took great care to ensure that his quotes were in context, and gave him the opportunity to talk about his new book, as well as his life and theology.’