Pastor Mark Driscoll – “God Hates You”

[youtube CMJK4MwfQmQ]

UPDATE : Apparently Mars Hill has chosen to remove this clip from Pastor Mark’s sermon.

Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up.

That isn’t an out of context quote in the headline. Here are Pastor Mark’s exact words:

“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.”

I do agree that God is frustrated and weary with many, if not most of us. God has great things in store for us all, yet we would rather do our own thing. I get that and to that end Pastor Mark is right. In fact, I would go far as to agree with him that we downplay God’s wrath too much at the expense of a complete picture of who God is.

However, Pastor Mark’s exegesis of God’s wrath is more than a bit inconsistent. Actually, it’s just terrible. Not just in the conclusions that he draws, although I don’t agree those either, but the way in which he draws them.

Pastor Mark’s argument begins with the assertion that God’s wrath is mentioned in the Bible more than God’s love? How does he know this? Because the concordance he uses told him so. Here’s the thing, I don’t know what concordance Pastor Mark is using. Either Pastor Mark needs to buy a new concordance or he is playing “loosey goosey” with his biblical languages. For the sake of time and interest, I’ll spare you the exhaustive word study and give you the Cliff’s Notes version.

There are several words that could be translated into “wrath” or which speak of God’s “anger” in Hebrew and Greek. However, according to Strong’s Concordance (perhaps the definitive Biblical concordance) Biblical scholars and translators only thought those words should be translated into the English concept of wrath about 170 times TOTAL. Guess how many of those are in the Old Testament? About 140. Which means only about 30 are in the New Testament. How many of those are in the gospels? About 3. Even if he counts uses of “anger” to also mean wrath, that only adds about 210 more to his count.

Love, on the other hand, as it is translated into the English from Hebrew and Greek, is mention almost 700 times throughout the Bible. I’m not a math wiz, but I think 700 is more than 380.

So how does he come up with “over 600”?

If you listen carefully he says there are “20 some words” used for God’s wrath. Which means, essentially, that Pastor Mark’s translating authority trumps scholarly consesus about what words do or do not refer to God’s wrath. Kind of ironic if you think about it. Most of this sermon is spent ranting about how people pick and choose what attributes of God they will elevate above the rest. Pastor Mark hates it when people twist the Bible to fit their theological agenda. Kind of ironic if you ask me.

From simply a numbers stand point, Pastor Mark’s claim that “wrath” is the dominant word in the Bible is factually incorrect. However, even if the number count was even, that doesn’t define the message of the Bible. Just because the word “love” doesn’t appear in given story or chapter, doesn’t mean that God’s love is missing.

Take, for example, the story of creation. The word “love” does not appear anywhere in Genesis 1 or 2. Yet, clearly God creating the world and breathing life into mankind is an act of love.

Or how about one of the great stories of “God’s wrath”, Noah’s ark? At first glance it would seem to clearly affirm Pastor Mark’s case that God is all about wrath. Yet, if we dig a little deeper and do better theology than just counting words, we see that in giving Noah the ark and seeing him and his family through the flood, then starting creation over a new, this isn’t predominantly a story about God’s wrath. It’s a story about God’s love.

Perhaps, most damning of all to Pastor Mark’s case for discerning the dominant message of the Bible through word count is the central narrative of the faith: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

The word love appears no where in the synoptic accounts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) of the crucifixion and resurrection and only once in John when John describes himself (which is kind of funny to me) as “the disciple whom he loved”.

Yet, even Pastor Mark agrees (in this same sermon!!) that this most central narrative of the faith is a story of love, a story in which the word “love” is almost entirely absent!!

Simply put, while Pastor Mark is correct in his point that we should not discount the fact that wrath is part of who God is, he and his neo-reformed colleagues are not correct, biblically speaking, by any stretch of the imagination that it is as dominant a theme as they would have you believe.

The primary usage of God’s wrath in the Bible is directed towards idol worship and social injustice. Certainly these are the 2 primary sins we are all guilty of and for that God’s wrath is stirred up. But the overarching narrative of the Bible points us clearly and undeniably to what God has chosen to do with the world that so often stirs up his divine wrath:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Biblical theology isn’t done through word counts, nor is it done by overemphazing verses that seem to support your theological agenda. Not only should Pastor Mark know that, but he himself makes this same argument. Which is what is so confusing and disturbing to me.

We certainly should not ignore God’s wrath. We do so, not only at our own peril, but at the peril of the world. God’s wrath is stirred because we try to take control of our own lives (idol worship) and we ignore the people he called us to serve: the marginalized, the persecuted, and the oppressed. God’s wrath is stirred because He wants the best for the creation He loves, but that’s just it: He loves. God does not hate the world. Jesus himself said so.

Love may not be a manly enough concept for Pastor Mark’s theology, but whether he likes it or not love is the dominant attribute of God. This isn’t something “hippies” have decided themselves, it is the gospel proclaimed by none other than Jesus of Nazareth.

Of course, there is a place for this message that “God hates you.” In fact, their pastor is getting pretty old and I’m sure the church will be in need of a new preacher soon. So, Pastor Mark, if you’re looking for a new church to add to your Mars Hill kingdom, might I suggest Westboro Baptist? (DISCLAIMER: No, I do not think Mark Driscoll is Fred Phelps 2.0, I am simply making the point that what Driscoll says, “God hates you,” in this sermon is too close for comfort to what Phelps also preaches, “God hates you”.)

Grace and peace,

Zack Hunt


  • Sara
    October 10, 2011

    Another great post Zack, thanks.

  • Bob Chapman
    October 10, 2011

    Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Driscoll.

    Johnathan Edwards preached this sermon much better. At least Edwards mentioned that it was God’s pleasure that keeps us out of Hell at this moment.

    Yes, it is God’s pleasure to prevent us from going straight to Hell at this moment.

    Driscoll seemed to miss God’s pleasure in keeping us out of Hell.

    • AndrewF
      October 11, 2011

      Bob, listen to the whole sermon – it’s all about how Jesus drank this cup of wrath that we deserve. If this is the only part of the sermon you hear, then you’re missing the huge ‘but’ that it leads up to.

      • blau
        October 13, 2011

        Do you have the link for the sermon? I’m interested in hearing the whole thing.

    • Sara
      October 11, 2011

      “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” was what first popped into my mind too. That sermon terrified me when I read it as a teen. It was assigned reading in my Christian school and I was completely traumatized by the idea of dangling over hell like a spider.

    • Kent S.
      January 30, 2012


      Zack and others have not presented the full truth of what Mark was teaching. This short out of context clip is only a small part of part seven, “Jesus took our Wrath”, of a nine part series on the atonement, “Christ on the Cross”. The full series is avaialable on the Mars Hill web site.

      Part seven is at:

      In context Mark is addressing the wrath of God to lead into how Christ took God’s wrath on himself for us, as an expression of God’s love and grace for us.

      Get the full truth before trying to judge Mark’s teaching. Andrew below is more correct than Zack above is. Zack is basing his criticisms on just this short out of context clip and not the whole series that Mark was teaching.

      A wise man gets the full truth before making judgment.

      “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Pr. 18:13

      • Matt
        April 23, 2012

        you are correct. God hates heresy hunters too! Ha! kidding about that one, but seriously it is an offense to God to call his ministers false teachers when they are not false according to scripture. Also if Malachi and Paul don’t mind saying God hates then be careful to be more theologically precise with your words than the Bible.

  • Brian
    October 10, 2011

    I wonder if that’s his REAL theology or if he’s just trying to get more attention, again an analogy that could be applied to Westboro Baptist. I did like his line though about people being educated beyond their intelligence. That was kind of funny and too often the norm.

    • Zack
      October 10, 2011

      If it was a random pastor saying this, then I would be more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that this was just a “shock and awe” sermon. Unfortunately (for many reasons), I’ve watched waayyyy too many of his sermon videos, read waaayyy too much of his writing, and I feel pretty confident in saying this sermon is his “piece de resistance”. In a nutshell, this is neo-reformed Calvinism at its best/worst, he’s but one of many non-denom but really Baptist preachers proclaiming essentially the same message.

  • Will
    October 10, 2011

    Very, very good. Excellent unpacking of Driscoll’s…issues (to put it politely).

  • Jenny Rae Armstrong
    October 10, 2011

    Excellent, excellent, excellent post! I loved how you quoted John 3:16 as “what God has chosen to do with the world that so often stirs up his divine wrath.” That about sums it up. Thanks!

  • Mike
    October 10, 2011

    Great post! Too many pastors try to twist the Bible to fit what they would like to say from the pulpit – and I laughed out loud when you pointed out: “Pastor Mark hates it when people twist the Bible to fit their theological agenda. Kind of ironic if you ask me.”

  • AndrewF
    October 10, 2011

    um… did you watch the whole sermon? It’s on my to-do list for tomorrow, but this is the blurb:

    Jesus is in absolute agony, sweating blood, as he prays honestly with the Father. What is the cup he is so grieved about? It is the cup of the wrath of God. Every sin is like a drop into a cup. We pour the sin in. God, at the end of this life, pours out commensurate wrath. Yet Jesus submits his will to the Father’s; he exchanges places with us on the cross and drinks every single drop of the wrath of God. The cross is where the love of God is most clearly seen: wrath was poured out on Jesus, and love was poured out for us.

    That sounds a lot like:

    But the overarching narrative of the Bible points us clearly and undeniably to what God has chosen to do with the world that so often stirs up his divine wrath:

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

    I get the feeling that Driscoll would actually agree with you that the cross is the central point of the overarching narrative.. (I find his style grating, but he does preach the gospel)

    • Ladybug
      October 10, 2011

      The difference is Driscoll going on to wax belligerent about the wrath and not so much about the love and sacrifice. So, while they just may reach the same conclusion, their methods and message are completely at odds.

      • AndrewF
        October 11, 2011

        Actually, having listened to the sermon now, he spends more time talking about the love of God in Jesus than the wrath of God outside of him.

    • Zack
      October 10, 2011

      I didn’t watch the whole sermon, at least I don’t think I did. I watched the clips from the sermon that Mars Hill posted which they seem to feel sums up what he preached about.

      I would definitely agree with you that Driscoll would probably agree that “the cross is the central point of the overarching narrative.” Well, almost agree. I think the resurrection is “more central” if that makes sense, although they obviously go hand in hand.

      My issue is with his interpretation of that event. He sees it as an act of wrath. I disagree. I think it’s an act of love. He can only call it an act of wrath because he severs the Godhead into 2 (leaving out the Spirit btw) on the cross. God the Father, for Driscoll, “pours out his wrath” on the Son. He’s reading that into the gospels because neither that language nor that idea appears in any of the gospels. It’s a misunderstanding of the so-called “cry of dereliction” and it’s a view of the atonement that I don’t find sustainable in any way.

      It’s a long and nuanced issue, so if you have way too much time on your hands you can (shameless plug) read the thesis I wrote on the subject here:

      • AndrewF
        October 11, 2011

        I agree that the resurrection and crucifixion go hand in hand; I suppose that I use ‘the cross’ as shorthand for the death and resurrection.

        He sees it as an act of wrath. I disagree. I think it’s an act of love.

        I’m pretty sure he sees it as both.

        Thanks for the link to your thesis. I’ll pop it on my kindle for later 😉

        • Zack
          October 11, 2011

          Awesome, I look forward to hearing what you think. Hopefully it doesn’t bore you to death.

          I think you’re right that Driscoll sees the cross as both, I just disagree. For me that is incompatible, which is in large part why I am not a Calvinist.

          I just wrote a new post trying to bring some clarity to the issue. Look forward to hearing what you think.

      • DukeH
        January 18, 2012

        If you do not see the cross as an act of wrath, then you do not understand Jesus as our substitute. Once man sinned the wrath of God had to be poured out on man for reconciliation to occur. Salvation can only take place because God’s wrath was satisfied. Now it was the ultimate act of love that satisfied it, however, the central them is still God’s wrath on mankind had to be satisfied. The whole reason Jesus had to go to the cross was to satisfy the wrath of God. It was the Love of God that satisfied the Wrath of God on the cross..

  • Tony
    October 10, 2011

    Zack, thanks for showing the overwhelming frequency
    of LOVE in the Bible over the “wrath”.
    Also, I don’t believe Mr. Driscoll preaches the gospel,
    because, according to Luke 4 & Isaiah 61, the gospel
    is GOOD NEWS. He can act like he’s “preaching the gospel”
    but what he preaches is a mixture. How does he expect all those people
    God supposedly “hates” to come to Him? They have to
    be drawn, like everyone else. And the reference to
    the “wicked” doesn’t mean “sinners”. The Wicked are those
    who twist the truth and pretend to be good and lead
    others astray and destroy lives.
    TRUTH can only be explained and understood by The
    Holy Spirit, and preaching the word without HIM is

  • Natalie
    October 10, 2011

    Thank you!

  • Joy @ Joy In This Journey
    October 11, 2011

    Zack, I really appreciate this post refuting some of Mark’s claims regarding wrath. It was very helpful for me as I try to cut through all the emotional responses to this video clip and think clearly about it. Thanks.

    • Zack
      October 11, 2011

      Thanks! Really glad you found it helpful.

  • Daren
    October 11, 2011

    Ok, I personally believe that God’s love is the central theme of the Bible but I’ll play devil’s advocate and bring up Romans 9:13- “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Maybe Mark is using this verse as support for God “…right now, personally, objectively hate(ing) some of you.” Would love to here what you (Zack or any others) have in response to Romans 9:13.


    • Zack
      October 11, 2011

      Great question.

      For me there’s 2 issues at stake there, so I’ll be as brief as possible.

      First, when we come across passages like this they absolutely must be put in their broader context. Otherwise, we can quite literally make the Bible say anything we want it to say, like “God hates you”.

      So, when Paul invokes the name Esau he does so with the assumption that his readers know the story of Israel. Jacob and Esau are meant to stand in here for the nations of Israel (Jacob) and Edom (Esau). The point I think Paul is trying to make is not that God personally hates Esau, but that God hates the nation of sin Esau’s people the Edomites had created. More so, however, as we see in the following verses Paul is trying to make the point that we should be more grateful to god because he has “chosen” to show grace and mercy to anyone who believes.

      That being said, Paul seems to say yes God does hate what Edom/Esau has become, but in the broader context of his dialogue Paul is emphatic about making the point that God continues to extend grace when we turn away from Him like Esau/Edom did. In verse 25 (via Hosea) “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one.”

      So, if we rip the passage out of context and read it in a vacuum then it’s pretty easy to conclude that “God personally, objectively” hates some people, a la predestination. But when we read Paul’s entire, I think he is making the case that is God extends love and grace even to people who stir up his wrath. Therefore, I don’t think God really hates anyone. I think this is a rhetorical device Paul is using.

      • Ryan
        October 11, 2011

        Here is something I would like to adress. You say there is some fuzzy math. My suggestion is study the bible and come up with the facts. I would rather take from my study of the scriptures what God is saying then have some group of people who are called scholars tell me. That was the problem with the Pharasees. They had knowlege of scripture, but even Jesus made them look silly with his words. I do not want to say Mark is jesus. What I am saying is if you disagree, prove it with the WOrd itself, and not what some group of people say. Know our putting human against human. None of which answers many of the mysteries of God. I think that we can agree with some and disagree with others, but Gods word cannot be wrong, and I do not care who disagrees. That is just the plain facts. Human takes on the bible are all we will get. That is why the Berians were strong in there faith and walk. They studined the scripture and looked at the teaching of the word. God hates sin. He loves people. If people want to be with GOd, cut out sin. There is no love lost on Sin, sin being the key word.

        • Zack
          October 11, 2011

          “I would rather take from my study of the scriptures what God is saying then have some group of people who are called scholars tell me.”

          Pride cometh before the fall, my friend.

          Please, please, please do not fall for “sola scriptura”. Martin Luther said and did many great things, but this was not one of them. There are few things out there more unbiblical and unchristian than sola scriptura.

          The New Testament in particular is composed primarily of letters written to churches, letters meant to be read aloud by the community of faith and interpreted by the community of faith. The Bible was never meant to be understood and interpreted by individuals in isolation.

          I can think of few things more unchristian than trying to do and understand the faith apart from the body through whom that faith has been handed down to us. We don’t get to decide on our own what God is saying in the Bible, This is why the community of faith exists. There are godly Biblical scholars out there. Don’t be afraid to trust people who have studied the Bible more and understand it better than you. This is what discipleship is all about.

          • chickenman
            October 11, 2011

            Romans 9
            10 And not only so, but salso when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of thim who calls—12 she was told, u“The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, v“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

            God did not hate Esau because of what he did.

  • stephy
    October 11, 2011

    This makes me vomit blood.

    • LRC
      October 11, 2011

      At least he can finally quit saying there is a difference between him & Fred Phelps.

      • Ben F
        October 11, 2011

        I’ll go out on a limb and say there still is: Although this is damning with faint praise,at least Phelps doesn’t make any pretense of respectability. He’s openly honest about his hate for people.

  • Rolley Haggard
    October 11, 2011

    Hey Dad, ever get really, really mad at your teenage son for driving recklessly and endangering his and others’ lives? That’s the wrath of a/The Father. God hates sin so much because He loves us so much. The chief reason God hates sin is it destroys the ones He loves. Calvinists like Driscoll need to get a theological life.

    The Wrath of Love

    A jealous lover was the man who, red
    With passion, here affirmed his love for me;
    Whose love undying, though himself now dead,
    Forfends the villain suitor’s amory.
    His hatred brooked no bounds; his bitter wrath,
    Unleashed upon the tempter of my heart,
    Condemned the would-be paramour to death
    Who stealthily would sunder us apart.
    But oh the death; gripped indivisible
    With him as with disease, my lover ceased
    To strive against his rival terrible
    And slew himself to slay the wicked beast.
    And here now on this cross he hangs to prove
    His wrath was but the measure of his love.

    © Rolley Haggard, 2011

  • Jeff Harris
    October 11, 2011

    Think he’s missing the point. His assessment that sin is in our nature is incorrect. If sin were truly part of our nature then it would have been God’s fault that we sin and we could claim humans were flawed in the making. But this is not the case Adam and Eve were temped and not by God but by evil. Yes God hates and he hates so much that he stepped down from his heavenly throne took on human form and died so that His anger would be abated. But in doing so he proved that His all-powerful love conquered His own fiercest anger. God redeemed us to Himself through Himself.

    I wonder how Mr. Driscoll explains God’s immediate forgiveness when we repent and turn away? God follows us like a sad puppy just begging for the moment we turn back to Him. Then He tackles us with joy and love like rabid middle linebacker. If He were fed up with us we would have to earn His love after incurring His wrath.

  • Mary
    October 11, 2011

    If God “hates” some people, then why on earth would He choose to die for all mankind? Either God hates who some of us are- and therefore will not accept those people, or he loves our essence of each person yet hates the sin that binds us, and hopes to liberate us from the sin through His sacrifice.

    Of course when you through limited atonement Calvinist theology into the mix, then things get a little more complicated…

  • Ryan
    October 11, 2011

    Well God hates sin. That cannot be mistaken in the least. I am speaking to Mark and Jeff who posted around 3:00 pm. Ther is nothing about sin God likes. That is why hell is waiting for the evil one and all who have rejected Christ. PLane and simple. While God loves people, sin has no place or room in the kingdom of Heaven. To speak to the point about sin and being part of our nature. YEs man’s nature is sinful. We neer would have choosen God, he choose us. Simple fact. Paul says in Romans something to the point of why do I d that which I should not and do not that which I should. Sin abounds in us. How many of us go through a day without sinning. Kudos if you can. Who uses the tongue for only good? Get cut off on the road today? did you pray for that person or give them a look at the IQ quotent.? That is my point. I cannot do that, because sin nature and man are sort of one in the same. That is why it os so crazy God choose us and sent his son for us.

  • Daryn
    October 11, 2011

    Zack –

    Your words were perfect and really helped me understand better what the discussion is going on around this. Great points.

    • Zack
      October 11, 2011

      Thank you so much. I’m really glad you found it helpful.

      • chickenman
        October 11, 2011

        this is true biblical teaching. God hates sinners.

        • Ben F
          October 12, 2011

          In that case, every single person is screwed. Darn. And I thought that whole Gospel of Jesus Christ stuff was actually true.

  • Chad Hunter
    October 11, 2011

    Zack you are so far off on SO many points it is really not worth the time to go through them all.
    So I will focus on the last paragraph.. To compare Mark Driscoll to Fred Phelps is ignorant and irresponsible. I am just amazed that you would do that.. Mark has been instrumental in seeing thousands of people come to Christ both in his Church and through the Acts 29 network that helps plant churches and equips Pastors all over the world…

    Fred Phelps is a cult leader who leads a group of people that are mostly made up of his family who has no Bible training and is not interested by his own admission in leading anyone to Christ. He believes that no one outside of his Church will be saved.. Fred Phelps is a cult leader..

    As someone who has been in ministry for 20 years I am simply horrified that you would make such a ignorant statement.. Especially knowing that you had not watched the entire sermon.. Which was excellent by the way… My only comfort is that barely anyone will read this blog.. The only reason I read it was we have a mutual friend.

    The body can surely disagree about doctrine. I am in total disagreement with your “critique” of Marks message (at least what you saw of it) just for the record.. But I would never compare you to a cult leader just because we disagree..

    By the way you MAY want to back up some of YOUR thoughts with scripture.. That is something all the “neo reformed” crowd Driscoll, Piper, MacArthur, Chandler, MacDonald. And countless others do very well.. I think you reference 1 verse and the book of Genesis.

    • Zack
      October 11, 2011

      Hey Chad,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Not sure I really understand your issue with the Fred Phelps comparison. I agree with you that Mark is a much better human being than Phelps.

      However, this is what Phelps preaches: “God hates you”

      And this is what Driscoll preaches in that sermon: “God hates you”

      I’m not trying be mean, I’m just stating the obvious. If it makes you uncomfortable, well that’s kind of the point.

      I didn’t rip this clip “out of context” and hold it up as “the message” of Driscoll’s sermon. Mars Hill did that. And nothing from the rest of the sermon or anything he’s ever preached or written makes me think he believes any differently.

      As for the “backing up my thoughts with scripture” point, scripture informs all of my writing; along with tradition, experience and reason. But if you’re looking for a list of Bible verses, there’s nothing I can do to help you out there. Proof-texting your theology with hand selected Bible verses isn’t theology. I try to wrestle with the narrative, not random sound bites, which is why you won’t ever see me quoting a bunch of verses to prove a point. I want to be faithful to the story of scripture, not a theological paradigm.

      • Aaron
        October 12, 2011

        Giving us a list of bible verses would help brother. You just come off as totally ignorant of scripture from my reading of your blog. Its actually quite laughable. These seem pretty straight forward. Because my Bible tells me that:

        Prov. 6:16-19 “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”

        John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

        Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,”

        Psalm 11:5, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”

        Does this make you feel uncomfortable? Good. It should. Sin isn’t something outside of you. It has permeated the heart and mind of man. God is holy and righteous and must punish the sinner because he cannot and will not ignore their offenses.

        See Zack, its so easy to criticize a guy like Mark Driscoll because he’s preaching the truth and has a huge platform. Sure, you disagree with his theology. That’s fine. But to equivocate him with Phelps is taking it too far. And its not sufficient to say he’s a “much better human being than Phelps.” Take off your man-centered, humanistic and American goggles. It’s not about being a good person Zack. It’s all about God and his glory. God has worked through him to establish churches in unreached places like Seattle and write God-centered literature that is faithful to scripture. Phelps is a non-stop hate-mongering preacher who is so far off from Biblical Christianity… I won’t even go there. It’s unthinkable to compare the two.
        Its sad that you disregard him and his contemporaries like Tim Keller and Paul Washer because from what I’ve seen, Driscoll has planted many churches to spread the gospel, helped abused women, and has encouraged men to take hold of Biblical manhood. Keller is one of the finest apologists of our time and Washer has a heartfelt passion for the gospel and has given his body in Peru for the spread of it. It seems like you dismiss people because of their theological leanings, which is a shame, because if you really took the time to listen to them, they are more faithful to scripture, are certainly more Christocentric, and have done more for the Kingdom than your blasphemous, God-dishonoring, false image bearing website dedicated to the Jesus you made up in your head that doesn’t offend anyone, or would send anyone to hell. I am afraid and saddened to read things like this. Its not because I am so concerned with Mark’s character as I am the great deception that this article is purveying. Your theology is pretty bad “Christ died to save us from ourselves,” but most of all, I’m afraid you constructed an idol in your head you like to worship- this American Jesus.

        • Aaron
          October 12, 2011

          “Please, please, please do not fall for “sola scriptura”. Martin Luther said and did many great things, but this was not one of them. There are few things out there more unbiblical and unchristian than sola scriptura.” – Zack

          I’m so scared. Sola Scriptura is the teaching that the Scriptures contain all that is necessary for salvation and proper living before God. Sola Scriptura means that the Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments are the final authority in all that they address (1 Cor. 4:6) and that tradition, even so-called Sacred Tradition is judged by Scriptures. Sola Scriptura does not negate past councils or traditions. Instead, it is above them and they are to be judged by scripture.

          • Chad Hunter
            October 12, 2011

            I could not agree more Aaron.. And there in lies the problem. Zack truly does believe in an American Jesus which means we can mold him and shape him to fit what we feel comfortable with instead of the Jesus of the Bible. PLEASE go and watch the entire sermon as it is a great picture of God’s love for us and what He did for us on the cross as a Propitiation of sin. Zack is not interested in truth but more hits to his blog..


          • Nathan
            October 12, 2011

            Hey guys, could we please act as The Body for once and not spread the hatred? These comments are not what loving our naughbor looks like.

            Zack, I thought your blog was very insightful, challenging, and informative. Thank you for sharing.

        • Ben F
          October 12, 2011


          How can we assume that YOU are so pious and faithful?

          • Aaron
            October 12, 2011

            You don’t need to. I didn’t ask you to.

            I never have thought of myself as pious. I cannot claim moral superiority because I fail every single day. The faith that I have has been wrought by God. Its only by his grace. 1 John 4:10

        • BuckCronkite
          September 19, 2013

          Way to copy and paste OT Scripture. Anyone can do so and make the Bible say anything one wants. Your heroes, Washer and Piper and MacArthur, heretics all, are infamous for this LOL
          When you want to lay down your Calivinist theology and believe the Gospel: One died so ALL died. Then Christ’s light of the Gospel will shine upon you.
          REVELATION: God was in Christ and reconciled people who never even heard of John Calvin, people born long before Calvin graced the world with his presence. But if you can’t forsake your ‘ism’ for trust in Jesus Christ alone, that’ll be your little red wagon to push.

          Oh, by the way, I’ve been to Peru also… a specious defense of that heretic Washer if there ever was lol

  • Joshua
    October 13, 2011

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that none of this matters. I’m gonna go as far to say, this is just a minor problem in the church.

    Do you realize much of the church’s problem today? I don’t think anyone does really. And maybe I don’t fully.

    The problem is that the structure of the church is stuck in the middle ages. Where orator is the center. The entire structure, funding, housing, mission is built around a ‘message’.

    Jesus DID things and then He was given an audience. And even then, He didn’t have ‘weekly’ messages nor all this bs.

    If the church build power plants and roads and made food, took greed out of the equation. How much MORE would that further the message than just mear words. The Vatican has more money than Walmart, yet it doesn’t solve world hunger. Some international stats say it only costs 80 billion to eliminate world hunger.

    Does Driscoll’s message bother me? No. Every American Christian’s message does. Including yours.

    I don’t blame him or you for the problem. It’s a result of not thinking about capitalism. Not thinking about how our world is being shaped. And how that system directly effects our message and reach. I’ll never preach Jesus, where the connotations are negative. There is no point. If they were molested when they were young, their pastor fucked the secretary, or they can’t get over the Dark Ages and how the Catholic church screwed up big time. Why would anyone focus on oration?

    I realize writing this might seem like I’m contradicting myself. But the readers of this are definitely Christian. I’m speaking only to the Christian because they’ve fucked up. Sunday messages are a waste of the church’s time, money, and resources.

    As the old saying goes, evolve or die. We haven’t evolved.

  • Joshua
    October 13, 2011

    Btw, on another note. (To be a hypocrite)

    Driscoll is a fundamental calvinist. He’s rash. But he is the counter balance. He interviews a lot of churches and got sick of the ‘lovely dovey jesus’ when Jesus in Revelation was a warrior with a tattoo on His thigh.

    You don’t like the counter-balance. It’s needed. But…none of it will bring about systematic change.

    Only firing the pastors will. Destroying the pulpit to invest in ideas that make the world a better place physically, here/now. Not just some philosophical waste of time.

  • RAS
    October 14, 2011

    No one downloaded/saved the original video? It has gone now. I hope it is SOMEWHERE on someone’s computer they can share . . .

  • RAS
    October 14, 2011

    Chad, is the “Jesus sweats blood” the sermon which the now removed Youtube clip is from? Is the clip in that sermon in other words? Or do I have to download the huge file and find out for myself? LOL

  • RAS
    October 14, 2011

    My last comment – it is in the video starting at 42:00 (unless there was more that was edited or there was a different video)

  • Jacob Arminius
    October 14, 2011

    Here is the new link of the portion of video in question ! God hates you “objectively”

  • Morgan Guyton
    October 14, 2011

    If Jesus is supposed to be our representation of who God is, then to know who God hates, we ought to look at who Jesus hates. He tells us in Matthew 23.

  • AndrewC
    October 16, 2011

    Although I generally agree with this blog post, there were two points I took exception to.

    First, I think Noah and his ark is a good example of God’s wrath. Although it may appear to be a story of love from the perspective of Noah and his family, from the perspective of the rest of the world, it was mass murder. Although the focus of the story may be on God’s faithfulness to Noah, the narrative of the story implies near-panocide.

    Also, Strong’s concordance is *not* the definitive bible concordance, by a long shot. It was published in 1890, and based of the KJV. More than a century of scholarship follows it, and although it remains *generally* useful for biblical studies, much better concordances exist in English/Greek/Hebrew today. The reason that Strong’s concordance is so popular today is that it’s out of copyright, which makes it cheap to reprint. Also Strong’s numbers (which have their own problems) have become popular in some other reference works, making it easy to use with Strong’s.

  • Jake
    October 20, 2011

    I think its interesting that a guy like Rob Bell gets blasted for presenting a different idea about the end-times-far-away-sorta-unclear-future-view-of-what-happens-after-jesus-returns, something that there are all ready 4 or more ‘popular theological schools of thought’ on anyway, yet its no big deal to undermine the whole foundational system that christianity is established on… the Love of the Father. its essential! If Bell is a heretic then so is Driscoll.

    • Quentin
      October 21, 2011

      All I have to say is this: Deliberate (and disobedient / willful) ignorance of the Truth, the Light, and the Way is a sad, sad thing. That above excerpt only shows me that this so-called pastor – this man called to the cloth to spread the Gospel – is nothing more than the rest of us: inherently flawed, misguided, and sinful. He has allowed his worldly arrogance to color and taint the eternal Word.

      God despises (hates) the sin … not the sinner. We are His creation; His children. He has set down rules (The Ten Commandments) for us, His children, to obey and heed. The Holy Bible – while His Word; His Truth – is written, interpreted, and translated by MEN, not God Himself. God is unconditional love, grace, acceptance, and forgiveness; not petty, childish hate, loathing, or revulsion.

      It is the act of willful sinning and disobedience which displeases Him, for He is a stern, but loving and forgiving, Father. As with our own children, we correct and discipline with love and care when they run astray or break the rules we set down as guides for their lives.

      How difficult a concept is this to understand?

      • Kimberly Furnell
        September 22, 2012

        That’s exactly it. God doesn’t hate anyone, believer, unbeliever, anyone. God so loved THE WORLD (as in EVERYONE). What he hates is sin itself. Not believers (saints) and not sinners (unbelievers). For while we were YET sinners, Christ died for us. Because he LOVED SINNERS. God doesn’t, hasn’t ever, won’t ever, HATE anyone. God IS LOVE. I am sorry, I don’t care WHAT context he made these remarks in; they aren’t true in ANY context.

  • Karl Kroger
    October 25, 2011

    You can watch the video clip here.

  • Christopher John
    November 15, 2011


    What Driscoll had to say upset me yet again (remembering all the bible quotes he used to glorify murder) so it’s awesome to see somebody with education in the field (not me) with something to say.

    I get that he is upset about the Rob Bell “Love Wins” concept, but I don’t know if going to the other extreme of “God hates you” is the best way to vent that anger…

    • Kent S.
      January 30, 2012

      Do yourself a favor and get the whole truth of what Mark was teaching before you judge him or yourself by the out of context clip that Zack has posted.

      Mark is comparing the wrath of God towards sinners with the great grace and love of God towards ALL who believe on Christ and his redemptive work.

      Zack is only judging with partial judgment because he does not have the full facts on what Mark was teaching.

  • Kent S.
    January 30, 2012

    I’m not a celebrity teacher guy, though I have read some of the celebrity teachers. I don’t just follow any of them, I consider what is being communicated, eat the meat and spit out the bones.

    Zack, what it seems to me you have done is post one small portion, out of context, of Mark’s address, which is just a small part of part seven of a nine part series on the atonement, “Christ on the Cross”, which Mark taught in 2005. Available in full context at:

    In the clip you posted, which by the way is available in full and in context, on the Mars Hill web site in transcript, Mark is contrasting the wrath of God to the great grace and love of God as evidenced through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross….God does judge us and finds us guilty of death, the wages of sin is still death, and he lavishes on us his great mercy and grace for the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. The wrath and mercy of God are both truths regarding God and how he deals with men.

    It is so easy to make broad brush judgments of others when we only get part of the truth. For anyone wanting the whole truth go to the Mars Hill site and read it for yourself, because Zack is not posting or referring to the whole truth here.

    Zack, I am not defending Mark, I think that setting up numerous campuses so that more and more people, (I believe he references 10,000 people) can hang on your every word is a sign of some degree of megalomania. But to judge someone on a clip of their full teaching is not being very honest, let alone loving to a brother in Christ.

    April 25, 2012


  • zach gassett
    May 18, 2012

    no god dont hate me he hates you!!1

  • John Carter
    June 28, 2012

    The cross is the perfect intersection of hatred and love. God is Love, which is why He hates. The cross, Jesus death, and ressurection is the perfect expression and media of God’s heart. Incredible atred, and incredible love….at the same time.

    It’s what a broken relationship looks like.

    We must begin to see the fullness of God’s heart and no longer remain in the extremities of His Person, but rather embrace the entire reality of Gods hatred and His love.


  • listentothesermon
    November 12, 2012

    Before you comment, please go listen to the whole sermon ( I was appalled when I first read this post and thought that Driscoll had finally gone off the deep end. After listening to the sermon, I have to say that I am really impressed by how much he has backed up his case with scripture, and how he actually ends by talking about God’s love. His message: God hates us and loves us, with scriptures to back up both points. I don’t know how that makes sense, but it’s in the bible, and there are too many verses for it to be taken out of context or mistranslated.

    Zack, you may disagree with him, but you have not really done the work of showing how the scriptures can be interpreted otherwise. You have done a great job of putting forth verses about God’s love, many of which Driscoll actually quotes himself. You have not really done anything to explain the many verses (I don’t care if there are 300 or 600) that reference God’s hate towards people (not actions, not sin, but people). Driscoll has used both groups of verses to preach a comprehensive, albeit confusing, sermon. I am willing to be convinced otherwise, but you would have to explain the numerous scriptures referring to God’s hatred towards people. You can start with the ones Aaron listed below.

  • forgedimagination
    February 20, 2013

    After reading through most of the comments here, I can understand the negative reaction to this post. I do understand and appreciate the need for “context” and to not take one sentence out of a 9-part sermon series and try to claim that “God hates you” is Mark Driscoll’s primary message.

    However, there comes a point when, as a Christian, I can honestly say that context doesn’t matter a whole lot when the sentence is: “God personally hates you.”

    That is *wrong.*

    I don’t have to pay attention to “context” to call a statement like that as simply and categorically *wrong.* There can no be defense for it– no biblical defense exists.

    And the fact of the matter is that this type of rhetoric is *common* in Mark Driscoll’s sermons and blogs. While not every single word out of his mouth his vitriolic and hate-filled, he has a frequent tendency to say hateful, ignorant things in public. He cultivates this image on *purpose*.

    His public “branding” campaign– and branding and marketability is *exactly* what this is– has succeeded.

    • Ryan
      September 21, 2013

      Actually, the argument is very biblical. Psalm 5:5. God hates evildoers (not just evil doing). Psalm 11:5: God hates the wicked. Prov. 6:16-19 lists at least 6 things that God hates, 7 that are abomination to him. Included are people, not just sin.

      Evil*doers*, the wicked, i.e. you and me and every human being ever, for evil comes from our very hearts, it is who we are to our core (Mark 7:23). We are all sinners doing evil and deserving wrath (Rom 3:23; Eph 2:3).

      The “but” in Eph 2:4 is the surprising, pivotal, life-altering, gospel message of life and love even as God hates. We think that because God is love God cannot hate. The Bible draws no such conclusion, and puts both statements forward as true. God hates our sin and us as well, the sinners who perpetuate evil and wickedness. Surprisingly, freely, under no obligation, and to our great benefit as well as his glory, God chose to love us so much that he decided to pour out his wrath, hate, and anger on his Son, who freely and willingly laid down his life for us on the cross to absorb that wrath. That is why love is defined biblically as the satisfaction of God’s hate and wrath, what we call propitiation (1 John 4:10).

      That God is love is only part of the whole message. That God hates is also just a part, but a biblical part you don’t want to seem to accept without even having considered it. “I don’t have to pay attention to ‘context’ to call a statement like that as simply and categorically *wrong.*” No, you don’t have to pay attention to context to say as much. But if you do need to pay attention to the context of scripture, and it wouldn’t hurt to hear it laid out in this sermon as well, if you want to call that statement wrong and unbiblical. The context of scripture you don’t want to consider proves you to be wrong.

      That God hates is extremely biblical. That God loves is also biblical. That God poured out his hate and anger and wrath on Jesus, who died for our sin according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3) is the gospel message that gives us life (Rom 1:16-17; 1 Pe 1:23-25). I exhort you to pay attention to the context, especially the biblical context. In Christ.

  • NT
    May 24, 2013

    Mark may use a lot of scripture to back up his message, but I have some serious questions about the wrath of God being equal to the concept of hate. His interpretation of the wrath of God is more in line with the wrath of a father who has lost his temper and abuses his child for offending him. No one would equate abusing a child, even if the wrong was extreme, as a godly attribute to be admired and encouraged in Christian (or even non-Christian) homes. I don’t see this in God’s character and find this view of God to be disgusting.

    The question then is what is the “wrath” of God?

    First, I believe that Jesus Christ is the most true and most clear picture of God. Colossians 1:15 says, “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Therefore, if you want to see what God is really like, look at Jesus. Now, that being said, the only instance where Jesus shows anger is toward religious pious behavior of the Pharisees and teachers of religious law. His words and actions reveal this, but I think, if we are honest, it is a great leap to assume that Jesus hates these people. I think he is frustrated at their stubbornness and angry at their hinderance to the Kingdom of God (KOG), but never once do we see Jesus being hateful. (I would qualify that strong words were needed in these situations and a hateful action would have been to actively and passionately seek their destruction). This confrontation with the religious leaders, however, was not even the thrust of his ministry. He spent most of his time forgiving, casting out demons, healing the sick, and teaching about the KOG. Furthermore, the climax of all of his work was the self-sacrificing love illustrated on the cross (interesting point: Jesus calls the Father to forgive the very same men whom he had earlier called a “brood of vipers.”)

    Second, as mentioned earlier, I have a hard time reconciling God’s wrath with a hateful, emotional and even spiteful reaction to sinners. Yet, let us entertain some possibilities and see if they can be explained. Jeremiah 13:14 says,”I will dash them against each other, both the fathers and the sons together,” declares the Lord. “I will not show pity nor have compassion so as not to destroy them.”

    As mentioed ealier, I believe that Jesus is the picture of what God really looks like and I also believe, as revealed in John 5:39-40, that all scripture points to Christ. How then, can we have Christ, who is willing to die for his enemies, be revealed in Jer. 13, where God says he will crush even his own people?

    I think Greg Boyd speaks directly to this issue in his sermon “The Shadow of the Cross” found here

    Here is the main point he makes. Many people try to take the violent pictures of God and try to pull out some sort of Christ-likeness from them. This is, in his is estimation, impossible. You cannot reconcile un-christlike, genocidal pictures of God with the self-sacrifical picture of the crucified Christ. Therefore, rather than drawing out Christlikeness from violent pictures of God, look at the violence in the OT as pointing to the Cross as a shadow points to a real object. (Col 2:17). The Law is to Christ, as a shadow is to you. The portrait of God in the OT is not a revelation of what God is like, rather it is a portrait of what God is NOT like. The real God is revealed in the Cross and the cross abolishes the Law.

    The Law, in the 1st C. Jewish mind, was THE way to God. However, the Law, as revealed in Christ is a way to show us how far away from God we actually are. It was to show us a need for a savior, so that we would come to the cross. (Boyd further reveals that the Law is bound up in the nationalism of the Jewish people, which justified violence. The result is that the Israelites attributed violence to God, which he never actually did–see sermon). Therefore, in our example God never actually does these things. Rather God “bears the burden” (like how Jesus bears our burden of sin and takes on the appearance of a rebel criminal) of Jewish nationalism and justified violence until a later time when he can fully reveal himself on the cross.

    Finally, I believe the wrath of God is NOT emotional, spiteful anger, but the withdrawal of God’s protection allowing the natural consequence of our choices to take their course.

    So, since we know that Jesus is the visible image of God, we will look to him for what the “wrath of God” really is. Jesus, death on the cross was his experience of the “wrath of God.” When Jesus Prays in the garden he asks the Father, “take this cup from me” (Mark 14:6), which is a biblical and ancient way of describing God’s wrath (For ex see Jer 25:15). Therefore, Jesus is saying “Don’t let you wrath fall on me.”

    Many agree that Jesus is taking God’s wrath on the cross. However, for many it is a picture of the emotional, spiteful, rage-aholic anger directed toward human being re-directed to Jesus on the cross (but this view raises a question as to the justice and integrity of God. He pours out rage on his own son because he is so angry he HAS to punish something?). However, this is not the picture we get in the gospels. God never actually raises a finger toward Jesus. What is it then that God actually did to him? God “gave him over” or “delivered him over (Romans 8:32, 4:25). He withdrew his protection on his son and allowed violent humans and violent powers to have their way with him. In fact, Jesus words illustrate this when He says on the cross “my God, my God why have your forsaken me.”

    Therefore, the wrath of God, rather than being a rageful, spiteful emotional anger, is actually God forsakenness. Think about it this way: The greatest reward a human can ever receive is to be in the presence of God (PS 16:11). To be in the presence of God is to be in the presence of all love, life and beauty. He will fulfill every longing of our heart. What then is the greatest curse? To be separated from God’s presence. This is very opposite of life, love and beauty. It is death. “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23).

    Romans 1 is a much sited passage about the wrath of God, and it further illustrates “God forsakenness.” It says that God “gave them [those refusing God’s wisdom] over” to their sinful desires. The key to understanding God’s wrath is to understand what it means to be “given over.” I believe here, an in other locations, that God is letting these people have what they want, which is NOT himself. All actions, whether positive or negative, have consequences. If we choose to put on Christ (through the power of the HS and through the blood of Christ) by disciplining our mind and body, we will grow into greater Christ-likeness. However, if we resist the HS and give into worldly desires, we will become more like the world, which pushes God away or is unChristlike.

    Therefore, I believe the wrath of God to be a withdrawing of himself for us to receive exactly what our choices have led us to. For some this will be eternal life (acceptance of Christ grace) and for others death (refusal of God’s grace).

    • RobinMavis_AHGET
      March 17, 2014

      Thank you so much for writing this. I can’t really express in words just to say it has confirmed a few things for me.

  • Joe
    June 16, 2013


  • Frances
    August 17, 2013

    Hi, I’m honestly just confused by your comment towards the beginning that “God has great things in store for us all”.. do you mean, all mankind? Here on earth, or..?

  • BuckCronkite
    September 19, 2013

    Isn’t Mark a Calvinist?… nuff said.
    And ‘love’ isn’t an attribute of God, it’s who God is, by Biblical declaration: God IS Love (1Jn 4:8)

  • God Does Hate *Some*
    December 12, 2013

    I’m not a fan of Mark Driscoll, but as others have pointed out here, one has to reject a great deal of Scripture to come to the conclusion that God loves everyone. I’m reluctantly forced to conclude that what Driscoll says is — at least in this case — Scriptural.

    There is a sense in which God does express a general love towards all of His Creation. …Yet there are many passages which clearly show God expressing hatred towards individuals. Frightening passages, which most (sadly) all too often overlook. Unfortunately, atheists who hate God often search out these passages and hold them up triumphantly as evidence that the God Christians believe in is not as they say He is. This does the cause of Christ no good. …And it’s simply because Christians have turned God into some sort of humanist who just can’t get enough of people, no matter how wicked they become.

    When I read Scripture, it becomes fairly obvious that all are sinners; that we’re more evil than good; and that the human heart is incurably wicked. We don’t need a teacher, therefore — we need a Saviour, a new heart, new desires, a new Spirit, a “new man” inside us to do battle against the “old man” and the sin-nature. We need a miracle. And that miracle is Salvation — given to us by God’s Grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. We are then accounted righteous by God and are brought into His family, for whom He has a particular love. However, God also demonstrates His love to sinners before they are saved.

    So who then is hated by God?

    Well, although Scripture says that all have sinned, it also appears to show a set of people (a subset of sinners, as it were) who really relish wickedness in a way which makes them absolutely detestable to God. If you’ve read the Old Testament, there are — for example — men who take delight in extreme cruelty to other men. (No doubt there are just as many women who are similarly wicked, but women don’t feature quite as prominently in Scripture as men do.) There is no sense at all in Scripture that God feels anything other than hatred for such men. In fact, in Malachi, God tells Israel that He is grieved by their saying that He loves such people, and that there’s no point in trying to keep the Law, since God feels just the same towards everyone.

  • Betrayed
    April 24, 2014

    Yes God loves some people dearly (Stalin, Gates, Castro….) and gives them power, wealth, looks, money and so on. Heck he even loves two time murderer Don King. On the flip side he hates some people. The handicapped, the homeless, the overly religious, the lonely…
    You can argue this all you want, but it’s true.

  • timithos
    May 23, 2015

    Count all the times the word wrath occurs in the bible…Never once is it applied to His Son. This supposed to be the core of your theology, yet never once does it say or imply that God had wrath on His Son and pretended it was you. You’re all liberals and speak lies, you can interpret anything you want into the scriptures.

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