Christianity magazine defends Driscoll interview

Christianity magazine editor Ruth Dickinson has defended an interview with US pastor Mark Driscoll as “robust and fair”.

Excerpts of the interview were released to the media ahead of its publication in full on Sunday, and published on this website.

The excerpts suggested that Driscoll believes the church in Britain to be in crisis because of a lack of young, well-known Bible teachers.

He was quoted as saying: “Let’s just say this: right now, name for me the one young, good Bible teacher that is known across Great Britain. You don’t have one – that’s the problem. There are a bunch of cowards who aren’t telling the truth.”

The excerpts, taken from an interview related to his new book “Real Marriage”, also quoted the controversial pastor as saying that the church will not attract young men so long as there are “guys in dresses preaching to grandmas”.

In a blog response, Driscoll said his comments had been “taken completely out of context”, “selectively edited and presented in a way that is not entirely accurate”.

He went on to say that the forthcoming interview was “the most disrespectful, adversarial, and subjective” he has had.

“The interview in question had nearly nothing to do with the book or its subject matter,” Driscoll wrote in his “Blog for the Brits”.

He said his wife, Grace, who had also been present in the interview had been treated “disrespectfully” and that the questions put to him had been “adversarial and antagonistic”.

"In particular, the quote about cowardice may not fit all British men, but for men who misuse their authority to advance their agenda, it seems applicable," he said.

In a response to Driscoll’s assertions, interviewer Justin Brierley said he “did very little to prompt [Driscoll’s] comments about British preachers – he offered it spontaneously in the course of our interview”.

He denied that his interview was disrespectful or adversarial, but said he was “genuinely sorry” if his interview had upset Driscoll or his wife.

“It was never my intention to do so,” he said.

Christianity editor Ruth Dickinson said: “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.”

The interview is out in full in Sunday’s edition of Christianity magazine.