In the discussion of Turning a blind eye a commenter mentioned Pastor Mark Driscoll. Driscoll is an interesting case because while he generally couldn’t see women’s sins, his signature was as the champion of masculinity. However, while loudly championing masculine virtues, Driscoll never missed a chance to berate the men in his church as less than real men. The combination of the two messages made it clear; Driscoll was the only real man in the room. This of course delighted both the men and the women in the church. Modern Christian men simply can’t get enough abuse, and modern Christian women enjoy watching their husbands be abused almost as much as the husbands enjoy the abuse. Driscoll didn’t just put down the fathers and husbands in the room, he even put down Gideon and Noah.
Usurping the headship of the husbands in the congregation is a brilliant way to secure a power base in a time when women are in rebellion. Driscoll bypassed dealing with the rebellion, and convinced the wives to follow him as the strong man. While this is a terrific way to secure a power base, it is a terrible way to build a church.
Aside from the theological problems with a pastor usurping the headship of the husbands in the congregation, there is also the problem of sustaining the model. For the strongest-man-in-the-room model to work, the pastor has to always sustain this position. Over time some of the men he steps on are going to hold a grudge, especially those closest to him in leadership roles. The more time passes, the more essential it is to maintain the ultimate tough guy image to keep dissent under control. This appears to be what did Driscoll in. Not long before his fall we started seeing a much softer, weaker looking Driscoll. Compare the picture I just linked with a previous one to get a sense of the transformation.
According to the image properties, the softer picture was taken on October 23, 2013 (even though the photo itself is named Mark-and-Grace_2014.jpg). This appears to be right around the time his problems started. According to the Seattle Times the beginning of the end for Driscoll was when Pastor Dave Kraft resigned on September 13, 2013. From this it would appear that Driscoll was already in some danger when the photo was taken, but the softer, weaker look certainly would have predated the photo. Whether the softer image was an attempt at appeasement that backfired, or simply a softening/weakening which came with age, it is no surprise that when Driscoll looked weak a list of old grievances caused him to be forced from leadership.