Update: Pastor Mark Driscoll released the following apology Friday:
In 2000 we had an unmoderated discussion board on the Mars Hill website. While the discussion board itself was a bad idea, my decision to attack critics who were posting there (I did so by posting under the character 'William Wallace II’) was an even worse idea—indeed, it was plain wrong. I was wrong to respond to people the way I did, using the language I used, and I am sorry for it and remain embarrassed by it.
Consequently, I requested that the site be taken down shortly after it began some 14 years ago. I have not been silent about this matter or the wrongness of my behavior, writing about it in Confessions of a Reformission Rev (2006) as something I regretted and an example of a wrong I had learned from. The content of my postings to that discussion board does not reflect how I feel, or how I would conduct myself today. Over the past 14 years I have changed, and, by God's grace, hope to continue to change. I also hope people I have offended and disappointed will forgive me.
Old messages reportedly posted to an online church forum back in 2000 by Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, are coming back to haunt the embattled preacher.
The comments, which the Seattle Post-Intelligencer described as "vulgar," were shared on a message board called Midrash under the pseudonym "William Wallace II" — named after the character in the film "Braveheart" — and, at some point long ago, were subsequently deleted from the Mars Hill website.
But the fiery comments are now reemerging 14 years later as Driscoll faces harsh critiques from former members who believe that he has mistreated them and lost his way.
According to Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College and blogger who has covered controversies at Mars Hill in recent months, Driscoll admitted using the alias in one of his books and has reportedly never distanced himself from the harsh messages posted under it.
Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church (TheBlaze TV)
"In 2006, Driscoll commented favorably on his William Wallace II remarks in his book 'Confessions of a Reformission Rev," Throckmorton wrote. "To my knowledge, he has not refuted or distanced himself from these sentiments since then. I do offer the observation that the thread is 14 years old and may not represent how he would communicate to his church today."
From mentions of gender roles to claims about homosexuality, the comments posted under Wallace are diverse, though it is unclear which, if any, were posted in jest. It is also impossible — without speaking directly with Driscoll — to know whether these comments were all definitively sent by him.
Regardless, the postings have reemerged at a time when Driscoll and his church are fielding numerous controversies.
"We live in a completely pussified nation. We could get every man, real man as opposed to pussified James Dobson knock-off crying Promise Keeping homoerotic worship loving mama's boy sensitive emasculated neutered exact male replica evangellyfish, and have a conference in a phone booth," one post read.
It continued: "It all began with Adam, the first of the pussified nation, who kept his mouth shut and watched everything fall headlong down the slippery slide of hell/feminism when he shut his mouth and listened to his wife who thought Satan was a good theologian when he should have lead her and exercised his delegated authority as king of the planet."
And that's not all. The message went on to talk about a "nation of men" being raised "by bitter penis envying burned feministed single mothers who make sure that Johnny grows up to be a very nice woman who sits down to pee."
One post attributed to Wallace delves into the gay debate as well, sounding off with some equally controversial statements about same-sex relationships.
"Can I be a gay Christian? In the infamous words of the now metaphysically challenged and likely kindling ex-pentecostal pastor Sam Kinison 'How can one man look at another man's hairy ass and find love?' What an insane conversation," he continued. "Every man knows you can't build anything with bolts and bolts. Damn freaks."
A screen shot from the archived forum
The post concludes: "I'd tell you to kiss my ass, but I'm afraid you'd take me up on it."
Another message described Jesus as "a manly man," recounting Christ's sacrifice as documented in the Bible and noting that the Christian savior had a deep love for the world. But this post, too, had some colorful language.
"Jesus was not a pussy," it read.
As Throckmorton noted, Driscoll acknowledged the pseudonym in his book, claiming that he decided to start posting anonymously after the Midrash forum was inundated with posts from liberals and "emerging-church type feminists."
Pastor Mark Driscoll (Image source: Twitter via @PastorMark)
"I went onto the site and posted as William Wallace II, after the great Scottish man portrayed in the movie 'Braveheart,' and attacked those who were posting," he wrote in his book "Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church."
But eventually people realized that it was him doing the posting and his alias became public.
"One guy got so mad that he actually showed up at my house to fight me one night around 3:00 a.m.," Driscoll said after his identity was revealed.
The reemergence of these messages, which were first posted 14 years ago, comes after Driscoll and Mars Hill have been hit with numerous controversies. From claims of deleted sermon material to furor over a book-buying strategy that the church has since condemned, Driscoll has been under fire.
Former members of Mars Hill who are disillusioned with the pastor and who claim they were mistreated by him will protest outside the church Sunday to let the world know that, though they are Christians, they oppose his tactics, according to the Post-Intelligencer.
"I would call it a protest against his (Driscoll’s) bullying tactics," Henderson told the outlet. "My concern is for young people in that church. I find it a manipulative and intimidating place."
A phone call and email to a Mars Hill representative to discuss the message board have not been returned to TheBlaze.