On August 12, Andy Wood, incoming pastor of Saddleback Church, addressed in a tweet a growing chorus of voices calling on him to explain why he featured Mark Driscoll as a speaker at his leadership conference in May, 2021.
In the past I interviewed Mark Driscoll to help pastors learn from his mistakes. Since then additional controversy and pain has come out. My choice hurt and confused many people. I regret the pain, confusion & distraction this caused. I humbly apologize for my mistake and error
— Andy Wood (@andywood) August 12, 2022
The reaction was quick and negative. Investigative reporter Julie Roys pointed out that she had posted devastating evidence of history repeating itself at Mark Driscoll’s new church before Driscoll spoke at Wood’s conference. Author Sheila Gregoire pointed out that Driscoll didn’t consider his behavior to be mistakes.
I also weighed in with my opinion and asked some questions.
Acts 29 said it in 2014 and more than 40 of them recently said it again to Christianity Today. Perhaps you could discuss why it was a mistake to platform Mark Driscoll. In other words, what did those elders find, why is that harmful in a leader and how can pastors avoid it?
— Warren Throckmorton Uses Critical Grape Theory🇺🇦 (@wthrockmorton) August 13, 2022
I decided to follow up on the tweets by contacting A. Larry Ross Communications who I assumed was representing Wood and Saddleback. I asked Wood if he knew that Acts 29 had evicted Driscoll and Mars Hill Church from membershipm in 2014. I wondered if Wood knew Driscoll’s elders had investigated him, found him to be disqualified to be an elder and offered him a plan of restoration, all in 2014. Finally, if Wood knew those things, then why did he still believe platforming him was a good idea in 2021?
From A. Larry Ross, I received this answer to my questions yesterday.
We appreciate your questions and commitment to thorough journalism and the truth.
Andy stands by his original statement that he regrets his decision to platform Mark Driscoll at the Echo Leadership Conference. Currently, Andy is choosing not to respond to questions to prioritize and focus on his new role as Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church.
Apparently pastoring Saddleback will require so much focus that Rev. Wood will not be able to think about anything else. He won’t be able to think about his regrets, or why he regrets what he regrets, just that he regrets them. In fairness, he did say he is choosing not to respond, so perhaps he is able, just not willing.
In any case, it is important to note that any advantage Driscoll might have gained by being platformed by Wood in 2021 is essentially nullified by last week’s tweet and this statement released today.