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Radical Cleric Surfaces in Phoenix

Radical cleric Mark Driscoll, founder and former pastor of the Mars Hill church in Seattle, has announced plans to build a new church in Phoenix.

Before he was forced to leave Seattle in disgrace, Driscoll courted controversy with his radical teachings, including his image of a macho, warmongering God. In an interview with Relevant Magazine, Driscoll described Jesus as having "a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed," adding, "I cannot worship a guy I can beat up."

Driscoll also claimed to be able to see into the private lives of others, saying he has—without being physically presentwatched people being abused or raped.

When Colorado pastor Ted Haggard was caught with a male prostitute in 2006, Driscoll claimed it wouldn't have happened if Haggard's wife hadn't "let herself go."

A number of Driscoll's other aggressive remarks can be found here.

And it's not just words. Driscoll has a long history of abusive behavior to match the rhetoric.

In 2003, former congregant Jennifer Roach had a disagreement with Mark over whether men and women could be friends. In response, Driscoll posted a letter to the forum addressed to her husband that read, "You better shut your wife up, or I’ll shut her up for you."

He seemed to relish the fight, too. In 2007, after two church elders questioned a revision to church bylaws that would have concentrated more power in Driscoll's hands, Driscoll made threats against them in a sermon.

There are a few guys right now that if I wasn’t going to end up on CNN, I would go Old Testament on them, even in leadership in this church… Here’s Nehemiah’s deal, Romans 13 says we need to obey the Government, so you can’t just walk about beating people up, tragically [laughter from congregation]—it does just simplify things, there’s no attorney’s, blogging; just like, I punched you in the mouth, shut up.

When they failed to be intimidated by his bluster, Driscoll arranged for the two to be fired. Then, in a move that would have made Donald Trump proud, Driscoll boasted publically about it.

I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus and by God’s grace it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done. You either get on the bus or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options. But the bus ain’t going to stop!

Despite the aggression, the tough talk, the bullyingor perhaps because of itDriscoll grew his Seattle church to more than 12,000 worshippers.

But in 2014 it all came crashing down as a series of allegations including bullying, misogyny, homophobia, verbal abuse, spiritual abuse, misuse of church funds, and plagiarism led the church board to ask him to submit to a reconciliation plan. Driscoll chose to resign rather than submit.

And now he's hoping to do the same with a new church. Lord, have mercy.

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