The OCeeker: Mars Hill Church Orange County and the Sex-Crazed Preacher

Church hoppers rejoice! Yet another congregation has planted its flag in the land laden with various and sundry denominations.

Heard all your pastor's jokes? Did the worship leader snag the last hoochie in your college group? Feel out of place with your ironic mustache and hipster sunglasses? Then head over to Mars Hill Church Orange County, where Pastor Nick Bogardus is on a mission to shine the gospel light in what he says is one of the darkest places in America--our fair county.

But before we celebrate all things Mars Hill, we must understand from whence it came.

The Alpha Pastor

Mars Hill OC is an offshoot of OG Mars Hill in Seattle. Ecclesiologists--those who study congregational life--call it a church plant.

Driscoll: Always in an OC state of mind...
The pastor of OG Mars Hill is Mark Driscoll. Think of him as young version of Calvary Chapel's apostolic Chuck Smith, sans Hawaiian shirts and a knack for turning a blind eye to perverts in the pews of his kinda-sorta denomination. To paraphrase 1 Peter 4:8, love (and the best legal team tithes can buy) covers a multitude of sins.

Driscoll instead sports dinner jackets and tells people God hates them (ch-ch-ch-check out the 4:35 mark of this clip). He's a Calvinist, and a key doctrine for them is what's known as limited atonement--the idea that Jesus didn't die for the sins of the world, but only the sins of those who were elected to salvation by God's grace. Sure, they believe Jesus loves the once-born, but not in the same way he loves those who are born again. Therefore, He died on the cross only for those predestined to enter family of faith.

In other words, if salvation were like the sexual marketplace, Jesus would have the holy hots for only a few chosen few sinners. The rest are in his friend zone.

Or, picture a car full of burning kids. Two of them are your neighbor's and two are yours. You have the power to save all four, but save your own only. Oh well!

That's how Driscoll the Calvinist can say God hates some of you. Fuck John 3:16.

But there's good news for you heathen: Next time an evangelist on Balboa Pier hands you a Chick tract with demonic cartoons and tells you Jesus loves you, just smile and say, "Nope he don't. If I don't believe, he didn't die for me!"

Then shooby-dooby down to Ruby's.

One other thing. If Driscoll has sex as often as he talks about it...AMEN! Go Maaark! Git bizzy! Go Maaark! Git bizzy!

But wtf is Mars Hill?

Long ago, an Athenian council met on a rocky spot called the Areopagus. The Romans would call it Mars Hill. It was there that Paul the apostle once preached a sermon to a crowd of bullshitters who had convened to bullshit. Think of the scene as the annual Harvest event. But replace Anaheim Stadium with Mars Hill; switch Greg Laurie with St. Paul; substitute a few born sinners talking shop about philosophy in place of 50,000 born-again saints with a hankering for shitty little anthems of praise.

And that brings us to Mars Hill Church Orange County, where one will not find shitty little anthems of praise.

Jan. 29 11:15 a.m.

Kensrue, surrounded by part of his flock
Nay, church hoppers, they are led in worship by Thrice frontman Dustin Kensrue. And they meet what at this old-timer will always remember as the Galaxy Concert Theatre, where great bands go to die (the OCeeker took in a Corrosion of Conformity show at the Galaxy's previous location, sometime in the early 1990s.), but was recently rechristened as the Observatory.

When the OCeeker attended a recent service at the upstart church, the worship band was in the midst of a rockin' twist on "Amazing Grace," replete with updated lyrics that speak to 21st Century digital boys and girls. Those gathered in the dimly lit venue bounced a little and praised a lot--their beards anointed with the oil of gladness, their young lady scent ascending as prayers to the Most High.

And speaking of the ladies, any burning buck would be blessed by the bounty of babes at Mars Hill. If you need, ahem, a prayer partner, Mars Hill is the place to prowl.

An Excursus in the Book of Ephesians

But alas, the sermon. To the OCeeker's disappointment, Bogardus didn't take the stage. Instead, it was (gasp!) Driscoll himself, who appeared in a dinner jacket and blue jeans.

Driscoll is constant fodder in the evangelical blogosphere. Whether it's his views on Christian manhood, or his tendency to wax long about all things Driscoll, he feeds the blog beast with one money quote after another. He was there to encourage the new church and give a message based on his controversial book, Real Marriage--a manual on matrimony and sanctified sex. Go Maaark! Git bizzy! Go Maaark! Git bizzy! It was standing room only in the temporary temple, where DJ Quik ironically is scheduled this month to bust rhymes about "Sweet Black Pussy."

At the outset of his homily, Driscoll joked that the sermon wasn't being taped, so he could say what he wanted.

Location Info


The Observatory

3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, CA

Category: Music

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