The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.” ― G.K. Chesterton link
A Soldier With Spear link
7:39 PM Updates coming in from Warren Throckmorton- (He's good, really good) link
UPDATE3: CNS removed the Lyall Mercer article from their website.
UPDATE1: Some of the mystery is solved. Russ Jones at Christian News Service wrote with the following information about the article on his site:
This was a PAID news release by Australian-based Mercer PR sent out at 9:30am CST. The owners name is Lyall Mercer.
This has been quite a day. Due to an item that drew my attention this afternoon, I am going to change the post. On Monday, we plan to look at the controversy at the Voice of the Martyrs along with a number of other news items. For now, we are back on the Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill controversy. Here is a quick review of the past week, along with links to posts. Then I will share my afternoon, uncovering a weird story.
1. Twenty (20) former Mars Hill pastors seek outside mediation with Mark Driscoll and church leadership. LINK.
According to former Mars Hill pastors Dave Kraft and Kyle Firstenberg, the pastors want to bring in specialists in conflict resolution to facilitate the process.
Dr Throckmorton obtained the following statement from Dave Kraft's website
1. I would (as would countless other former leaders from MHC) like to see Pastor Mark Driscoll publicly acknowledge that he has seen the charges, that they are true and that he will take whatever time and attention is needed to intentionally deal with the charges, which may entail a short sabbatical from work to focus on this.
2. I would like to see Pastor Mark publicly state that he is sorry, that he has sinned, that he will deal with his past sin and make himself accountable in so doing to an unbiased group of leaders who will hold his feet to the fire on this.
2. Mark Driscoll pitches his new project: partnering with Corban University and Western Seminary to offer courses on the Bible at Mars Hill. LINK
TWW hopes that they will first teach the folks how to properly "cite" material for their papers.
Mars Hill will not be a healthy Gospel Community for at least 2-3 years. It’s time to evacuate it in an orderly manner
5. Wenatchee the Hatchet reports that almost all of the sermons preached by Mark Driscoll before 2008 have been "driscollized" from the website. LINK
The question is why?
If Mark Driscoll wants to apologize for angry stuff he's said and done in the past obliterating the extensive audio and video evidence for what his preaching has been like over about seventeen years hardly seems like a persuasive way to get that job done. If anything it seems dishonest and cowardly to erase any trace of practically the man's entire pastoral career.
If this is supposed to be a sign of getting rid of material from Mark Driscoll's angry young prophet phase 1) Driscoll wasn't exactly a spring chicken even in 2008 and 2) obliterating 70% of Driscoll's preached content over the course of a week is quite a purge, possibly the single largest purge of media content from Mars Hill Church websites in its history.
6. Former Pastor Dave Kraft explains the charges against Mark Driscoll and gets some deserved pushback from former Mars Hill deacon, Rob Smith. LINK
At Dr Throckmorton's website we read about Kraft's charges.
Mark Driscoll’s sin(s) (for many of us who know him and have worked with him) are about clear violations of I Timothy 3, Titus 1 and I Peter 5.
1. Not being self-controlled and disciplined
2. Being domineering
3. Being verbally violent
4. Being arrogant
5. Being quick-tempered
Here is Kraft's description of the two types of people who are criticizing Mark Driscoll.
Here is a feeding frenzy in the media regarding Mars Hill Church. Those with something to say (and who are saying it) probably fit into two main camps.
1. Those who want what’s best for MHC and its core leadership led by Mark Driscoll
2. Those who would like to destroy both the church and its visionary and teaching pastor Mark Driscoll
However, Rob Smith makes some cogent points in a comment to this post.
The assertion of people being in one of two camps is stunning to me. If Dave Kraft believes his own assertion (and I do not believe he does) it says a lot that helps me understand how he and other pastors at Mars Hill have and continue to "fail to step up to the plate" (to use Kraft’s words).
I am certainly not in camp # 2, but neither am I in camp # 1. Both camps center around MHC and its core leadership under Mark Driscoll.
Neither camp cares for the sheep. Neither camp cares for those that are hurt. So I propose a third camp:
Camp # 3. Those who want to protect, restore and minister to the people that have been harmed by Mars Hill Church and its abusive leadership.
This camp exists and consists of the people and pastors that have reached out to hurting members, while Kraft and the 20 pastors have admittedly failed to step up to the plate.
The fact that Kraft sees himself in camp #1, failing to envision a camp #3, is why we are not hearing of repentance from specific sins from him or Mark Driscoll. Mark did not act alone, and what the hurting sheep need to hear is repentance from the Pastors at Mars Hill Church. True repentance that will minister to their wounds.
I am highly skeptical, although slightly hopeful, that the 20 former pastors can come to a joyful reconciliation with Mark Driscoll. But already Driscoll is praising God for the current governance structure – the very structure that has paved the way for, tolerated, and stood behind his abusive ways.
The fact remains that these 20 former elders shared in the abusive harm to members. Some of them voted for by-laws that removed the protective role that existed in the old by-laws where the church was governed by a plurality of equal elders.
Only 2 camps?
If one cannot envision a Mars Hill Church without Driscoll then one’s vision of the church is skewed. If one’s first concern is not to minister to the harmed sheep then one’s vision of pastoral ministry is skewed.
7. My very odd Friday: Did you know that Janet Mefferd is an "enemy inside the church?"
So, it looked like things were not going well for Mark Driscoll this week. Then, something odd happened. Is this a mere coincidence? is it another one of those strange "glitches" that Owen Strachan mentioned? LINK (You must read this. TWW is credited with starting the word "Driscollize" by the Associated Baptist Press. It's official!)
This morning, Janet Mefferd tweeted
Good night! Who in the world thinks that Mefferd is an enemy? Must be some radicalized individual, right? Nope.
CNS (Christian News Service) posts "Driscoll Controversy Highlights Need for Churches to Develop PR Strategies to Protect from Christians" LINK. Shortly after that, Charisma News LINK posted "Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy Shows an Enemy Within."
However, except for a few words and different bylines, the articles were identical. Now the bylines are identical but I'll explain that in a minute. These posts were allegedly written about the views of Lyall Mercer of Mercer PR. These were allegedly paid to be posted on CNS! This was discovered by Warren Throckmorton and posted at this LINK. Who actually wrote them? We would guess that Russ Jones had something to do with it. Did he send it to Charisma? Then why was the post at Charisma originally under Bill Roberts name? Did the Mercer PR firm have a hand in writing this post?
Deb and I did some research on Lyall Mercer and his public relations firm which will probably cause us to be added to the "enemies within the church" ranks. From the Mercer PR website here
Mercer PR is a boutique public and media relations consultancy with clients across the corporate, political, church, non-profit, sporting and legal fields. We specialise in media relations, corporate strategy and communications, reputation management and crisis communications.
Mercer PR is based in Brisbane with sub-offices in Sydney, Melbourne and North Queensland, and deals with clients across Australia and media both nationally and internationally. We have associates in the USA and UK and also assist individuals with a story to tell, by negotiating the best media outcomes for all concerned.
To protect confidentiality, we do not list our clientele on this website, however can provide endorsements from many of our respected and high-profile clients upon request.
So, why is this guy writing about Janet Mefferd? Better yet, why is he writing a piece about Mark Driscoll? Isn't he having some sort of image issue at the moment? Darned if TWW knows. But, let's see what he said about Mefferd, first at the linked Charisma post and then at the linked CNS post. This is kind of cool since it will allow us to quote more than we normally can quote.
Charisma: Mefferd is identified as the enemy within the church.
A public relations strategist who assists churches and ministries with issues and reputation management says that while the mainstream media is becoming more anti-church, the greatest threat comes from within.
Principal of Mercer PR Lyall Mercer says the current spate of negative publicity against Seattle's Mars Hill Church is being driven by Christians.
"The American church is splintered on both theological and ideological grounds, which leads many within the church to focus more on criticizing other Christians than looking at their own lives," Mercer notes.
"The attacks against pastor Mark Driscoll that were started by radio host Janet Mefferd—and are still ongoing—have caused a lot of damage to both Mars Hill and the church at large. This should be a wake-up call to other churches.
"Churches are usually aware of negative mainstream publicity but often ignore the danger of the enemy within," he adds.
From CNS: Mercer says he doesn't think much of "watchmen."
Mr. Mercer said entire ‘ministries’ have been created around trashing other ministries, and new media gives them more exposure than ever before.
“The instant digital and social media age provides a forum to those Christians who see themselves as the watchmen of the church, and the result is endless attacks on higher profile churches and ministries,” he explained.
So, who ya gonna call when this happens? I guess it is people like him.
“But in a time of adverse publicity or crisis, the best person a ministry leader can call is not another pastor, but a professional outside the church, because they need an honest assessment of the way they are being perceived and they need a bigger picture response
Well, Dee was a little irritated about Mefferd being called an enemy inside the church (at least that is how I read it). I was also flabbergasted to read two almost identical articles with different bylines. The CNS post was bylined by Russ Jones and the Charisma post was bylined by Bill Roberts. But both of them were pretty much identical in content. So I called both news services.
After speaking with a woman who answered the phone, I was put into voicemail at Charisma. At CNS, I spoke with a nice woman (whose name I wrote down and cannot find-but I am no journalist) who was quite nice and said that she liked Janet Mefferd and would look into it. She did explain that CNS primarily publishes press releases from churches and other groups.
Shortly after those calls, Dr Throckmorton confirmed that Charisma changed the byline on their post from Bill Roberts to Russ Jones. He also said
Note to Charisma News, it certainly isn’t news. A news story would have included commentary from Janet Mefferd and some of the former pastors and members who are going public with their concerns and experiences while at Mars Hill.
Probably the best thing for both places to do is to take the article down and start over with some real journalism.
Things are starting to get really nasty out there. Lyall Mercer used the word "enemy" to describe those within the church who are exposing abuse and excesses within the church. Was he drumming up business? Was he speaking as a paid representative for others? Was he just a nice guy speaking from his heart? Did we miss another alternative like Dave Kraft did? We will let our readers opine. Folks, when we start calling each other enemies, the real Enemy has won.
World Down's Syndrome Day is today! link
A mother found out she was expecting a baby with Down Syndrome. She wanted to know what to expect. Young people with Down Syndrome from all over the world tell her. TWW salutes those children and adults with Down Syndrome and their families who bring such joy to this world!
Lydia's Corner: Jeremiah 48:1-49:22 2 Timothy 4:1-22 Psalm 95:1-96:13 Proverbs 26:9-12