Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll: Of Profit$, Priest$ and King$ [Updated 6/3]

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four-kings-2961297651948Y1G4 Kings

Updated 6/3/14 8:30AM Folks: Mars Hill is running scared. From Warren Throckmorton's site

At 6pm tonight Scott Harris, Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Ballard, contacted Phil and notified him that Mars Hill had reversed its position and has elected to give the Smidt family the severance offered previously – but this time without conditions. Phil accepted this offer at 7pm. Please continue to pray for the Smidts as they continue to determine how to steward this outrageous outpouring of God’s grace. Because the Smidts need has been so generously met by everyone, we will be closing this site tonight. If Phil had received an unconditional severance to begin with, there never would have been an opportunity for so many people to reach out and let the Smidt’s know how much they are loved. Thank you for supporting our friends.

Dee wants to know: Is Harris a King as well? Too many kings can spoil the broth.


This past couple of weeks has been crazy. Grant Layman confessed he had been told about the abuse and chose not to tell the authorities. CJ Mahaney and Josh Harris "stepped down" voluntarily, thus saith The Gospel Coalition. Meanwhile Tullian Tchividjian was booted off The Gospel Coalition website, ostensibly due to his "not gospel enough™" view on sanctification. TT also said he had confronted TGC about their statement of support for CJ Mahaney a year ago. TGC reportedly blocked a number of Twitter users who used #IStandWithSGMVictims and Joe Carter gave a demonstration on "how to argue like Jesus" in the Twitterverse. This wrapped up the week in which TGC demonstrated that they neither represent the gospel™ nor are they a true coalition.

Thankfully, Dr Warren Throckmorton at Patheos was keeping a close eye on the increasing number of explosions at Mars Hill Church. You all remember Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll, don't you? Driscoll was the darling of the Neo-Calvinists. Interestingly, TGC, besides kicking Tullian to the curb only retains one article that mentions Mark Driscoll (as of this morning in their search engine on site.) Somehow TGC quietly backed away from Driscoll but saw fit to boot Tullian in a most public way. There must be a gospel™ statement in all of this but I'll leave that to my theological betters to figure out.

TWW is grateful for Dr Warren Throckmorton. He has kept the heat on, patiently documenting the growing mess at Mars Hill. The following post is a synopsis of the growing scandal as outlined by Dr Throckmorton. It is the opinion of TWW  that Mars Hill is rapidly losing ground and, if the following reports are true, Mars Hill and their self designated brand icon-Mark Driscoll, will become known as "that really weird group in Seattle."

1. Just plain creepy: the leaders of Mars Hill actually think they are prophets, priests and kings.

In a post Who at Mars Hill Church Authorized Church Funds to Buy a Place for Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage on the NYT Best Seller List?, Dr Throckmorton presents an invoice authorizing church funds to pay for Driscoll's ill fated flirtation with the NYT Best Seller list. Guess what? Mark Driscoll had nothing to do with it! 

…members asked pastors Thomas Hurst and Jason Skelton to name who was responsible for the decision to spend church money on the promotion of the Driscoll's’ book. According to sources in the meeting, Hurst and Skelton told those present that Driscoll said he was not involved because he had removed himself from the decision. Hurst added that Sutton Turner, who signed the contract (read it here), was new on the job and simply signed papers put in front of him. However, according to the sources, no person was singled out as being responsible for the RSI agreement.

Sutton Turner is the executive pastor of Mars Hill Did you also know that he is the (or is it "a") King of Mars Hill? We wrote a post about  this "teaching of Priest (or is he the Prophet…) Driscoll here.

This letter, allegedly composed by Turner and published in the above referenced post, was sent to a Mars Hill member who left the church over the "buy your way to number one on the NYT best seller list, maybe by using church funds," says it all.

As I thought and prayed about your letter this morning, please know that we realize the Results Source decision was a wrong decision and poor stewardship. I am sorry as your Pastor that I failed you. Please accept my apology, I am very sorry.

I pray that I have learned from this and the godly authority that I am under has helped me and will help me in the future.

Please forgive me for my poor stewardship, I take that very seriously as a King.

…Sutton Turner Executive Elder & Executive Pastor

King? Do people actually buy this codswallop?

2. The "Shut up and tithe to the prophet, priest and king (and maybe a talking donkey or two) and don't ask questions" teaching.

There has been a rather persistent rumor that certain pastors within the upper echelon of Mars Hill are paid salaries ranging from $600,000-$900,000. Yes, that is annually. In another post Forced Out for Asking Questions: Dalton Roraback’s Mars Hill Church Story, Throckmorton outlines what happened to a long time member of Mars Hill who wanted to get answers to his questions on issues regarding money and Mars Hill. He was also concerned about a well known elder who was forced to resign because he would not sign a noncompete clause in a contract. That will be described shortly.

Until recently, Dalton Roraback was a coach at Mars Hill Church. Coaches provide mentoring to Community Group leaders. Community Groups provide the context for relationship building and alignment within Mars Hill.

Elder Phil Poirier at MH Everett has been removed (“disqualified”) for refusing to sign the new “Unity of Mission” contract. They are all being required to get permission from the BOAA before being allowed to participate in any church within a ten mile radius of an existing Mars Hill location

Roraback also reported that he spoke with various members of the leadership team at Mars Hill who were allegedly fearful for their jobs. 

Some also admitted if they spoke up they would get a visit from Sutton(ed. note: remember him? The King!)  or another Executive Elder and they would be accused of not being ‘on mission’ or not being ‘all in’, and when that happens…it means you are done as an Elder at Mars Hill.

Roraback also indicated that Mars Hill was (and is) experiencing serious membership and monetary problems.

People are fleeing Mars Hill by the droves every week.  Tithing is down.  The church is in emergency mode.

There was to be a leadership meeting at Mars Hill. I don't know if that meeting included the prophet, priest and king or perhaps a talking donkey. All questions were to be entertained. Yeah, right! Here is what Roraback alleges happened next.

I have two questions that I’d like to humbly and respectfully submit in advance as I imagine it will require some research ahead of time.

1. What are the salaries of the Executive Elders?  And if we are not allowed to know this, why not?

2. At least once a year, the On Mission CRUT must distribute a percentage of its assets to what is termed the “non-charitable beneficiary”.  Since this is tied directly to the Real Marriage finances, who is the beneficiary of this CRUT? I would imagine much of the backlash against Mars Hill could be deflated if it could be shown that this was paid out to Mars Hill, instead of an individual or individuals who benefit directly.”

Guess what? His question were not answered. What a shocker…

So they refused to answer these questions, and it did not sit well with many in the room.

Twice during this same meeting, the elder leading this meeting labeled everyone who is speaking out against Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill as people who ‘only want to hurt the gospel, the church, and Mark Driscoll’.  I called him out on that in front of everyone saying that was a misrepresentation of godly people with valid concerns, but at the end of the meeting he made the characterization again.  I’ve heard now from two different people that elders and leaders are visiting Community Groups personally and labeling anyone who speaks out on these concerns as ‘divisive’ and ‘only wanting to tear down the church’.  In other words, wolves.  Couple that with one of the latest sermons entitled ‘Empowered by the Spirit to Face Wolves,” and you get the picture.

Guess who was asked to step down from his position? Oh, they did say he could still attend Mars Hill (I think they need the money these days) and that they might consider him for his position again in a few years…He resigned from the church.

3. In the "picture is worth a thousand words" division, the winner is the rather impressive demonstration of the range of the Mars Hill non-compete clause. Lawyers: we await your input!

In Megachurch Methods: Pastor Fired Because He Wouldn’t Sign Non-Compete Clause, Dr Throckmorton posted the Mars Hill "Unity of Mission" clause. Read this masterpiece of Bible gymnastics. 

6. Unity of Mission

An Agreement between each member of the Full-Council of Elders, Executive Elders and the Board of Advisors and Accountability of Mars Hill Church.

As Pastors, we commit together that we will serve the best interests of our Savior Jesus Christ, and our church, Mars Hill Church. If and when any of us feel led to serve the Lord somewhere other than at one of the church locations of Mars Hill Church, we will submit our opportunity to one another and our Executive Elders first in accordance with Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

Together this day, we commit that our next church ministry will not be within ten miles of any location of Mars Hill Church, except with the express consent of the local pastors of the nearest church, the sending church, if different, and the Executive Elders of Mars Hill Church . We are, as Ephesians 4:3 says, “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” We care about the church, the testimony of our church, and the dear people who attend our church.

We would not want our actions to cause confusion or harm by making the people of Mars Hill question our love for the Lord, the purity of our church, or their decision to worship Christ here.

We acknowledge that as we adhere to this commitment, the Executive Elders and the Board of Advisors and Accountability will commit to do everything within their power to offer and support a church plant outside of the radius stated here.

That radius is 10 miles from ANY Mars Hill church!  Guess what happens if you don't buy their gospel™ interpretation? 

Phil Poirier, (was) a former elder at Mars Hill’s Everett franchise. Poirier was the pastor over community groups but was removed from his volunteer position when he declined to sign an annual review.

Here is a picture of the area encompassed by this non compete. This was posted at Dr Throckmorton's blog. Apparently it was completed by Chris Roseborough of Christian Pirate Radio. (Go Chris!) This map does not include church satellites in Oregon, California, Arizona and New Mexico.

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4. Mars Hill's lead pastor (or is it king?) Ryan Williams responds to the apparent outcry with the very gospelly "check your hearts if you don't like it."

In Dr Throckmorton's post Mars Hill Everett Lead Pastor Comments about Departure of Elder Forced Out Over Non-Compete Clause, we get an inside look at the pressure that King Williams missive brought to bear on members who are in leadership. Love the "transitioning" word. It must be the new "winsome." Note, also, the application of the "bitter" word. When the word bitter is applied to you, you are about to be had. Run!

From Pastor Ryan Williams:

Leaders,

I want to inform you of a leadership transition in the CG Director role here at Mars Hill Church Everett.

Phil Poirier will be transitioning from the CG Director role here at Mars Hill Everett and will be replaced by Pastor Jeff Gwin.

Phil has also transitioned from the elder team. The last few months have been very difficult across the church and especially in community group ministry. Due to Phil’s personal convictions he felt that he could no longer be fully unified with the elder team. There was no sin on Phil’s behalf that have caused his disqualification in any way. As an elder there is a level of unity and trust that must be shared and Phil was no longer able to commit to that level of trust and unity.

We will have our scheduled CG leader sync next Sunday, June 1st following the 12:30pm service. Please make this a priority.

Pastor Jeff and I will be leading the sync and we will be asking each of you to check your hearts and commitment to the people you currently lead. If any of you do not have a commitment to the mission of Mars Hill Church, submission to leadership, a love for your groups and cannot lead with a clear conscience I ask that you would reach out to me before the sync and step away from CG leadership.

I love you all very much and am deeply grieved by the transitions that have occurred. In these times there is the temptation to only focus inwardly and to become bitter over situations you do not have all the information on. I challenge you to lift you eyes, and to focus on the people the Lord has given you to care for, and to focus on Jesus’ mission in your neighborhood. We have baptized over 60 people in less than 4 months here at Mars Hill Everett, people are meeting Jesus almost weekly and lives are being transformed. This is not the time to be so focused on ourselves that we forget the needs of our people.

You are loved and cared for by your elders,

On the mission of the King

Pastor Ryan

Dee has one question. Who is the King in this letter? Turner? Driscoll? Turner's letter earlier in the post capitalizes the word King and he is referring to himself…. (Good night! Is this stuff ever weird. Do people give money to these guys?) 

5. Finally, the sleeping giant, ECFA, awakens.

In 2009, TWW wrote ECFA: YOU CAN TRUST THE ECFA SEAL OF APPROVAL… We learned that this organization has limited ways in which they can intervene in a member church's financial dealings. At the time, we were a bit disappointed. However, it appears that they do have some authority to ask questions of Mars Hill which may be playing a bit of a game with donations.

Dr Throckmorton's post Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability in Communication with Mars Hill Church reviews the matter. Another post, Website Changes: Donations to Mars Hill Global Are Now Donations to Mars Hill Church General Fund spells out the underlying issue. Apparently, those contributing to Mars Hill Global Fund believed that their money was being directed to missions outside of the United States. Dr Throckmorton raised some questions and a subtle change as made on the Mars Hill website.

Previously, I have raised questions about where Mars Hill Global funds go. Church sources have told me on condition of anonymity that very little of the money designated as Mars Hill Global donations (nearly $2.3 million from July 2012 to June 2013) are disbursed to international missions. In recent days, someone at Mars Hill has directed changes to the website to make it clearer that donations to Mars Hill Global are also spent in the United States.

Dr Throckmorton made it clear that funds designated for overseas may have been being spent on Mars Hill local. (You know, the castle where the kings reside.) It appears that ECFA might be interested in this switcheroo.

Recently, Michael Martin, Legal Counsel and Director of Member Services told a questioner via email:

"We are aware of the issues you mention and are in communication with leaders of Mars Hill concerning matters which relate to ECFA standards."

6. Is Mars Hill about to enter mediation with 20 former pastors? Warning: that number is expected to climb.

In another post, Mars Hill Leaders May Enter Mediation with Group of 20 Former Pastors, Dr Throckmorton reveals that Kyle Firstenburg announced:

 An outside company has been hired to mediate the issues at hand. I am hopeful that all sides can be heard, sin can be repented of and that an entire culture can be changed.

Although I am hopeful, a good place to start on the MH side would be to stop firing Godly pastors who have unanswered questions. As long as they continue to sin against others, I will continue to bring that sin into the light.

TWW hopes that these former pastors truly get an impartial mediation group. We were informed that the church is paying for this mediation. It is our experience that these organizations will sometimes bias towards those who pay the bills. We hope that will not be the case in this instance.

7. The ROFL Revelation Award

Dr Throckmorton has been investigating Mark Driscoll sermon edits. Apparently, the video/audio that you see on the website may have deleted some potentially controversial statements. Noting the history of citation errors with some of Driscoll's publications, I do not find this particularly shocking. The statements may have been made by someone else anyway….Driscoll probably needs to hire a full time editor or two to keep him out of trouble in any event. However, in Dr Throckmorton's post Another Reason to Question Mars Hill Church’s Official Explanation of Mark Driscoll’s Sermon Edits

 I have obtained notes preparing franchise campuses for weekly church services. These notes list the duration of the sermon and an outline of Driscoll’s sermon points. The duration listed in the notes for May 18 is about six minutes longer than the edited version of this sermon.

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Note the BOOKS TO PUSH category! This during a church service! Talk about the money changers in the Temple….Good night! 

8. The Winner of the Godly Response Category: Another Pastor Gets Fired and Former Members Leap Into Action.

In the post, Another Mars Hill Church Pastor Fired, Reportedly for Questioning Executive Elders (UPDATED), Dr Throckmorton reports

the Smidts were one of the first families to attend Mars Hill Church. Phil’s wife is the sister of former executive elder Jamie Munson. Munson is still an elder at Mars Hill and Co-President of Storyville Coffee in Seattle.

He reports that Scott Harris (King???) from the Ballard campus sent the following. 

CG & RG Leaders:

Leaders,

I wanted to let you know about a transition on our Ballard elder team. After many conversations along with much prayer and deliberation I have decided to ask Phil Smidt to step down from staff and eldership, and today is his last day. Phil has been a valuable member of the Ballard leadership team, and has contributed greatly to the counseling and marriage ministries of our entire church.

We are very thankful for his many years of service. We will continue to support Phil financially and through prayer while he seeks what the Lord has next for him. Please join me in praying for him and his family as they make this transition.

Liar, liar, pants on fire…. Mars Hill did not support him financially. It appears one must sign a nondisclosure agreement in order to receive support and Smidt was having none of it.

For several years, the threat of having no severance income or health insurance was used by Mars Hill executive elders to coerce departing elders and other staff into an agreement not to raise concerns about Mars Hill in public. Previously, I posted one version of the non-disclosure agreement. In it, all rights and grievances are signed away in order to maintain health insurance coverage and a source of income for a individually determined period of time. The employee also has to agree not to say anything negative about Mars Hill. Reportedly, Phil Smidt declined to sign this agreement and apparently was denied severance pay as a result.

Vindictive? Christian? You decide.

BUT!

An awesome group of folks decided to give the Smidts what the church would not. From Dr Throckmorton:

As I write this, supporters of fired Mars Hill pastor Phil Smidt have raised nearly twice as much money as the established goal, almost $40k, in less than two days.  Many donors were former Mars Hill leaders and members, a kind of Mars Hill church in exile.

Here is a link to that fund. Dee and Deb were so moved by this show of support that we contributed to that fund today. What a way to end this synopsis.

TWW believes that Mars Hill and its Kings, Profits and  Priests along with the talking donkeys, are in deep, deep trouble. We thank Dr Warren Throckmorton for his comprehensive coverage of these events. To read all of his posts on Mars Hill, click on this link.

We leave you with this question. Where have all the Mars Hill pastors gone?

Update: With special thanks to Albuquerque Blue

Lydia's Corner: Ezekiel 45:13-46:24 1 Peter 1:13-2:10 Psalm 119:33-48 Proverbs 28:11

Comments

Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll: Of Profit$, Priest$ and King$ [Updated 6/3] — 273 Comments

  1. 1. They have their reward.

    2. There is no right or wrong, only power.

    3. There is no God, only an imagined public for whom everything is publicly performed.

    4. Your state’s motto, “To be, rather than to seem,” is nonsense to them. If Jesus were to say to them, “Go and learn what this means, “To be, rather than to seem,” they would walk away scratching their heads like the rich young ruler.

    5. Image is, literally, everything.

  2. Here is a picture of the area encompassed by this non compete.

    Know what that picture looks like to this Cold War-era SF fan?

    Nuclear blast radii — the 10-mile radius is about the serious damage radius of a one-megaton warhead and the 100% kill radius of a nine-megaton Titan II.

    Previously, I posted one version of the non-disclosure agreement. In it, all rights and grievances are signed away in order to maintain health insurance coverage and a source of income for a individually determined period of time.

    Isn’t such a “source of income” usually called “hush money”?

  3. Third !?

    Love you Deebs!!!

    I’m listening now to Pirate Christian Radio now on my TuneIn Radio app now !!

  4. Mars Hill = Snakepit

    And they wonder why Christianity is mocked and ridiculed? The neo-fundies should be saying “we have met the enemy and he is us”

  5.   __

    “The gospel (da good news) in a nutshell.”

    hmmm…

    “There must be a gospel™ statement in all of this but I’ll leave that to my theological betters to figure out…” -Dee

    Hey,

    May I take a moment of your time?

    hmmm…

      The bible says that God sent His Son Jesus, in the likeness of man into the world to redeem us from our sins and separation from Himself. That God was happy to do so. The bible also says that those who believe in Jesus, God grants new birth, and eternal life with Him in His heaven. During the remainder of our time here on earth, Jesus has asked us to love God first with all, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. He has also asked us to tell others about what He has done, about His marvelous love, and His generous offer of new birth and eternal life with Him in His heaven, and to wait for His glorious coming.

    (You can read more in the pages of the bible, if you have one…you can read online if you don’t  : http://www.biblegateway.com/ )

    Have you experienced this new birth spoken of in the bible?

    Will heaven be your home throughout all eternity?

    Have you accepted this wonderful work that Jesus did for you, and do you have this wonderful hope resting within yourself today?

      God so loved you, that He sent His Son, Jesus, if you will believe in Him, God will redeem you and give you new birth, and invite you to His glorious heaven, when this life is over.

    Please take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

    You’ll be glad that you did!

    Blessings!

    —–
    P.S. Where has the good news gone? Kind church folk, lõõk and see, the fields are white with harvest!

    (smiley face goes here)

    ATB

    Sopy

  6. That sounds like a truly abusive workplace (Mars Hill church). I used to work in one myself.

    The conversation some of us had on a previous thread (about Dave Ramsey) could come into play here, in regards to anyone working for Driscoll / Mars Hill.

    Singleman discussed the topic of workplace abuse here (previous thread, the one about Ramsey).

  7. dee wrote:

    Inquiring minds want to know: How do I get to become King?

    That made me think of this classic Monty Python sketch.

    Peasant Woman: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
    King Arthur: You don’t vote for kings.
    Peasant Woman: Well, how’d you become king, then?
    [Angelic music plays… ]
    King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your king.
    Dennis the Peasant: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8bqQ-C1PSE

    Joking aside, that is a really weird thing for a pastor to call himself. Disturbingly so for an American pastor.

  8. “Pastor So-&-So

    “Lead Pastor”

    “Pastor of Green Living”

    “Pastor of BBQ”

    “Pastor of Board Games”

    “I am sorry as your Pastor that I failed you”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    yeah…. as meaningful as the words “Lifetime Warranty” on that appliance you just bought.

    PASTOR: The New #1 Word That Has Lost All Meaning

    (I think it has just now surpassed “Gospel” in meaninglessness)

  9. Weird. I mean, I see these sorts of shenanigans in all kinds of large organizations (and yeah, that includes churches); I’m talking about the odd” prophet, priest, king” thing. I mean, is this some kind of “christianeese” metaphor? I know what a prophet is, and while I’m not a cessationist, per se, I don’t see a lot of prophets walking around. And I know what a priest is. I’m not catholic. As for kings, they are largely defunct puppets representing a bygone era of indulgent class warfare. Good riddance.

  10. A cousin of mine who lives in Seattle and has rejected the hypocritical Christianity of her youth calls Mars Hill a cult.

    I’m so happy that TWW, Warren Throckmorton, and Wenatchee the Hatchett prove that we Christians are policing our own and calling them on their bad behavior.

    I’ve been sending my cousin links to these exposés and she is starting to see that some Christians actually live like Jesus and care about integrity, honor, and truth.

  11. I’m going to write a few general things about the factors a court is going to take into consideration when looking at a non-compete agreement, and then I’ll look at what has been described as Mars Hill’s non-compete agreement. This is not legal advice, and if someone is conversant with Washington state employment law and has access to Westlaw and can cite applicable cases, I will very much defer to your expertise.

    That said:

    * A non-compete is only enforceable as long as its restrictions aren’t greater than reasonably necessary to protect the business or good will of the employer.

    * There has to be an actual contract formed between the employer and employee in order for a non-compete to be valid. (And yes, this is a big deal.) This includes consideration (i.e., payment). There may also be timing issues with regards to the presentation of the agreement, i.e., was it signed under duress?

    * The non-compete has to be reasonable with regard to time. Usually that means a certain set period of time, usually not to exceed a couple of years.

    * The non-compete has to be reasonable with regard to area. You can’t unreasonably restrict the ability of the employee to earn a living in the local area.

    * A court is going to do a balancing of the harms between the employer and the employee. Is the employee’s action going to harm the employer’s business as opposed to other competitors in the same line of business?

    * Did the former employee solicit business from the former employer? If that’s the case, it could weigh against the employee.

    Turning now to the Unity of Mission portion from Warren Throckmorton’s site, if these five paragraphs are the non-compete agreement, it is woefully lacking in a number of areas, to wit:

    * There appears to be no consideration (for example, “In exchange for three months’ salary, I (state your name)…”). So it might not even be a contract to start out with.
    * There appears to be no time period stated (e.g., “for the period of 12 months beginning my last day of work at Mars Hill Ballard …”)

    I’m sure there are other things missing.

    However, the one point that IS dreadfully, painfully clear from this agreement is that one cannot work in a church within 10 miles of a Mars Hill plant. As can be seen from the image above, that pretty much excludes pretty much the entire Seattle metropolitan area. Don’t forget, the charmed circles also include the city of Portland, a chunk of Orange County, California, a chunk of Albuquerque, NM, and most of the city of Phoenix proper, with some parts of Scottsdale, Tempe and possibly into Ahwatukee and Guadalupe. (I figured out my work site would be within the charmed circle, but not my home.)

    That, my friends, is excessive, IMHO. I think a judge would find it to be so as well.

    I Googled “sample non-compete agreement” and came up with quite a few examples, which I would encourage people to look at. And then come back and look at that Part 6 Unity of Mission statement. It appears to have a lot of stuff missing. I would like to see the rest of the Mars Hill agreement to see if this truly meets the standard of being a contract. I have a sneaking suspicion that if the rest of the agreement is as vague as Part 6, it may be about as enforceable as the “freeloader bill” Scientology hands to people who route out of the Sea Org. Which is to say, it’s not enforceable at all.

    And yeah, I went there. I personally think there’s something very wrong about a church requiring pastors to sign a non-compete contract, even if absolutely legal. Absent the rest of this agreement to review, in my opinion I’d have to say that the “Unity of Mission” statement is not a binding contract. Yeah, I think Mark Driscoll and the other executive elders at Mars Hill have outdone David Miscavige. I would congratulate the executive elders except being like the tiny tyrant of Scientology is something people should not aspire to.

  12. pcapastor wrote:

    There is no right or wrong, only power.

    I am reminded of this sister quote: “There is no good and evil, there is only power and those too weak to seek it.” ~ Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) (And for Nick B and our other UK friends, aka Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.)

    Also, an odd image struck me as I considered where Mars Hill is imploding. When you watch videos of buildings being demolished from within, you see gigantic plumes of dust and debris reach heavenward. It’s as if it is shaking the dust from its own feet … I wonder if this will be the fate of Mars Hill central as it collapses under the weight and fragility of its own infrastructure. And while that is truly sad in many ways, I believe there are times when demolition may be the only remaining solution when renovation to safety has already proven impossible.

  13. Yes, Mars Hill is imploding. I predict that this week will come to be seen as the tipping point. Driscoll must have lost touch with reality.

  14. @ mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort:
    All that’s true and this agreement would be unenforceable even if there were actual consideration, but the real problem and the real reason no court would ever take the case is the First Amendment. No court anywhere us going to touch the definition of what it means to serve in a church. The term could include anything from Altar Guild to Head Pastor. Heck, the way some churches define membership, merely being an active member could qualify as serving. The real reason for this agreement is clearly intimidation of both the signer and any church he might some day want to go to.

  15. As to the “Prophet, Priest and King” thing, in my experience, it comes from a certain flavor of Chrismatic/Pentecostalism in the Dominionist area. A little surprised that it is cropping up in MH, maybe the Ceej’s influence?

    The general idea is, in the OT, there are three ‘offices’ – Prophet, Priest and King. Jesus was the only one to fill all three offices simultaneously. And…since we are ‘in Christ’ and ‘seated with Him’ and made ‘priests and kings’ to God through Him…..well, you get the idea. Somehow, it devolves quickly into the leaders having these titles and the pew warmers not reaching higher than maybe ‘knight’….

    This was part and parcel of the church I exited 7 years ago. My pastor was (still is?) known to introduce himself in public (non-church) places even as ‘Lord John’. Yeah. We were subtly (not overtly) encouraged to view him as our king – though he never went so far as to commit that to paper (that I’m aware of). Preached it, though.

    As to the letter ‘King’ Sutton wrote concerning the transition of the elder….yeah, sounds eerily familiar to the one my former pastor wrote to the leadership team when they threw out my friend….man, I wish I had a copy of the letter, but they did not distribute it – they only read it to us.

    And the attempt to silence – he tried to get me to not talk about what was going on. When I would not back down, he asked me to think about how my actions would ‘hurt the sheep’. Never mind what his actions were doing. If they had thought of the ‘no compete’ clause – well, to be honest, since I was a volunteer leader, not staff…but I doubt they would go there – they were too tight to offer severance packages….

    Anyway…yes, this is very familiar – and I hope for the sakes of all involved that it does herald the collapse of this machine….

  16. ya know, I’ve been wrangling with health insurance for weeks. on hold for cumulative hours upon hours, trying to get answers, explanations. In the end, all I get is some poor soul who has been given hardly any information and is incapable of helping me. which buys time and money for those in ivory towers, completely ignorant of what their glib decisions and pronouncements uttered from aloft mean for those on the ground.

    the whole thing is laden with maddening confusion, maddening frustration, everything ridiculously & unnecessarily convoluted.

    in my observation, health insurance has become full of corruption. white-collared evil. it’s very logical to me why the extreme confusion, frustration, convolution. I think these things are by-products of evil when it becomes woven in to something.

    I see many parallels to all the intrigue surrounding mars hill, SGM, complementarianism, “pastoral” authoritarianism, shepherding, etc.

  17. @ dee:

    Inquiring minds want to know: How do I get to become King?

    I presume you know what happens when you play the game of thrones?

    Or we could sing in a happier key and go with this.

  18. If and when any of us feel led to serve the Lord somewhere other than at one of the church locations of Mars Hill Church, we will submit our opportunity to one another and our Executive Elders first in accordance with Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

    Together this day, we commit that our next church ministry will not be within ten miles of any location of Mars Hill Church, except with the express consent of the local pastors of the nearest church, the sending church, if different, and the Executive Elders of Mars Hill Church .

    How can you commit that your next church will not be within 10mi of a MH campus when you’re waiting on God to lead you to your next church? You can know the future mind of God so impeccably that you can sign a (presumably) legally binding agreement promising that He won’t put you at a church less than 10mi away? In what universe does this make sense?

  19. Janey wrote:

    dee wrote:
    Inquiring minds want to know: How do I get to become King?

    Crown yourself.

    Sing “Love Me Tender” and eat fried- peanut- butter- and- banana sandwiches 🙂

  20. @ elastigirl:

    “in my observation, health insurance has become full of corruption. white-collared evil. it’s very logical to me why the extreme confusion, frustration, convolution. I think these things are by-products of evil when it becomes woven in to something.

    I see many parallels to all the intrigue surrounding mars hill, SGM, complementarianism, “pastoral” authoritarianism, shepherding, etc.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    we can call it clerical-collared evil.

  21. @ elastigirl:
    I do health care law and policy for a living. I know all the terms, etc. And I still get completely frustrated and confused talking to those people. The truth is, no one really understands this stuff except MAYBE the highest up in the insurance companies. It’s a strategy to get more money by denying, delaying, and blinding everyone with so much BS that they get don’t know exactly how they’re being bilked.

    So my condolences and the comparison to mega churches is apt.

  22. Hester wrote:

    If and when any of us feel led to serve the Lord somewhere other than at one of the church locations of Mars Hill Church, we will submit our opportunity to one another and our Executive Elders first in accordance with Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
    Together this day, we commit that our next church ministry will not be within ten miles of any location of Mars Hill Church, except with the express consent of the local pastors of the nearest church, the sending church, if different, and the Executive Elders of Mars Hill Church .
    How can you commit that your next church will not be within 10mi of a MH campus when you’re waiting on God to lead you to your next church? You can know the future mind of God so impeccably that you can sign a (presumably) legally binding agreement promising that He won’t put you at a church less than 10mi away? In what universe does this make sense?

    In the universe where you are god and you have excluded the real God. How is this confusing?

    (i.e. EXACTLY. You make a GREAT point.)

  23. mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort wrote:

    However, the one point that IS dreadfully, painfully clear from this agreement is that one cannot work in a church within 10 miles of a Mars Hill plant

    I wonder if that is because the size of Mark Driscoll’s ego is ten miles in diameter? Hmm. I would’ve thought it larger than that.

  24. burnrnorton wrote:

    but the real problem and the real reason no court would ever take the case is the First Amendment. No court anywhere us going to touch the definition of what it means to serve in a church.

    This is correct…so if no court will touch it, do you then think it’s unenforceable, except in the We Will Blacken Your Name So Badly-But Because We Love You Like A Brother way?

  25. dee wrote:

    So, can I hire you to do legal analysis? The pay is awful but, with a little bit of persuasion, we could be persuaded to crown you Duchess or whatever title you might prefer>

    Ah, but I must respectfully decline. My current employer is jealous of my affections, being a too big to fail bank and all.

  26. People have been very kind to the Smidts, raising considerable funds to tide them over. I Was sad tgough when I read a post on another blog from March in which a mother tells her family story. She and her husband began attending Mars Hill because her daughter and son in law attended, but after a year they felt something was amiss and stopped attending. According to her Pastor Smidt advised her daughter and SIL to cut ties with them; the SIL has told them the estrangement is permanent. They have never even seen their grandchild. This is a heartbreaking

  27. “As I write this, supporters of fired Mars Hill pastor Phil Smidt have raised nearly twice as much money as the established goal, almost $40k, in less than two days. Many donors were former Mars Hill leaders and members, a kind of Mars Hill church in exile.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    this is good.

    but I say Phil Smidt should give it to Paul Petry and Bent Meyer. Phil Smidt’s express action/inaction supported the firings and trials of Pastors Paul Petry and Bent Meyer, and the subsequent shunning of Paul Petry.

    http://musingsfromunderthebus.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/will-i-follow-the-leadership-of-an-ex-mars-hill-elder/

  28. @ dee:

    Step two:
    Learn how to schmooze and manipulate and power grab until you have enough power to start throwing people under the bus who won’t support your kingliness.

  29. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Nuclear blast radii — the 10-mile radius is about the serious damage radius of a one-megaton warhead and the 100% kill radius of a nine-megaton Titan II.

    Isn’t it great that Operation Plowshare is still going on?

  30. @ burnrnorton:

    “The truth is, no one really understands this stuff except MAYBE the highest up in the insurance companies. It’s a strategy to get more money by denying, delaying, and blinding everyone with so much BS that they get don’t know exactly how they’re being bilked.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    so, continuing our conversation over here in the corner, what is a pion like me to do??

  31. Mara wrote:

    @ dee:

    Step two:
    Learn how to schmooze and manipulate and power grab until you have enough power to start throwing people under the bus who won’t support your kingliness.

    Because Kings play the Game of Thrones.
    And anything goes in that game.
    Because only one can sit on the Iron Throne, the seat of supreme Power.

  32. From 4: “I love you all very much and am deeply grieved by the transitions that have occurred.”

    Translation: “Doesn’t it suck that there are elders who don’t think exactly like me?”

    From 3: “As Pastors, we commit together that we will serve the best interests of our Savior Jesus Christ, and our church, Mars Hill Church. If and when any of us feel led to serve the Lord somewhere other than at one of the church locations of Mars Hill Church, we will submit our opportunity to one another and our Executive Elders first in accordance with Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

    Translation: “WE are the indispensable source of guidance and counsel. And anything you think of as guidance and counsel that excludes us is NO GUIDANCE AT ALL.”

  33. From the main Body of the article:

    2. The “Shut up and tithe to the prophet, priest and king (and maybe a talking donkey or two) and don’t ask questions” teaching.

    Too anemic. How about this?

    and mayhap a braying ass or two

    Ah, the Elizabethan version, now that’s got panache!

  34. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    pcapastor wrote:
    There is no right or wrong, only power.
    I am reminded of this sister quote: “There is no good and evil, there is only power and those too weak to seek it.” ~ Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) (And for Nick B and our other UK friends, aka Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.)

    You caught the reference!

  35. Not surprised to see this. I am hopeful one day soon the smell of Mars Hill will be so overwhelming that most self respecting christians will run in the other direction. And while I feel bad for yet another pastor being fired, we have to ask ourselves…How much have these men contributed to the mess? How many of them have added to the those who have been cut off or are suffering? I believe Phil has some very public repenting to do here. I have read many blogs and stories of survivors and many of the men now FINALLY standing up have played roles in the pain of others. To them I say please don’t now cry wolf when you were all eating sheep just a few years ago. That is how I feel and I don’t think much will change for many of us hurt until we see true repentance from those involved in the public shunnings.

  36. pcapastor wrote:

    There is no right or wrong, only power.

    Sounds like someone should write a screenplay – “Nietzsche Plants a Church”, I would fully expect an appearance of a Christian consultant from an agency along the lines of Machiavelli Church Resources to be one of Mark, errr Freidrech’s most trusted confidants. It’d be a real yarn.

  37.   __

    Where Da Buck Stops: “The Seven Eyes?” [1]

    hmmm…

    …desperate in need of ‘good  news’: meetz 501(3) proverbial pastoral ravenous wolves, perhaps?

    (pastor, what big teeth you have…He, He)

    huh?

      Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν. πάντα διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν, ὃ γέγονεν. ἐν αὐτῷ 1ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων, καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν. ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ Θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης· οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσι διʼ αὐτοῦ. οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλʼ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός. ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον. ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω. [2]

    What?

      Is the bible becoming Greek (i.e. a closed message) to all those who desperately need the ‘good  news’? Have the 501(3) proverbial pastoral wolves taken all for themselves and left nothing for those who would heed the call of Christ and open their doors?

    (tears)

    What?

      “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: ‘justice’ and ‘mercy’ and ‘faithfulness;’ but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of ‘robbery’ and ‘self-indulgence’.…” – Jesus

    (sadface)

    Skreeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

      “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie…” -Jesus

    ATB

    Sopy
    ___
    [1] “Eyes” – (Strong’s Concordance – Greek) #3788 ophthalmos (of-thal-mos’); from #3700; the eye (literally or figuratively); by implication, vision; figuratively, envy (from the jealous side-glance). “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” – Revelation 5:6 ; Strings #3700 optanomai (op-tan’-om-ahee); a (middle voice) prolonged form of the primary (middle voice) optomai (op’-tom-ahee); to gaze (i.e. with wide-open eyes, as at something remarkable). Ophthalmos, literally or figuratively, means vision. It is taken from the prime word “optomai” which means to gaze with wide open eyes, as at something remarkable.  The eyes of the Lord observes as the Christian is born again through faith in Himself as their Savior. Jesus responds to all those who believes in the good news of the gospel preached according to the scriptures, and repents of their sin and accepts Christ as Lord! There is a special place in their lives for Jesus, and a comfy home waiting for them in God’s heaven…This is certainly remarkable !

    [2] Gr. NT;  John 1-10; F.H.A. Scrivener

    🙂

  38. @ pcapastor:

    You threw it well, pcapastor!

    Intriguing timing … as the past few days, I’ve been going through the movie script for HP5 – *Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix*, picking out how Dolores Umbridge embodies at least four of nine different kinds of roles that people take in abusive systems: (1) the one who carries out the direct or implied wishes of the perpetrator, (2) the one who tells you what you can/cannot say), (3) the who directions you into what you can/cannot do, and (4) the one who demands and demeans your identity and what you can/cannot be. Oh yeah, and (5) the one who proclaims all is light and bright and sees nothing wrong, and (6) the one who actively ignores anything wrong and won’t do what’s right. Interesting to see how Umbridge’s specific words and actions and attitudes set up and sustain a system of suspicion, control, and cruelty at Hogwarts and beyond. Sort of a Ministry of Magic do-not-compete clause?

    Surprisingly, it seems like her redemptive opposite is found in — of all characters — Luna Lovegood, who is an advocate for those who do right; who emphasizes choices people can make in what they say and do and who they are; who pursues doing what’s right and rejects what’s wrong. Almost every single line she utters reinforces goodness in and for others, and even the ones that seem to make her come across as ditsy — like, “I hope there’s pudding” — could actually be seen in light of the overall context as a standing up for self-determination. Seriously … every survivor of bullying, evil, and grief needs a Luna Lovegood on their support team. She’s been there herself, she gets it, and she’s committed to helping others not succumb to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

    So there you have it. Lessons from the secular philosophers at the postmodern “Areopagus.” Quite apropos to the topic at hand, actually.

    Bonus content fave article on Potter universe characters who are people of peace: Everything I Need to Know About Hospitality, I Learned from Molly Weasley.

    http://archives.religionnews.com/blogs/jana-riess/everything-i-need-to-know-about-hospitality-i-learned-from-molly-weasley

  39. Jed Paschall wrote:

    Sounds like someone should write a screenplay – “Nietzsche Plants a Church”, I would fully expect an appearance of a Christian consultant from an agency along the lines of Machiavelli Church Resources to be one of Mark, errr Freidrech’s most trusted confidants. It’d be a real yarn.

    Oh well, Machiavelli with tactics quite telling could surely show up as a Prince …
    a King who’s in training, humility feigning, but ultimately making us wince.
    Then who could be the Prophet we see, and who then could function as Priest?
    Perhaps matters not for the who that they’ve got may soon enough find they’re “released.”

    (It doesn’t have to be in iambic pentameter, right?)

  40. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    @ pcapastor:
    You threw it well, pcapastor!
    Intriguing timing … as the past few days, I’ve been going through the movie script for HP5 – *Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix*, picking out how Dolores Umbridge embodies at least four of nine different kinds of roles that people take in abusive systems: (1) the one who carries out the direct or implied wishes of the perpetrator, (2) the one who tells you what you can/cannot say), (3) the who directions you into what you can/cannot do, and (4) the one who demands and demeans your identity and what you can/cannot be. Oh yeah, and (5) the one who proclaims all is light and bright and sees nothing wrong, and (6) the one who actively ignores anything wrong and won’t do what’s right. Interesting to see how Umbridge’s specific words and actions and attitudes set up and sustain a system of suspicion, control, and cruelty at Hogwarts and beyond. Sort of a Ministry of Magic do-not-compete clause?
    Surprisingly, it seems like her redemptive opposite is found in — of all characters — Luna Lovegood, who is an advocate for those who do right; who emphasizes choices people can make in what they say and do and who they are; who pursues doing what’s right and rejects what’s wrong. Almost every single line she utters reinforces goodness in and for others, and even the ones that seem to make her come across as ditsy — like, “I hope there’s pudding” — could actually be seen in light of the overall context as a standing up for self-determination. Seriously … every survivor of bullying, evil, and grief needs a Luna Lovegood on their support team. She’s been there herself, she gets it, and she’s committed to helping others not succumb to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
    So there you have it. Lessons from the secular philosophers at the postmodern “Areopagus.” Quite apropos to the topic at hand, actually.
    Bonus content fave article on Potter universe characters who are people of peace: Everything I Need to Know About Hospitality, I Learned from Molly Weasley.
    http://archives.religionnews.com/blogs/jana-riess/everything-i-need-to-know-about-hospitality-i-learned-from-molly-weasley

    Fantastic. I see that, for sure.

  41. Breaking…

    It appears Mars Hill has reversed it’s decision regarding the Smidt severance package:

    At 6pm tonight Scott Harris, Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Ballard, contacted Phil and notified him that Mars Hill had reversed its position and has elected to give the Smidt family the severance offered previously – but this time without conditions. Phil accepted this offer at 7pm.

    The information is at Dr. Throckmorton’s blog: http://tinyurl.com/obnmgrn

  42. “There must be a gospel™ statement in all of this but I’ll leave that to my theological betters to figure out.”

    OK, OK, I’m working on it …. 🙂

    There used to be a tradition in the UK that pastors would be more spiritual if they were kept on a modest income at best, and even poverty at worst. As a reaction to this, the house-church movement thought they should be paid a better wage, which I would agree with, but this seems over the years to have meant they can become very well off through all the ‘love offerings’ and tithes given to them. What started out good morphed into a more worldly attitude where managers are perceived to be worth vastly more than those they manage. And sometimes regardless of whether they do a good job. Sadly pastoring is now regarded as a professional job to be paid on the same basis as other professional jobs that attract a high salary.

    I doubt if this shift to worldliness was ever intentional, but I really can’t get my poor brain round the idea you can serve God and the church and be paid $600,000-$900,000. It doesn’t say you ought to do your best not to serve God and mammon, it says you can’t! It’s either/or.

    As for being a King, there is a very easy way for church members to stop this kind of nonsense, and that would be to start addressing pastors and elders as ‘your majesty’.

  43. Daisy wrote:

    Janey wrote:
    dee wrote:
    Inquiring minds want to know: How do I get to become King?
    Crown yourself.
    Sing “Love Me Tender” and eat fried- peanut- butter- and- banana sandwiches

    You forgot the necessary hip swivel and lip curl.

  44. Daisy wrote:

    I wonder if that is because the size of Mark Driscoll’s ego is ten miles in diameter? Hmm. I would’ve thought it larger than that.

    Overlapping ten mile radius circles that, in the Mars Hill vision eventually cover every metropolitan area in the U.S. One thing we can be sure there is never a shortage of, wrt Mars Hill: Driscoll’s ego.

  45. dee wrote:

    Inquiring minds want to know: How do I get to become King?

    😉 Apparently, in a 🙂 “farcical aquatic ceremony”. 😉

  46. elastigirl wrote:

    the whole thing is laden with maddening confusion, maddening frustration, everything ridiculously & unnecessarily convoluted.

    Sounds like a former employer of mine, the VA.

  47. burnrnorton wrote:

    It’s a strategy to get more money by denying, delaying, and blinding everyone with so much BS that they get don’t know exactly how they’re being bilked.

    There is the option for single party (government) payor.

  48. I’ve read thru the Mars Hill post/comments of late. Maybe I am missing something but can anyone tell me – is Mark Driscoll still in charge?? I mean – it sounds like they are editing one of the “Kings” – so has he become a figure head? I am surprised he puts up with being edited.

    I guess they must really be feeling some outside pressure if they decided to give Smidt a severance package.
    Love all of the “King” comments!

  49. elastigirl wrote:

    @ burnrnorton:

    “The truth is, no one really understands this stuff except MAYBE the highest up in the insurance companies. It’s a strategy to get more money by denying, delaying, and blinding everyone with so much BS that they get don’t know exactly how they’re being bilked.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    so, continuing our conversation over here in the corner, what is a pion like me to do??

    If it’s an employer plan, you could try siccing your employer on them. Believe it or not, employers actually come to their employees’ defense. If nothing else, they have access to people at a higher level and authority than the CSR who doesn’t know a copay from coinsurance.

    If you buy on the individual market, there is often an office at the state insurance commission or health department that serves a similar function. It might be called the ombudsman or consumer advocate.

    Without knowing more, that’s my best advice. You really do hit a brick wall until you get the number of someone high enough up to make decisions.

  50. Nancy wrote:

    There is the option for single party (government) payor.

    You mean you’d rather deal with one set of semiarbitrary rules than hundreds thar keep changing without notice. That’s crazy talk.

    In all seriousness, we probably don’t want to derail the thread with that debate ; )

  51. I’m glad it’s not just me who thinks this week has been weird and frustrating. Can I offer a few thoughts?

    1. Yesterday I perused Dr. Throckmorton’s articles on the non-compete “agreement.” I was trying to figure out if the Mars Hills pastors/elders are required to sign it upon accepting employment, or as they are resigning. If it is the latter, it smells like blackmail. I am hoping someone puts MHC in the position of having to sue them for preaching, thereby exposing their motives (financial and power-grabbing).

    2. I finally had enough wisdom to be skeptical when Pastor Tullian displayed some courage, especially on the Janet Mefferd show. But I was surprised when he back-pedaled all over the place. I tweeted my disappointment @Pastor Tullian yesterday, but I think my post never made it out of moderation. I had to stop checking because I was nauseated by tweets praising his “humility.”

    3. I did some amateur research once on the “kingdom and priests” issue and it appeared to me that a more accurate translation is a “kingdom of priests”. As one writer put it, do we really want to be wearing crowns in the presence of Christ?

    4. I don’t read all comments as the threads get pretty long, but I have noticed Soppy was missing…I am glad to see you are still around!

  52. burnrnorton wrote:

    That’s crazy talk.

    Would that be like crazy religion, crazy educational system, crazy government(s), crazy economic system, crazy international policies, crazy media, crazy entertainment industry…crazy …crazy?

    I think that, and we all know that it is correct if I think it:

    We all need to develop survival skills for the existing craziness, and
    This is not the venue for discussing it right now.

  53. Hopefully Phil Smidt will use his donations to set up a fund to help any person leaving Mars Hill employment who loses their severance package because of not signing up to a non-disclosure agreement.

  54. BD wrote:

    Breaking…
    It appears Mars Hill has reversed it’s decision regarding the Smidt severance package:
    At 6pm tonight Scott Harris, Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Ballard, contacted Phil and notified him that Mars Hill had reversed its position and has elected to give the Smidt family the severance offered previously – but this time without conditions. Phil accepted this offer at 7pm.
    The information is at Dr. Throckmorton’s blog: http://tinyurl.com/obnmgrn

    Thank God for blogs like Throckmorton’s, TWW, et. al. that shine a light on the despicable behavior of these celebrity preachers and help publicly shame them into doing the right thing.

    Question of the day for Mars Hill supporters: If Mars Hill was truly Christian, would they need to be shamed into acting in a Christian manner?

  55. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    I know what a prophet is, and while I’m not a cessationist, per se, I don’t see a lot of prophets walking around.

    I think they believe that there is “THE” Prophet at Mars Hill. Special and set apart. Totally nuts.

  56. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    I wonder if this will be the fate of Mars Hill central as it collapses under the weight and fragility of its own infrastructure.

    Like that. I hope they realize that even kings get hurt in implosions.

  57. JeffT wrote:

    Question of the day for Mars Hill supporters: If Mars Hill was truly Christian, would they need to be shamed into acting in a Christian manner?

    Since the people on top of the Mars Hill pyramid have reversed their decision and activated this change for their most recent firee, now they should go all retroactive and give appropriate severance packages to all firees. This isn’t about grace, it’s about justice and just compensation.

  58. @ BD:
    Thank you for keeping us up to date. i have updated the blog post with the information.

    Looks like Mars Hill’s Kings are getting worried about the publicity. This happened yesterday, shortly after this was posted.

  59. Ken wrote:

    As for being a King, there is a very easy way for church members to stop this kind of nonsense, and that would be to start addressing pastors and elders as ‘your majesty’.

    I shall employ your suggestion when I discuss this in the future. In fact, I may tweet it right now.

  60. dee wrote:

    Inquiring minds want to know: How do I get to become King?

    In the case of Sutton Turner, I think you need to acquire the divine gift of seeing things, in the way Mark Driscoll sees things.

    And there’s no doubt Turner had a vision in which he saw emerge from the waters the Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, holding aloft Excalibur, thus signifying, by divine providence, that he was to carry it, and thus become a king.

  61. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    . My pastor was (still is?) known to introduce himself in public (non-church) places even as ‘Lord John’.

    As a Brit this made me laugh so hard. I’d love for him to walk into the House of Lords & try to pull that stunt.

  62. Ken wrote:

    I doubt if this shift to worldliness was ever intentional, but I really can’t get my poor brain round the idea you can serve God and the church and be paid $600,000-$900,000. It doesn’t say you ought to do your best not to serve God and mammon, it says you can’t! It’s either/or.

    At some point things become intentional, however they start out. At some point people have a moment in which they see what they are doing and decide to continue in that direction, perhaps telling themselves that the good they think they accomplish justifies the bad that they do. With money they tend to say that it is alright to have money, just don’t let money be your god. This then acts like an anesthetic and they sometimes do not seem to even know when they cross into worship of their new god.

    Of course, most sins are like that. They sneak up on you in disguise.

  63. dee wrote:

    Inquiring minds want to know: How do I get to become King?

    You don’t, you only get to be Queen ….

  64. Ken wrote:

    As for being a King, there is a very easy way for church members to stop this kind of nonsense, and that would be to start addressing pastors and elders as ‘your majesty’.

    I did start calling a protestant pastor “Father” one time. He did not think it was funny. It was not intended to be funny. But he did back off–from me anyhow.

  65. burnrnorton wrote:

    Without knowing more, that’s my best advice. You really do hit a brick wall until you get the number of someone high enough up to make decisions.

    I once taught a course for college freshman “The bureaucratic personality and how to abuse it for fun and profit” was the subheading. Each person you talk to, get their name and return phone number, ask who their supervisor is. If you don’t get an answer you can live with, ask for their supervisor. Get that person’s name and return phone number, and ask who their supervisor is. Eventually you will get to a person who can at least make a decision. At each level of a bureaucracy there are some issues that that level is expected to resolve and keep from landing on the supervisor’s desk. If you keep working up, and the answer you are seeking can be accommodated by the organization, the person will accede and give you what you are asking rather than let their boss know that they could not handle the issue!!!

  66. An Attorney wrote:

    If you keep working up, and the answer you are seeking can be accommodated by the organization, the person will accede and give you what you are asking rather than let their boss know that they could not handle the issue!!!

    Of course, the corollary to this when managing managers is: It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission. (This may not apply to some of the mega churches often discussed on TWW.)

  67. Janet Varin wrote:

    I finally had enough wisdom to be skeptical when Pastor Tullian displayed some courage, especially on the Janet Mefferd show. But I was surprised when he back-pedaled all over the place. I tweeted my disappointment @Pastor Tullian yesterday, but I think my post never made it out of moderation. I had to stop checking because I was nauseated by tweets praising his “humility.”

    I don’t know the story behind this, but I’m guessing it is tied in to the position he holds as Senior Pastor of the Megachurch Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, which is PCA. The elders there were no doubt supportive of his having joined TGC when he did, but were they behind his statements he made surrounding his leaving? Since his membership within TGC wasn’t just personal but also representative of his religious association (his church and the PCA) like the other men involved, perhaps his remarks were viewed as too personal and independent of those of the people and the board of elders he represents? I never read that he had discussed the matter with the elders of his church, adding that they all agreed and backed him up. I’m guessing he reacted from a gut level and spoke out on his own, and that was then called into question.

    I could be wrong but that’s my feeling. I liked his gut reaction. But I’m thinking his position has something to do with his retraction.

  68. Ken wrote:

    As for being a King, there is a very easy way for church members to stop this kind of nonsense, and that would be to start addressing pastors and elders as ‘your majesty’.

    Especcially if His Majesty has Armorbearers like The Hound and The Mountain and is perfectly willing to use them.

  69. dee wrote:

    Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    I know what a prophet is, and while I’m not a cessationist, per se, I don’t see a lot of prophets walking around.

    I think they believe that there is “THE” Prophet at Mars Hill. Special and set apart.

    Like Mo David, Jim Jones, and Elron Hubbard?

  70. burnrnorton wrote:

    That’s crazy talk.

    Doc Simon: “How much did the Feds pay you to sell out River and me on Ariel?”
    Jayne: “That’s crazy talk.”
    Doc Simon: “Then let’s talk crazy. How much?”

  71. An Attorney wrote:

    Overlapping ten mile radius circles that, in the Mars Hill vision eventually cover every metropolitan area in the U.S.

    Again, nuclear blast radii, launch-everything spasm war scenario.

    Like all those simulations in the movie War Games.

  72. Paula wrote:

    Janet Varin wrote:

    I finally had enough wisdom to be skeptical when Pastor Tullian displayed some courage, especially on the Janet Mefferd show. But I was surprised when he back-pedaled all over the place. I tweeted my disappointment @Pastor Tullian yesterday, but I think my post never made it out of moderation. I had to stop checking because I was nauseated by tweets praising his “humility.”

    I don’t know the story behind this, but I’m guessing it is tied in to the position he holds as Senior Pastor of the Megachurch Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, which is PCA. The elders there were no doubt supportive of his having joined TGC when he did, but were they behind his statements he made surrounding his leaving? Since his membership within TGC wasn’t just personal but also representative of his religious association (his church and the PCA) like the other men involved, perhaps his remarks were viewed as too personal and independent of those of the people and the board of elders he represents? I never read that he had discussed the matter with the elders of his church, adding that they all agreed and backed him up. I’m guessing he reacted from a gut level and spoke out on his own, and that was then called into question.

    I could be wrong but that’s my feeling. I liked his gut reaction. But I’m thinking his position has something to do with his retraction.

    I liked half of his gut reaction…the one dealing with SGM. Thought he went over the top calling tim/don liars (I am not privy to anything, but in any event seemed like a strong statement and thought he should have taken the high road there). That being said, I found it curious that the ONLY one he mentioned by name was Tim, who I think (not sure what just taylor’s denom is), is the only PCA guy among deyoung, carson, keller, and taylor, which would lend credence to your theory.

  73. From the post:

    ostensibly due to his “not gospel enough™” view on sanctification

    Shouldn’t this have been

    ostensibly due to his “not gospel™ enough” view on sanctification

  74. srs wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Nuclear blast radii — the 10-mile radius is about the serious damage radius of a one-megaton warhead and the 100% kill radius of a nine-megaton Titan II.

    Isn’t it great that Operation Plowshare is still going on?

    At least Operation Plowshare (using nukes for big-time blasting excavation, just wait 100 years for the radiation to go down) was thinking big. Dumb idea in retrospect (pesky radiation spill…), but part of the Can-Do Optimism you found post-WW2.

    If we’d had a Global Warming panic in the Fifties, the emphasis would be on “How do we solve this problem? What do we do? “We did it before, and we can do it again!”

    But today? WANGST WANGST WANGST! The Plaaaanet is Angry! We must mortify ourselves to atone for our Sins against The Plaaaaaanet! Bring out the hair shirts! Bring out the whips! Everyone gargle lye! Mortification for Our Sins! WANGST! WANGST! WANGST!

  75. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    I mean, is this some kind of “christianeese” metaphor? I know what a prophet is, and while I’m not a cessationist, per se, I don’t see a lot of prophets walking around. And I know what a priest is. I’m not catholic. As for kings, they are largely defunct puppets representing a bygone era of indulgent class warfare.

    Lol like in the Monty Python clip Dee added to the end of her post. A “king” who “hangs on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society!”

    About Kings and Prophets…

    I know in Ephesians we are told God gives to the church what’s known as the five-fold ministry which by the Spirit works in and through the lives of men and women for the purpose of “equipping the Saints for their works of ministry and to build up the body of Christ.”

    We always see those who consider themselves pastoral gifted ensconced in full-time positions within the church. They, too, often take on the teaching role, as though everyone should be looking to one person (or the other pastors on staff) primarily to be leading and guiding them and telling them what to believe.

    I think God blesses each one of his children with spiritual gifts, and certainly with the Holy Spirit who helps us to move in response to His enabling in order that each of us functions as a living stone, and as a part through which the Lord supplies.

    All of us are told in scripture to earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, and especially that we would prophecy. When the Spirit was poured out, Joel prophesied well in advance that men and women would prophesy. But unlike in the Old Testament where individuals were tasked with the job of prophesying to the people, or leading them etc, it is my understanding that now, since Pentecost, we all share in the same Spirit and are to join together, ready and prepared to offer something that contributes to our gathering in his Name (1 Co 14:26) because we are members of the Royal Priesthood, not spectators doing our time in the pews.

    Since the Spirit without measure was poured out on us all, and His gifts are given without partiality, why do we allow ourselves to organize ourselves according to old covenant standards which have been made obsolete?

  76. Dee and Deb,

    Would you be (ed.) willing to look into Mars Hill connection to Corban University in Salem, Or? Many of my friends went there, and I know some kids from our high school who want to attend.

    Mark Driscoll is teaching online courses for the college, and in very concerned. The school (ed.) had been warned publicly by Alumni about their association with Driscoll, but so far they’re not listening.

    I’d really like to know who is pushing for this at Corban and if $$ is the main factor here.

    I can’t research the way you Divas do! I need some information so I can intelligently warn people.

  77. They are all kings, of course, what else did you think?

    Kings – the guys who got all the gold from their subjects. And, at least in the past, absolutism assured that kings were not accountable to any mortal.

    And don’t tell me about the BOAA (Board of Advisors and Accountability)! It’s the greatest joke since Furtick’s compensation committee. Let’s call it the Board of mutual back Scratching, or BS in short.

  78. Nancy wrote:

    I did start calling a protestant pastor “Father” one time. He did not think it was funny. It was not intended to be funny.

    I beg to differ – that is funny!

  79. Tullian never called out CJ and Grant Layman before the Gospel Coalition made public their decision to have TT’s blog moved. Thus I am skeptical of TT. Is he all about the Lord, or are most of his responses about himself? And what about the victims? @ Janet Varin:

  80. In other news, Maria Shriekapova * has just won the decider 6-1, having lost the opening set by the same scoreline. Bit of a game of two halves there, evidently.

    * See what I did there? Ha ha! I’m the funniest.

  81. In further other news, Eugenie Bouchard is serving for the match, but there have been so many breaks of serve in the third set that I don’t think much can be read into that.

  82. Rebecca Lynn wrote:

    I have read many blogs and stories of survivors and many of the men now FINALLY standing up have played roles in the pain of others. To them I say please don’t now cry wolf when you were all eating sheep just a few years ago.

    Very important point. We tend to see injustice only as far as it concerns ourselves and our friends/family.

    And many of these former pastors who hurt by the MHC machine now participated as well-greased cogs in that machine. Maybe they DID have reservations in the face of past injustice perpetrated by the leadership – but they didn’t speak up. And the longer and the more often you keep your mouth shut in the face of injustice, the harder you will find opening your mouth. Until the injustice hits you.

    Even with the recent ban on comparisons to the certain parts of 20th century history, I would still like to quote Martin Niemöller here:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

    http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392

  83. @ Ken:

    Re the pendulum-swing in the UK house church movement, I heard a prominent house church CEO * speak once about, among many other things, his own first experience of church as a new christian. To cut a long story short, the congregation’s “shadow leadership” of influential old-timers treated the pastor and his wife like dirt. I think that sort of thing was (and is) all too common; there’s an old adage up here in Scotland about the deacons’ job being to keep the pastor poor and humble.

    I can’t help but wonder how many wrong things done in church, began as a reaction against other wrong things done in church.

    * Paul Scanlon, to be exact

  84. Godith wrote:

    Tullian never called out CJ and Grant Layman before the Gospel Coalition made public their decision to have TT’s blog moved.

    It’s important to remember that Grant Layman’s crucial testimony about not reporting a pedophile to the police occurred JUST ONE WEEK before Tullian Tchividjian spoke out about C.J. Mahaney and The Gospel Coalition.

  85. Paula wrote:

    And there’s no doubt Turner had a vision in which he saw emerge from the waters the Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, holding aloft Excalibur, thus signifying, by divine providence, that he was to carry it, and thus become a king.

    I wonder if the peasants over at Mars Hill are feeling like Dennis the Peasant: “Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”

    (I just love this, really, I do.)

  86. I should also note I am quite pleased that attention focused upon the situation at Mars Hill embarrassed those profit$, prie$t$ and king$ enough so they’d do the right thing. However, there are still problems at Mars Hill, and this isn’t enough to let the profit$, prie$t$ and king$ off the hook.

  87. An Attorney wrote:

    “The bureaucratic personality and how to abuse it for fun and profit” was the subheading

    In the early 80s there was a management book called “The one minute manager”. Shortly thereafter came “The 59 Second Employee”

  88. If pastors are making the salaries suggested here, they ought to be setting aside funds for when they’re no longer employed at their church. They should be able to live very comfortably for quite some time with that kind of money. (In other words, they shouldn’t count on receiving donations. The rest of us have to try and make it on unemployment benefits when we lose our jobs, and don’t usually receive donations.)

  89. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I had interactions with Mr. * 30 years ago. “If” the powers to be had asked a twenty something woman what she (and several others) thought of Mr. * they might have saved the Church alot of misery. Most leaders didn’t (still don’t) think women have much to offer. I stayed clear of Mr. *. Unfortunately, he had a stateside buddy who was of a similar make-up whom I didn’t stay clear of. They thought themselves quite dandy! I fear they still do . . .

  90. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    As to the “Prophet, Priest and King” thing, in my experience, it comes from a certain flavor of Chrismatic/Pentecostalism in the Dominionist area. A little surprised that it is cropping up in MH, maybe the Ceej’s influence?
    The general idea is, in the OT, there are three ‘offices’ – Prophet, Priest and King. Jesus was the only one to fill all three offices simultaneously. And…since we are ‘in Christ’ and ‘seated with Him’ and made ‘priests and kings’ to God through Him…..well, you get the idea. Somehow, it devolves quickly into the leaders having these titles and the pew warmers not reaching higher than maybe ‘knight’….
    This was part and parcel of the church I exited 7 years ago. My pastor was (still is?) known to introduce himself in public (non-church) places even as ‘Lord John’. Yeah. We were subtly (not overtly) encouraged to view him as our king – though he never went so far as to commit that to paper (that I’m aware of). Preached it, though.
    As to the letter ‘King’ Sutton wrote concerning the transition of the elder….yeah, sounds eerily familiar to the one my former pastor wrote to the leadership team when they threw out my friend….man, I wish I had a copy of the letter, but they did not distribute it – they only read it to us.
    And the attempt to silence – he tried to get me to not talk about what was going on. When I would not back down, he asked me to think about how my actions would ‘hurt the sheep’. Never mind what his actions were doing. If they had thought of the ‘no compete’ clause – well, to be honest, since I was a volunteer leader, not staff…but I doubt they would go there – they were too tight to offer severance packages….
    Anyway…yes, this is very familiar – and I hope for the sakes of all involved that it does herald the collapse of this machine….

    Many ills can be laid at the feet of CJ/SGM…. But not this one.
    I would be interested in hearing the origins.

  91. Pondering the various comments on the possible collapse of Mars Hill, one could come at this from several directions…

    Point 1 of 3
    I cannot regard Mars Hill as an authentic, never mind healthy, expression of the church; it is a pyramid marketing business. But I am very hesitant about wishing for its collapse, because it’s easy to forget that there are people in there. Most of us know at first hand how difficult it can be to re-establish a healthy spiritual life even after we discover what our “church” really is. MH is an awful lot of people who may never have learned to pray and think alongside the Holy Spirit for themselves, who might struggle for a long time over what they do or do not need to repent of, to whom, and how.

    I’d rather see the steady growth of The Church in the Seattle area, and a steady growth of real relationships between MH adherents and the true body of Christ which may include, but could never be limited to, MH. If that happened, the brazen and boastfully unrepentant divisive spirit that characterises the MH vision and modus operandi could simply fade away. It would lose its power once people realised that Fiscal owns neither the Bible nor them.

    Point 2 of 3
    As a part of the Church, MH already appears to be dead. In any setting where people will always be sacrificed for the brand and the mission, the love of God is absent. No love means no God, and most obviously in a part of the Church, no God means no life. I’m reminded most of a tree in the tropics that has been killed by a Strangler fig – the dead tree, suffocated (so to speak) by the parasitic tree, remains in place for a long time.

    Point 3 of 3
    Not everybody who has been attracted to a business like Mars Hill joined because they were seeking God’s kingdom. Some may have been dazzled by the PR or the Sunday show, or wowed by the apparent “success” of Fiscal’s numbers, and not actually want anything different. It would probably keep ticking over in some way. Obviously, though, Fiscal himself is the brand that MH markets, and he is mortal like the rest of us. MH cannot live more than a few years longer than he does.

  92. King eh?

    I want to see Mark Driscoll lean over the podium at his campus with his arms extended and scream; “I’m the King of the World!” just like Leonardo Dicaprio did in Titanic! 😛

  93. KMD wrote:

    Many ills can be laid at the feet of CJ/SGM…. But not this one.
    I would be interested in hearing the origins.

    The prophet/priest/king distinction in church leadership is founded on John Frame’s tri-perspectivalism. For Frame it is a broader epistemology based on his own understanding of how the Trinity affects human knowing. Part of the tri-perspectival theory looks at the three-fold offices of Christ (Prophet/Priest/King), and extrapolates this to how Christ rules the church presently through the three offices.

    Keller has picked up on this as well and it does inform certain aspects of church leadership at Redeemer. However, Mark Driscoll has taken Frame’s concepts and put his own spin on them and then absolutized them in terms of church governance. All leadership giftings fall under the broad categories of prophetic, priestly, or kingly gifts, and are assigned accordingly under MHC leadership. Those with ‘priestly’ gifts would be assigned to traditionally diaconal roles such as mercy ministries, and service. Those with “prophetic” gifts are placed in teaching and preaching ministries. Those with “kingly” gifts are given administrative leadership.

    The basic distinction between the threefold office of Christ is certainly sound. I don’t even have a problem of using this rubric to better understand the way spiritual gifting functions in the church. But, the gross overemphasis on the tri-perspectival rubric at MHC has lead to an abandonment of traditionally biblical understanding of church leadership. The offices revealed in the NT are elders and deacons, and there is no hard and fast gift-mix given for these offices (except that elders are able to teach sound doctrine), and qualification for these offices is as dependent on proven character as it is gifting. Additionally, there does not seem to be a heierarchy of office, rather elders are equals charged with leading the church (my Presbyterian slip might be showing here). It is as if the leadership has usurped the prophetic/priestly/kingly offices from Christ himself and used them as an impetus to abuse authority. Elders are under-shepherds, not kings, prophets, or priests – they serve under Christ’s threefold offices, not in lieu of them.

    Here’s a couple of sources that explain it better than I can:

    http://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/prophets-priests-kings-frame-keller-and-driscoll

    http://www.frame-poythress.org/a-primer-on-perspectivalism/

  94. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    burnrnorton wrote:
    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    I love me a good Firefly reference.
    Gorram Shiny.

    I’ve always considered TWW to be part of the religious Browncoats

    “I aim to misbehave”

  95. Marie 2…..I’m 127 today! 😛

    Love the salary information…and it puts the “tithe,tithe,tithe” emphasis in a new perspective. The “Pastor” needs a “Gospel Centered Mansion”. How much is Mark Driscoll’s mansion? Something like one million dollars? This seems to be a pattern going on with these guys (James MacDonald who likes to practice “Gospel Centered Gambling” also lives in a million dollar home that once belonged to a former Illinois United States Senator”

  96. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Pondering the various comments on the possible collapse of Mars Hill, one could come at this from several directions…

    Point 1 of 3
    I cannot regard Mars Hill as an authentic, never mind healthy, expression of the church; it is a pyramid marketing business. But I am very hesitant about wishing for its collapse, because it’s easy to forget that there are people in there. Most of us know at first hand how difficult it can be to re-establish a healthy spiritual life even after we discover what our “church” really is. MH is an awful lot of people who may never have learned to pray and think alongside the Holy Spirit for themselves, who might struggle for a long time over what they do or do not need to repent of, to whom, and how.

    I’d rather see the steady growth of The Church in the Seattle area, and a steady growth of real relationships between MH adherents and the true body of Christ which may include, but could never be limited to, MH. If that happened, the brazen and boastfully unrepentant divisive spirit that characterises the MH vision and modus operandi could simply fade away. It would lose its power once people realised that Fiscal owns neither the Bible nor them.

    Point 2 of 3
    As a part of the Church, MH already appears to be dead. In any setting where people will always be sacrificed for the brand and the mission, the love of God is absent. No love means no God, and most obviously in a part of the Church, no God means no life. I’m reminded most of a tree in the tropics that has been killed by a Strangler fig – the dead tree, suffocated (so to speak) by the parasitic tree, remains in place for a long time.

    Point 3 of 3
    Not everybody who has been attracted to a business like Mars Hill joined because they were seeking God’s kingdom. Some may have been dazzled by the PR or the Sunday show, or wowed by the apparent “success” of Fiscal’s numbers, and not actually want anything different. It would probably keep ticking over in some way. Obviously, though, Fiscal himself is the brand that MH markets, and he is mortal like the rest of us. MH cannot live more than a few years longer than he does.

    Well put. My thoughts exactly.

  97. KMD wrote:

    Many ills can be laid at the feet of CJ/SGM…. But not this one.
    I would be interested in hearing the origins.

    But both Driscoll and CJ have commented that CJ was a mentor to Driscoll!

  98. Here’s what needs to happen in Neo-Calvinism. It would be healthy and a good pushback against what has been happening the last few years. One of these guys needs to fall. He needs to fall publically, hard, and in a very embarrassing way. And unlike Baker or Haggard it won’t be due to sex. The two best candidates for going down in flames are Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney. And one of them needs to crash (Or hopefully both!)

    If Driscoll goes down it’s going to be from abuse of power. Due to the financial information bleeding out of Mars Hill, especially with RSI and misused tithe money, someone, somewhere needs to make an anonymous tip to the IRS. After what James Duncan wrote about on the Pajama Pages its becomes clear that Mark Driscoll exposed and threatened Mars Hill 501c3 designation. I remain convinced Mars Hill cannot be saved. Its needs to be destroyed. For the sake of the wounded that I read on the Real the Bylaws, those stuck in the system and those who have no sense of discernment who are more like a moth to a light. But Mars Hill needs to go down in flames. Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill are interchangeable…meaning they are one of the same. One cannot exist without the other. If Mark Driscoll goes down in flames with the IRS investigating that could be one of the best things that can happen for modern Christianity. Why? These are the following reasons:

    1.It would show the problem with “Celebrity Pastors”
    2.Christians would see how these people are idols. It would help open many people’s eyes.
    3.It would reveal how the financial system is being gamed and the problem of money in the Hypo-Calvinist system.
    4.It would show how John Piper and others lacked no discernment in how they propped Mark Driscoll (and this can also show how the lack discernment in propping up CJ Mahaney)
    5.People need to see that Mark Driscoll is unfit for leadership and lacks the character.

  99. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Anyway…yes, this is very familiar – and I hope for the sakes of all involved that it does herald the collapse of this machine….

    It does indeed Jeannette. In a loosely parabolic metaphor they are like the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad. Bloggers and all the bad press they’ve garnered have them encircled in their own kessel (German for kettle) so to speak.

  100. acg116 wrote:

    I liked half of his gut reaction…the one dealing with SGM. Thought he went over the top calling tim/don liars (I am not privy to anything, but in any event seemed like a strong statement and thought he should have taken the high road there). That being said, I found it curious that the ONLY one he mentioned by name was Tim, who I think (not sure what just taylor’s denom is), is the only PCA guy among deyoung, carson, keller, and taylor, which would lend credence to your theory.

    I’m with you here although I remain a bit foggy about his statement regarding Carson and Keller and their statement (charging it was misleading at best) regarding Tchividjian’s departure from TGC. Tullian claims there were discussions regarding doctrinal differences among TGC executives going on that he was not privy to. Yet, for some reason, Carson & Keller referenced those differences as the basis for Tchividjian’s departure, and that the meeting between himself and TGC Executive Director Ben Peays was held to address those difference which Tullian claims is simply untrue:

    “The way the statement read, it was as if [Peays] came down to Fort Lauderdale to talk with me on behalf of the coalition regarding the theological issue that they were having with me. That is categorically false,” Tchividjian, who is the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida, told The Christian Post.

    According to Tchividjian, Peays flew down to Florida to help with his new ministry, Liberate. While the two dialogued about removing Tchividjian’s content from TGC’s website, “it was never ever insinuated that that’s what The Gospel Coalition wanted.”

    “To cover themselves so they would not look like bullies, they took a trip that Ben took two months ago, turned that trip and made it look like The Gospel Coalition sent him down to cover these concerns – and that’s just a flat-out lie. That’s a lie,” said Tchividjian. “It just calls into question their integrity. Why would they spin it that way? Why did they say it that way?”

    Guys from TGC made it a matter of doctrinal difference. Fine. I mean that is their prerogative. If TGC wants to limit the coalition to those who agree with them doctrinally, that is their choice. But why issue a statement about that as the reason when it turns out to be disingenious, and then from there Tchividjian issues an apology in an effort to preserve unity and promote harmony?

    It seems to me that instead of Tchividjian being the fall guy and apologizing, it would have been good if Carson and Keller said something in light of the discrepancy that existed between the stories being told, and what appears to their use of DOCTRINE as the reason.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2014/may/tim-keller-don-carson-explain-why-tullian-tchividjian-tgc.html?paging=off

    This is what bothers me about this. Carson and Keller referenced the SPLIT that occurred in the UK between D. M. Lloyd-Jones and John Stott and J. I. Packer as if somehow the whole situation with Tchividjian and TGC were similar in some ways. Personally, I think its dishonest to bring in issues of doctrinal difference as a reason when it really wasn’t true, then turn around and highlight a split that occurred among British Evangelicals – and from there allow Tchividjian to be regarded as trouble maker. Then after he issues his apology, everyone is praising him for being so humble including guys like Russell Moore saying that its “something we all can learn from, and ought to reflect on.”

    It seems to me if these guys are so concerned about doctrinal differences, they shouldn’t have mentioned them in the first place. Tchividjian wasn’t highlighting the difference that existed doctrinally. He was highlighting the fact they mentioned the doctrinal difference within the framework of a statement what untruthfully characterized the reason for Tchividjian’s departure. And this is where I think the real problem lies.

    To me, this harkens back to the kind of thing Mahaney did within SGM. Mahaney wanted to impose a shift in doctrine without anyone in the church knowing about it. What motivated Mahaney to blackmail Tomzcak and what caused him to act deceptively was a desire to protect the DOCTRINE against censure, and against the possibility his plan would be foiled. I’m sure Mahaney also wanted to hold onto power and to prevent a split because we know behind the scenes he was already manuveuring himself into position and using the problem that had occurred with Tomczak’s son as the driving force behind his power grab (in my view).

    Carson and Keller know Mahaney has been aligned doctrinally with them know for years within TGC, and I think their support of Mahaney has largely been due to this fact. They, too, have been motivated to protect their doctrine against censure and it would appear they’re willing to use this issue as a point of departure rather than any deceptive practice or statement that had occurred in the process.

    Mahaney publicly stated that Tomzcak departed from CLC for God-awful reasons, when the truth was covered up. Mahaney had acted deceptively behind the scenes and lied about the whole thing in an effort to preserve the thing that he used to wield authority and control, and which he would use to align himself with other leaders like those within TGC. Leaders who proved to provide him with safe haven in the midst of the other, more serious allegations he was charged with.

    I don’t get it. It just seems these guys are so keen on protecting their doctrines that they overlook the weightier matters of the law, and assume anyone who agrees with them are somehow more “sanctified” – oh snap!

  101. chris wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    Pondering the various comments on the possible collapse of Mars Hill, one could come at this from several directions…
    Point 1 of 3
    I cannot regard Mars Hill as an authentic, never mind healthy, expression of the church; it is a pyramid marketing business. But I am very hesitant about wishing for its collapse, because it’s easy to forget that there are people in there. Most of us know at first hand how difficult it can be to re-establish a healthy spiritual life even after we discover what our “church” really is. MH is an awful lot of people who may never have learned to pray and think alongside the Holy Spirit for themselves, who might struggle for a long time over what they do or do not need to repent of, to whom, and how.
    I’d rather see the steady growth of The Church in the Seattle area, and a steady growth of real relationships between MH adherents and the true body of Christ which may include, but could never be limited to, MH. If that happened, the brazen and boastfully unrepentant divisive spirit that characterises the MH vision and modus operandi could simply fade away. It would lose its power once people realised that Fiscal owns neither the Bible nor them.
    Point 2 of 3
    As a part of the Church, MH already appears to be dead. In any setting where people will always be sacrificed for the brand and the mission, the love of God is absent. No love means no God, and most obviously in a part of the Church, no God means no life. I’m reminded most of a tree in the tropics that has been killed by a Strangler fig – the dead tree, suffocated (so to speak) by the parasitic tree, remains in place for a long time.
    Point 3 of 3
    Not everybody who has been attracted to a business like Mars Hill joined because they were seeking God’s kingdom. Some may have been dazzled by the PR or the Sunday show, or wowed by the apparent “success” of Fiscal’s numbers, and not actually want anything different. It would probably keep ticking over in some way. Obviously, though, Fiscal himself is the brand that MH markets, and he is mortal like the rest of us. MH cannot live more than a few years longer than he does.
    Well put. My thoughts exactly.

    Yes indeed. A beautiful combination of both head and heart expressed in these three points.

  102. Bill Kinnon wrote:

    KMD wrote:
    Many ills can be laid at the feet of CJ/SGM…. But not this one.
    I would be interested in hearing the origins.
    I believe the more recent revival of this “triperspective theology” is largely from the “wisdom” of Calvinist Theologian John Frame.

    Interesting. I see a parallel between Frame’s “tri-perspectivalism” and the way so many topics were treated to three views in so much of the Gothard material. Anyone else see that?
    Also, the way Frame refers to it in this essay makes it seem like it was already in practice. Here is the relevant passage:
    “The Reformed Confessions and other theological documents often discuss the three offices of Christ as prophet, priest, and king. These offices reflect the same categories we have seen earlier. His kingship represents his control, his prophetic office his authority as the word of God, and his priesthood his work on behalf of his people in history, what we have called his presence.
    Since believers are united with Christ, many have drawn analogies between these offices and the status of believers. We too are prophets in the sense that we bear the Gospel message to the world. We are kings in that “all things are ours” (cf. 1 Cor. 3:22-23), and we are priests in the sense of 1 Pet. 2:8 (what the Reformers called “the priesthood of all believers”). In turn, these offices have been seen as models for church officers: the teaching elder (1 Tim. 5:17) represents especially God’s authority; the ruling elder (same verse) God’s control, and the deacon the priestly ministry of mercy. As perspectives, none of these gifts can function adequately without the others. But sometimes one or another is more prominent. Indeed, there are sometimes imbalances in churches that have too much emphasis on teaching, discipline, or mercy at the expense of the others.”

  103. Paula wrote:

    I don’t get it. It just seems these guys are so keen on protecting their doctrines that they overlook the weightier matters of the law, and assume anyone who agrees with them are somehow more “sanctified” – oh snap!

    No, you do get it. You definitely get it.

  104. @ Eagle:

    I’m not going to disagree too much with what you said here, although I might have used slightly calmer wording. However, I am going to go a bit deeper here.

    Mark Driscoll first came to my attention back in 2006 when he stated Ted Haggard had fallen because Haggard’s wife, Gayle, had let herself go. Let me refresh your memories of that quote, because it feeds into what I’m going to say next.

    At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

    Driscoll removed that statement, but it’s been preserved forever at other places, such as here: http://www.salon.com/2006/11/07/driscoll/

    This is the deal with what Eagle is proposing: It fixes some issues with money and power, but it doesn’t fix some fundamental issues, such as the position of women. Remember, Mark Driscoll felt absolutely free to put that garbage about Gayle Haggard on his blog on The Resurgence for all to see, and he didn’t take it down until he received a lot of pushback.

    That’s only the public instance. There are lots of private instances, where women are told what kind of lives they’re going to live and how they’re going to do it (for the most part, as homemakers and child-bearers and -rearers). Let me be explicitly clear: If a woman wants to do that, and has the ability to do so, great. More power to her. My stay-at-home mom (only high school educated) taught me to read. My sister stayed home with her kids until they were in their later elementary years, then she went back to work.

    But a lot of women are not in a financial position where they can stay at home with their kids and they shouldn’t be made to feel less because they don’t meet this expectation. Nor should women be made to feel that children, home and church are their only roles in life. It is my understanding, however, that this is what is expected at Mars Hill. I am less familiar with the Neo-Calvinists, so I can’t say if this is the case in other outfits, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    I’m of the opinion that it’s not just some superficial issues of power, authority and money that need to be addressed among the Calvinistas. I believe there are deeper issues of power and authority in play here. I can’t help but wonder if the CLC child abuse cases would have come out sooner if the mothers of those children hadn’t been empowered to really stand up for their children, as opposed to having to always defer to their husbands and church leadership.

    Women really do need to be free to be decisionmakers for our own lives. We already have to live with the responsibilities and consequences of decisions other people may want to make for us; why, then, can’t we consider the decisions, pray about it if that’s what we do, and then make the decisions on our own? Why do we need to have a headship or a covering over us?

    I may have something more to say about this later, but just writing about headships reminded me about how my dad has Alzheimer’s and how he’s mostly not there anymore. There are days I wish he was there so I could ask him about stuff or tell him jokes or just watch TV with him. But instead we (his children) are having to care for him. Thankfully my father gave us the space to where we could become fully-functioning adults and able to care for him now in his last years.

  105. So much I could say here, but out of everything, one sentence stuck out to me as being very telling of the entire MH fiasco: the elder who said that Mars Hill’s detractors are out to tear down Driscoll, the church, AND the gospel.

    I think it says a lot that they assume people who don’t like them and their church are anti-gospel. As if their church is so synonymous with the gospel that anyone’s problem with it is a problem with God, and not with man.

    I heard this kind of talk a lot coming from overly-authoritarian groups, and I think to some extent, language like that is just normalized and people use it without really thinking about the implications. But the people at the top have a responsibility to not believe their own press clippings that much. People can criticize a pastor without criticizing redemption through Christ, and the fact that I even have to say that is ridiculous.

  106. @ Bill Kinnon:
    @ KMD:

    I skimmed the John Frame e-book (I started reading it, but rapidly lost the will to live – a lesson for me in there, I suppose!).

    But I did notice the same passage you quoted, KMD. Is it not interesting that he equates kingship with control (though God never, even in the OT, sought to control his people or his creation), and teaching with authority? Whether this is another instance of the idolisation of the pulpit, or the reduction of the Biblescriptures to an expanded version of the Law of Moses, or both, I don’t know.

    But everywhere else, the King has authority, and the prophet inputs God’s real-time perspective. Aff the top o’ mah heid, I can think of few if any occasions in the OT in which a prophet taught, or expounded the then-existing biblescriptures as if nobody else could read them. Moses was the only exception, and there has never arisen a prophet like him since. How can christian preachers and authors love law so much?

  107. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I’m left wondering…what’s wrong with the NT system of elders and deacons? Why the need to invent some sort of pseudo-corporate hierarchical system based on misapplication of ancient Near Eastern concepts?

  108. I know a former MH pastor who just resigned within the last six months. He told me that he couldn’t discuss specifics, but he said he wasn’t on the same page with leadership anymore. He has now moved away from the Seattle area (more than the “non-compete radius”), but he is “transitioning” to the corporate world instead of staying in ministry.

    I can’t help but wonder – why wouldn’t my friend remain in ministry? He loves it, and he’s trained for it, and he’s not anywhere near the Seattle area…

  109. Nancy wrote:

    There is the option for single party (government) payor.

    This is actually the only option with sustainable economic modeling. And it has been implemented in at least five distinct forms (examples of each: Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Japan, France). It works, and works very well, but many American voters are more driven by vague philosophies about how things “aught” to be, rather than facts and figures and how things “really are”.

  110. @ Mr.H:

    the stress of moving (I would guess he’s married with kids), of adjusting to a new area, the stress of his experiences with Mars Hill and how it must have affected his family relationships, perhaps his emotional and physical health — I can only imagine what it would be like. A change of job could be very welcome.

    my thinking is “ministry” (whatever that this) can happen anywhere (a break room, a coffee place, a living room, a backyard, a park, in a rowboat, at a campsite, etc.) why in the world must ministry equate with one’s name on an org chart?

  111. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Mr. H said: “I can’t help but wonder – why wouldn’t my friend remain in ministry? He loves it, and he’s trained for it, and he’s not anywhere near the Seattle area…”

    Bub Neck Lick said: “… thing is, though, is he trained for ministry? Mars Hill is the corporate world through and through, so he won’t have been trained for ministry there.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    TIME…..TIME…..alright — what in the world is ministry? there’s training for this?? to me it usually seems to mean admin and people skills with a “sanctified” sticker on it.

  112. I don’t think Jesus’ disciples had to sign a non-compete clause. …

    Though there were the two brothers whose mother was angling for them to sit on the right and left of Jesus. (Two thousand years later, still sounds like something some of these “Christian leaders” would want.) Remember how that turned out? (Matthew 20:20-28.)

  113. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
    Wonky point on this thread derail – the German and French systems are actually multipayer, although prices and coverage is highly regulated and subsidized. And while coverage can be linked to employment, you don’t lose coverage or substantially change benefits when you lose or change employment.

  114. sad observer wrote:

    So much I could say here, but out of everything, one sentence stuck out to me as being very telling of the entire MH fiasco: the elder who said that Mars Hill’s detractors are out to tear down Driscoll, the church, AND the gospel.

    How exactly does one tear down the gospel?

  115. burnrnorton wrote:

    Wonky point on this thread derail – the German and French systems are actually multipayer, although prices and coverage is highly regulated and subsidized. And while coverage can be linked to employment, you don’t lose coverage or substantially change benefits when you lose or change employment.

    Not to contradict you, but they are considered single payor systems. While they are administered by licensed third parties, they do not set their own rates, their own plans, or their own coverage options. For more details, reference: Delivering Health Care in America: A Systems Approach by Shi Singh.

  116. @ mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort:

    I’m of the opinion that it’s not just some superficial issues of power, authority and money that need to be addressed among the Calvinistas. I believe there are deeper issues of power and authority in play here.

    I enjoyed your comment and reading your thoughts, and wished to comment and share my perspective having to do with the above bit from your comment I’ve quoted.

    In my view, I think one of the “deeper” issues you mentioned having to do with power and authority go all the way back to Genesis 3 and their interpretation of the curse, especially the following verses:

    The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life; and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” To the woman He said,I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

    Rather than viewing this as a curse, I think they viewed the part of male rulership as a wonderful New World Order (but lets forget that bit about thorns and thistles and sweating from our brows). It’s like the curse became a law similar to the 10 commandments with the same eternal weight and glory attached:

    11th Commandment: “Woman, man shall rule over you and you must be in submission because they are your rulers!”

    But there’s a difference The Commandments and The Curse. This is how I see it: The law including The Commandments is holy & spiritual; there is nothing wrong it, rather it was intended to point out what is wrong with us. It was given to us to define sin and to lead us (like a tutor) to the only place where we could find atonement and forgiveness for our sin – in Christ. Christ fulfilled the law, but He abolished the curse.

    The Curse was the result of the Fall and God was right, of course, in what He prophesied would happen as a result of the entrance of sin into our relationships with each other and into the world system. Throughout the Old Covenant we see the outworking of sin becoming more and more expressed in the relationship between men and women, as men began to assume. But this rulership wasn’t something God originally intended, it was an expression of sin having entered in. And the depravity didn’t take that long: it took only 7 generations from Adam to Lamech for polygamy to set in, allowing men to marry multiple wives.

    Male rulership didn’t happen because God commanded it into existence in Gen. 3 because it were a new, holy order he mandated and wished to see fulfilled and that would bless the human race. It wasn’t a blessing; it was a CURSE. Male rulership resulted in the sinful suppression of women, who became viewed more and more as objects rather than equals, who could be collected and treated as property. This was hardly God’s desire.

    “Kings” like Mark Driscoll and his under-kings like Sutton Turner view themselves, obviously, as rulers. They identify themselves as such primarily because they are men. Guys like them, who misinterpret the curse and apply it as though it were God’s mandate for male hierarchy, greatly mistake themselves.

    From this perspective, thought, doesn’t it makes sense that Driscoll would issue a statement like he did, blaming Haggard’s wife? In Driscoll’s view women were created to improve the quality of male life, and a wife’s job is to “help” her husband do so. She fails if his life, for some reason, doesn’t measure up. He fell because she didn’t provide him with the quality of “care” he needed.

    I’m not sure who Mark Driscoll walks and talks with, but it appears he takes regular counsel with his buddies Sir M.E. Grandiose & Dr. Narr C. Sisum.

  117. Eagle wrote:

    King eh?
    I want to see Mark Driscoll lean over the podium at his campus with his arms extended and scream; “I’m the King of the World!” just like Leonardo Dicaprio did in Titanic!

    Or James Cagney at the end of White Heat:

    “TOP OF THE WORLD, MA!”

  118. About religious professionals losing their jobs; a slightly different opinion.

    Whoever said they had job security? The rest of us mostly do not. They need to prepare.

    It seems to me that a religious professional, of all people, should have and maintain other vocational skills in addition to whatever his particular religious vocational skills are. It seems that would ease some financial anxiety, buy some solid financial footing to help him/her stand up against bullying in the workplace, keep them in touch with the world that the rest of us live in, broaden their perspective on cultural changes, file down the sharp edges of some of the peculiarities some of them fall into, set a good example for their children, win the respect of church members and community alike, secure some health insurance in case of job loss, help build a financial reserve for family future needs, and help maintain some options to grab a new opportunity if it came along. How can networking outside the immediate system not be good?

    Before if somebody says that it cannot be done, well for some it can be done. I am not any authority on this, but I do know my father practiced law in a downtown law firm by day and then did what we would today call urban farming at home also. There is an extremely busy and admired family practice doctor here in town now who does that very thing also. I know my son practices law full time in his civilian job and then also has a part-time military job. Gazillions of women work full time and then go home and do the mommy thing also (I did; my daughter does.) So why would we think that somehow preacher-ing would make one incapable of functioning in any other way? I am sure they might get tired, but does anyone think that the rest of us are not tired?

    And then, for somebody who cannot or will not function outside the religious circle to try to tell those of us who can how to live our lives? I mean, who would dare tell a bunch of women who get up earlier, work harder and go to bed later how they ought to live their lives when they themselves had not even given it a shot? No sir. First show me what you got and then maybe I will listen to what you say. Get your hands dirty and get your feelings hurt on the job. I did. It is only a slightly painful procedure and it is terribly good for the soul. Then come back and we will see at that point.

    I don’t know about this man who is getting a secular job instead of continuing in ministry right now, but I bet he is on the right track, at least for him, and at least for now. I wish him well. Bless you brother.

  119. sad observer wrote:

    So much I could say here, but out of everything, one sentence stuck out to me as being very telling of the entire MH fiasco: the elder who said that Mars Hill’s detractors are out to tear down Driscoll, the church, AND the gospel.
    I think it says a lot that they assume people who don’t like them and their church are anti-gospel. As if their church is so synonymous with the gospel that anyone’s problem with it is a problem with God, and not with man….People can criticize a pastor without criticizing redemption through Christ, and the fact that I even have to say that is ridiculous.

    Oh, I’m sooooo with you here!!!

  120. Eagle wrote:

    Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill are interchangeable…meaning they are one of the same. One cannot exist without the other.

    I think Driscoll fashioned it that way. I’m pretty sure I read something on the internet months ago where Driscoll said in a church meeting to the others present that he is the Mars Hill brand.

  121. elastigirl wrote:

    in my observation, health insurance has become full of corruption. white-collared evil. it’s very logical to me why the extreme confusion, frustration, convolution. I think these things are by-products of evil when it becomes woven in to something.

    Our Prime Minister called our health system ‘socialist’ recently. Watch out here we come (the kings riding the Private Health Insurance Gravy Train just got extra happy).

  122. Where have all the pastors gone? At least 10 miles away.

    I would be willing to mediate the dispute at Mars Hill for 1/2 of the amount the group they will hire. I am licensed to practice law in 2 states, have practiced for 28 years, have worked on local church boards and served in leadership in other Christian organizations. I have also worked on and mediated church disputes.

    I would sincerely like to help.

    But I have a rule about communication. It has to be open and honest and not loaded with biblical phrases. So, if a person has an issue with the leadership in the church because the church has a policy that does not allow the disclosure of the finances of the church, any communications with or regarding that person should say, “Mr. ______ has left (not “transitioned”) our church because he disagrees with the church’s policy of not disclosing information regarding the finances of the church.” Not – “Mr. _______ has transitioned from leadership because he and our elders did not share the vision of … blah, blah, blah.”

    Anything can be worked out if people speak freely and honestly.

    But if people speak in code, and try to one-up the other or hide true facts through euphemisms or biblical or semi-biblical quotes, that is a great impediment to true mediation.

    Let me know if you get any takers on my mediation offer.

  123. @ mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort: thanks for that link.

    Re. Gayle Haggard, that pales in comparison to what MD has said and written about his wife, Grace. Everything I’ve heard/read strikes me as humiliating, as well as making her the fall guy for *his* problems.

  124. I have been a mediator (part time, with other assignments and activities) for 44 years, and an attorney for 15. I have been a CEO and a solo practioner, and I have worked with churches with a wide variety of theologies and ecclesiologies, from extremely conservative evangelical to moderate, and from extremely authority oriented to completely democratic and egalitarian. I would be willing to undertake the mediation for expenses and $1,000.00 a day, with the proviso, that I can hire, at MH expense, additional local or regional people (one or two) to assist at comparable rates. I have also served as an arbitrator. Require absolute confidentiality of what is said during the mediation, unless we reach some kind of settlement.

    I once mediated a divorce that had lasted many months, without progress, involving the top divorce lawyers in a top 25 population city. We started at 1:00 and before 5:00 had a settlement to put before a judge. Mostly because I forced everyone to think about their circumstances in the matter differently than they had in the past, got them to narrow the issues, choose their preferred outcome on each issue (hers or his ownership, e.g., for each item of property), which resulted in only two properties on which we had to negotiate.

    I have helped churches when pastors were not loyal to their spouse, and have helped churches with bylaws and organization structures.

    I have a Ph.D. in Social Psychology, with graduate work in cooperation and conflict resolution. If any one is interested, Dee/Deb know how to contact me.

  125. Just a quick update. Made it to my new home safely. My poor cat is grateful to finally be out of that darn carrier. 12 hours of driving two days in a row is exhausting for both humans and felines. 🙂

  126. Mirele said:

    “But a lot of women are not in a financial position where they can stay at home with their kids and they shouldn’t be made to feel less because they don’t meet this expectation. Nor should women be made to feel that children, home and church are their only roles in life. It is my understanding, however, that this is what is expected at Mars Hill. I am less familiar with the Neo-Calvinists, so I can’t say if this is the case in other outfits, but it wouldn’t surprise me.”

    This was also expected at my former PCA church, where the pastor and elders had been significantly influenced by the Federal Vision guys, the Bayly brothers, and others. To listen to them (pastor and elders) talk, if only you do the ‘biblical’ thing then OF COURSE God will come through with that high paying job. He has to! Surely He wouldn’t let a wife be forced into “wage slavery” where her loyalty will be divided between her husband and her boss, right? And if all else fails, surely the church’s diaconate will rise to the occasion to ensure that she may remain in her proper sphere…

  127. Mandy,

    Congratulations on your new marriage. I hope you two get to have some kind of honeymoon, either immediately or in the future. Hopefully without 12 hours of driving.
    😀

  128. NJ wrote:

    Mirele said:
    “But a lot of women are not in a financial position where they can stay at home with their kids and they shouldn’t be made to feel less because they don’t meet this expectation. Nor should women be made to feel that children, home and church are their only roles in life. It is my understanding, however, that this is what is expected at Mars Hill. I am less familiar with the Neo-Calvinists, so I can’t say if this is the case in other outfits, but it wouldn’t surprise me.”
    This was also expected at my former PCA church, where the pastor and elders had been significantly influenced by the Federal Vision guys, the Bayly brothers, and others. To listen to them (pastor and elders) talk, if only you do the ‘biblical’ thing then OF COURSE God will come through with that high paying job. He has to! Surely He wouldn’t let a wife be forced into “wage slavery” where her loyalty will be divided between her husband and her boss, right? And if all else fails, surely the church’s diaconate will rise to the occasion to ensure that she may remain in her proper sphere…

    Glad that’s your FORMER church, and that you saw through it. I wish that sort of garbage wasn’t in the PCA, but sadly it is far too common — maybe (a guess) in 20% of our churches, despite the requirement that our clergy be educated (college degree and masters degree). Hard to believe that anyone who has actually spent any time being educated here on planet earth could hold to and teach that sort of nonsense.

  129. __

    The great enemy of God’s salvation, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting the true fruit of genuine Christianity from the church than by 50(c)3 religion professionals persuading their members that it is somehow ‘improper’ for them to read and seek to understand the meaning of their bibles on their own.

  130. NJ wrote:

    This was also expected at my former PCA church, where the pastor and elders had been significantly influenced by the Federal Vision guys, the Bayly brothers, and others. To listen to them (pastor and elders) talk, if only you do the ‘biblical’ thing then OF COURSE God will come through with that high paying job. He has to! Surely He wouldn’t let a wife be forced into “wage slavery” where her loyalty will be divided between her husband and her boss, right? And if all else fails, surely the church’s diaconate will rise to the occasion to ensure that she may remain in her proper sphere…

    I’d like to echo pcapastor’s comments here, and commend him for being an honorable man in our embattled denomination. Due to the economic crash of 2008, and the loss of my family business, I became a stay-at-home dad to go back to school, and worked nights and graveyard shifts to make sure our kids always had someone to come home to. My wife has a far more stable job in education, and with one kiddo who has a heart condition, and the need for good benefits, staying home was a difficult, but obvious choice.

    I can say, after being at home for our three kiddos, that nothing is more difficult or rewarding as raising kids. These cowardly chauvinists like Driscoll, or the Bayly Bros. wouldn’t last a day at home with the kids, yet constantly demean women by their faux-protectionism, and by their elevation of the stay-at-home mom as the “biblical” model for womanhood. While it is certainly a noble role, women are not bound by Scripture to do anything but to be the godly wives, mothers, co-workers, and whatever else God has called them to be (the flip-side is true for men). In fact, if we wanted to get really “biblical”, the man and the woman and the kids all worked side-by-side in an agrarian society, all were responsible for the economic well being of the family (a curious and often necessary parallell to the dual-income family of today). No man needs to feel castrated by doing what is best for his family, even if it means staying at home full or part time (many of my friends in fire depts and law-enforcement are part-time stay-at-home dads due to the high cost of living in CA), rather he should be honored that he can take such a hands-on role with his family. Not only do these guys (anyone in the patriarchy movement – hard or soft core) whiff on Scripture, they whiff on the dynamics of the 21st century economy, where there aren’t full-time jobs available for men in industries like construction (my former industry), manufacturing, or service industries that allow the large majority of families to have a sole breadwinner. Yet, their models of chauvinism, and the fact that many of them have not spent even the most modest time outside of full-time ministry blind them to the fact that they lay an unbearable and unsustainable burden of guilt for not assuming professional roles that have only developed in the last 200 years, and are quickly becoming obsolete in the information economy.

    Driscoll talks about being a fan of cage-fighting, yet he wouldn’t last a week in the world that most stay-at-home moms, and some dad’s occupy. I used to get all lathered up by their chauvinism, by their inability to understand what it really means to lay down one’s life (including professional ambitions) to be the kind of husband and father that God calls us men to. Now, I pity them, and pray for the men and women who bear up under the weight of their man-made standards for “biblical manhood and womanhood”. For those of us who don’t have the luxury of high six-figure salaries, and have to bear up under too many bills with too few resources, the distance between their lofty ideals and where the rubber meets the road is an insurmountable gulf. I’ll gladly take Christ any day – at least his yoke is light and his burden is easy in a Christian world that just loves to heap on the guilt.

  131.   __

    “Breaking Wind: Breaking Noses?”

    hmmm…

      501(c)3 proverbial professional religion-peddlers squabbling over who gets da territorial spoils, while the spiritual barbie is left un-attended?

    (figures…)

    LORD, open the trap, and let the intended victim(s) of this religious nitemare, go free!

    What?

    …those whom the Lord sets free, are freeeeeee indeed!

    YeHaaaaaaaa!

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture… – Jesus

    (Shouldn’t Jesus’ true shepherds be taking care of the flock of God?)

    “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 23:1

    big Ut’O !

    Sopy

  132. __

    Professional religion men “must give account…” – Hebrews 13:17

    hmmm…

    Could have fool’d me.

    “Sometimes the world makes stubborn pastors and elders do the right thing…” -Dee

  133. The Prophet, Priest and King thing:

    Not sure it helps really. In Newfrontiers, we have ‘Apostles’ which sometimes make me want to giggle when an apostle makes a gaff for example. The main problem is that churches retreat into jargon which makes them seem very odd to outsiders. Also, it ‘puffs’ people up and makes them more out of touch. There is a serious problem of seeming ‘weird.’

    Better to use plain English – administrator seems better than ‘King’ which has authoritarian overtones in our current culture or if you take the constitutional monarchy analogy, well this isn’t helpful otherwise.

  134. @ pcapastor:

    What has surprised me is that so much of the current nonsense seems to lurk in presbyterianism itself. I had no idea of the prior struggles or the current disagreements within that group of denominations. Back in the day (forgive me for that) when my children were young one of the friends of my daughter was the daughter of the local presbyterian pastor. Nice people. Kind of bland and harmless people, as far as I could tell. One of the pediatricians on staff was active in that church and used to talk to me about his disquiet with stuff in the church, but it was all just minor picky stuff he talked about–light in the window during advent, for example. So I just never got the idea that anything of this sort lurked in the midst of people I thought to be, well, mild and peaceable.

    But, for crying out loud, how mistaken can you be? When my parents raised an eyebrow at Billy Graham because of his presbyterian background I should have listened more closely. When they objected when some baptists made peace with the term evangelical early on, I should have perked up and listened. But I was too busy looking at the catholics (there were a lot of them around) and thinking they were so much better than we were, that I just missed the message, so to speak. Of course, that was probably also my salvation from the damage of what is now going on–I was just too oblivious. And too busy, of course.

    Anyhow, what I hear you yourself saying again and again is good for me to hear, because I really don’t want to develop some bias against some whole group of people, and you seem knowledgeable and sensible and compassionate. Just saying.

  135.   __

    “An Oasis In The Midst Of Religious Turmoil, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    “Come unto me all of you who are heavy laden, and I shall give you comfort…” -Jesus

    *
    *

    …there are literally hundreds of thousands of little sparrows who have courageously and faithfully taken ‘a stand for the truth’ and extended the borders of Jesus’ Kingdom far and wide…

    huh?

    Most of us are precisely dat— God’s lit’l sparrows…

    What?

    It is upon these believers, these faithful Christ followers, these precious little ones, that the Lord, Himself, is building up His wee church…

    (tear)

    You (really) Matter!

    Blessings!

    “Most of all, the Lord is with us…”

    Blessings!

    Sopy

  136. The situation re “transitioned” pastors and elders at Mars Hill is one that is ripe for mediation by an independent mediator, one that is not coming in with preconceived notions of what the solution should be.

  137. The situation between the fired pastors and the church could certainly be mediated but it wouldn’t get to the root of the problem. Given the authority structure, it is easy for Driscoll and allies to fire anyone. The lack of severance pay makes the church look bad, as indicated by the quick and generous donations raised for Phil Smidt. So I can well imagine that a mediator could negotiate a new plan involving severance pay, but the firings will continue as long as staff members voice objections to anything.

    The real problem is the authority structure that removes any power from the church members to control budgets, object to unjust behavior, replace pastors preaching incorrect theology, or even ask a simple question about what is going on. Those in control aren’t going to give up power; in fact they are nearly frantic in their attempts to keep it.

  138. pcapastor wrote:

    Your state’s motto, “To be, rather than to seem,” is nonsense to them. If Jesus were to say to them, “Go and learn what this means, “To be, rather than to seem,” they would walk away scratching their heads like the rich young ruler.

    I especially love this part of your comment. Since 1893 North Carolina's motto has been Esse Quam Videri. Thanks for applying it to this situation.

  139. Ken wrote:

    dee wrote: Inquiring minds want to know: How do I get to become King?

    Ken: You don’t, you only get to be Queen ….

    I thought she could only become a Peasant Princess. 😉

  140. Mandy wrote:

    Just a quick update. Made it to my new home safely. My poor cat is grateful to finally be out of that darn carrier. 12 hours of driving two days in a row is exhausting for both humans and felines.

    Thanks for the update. So glad you made it safely!

  141. @ Deb:
    One could get into this King thing, you know.

    We hope you don’t mind Us pointing out the typo – ‘she could only become a Pleasant Princess’ was clearly meant. (How’s that for being a creep to get out of being in moderation?)

    Actually, there’s one vacancy left for a Mrs. King if anyone’s interested … 🙂

  142. Jed Paschall wrote:

    While it is certainly a noble role, women are not bound by Scripture to do anything but to be the godly wives, mothers, co-workers, and whatever else God has called them to be (the flip-side is true for men).

    I agree. The insistence on very narrow gender roles by some Christians is insulting to both men and women, and I don’t see any biblical support for it.

    I’ve never married and never had children (I’m a woman).

    However, most churches I have visited in person, and based on comments by Christians on most Christian blogs and church sites I see on the internet, suggest, or say outright, that a woman’s only godly role in life is to marry and have a baby.

    This view of the genders leaves out women who are infertile, who cannot carry a baby to term, who never met the right guy and so never got married and had kids, or women who simply are not interested in having children.

    It of course can be insulting to men who never marry, never have kids, or the ones who for whatever reason, stay home to raise the kids while the wife/mom works.

  143. Jed Paschall wrote:

    I’ll gladly take Christ any day – at least his yoke is light and his burden is easy in a Christian world that just loves to heap on the guilt.

    Me too.

  144. @ Nancy:
    It is entirely possible. I knew a pastor who worked full time in a white collar job and also pastored a church. He knew that the salary from the church would never be able to fully provide for his family nor should it. He also had a terminal disease and was able to put aside quite a bit of money for his wife in the event of his death. Two years ago he did pass and due to his planning, his wife was able to go back to school and finish her degree and support herself with the savings as cushion. I wish more pastors would follow the path of this man.

  145. Thank you all for your well wishes. I was so tired last night and barely had the energy to post the quick update. Apparently my birthday was yesterday as well but I didn’t know that until I checked facebook and found birthday wishes. 🙂 Oops. Altogether it ended up being about 24 hours of travel spread over 2.5 days. Thankfully my future husband and I will be taking a honeymoon with a much shorter drive (5 hours each way). My cat is very happy in her new home, happier than I have seen her in a long time. She loves my fiance and shared his pillow most of the night. I think this will all work out well. Now its time for me to take a nap and work on catching up on sleep.

  146. Jed Paschall wrote:

    Driscoll talks about being a fan of cage-fighting, yet he wouldn’t last a week in the world that most stay-at-home moms, and some dad’s occupy.

    I doubt he’d last a couple minutes inside the fighting cage.
    (Now THAT’s a sight to see!)

  147. Nancy wrote:

    @ pcapastor:
    What has surprised me is that so much of the current nonsense seems to lurk in presbyterianism itself.

    Bingo!
    Presbyterians were the authors of The Fundamentals back in (1910 I think). Now they are the authors of neofundamentalism.

  148. Jed Paschall wrote:

    These cowardly chauvinists like Driscoll, or the Bayly Bros. wouldn’t last a day at home with the kids, yet constantly demean women by their faux-protectionism, and by their elevation of the stay-at-home mom as the “biblical” model for womanhood.

    I tell you what this looks like to me. It looks like male on male competition/aggression. Especially when coming out of the mouth of somebody who wants to talk about alleged manhood the way they do. It looks like saying, “I am a better man than you, buddy, because I earn enough money so that my wife does not work. And just look at her, she is so pleased with me that she just loves doing what I tell her. Yes sireee bob tail, I am indeed better than you. Now watch me throw that in your face every chance I get.” I have tried to say this circumspectly, but I have actually heard a lot worse than this from men.

    Or else, why would any of these people get so fixated on what somebody else’s wife does or does not do? If they both work it would just mean more money in the plate would it not? What could possibly be more important than that? Verbal cage fighting with the other guys? I don’t know. It just has that appearance to me.

  149. Jed Paschall wrote:

    NJ wrote:
    This was also expected at my former PCA church, where the pastor and elders had been significantly influenced by the Federal Vision guys, the Bayly brothers, and others. To listen to them (pastor and elders) talk, if only you do the ‘biblical’ thing then OF COURSE God will come through with that high paying job. He has to! Surely He wouldn’t let a wife be forced into “wage slavery” where her loyalty will be divided between her husband and her boss, right? And if all else fails, surely the church’s diaconate will rise to the occasion to ensure that she may remain in her proper sphere…
    I’d like to echo pcapastor’s comments here, and commend him for being an honorable man in our embattled denomination. Due to the economic crash of 2008, and the loss of my family business, I became a stay-at-home dad to go back to school, and worked nights and graveyard shifts to make sure our kids always had someone to come home to. My wife has a far more stable job in education, and with one kiddo who has a heart condition, and the need for good benefits, staying home was a difficult, but obvious choice.
    I can say, after being at home for our three kiddos, that nothing is more difficult or rewarding as raising kids. These cowardly chauvinists like Driscoll, or the Bayly Bros. wouldn’t last a day at home with the kids, yet constantly demean women by their faux-protectionism, and by their elevation of the stay-at-home mom as the “biblical” model for womanhood. While it is certainly a noble role, women are not bound by Scripture to do anything but to be the godly wives, mothers, co-workers, and whatever else God has called them to be (the flip-side is true for men). In fact, if we wanted to get really “biblical”, the man and the woman and the kids all worked side-by-side in an agrarian society, all were responsible for the economic well being of the family (a curious and often necessary parallell to the dual-income family of today). No man needs to feel castrated by doing what is best for his family, even if it means staying at home full or part time (many of my friends in fire depts and law-enforcement are part-time stay-at-home dads due to the high cost of living in CA), rather he should be honored that he can take such a hands-on role with his family. Not only do these guys (anyone in the patriarchy movement – hard or soft core) whiff on Scripture, they whiff on the dynamics of the 21st century economy, where there aren’t full-time jobs available for men in industries like construction (my former industry), manufacturing, or service industries that allow the large majority of families to have a sole breadwinner. Yet, their models of chauvinism, and the fact that many of them have not spent even the most modest time outside of full-time ministry blind them to the fact that they lay an unbearable and unsustainable burden of guilt for not assuming professional roles that have only developed in the last 200 years, and are quickly becoming obsolete in the information economy.
    Driscoll talks about being a fan of cage-fighting, yet he wouldn’t last a week in the world that most stay-at-home moms, and some dad’s occupy. I used to get all lathered up by their chauvinism, by their inability to understand what it really means to lay down one’s life (including professional ambitions) to be the kind of husband and father that God calls us men to. Now, I pity them, and pray for the men and women who bear up under the weight of their man-made standards for “biblical manhood and womanhood”. For those of us who don’t have the luxury of high six-figure salaries, and have to bear up under too many bills with too few resources, the distance between their lofty ideals and where the rubber meets the road is an insurmountable gulf. I’ll gladly take Christ any day – at least his yoke is light and his burden is easy in a Christian world that just loves to heap on the guilt.

    Man, great comment! And you are a better man than I. When you write, “I used to get all lathered up by their chauvinism, by their inability to understand what it really means to lay down one’s life (including professional ambitions) to be the kind of husband and father that God calls us men to. Now, I pity them, and pray for the men and women who bear up under the weight of their man-made standards,” you are beyond me. I mostly just get lathered up and then don’t move to pity or prayer, but simply disgust and disregard. Blessings to you!

  150. MORE BREAKING NEWS:

    FERRER IS A BREAK UP AGAINST RAFA!

    THE WORLD HAS OFFICIALLY GONE MAAAAAAAAAAD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I still confidently predict * a cracker of a final between Rafa and Novak.

    * Me and everyone else, I suspect

  151. Nancy wrote:

    @ pcapastor:
    What has surprised me is that so much of the current nonsense seems to lurk in presbyterianism itself. I had no idea of the prior struggles or the current disagreements within that group of denominations. Back in the day (forgive me for that) when my children were young one of the friends of my daughter was the daughter of the local presbyterian pastor. Nice people. Kind of bland and harmless people, as far as I could tell. One of the pediatricians on staff was active in that church and used to talk to me about his disquiet with stuff in the church, but it was all just minor picky stuff he talked about–light in the window during advent, for example. So I just never got the idea that anything of this sort lurked in the midst of people I thought to be, well, mild and peaceable.
    But, for crying out loud, how mistaken can you be? When my parents raised an eyebrow at Billy Graham because of his presbyterian background I should have listened more closely. When they objected when some baptists made peace with the term evangelical early on, I should have perked up and listened. But I was too busy looking at the catholics (there were a lot of them around) and thinking they were so much better than we were, that I just missed the message, so to speak. Of course, that was probably also my salvation from the damage of what is now going on–I was just too oblivious. And too busy, of course.
    Anyhow, what I hear you yourself saying again and again is good for me to hear, because I really don’t want to develop some bias against some whole group of people, and you seem knowledgeable and sensible and compassionate. Just saying.

    Thank you. As long as I remain anonymous I can maintain the illusion of my knowledge and sense and compassion 🙂

    Presbyterianism is such a study in contrasts. One of its great selling points (as our Westminster Standards teach) is its strong stand on “Christian Liberty,” i.e.:

    “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.”

    So much of the nonsense exposed here at TWW would have no chance of taking root in any congregation that holds true to the above principle. A simple, “what you are imposing on us does not come from a reasonable and studied understanding of Scripture, but is an attempt to violate our freedom of conscience, so take that &#@% back to hell where it came from,” would keep the Bill Gothard/Doug Wilson/CJ Mahaney/Doug Phillips/John Piper/RC Sproul jr./Mark Driscoll/etc. destructive nonsense from finding a home in any church, presbyterian or otherwise. And it should be said that many (most?) of the PCA churches I am familiar with have never given that junk a home. Maybe that is just my wishful thinking, though.

    Meanwhile, on the other hand, there is NO DOUBT that presbyterianism has been the birthplace and proving ground of more hyper-authoritarian, destructive, extra-biblical (though “proof texted” from the Bible) vileness….think THEONOMY/RACISM/the use of the SWORD to impose church discipline/”Christian America” propaganda/and on and on and on. I honestly don’t know how to explain it. I do appreciate how you worded it, though, “What has surprised me is that so much of the current nonsense seems to lurk in presbyterianism itself.” That is just it, it LURKS here, but (hopefully) has never/will never be FULLY AT HOME here.

  152. We are organic farmers outside of Portland, so there are a LOT of Mars Hill/Driscoll acolytes around here, and a number of them are customers.

    One woman, who has become a friend, has a husband who has been unemployed for almost a decade. She has done everything “right”. She has shouldered every burden that the “authorities” at her church have saddled her with. They have five children and the first time they came to my farm to pick up groceries, her oldest said, “Wow! Are we going to LIVE here?” because he was so accustomed to crashing, temporarily, at other people’s homes.

    Still, she berates herself for not being “sweet” or submissive enough when her husband quits or is fired from yet another entry level position. She has never held a job, despite being smart, capable, and marketable. All because Mark Driscoll and his ilk have convinced her that the woman’s place is in the home, praying for the husband to step up to the plate and provide. She and her children suffer daily in pursuit of “Biblical, non optional” gender roles.

    It makes me furious, and it’s one of many reasons why TWW is so essential. If the church is ever going to move away from the absurdity of this doctrine, people are going to have to speak up.

    Off topic, but since I know rabbit trails are welcome here: my husband and I caught our first wild honeybee swarm last night! It was 16 hours ago and I’m still really excited about it. 🙂

  153. StacieMao wrote:

    my husband and I caught our first wild honeybee swarm last night!

    That’s great. I don’t know much about bees, but the whole nation read about the recent honey bee die-off and how people who had bees could go around from place to place and basically rent out their bees. So, you said “first” and I assume you have bee plans? Good luck to you in that.

  154. SPFFPSSSFFTTSTFFFFFFFF

    Doing my best to spell the sound of spraying coffee there, but I’m just back from making tea and apparently Ferrer won the first set!

    Thus, for the first time, Rafa will need 19 sets to reach the final. Normality will definitely be resumed soon, however. In the semi he’ll gubplay the winner of Monfils / Murray – at the time of writing, Murray is a set and 5-0 up on Chatrier. So far, so good for the latest Free Man of Stirling.

  155. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I doubt he’d last a couple minutes inside the fighting cage. (Now THAT’s a sight to see!)

    I'd settle for a Bene Gesserit reverend mother just using voice on him to make him howl at the moon on all fours & pi$$ on a fire hydrant.

  156.   __

    “Are Your Feet Rooted in Good ‘Religious’ Soil?”

    hmmm…

    (Doesn’t hurt ta check)  

    *

    Resist 501(c)3 ‘religious’ tyranny…read your bible!   🙂

    Grow organic faith, bear beautiful fruit …rooted in the bountiful word of God.

    (Remember, da ‘faith’ you save, maaaaaay be your own…)

    You Matter.

    “Best of all, God is with us!”

    ATB

    Sopy

  157. StacieMao wrote:

    We are organic farmers outside of Portland, so there are a LOT of Mars Hill/Driscoll acolytes around here, and a number of them are customers.

    One woman, who has become a friend, has a husband who has been unemployed for almost a decade. She has done everything “right”. She has shouldered every burden that the “authorities” at her church have saddled her with. They have five children and the first time they came to my farm to pick up groceries, her oldest said, “Wow! Are we going to LIVE here?” because he was so accustomed to crashing, temporarily, at other people’s homes.

    Still, she berates herself for not being “sweet” or submissive enough when her husband quits or is fired from yet another entry level position. She has never held a job, despite being smart, capable, and marketable. All because Mark Driscoll and his ilk have convinced her that the woman’s place is in the home, praying for the husband to step up to the plate and provide. She and her children suffer daily in pursuit of “Biblical, non optional” gender roles.

    It makes me furious, and it’s one of many reasons why TWW is so essential. If the church is ever going to move away from the absurdity of this doctrine, people are going to have to speak up.

    This makes me so sad to read and is why I wrote what I wrote yesterday. The child’s remark just hit me in the gut. *shakes head* There are too many families struggling along in poverty or near to it because there are these ideas about what work women should do. I’d also add that there are more than a few groups where men also are restricted by pastoral teachings as to the types of jobs they can hold. For example, my employer, with its diverse workplace, would be rather off-limits. In my group, for example, my direct manager is a woman (and a devout Christian), while our senior manager is a woman. That would be so totally unacceptable to guys who have been taught to believe only men should be leaders!

    Off topic, but since I know rabbit trails are welcome here: my husband and I caught our first wild honeybee swarm last night! It was 16 hours ago and I’m still really excited about it. 🙂

    That’s great! The more bees the merrier!

  158. Nancy wrote:

    StacieMao wrote:
    my husband and I caught our first wild honeybee swarm last night!
    That’s great. I don’t know much about bees, but the whole nation read about the recent honey bee die-off and how people who had bees could go around from place to place and basically rent out their bees. So, you said “first” and I assume you have bee plans? Good luck to you in that.

    We have one very healthy, big, thriving hive. But we also had an empty hive box that needed some bees in it. Now we have some! 😀

    You know, I’ve heard a LOT about colony collapse disorder, but I’ve never seen it. My neighbor, who has been a beekeeper for 50+ years, has also never seen it. I think that it occurs primarily in traveling commercial hives…the ones who are hauled down to California for the almond blossoms, or to Florida for the citrus blossoms. On the other hand, I have a book on beekeeping that was originally published in the late 19th century, and in it the author describes CCD perfectly. So it might not be a new phenomenon, and it might be cyclical, like most things with bees are. 🙂

    It IS getting harder to find wild swarms, because everyone and their sister keeps bees these days and the competition for swarms is pretty fierce (in a nice way, because beekeepers are pretty genial people). My neighbor deliberately allows his hives to split and swarm because he has enough and wants other people to be able to catch them. We will probably do the same, once we have a few hives going.

  159. pcapastor wrote:

    chris wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    (Points 1,2,3)

    Well put. My thoughts exactly.

    Yes indeed. A beautiful combination of both head and heart expressed in these three points.

    I’ve gotta add a third nod to the thoughtful points Nick made. Combo of head and heart indeed. I can’t help but feel very sober about what a mess it is (MH) and how many lives it’s affected. The fact that I stumbled across a video of Driscoll (without knowing anything about him) while striving to learn about a Christian subject showed me how terribly influential he can be by sheer broad exposure and accessibility. Anyway. Great points made.

  160. Deb wrote:

    I thought she could only become a Peasant Princess.

    Yep, according to Driscoll. He reduced a “prince’s daughter” to a peasant for his Peasant Princess series because:

    A) He is NOT the gifted Bible teacher he and his minions think he is. (A REAL Bible teacher would not name an entire series based on false information concerning the Beloved in the Songs.)

    B) There is only room for kings in his hierarchy-worshiping brain. No queens. Only pleasant, peasant princesses.

    Proof of Driscoll’s poor Bible reading and teaching skills. The beloved is referred to as a prince’s daughter or nobleman’s daughter. She is no peasant.

    Songs 7:1 “How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
    O prince’s [nobleman’s] daughter!
    The curves of your hips are like jewels,
    The work of the hands of an artist.

    Found at:  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song+of+Solomon+7%3A1&version=NASB

  161. @ StacieMao:

    “my husband and I caught our first wild honeybee swarm last night!”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    ‘tcha….. and I was proud of the tadpole I caught.

    (how in the world does one go about catching a swarm of bees?!?)

  162. Mara wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    I thought she could only become a Peasant Princess.
    Yep, according to Driscoll. He reduced a “prince’s daughter” to a peasant for his Peasant Princess series because:
    A) He is NOT the gifted Bible teacher he and his minions think he is. (A REAL Bible teacher would not name an entire series based on false information concerning the Beloved in the Songs.)
    B) There is only room for kings in his hierarchy-worshiping brain. No queens. Only pleasant, peasant princesses.
    Proof of Driscoll’s poor Bible reading and teaching skills. The beloved is referred to as a prince’s daughter or nobleman’s daughter. She is no peasant.
    Songs 7:1 “How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
    O prince’s [nobleman’s] daughter!
    The curves of your hips are like jewels,
    The work of the hands of an artist.
    Found at:  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song+of+Solomon+7%3A1&version=NASB

    Songs 7:1 “How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
    O prince’s [nobleman’s] daughter!
    The curves of your hips are like jewels,
    The work of the hands of an artist.
    Found at:  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song+of+Solomon+7%3A1&version=NASB

    For some reason this reminds me of a story. Requiring an educated clergy does NOT keep out all problems, but it keeps out SOME at least. Could it be that one of the reasons Mark Driscoll (or CJ Mahaney, or Doug Wilson, or Doug Phillips — same pattern) had to start his own church and denomination is because he could not have passed the basic ordination exams required by any/every actual denomination? (The process examines one’s education/knowledge/AND CHARACTER).

    Anyway, I heard the (true) story of a contemporary non-denominational mega-church pastor seeking admission into an actual denomination (which I am thankful for; I am NOT making fun of him with this story!), who literally and actually FAINTED during his oral examinations, so unexpectedly grueling the process proved to be for him. The process was exhausting for me as well, by the way.

  163. @ StacieMao:
    @ Jed Paschall:

    Great points, both. I’m somewhere in the middle: I have been unemployed, or all but (unable to make a living in IT or as a writer) for the last ten years. Functionally, that all started years ago. I graduated from Cambridge in 1989, and went back to Cambridge the next year as I felt that was where God had planted me. So I did what you’re supposed to: I Got A Job. No great problems there. The next year I did a year’s unpaid work on a Covenant Ministries / Restoration “GO”-Team in Glasgow, and that is where the trouble began.

    Once team finished I could hardly even buy a job. Years of stacking shelves, selling frozen yoghurt, even trying to sell life-insurance followed, but nothing turned into a long-term opportunity, none of the countless applications I sent off for decent jobs got anywhere (most weren’t even answered) and nothing I did manage to get ever paid enough to support a family. I was offered my first realistically permanent job, i.e. that had sufficient salary and prospects for us to start a family and for me not to have to be constantly trying to get a better job from the moment I started, at the age of 30. For a complex raft of reasons, that job ended 8 years ago.

    Because I spent so long unemployed at the start of my working life, I am critically lacking in the job-specific skills and experience any 45-year-old man needs to compete in the job-market. That, of course, is not helped by the fact that no employer will give work to someone who is not currently in work. I am currently teaching myself MySQL, PHP, French and German in the hope of networking my way to some freelance stuff. It may be possible, at the same time, to do something different to help the wider job-seeking community.

    But the net result is that, had Lesley not been consistently employable throughout our marriage, we could never have survived financially. At least it gives me some insight into the challenges faced by people like Daisy, who want to get married but can’t find the right person (and weirdo’s don’t count). Sometimes, the question Why the **** is this not working for me? just doesn’t have a simple answer.

  164. @ Mara:

    Oh -the dreaded subject of Song of Solomon… After reading the actual full transcript of Driscoll in Scotland on the subject, it makes any one with any remaining doubt shudder that he still teaches, preaches etc. Just had to say. Old topic, I know, but still.

  165. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:
    (how in the world does one go about catching a swarm of bees?!?)
    I wondered that, too… does it have something to do with impersonating a queen? Now that would be on topic.

    Hey. There’s no impersonating about it. 😉

    It’s scary but simple: get a box, bait it with lemongrass oil (the bees like the smell) and shake the swarm into the box. They fall, en masse, into the bin and if you get the queen with the first shake, all the stragglers will follow. There are YouTube videos…it’s fascinating. At least to me. 😀 Oh, and you’ll hardly ever get stung, because swarms have nothing to defend…no home, no honey. It’s still slightly terrifying.

    @Nick, I absolutely agree with you. There have been times when I’ve had to take on some outside work to keep our family solvent. I’ve waited tables, written recipes, done consulting work for a friend’s business. It’s not a comment on my husband and his competence, or his dedication to us. It’s just…life. Life happens. And we are partners. That’s what I think that MD and his cronies miss…if there always HAS to be a boss, there’s no partnership. Who wants that?

  166. StacieMao wrote:

    bait it with lemongrass oil (the bees like the smell)

    Ah! They probably think it’s Thai grub. That would make sense – it attracts me too. I don’t mean that in a creepy way, btw; just commenting on Thai grub. I think most folk would fly into a box that smelt of Thai grub.

    Still no flag… 🙁

  167. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Sometimes, the question Why the **** is this not working for me? just doesn’t have a simple answer.

    StacieMao wrote:

    It’s just…life. Life happens.

    “Verily I say to you” if I may use that phrase, it is life, life does happen, and it happens to everybody. Only some things are more visible to the public and some things not so much. How do I know? I have seen their medical records for one thing, thousands of them. In fact, after I retired from clinical practice I worked for VA doing nothing but pouring over medical records, stacks and stacks of records. Being human is horrendously difficult. My son says that behind every door there is herpes and heartbreak. Not accusing anybody of any particular disease, he just likes to sling words around like that. But it is true. I have lived with/through more (deleted) than I care to recall, but I just don’t talk about it.

    I don’t know about anybody else, but at some point I have had to learn how to forgive God for how things are. Never mind He may not have caused it, one has to say He did not solve it, and what then? I don’t know. I have no answers. But it seems to be that we have access to God, to grace (which He told Paul was sufficient) and that will have to do.

  168. @ elastigirl:

    The entire Mars Hill organization is a bureaucratic, bloated, abusive mess with it’s Prophet and King lording over the entire dung heap. And poor Phil Smidt. He has become a victim of the very monster he helped create – he and the 20 something anonymous “elders” who are calling for a “mediation” and “reconciliation” with Driscoll and his appointed minions. Rather than pointing their collective fingers at Driscoll and wanting to pow-wow with him, they should be confessing their sin to the church, to the thousands of members who left, to all those run over by the Mars Hill bus and begging for forgiveness and reconciliation with them instead. They are as guilty in all of this as Driscoll. Driscoll and the church became what they are today on THEIR watch. Yet, they remain silent and submissive. Unnamed. Phil Smidt became known after he was publically thrown under the wheels.

    By not taking a stand against bully Driscoll’s demands, Smidt and the other elders acquiesced to having their legal authority stripped away and vested in Driscoll after being warned that to do so would bring about not only Driscoll’s self-destruction, but the church’s. And now, that is all playing out before everyone’s eyes. Tragic.

  169. elastigirl wrote:

    (how in the world does one go about catching a swarm of bees?!?)

    Follow them back to their hive. Which can take a while. You will likely loose track of them a few dozen times. 🙂

    Then carefully find the queen (without teeing off the rest of them too much) and place her on something that will allow the others to land. There’s a good chance you will wind up covered in bees. Then head home, slowly, and move the queen to her new home.

    Never done but seen it a few times. Nothing like a bee hive trying to start on the side of your house to get you flipping through the phone book. Back when we had phone books. 🙂

  170. Still Soarin’ wrote:

    I’ve read thru the Mars Hill post/comments of late. Maybe I am missing something but can anyone tell me – is Mark Driscoll still in charge?? I mean – it sounds like they are editing one of the “Kings” – so has he become a figure head? I am surprised he puts up with being edited.
    I guess they must really be feeling some outside pressure if they decided to give Smidt a severance package.Love all of the “King” comments!

    Re: “Editing the King'”–am I the only one who has noticed that The King Has New Clothes?!?!?!………….

    Right there on the stage and everything—Driscoll wearing A Jacket–Like a Sports Jacket!!! and not even over a Micky Mouse TShirt…..

    AND a pair of baggy jeans with cuff’s rolled high…(Channeling my husband’s 1958 Kindergarten picture)—

    What my husband called his first “big boy pants” LOL

    I think he IS being Edited!! or at least he’s noticing all the digs about his Mickey shirt…..

    That sports jacket looks like his daddy’s……I think Mark is getting a bit afraid of ‘gettin’ in trouble”….

    A small thing maybe but I think it’s significant.

  171. PS–I’m referring to the video of Driscoll’s sermon that was edited and was about Jesus making mistakes vs sins….

  172. Anon wrote:

    He has become a victim of the very monster he helped create

    Something about if you play with fire you are apt to get burned?

  173. Anon wrote:

    His name? Terry Virgo.

    Oh,oh. I googled him earlier today because I never heard of NewHorizons before. The fact that Virgo is charismatic, and the fiasco of MD et al crashing the party at JMcA’s sort of anti-charismatic shindig not long ago, may be an alliance which could get pretty dramatic. Before it is over maybe MD with his love of showmanship will put Benny Hinn out of business. This could turn into “a really big shew!”

  174. Megachurch Pastor Convicted of Sexually Abusing Teen Appeals Prison Sentence, Blames Victim for Seducing Him

    According to Charles Murray, Schaap’s attorney, the defense wants to present new evidence casting the victim as an alcohol and marijuana user and one who met Schaap with “prior extensive sexual experience,” reported NWI.com.

    What a totally lame defense.

    At the end of the day, the 50 something man was responsible for his actions.

    I don’t care if she did in fact “seduce” him, I don’t care if she used weed or fooled around with every guy on her school’s football team before meeting him, that is all irrelevant.

    He’s a 50 something adult married man who preys on and cheats with teen kids. He needs to own his perviness.

    I read a lot of the legal documents when this case first came out. If anyone seduced anyone, it was he who chased after her. He wrote her some skin-crawling romantic, touchy feely prose in letters. IIRC, he also flirted with her over cell phone texting. Several papers reproduced excerpts from his “love letters” to her.

  175. Daisy wrote:

    What a totally lame defense.
    At the end of the day, the 50 something man was responsible for his actions.
    I don’t care if she did in fact “seduce” him, I don’t care if she used weed or fooled around with every guy on her school’s football team before meeting him, that is all irrelevant.
    He’s a 50 something adult married man who preys on and cheats with teen kids. He needs to own his perviness.
    I read a lot of the legal documents when this case first came out. If anyone seduced anyone, it was he who chased after her. He wrote her some skin-crawling romantic, touchy feely prose in letters. IIRC, he also flirted with her over cell phone texting. Several papers reproduced excerpts from his “love letters” to her.

    This hopefully will go exactly nowhere. Jack Schaap is requesting a do-over when he pled guilty to the charge. To refresh everyone’s memory, he pled guilty to violating the Mann Act. (He’s even mentioned in the Wikipedia article on the Mann Act.) He’s assumed to have had effective assistance of counsel when he pled. As far as I can tell, he’s not alleging his counsel was incompetent. It’s all about the girl, and I can tell you, when you’re talking about a minor, claiming “she seduced me” is going to be a tough act to sell. ESPECIALLY when there are letters from Schaap grooming this girl.

    If it’s any consolation, this move may annoy the judge so much that he might resentence Schaap, who was given only 12 years when the range was up to 17–and that’s according to local defense attorneys in the article I read. It would serve Schaap right. I can’t even imagine being the attorney asked to challenge the plea deal, because “she tempted me” is something that might likely annoy a federal judge. On the other hand, I’m sure that Schaap is really hating prison life, is wanting out in the worst way and playing his best hand. I hope the judge pitches this petition in the round files.

  176. mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort wrote:

    If it’s any consolation, this move may annoy the judge so much that he might resentence Schaap, who was given only 12 years when the range was up to 17–and that’s according to local defense attorneys in the article I read. It would serve Schaap right.

    I hope so. He deserves to have another few decades pegged on to his sentence for trying to pull this. It’s bad enough he exploited this young lady, he was caught and is doing time, but trying to weasel out of it by blaming her??? 🙄 Like I said in my last post, he needs to own it.

  177. Haitch wrote:

    Sad news about our bee stocks and Monsanto’s solution to ‘employ’ robotic ones.

    Global corpocracy and the unanimity they demand will not stop until their own gated Elysium is threatened. And even then they will only slow down long enough to maximize their hold over the downstrata and ensure ‘stability’. Here in the States the honeybees are being systematically worked to death and poisoned by potent new pesticides conjured up in Monsanto’s labs. All to enhance investor confidence. So long as they can keep us fuzzed out with Miley’s latest antics, American Idol, and the Kardashians, what’s not to like?

  178. I’m not sure if this new site has been mentioned yet but I started reading some of the stories today. Gut-wrenchingly shameful behavior by a “church.”

    http://welovemarshill.com/

    These are stories by people who once went to Mars Hill Church. People are often hurt from their experience at the church and we hope to provide a platform for healing and change.

  179. Well, I’m a little late responding here, but…

    To Jed Paschall, pcapastor, StacieMao, Nick Bulbeck, and others,

    Thank you so much for affirming what has taken a long time over several years to sink in with me. After over a decade in a PCA church where rigid gender roles were not just the norm but sometimes explicitly preached from the pulpit, where the majority of families homeschooled or did the classical academy thing because the “government” schools were no place for any Christian child (regardless of circumstances), where my husband was expected to work 14+ hours at two jobs if necessary with no end in sight so I would not have to work for an outside boss, I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see others affirming things I’ve been thinking for a while now; that no, I’m NOT CRAZY. Something really was horribly off about what we were being taught as a nonnegotiable of the faith.

    The culture of that church was alright if you happened to be comfortably middle class and hadn’t really suffered any from the Great Recession. Otherwise, one could feel quite out of place there. I am thankful that they never espoused the worst excesses of patriarchy, and the way they conducted worship was generally sound. I do think that they typically mean well, but on some issues they are importing cultural stuff into Scripture and tying burdens onto mens’ backs without lifting so much as a finger to help carry them.

  180. Amy Smith wrote:

    I’m not sure if this new site has been mentioned yet but I started reading some of the stories today. Gut-wrenchingly shameful behavior by a “church.”
    http://welovemarshill.com/

    These are stories by people who once went to Mars Hill Church. People are often hurt from their experience at the church and we hope to provide a platform for healing and change.

    I read those stories, Amy. Doesn’t the elder’s comment to Dalton Roraback make your blood run cold? “In the old days, we threw rocks at people like you until you were dead.”

  181. Nancy wrote:

    His name? Terry Virgo.
    Oh,oh. I googled him earlier today because I never heard of NewHorizons before

    I helped lead in a New Frontiers church a long time ago. For all its anti-denominationalism, I always though it a shame the group itself started to form yet ‘new frontiers’ between different Christians!

    The sad thing is that out of all the so-called apostles in the house-church movement, Terry Virgo was one of the most sensible, something I still think having left that scene ages ago. It would be nice to think he might bring a word that would correct what has gone wrong in MH, but I’m not holding my breath. Even Virgo was fooled by the pseudo Toronto Blessing. He may still think that large numbers in churches and conferences indicate God’s blessing, but I am more sceptical of any such correlation.

    He doesn’t half look old now! But then none of us is getting any younger …

  182. Paula wrote:

    @ mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort:

    I’m of the opinion that it’s not just some superficial issues of power, authority and money that need to be addressed among the Calvinistas. I believe there are deeper issues of power and authority in play here.

    I enjoyed your comment and reading your thoughts, and wished to comment and share my perspective having to do with the above bit from your comment I’ve quoted.

    In my view, I think one of the “deeper” issues you mentioned having to do with power and authority go all the way back to Genesis 3 and their interpretation of the curse, especially the following verses:

    The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life; and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” To the woman He said,I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

    Rather than viewing this as a curse, I think they viewed the part of male rulership as a wonderful New World Order (but lets forget that bit about thorns and thistles and sweating from our brows). It’s like the curse became a law similar to the 10 commandments with the same eternal weight and glory attached:

    11th Commandment: “Woman, man shall rule over you and you must be in submission because they are your rulers!”

    But there’s a difference The Commandments and The Curse. This is how I see it: The law including The Commandments is holy & spiritual; there is nothing wrong it, rather it was intended to point out what is wrong with us. It was given to us to define sin and to lead us (like a tutor) to the only place where we could find atonement and forgiveness for our sin – in Christ. Christ fulfilled the law, but He abolished the curse.

    The Curse was the result of the Fall and God was right, of course, in what He prophesied would happen as a result of the entrance of sin into our relationships with each other and into the world system. Throughout the Old Covenant we see the outworking of sin becoming more and more expressed in the relationship between men and women, as men began to assume. But this rulership wasn’t something God originally intended, it was an expression of sin having entered in. And the depravity didn’t take that long: it took only 7 generations from Adam to Lamech for polygamy to set in, allowing men to marry multiple wives.

    Male rulership didn’t happen because God commanded it into existence in Gen. 3 because it were a new, holy order he mandated and wished to see fulfilled and that would bless the human race. It wasn’t a blessing; it was a CURSE. Male rulership resulted in the sinful suppression of women, who became viewed more and more as objects rather than equals, who could be collected and treated as property. This was hardly God’s desire.

    “Kings” like Mark Driscoll and his under-kings like Sutton Turner view themselves, obviously, as rulers. They identify themselves as such primarily because they are men. Guys like them, who misinterpret the curse and apply it as though it were God’s mandate for male hierarchy, greatly mistake themselves.

    From this perspective, thought, doesn’t it makes sense that Driscoll would issue a statement like he did, blaming Haggard’s wife? In Driscoll’s view women were created to improve the quality of male life, and a wife’s job is to “help” her husband do so. She fails if his life, for some reason, doesn’t measure up. He fell because she didn’t provide him with the quality of “care” he needed.

    I’m not sure who Mark Driscoll walks and talks with, but it appears he takes regular counsel with his buddies Sir M.E. Grandiose & Dr. Narr C. Sisum.

    You are absolutely right here. This is the reason that the whole mess is so rotten underneath: It is “another gospel”, which Paul warned us about [see Galatians], and the source of any other “gospel” is NOT Jesus Christ. Therefore…..
    Yes. A curse–in fact, THE curse.

    Oh, yes, in case anybody here was still wondering: That “Zooey” person, like you all, has one Prophet, one Priest, & one King. And He is more than adequate for ALL our needs. (Something the crazies seem to ignore whilst they count their $$$$$$).

  183. Mandy wrote:

    Just a quick update. Made it to my new home safely. My poor cat is grateful to finally be out of that darn carrier. 12 hours of driving two days in a row is exhausting for both humans and felines.

    Glad you made it safely. Give your kitty an extra treat from me; my pair of spalpeens would have surely driven me stark staring mad travelling that much.

  184. Paula wrote:

    Guys like them, who misinterpret the curse and apply it as though it were God’s mandate for male hierarchy, greatly mistake themselves.
    From this perspective, thought, doesn’t it makes sense that Driscoll would issue a statement like he did, blaming Haggard’s wife?

    I’m not an apologist for MD, but in what he actually said he didn’t blame Haggard’s wife, he basically said she might have some co-responsibility, but which would not absolve Haggard. He may have a small point here, but then you could turn this around to say a bullying husband shouldn’t be shocked to find his wife attracted to another man who listens to her or treats her better. Sauce for the goose etc.

    I’m not sure MD should be commenting on someone else’s wife anyway. Whatever happened to ‘for better for worse’. You can’t expect a wife to remain as though she were 21, nor do most men retain their Charlton-Heston-as-Moses look for ever either! If I were more sanctified, I would have resisted the slight smurk about the unfortunate surname here – complaining a wife with the name Haggard is looking um, well, a tad haggard!

    Completely off topic, are you a Jane Austin fan in general, and Pride and Prejudice in particular (BBC, 1995)? Or do I quite mistake the matter!

  185. Yes, but and also:

    The guy with the she tempted me argument is full of it. But also, teens have to be held responsible for good behavior also. At the school where my daughter teaches they are forever having to get hold of the girls for behavior I cannot describe on this blog. Some of them get paid for it in various ways, literally.

    My wife did not “understand” me may/may not be true, but becoming a player is not the answer. But also, apparently there are a lot of women who need to get the message that men do need “taken care of” and it is her opportunity to do so. At least, the Chapmans (especially Carolyn) have preached that to women’s groups at SBC mega here in town. And Gary and Carolyn are not crazies at all.

    The preacher said it and I fell for it and got hurt is sadly true, and said preacher needs to be jerked up by his collar so to speak and dealt with. But also, we do have compulsory education in this country, most people can read at least some, and there are bibles to be read by the populace. Also lots and lots of books with contrary messages in the book section of Walmart even. Perhaps people ought not have to protect themselves from some preachers this way, but they do and must.

    It may seem harsh to require teens to control themselves, or women to “pay the light bill” or people to inform themselves, but how else are people to thrive except by assuming these responsibilities?

  186. @ NJ:

    where my husband was expected to work 14+ hours at two jobs if necessary with no end in sight so I would not have to work for an outside boss

    Funny, the pastor of the PCA church I attended for three years told my mom that my dad needed to get a different job, because his travel jobs were too long and too frequent and he wasn’t with his family enough. (She told him in no uncertain terms to stuff it.) He simultaneously praised John Piper and Don’t Waste Your Life all the time. So I’m not sure if that means we were supposed to get a lower-paying job and then give all the money away to missions, or what.

  187. @ Muff Potter:I hear you Muff, you put it so well. Sharing an old family vignette –
    Uncle (who’s a farmer) to Haitch trying to give me a hard-time about being unmarried: “Haitch, I thought you would have been married to a farmer by now”
    Haitch: laughs … “what, someone from Monsanto” ?
    Uncle: …silence… (stuck trying to process this proposed marriage to the devil)

  188. @ Ken (and others):

    I don’t know Terry Virgo personally; I’ve only read his autobiography (“No well-worn path”). But it did seem eminently sensible in a lot of ways, and in particular the manner with which Virgo went about his first job as pastor of a congregation.

    The history of the house church movement (as it is loosely known) in the UK is a mixed and interesting one. It is by no means all good: it’s by no means all bad either. But house churches did tend to build pyramids. I think one reason is that they set out with a desire to grow, including numerically. And not everyone knew any other way of building than by building pyramid-shaped organisations.

    Background information: I was part of (though never a leader in) Covenant Ministries, often better known (albeit erroneously) as “Restoration”, led by the late Bryn Jones.

  189. One more before I go and get the fruit/veg/haggis (it being Thursday): the “Toronto Blessing”.

    I am more than happy to be known for stating my overall support for the Toronto Blessing (as it is usually called). I do not believe it was from the devil, nor do I believe it originated in mass hysteria or some similar humanly-contrived faux spirituality. I believe God instigated it with a specific purpose, that it attracted all kinds of crowds and hangers-on (just as did the miracles Jesus himself performed around Galilee), and that some of these came for the wrong reasons and did wrong things with it; this happens with everything God initiates on earth, including christianity itself.

    Having thrown a large rock at that particular hornets’ nest, I shall go shopping, do some data-cleansing and progress my work with a local third-sector organisation’s logical data model!

  190. NJ wrote:

    Well, I’m a little late responding here, but…
    To Jed Paschall, pcapastor, StacieMao, Nick Bulbeck, and others,
    Thank you so much for affirming what has taken a long time over several years to sink in with me. After over a decade in a PCA church where rigid gender roles were not just the norm but sometimes explicitly preached from the pulpit, where the majority of families homeschooled or did the classical academy thing because the “government” schools were no place for any Christian child (regardless of circumstances), where my husband was expected to work 14+ hours at two jobs if necessary with no end in sight so I would not have to work for an outside boss, I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see others affirming things I’ve been thinking for a while now; that no, I’m NOT CRAZY. Something really was horribly off about what we were being taught as a nonnegotiable of the faith.
    The culture of that church was alright if you happened to be comfortably middle class and hadn’t really suffered any from the Great Recession. Otherwise, one could feel quite out of place there. I am thankful that they never espoused the worst excesses of patriarchy, and the way they conducted worship was generally sound. I do think that they typically mean well, but on some issues they are importing cultural stuff into Scripture and tying burdens onto mens’ backs without lifting so much as a finger to help carry them.

    That is a very balanced analysis. So thankful you are being restored to the sanity of Luther’s summary of the Christian life, “Love God, and do what you want.”

  191. NJ wrote:

    The culture of that church was alright if you happened to be comfortably middle class and hadn’t really suffered any from the Great Recession.

    This is a really important point.

    It is often said that church in the UK is middle-class; the situation stateside may be different. But I have increasingly observed, over the last year or so, that the UK church is neither able nor willing to interact usefully with the long-term unemployed. There are many demographic groups that the church needs to be willing and able to engage, of course, including the comfortably-middle-class, but the long term unemployed thing just happens to be my bag.

    The tragedy of middle-class church is that it is composed of people whose basic needs are largely met before they come to church: life has, to a good approximation, simply worked for them.
     They have relatively stable family backgrounds
     They have found it relatively easy to get decent employment
     They’ve had no great difficulty finding a spouse
     They’ve had no great difficulty conceiving children
     Such difficulties as they have had are inconspicuous and/or easily concealed

    But when they encounter someone for whom one or more of the above apple-points does not apply – they don’t know what to do with us. The unmarried over-30; the childless couple; the unemployed Oxbridge graduate… or the victim of domestic or other abuse. We need to do better for these (and other) people! Not just by finding a way to accommodate them in christian culture, but by acknowledging in the first instance that there is nothing special or sacrosanct about middle-class western culture.

  192. Point 2 of 3

    There is a part-completed series presenting God’s definitive revelation regarding Middle-Class Church on my award-winning blog*.

    * Winner: best Christian blog by an English Munro-bagger based in Scotland who has a gallery of mountain foties on his blog, Surname-Beginning-With-B sub-category.

  193. Point 3 of 3

    In other news, wee Eugenie Bouchard has taken the first set in her French Open semi-final against Maria Screamapova. Interestingly, though, Screamapova has won 24 of her last 25 matches that have gone to 3 sets and is a break up in the second. Obviously she just needs to drop the first set in order to get herself focused.

  194. NJ wrote:

    The culture of that church was alright if you happened to be comfortably middle class and hadn’t really suffered any from the Great Recession. Otherwise, one could feel quite out of place there.

    I am thankful that they never espoused the worst excesses of patriarchy, and the way they conducted worship was generally sound. I do think that they typically mean well, but on some issues they are importing cultural stuff into Scripture and tying burdens onto mens’ backs without lifting so much as a finger to help carry them.

    NJ, you’ve perfectly encapsulated my reasons for feeling out of place in the PCA.

    Nick – you’re flying your flag again! I love my TWW flag. 🙂

  195. @ Nancy:

    I like your mom already.

    I should probably add that the way she said it was substantially less rude/in-your-face than “stuff it.” 🙂 I keep trying to convince her to comment here…

  196. Hester said:

    “Funny, the pastor of the PCA church I attended for three years told my mom that my dad needed to get a different job, because his travel jobs were too long and too frequent and he wasn’t with his family enough. (She told him in no uncertain terms to stuff it.) He simultaneously praised John Piper and Don’t Waste Your Life all the time. So I’m not sure if that means we were supposed to get a lower-paying job and then give all the money away to missions, or what.”

    Overall, there seemed to be contradictory messages coming from the leadership and their influences. The husband was supposed to be the sole provider financially, with the wife being a homemaker, whether or not they homeschooled. (And if they did homeschool he’d better be overseeing everything.) Yet, he was also supposed to be the primary discipler of their children, complete with daily family devotions if possible. I guess this could work if said husband happened to work at a traditional 9-5 job with a high salary. That unfortunately didn’t describe us.

  197. That is a very balanced analysis. So thankful you are being restored to the sanity of Luther’s summary of the Christian life, “Love God, and do what you want.”

    pcapastor, if I had to choose between Luther and Calvin for a senior pastor, Luther would win hands down.

  198. Nick,

    “The tragedy of middle-class church is that it is composed of people whose basic needs are largely met before they come to church: life has, to a good approximation, simply worked for them.
     They have relatively stable family backgrounds
     They have found it relatively easy to get decent employment
     They’ve had no great difficulty finding a spouse
     They’ve had no great difficulty conceiving children
     Such difficulties as they have had are inconspicuous and/or easily concealed”

    One thing you didn’t mention here that was one of the biggest reasons we left our old church, was having a family that is medically healthy and normal. Although they weren’t on the FIC register, it was defacto family integrated. I could probably write a whole blog post on what it’s like to have a 5 or 6 year old son with classic autism, along with some of the challenging behaviors, in a church that not only prized keeping its children in the whole service from about age 3 onwards, but well-behaved and quiet the entire time. ‘Discouraging’ only partly covers it.

  199. By the way, Daisy, I’ll check out those links.

    Rafiki, I will say that we’re in a much smaller PCA church now, but it’s a more diverse one and we’ve been more welcomed. Right now I’m just hoping that continues.

  200. Haitch wrote:

    Haitch: laughs … “what, someone from Monsanto” ?
    Uncle: …silence… (stuck trying to process this proposed marriage to the devil)

    From the Apostle Paul:

    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world…

    From the film Cloud Atlas:

    Haskell Moore: There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well. This movement will never survive; if you join them, you and your entire family will be shunned. At best, you will exist a pariah to be spat at and beaten-at worst, to be lynched or crucified. And for what? For what? No matter what you do it will never amount to anything more than a single drop in a limitless ocean.
    Adam Ewing: What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?

  201. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    In other words, anybody who is truly struggling in life and needs the comfort of Jesus need not apply. Or those who don’t fit into the desired mold “two parents, two kids, enough money to pay the bills and no visible challenges in life.” Tell me about it. By now I’ve shared enough details for y’all to know that I don’t fit that mold in the slightest. Right now it feels like a soap opera only the writers could never dream up half the stuff that is happening right now. My future stepson watches the show Modern Family because it has only a quarter of the drama of our families. 🙂

    Just for the record, insomnia is an excellent way to keep up on prayer and Bible reading. 🙂

  202. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    but by acknowledging in the first instance that there is nothing special or sacrosanct about middle-class western culture.

    Over here the middle class is trying to disappear, or so the media tell us, at least partly due to the current economy. The statistics are kind of scary, actually. So, IMO the churches will do whatever they have to in order to keep the crowds, including changing procedures and doctrines and customs and whatever. I do not think that, push comes to shove, they will choose to have their “business” dwindle too much. Many a revelation seems to have arrived at what appears to be some tipping point of attendance and giving. Just saying.

  203. Mandy wrote:

    In other words, anybody who is truly struggling in life and needs the comfort of Jesus need not apply.

    You’ve grasped the nail right by the horns, Mandy, because in other other words, what that means is: We don’t have Jesus. We only have theoriesdoctrines about him.

    A powerless church (if indeed there is any such thing – there was never a powerless Jesus) will always end up filled with people who have no needs the secular world can’t meet. It can’t truly help anyone.

  204. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I’m with you Nick. I did get to the TO Vineyard once, when our plane was stuck due to a snow storm, and we had an unexpected hotel stay. Too bad the main pastors weren’t speaking that night, just some Pentecostal pastor from Florida (who reminded me of a loud used car salesman). But, the Vineyard (in Canada anyways, not sure about Mick Bickel and the other Americans involved) was mostly good eggs back in the day. There were no obvious power cravers like Driscoll or nuts that showed up more and more later on (claiming they could heal everything, yet never, ever healed anyone of anything obvious in a ministry meeting).

  205. A bit off topic, but since the PCA, in its various manifestations, was a topic of conversation along the way in this thread, I thought I’d post this, which I ran across today. It is written by the newly nominated director of our denomination’s campus ministry arm. I LOVED this part:

    “What team am I on? I am on the team that believes the PCA’s existence and survival is incidental to the work of the Kingdom.”

    http://vintage73.com/2014/06/the-pca-telling-secrets-and-picking-teams/

  206. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Nick, did you actually ever attend meetings at the Toronto Airport Vineyard during the height of the renewal movement there? I did for 5 days in 1995 I believe. I have a very long story about that which later sent me into studying in depth the whole deal. I still keep a big box of articles, books and notes for and against along with my own interpretations. I experienced so much. Some of what I experienced I later rejected as having been deceived into believing it was a true God experience. Some I believe was evil and some just human.
    I believe the best literature ever written on the subject of revival is the book War on the Saints unabridged version. It was written long before our last revival movement came through. It definitely goes along with what you said.
    In a nutshell, it describes how if we fulfill God’s way for the the Holy Spirit to work, He will. If we fulfill the Devil’s way for the evil to work, it will too. It doesn’t matter whether you are in church or not. Most of the people who flocked to the revival centers back then were genuinely the most passionate God seekers ever, not loonies. The devil loves coming into those meetings and attempting to deceive and he gets some success.

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