“He claims to have prepared his sermon in 2 hours! Not only that, he noted that he did so while watching a Mariners Game on television!” (Quote for those who listened to Driscoll's gospel™ sermon at NVCC.) link
Real men from the Leadership Collective screen shot
As usual, WenatcheetheHatchet has the goods on all things Mark Driscoll. Last month, we left Mark and Grace Driscoll sunning themselves in Phoenix, Arizona, attempting to escape a warning in which God told both of them that "a trap had been set." Not only is the sun warm in Arizona but so are some Acts 29 churches that apparently are able to ignore the disturbing history of the Driscolls.
TWW has frequently stated that the Acts 29 network is infused with the DNA of Driscoll. We have been told that Matt Chandler, the head of The Village Church and Acts 29, would bring us a kinder, gentler Christianity. That hope was squashed when the Karen Hinkley story broke, showing that the DNA and reflexes of TVC involve giving a pass to a child porn lover and to discipline his wife who wanted away from a guy who viewed images of children and babies. But, you say, he apologized. Yes he did after he learned that the bloggers had the embarrassing emails and texts sent by the church leaders.The Deebs, not ones to quickly forget, adopted a wait and see attitude which now appears to have been wise. Acts 29 may be getting set to bring back Mark Driscoll.
The wretched history of Mark Driscoll who called women "penis homes" and conducted demon trials while fending off accusations of abuse from staff members and former church members will be long remembered. Who could forget the well documented instances of plagiarism and the use of church money to help Driscoll get his name on the New York Times Best seller list.
And then, of course, the entire Mars Hill network imploded.
But the implosion of Mars Hill revolved around Driscoll’s leadership, and growing dissent and departure by members of his team.
A group of 21 former elders and pastors brought charges that centered on Driscoll’s personal conduct toward his flock and closest associates. Nine pastors signed a letter critical of the culture of the church, and one by one were laid off or left. Former members picketed the Mars Hill Church in Bellevue one hot summer Sunday.
An investigation by the church’s board of overseers found that Driscoll was “guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff in a domineering manner.” Driscoll resigned as senior pastor on Oct. 15, 2014, and Mars Hill Church announced its dissolution two weeks later.
Driscoll and his family ran away from Seattle, leaving unanswered questions about some financial investments. The only comments that the Driscolls have made is that God warned them to get out of the trap. Dee is banging her head on the table at the incredible ability of the Driscolls to descend into apparent insanity..
Surely no one in their right mind would ask Driscoll to come to their church to teach their members, right? Wrong. Apparently the pastors and leaders of North Valley Community Church and some elders from their sponsoring church, Scottsdale Bible Church thought inviting Driscoll to give a Sunday sermon was a splendid idea.
A TWW mini tutorial on how to assess what you are getting into when you attend a new church.
1. Visit the website and read it-all of it.
North Valley Community Church website has an abundance of information about themselves that should be helpful in helping a newbie to figure out what they are getting into. Always visit the "About Us" and "What We Believe" sections of the church.
Here is what I learned from the section titled *About Us.*
North Valley Community Church is a church plant founded in 2012 by pastor Ryan Rice.
Our network is both local and national. Locally, Scottsdale Bible Church is a key church partner of North Valley Community Church. In fact, a few of their Elders serve on our Advisory Council and are close friends and mentors. We are also part of a national network with Acts29, Converge, Fellowship Associates and Mosaix.
This is excellent information for the inquiring attendee. Scottsdale Bible Church is huge in the Phoenix area and obviously controls some of the action at North Valley Community Church. Interestingly, NVCC are members of Acts 29, the organization which threw out Driscoll in favor of the gentler Chandler. Or, did they actually get rid of him? For now, we will not discuss the website of Scottsdale Bible Church except to say that they obviously support, wholeheartedly, what is going on at NVCC.
2. The frequent use of the word *gospel*.
If you are a new reader to TWW, you might not know that your blog queens love the Gospel which is summed up quite nicely in John 3:16. However, the overuse of the word *gospel* today often points to the possible involvement of the Calvinista crowd (aka Calvinists with attitude.)
The word *gospel* has been co-opted and used as an adjective in front of things like gospel™ gender roles. We use *™* to denote that this is a tactic to *prove* that the particular secondary view being presented is truly the gospel and anyone who disagrees with that interpretation is obviously not a believer in the gospel or possibly not even saved.
NVCC even has a section devoted to the gospel in case you didn't pick up on it elsewhere. However, before you can be sure that this word is being co-opted, you must look for other clues on the website.
3. Always, always, always read the small print in the *what we believe* section.
This type of section can get quite wordy so many people blow it off. Let me show you what I learned from reading this section.
A. They are complementarian and may share Mark Driscoll's debased views on women.
Only men can serve in leadership. Women are to be submissive to their husbands. Men are the head of the family. Any deviation from this model means the individual is caving into the culture. It is important to understand that this church will not allow for a genuine, conscientious disagreement with these beliefs.
These beliefs may be one of the reasons that this church would want a man like Mark Driscoll to give a sermon. His views on women caused serious conflict even amongst the most conservative of believers. It causes me to wonder if these male only leaders view women in the same way.
Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church.
In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord.
In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments.
B. This church is Reformed in its thinking.
They believe that God chose some people to be saved before eternity. This means that He deliberately did not choose others to be saved. This is another reason that this church may hold up Mark Driscoll as a role model. He is decidedly Reformed and John Piper loves his theology. If you are uncomfortable with this point of view, you may find this church not to your liking.
We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose them.
by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, baptizing them into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
C. This church believes in church discipline by the local church yet does not define what that means.
Folks, whenever you see the word *discipline* yet it is undefined, be wary, very wary. A church which does not carefully define this term could be a church that decides they can discipline pretty much whatever they darn well please. For new readers, if you think that this is just about disciplining some guy who ditched his family and is shacking up with Marla Maples, think again. This blog exists because we have documented case after case of unjust and bizarre discipline like was seen at The Village Church.
This should serve as a warning. Ask about this before you join. Find out if they make you sign a *covenant* which says you will submit to discipline. TWW does not recommend signing any such forms. It is a legal contract and do not forget that.
This universal church is manifest in local churches of which Christ is the only Head; thus each "local church” is, in fact, the church, the household of God, the assembly of the living God, and the pillar and foundation of the truth. The church is the body of Christ, the apple of his eye, graven on his hands, and he has pledged himself to her forever. The church is distinguished by her gospel message, her sacred ordinances, her discipline, her great mission, and, above all, by her love for God, and by her members’ love for one another and for the world. Crucially, this gospel we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may properly be overlooked.
4. Who is in the church network?
This information is quite helpful. Take a look at NVCC's Network page.
National Partner Networks
- Fellowship Associates
Local Partner Churches
- Scottsdale Bible Church
- Redemption Church
- Desert View Bible Church
- Sun Valley Community Church
A. Scottsdale Bible and affiliated churches.
One can logically assume, for example, that Scottsdale Bible Church, some of whose elders serve on NVCC's elder board, are in agreement with the choices the NVCC makes. Also, the related churches on this list probably are also marching lockstep.
B. Acts 29
Acts 29 drop kicked Driscoll. Or did they? Could it be that they encourage their member churches to invite Driscoll to speak, helping him to regain his almost godlike stature amongst some of the cruder young, restless and Reformed crowd? Remember, Acts 29 is supposedly planting churches. It looks like Driscoll's DNA may continue to reproduce with the quiet blessings of Acts 29.
C. Fellowship Associates.
This one ya gotta love it. TWW just wrote The Many Associations of ‘Authentic Manhood’ That Surround Fellowship Associates on 12/9/15! They are into the" men gotta be real men" meme. Guess who is associated with them?
- Acts 29
- The Village Church
Guess who speaks for them?
Matt Chandler: the head of The Village Church and Acts 29
Keep reading a little further in our post and you will see names of former pastors of Mars Hill (Mark Driscoll's former megaministry that imploded) along with a Sovereign Grace pastor and an endorsement of the Council of Biblical™ Manhood and Womanhood.
This crowd endorses the Authentic Manhood movement.
Authentic Manhood is all about setting men up to live lives of truth, passion and purpose. Our resources offer clear and practical Biblical insights on God’s design for manhood that are both refreshing and inspiring. We point men to a gospel-centered vision of life that sets them up to enjoy God’s grace as they pursue the promises of His Word.
So, is this just a series of coincidences like some of the gospel™ leaders might claim? I think not.
D. Mosaix and Converge
Just more networks involving a number of the same folks. Mosaix and Converge are both church planting networks which we will look at more carefully in the future. All of them are about fundraising and Converge has some ties to certain businesses. That is particularly interesting to the Deebs but more on that in the future. Mosaix even claims to be a "network of networks."
5. Where is Mark Driscoll in all of this?
Besides hiding out in Phoenix, far away from Seattle protestors and the Seattle media who found Driscoll a source of never ending drama and post evangelical craziness, Driscoll is speaking at churches and conferences. So who are these people who are inviting Driscoll to speak?
NVCC, which is endorsed by Scottsdale Bible Church elders, invited Driscoll to speak from the pulpit on Sunday, 1/3/16, on the topic of, get this, Overcoming Anxiety. Can you imagine? The guy who ditched his church, plagiarized, play hanky panky with the NYT bestseller list, called women horrible names, held demon trials, and hears God telling him and his wife that "a trap has been set," is the chosen speaker for NVCC. I wonder how much they paid him? Church members should ask.
It is wonderful what the average person can learn from reading a church website. Let me show you the real Mark Driscoll who was sanctioned by the Acts 29 and Scottsdale Bible Church approved North Valley Community Church.
I anticipate a few blog posts from the gospel™ boys saying that it is unfair to paint an entire organization over the actions of one. However, these men and organizations are all so intertwined that it would be naive not to note these connections. So, for now, I think we should all keep an eye on the rise of Driscoll and the leaders and networks that support him.