“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
Today, I did some reading about Mark Driscoll. For the first time, I felt somewhat sorry for the people who attend the church. I read a newsletter put out by the church and I realized that they are deluded. I believe they have put themselves into a situation that is slowly marching to another epic failure. One thing Driscoll is good for is epic meltdowns. Why are those folks there?
Quoting Wikipedia in 2009: I copied the following from Wikipedia in 2009. The presentation of this has changed, but I like the original quote.
“Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, or by justifying or rationalizing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Cognitive dissonance theory is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.
Dissonance normally occurs when a person perceives a logical inconsistency among his or her cognitions. This happens when one idea implies the opposite of another. For example, a belief in animal rights could be interpreted as inconsistent with eating meat or wearing fur. Noticing the contradiction would lead to dissonance, which could be experienced as anxiety, guilt, shame, anger, embarrassment, stress, and other negative emotional states. When people’s ideas are consistent with each other, they are in a state of harmony, or consonance.
A powerful cause of dissonance is an idea in conflict with a fundamental element of the self-concept, such as “I am a good person” or “I made the right decision.” The anxiety that comes with the possibility of having made a bad decision can lead to rationalization, the tendency to create additional reasons or justifications to support one’s choices. A person who just spent too much money on a new car might decide that the new vehicle is much less likely to break down than his or her old car. This belief may or may not be true, but it would likely reduce dissonance and make the person feel better. Dissonance can also lead to confirmation bias, the denial of disconfirming evidence, and other ego defense mechanisms”.
Let’s bring this into the church. I am quoting myself again in 2009.
One of my pastors is currently teaching a series on dissonance in our Christian life. He believes that dissonance is built into the Bible and that this tension, when viewed positively, can lead to a significant change in how we deal with our Christian walk. For example, the Bible says, “Be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Yet, we know that we are sinners and have no hope of being perfect in and of ourselves.
Some, without thinking this through, will run themselves into the ground trying to be perfect. If left unchecked, this thought process can lead to despair. Others throw their hands up and walk away from the faith or just live a hedonistic lifestyle because they cannot possibly “measure up” so why try? Others close their eyes to their sin and develop what is known as a “holier than thou” lifestyle.
But, as my pastor cleverly pointed out, there is the fourth option. He proceeded to have an imaginary conversation with Satan that went something like this.
Satan: “Do you realize that you sinned when you did this thing and that thing today? What a loser.”
Pastor: “You don’t know the half of it. I did those things along with all of these other things. In fact, I probably sinned in ways that neither you nor I realize. So, get lost.”
Let’s get back to Mark Driscoll and his obvious issues.
Christianity Today wrote: Former Mars Hill Elders: Mark Driscoll Is Still ‘Unrepentant,’ Unfit to Pastor
Julie Roys also addressed this in ‘Unfit’: Former Mars Hill Elders Call for Mark Driscoll to Step Down from Pastorate
Both addressed a statement issued from 39 former elders, calling Driscoll to repent and reconcile.
The Roys Report said:
The Mars Hill board of elders investigated formal charges against Driscoll in 2014 and found evidence of bullying, intimidation, and spiritual abuse. But rather than submit to the elders’ plan for restoration, Driscoll resigned.
“Accordingly, we believe that Mark is presently unfit for serving the church in the office of pastor,” the letter goes on. “Knowing that we have no formal authority in this current matter, we hope that Mark will voluntarily resign his position immediately.
“We also hope that those who have influence over Mark would encourage him to do so,” the letter adds.
The leaders who signed onto the statement say they felt a responsibility to clarify the charges against him as a way to warn current members of his church and continue to call the well-known preacher to the kind of repentance and restoration process he was never able to complete under Mars Hill.
“This letter isn’t new information. It’s just information that hasn’t been widely spread,” said Ryan Welsh, who had been pastor of theology and leadership at Mars Hill. “Our hope is not just to point a finger. Our hope is to protect people and, by the Spirit’s work, that Mark would respond.”
The 40 signatories represent the majority of the pastors who served at the church between 2011 and 2014, when formal charges were raised against Driscoll. The list includes former executive pastor Sutton Turner and former teaching pastor Dave Bruskus, who made up the executive team alongside Driscoll.
Their statement also includes a never-before-released document from October 2014 that details how the church investigation, conducted by members of the elder board at the direction of Mars Hill’s board of overseers, found Driscoll to be quick-tempered, arrogant, and domineering.
I’ve been following Driscoll since 2009, back when I was one of the first blogs to speak out against him. I met with an elder from Mars Hill. I spoke with members of the church who contacted me. I watched as the inevitable happened. Mars Hill imploded and Driscoll, who apparently didn’t feel that the captain should go down with the ship, sold his fortress of a house and headed to Phoenix. Driscoll, beloved by John Piper (he loved his theology), suddenly did a 180 and met with Robert Morris of Gateway Church who believes that Paul was afflicted with demons. He holds to the regular exorcism of demons since 95% of churchgoers are afflicted by demons. Way to go to keep them coming in for more.
It was during this time that I came to my own conclusion that Driscoll was Reformed when it was useful and went down the charismatic/demon road when it is useful.
What have we learned about Driscoll and his new gig?
- He still appears to have an anger problem.
- He has his own Lord of the Rings thing with circles 1-10.10 means you are BFFs with Driscoll. 8 means you will be fired if you are a security guard. I bet most of the congregation ranks somewhere in 1-2 rings.
- Grace still supports Driscoll which is worrisome.
- 2 of his kids are married and on staff.
- There is no *membership* whatsoever in the church.
- I wonder who donates the money for Driscoll to buy buildings. Who owns them? Driscoll?
- Is Driscoll setting himself up just in case of another grand fail?
The curious problem of people who attend Mark Driscoll’s church:
What in the world is going on? Surely they knew enough to check out Driscoll before they attended for the first time? I bet most of them know how to Google? Do they investigate how to just buy the best tires online but don’t even read about their pastor? Surely they know how crazy Mars Hill was? Don’t they see it in Driscoll now? Let’s take a look at Week of June 12th Newsletter
It looks so friendly and folksy. Yet, two words that I would never think of when I think of Driscoll are “friendly” and “folksy.”
The first thing is the author of the book who is coming to visit.
Read the words on the cover of the book: Total Forgiveness. “When everything in you wants to remember the pain, God wants you to lay it all aside.” Is Driscoll going down the road that he doesn’t have to repent and reconcile? Probably. Is this what he’s teaching at the church?
“It’s all lies” and social media is to blame for spreading this stuff.
Who is writing this letter? I think it is Driscoll as we read the rest of this treatise.
The Trinity Church is grateful for and committed to honoring the constitutional freedoms and liberties that allow us to freely gather in worship and express our love and devotion to God. At the heart of our church is a commitment to telling the truth according to God’s Word. We recognize, however, that others are free to exercise these liberties and freedoms in other ways, including by disseminating falsehoods and misinformation through social media and other platforms.
Social media and the like want to “destroy the church.”
Driscoll is obviously getting nervous. Here is a warning to all those Trinity folks who are secretly reading this, beware. When Driscoll gets nervous, things are likely to get difficult at the church.
Grievously, these are extraordinary circumstances, as false and misleading comments on child safety have been circulating about the Trinity Church as part of an effort to “take down Trinity” and “destroy the church.” The safety and security of our attendees—especially the children—is a top priority for the Church. We have policies and procedures in place to protect children from all forms of abuse, and Church staff are diligent in ensuring that children are not placed at risk of being harmed. Some seeking to disparage and divide have claimed that Church staff did not follow these policies or keep pertinent records, but these statements are categorically false.
“It’s a vendetta.” He wrongly uses the family of a child who may have been inappropriately touched.
Driscoll is really getting off-balance here. No one, including myself, wish to be reminded of the pain and suffering that he causes. We are simply trying to prevent others from experiencing the same thing. There were lots of people under the bus in Seattle and I wager there will be lots of people in Phoenix under the bus.
I believe that even people who have worked with children can miss a predator in their midst. It happened in my former church. Note the assessment that there has never been one credible report of child abuse and that the report of one such incident was “false, groundless, and refuted.”
The Trinity Church has never received a credible report of child abuse by any staff member or Church attendee. This includes the demonstrably false allegation circulating online, which is based upon an admittedly unsubstantiated “feeling” of one former volunteer. This entirely false and groundless accusation has been refuted by numerous eyewitnesses, including the child’s parents. The child’s parents, who wish to remain anonymous for their family’s privacy and protection, gave the Church the following statement:
“We love the Trinity Church and its pastors and leadership. We have a background working with children and are constantly on the lookout for potentially dangerous people, especially those who might pose a danger to our children. We have never been concerned about the safety of our children at the Trinity Church. We are dismayed that those disseminating falsehoods have dragged our family into the middle of their vendetta against the Trinity Church.”
Now, the following is important. The “church” is looking at suing the people who have spread these falsehoods.
We are praying for all affected and grieve with the staff member and family at the epicenter of these harmful falsehoods. To mitigate further pain and damage, we have retained the law firm Fennemore to evaluate pursuing legal recourse against those disseminating these malicious and defamatory statements.
The people who attend this church have just been told that *the church* will go after anyone who is at *the epicenter* of spreading these falsehoods. I’d say that was rather intimidating.
Where does this leave the people and what does cognitive dissonance have to do with it? Red pill or Blue pill?
Many of us have been members of difficult churches and have dealt with problematic pastors. I was in a church in which legal threats were flung in my direction for simply trying to get to the truth. This was very hard for me. I considered myself smart and found out that I had no idea what was going on in my church. It took me over. two years to leave.
I get it. You found yourself in a good situation. You’ve made lots of friends. I bet the Driscoll’s are nice to you as they try to stop the flow out the back door. My guess is that you are only a “3” in reality. At some point, you have to wake up and decide which pill you want to take.
The last Sunday school class my husband and I taught was based on the famous scene in The Matrix in which Keanu Reeves is offered two pills. I’ll let a better writer than me discuss it. The Matrix’s Red Pill or Blue Pill—Which Is Better?
SOMETIMES EXISTING ON the internet can feel like being trapped in that dark room with Morpheus, the one where he holds out his hands to Neo and offers up either a pill of knowledge or a pill of blissful ignorance. Red pill or blue pill; know your enemy or live in peace; click or don’t click. Of all the ideas and images The Matrix sent spiraling into American culture—computer simulation paranoia, black leather trench coats, falling green code, spoons that don’t really exist—none has become so entrenched, or so contentious, as this one.
Of the two options, the red pill is more often discussed (it is Neo’s choice, after all). Yet as the world grows more polarized and less courteous, that blue pill is starting to look mighty swallowable. After all, life is hard, bad news is everywhere, and maybe, just maybe, ignorance is bliss
In the end, I guess it is up to the attendees. Do they wish to live in blissful ignorance or have a free mind? For me, it had to be the red pill. However, I get blissful ignorance. In this case and with this church, I think the word “blissful” is not one that will be used by most people to describe this church in the very near future.