Mark Driscoll’s “Gospel” Duty to Address the John Catanzaro Situation

"We genuinely hope this helps Christians make wise decisions and provide wise counsel – especially parents and ministry leaders.”

Mark Driscoll in the forward to John Catanzaro's e book on Marijuana.


I am a bit rattled today. We received two threatening emails probably related to these posts. The boys in Seattle sure play rough. Forgive me if there are more typos than usual. 

A TWW commenter asked us why this story was a "Christian" story as opposed to just another medical fraud story. Let me build a case that Mark Driscoll, as pastor, decided to hide behind a website scrub as opposed to acting like a man and addressing the issue. (Although, after seeing our emails today, perhaps he is afraid that he will get beat up.) This retreat into silence should come as no surprise to those who have followed the ever changing history of Mars Hill. Wenatchee the Hatchet has documented story after story of "now you see the pastor; now you don't." 

When a pastor endorses an individual and has him write a number of posts for the Resurgence website, members and admirers will naturally take that as an endorsement of the Christian character of an individual. When Driscoll refers to him as "my doctor", this is high praise indeed. Recently, Mark Driscoll wrote the forward to John Catanzaro's E book on Marijuana link. In fact, Mark Driscoll's name is featured prominently on the title page. Here is what Driscoll wrote:

“With the legalization of marijuana in Washington State I wrote a free ebook on the issue theological- ly and pastorally. I did not address the medical issues because that was beyond my scope of expertise. However, my doctor and friend Dr. John Catanzaro was kind enough to research the medical aspects of marijuana usage and write them up. We genuinely hope this helps Christians make wise decisions and provide wise counsel – especially parents and ministry leaders.”

-Mark Driscoll   Pastor Mars Hill Church 

Hmm…wise counsel?  It is apparent that Driscoll, in his role as Pastor of Mars Hill, is providing a significant endorsement of Catanzaro. Driscoll, in that forward, says one thing that would prove to be true. Medical issues do seem to be beyond Driscoll's scope of expertise. Did he check out the resume of his naturopath before he endorsed him? As an aside, I did find it interesting that naturopaths in Washington can prescribe marijuana.

It is disturbing to me that Catanzaro was allowed to publish posts on the Resurgence site even after he was accused in 2007 link of running afoul of the prescribing laws. 

So, Driscoll props up Catanzaro by having him publish all sorts of posts on the Resurgence website and suddenly, it all disappears. Of course, nothing ever really disappears from the Internet. Wenatchee the Hatchet archives all of those posts at this link. If you will note, these posts started two years after Catanzaro's first brush with the Washington Department of Health.

When a pastor speaks, people listen. Those words have consequences. Here are some Mars Hill folks who sought the care of Dr. Catanzaro.

On Friday, 6/17/11, (We) met with Dr. Matt Angove – a Naturopathic doctor who I have seen before and who works with Dr. John Catanzaro, a doctor who writes for the Resurgence blog and who our Pastor, Mark Driscoll, has sung praises of in addressing his own health. Dr. Catanzaro specializes in Integrative Oncology and the treatment of Cancer.

Mark Driscoll again discusses his medical choices. From Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, The Survivor, 

First I went to a conventional doctor, who told me I needed blood pressure meds, heartburn medicine, sleep medicine, anxiety medicine. I'm like, Man, I'm in my 30s. That's a lot of medicine! So I went and found a naturopathic doctor, who said, "You need to quit your job and find a different vocation." 

 So I found another naturopathic doctor. He gave me supplements, vitamins, minerals, IV treatments for adrenal support, and custom tailored vitamins. He put me on a regimen for wellness and recovery. His approach was to naturally rebuild the body, to not just treat the symptoms. He told me, "You've got to work really hard to change your lifestyle and your organization, everything."

Mark Driscoll now discusses, in that same article, how he feels about his church.

I feel about the church like I do about my kids, 

I stick it out. I genuinely love the people of the church and I feel very committed to them. In 1 Corinthians 4 Paul says that when he preached the gospel and people got saved, he became their spiritual father.I feel like Mars Hill is a family. A lot of these people got saved here. They look to me as a spiritual father, and Dad's got to love, he's got to serve, and he's got to hang in there

Mark Driscoll's "Gospel" responsibility

There is a peculiar habit that I have seen amongst certain pastors. They cannot admit they make mistakes. Oh, they admit that they overeat or speed, but they cannot admit they were wrong about something important. They pretend that their mistakes never existed. Mark Driscoll has another peculiar problem. He claims he is given visions about people having sex. I wonder why he doesn't get visions about issues like we have been discussing. 

I am forced to believe that Driscoll is embarrassed by his endorsement of John Catanzaro. Why else would he scrub the Resurgence website? I also wonder if he knows more than he is letting on?

There are church members out there who have heard him endorse or praise his "doctor". These are people that he claims to genuinely love. He says he loves them "like his kids". Here is my question. If it involved his real kids, would he warn them personally about his concerns? Or is that "love em like my kids" just a crock?

Mark Driscoll should spell out why John Catanzaro's posts are no longer on his website. There are people in his church who are hiring Pastor Mark's doctor to give them therapy. If he truly loves his people, he will tell them the truth. If he doesn't, it will be just one more example of Mark Driscoll's "same old, same old".

Lydia's Corner: Jeremiah 10:1-11:23 Colossians 3:18-4:18 Psalm 78:56-72 Proverbs 24:28-29


Mark Driscoll’s “Gospel” Duty to Address the John Catanzaro Situation — 52 Comments

  1. I thought Mark Driscoll's problem was that Grace stunted his sex life? Why didn't the good doctor prescribe more sex?

  2. Dee, stand strong. You have an entire community of friends and supporters standing right there with you. Your words have strengthened and encouraged so many of us and now its our turn to do the same for you.

  3. I hope everyone will take a look at the Marijuana ebook – subtitle "Weeding Out the Medical Facts". Why did Mark Driscoll write the foreward?

  4. Dee, you and Deb are both very brave! Thank you for standing up to bullies!! Hopefully they will eventually take a hint, pick up their toys and walk away. You allow people to freely express their thoughts and feelings. That is much braver than the bullies who pick and choose who gets a voice! I know this is vulgar, but I would love to see their manly bravery cower if exposed to a used tampon! To quote the infamous Cartman from Southpark, ” I don’t trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die.” Driscoll and your manly followers, think about it! Dee, censor if you must. Ann

  5. Dee and Deb, stay strong! It is scary when you get threats. A few years ago I wrote about the false claims of offshore stem cell clinics and I got them too. Nothing happened. I think they just wanted me to back down (I didn’t) and hopefully that is what is going on here too. I appreciate everything you do with this blog!

  6. Dee/Deb/GBTC:
    If the threats are of bodily harm to your or your family members, please determine if you can identify the locality and refer those emails to the PD or Sheriff in those areas. It is a crime in almost every state, and there is a federal statute as well, to make a threat of bodily harm, and depending on the circumstances, it can be a felony.

  7. Dee writes this on her description…

    “She particularly likes to chat with atheists, Hindus, Mormons and anyone brave enough to ring her doorbell. She gets very testy when anyone insists on making secondary issues primary.”

    I can tell you from personal experience that is very true. One of these days you will get to hear my story. People at my church and small group were blown away when they heard parts of it. Its not juicy in the sense that its about sex, etc.. Its about someone who walked away and wrestled with intellectual doubts while being burned and slowly found a way back. Evangelicals are not not for being intellectual. I think I am a wrench to that problem. And I also have my demons as well.

    One day when you hear mine it will include my full spiritual history…from Crusade, to an Evangelical Free to several other churches in between. How I was consumed by doubt and burned by fundagelicalism. I talk about walking away, burning bridges and pursuing faith in atheism circles here in Washington, D.C. I also talk in detail about going to the largest atheist rally in US history and hear atheists rail about how corrupt evangelicalism is, and pastors who encourage submission to physical abusers, and cover up child abuse. I speak about how I had an a-ha moment where I realized that I traded the fundamentalism of John Piper for someone like Richard Dawkins.

    I also talk about wrestling with doubts in blogs, with crime victims, and consuming lots of material to read. My story centers around the Problem of Evil. Along the way you meet a guy who evangelized me from Kansas City (we built a relationship around a love of trains…me the Milwaukee Road/Northern Pacific and Scott liking the Nickel Plate Road) And another friend who refused to leave me when I tried to drive him away. You will also learn about my medical illness, what I endured in a nursing home and hospital. You will also learn about how I stayed away from fundementalism.

    I talk about my doubts tearing me apart and hitting an intellectual bottom and slowly building a faith in the Lord. You will also learn about what I did with nearly 140 people..Hell maybe I should write a book on “Humility”:-P And you will learn how I moved slowly from a militant agnostic/atheist to someone who was baptized in November.

    I wouldn’t have returned to faith had it not been for Dee Parsons and Deb Martin. Dee was one of many who intervened and helped. She encouraged conversation by email and wanted to help. I remember one time where we got into such an intense discussion on the Problem of Evil for hours on the phone with this push and pull. Dee and Deb know their stuff and know it well. When the day comes where this can be shared I hope it will be a large rebuke to those who say that blogs like this are meaningless and worthless. This blog is one of the reasons why I decided to return to Christianity. And its why I went from attending the Reason Rally in 2012 to getting baptized in November 2013.

    Dee hang in there. We are all here for you. Consider this a hug. Many of us are carrying scars. You are carrying scars from your baptist church. Others here are scared by Sovereign Grace, Calvary Chapel, CHBC, 9 Marks, etc… And of course you know what happened in 2013 for me. We’re in this together for you. Stand strong…

  8. Wow….in the ESV version I guess fruits of the spirit include the following…”false accusation, rage, death threats, name calling, and grudges…”

    Is this the same guy who spoke so much about the Sovereignty of the Lord? Wow…another Neo-Cal who doesn’t believe that God is sovereign…why am I not surprised. Oh yeah…been there done that. In light of the threats all the verses in scripture that they quoted in a blog are quite cute. My question….doesn’t scripture also say that there are to be no lawsuits among Christians? Or do Deebs don’t count because they are not drinking the Mars Hill kool-aide! And possibly they are a women who have balls in what they do?

    Thanks I’ll pass on Kool-aide and stick to Miller. 😀

  9. @ Ann:

    Funny you should say that about tampons….you know I am a male in my 30’s who went to the Doctor the other day. On the medical sheet I was asked when was the last time I had my period. Maybe it was me but I could have sworn I was feeling bloated that day! 😀

  10. If you are receiving threats of a spiritually abusive nature, it might be wise to publish such things publicly. The problem with the Mars Hill corporation is a level of unhealthy secrecy and control. Don’t let anyone intimidate you, because what you are doing is necessary for the healing of the church as a Body. I find it revolting that Mark considers church members his kids when they are Christ’s and he is there to serve God’s church. Anytime people put themselves on a line with an apostle without the grace of one I get irritated. There is so much we could say, but I think it is clear human power, not repentance is most important to Mars Hill. They are led by a man who says it’s all about Jesus but has never cared about those who got run over by his bus. Something has got to give.

  11. Internet Business Law Services:

    “Therefore, according to 18 U.S.C. § 875(c) sending e-mails with words threatening injury is a federal crime and can be easily proven by showing that it was sent to a person in other state, showing the e-mail, and the wording the e-mail contains. Thus, individuals prompt to explosive reactions should be cautions when wording their e-mail messages. A simple ‘mistake’ in wording e-mails threatening its recipient with an injury, even if not intended, may typify a federal crime with a harsh imprisonment sentence.”

    Threatening across state lines is a federal crime in your country.
    You can print out the emails with full headers, go to police and file a report.

    Being rattled is a reasonable response to threat. I agree with Melody, if the threats are spiritual, publish them. Cowards in the dark don’t like the light.

    I’m sorry this is happening to you, I wonder if Warren Throckmorton or Wenatchee have also been threatened?

    I bet Mr. Dee and Mr. Deb aren’t amused.

  12. I completely agree with this particular criticism of Driscoll. Is it not typical in journalism, when a post is edited you add a note explaining what has been edited from the original and why? Driscoll and his team instead like to secretly scrub and edit and hope nobody notices. Like when they first posted that they never sold that plagiarized study for profit. Instead of noting the mistake, that sentence just miraculously disappeared!! I am willing to give some grace for mistakes, but if you cover it up something tells me there’s more going on than meets the eye.

  13. Getting back to Driscoll on marijuana use, I'm wondering why the ebook Puff or Pass: Should Christians Smoke Pot or Not has gone missing from the Resurgence website.

    Here is an excerpt from a Christian post article (12/7/12):

    Mars Hill Church communications director, Justin Dean, told CP that the e-book, Puff or Pass: Should Christians Smoke Pot or Not, is available for free at

    He adds, "You can easily download the free e-book in PDF format from our website, and view it on your smartphone, in your web browser or in Adobe PDF reader. If you have an iPhone you can open it in iBooks, or in your Kindle app on iPhone or Android for easier reading, highlighting and notes. We hope you will find this free book insightful and helpful."

    I clicked on the link in the article and got this message:

    We couldn't find what you were looking for.

    "/2012/12/06/puff-or-pass-should-christians-smoke-pot-or-not" doesn't exist on this site.

    The Resurgence motto should be: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow…

  14. Threatening emails, wow, grievous and bizarre.
    Sorry Deb and Dee you have been attacked this way.

  15. Deb wrote:

    The Resurgence motto should be: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow…

    “but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

  16. Dee, Deb…..I really should not be speechless.
    I have a blog on, well, pretty much whatever comes to my mind. Politics, religion, current events, whatever.
    I get pretty salty from time to time….but I get into the trouble when I discuss religion. Not anything else.
    As you may or may not know, I am a retired teacher, and have former students in all fields, especially I think because this is rural East Texas, some sort of church staff. Many have no actual training, other than HS.
    I’ve been attacked like you wouldn’t believe by these ” preacher boys.”
    Most of these folks are harmless…..some, however, are literally nuts…..when we were doing the radio show, the station owner suggested we get our CHL and watch the dark spots as we left the station in the evening. He was serious.
    Many people lose all common sense when religion is discussed. It’s especially true here in the South.
    We love you for your bravery. Trust me, we know. At times you ask yourself about what you’re doing… me, God has you doing this for a reason…..keep up the good work..

  17. Dee and Deb,

    I second that suggestion from An Attorney. If those threats are against your person in any way, contact the authorities. Do all you can to protect yourselves.

    In the meantime, I’m so, so proud of both of you, for doing so much to bless and strengthen others, and to find out the truth. Keep at it, and take care of yourselves well.

  18. From Dee’s post: Driscoll says:

    So I went and found a naturopathic doctor, who said, “You need to quit your job and find a different vocation.”

    I’m sure there are many under Driscoll’s bus who would agree. MD should have listened to that first naturopathic doc, instead of going to Catanzaro. It might’ve save trouble and heartache for a lot of people.

  19. O.k. Dee, it is 10:15 am here and I will stay posted! I want to be the first to see how low these people can stoop. Are they all anonymous? Maybe they are taking lessons from Scientologists which LRH taught, “attack, attack, and never defend.” I suspect if they creep out of their shadows, their army will be much smaller than yours! Much love, Ann

  20. K.D. wrote:

    Most of these folks are harmless…..some, however, are literally nuts…..when we were doing the radio show, the station owner suggested we get our CHL and watch the dark spots as we left the station in the evening. He was serious.

    From the context, it sounds like some sort of Magickal Demon Detector.

  21. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    K.D. wrote:
    Most of these folks are harmless…..some, however, are literally nuts…..when we were doing the radio show, the station owner suggested we get our CHL and watch the dark spots as we left the station in the evening. He was serious.
    From the context, it sounds like some sort of Magickal Demon Detector.

    You don’t live in Texas do you?
    Concealed Handgun License….

  22. To our readers:

    We will be posting two of the emails in fairly short order along with a short post telling you all what is going on. Stay tuned.

  23. @ Deb:

    After doing some more digging, I have finally been able to access Driscoll’s free ebook Puff or Pass on the Resurgence website. Guess the link in the Christian Post article was faulty. For those who care to read it, here is the link:

    This is Driscoll’s bottom line in his ebook:

    Should Christians use marijuana?

    I would advocate that the soundest Christian response to the moral question is Option C: that recreational is immoral, but medicinal use may be permissible. In other words, my answer is “no” for recreational usage, but again I am open to the possibility of medical benefits in some cases, under a doctor’s supervision.

    And here is some information on becoming a patient in Washington, along with a list of healthcare providers who can issue a medical marijuana recommendation.  Naturopathic physicians ARE on the list…

  24. Dee and Deb. We love you dearly. You have been a blessing to so many people. Community suffers together and walks through the fire together. Dee and Deb you are not alone in any of this, or in the days ahead.

    We love you!!

  25. Is there such a thing as a “Gospel Centered Threatening Email?” Or “Gospel Centered Stalking”? What about “Gospel Centered Harassment?”

    I guess it would go up there with the “Gospel Centered Blackmail” that CJ Mahaney practiced and “Gospel Centered Threats” that Mark Driscoll practiced against Bent Meyer and Paul Petry.

    Again Mars Hill and members of Mars Hill including the writers of the original blog who attend Mars Hill. Paul Petry and Bent Meyer are Christians too…do they matter at all? Before you attack others externally look inward at the cult you are involved in.

  26. Eagle wrote:

    Is there such a thing as a “Gospel Centered Threatening Email?” Or “Gospel Centered Stalking”? What about “Gospel Centered Harassment?”

    If I can find them, I may need to share some of the emails, messages I have received from ministers, pastor wannabes, deacons, staff, etc….I understand what Dee and Deb are going through. It can be very unnerving to say the least…..then again, I had someone explain that “until you’ve gotten a death threat, you’re not doing any good.”

  27. Driscoll’s a perfect example of the modern day false prophets – a constant stream of stupid, outrageous and/or detestable things and when called out on them they don’t have the courage to defend themselves. Instead, they hide in a bunker and delete things they’ve said with no explanation like it was never there in the first place. It’s no surprise that people mock and ridicule Christianity when they see such gross hypocrisy.

    As Rachel Held Evans put it so succinctly, it’s the scandal of the evangelical heart

  28. @ JeffT:

    Well said….this kind of hypocrisy is what drove me into agnosticism for years. That and the greater evangelical culture. What attracted me back to faith in God is the love that some Christians showed and the ability by some Christians to call out their own and hold them to the standard they should be held. Dee and Deb do this…

    I don’t see how Mark Driscoll does it. With my demons and flaws I would never, NEVER pursue a ministry position because I am disqualified. The wrong people are in leadership today and that’s why Mark Driscoll needs to get out of dodge. He’s not qualified to be a Pastor. This is also indicting on the people who following Driscoll because it shows their inability to discern, think critically and use common sense. I’m amazed some of these people are not Mormon.

  29. This is ridiculous, but not surprising. This is exactly why blogs exposing bullies must continue. Let me know if I can help. I’m going to pass this post along on Twitter/FB right now. Good grief, and these are Christians?

  30. K.D. wrote:

    You don’t live in Texas do you?
    Concealed Handgun License….

    In my local area (West of Texas), we use the term “Concealed Carry”.

  31. Eagle wrote:

    The wrong people are in leadership today and that’s why Mark Driscoll needs to get out of dodge. He’s not qualified to be a Pastor.

    Like in politics, the only de facto qualification seems to be “I WANNA BE A PASTOR! I WANNA SO BAD, I CAN TASTE IT!”

  32. I have a typical base male response to you having received threatening emails — adrenaline that produces: “Let me at them!” Not helpful, but know that I stand with you and would be quite happy to stand with you, in person. (Imbi and I are heading south in about a week.) Keep fighting the good fight, blogging queens. 🙂

  33. I’m with Bill with Eagle with HUG with KD with JA with JeffT with etc etc etc.

    Not just standing with you and praying for you, Dee and Deb, but willing to do what I can to give an assist with whatever gifts I’ve got.

    Thank you for your steadfastness …

  34. Thank you Dee and Deb for the work you do here.

    Matthew 24:11 (NLT) Jesus says:
    And MANY false prophets will appear and deceive MANY people.

    Matthew 10:16 (NLT) Jesus says:
    Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.

    The “shrewd as snakes” part of the above scripture used to puzzle me, but now I understand that we need to know how wolves operate so that we are not deceived.

    I was raised to be “nice” which meant I had to trust everyone and take them at face value. I had to learn about spiritual abuse the hard way!

    Thank you again for helping us to be “shrewd”.

  35. @ Deb:

    And there was the story of the woman who had Breast Cancer. He prescribed medicinal pot to and she is almost cured of it.
    The good doc’s little e book, might as well be a full blown commercial for his clinic.

  36. @ Ann:

    Mrs. Muff & me have often wondered if these biblical-manly-braveheart-fantasy-types are not suffering from a severe case of vagina envy. Their whole ethos it seems is driven by an irrational fear of the primal power of women as life givers and sustainers.

  37. The amount of scrubbing this man does, he should be squeaky clean by now. But no, something else always comes to the surface. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now, until he comes forward to repent, God will continue to allow more of MD’s past open up–just like an onion. Lies have a way of coming to the surface regardless of the attempts to whitewash.

    His interview with some of the Seattle Seahawks made me sick, this is his attempt to lock arms with people who have a status that he can attach to… and now that we are watching his locked-arm status with John Catanzaro becoming a problem, he is looking for more public cache in order to keep his status noteworthy and important.

    He doesn’t do things like that without reason, he has been pretty sloppy in the past and I am willing to bet that some underlings are paying a heavy price because of that.

    But just like his attempt with his publishers of quietly changing attributions in his books (via ebooks, which don’t show what was changed when edits happen), he is changing his website to keep his public cache.

  38. This helps clear up the questions I had about the coverage of this specific issue.

    Sorry to hear you are being threatened. So pathetic and ridiculous and hopefully just words… Good grief. My hubs is in law enforcement and at least in his department they don’t take these things lightly. Stay safe!

  39. I read the article and I don’t understand what the issue is. Is it that this “John Catanzaro” person has been proven a quack? If so, by who? Is he in legal trouble?

    And, of course, your real obsession is that you don’t believe that Driscoll has apologized for his previous endorsements of him. And then there’s the dark insinuations of something nefarious: if the endorsements are removed, then he’s hiding something; if he didn’t remove them, then he’s deceiving people; if he removes them but doesn’t publicly denounce John Catanzaro, then he’s being cowardly. That doesn’t sound reasonable.

  40. @ John Carpenter:
    I have not approved three of your comments. Stop calling people names and try again. I approved this one comment because you at least tried to explain your concerns.

    I am not going to spoon feed you the news on this guy. Read our posts and read the newspapers.You will get answers to all of your question. He is in a heap of trouble. I am not a Reader’s Digest service.

    Driscoll pumped the guy from the pulpit and people went to him based on his endorsement, according the newspaper articles.

    And as for Mark, he sure sees visions when it involves sex but it seems that the visions due not extend to other sorts of sins in his mist.