You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.-Ezekiel 34:4 NIV- Dedicated to those who ignored, and continue to ignore, the problems at Mars Hill.
Update 8/24/14: Driscoll hires Mark DeMoss' PR firm to help him out. Still wonder if this is about true repentance?
Update 8/24/14 @2:45PM- He kept saying "according to the bylaws." Astute readers know what that means. Dee is officially unimpressed. I vote this next tweet the "Tweet of the afternoon:
Update 8/24/14 2:22 PM :Go to this link to listen to the actual audio on Warren Throckmorton's blog. Scroll to the end of the short post.
Update: 8/24 1:36 John Piper: BFFs with CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll, as usual, shows no concern whatsoever for the many who have been hurt. Tweeting a few minutes ago says:
Update, 8/24/14 1 PM Warren Throckmorton is reporting that Driscoll is going to make the sacrifice of taking off 6 more weeks as he is investigated by his handpicked elders. Rumors flying of more resignations. Keep posted here.
Recently, David Robertson, accused those who are concerned about the ministry of Mark Driscoll as "smug." In so doing, he demonstrates a singular lack of understanding about the deep and complex issues surrounding the rise, peak and decline of all that is Driscoll. First, let me add to the already stunning number of issues surrounding Driscoll and *his* ministry. Then I will address Robertson's smug view of smug.
As you are aware, Driscoll took some time off for the summer. His timing was impeccable. I once had a pastor who was on a sabbatical when the church was struck by a devastating revelation that a pedophile had molested a significant number of young teen boys in the church. He made a couple of calls of condolences and then continued with his sabbatical. When confronted by his seeming lack of concern, he said "When I am on a sabbatical, it is understood that I don't return even if the church is burning down." Since this individual was a fan of Driscoll at the time, I think he may have been channeling his modus operandi.
Update 4:25 PM Just published by New York Times: With a Brash Style, a Preacher Drives Off Followers He Once Attracted Mark Driscoll Is Being Urged to Leave Mars Hill Church. Note Tim Keller's statement. Why didn't he and his friends in The Gospel Coalition show any compassion to those hurt by this church. This says more to me about the heart of the NeoCalvinist movement than any pithy statement for the NYT.
…“It’s almost unfathomable that it’s transitioned into what it is — it’s as if Che Guevara ended up as a New York stockbroker,” Ron Wheeler, a Seattle firefighter who for seven years was a protégé and friend of Mr. Driscoll, said in an interview. Mr. Wheeler, like many others who broke with Mr. Driscoll years ago, stayed silent for a long time, but several weeks ago he posted an open letter to Mr. Driscoll online, saying that the pastor had threatened and slandered him, and writing, “I thought you were my brother and you treated me like scum.”
…“He was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously,” said Timothy Keller, the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and one of the most widely respected evangelical intellectuals in the United States. “But the brashness and the arrogance and the rudeness in personal relationships — which he himself has confessed repeatedly — was obvious to many from the earliest days, and he has definitely now disillusioned quite a lot of people.”
Watch here for developments. I will update in this spot as events progress. According to Warren Throckmorton:
Several sources (current Mars Hill members, current pastors) have informed me that church pastors are telling members of the congregation that Mark Driscoll plans to make a “big announcement” on Sunday, August 24. The community groups have been informed to watch for it but there is nothing specific about the announcement as yet.
Recap: What happened during Driscoll's summer vacation:
- Acts29, a national “church planting” evangelical network, removed Driscoll and Mars Hill from membership earlier this month. Its directors sent a letter to Driscoll urging that he “step down from ministry for an extended time to seek help.” Mars Hill churches were stricken from the Acts29 website.
- The Resurgence 2014 Conference, three days of preaching slated for October, was abruptly canceled “due to unforeseen changes to our speaker lineup and other challenges.” The annual conference has been a very big deal at Mars Hill.
- A “Jesus Festival”, slated for this weekend at Marymoor Park, was touted by Driscoll in February but quietly canceled in early spring. Mars Hill members had put up money above and beyond their annual titles to stage the event.
Add to those:
Former pastors (many former friends of Mark) file charges against Driscoll
From KOMO News:
From Warren Throckmorton:
Dr Throckmorton provided links to the cover letter accompanying this action as well as the specified charges along with a brief on workplace bullying. These charges are not from the distant past as it appears the Mars Hill leadership would have us all believe.These are fresh-you can see the dates in the document. You might be startled by a few of these examples.
Some of the charges:
2012- shaming and bullying of a Lead Pastor to break his conscience and cuss in front of the group. Sexual harassment of another Lead Pastor by way of inappropriate comment about his sex life. Threats of termination.
2012-One elder corrected Mark with his own understanding that the new bylaws, in fact, allow the board to make decisions without running it by the Full Council. Mark’s response to that elder was bullying, with some elders present recalling language to the effect of: “I don’t give a shit what you think. I’m trying to be nice to you guys by asking your opinion. In reality, we don’t need your vote to make this decision. This is what we’re doing.”
21012-Mark said in a meeting that he did not want a certain staff elder (who was not slim) to take on a certain prominent leadership role because “his fat ass is not the image we want for our church.”
2012-Domineering and arrogant—In an all-MEDCOM meeting discussing his displeasure over the way the team had been marketing R12, Mark said, “You think you’re the Resurgence. But, you’re not the brand. I’m the brand!”
2013- Threatened to tear down a former elder’s church plant, saying “I’ll tear his church down brick by brick.”
2013- Mark commanded MEDCOM staff to redirect marketing for R13 with the branding and messaging of his book, “Call to Resurgence.” At least one staff member fought back on the principle of conflict of interest—Mars Hill, being a non-profit org, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to push a book that Mark makes personal profit from.)
2014- Mark told elders that he was not aware of the ResultSource agreement but had chosen to admit knowledge of it for the sake of the team in his letter to the church, and that others had made the decision to work with ResultSource. He claimed that another elder and Mark’s publishers made the decision to work with ResultSource without his knowledge. He insinuated that he had learned about the ResultSource agreement only after the story broke on World magazine. In fact, Mark agreed to work with ResultSource on the Best Seller Campaign for Real Marriage as early as July 2011.
Mark Returns: The *Bring Your Bible to Church Sunday* Stunt
It was announced that Driscoll will be in the pulpit on Sunday. On Facebook, supportive church members are urged to bring their Bible to show they are dependent on Jesus, not Driscoll. But that's not what their beloved pastor thinks. See the above quote. Driscoll says "he is the brand." Gotta love the sin quote below. It does appear that they believe there is no sin too big that will separate them from the teachings of Driscoll.
Supporters of Driscoll are responding to the troubles with five words of advice: Bring your Bibles to church. As explained in a Facebook post:
“Next Sunday, our message to Pastor Mark isn’t just that we’re supporting him because he’s been a blessing to us, but because we’re like him — totally dependent on Jesus.
“Our message isn’t that we don’t care about sins — his or ours — but rather we know Christian growth does not happen apart from the words of God.”
The *Festival* is canceled. The Global Fund wasn't global. So, where's the money?
Mars Hill seems to have a penchant for appropriating money designated for certain ministries to benefit whatever they need at the moment. If I remember correctly, Driscoll has also appropriated other people's electricity for his benefit, so why not use their moola for whatever he sees fit? First, there was the Global Fund debacle, in which money, supposedly raised for missionary efforts in India and Ethiopia, was used to benefit the very wealthy Mars Hill churches in the Seattle area.
When Mars Hill denied that they had said the money raised would go to those countries, Dr Throckmorton posted a video with Driscoll saying just that. Then Mars Hill threatened him for posting the video and tried to have it removed. But, Throckmorton prevailed. Mars Hill backed off and offered to refund the money to anyone who donated, thinking it was being used to help the disadvantaged in other countries. See what you think!
So, did they learn their lesson with this little dustup? See what you think about their handling of the ill-fated Jesus festival.
The Huffington Post took notice of Warren Throckmorton's documentation and investigated.
…Throckmorton pointed out on August 18, "Apparently, the money came in (closer to $3 million), but the festival is off, called off months ago. Shouldn’t the people have been consulted? They gave toward a festival but didn’t get one. As late as February, Mark Driscoll was still promoting the festival as a free event."
….The Huffington Post reached out to Mars Hill Church to inquire whether an official announcement had been released about the future of the festival and the donations that were raised in part to fund it.
Justin Dean, Communications & Editorial Manager, replied in an email with their official statement:
During our annual end of year fundraising campaign we often share some of the exciting things that we have planned for the coming year. Last year one thing we shared was the Jesus festival, originally planned to occur this week. In line with the mission of our church, the festival would have been a great evangelistic opportunity to share the gospel and great music with the community. We regret that the festival and other summer events have had to be canceled, and we would love to still be able to host a festival like this in the future.
Contrary to what has been reported, we did not raise money specifically for the Jesus festival. Gifts given during the end of the year campaign, as well as any gifts given to Mars Hill Church, go towards ministry operations, evangelism, and church planting all over the world.
He added, "This was not sent to our church."
It does seem to me that Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll will use designated money for whatever they darn well please. And since their BOAA seems to be in shambles, this should be an expectation on the part of all donors. (My recommendation: If you want to really help those in other countries, donate to a good missionary organization directly and stop the middle man business.)
Is The Gospel Coalition upset that Janet Mefferd, a woman, called out Mark Driscoll?
Dr David Robertson, a pastor in Dundee, Scotland, was apparently put out by Mefferd's astute observations about Mark Driscoll on her show and sent her a series of tweets that demonstrate that he has learned much from Driscoll.
As many of you know, she was the first to call out Driscoll's plagiarism which caused a major dustup . It is the opinion of TWW that significant pressure was applied behind the scenes which resulted in an apology by Mefferd. Dr Throckmorton continued to document what appears to be rather widespread plagiarism in some of Driscoll's books. TWW believes that Mefferd should be on the receiving end of apologies since she was the one who researched and first reported on what would turn out to be one of the biggest Driscoll stories in this past year.
Here are some of the tweets that David Robertson sent her.
Please note the typical ho-hum word "bitter." This word is used to deflect truthful critique and seems to be the default word by unimaginative critics. Note the over the top rhetoric regarding the "anitchrist." Dr Robertson apparently likes to debate atheists in Scotland. I wonder if he uses similar tactics like this in those debates? Why is it that I sense the "spirit of Mark" in these tweets?
The sad part of such comments is that Mefferd was correct about Driscoll while the self styled gospel™ boys have bent over backwards to defend the indefensible for years. Oh, the outrage when she pointed out plagiarism. She was the problem, not Driscoll. I would love to know what calls were made behind the scenes. I wonder if the full truth might come out one of these days?
David Robertson then wrote Dissing Driscoll: What the Church can learn from Pastor Mark's fall from grace for Christian Today. It is another Driscollesque post in which he rips Mefferd and "her guest. The Gospel Coalition picked up this story on their homepage today. Here is the screen shot.
I wonder- did the TGC editors look into what this man said about Janet Mefferd on Twitter? Or are they also upset that it was Mefferd, a woman, who was the first to call out Driscoll on plagiarism. There are those who are published authors on The Gospel Coalition. Are they concerned about plagiarism as well or is it one of those OK sins? Robertson even got one of his facts wrong. Mefferd tweeted about the protest which was organized by former members and pastors of Mars Hill.
This man judged the motives, the theology, and the reactions of those who for many years have been calling out the problems with Mark Driscoll's ministry. He shamefully shows us how he defines "acting like a man."
There have been plenty of kill-joys who have indulged in 'harm-joy' over Mark Driscoll. I think of one conservative radio host who seemed to be obsessed with Driscoll, tweeting constantly and even urging people to turn up and protest at his church. I recall listening to her speaking to another 'reformed' minister, the two of them waxing eloquent in their praise of one another's courage and how they admired each other. It was nauseatingly smug.
I have a sneaking suspicion that some of those who are most critical of Driscoll's popularity have a yearning to be popular themselves. Jealousy is always a powerful motive. Any reactions we have to Driscoll's woes should be ones of sorrow, self-examination and repentance, not schadenfreude.
I am grateful that Mark Driscoll is finally being called to task. For Robertson's sake, let me spell it out clearly. It's not joy. It's relief that some are finally getting it. In reality, it has been Driscoll's fan theologian/leaders who have smugly dismissed the concerns of hundreds who have documented their experiences with Driscoll. Men like John Piper, who claimed to "love Driscoll's theology-that's bottom line for me" but showed no public interest in those who were hurt by that great theology.
Look at those who have endorsed his book Real Marriage: Wayne Grudem, Andy Stanley, Darrin Patrick, etc. Seminary presidents waxed eloquent over Driscoll's writings. Prior to blogging, Deb and I discussed our concerns about Driscoll to a pastor/seminarian. He listed a bunch of hot shot theologians and said there was something wrong with us for not getting it. I hope he reevaluates his paradigm. Sometimes, the little "no accounts" can actually get it right.
This is how I know that men like Robertson and some of the mentioned leaders and groups do not get it. None of them have shown any compassion whatsoever to those who have been hurt by Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. People like Paul Petry and Bent Myer were called all kinds of names and ignored by those Driscoll fans. Shame on them.
Years ago, a leaders from SNAP said something that has become my motto. She said to always remember the victims since that is why I am writing. There are some leaders who need to reevaluate their priorities in this light. They need to show they give a hoot about the little guy before they fawn over the next celebrity leader. They might even look a bit like Jesus if they do so.
No, David Robertson, the smugness is on the side of those who brushed off those who tried to tell the truth. I do not know what the motives were for doing so. Unlike you, I do not pretend to know what goes on inside their heads. All I do know is that you and a bunch of others, who tell us that you know the gospel, missed it, big time. Janet Mefferd got it. I think you owe her an apology.
Lydia's Corner: Haggai 1:1-2:23 Revelation 11:1-19 Psalm 139:1-24 Proverbs 30:15-16