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.”
A Big Announcement Expected at Mars Hill on Sunday
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:
There is no better source than Warren Throckmorton's blog to review all things Driscoll/Mars Hill. For the sake of brevity, here is a synopsis from the Seattle PI
- 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
Er – sorry, what was the question?
And we have a clean sweep of the medals!
““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.”” From the New York Times today.
I was once a fan of Tim Keller. I am not anymore. As one of the two co-founders of TGC, he sat back and said nothing while it “was obvious…from the earliest days” that Mark Driscoll had severe issues — issues that any mildly biblically literate Christian could see disqualified him from ministry — but the TGC folk felt he was “…really important in the Internet age.” And who gave a ____ about the people he threw under the bus. Sickening.
And I should add that Keller sat back while many of us were disparaged by TGC folk for the stand we took on Driscoll — Janet being one of the primary targets… for speaking the truth, no less.
As an ex-pat Englishmen resident, and somewhat naturalised after 25 years, in Scotland, I’d rather you left us out of this. Fiscal is not our fault; though since the reach of his marketing is approximately Boltzmann-distributed, we do not escape the nebulous and noise-dominated fringes of the x-axis thereof.
However, if Dr Robertson was on fire as you suggest, I’m glad somebody put him out.
This is very similar to the ATF / Teen Mania / Ron Luce issue, where his ministry used money that was supposed to spread the Gospel to teens and used it (allegedly) to buy new coffee machines and new carpeting for his ministry’s building.
Luce denies all or most of the charges. His teen ministry has a lot of ex-members, who have blogs saying sexual abuse went on by other members or leaders. I can’t remember all the details.
Here’s the page about the carpeting and stuff:
Ron Luce, World Magazine Debate Why Teen Mania Is One of America’s Most Insolvent Charities
“He [Luce] also responded to a charge from a former Teen Mania development director, who said Luce raised $250,000 to “raise awareness and support for reaching America’s 26 million teens with the gospel of Christ” but spent it instead on campus carpeting, a coffee shop, and a new conference room.”
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
Apologies – that should have read “… the nebulous and noise-dominated rightmost fringes of the x-axis thereof.”.
I hope this clears up any confusion.
@ Bill Kinnon:
Bill-see the tweet I just sent out. I also added the NYTimes in the post as an update. I favorited your tweets by the way. I agree with you 100% BTW-they all stood by Mahaney as well.
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
Huh? What confusion? I’m confused….wait, maybe I’m not….
I meant to mention that. I was at a wedding a couple of years ago where I chatted with one of Keller’s closest friends, who told me how Keller had turned him on to Mahaney, Driscoll et al. I was aghast, to put it mildly. And stopped chatting with this person shortly thereafter.
The question i have is “Why?” For such men of discernment, they showed precious little when much was a stake and they did it twice.
Since TGC has been building a Tower together, they shouldn’t be surprised if they tumble together when it falls.
As has been said here, innumerable times, if you held the “correct theology”, it seems that TGC gave you a pass on just about anything,
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
No confusion was cleared up. Whatever are you trying to say? BTW, did you get the results back from your “evaluation” that who was it, Roebuck? was doing. Hmm. I think maybe not. Surely there are professionals in wherever you are or seem to think you are who can “evaluate” as needed. Just a suggestion, of course.
Alright, scratch all that. While I was typing I got a phone call from the phone tree at the UMC church were I more or less am. Message from the nice lady pastor (Duke div grad!!!) It seems that they want kids to bring their back to school backpacks, phones or planners to worship service to be “blessed.” Now I recently commented somewhere here that immigrating to a different style of christianity was difficult. Can you imagine an ole time pre-evangelical days Baptist little old lady actually listing to a female pastor announce something about blessing inanimate objects in preparation for school? This is where I say “see what I mean.” I tired and I want my momma and this is not helpful.
That would have read “I am tired” except for the fact that I am, and things like that happen at such times.
As one who has had to cope with the antics of Mark Driscoll, et al. for the past 7 years due to a family member at Mark’s Hill, I am relieved that the inner workings are now out front and center. I grieve for the Kingdom as there is now bad press on His behalf. But for those of us who felt alone, frustrated, confused and extremely hurt, at least the truth is out. I was “counseled” by a pastor at Mars Hill with a very demeaning, accusatory, criticizing and (actual quote) “We don’t care what the parents think around here” attitude. I applaud those who are speaking up. I am extremely grateful for the Deebs for providing a public arena in which to inform, expose and discuss. Thank you Wartburg Ladies.
I think the next time you remember this statement, you think of this clip which expresses my sentiments to the dunderhead who said that to you.
The men TWW and commenters often criticize for not “calling out” the people TWW and friends don’t like, have one thing in common.
They ALL LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES. Mohler, Dever, Patterson et.al. -live in glass houses and know they live in glass houses.
There’s a hoary old adage my Mama told me; Hopefully your Mama told you.
People who live in glasses houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Keller, Dever, R.C. etc. ALL know they are born under the curse of Adam and know what it’s likely to be unjustly accused and then “piled on” by their alleged brothers and sisters in the Lord.
TWW’s commenters are mostly anonymous. They live in secret houses from whence it’s easy to throw stones.
The “big dogs” live very public lives, they’re pretty much mature men; mostly very, very careful about attacking others. They live in glasses houses; know what its like first hand to be the recipients of anonymous stones.
I wish the words “bitter” and “season” could be banned (not from here, just in general).
Where is the statement about galss houses found in Scripture? Real men care about those being hurt. And, if Mohler and Keller are hurting people then maybe the should be expsoed.
Amen and amen.
Especially “season”. And “bitter”.
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
They chose the houses they live in . . . no one forced them.
Deb and Dee, so what do you think Driscoll’s big announcement will be? No matter what he says, I wonder if his children will be present. I hate to see kids put in the position of carrying a burden caused by their parents. I hope they have relatives who stand up to Mark and his bullying. His children need close relatives who model loyalty, kindness, selflessness and empathy. I suspect these children have not had a healthy father for a long time. My prayers are with them.
On a lighter note – Yes, count me in on the ‘season’ overusage. Groan.
Bill Kinnon wrote:
I’d suggest that when people of prominence continue to commend, recommend, and promote Christian celebrities who turn out to be spiritually abusive, it demonstrates that their adherence to so-called “secondary issues” has become a primary problem.
I believe they are complicit in the victimization of people who followed their recommendations, both for that, and for their negligence in not standing up and pushing back publicly when those same leaders they commended show their ongoing and undeniable abusive patterns over time. It makes me wonder what kind of sick ecclesiology these people actually promote …
Perhaps the push-back is not about “bitterness,” Dr. Robertson, but about increased “body counts” that could have been lessened by these prominent leaders learning some lessons about spiritual abuse — and doing the right thing by advocating for the survivors instead of continuing to protect their deficient theologies.
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
No one has been asked to attack any one. Most stones come from people who have been harmed by, and are very familiar with, an issue and the persons involved. They are people who have not been heard and/or dismissed. Blogs have been one way for people to express the harm done to them. In the past there has been no way to publicly express concern for a man and/or his ministry that has caused harm . . . until the past 10 years.
Surely Mark would not want to leave his hefty salary. I suspect a sabbatical. But oh my – who would fill the pulpit? As he has said, “Things may change around Mars Hill but I will never give up the pulpit” and “I will never share the pulpit as I would never share my wife”. (As if we even thought that his wife was part of the equation).
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
No. We don’t live in secret. We also don’t write books, lead churches, speak at conferences, and earn a living promoting Jesus(TM).
Bill Kinnon wrote:
The correct theology is necessary but not sufficient. In addition, one needs to continue to bring glory to the men of the organization and add to their bottom line. Bring shame to them as Driscoll has and your theology won’t save you. Driscoll drew too much attention to what their theology actually is. What they have done draws attention to what they are really all about, and it is not the gospel.
The Christians who have propped up Mars Hill Seattle, need to be the ones who tear it down. Its fundagelcials who are keeping it open, giving money, and creating demand. If Christians really cared about the Gospel they’d go up to Mark Driscoll and put their foot four feet into his $%^# and tell him “Get out of Seattle and take your sex show with you”. I keep hoping and wanting the IRS to investigate all these financial scandals pouring out of Mars Hill. Mars Hill is just begging for an audit. And I am so tired of the fan boys trumpeting around plagiarized material and the Christians voicing their support for a fraud. Do you think a Cadet at the Air Force Academy could plagiarize material like Driscoll did and not get kicked out?
From the NYT article, Keller says: “…“He [Driscoll] was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously,”
Keller indicates right there what Driscoll’s importance was. Not that he brought the gospel to many. Not that many saw Jesus in his ministry. He was important because he built up *the evangelical movement.”
Keller continues with his analysis: “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.”
It seems to me, though I am not one of the foremost intellectuals in the evangelical movement, that someone with such towering intellect should have seen these glaring character problems a long time ago.
But of course, Keller and company defended Driscoll until the Elephant Room 2 because Driscoll was a total positive to the movement. After that, not so much, so they were merely silent. Now that he has damaged the brand, Keller finally sees a problem: “that he [Driscoll] has disillusioned quite a lot of people.”
Not a word about real spiritual and emotional damage to people or damage to the name of the Lord whom Keller claims to serve. Just that Driscoll disillusioned some people. People like Keller, I guess.
Why do people give Tim Keller a pass? I would like to know?
Dee you need to add “We Love Mars Hill” to your links. Can my East Coast Mom do that? 🙂
One more thing Mom! Can you also add Rob Smith’s “Musings Under the Bus?”
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
Nobody forces them onstage at every opportunity. Nobody forces them to grab mics and headlines whenever they want. They live in opulent glass houses of their own construction.
Their maturity is something to be demonstrated, not merely asserted. I say the evidence says otherwise, unless you merely mean as measured by age.
Anonymous stone throwers would be utterly unnecessary if they would perform their duties as shepherds and protect the flock from those among their own exalted ranks who are not shepherds but hirelings. Instead, they protect themselves at the expense of the sheep. Anonymity would be unnecessary if they did not demonize or, at the very least, marginalize and dismiss anyone who tries to call them to account.
He is the one who brings in the big bucks and also lends “respectability” to organizations to which he belongs (PCA, TGC.) No one who values their position in the PCA questions Keller openly. If someone does question Keller, you can be pretty certain they value something other than their position. Ask some elders in the PCA. Or Tullian Tch.
Maybe it’s just me, by the quotes from Keller make me scratch my head even more. What were they all thinking? How are they loving their brother (Driscoll) by using his celebrity while it lasted and now “seeing” issues?
Wow. I didn’t know much about MD until I started reading TWW. He is a profane, narcissistic bully. I want to ask what the heck was wrong with all those people, but I know from sad experience that narcissists can be exciting…engaging…and terribly destructive.
Elizabeth Lee wrote:
Not only destructive spiritually and emotionally to members or their congregations (which is bad enough), but to the Kingdom. I wonder how many people will look at this whole sordid mess and say “see?, Christians just a bunch of hypocrites.”
That is as close to the heart of the matter as it is going to get. Not only is this mess not about the gospel for the leadership, it is also not about the gospel for the people who, like you said, create the demand. It is sad about the unsuspecting who get hurt. But just because there are some unsuspecting who get hurt does not mean that one and all who support this mess are in that category of the unsuspecting. Clueless in Seattle has its limits.
While I don’t know what was actually in their minds, it would not be the first time that older men used younger ones to further the purposes of the older ones. It’s a neat system where the older men lend gravitas and a sense of purpose and importance to the younger ones thereby feeding the younger egos, and the younger ones worship and admire and even copy their older idols, thereby feeding the older egos and making them feel still relevant.
It is obvious to me that they used one another rather than loving one another as brothers in Christ.
Maybe not. Maybe if the idea of cleaning up the mess really takes hold there is a chance of scraping up something good out of all this. Folks might say, alright they finally did something about it all, better late than never. And maybe some christians would get the idea that holier than thou might not sell too well for a while. That would be nice (for a change).
Yes ma’am. Tell it.
I hope you are right, Nancy.
In fairness to Driscoll (that galled to write), people have been seeing and saying that long before his jerkiness was pointed out.
On a related and recently discussed topic, I see that there are saying that it is going to start snowing early in Montana this year. Maybe that will cool things off up there, or at least be a distraction from the pursuit of “calling out” supposed “sins” for a while.
Albuquerque Blue wrote:
Very true AB, very true.
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
There are plenty of people on TWW who are very much not anonymous. And I would bet that a great majority of people who post here–me included–have received our fair share of stones through our windows. I’ve been a part of a cultic neocalvinist church as well as a cultic armenian church in which standing up for truth was to expose yourself to outright slander, hatred and shunning. Most of us have gotten our fair share, Seneca. But as most of us don’t cherish the notion of inviting a JD Hall-esque water torture test for our children, we remain anonymous on the net. What of it?
No kidding, neocalvinists use the word “season” like Lenny Bruce used profanity. ten years ago certain groups of Christians couldn’t say three sentences without comparing the Lord to water or rivers or streams. It’s always something.
Albuquerque Blue wrote:
Indeed. One has to say, though, that there are “people” and then there are “People.” The chronic naysayers and insult throwers who can never be pleased with anything and have their own axe to grind, which said axe may or may not be something of note, those people just have to be ignored and stepped around. But the People who are fair and thoughtful and who really do see some of the mess, believers and unbelievers alike, they deserve something better than this, and christians need to listen to what those people have to say.
Seems to me that Keller is just a more Gentrified version of Mahaney and Driscoll. Educated, well spoken, literate….and arrogant. Why isn’t he apologizing for allowing Driscol & Mahaney to continue for so long without being challenged? He certainly hasn’t shown a penchant for being discerning.
These guys talk about transforming culture, but all they do is insulate themselves and take from others, in my opinion.
Wouldn’t be surprised if Driscoll came back from his sabbatical and resigned. That’s what happened to the last pastor I knew who took time off in the midst of controversy. Nothing was resolved either.
@ Law Prof:
I agree many of us have suffered for speaking up but do not wish to bring evil to our door steps. Seneca: What have you ever suffered for for the Lord?
Seneca: You just love to stir “it.”
I wonder if part of the reason why MH pushes the “we don’t care what the parents (grandparents) think is because some or all of the kids’ grandparents aren’t on board. I hope so, for the kids’ sakes.
My guess: Heart-wrenching talk about how sorry he is (no specifics about what, just vague references), get choked up a few times (no tears, only girly men do that, Real Men(TM) don’t cry), talk about all the pressure he was under for the sake of the church and taking care of his burdensome wife, taking a sabbatical (a well paid one) to become a ‘better’ pastor (meaning “i’m going into hiding until this blows over like CJ did when he hid behind Mark Dever’s skirt (ed.) ), how Mars Hill will be foremost on his mind while he’s gone (at least the money from it. anyway).
Fade to black, tears and cheers from the adoring crowd, lots of neo-Cal Tweets about MD’s ‘repentance’, when he comes back, same-old, same-old.
Pardon my cynicism, but I don’t see this leopard changing his spots. Whatever MD says on Sunday doesn’t matter. Talk is cheap. I will wait for a season(TM) and see what fruit all this will bear.
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
I think Deb and Dee have made their full legal names and locations known.
As for me, I have had the distinct displeasure of being stalked by weirdos on the internet (one guy kept it up for over five years), when I did use my real name (and people knew where I lived and worked, too).
Never again. I learned from those experiences that you need to be very discriminating about when, to whom, and if you give your true name and address.
I still get flamed and harassed by other people under my anonymous i.d. / screen name, so I’m not sure how relevant it is that I don’t post using my real name. I would not find the harassment more enjoyable if I was using my real name and they theirs.
And heh, while using a screen name on my end, I was harassed and stalked by another guy who was presumably using his real name for about a year and a half. He also states in public his profession and where he lives.
“…widely respected evangelical intellectuals…” This is just too easy. So many oxymorons, so little time.
Except for used in the song “Hazy Shade of Winter.” That’s OK.
(as for the word Gospel: at least in certain contexts, like the Christians who attach it to everything, such as,
“my Gospel-centered relationships with Hank and Ralph are doing great,” “a Gospel based psychology method,” “A Gospel centered music ministry,” “a Gospel-correct shampoo brand”)
Is Joe Carter responsible still working for TGC? That might explain the article on the front page of TGC. Mefferd has been speaking out about Driscoll and Mahaney for a while and any of us females who expose their BFFs are immediately labeled.
Yes. And this means in Christianese the Matter Is Permanently Settled, and if you bring it up again, or question anything he says or does in the future, you are Unforgiving and you are the one in error.
I do understand the concept that if someone is truly sorry for past behavior and they’ve turned a new leaf, it can be wrong or bad to keep their past against them, but too often, this is used against Christians who are wary of being abused or duped again.
@ Seneca “j” Griggs:
Some places of employment (businesses, not churches – though it’s hard to tell the difference these days, I know *rim shot*) have a Complaint Box where workers can submit complaints about the work culture or supervisor anonymously.
Why do you suppose that is?
There used to be a show called “Undercover Boss” where a company’s head cheese would pick up a broom and pretend to be a lowly guy among the other workers and hang out around the other low tier workers all day for a week. Why do you suppose that is (besides the TV station hoping for good ratings)?
@ Julie Anne:
I often wonder what Jesus would say to men like Joe Carter and others that treat women that stand up for the truth in such an unchristian manner.
I am so tired of such men.
I am also cynical. It's Friday night…two days away and already my B.S. detector is screaming!
Keller doesn’t need to apologize in his world. If he were inclined to take any responsibility as a leader, he would already have done so. He directs. He is too big to fail for too many people. Without him, who would be the urbane and intellectual face of evangelicalism?
Oh, there are any number of women intellectuals that have the ability to take his place.
Maybe there is a reason Joe Carter and those like him are so nasty to women and cozy with guys like Mahaney and Driscoll. Jesus lifted women up in a very misogynist culture. He was the one who was really counter-cultural when it came to gender relations. These guys are interested in their own position and not in being like Christ, it seems to me.
No doubt. I was speaking from their point of view regarding why they will not call Keller to account. “Intellectual” is the slot that he fills in their sub-culture. If I were in their shoes, I’d be very concerned that their real agenda has been revealed by Driscoll and they will need to make some “adjustments” to their doctrine to put sufficient distance between them and Driscoll. I think Keller could be very helpful to them in that task.
Janet Varin wrote:
LOL. I learned you always have to read the fine print. These are all accurate descriptors *within their bubble*, and that is all that matters to them.
probably they are the same, except with a few differences like how abusive is ok abusiveness. I am sick and tired of listeneing to men in suits apologizing to men in suits and condemning men in suits, also men in jeans that preach in cities like Bellevue where I cant even afford to drive on their prescious streets. all the apologies in the world will not bring back the souls or lives of the poor and fat and marginalized that went to ‘reformed’ ‘calvinista’ ‘complimentary’ churches seeking Jesus. ‘thrown under the bus’ is mild for destroyed families and people that will now have scars for life. the other suit people or people that can go out to expensive restaurants with their friends from church, complain about mistreatment from pastors like this after being one of the elder/leaders/staff members that spent years doing the same thing, until it was aimed at them. all the apologies in the world will not fix the broken lives and broken souls that mistook church for a place where Jesus was. if any of the members that are trying to bring attention to mark driscoll and ‘restoration’ or are calling out the pipers of the world saw me on the street they would walk past without saying even hello. I see Jesus in none of them.
“On a related and recently discussed topic, I see that there are saying that it is going to start snowing early in Montana this year. Maybe that will cool things off up there, or at least be a distraction from the pursuit of “calling out” supposed “sins” for a while.”
I suppose you are referring to J.D. Hall, the man from Sidney, MT (population just over 5000). Nobody up here outside Sidney even knows or cares who he is, apart from the awful internet controversy that nobody I know reads about except me (and that’s only because I’ve worked and written for cults ministries for years, so I follow weird stuff). The hyper-Reformed end of the SBC and other fundamentalist Reformed churches do not flourish up here–life in so much of Montana is hard, and people need much more and better worship and communion with God than many of those groups offer, so the Charismatic/Pentecostal churches tend to do better here.
I’ve lived here in Butte, one of the coldest cities in the state, for 8 years, after living in big cities and working in large churches and inner city parachurch and other ministries for over 30 years. We’re here for now because my husband’s parents are here and he was raised here.
All that to say that never have I been unconditionally loved, accepted, encouraged and helped by the Christian and wider community as I have been in Montana. My marriage and family has been saved and healed from years of spiritual, emotional and verbal abuse that nearly destroyed us, and we are deeply grateful to God and his people here in Montana.
Not to mention that we can get snow any time of year here (my first visit here, we had a snow warning on the 4th of July), and the cold and wet weather we’re experiencing this week will bring snow to the 6000+ ft mountain elevations — not at all unusual for this time of year. Then the wonderful Montana summer weather will return for awhile, and then we’ll start getting our normal Oct-Nov deep freezes and snow, which will hopefully be mostly cleared out by April/May. I have seen a foot of snow come in June, however. This year I put away my heavy winter coat in June and got it back out this week. People here joke about our two seasons here: winter and road construction. As I constantly remind my husband, there is a good reason why Montana has just over a million people! 🙂
Anyway, I wanted to bring a little perspective on real life here in “the last best place.” Come see us sometime! Preferably in July.
one of the repentant pastors from mars hill is jeff bettger aka jsuffering.
what he said in 2012:
Mars Hill pastor Jeff Bettger responded to queries from The Stranger about these stories with a long, heartfelt e-mail. He confirmed some of the stories, did not deny the rest, and wrote:
I personally have never known anybody at Mars Hill who would harass, blackmail, verbally abuse, or belittle ex-members. I would actually say that over the last few years Mars Hill has increasingly become more loving, kind, generous, and humble. I have been seeing this over and over from leadership at Mars Hill, and from members. We know we are not perfect, but we believe in an active God who loves us… The way God is growing this Church, I don’t believe anybody would even have the time, let alone the interest, to follow ex-members around. We have a difficult enough time maintaining all the work that needs to get done from week to week as well as meeting with all the people who want counsel and are hurting.
also in 2012
February 16, 2012
In this series of articles we will be interviewing artists about the music/films that have moved them throughout their lives. We start with Seattle musician Jeff Bettger (known by many as Jeff Suffering). Over the years he has been involved in the Seattle music scene with Ninety Pound Wuss, Raft of Dead Monkeys and the incredible Suffering and the Hideous Thieves.
after ‘repenting’ what is jeff like now? here are recent twitter comments of his:
Jeff Bettger @jsuffering • Aug 15
The Advantages Of Praying Drunk | Matt Johnson http://therealmattjohnson.com/the-advantages-of-praying-drunk/#.U-6Z-Z-X7dg.twitter …
Jeff Bettger @jsuffering • Aug 8
The plan for the show tonight is to butcher a bunch of hideous thieves and one joy division song
Jeff Bettger @jsuffering • Aug 2
#iron maiden cover band in #Georgetown at #deadbabies party
if I gave a rats a$$ about any of these ex mars hill complementary guys I would spend the time to look at their ‘repentance’ too.
Bill Kinnon wrote:
I agree with you. Honestly, I can’t comprehend this kind of thinking & behaviour, but it appears to be the sad truth.
You and me both.
Depressing, but all too true.
Various contributors have speculated on what the Big Announcement will be. At the time of writing, said announcement is still a day away, so I’m still in time. I think it will be one of two things:
Fiscal will announce the imminent (25th August) crossing, by NASA’s New Horizons space probe, of the orbit of Neptune exactly 25 years after Voyager 2’s ground-breaking flyby of the same planet; he will further remind them that New Horizons is bound for Pluto and, therefore, is not passing close to Neptune itself.
Fiscal will release his vision to take MH to a significant nuther level, involving a re-labelling of his own role and a certain amount of corporate restructuring among the senior MH managers, and the organisation branching out into a) several new local venues, and b) at least one new product distribution channel. So he will, effectively, announce that the company will focus in some areas whilst simultaneously diversifying in others. The phrase “by God’s grace” will be used three times, and the phrase “love Jesus”, twice.
I think the second is the more likely of the two.
I had the privilege of spending a week in Anaconda, MT this July and fell in love with Montana. One of my thoughts about the JD Hall business was that his behavior seemed like an ugly blemish on the face of that spectacularly beautiful state.
My sister and her husband are retiring there. (We grew up in South Carolina.) Even though I really hate winter I am tempted to do the same when the time comes!
@ Carole Ryan:
Thanks for this Carole. I (we?) need this kind of information.
Yes, I was referring to the JD Hall matter. What you say about Montana is so encouraging. The only thing I heard about Montana prior to that matter was from some of the survivalist writings, and they seem to be calvinist and KJV only and heavily into complementarianism and using the word “patriot” and urging people to relocate to “the american redoubt” which seems to be mostly but not exclusively Montana. So along came Hall and he seems to fit that picture somewhat.
As an aside, some of my father’s people live? lived in Idaho and my father lived out there with them for a while but he never said much about it one way or the other. They became mormons. I only met them once, but they seemed like nice people.
It is good to hear a brighter side to things. I get it about above 6000 feet. Our mountains are not that high, and our weather people talk about above 3000 feet, so we have longer summers and milder weather in the mountains. Down where I am we have several types of weather, usually, hot and humid, temperate and humid and kinda cool and humid. I do not own or need a “heavy winter coat” for example. This weather pattern is interspersed with an occasional long dry spell, thank goodness. We have two growing seasons, if you plant the right things at the right time, and that is good. But we fight the mold and mildew and rust (and the kudzu and the english ivy) in a never ending battle for supremacy.
And we have a large variety of religious groups and a large variety of ethnic groups (the gov has resettled a lot of refugees/ immigrants here). My own group of white, native born and protestant is a minority, though a large one. Actually it is working rather well. Especially if you like to go out and eat ethnic foods of various kinds. Personally I think that cross cut tentacles from some prior living creature is something I can live without, but other than that there is some good stuff to be had out there. Just saying.
@ Carole Ryan:
That’s a wonderful perspective. Life is hard…people need God more. It’s fantastic to realize thriving regional spiritual communities exist in the USA.
I have been to the great state of Montana and have spent a night in Butte. I believe that Glacier National Park is the most beautiful park in the US and I have visited there twice. I still remember white water rafting just outside the park and coming around the bend, seeing the beautiful mountains in front of me. I could have sworn I was looking at heaven. Both times I visited, we struck perfect, warm weather. However, a friend visited the week before me and went camping-it sleeted! She was a Texan and couldn't believe it!
The people of Montana are kind and welcoming and seem to have a great sense of humor. If I liked the cold (which I haven't since I left Boston), it would be on my short list as a place to live.
If Driscoll resigns on Sunday, I will fall out of my chair. But I doubt he will. Actually, every single person in leadership who supported him and his sin should resign. But again, I doubt they will. If he does resign, and many people leave MH, it shows they were following MD and not Jesus, and they should repent also.
“You HAVE to do it MY way!!! I *AM* FURRY FANDOM!!!!!”
— bit of Drama-Rama from mid-Nineties Furry Fandom
That’s because (as a retired FBI profiler put it) Montana is THE place to go if you want to live as a hermit because you can’t stand other people. Or you want to establish a Cult Compound in isolation. (Especially when your hermit’s cabin or cult compound gets snowbound in those long arctic winters.) Big, open, sparsely populated, the ideal place to Get Away from Everybody.
Nick, do you think that Fiscal will use the word ‘season’ and if so, how many times?
In keeping with his stated desire to be more ‘fatherly’ toward the congregation, do you think he will dress like Ward Cleaver (iconic TV father of the fifties)?
My husband just called and informed me that the Wasatch Mountains have a beautiful cap of snow. I am eagerly waiting for pictures.
To a fanboy, the focus of their obsession (or Object of Worship) Can Do No Wrong.
And this fraud’s a ManaGAWD. (“Missionary Man, he got GAWD on his side…”)
And like pro football, his “ME MAN! RAWR!” message and horndog tough guy shtick resonates among all those buttery doughy couch potatoes who see a buff Pro Football Star every time they look in the mirror. “ME MANLY MAN! ME CAN BEAT YOU UP! RAWR!”
They were Personally Benefiting from the System and Everything Was Just Great.
Until they outlived their usefulness.
“BUT I WAS HIS COURT FAVORITE! HE EVEN LET ME BRING THE BOWSTRING FOR THE LAST COURT FAVORITE!”
I don’t see this at all. I kind of expect him to double down, bask in applause, and declare that he and only he is doing the real work of the gospel.
Janet Varin wrote:
“You don’t need any intellect to be an Intellectual.”
— Father Brown
“Transforming culture” which puts themselves on the Iron Throne, of course.
“A crown based on lies,
You win or you die,
Game of Thrones…”
From the NYT:
If brashness, arrogance and rudeness were obvious to many from the beginning, why didn’t those “many” take MD aside and talk to him about the problem? If they did, and MD did not accept correction, why didn’t they speak up?
From the NYT, August 2018:
Now that would (not?) surprise me 😉
Janet Varin wrote:
I’ll chime in: My personal aver/under for use of the word “season” in his address to the Mars Hillians is 12.
When that guy talks about being a “spiritual father” or being “fatherly” he most decidedly does not mean innocuous, knitted sweater, bumbling, joke of the family father. He means “I am your father, leader, ruler, superior, the one whom you can’t do without, the one responsible for your soul, and now, that’s why I’m doing this, for your own good, so bend over, grab your ankles and trust me, this hurts me more than it hurts you.”
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
Oh SHUT UP. They do NOT know what it’s like. They live in a bubble, not a glass house.
I do. I have a hate webpage put up by the church of $cientology under my legal name. It’s still up, it is the first result that comes back if you search my legal name.
When I lived in Utah, my neighborhood was plastered with flyers featuring my picture and the legend RELIGIOUS BIGOT.
My home was picketed by a half-dozen $cientologists.
As far as I know, none of these people–Mohler, Keller, Deaver, Patterson, Driscoll–haven’t had that happen to them. And YES, it’s super-upsetting and an invasion of privacy. BUT, when I took on Scientology back in early 1995 (yep, coming up on 20 years), I knew this was a possibility and I have always used my legal name in confronting the cult of greed and power.
I’ll say it again: these guys all live in a bubble. They are their own bosses for the most part. They don’t have anyone over them, they can pretty much do what they want. And within their bubble, they’re feted and praised and nobody criticizes them, because they have so much power they can destroy any critic within their bubble.
And they can do stuff like Driscoll does, back the bus over people or ignore victims of child abuse or fire women professors unjustly and they don’t suffer at all. If I tried that kind of nonsense at my job, where I have three managers I have to answer to on a moment’s notice and 10 coworkers who expect me to give the right answer when I do answer, I’d be in serious trouble.
You, Seneca “J” Griggs, are reminding me very much why I have put myself outside of the charmed circle which is evangelical Christianity. I don’t want to be a part of the system which treats anyone who isn’t a male pastor as just collateral damage if the Great Man is attacked–even if the attack is legitimate and deserved. You all can go to hell in that handbasket. I decline to join.
(To the Deebs, sorry if this is too harsh, but this just rubbed me the wrong way.)
I agree that the videos about Mars Hill Global are extremely misleading. If you listen closely, though, they don’t explicitly exclude the U.S. Driscoll says he is going to discuss “SOME [emphasis mine] things that are going on with Mars Hill Global.” Another video mentions church plantings “all over the world.” If the church were being open about its activities, it should have explained how much money was going toward U.S. activities (most funds, apparently) and how much was being spent outside the U.S. (not much, as far as anyone can tell.) Of course, transparency is not exactly Mars Hill’s forte!
Law Prof wrote:
Is that in reference to Driscoll?
Driscoll said in an interview several months ago that he was doing an image overhaul, which meant growing a beard and wearing jackets with elbow patches, and so forth, so that he could appear more “fatherly” because he wants to transition from Dude Bro Preacher who appeals to 20 year old boys, to a dignified, wise, Preacher of Preachers.
He wants younger preachers to view him as someone they can go to for advice.
TBH, I hadn’t noticed the over-use of the word “season”; though I’d be annoyed if a preaching sub-culture had co-opted it and subsequently worn it out. I say that because Lesley and I both find it an extremely useful term. We don’t use it that often, but when we do, it’s a great shorthand for a period of time with a hard-to-define, but definitely extant, beginning and end; during which, a specific set of things either happens or conspicuously refrains from happening.
Slight tangent here, but I have lexical-gustatory synesthesia (in brief, words have a taste, though it’s more complex than that). This means that there are some words I just don’t like because, for no reason I could possibly explain to anyone else, they make for an unpleasant experience. On the other hand, it so happens that “season” tastes of scrambled egg on toast – which I like.
I don’t like words ending in -ship. Do not get me started on “fellowship”.
What a mess! This Neo Calvinist, reformed movement is looking more and more like a cult. Doctrinal balance and common sense have been thrown out the window. The doctrine of misogyny, or complementarianism and patriarchy under a doctrinal guise, are taking precedence over the Ten Commandments and other doctrines. They are attempting to stifle criticism from Mefferd and others with excuses clothed in "sound" doctrine. Not every doctrinal stance has God's imprimature, especially when dishonesty such as plagiarism is excused. After all, the criticism came from someone who should not have a voice: a woman! Where is the good fruit in all of this? I am sure the neocalvinists will have an excuse for this! I hate excuses.
In other news:
This afternoon, I went into a nearby Co-Op supermarket for garlic bread, actual bread, cooking chocolate and crisps. I came out with garlic bread, actual bread, cooking chocolate and crisps. This absence of supermarket impulse purchases is a world first.
Dr. Fundy’s Hammers enjoyed a 3-1 win at the Palace today.
More remarkably, Inverness beat Celtic to remain top after 4 games. Celtic are fifth, albeit with a game in hand over the top four – I don’t think the SPL has ever looked like this before.
Have you not seen his “repent from always repenting” clip from Desiring God years back? Driscoll is the master repenter who never changes but gets worse. Sigh.
All of these issues just might go away if we were a bit more like some of my Anabaptist friends. That is, if we confined our churches to small groups, all the leadership unpaid, and formed truly connected responsible to each other groups.
Of course when the big buildings go away, and the paychecks, I suspect the overlord type leadership will find church very unappealing and disappear.
But I’m fast coming to the conclusion that those that attend, support, buy the books of and attend the seminars of those who view the gospel as a means of gain and of power are every bit as guilty as the gospelly guys at the top.
And I’m fast coming to agree with an Anabaptist friend who points out these guys like ALL attention, even negative attention. Even sites like TWW may inadvertently advertise and support those guys.
I’m wondering what would happen if the real Christians simply shunned them–never posting or discussing them, never mentioning their actions, just contributing to their disappearance? What if we obeyed the scripture and took the same time and energy to promoting those getting church right?
Would the gospelly guys disappear once they were not in the limelight, if no one bought their products or even discussed them?
Of course he wants that, angry prophet days behind, now he’s ready for the frumpy aging wise old feller approach. Naturally he wants to project that image, perhaps even believes it himself, but the problem with the narcissist is they never grow up, they are perpetually stuck in the seven year old tantrum, gimme mode.
That is a really good point that you brought up. I hadn’t really thought of that angle before as to why it just seemed so illogical for so many of these already respected leaders to be defending MD. But of course, they ALL have benefited from the internet exposure that MD blazed a trail for. Wow, always follow the money.
@ Elizabeth Lee:
Well for one thing MD appealed to young women because he would yell at their lazy boyfriends and brothers. I had heard of Mark Driscoll but only began listening to his online sermons several years ago when a young lady that I used to coach at a high school was posting them on her FB page and saying things like wow, the best sermons she ever heard. She was 18! I would ask her to read the scriptures he was throwing out in his sermons to back up his rhetoric but she did not have the knowledge enough to discern it for herself, she believed his interpretations and that was fine for her. If you’ve got the young people then you can get the leaders who will pridefully lead them. I was mortified when in one of those online sermons was a list of his 3 mentors in the bottom right corner. One of them was CJ Mahaney. I wasn’t exactly sure where I had seen that name before so I googled it and found it was the same person who had pastored the church that was being introduced to my daughter in college on the East Coast while was far away over here. That’s when I began to actually panic about her there. Worrying about the college parties was a picnic compared to what we were about to go through IMO.
“Give me your children for the first few years, and I will make them mine. You will pass away, but they will remain Mine.” — A.Hitler
Who needs Christ when you have CALVIN?
Law Prof wrote:
PATERFAMILIAS, with Absolute Power over his (Pagan) Roman family and Household and descendants and property (including Animate Property).
According to the Mars Hill website, on 8/31 Driscoll begins a new sermon series called (let’s all brace ourselves) “Love One Another.” The church website has a sermon trailer featuring seemingly happy people discussing the importance of Chrstian Love, which is true, of course. Perhaps Driscoll is going to give another half-hearted apology for insuffciently emphasizing love, which, given all we’ve been reading, is putting it mildly (as usual!)
I wonder if all the pastors that are filing a complaint against mark driscoll still check their wives electronic communications daily, tell them not to wear that dress, say things like, ‘honey, take the kids in the other room with you for an hour, elder joe is here and we need to discuss some very important Jesus business about how to overthrow mark driscoll’ I wonder when petry will publicly thank his wife for speaking up about these things (probably against his advice or better judgment)publicly which started the whole business becoming public. I also wonder if the original misdeeds were brought to the light because some didn’t have equal power with mark rather than because of any doctrine errors the church might have. Are the ‘repentant pastors’ filing complaints so that the king will be thrown out and then there will be an empty throne to be filled? (by themselves) That would be just like Matt Chandler taking over Acts 29 network. Matt is exactly like mark driscoll except not as rude. same doctrine same idealogy same treatment of women and children. I know a lot of the acts 29 churches preached on song of sol shortly after mark did, I wonder how their sermons were different.
to the church members that are complaining about misuse of the global funds I would ask why all charismatic churches think they each need a ministry to feed the poor and evangelise them. is it because they only know how to properly do overseas ministry? is it because then they each can have their own private jets or first class airfare? is the reason they don’t just send their donations to large already established ministries(which would be cost effective) with already established outposts because those ministries might let a gay guy be the one to pour the soup for a starving ethiopian child?
So whatever Driscoll says tomorrow, it’ll be right back to business as usual.
Maybe he’ll be short and sweet: “Mistakes were made.”
Oh wait- already said that. “Mistakes were made” — Mark Driscoll to Christian Post. (12/18/13)
Need to make a correction. CJ hid behind Mark Dever’s skirts,not Tim Keller’s.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
You got it.
I would be grateful if you would allow some corrections to your rather inaccuarate article citing myself. I assume that given you are devoted to truth and stoping abusive and misleading behaviour you will allow this: There are several errors which you could have rectified if you had asked me first.
1) I did not call those who are concerned about the ministry of Mark Driscoll ‘smug’. I was referring to a particular interview in which a couple of people congratulated themselves about how wonderful, courageous etc they were. There was no mention of Mark Driscoll. As it happens I think that Janet Mefferd did the church a great service in exposing the plagarism, especially in her initial interview.
2) My one problem was with the constant (several times a day) tweeting with what seemed glee about the fall of MD. I think I reached the end when Janet called for people to join in a demo at a service of public worship. That may be the way that things are done in the US but I don’t believe it is biblical.
3) There HAS been a level of schadenfreude about what has happened to MD. I assume that you have proper church procedures and that you do not indulge in trial by media? I do not know about MD and am not in a position to make pronouncements about what I do not know. But I find this constant political style campaigning in the church, distasteful and unbiblical. Of course you can justify it by saying that you are only ‘caring’ for those who have been hurt by MD – but why do you then seek to use the same bullying emotive tactics that you accuse him off.
4) I happen to believe in biblical church discipline, not trail by media, or who shouts loudest wins.
5) I also happen to believe that there are far more important things to be concerned about than one US mega church and all the almost inevitable fallout from an unbiblical ecclesiology combined with human sinfulness and a commericalist populist church culture. I just don’t get why people are so obsessed and angry with this (other than those who have been directly affectd. It has all the hallmarks of a self-righteous lynch mob.
The level of gossip, accusation and slander allowed on this site is quite astonishing – all of course done ‘in the name of Christ’. It is very depressed to read just how Keller etc are just in it for the money.
Thats why I tweeted to Janet – please move on. I should have known better. Sadly for me it has resulted in heaps of dogs abuse. I should have known. Ironically this week I also got dogs abuse from someone called Church O’Neal, who some of you may know. He preached a 90 minute sermon against him and let loose his followers on to me. I feel kind of dirty. Memo to self – Keep out of American church wars…its a filthy business. May God have mercy on us all. As I sit in my study listening to 100 muslims about to have a ‘party for peace and harmony’ in our neighbours house, and heading to preach tomorrow to some broken people, the doings or not of MD and those who delight in his falling are of little interest to me. How does any of this help the kingdom? How does it do anything more than feed egos, fuel hurts and confirm prejudices? I pray the Lords blessing on you all and I pray for MD and Janet and any others of His servants, sons and daughters.
Don’t hold it in Mirelle, tell me what you really think. Sen
Phoenix, Nancy, HUG, Janet and Dee,
Thanks for responding so warmly to my Montana post!
Phoenix, you came to Anaconda at just the right time. We’re a half hour from there, and we love to go to their classic old theatre and summer town festivals when we can. They have a New York pizza place that is awesome. As to retiring in Montana, I would suggest being here May-Oct maybe and maintaining access to warmer climes for our six months of WHITE & COLD. There is no shame in being a snow bird who flies south in the winter!
Nancy & HUG, you are right that survivalists and other interesting people (including a lot of people from California and other too-crowded places) flock to Montana (as well as to Wyoming, Utah and Idaho), mainly because there are so few people here in such wide open spaces. As Dee mentioned, most people here really are friendly with great senses of humor — they also tend to be very independent and self-sufficient and don’t care two cents what others think of them. And yes, many are Mormons — we’re eight hours away from Salt Lake City. Interestingly, Butte is majority Catholic or former Catholic (most aren’t in church) because of its history as a mining town with lots of Irish and other folk. Only about 20% attend churches here. We have casinos and bars on almost every corner — even in the pizza place and gas stations! It’s crazy here. However, I, my Butte Pentecostal-raised husband (we met at a nondenominational seminary, Regent College, in Vancouver, B.C. 22 years ago) and now our two children seem to be turning out OK, after all.
Nancy, I have a friend who did most of her PhD in microbiology in Louisiana (we’re both from L.A. and Kansas City, mainly, and have lived in other countries). When she told me of the culture she experienced in the Deep South, we agreed that it was a lot like Butte culture in terms of the grinding poverty, addiction, narrow mindsets, lack of opportunity, and Christian fundamentalism — but also both cultures also have wonderful histories, universities and cosmopolitan places with a mix of people from all over the U.S. and the world, as well as, to use Janet’s great words, “thriving regional spiritual communities.” I have found this to be true wherever I’ve lived — and I was afraid Montana was only full of survivalists, fundamentalists and others who were too deeply affected by the frigid cold, altitude-induced lack of oxygen, and mining-poisoned land and water!:)
Yes, I’ve had to trade in my season tickets to the KC ballet for annual Evel Knievel Days, Montana Folk and Irish Festivals — Montana has to be the summer festival capital of the U.S., tho we can only hold ’em in July and early August — but we’re having fun and our kids are growing up well. Our 4th of July mountain fireworks, often completely encircled by thunder clouds and lightening shows (complements of God) are the BEST EVER. We do really miss the ethnic foods that more populated places offer — and I haven’t been able to make myself try out the mountain oysters at the Montana Testicle Festival, but if you are ever in Butte, you must try the pork chop sandwiches and Butte mining pasties.:) If you get here in July/August, you must sample our Flathead cherries and Montana huckleberries. Yum.
Dee, yes, Glacier Park is a taste of heaven, and also my favorite. Plus, if we drive two hours the other way, we’re in Yellowstone. What could be better? I miss the So Cal ocean, the Midwest birds, deciduous trees, flowers and vegies, and everything except the traffic and rain in the Pacific Northwest, but the West is gorgeous. (You trade the flaming spring, summer and fall colors of the Pacific NW, South, East and Midwest U.S. for mostly white mountain winters here, but you get a little bit of flashy color for maybe 3-4 months. I used to buy mountain calendars; now I buy flower and bird and ANYTHING WITH COLOR calendars.)
Janet, yeah,”Life is hard and we need Jesus” has been true for us no matter where we have lived. And in all of our spiritual communities, we have experienced grace, truth, kindness and friendship, as well as silliness, stupidity, judgment, and some spiritual and other abuse. That’s why I only follow the one who said “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…” and other incredible things.
Dee, btw, thanks to you and Deb for your wonderful blog. I love the intelligent dialogue here, and thoughtful posts. I started reading discernment/survivor blogs out of curiosity in December because of my own experiences. In my 40+ years as a Christian, I have experienced many traditions, including early years at the original Calvary Chapel, a few unintelligible Bill Gothard and other seminars along the way, and more recently, Lutheran/Charismatic/Reformed/Presbyterian/Anglican circles. I have been at least somewhat familiar with most of the people/issues you deal with. However, I have been completely blown away by the extremes and the abusive “leadership” of the indviduals and groups you research so well. It seems as though, while I’ve been in recovery and healing for the past 8 years, happily and obliviously attending my little Butte Pentecostal church, these idiots have come and stolen the Evangelical movement right out from under me! I am stunned at the arrogance, ignorance and abuse. Just stunned. Ezekiel 34 indeed.
So, thank you, thank you, for your exceedingly hard work and care for those who need it most in this wacky culture.
Back to the OP, David Robertson’s CT article has some good points in the first four lessons we can learn from Driscoll—- We don’t need Protestant Popes, Protestant Pop Stars, Protestant Professionals, or Protestant Pharisees. His fifth lesson, however, leaves much to be desired:
“Lesson 5 – We do need Protestant Pastors
I just can’t bring myself to join in the dissing of Driscoll, nor can I say ‘I told you so’. I believe that he has done a great deal of good as an evangelist in communicating the gospel to many thousands who would otherwise not have heard it. I wanted to believe that it would last, but I have been too long in the ministry to be surprised that it has not. How I wish that Driscoll had belonged to an established denomination with suitable accountability and liberty for him to develop and use his undoubted gifts. How I hate the ‘machine’ that eats up preachers, and the Christian sub-culture that rejoices in shooting its own wounded.
The crying need of the hour is not for Christian celebrities bringing the latest ‘fix-it’ for the Christian church, but rather for pastors who will…
WAIT! stop right there, pastor!
Our crying need is NOT for Protestant pastors! 497 years of Protestant pastors and where have they gotten us?
Everything else in this lesson is mistaken as well, but maybe others wish to analyze.
My guess is that Mr. Driscoll will announce his intention to move to Africa and singlehandedly convert the entire continent to Neo-Cal….After all, there was such a thing as Mars Hill GLOBAL.
Dave A A wrote:
Have to disagree with that. He has not been an evangelist of the Good News of Jesus Christ. He has been an evangelist for his own personality cult cloaked in Jesus talk. Even if thousands have heard the gospel via Driscoll, what about the ones who will not even listen to a Christian talk about the faith because of what they have heard about Driscoll? I don’t believe there is a net positive for the true Gospel from Driscoll’s “ministry.”
It is not just Driscoll. He is merely the most blatant and outrageous. The others are about the same things, and that is the reason they have stood by him until he began to harm their own interests. Keller is Driscoll in a tux. Dever, Mohler, Duncan, Carson, Grudem, and Piper are Driscoll in suits. Mahaney is Driscoll with a giggle.
These men have built their empires on the good will and good intentions of people who really are concerned about the things these guys *talk* about but do not do. We need to continue exposing and stop feeding the beast. In whatever way we can.
Dave A A wrote:
What do you suggest?
@ Nick Bulbeck:
I can top you. Yesterday husband brought home a sack full of tomatoes a coworker had given us but he neglected to mention that the tomatoes were extremely ripe. I was going to bake this afternoon but instead found the sack of almost bursting tomatoes. So instead I made a batch of marinara sauce (and for the first time ever). I quickly minced an onion and garlic clove and sauteed them while washing and chopping 5 pounds of tomatoes then added in the tomatoes along with a can of tomato paste and whatever herbs I could find. I’m kind of shocked that it tastes so good as I prefer to use recipes and know the steps in advance. Oh, and the kitchen window is open to tempt/annoy my neighbors. 😀
And now back on topic. There is something to be said about just walking away quietly after acknowledging major faults. When it was learned that my former pastor had had an affair, the deacon board allowed only him to return to church property to read out loud a pre-approved script explaining his sin and his apologies. Nothing else. The fact that Mr. Driscoll is still allowed to preach at any church baffles me even more so than the people who listen to him preach.
@ Dave A A:
I have listened to many many of his sermons. The only one that heard where I could give you some credit in saying that he communicated the gospel was an Easter sermon a few years ago. Remember when he rented out Quest field for it? The problem is that it was a trap. He made it sound like everyone has a chance. He actually sounded Arminian. Just because someone does some good once in awhile does not relieve the rest of us of our duty to protect the innocent from the evil that they do.
This was what I thought. As much as I believe that Driscoll has some real issues to repent of, I can’t help feeling sorry for him. He was exploited like many others.
Law Prof wrote:
I very, very much doubt that. My family attends an Armenian Apostolic church, and unless took hyeren gahasganak, then you wouldn’t even understand the service. Perhaps you meant Arminian? 🙂
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
And celebrated with a pint of Bourbon Barrel Black Maple from Jackie O’s!
David Robertson wrote:
Is Mars Hill more of a place of worship than the Temple that Jesus cleansed? That was a pretty big public demonstration that worship is not what was happening at the Temple. I think you are making some very big assumptions and equally big claims about people here. Could you elaborate on your assertion that this is not biblical? Should not every Christian be relieved that a false teacher is being exposed or is it more biblical to turn a blind eye when it is in our interest to do so?
Slow clap, building to a raucous cheer!
First, IMO, we could stand to lose the “Protestant” identity. Our crying need is the in-dwelling Holy Spirit. Just part of His work in us is a diversity of gifts, such as prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, showing mercy, and maybe even “pastoring”.
Carole Ryan wrote:
Carole, here at my desk I have a window sticker pinned to my bulletin board: “MONTANA: The Last Best Place”. I fell in love with the state when we visited there on our honeymoon 30 years ago. We’ve been blessed to travel there more than two dozen times since then. I would move there if I could. Thank you for confirming the perception I have of community life there. God’s peace to you.
Jenny, there’s a story about a guy who fell in love with Montana when he visited there for a couple summers. He ended up moving to Montana, far from the big city. His wife ended up leaving him midway through the first Montana winter.
Who’s in POWER at Mars Hill?
“There is no Right, there is no Wrong, there is only POWER.”
— Lord Voldemort
In which orifice?
@ David Robertson:
You’re a British guy, a British Christian?
Mark Driscoll “Puts Down” British Christians…
@ David Robertson:
I can understand your frustration to a point, but my own parents are in Keller’s denomination and I have seen first hand some of the power he wields.
I happen to think he is arrogant and I don’t know if he’s in it for the money. But again, I don’t actually care what his motives are, just thst his lack of discernment concerning Driscoll & Mahaney has allowed these men to function with a level of respectability that should not have been allowed by someone known to be so “intellectual”. His statements after the fact are not impressive.
Seneca Griggs wrote:
It’s “Mirele” and you didn’t address anything I said.
If what Mark Driscoll teaches about women (for example) is the “gospel,” I’ll go to hell first. I’m dead serious about that. I’m tired that women are treated as second class in the name of Jesus, very, very tired.
I’ll keep standing outside the charmed circle, because at least here I’m not treated like garbage because I don’t have an XY chromosome pair.
David Robertson wrote:
I’ve picketed the so-called church of Scientology on multiple occasions, and if I thought Driscoll’s outfit in Phoenix was worth my time, I might wander over there on a Sunday morning with a sign. (Frankly I’m hoping that people internally will deal with the Driscoll problem.)
The fact is that people who run churches–and it’s not just Scientology–don’t like to be scrutinized. They don’t want their actions questioned. And there’s A LOT about Mark Driscoll’s behavior towards his membership that deserves to be questioned. He’s been abusive, he’s cussed people out, he has, by his own admission, thrown people under the bus and practiced “blessed subtraction.” His teachings regarding women are abysmal. He LIED about Queen Esther’s status, basically calling her a “Bachelorette”-style tramp instead of really looking at Esther’s real position. I could go on and on.
I’ve publicly condemned Scientology for practicing something called “disconnection,” which is where family members are told to stop having any contact with people who have left the Scientology cult. Mark Driscoll did the same thing to people who used to be in his church. If shunning is wrong for Scientology, it’s just as wrong for Mars Hill Church.
And, to be blunt, I don’t give a %^&*()@#$ about “biblical.” What Driscoll has been doing is *wrong* but precious few have been willing to step up and tell Driscoll the bloody truth about himself. And Driscoll’s friends have been willing to pull the “biblical” card to keep down any discussion of his bad behavior.
Not buying it. If it’s wrong for David Miscavige (leader of Scientology) to do, it’s wrong for Mark Driscoll to do.
You all need to get your houses in order, because those of us standing outside the charmed circle are getting *very* tired of allowing these tax-exempt shenanigans to continue.
Well, none of this is too surprising. I knew this crazy train would derail in slow motion at some point. Glad it seems to be happening a little sooner than I thought it might.
The whole evangelical celebrity system needs to change. Just think about it. Multiple scandals over many years finally come to a head, scandals that clearly disqualify a person from any leadership position in the church, and what do they do? Make a big announcement. Huh? That is what you do at a circus. What you do as a mature Christian leader is repent quietly and humbly to those you serve, seek forgiveness from, reparation for, and reconciliation with those you’ve hurt, and spend some serious time examining your own life before God. You also leave leadership immediately. You might also seek out a spiritual mentor to guide you, but out of the limelight.
Also, those who enabled this train wreck by glossing over Driscoll’s serious shortcomings simply because he made the right doctrinal noises need to do some serious re-examination of their methods and motives.
Will any of this happen? I’d be very pleased if it did. We might see some healing, and it would be a good witness in its own way. But I honestly doubt that it will.
Seneca “j” Griggs wrote:
Really? Patterson and your other heroes don’t attack others?: http://www.ethicsdaily.com/sbc-seminary-president-labels-clergy-sex-abuse-victims-group-evil-doers-cms-12262
It is only right to point out that Mr Robertson, in his article for Christianity Today (linked to in the main post, but also here: http://www.christiantoday.com/David_Robertson‘s_Article_on_Park_Fiscal) commented on Fiscal’s attack on British Christians directly.
I am always wary of quoting small bits of articles, for the same reason I always give chapter, not chapter-and-verse references to the biblescriptures; a short quote is out of context by definition, and usually loses some meaning. But this is what Robertson wrote on the subject of Fiscal’s relationship with us here in Blighty:
“The lessons of history endure,” Oklahoma University’s J. Rufus Fears observed beautifully, “because human nature never changed.” “All the human emotions,” Fears added,
are the same today as in Egypt of the pharaohs or China in the time of Confucius:
Love, hate, ambition, the lust for power, kindness, generosity, and inhumanity.
The good and bad of human nature is simply poured into new vehicles created by science and technology.
@ David Robertson:
Re what you saw as over-tweeting—do you mean most everyone or particularly Mefford and/or our TWW hosts?
If you mean everyone or just our TWW hosts, it’s likely partly cultural differences—we are an all-around noisy bunch. Driscoll is too, and in-your-face public. His peers continued to praise him even though people were being hurt by him year after year. Eventually the public took up the peer responsibility by using pressure. What you see as over-tweeting, over-writing and illegitimate demonstration, we see as the only way left to bring discipline to an out-of-control community leader.
If you mean Mefford, please understand that she began the formal take-down of Driscoll. Evang leaders stubbornly refused to do their jobs and denounced the leaking stories as rumor and gossip. Moreover, these leaders were complementarian, accusing accused Janet of “usurping position” over a male pastor. That caused radio honchos to apply pressure, heavy enough to cause Mefford to publicly apologize for how she said things in that interview, and that, in turn, caused one of her people to unceremoniously quit. (I think I have this story generally correct.)
(con’t next comment)
@ David Robertson:
Mefford was treated cruelly by Christian leaders and much of the broader public, but she was correct. Why wouldn’t she be glad to be proven right? Schadenfreude runs through many a Psalm, too. It’s a righteous human response, and sure, it can become sinful, as can everything, but I don’t see that here.
Given that the public is a big beast, I’m sure there is some schadenfreude-sinning among us, but I see surprisingly little of it. Most people are deeply glad that people might stop being damaged.
You well-wrote some good points in your article. They’ve also been made by others and they bear repeating and repeating.
However, in your comment here, you make a request for one correction, not “some” (the usage of “smug”), and the rest is preachy chiding. But you do not know enough to be eligible to speak thus to us; it is apparent in what you write. That’s why I’ve taken the time to give you a little more info, perhaps enough for you to feel some respect for us instead.
And he never will, if my experience is anything to go by. Jimmy likes drama, not content.
@ David Robertson:
Dave: if they’ve got it wrong here they’ll look at it, apologise & change it. I’ll bet my Jaffa cakes on it. Very different from those they discuss, who are definitely influential in the L’Abri tinged British evangelical circles I’ve run in.
@ David Robertson:
One further comment—
Having our ideas and opinions reviewed/challenged allows us to chase out shabby thinking and develop sturdiness. That is what we do here. It is different than treating each other with disdain and contempt. Respect the person; ideas are open-season.
For perspective, the “heaps of dogs abuse” that you received is little compared to what Janet Mefford endured. It is also much less than what the TWW women regularly receive.
Moreover, many commenters here (and in most of the comboxes of TWW’s blog roll links) have been profoundly damaged by abuse of spiritual authority, yet they come here to read/write because they deeply care about the brothers/sisters who continue to be abused. Responses from them will vary, depending on personality, depth of damage, stage in recovery, general level of maturity. This is not a closed system such as in a local church.
Are they really? That’s sad!
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
Aren’t there some Armenian churches that celebrate the Badarak in a mix of English and Classical Armenian? The Syriacs and Copts use a mix of Syriac and Coptic with the vernacular, and trilingual service books (Syriac/Coptox, Arabic, and English) and it works rather well. I have some Armenian friends who lamentably will not go to the Apostolic church because they can’t understand classical Armenian, and the English language translations I have of the Divine Liturgy are apparently not much of an inducement. Not that I am in any way against Classical Armenian; together with Classical Syriac, Bohairic Coptic, Ge’ez, Byzantine Greek, Ecclesiastical Latin and Church Slavonic, it represents one of the great liturgical languages of Christianity, all of which are a priceless heritage of e church. But there is something to be said for the bilingual or trilingual model wherein alternating parts of the liturgy are said in the ecclesiastical and vernacular tongue at each successive service.
Also as an admittedly tongue in cheek aside I wonder if Driscoll has even ever bothered to read the works of St. Dionysius the Areopagite (or Psuedo-Dionysius, at any rate) or if he simply appropriated the Anglo-Latinized name of his church on the basis of it sounding cool. I would be distressed, albeit terribly unsurprised, if among the myriad books offered for sale at Mars Hill one could not find a copy of the Celestial Hierarchy or Mystical Theology.
David Robertson wrote:
I suspect that our “proper church procedures” and yours are not the same thing. Over here, many denominations are loosely held associations with little to no hierarchy. A pastor like MD does not have anyone in authority over him. He’s the Pope of Mars Hill. That’s how most of the mega-churches in this country operate.
In the past it was common to have a board of elders who were charged with overseeing the senior pastor (as well as other church governing duties). They were his boss as it were. In more recent years, senior pastors of mega-churches have tried to abolish these boards who usually had 12+ members in favor of a much smaller board made up of mostly church staff members. So now, the “boss” of the senior pastor may be his underlings. I’ve seen several church splits over this issue.
I disagree with it myself, and agree with the rest of your comment! I failed to close the quote, which is from David Robertson.
Agreed. I’ve noticed that protecting the innocent is a missing aim in several recent articles I’ve read about Mars Hill– notably Jonathan Merritt’s. He’d like Driscoll to step down for his own good, but fails to mention the good of those he’s harming.
Dave A A wrote:
It’s part of the sickness of the cult led by the narcissistic abuser, I’ve noticed it also, as have many. Even when the cult leader is caught abusing red-handed and faces the destruction of his influence, the flock, or at least the co-leaders of the flock or leader peers from other ministries, invariably seem to make it all about the leader. It’s always “Pray for Mark”, not pray for those who’s faith, careers, marriages, family relationships and ministries he oversaw the destruction of.
David Robertson wrote:
In my Bible when people make an accusation, e.g., “gossip, accusation and slander”, they tend to back it up with something concrete. I think to do otherwise, in my opinion, is nothing but “gossip, accusation and slander” in and of itself. Not very biblical, eh?
But what I have noticed is that you seem to be the typical hit-and-run coward, so I rather doubt you’ll read this or respond to it. But at least I get to put on record my position on you.
Thanks for posting here, you have provided us with solid proof that the UK has its share of cultists and abusive, deceptive church as well; then again, I already knew that inasmuch as I used to be an elder in a Newfrontiers cult.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
Ha, sorry, my mistake. Embarrassing!
UPDATE – See Patheos/Throckmorton – Driscoll steps down temporarily while charges against him investigated, apparently more charges coming, apparently more permanent senior elder and leader resignations on the way.
Also, he announced it by video, which doesn’t seem very “manly”. Is he in some kind of treatment?
To our readers:
I will continue to update at the very beginning of this post the news as it comes in. Driscoll is taking 6 weeks off while the elders review the charges. That does not bode well since the elders are handpicked by Driscoll.
However, as law prof says: more resignations appear to be in the offing. Stay tuned.
@ David Robertson:
i want to thank you for this informative comment. Since you are considered to be a debater of atheists along with a theologian, I have to assume that this is a carefully thought out response.
I am going to assume that you truly do not know what you are talking about when it comes to either Mark Driscoll, motives, emotions and the American church which you *dissed.” (a word you used in your original essay.)
Therefore, tomorrow, I am going to do a response to your comment along with updating the Driscoll situation. i am not going to dog pile on you. What I have to say is merely a response to your comment. You might find it informative.
Robertson has the style of the type atheist-debater who makes me cringe. The guy has a very ugly sort of vibe going there.
I thought the people were asked to come with their Bibles to hear what Driscoll was going to announce? Are you saying that he didn’t show up in person anywhere?
It appears that Driscoll has learned well from his mentor, C.J. Mahaney. Narcissists find it nearly impossible to voluntarily remove themselves from the spotlight.
Law Prof wrote:
Wow- thank you for sharing this. I do know that Driscoll, after insulting the UK church, has been being pushed by some groups there. Terry Virgo has been an ardent defender of all things Driscoll/Mahaney.
Also, Adrian Warnock has been a Driscoll fan as well.
I am convinced that some joint ventures in the UK might be or have been in the offing and the rise and fall of Driscoll is a bit of a problem.
Dave A A wrote:
Well, now, that makes more sense! It did not seem consistent with your other comments. Dang typos.
“Taking time off” is always the mantra. But you never know if they are paid during this time or not. My position is that this type of time off should be without pay.
Law Prof wrote:
You know, I used to believe that Christians would debate atheists by showing love and class. For example, John Lennox of the UK is a great example of this style. However, there are some Christians out there who are just plain mean. When I first. read the bio of Robertson, I thought that perhaps I misread his comment about Mefferd. Now, I am convinced that I did not. I look forward to responding to his comment in depth tomorrow.
Betcha it isn’t!
Not all that surprising as they all propose they same type of leadership (ed.) structure in their churches . . . lead pastor answers to no one or to an elder board who is hired by lead pastor. The people in the pews have no say in the choice of leaders.
The question usually never gets answered when asked.
See update: John Piper, BFF of CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll once again shows no concern for those hurt. Bet he will run over to Mars Hill to preach. Funny thing about this-when its a tornado-its punishment.With this-all is sunny!
6 weeks off. I’d love to take 6 weeks off. A nice vacation in Bora Bora, travel around Europe. This is such a joke. He is choking on the amount of money he makes. 6 weeks is a nice reward, either paid or unpaid. (Hint: unpaid means keeping all his residual income which is probably more than he even makes at Mars Hill).
Millionaire preachers need to be shunned by the sheeple.
I’m sure you figured out I meant “leadership”* structure.
*(Not intended to send Nick into a tizzy fit.). 😉
Some Christians are “Christians”. Not saying it’s the case with Robertson per se, but I am learning that God really meant what he said when He told us many would say “Lord, Lord” and not mean it.
One of the best I’ve seen is Cliffe Knechtle.
Mars HIll elders are going to review the charges. You mean, Mark’s boys? Wow. Sitting in suspense…
@ Carole Ryan:
I’ve been busy the last few days and haven’t participated as much as I should. My family is currently visiting Butte. My family’s history in Montana goes back to when Montana is a territory. My Dad was born in Havre, grew up in Butte and worked for “the Company” in Anaconda while going to college in Helena. My Dad’s uncle was the governor there (1948-1952). My dad’s family grew up in Butte lived on Arizona St. and had to move when “the Company” expanded the Berkeley Pit.
My Grandmother who passed away in 2009 taught elementary school in McKinly for generations and so many people knew her. In a way I feel like I grew up in Butte as I was always visiting. Last time I was there was 2 years ago.
I attended college in Helena have family that still lives there. And I consider Montana to be my home. I miss it.
I miss the people, the culture, the wildlife, the sunsets, the snow, etc…
My family also had a presence in Deer Lodge and Livingston as well. 🙂
@ David Robertson:
WOW!!! We are blessed and graced to have someone who comes from the land of William Wallace! (No….not Mars Hill Seattle!) David Robertson…please do us this favor…don’t talk about a pussyfied nation ok?
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
I don’t know, but, being Driscoll, it would be the woman’s responsibility or duty to meet the man’s “need for love.”
So Driscoll announced today at his church (via video or a recording, I think?) he is stepping down for six weeks.
His reputation and church is so damaged, I think him quitting from the ministry permanently is the only real solution.
@ Nick Bulbeck:
My point I guess is that this DR guy doesn’t appreciate how deeply offensive Driscoll is – and to everyone.
Even if DR mentioned the slam against the Brits by MD, that he comes on here still defending the guy speaks volumes to me of how little he appreciates or understands how awful a person / preacher MD is, how much damaged he’s caused to people he personally knows, making the Christian faith look bogus to outsiders, etc.
DR seems to feel that MD is the victim, that everyone is beating up on him… hmm, maybe they have good or justifiable reasons for that? Does DR consider any of that?
Okay…the big news…
Mark Driscoll, is going to show the world how he is a part of the pussyfied nation, he criticizes by letting a bunch of yes men- handpicked by him weigh his fate. Oh the irony! Where did I hear this before…John Piper? CJ Mahaney? If any of these “pastors” had any kind of balls they would actually for once grow a pair, and act like men and grace our presence by permanently leaving our presence and never preaching another sermon.
Here’s my .05…he’s going to have a time of “reflection”,”personal time” etc.. (Sorry my BS detector is screaming right now having seen this happen twice…but a third time can be a charm eh?) He’ll spend six weeks in solitude…suffering in his Seattle mansion frustrated that he can’t be the center of attention. Then his hand picked “yes Men” will say, “Its okay he’s been exonerated and we’re going to restore him” and then he pops out acts like nothing has happened.
Meanwhile Rob Smith, Paul Petry, Bent Myer, 20 + Elders, and all the people at “We Love Mars Hill” and “Repeal the Bylaws” stay stuck to the tire under the Mars Hill bus.
But where is the fanboys on this? John Piper weighed in..of course. Piper can never keep his trap shut. The “Reformed Pat Robertson” always has to tell us what God thinks about tornadoes, or CJ Mahaney or SGM Louisville, now he has to speak about Mark Driscoll. I guess since God appointed John Piper to be his personal mouthpiece than God must have sent a text, or an email to Piper letting him know…now is the time to speak! 😯
But where is the rest of the crowd? CJ Mahaney? Matt Chandler? Mark Dever? Kevin DeYoung, etc… Come on…let’s make this official! The big dogs stepped behind a man who orchestrated a theological system that forced three year old to forgive their molester and covered up child abuse. Aren’t they going to stand behind a man who follows CJ Mahaney’s lead? Let me guess….the AOR is next! 😛
Sending MerkyD To Da Wood Chipper or Ketchin’ Da Next ‘Big’ Wave @ Mars Hill Church, Perhaps ?”
@ Mars Hill church, …where is da Jesus we’ve all been lõõk’in 4?
..wit doze protestin’ folk eatin’ donuts, and turning da marzhil tables?
MerkyD, as a church ‘brand’ name above all names?
–> how could dat b?
…Being found in appearance as a man, (((Jesus))) humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a Roman cross; for this reason also, God highly exalted Jesus, and bestowed on ‘Him’ the Name which is ‘above’ every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow of those who are in heaven, and on the earth, and under de earth, as well…
Inspirational : U2 + Gospel Choir – “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…”
Comic relief: MerkyD – “How bad can I be?”
Now Throckmorton has said that Driscoll did show up at the Bellevue Campus and read from a prepared statement that was taped for the other campuses. I don’t know if he went off script or answered any questions.
Link to audio found under recent update.
Throckmorton said in a comment to someone on his blog,
“Contrary to my first report, he [Driscoll] did read a statement at the Bellevue campus but the other locations will get it via video.”
If I understand that correctly, he’s saying Driscoll did show up in person to one church location and read a statement to a congregation, but that the other churches will get a recording of it.
Seattle PI just posted some of Driscoll’s speech on their website. Interesting read.
Keller & Carson certainly are in L’Abri circles, which are predominantly Calvinist leaning. I’m going to try to get a wider range of theology books into the library of our local branch. I have heard people like Piper both praised, & heavily criticised, in these circles, but I am a bit out of the loop currently.
The audio does not sound like a man who is terribly sorry. Continues to say the issues are in the past. Claims he has reconciled with some. Blames the media.
He appeals to the bylaws. Now I am truly concerned.
I noticed in the update that some “mature Christian men” who are unrelated to MHC will be handling the investigation. I sure wish I knew who they were. If it’s the usual suspects I am not optimistic.
The by-laws that were rewritten by him, to consolidate power and dismiss elders who weren’t on board? Yes, right 🙄 That is not a comforting thought.
When he speaks about taking time off and staying away from his office, he saying that the elders agreed to his decision. Like it was his idea!!! Also I wonder who these mature, professionals are. I hope they are doctors and therapists who can help him with his impulsive and erratic behavior. I mean this sincerely. If he does have mental health issues that would be confidential despite the pain his behavior has caused others. Maybe in the future Driscoll will become more open about the personal suffering he has experienced that led him to such destructive actions. AA say crazy is continuing to do the same thing, but expecting a different outcome. This describes the type of activity surrounding Driscoll. I do hope for healing for himself and family. I don’t know what that looks like, but he needs to heal, before he can deal with the consequences of his actions.
New update on post-Tweet of the day by Janet Mefferd.
You nailed that one!
Did you hear there was a massive 6.0 earthquake in Northern California? I am waiting for the “Reformed Pat Robertson” to open his mouth and say that this quake is God’s judgement for having the Lord’s anointed step down for 6 weeks. God is passing judgement on this country for all of us being rebellious, bitter, and sinful. We are so blessed to have Mark Driscoll…and only if we laid down our lives in front of the bus..this quake will have been avoided.
Who here wants to start a pool? I’m throwing in $20.00… Come on John Piper…make yourself predictable!!
His hand-picked Yes-Men professionals, of course.
Just like his hand-picked Yes-Men Elders.
To be shown on all the giant telescreens?
Dang-that’s right. The earthquake was God’s response to Driscoll. If Piper can do it, so can we.
@ David Robertson:
4) I happen to believe in biblical church discipline, not trail by media, or who shouts loudest wins.
I agree with you, although I presume you meant to say “trial” rather than “trail.” However, I doubt that many American evangelical Christians have seen true biblical church discipline in action. That’s because much of what passes for doctrine in some (not all) of the American evangelical church is anything but biblical. In addition, some of the discipline in the church is punitive in nature rather than redemptive.
A case in point – some years ago, a couple of friends were accused of “sin” at the Sovereign Grace Ministries church they were attending at the time. Their “sin,” as it turned out, was that they weren’t following the courtship method espoused by their church to the letter of their law. This couple left that church, got married, and they and their kids are doing well and serving the Lord in the place that He’s put them. More importantly, they now recognize SGM for what it is, a cult. Yet SGM’s longtime president, C.J. Mahaney, has actually been publicly praised by members of The Gospel Coalition who are considered respected figures in American evangelical Christianity.
As for trial by media, I can understand your point, especially after seeing the abysmal performance of much of the American media as they covered the recent unrest in Ferguson, MO. Had Mark Driscoll’s case been handled properly by the church, it’s unlikely we would be discussing trial by media in his case.
and @ dee:
An interesting observation, although one could wonder why Northern California was targeted rather than western Washington. After all, the Seattle area is also known for its seismic activity.
Wow. Driscoll did even less than I predicted. Take 6 weeks off, order a bucket of whitewash and call it done. Follow Gibbs Rule #6- Never Apologize, it’s a sign of weakness.
@ David Robertson:
I have listened to a lecture you gave on persuasive debating:
Weird, then, how your comment here is so little about debate that I actually took it on myself to tell you what is involved.
So let me quote your lecture back to you, David:
“…You do not win the argument by being patronizing…if you respect someone, you respect them enough to disagree with them but most important in all of this, you have to listen to what people are saying….not what you think they might be saying…”
But perhaps you didn’t come here to engage but to pronounce because you don’t respect us. Why would be your other reason?
I am so tired of pomposity in church leadership. Even if it were based in genuine superior wisdom, I’d despise it. But it’s not even that, it’s just baseless arrogance. Bah.
Er – well, I’m an immigrant, but I live in same.
Bill Kinnon wrote:
Correct. Which means that they have elevated ‘theology’ to be their idol. It’s not about Christ. It’s not about the gospel, for all their bandying about of the term. It’s about a flawed theology that they value above everything else. A theology which we know has added to Scripture.
It’s depressing. Where will it end?
Mark Driscoll consulting P.R. guy. (I thought Christians were to consult Jesus and/or the Bible?)
Mark DeMoss, who runs a large publicity firm in Atlanta and was an adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, said his firm is officially working with Mars Hill, and it has on previous occasions.
Didn’t you know? They DID take notice of it, and got C.J. Mahaney to mentor Mark Driscoll. Great idea. He apparently learned a lot from his elder. How to make more money – conferences, book sales, etc – how to gain further control so you’re accountable to no-one and can do what you like, how to push people under buses whether by blackmail, firing/ de-gifting, how to keep in with the Reformed camp come what may, how to spy on your congregation through small groups, how to kick out trouble-makers/ those who dare ask questions, how to go on a sabbatical when things start to go wrong but never apologise, how to ignore victims.
So yes, MD learned a lot from his wise senior mentor.
Ha! His enterprise has franchises in California!
New update: PR firm hired to help out Driscoll. Who’s paying the bills? See update.
Great comment. I may use it tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the real church of Christ moves on doing amazing things.
In our town, the free medical clinic run by the churches is still seeing patients. 6 house churches will meet this month in isolated areas of the Navajo rez. (So isolated Nageezi looks like the big city.)
Clothes are being washed, mended, and prepared for taking to the rez in a couple of months. A low income couple had some needed car repairs paid for by a brother in Christ. An unwed mother was gifted with a car. An older lady is providing free childcare to working parents.
Gardens are being harvested and produce shared. Some are giving, and some receiving, free firewood.
These are the truly important types of matters we should be sharing, and letting the world know about.
How have you seen Jesus active in your world this week?
I have seen Jesus active as child sex abuse is exposed in our churches and dealt with.
Linda, these are all wonderful things. I get the feeling from your last several posts, however, that you are trying to suggest to Dee & Deb what they should be writing about. Perhaps, if you feel strongly that these should be written about, you should start a blog and write about it. Whether you intended it to or not, this comment came across as somewhat condescending….it seems you are suggesting that old mantra that exposing the evil in the church is bad for he church. Sigh.
Re: Piper’s tweet.
Interpreting Pipereze is always a challenge, but I wonder if behind the encouraging sounding language lies a clear understanding that Driscoll needs to do some serious repenting, up to the point of being a new man, “new man” being Piper’s choice of words.
If that’s not what he means I don’t know what he does mean. But then, I rarely do.
I ate a microwavable chimichanga about an hour ago, with chopped up green peppers and onion. I also gave my cat clean drinking water earlier. I’m not sure if any of that counts.
This page has some salty language on it but explains the Driscoll situation:
Megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll was an evangelical rock star. Here’s how he fell from grace.
Driscoll used the word season once in his official statement, don’t know how often in his actual sermon. Piper used it once in his Tweet.
Someone on the Facebook page of Stuff Christian Culture Liked reported that during the sermon, Driscoll seemed to compare himself to Jesus, betrayed by false friends, and also to John exiled on Patmos. He received two standing ovations. Will be interested to see if other attendees confirm that account.
It seems crystal clear to me that he is in no way repentant, is belligerent and whining to the bitter end, and needs to be completely ignored – that would be the ultimate ‘discipline’ for him and those of his ilk. And if the congregation really did give him a couple of standing O’s for this absurd performance, well, shame on them and they deserve what they’re getting. Seriously, my feeling is that anyone who stays in that environment is complicit.
Why oh why to people put up with this? Why do they actually reward it? Why do people go to megachurches where there can obviously be no community or caring about fellow members?
I give up. Mars Hill, and all the corrupt megachurches, will have their reward…
Actually I think that mega-ness itself and the relative privacy that it may promise may be one of the reasons. Not everybody wants “community and caring” because that means that other people know your business, and lots of people have stuff they don’t want to become public knowledge.
I did not make that up. My reference mega here set up a procedure for requiring people to be in small groups and said from the pulpit that it was so people could not hide out in the crowd any more. Not would not get overlooked, but could not hide out. I have no information as to how many people were wanting to fly under the radar but apparently enough for the church to set up a whole program to prevent it.
Giving drink to the thirsty is one of the seven corporal works of mercy. I don’t see any reason why helping an animal wouldn’t be merciful.
—> MerkyD has gone to da big ‘Dog Park’ 4 six weeks?!?
…dat is ‘kraP goD’ spell’d backwards.
Comic relief: “Marzhil? Mama told me not to come…”
Bonus: “Has Mars Hill gone to da dogs, perhaps?
Then how is that church? Why not just stay home if that’s how you feel?
People want to pretend to be all “independent” (no one is) and private and all. Fine. Why go to church then? Just get it online, and don’t risk bumping into an actual person you might actually know.
And insofar as megachurches feed off of this pathology, well that’s just one more mark against them as far as I’m concerned.
It begins to look like one big ball of florid Pharisaism or some other “keeping up appearances” thing.
But not Church.
I hear what you are saying, but also I can understand people who do not think that way.
So far we have had input relatively recently from the orthodox perspective, only a comment or two from the catholic perspective, the anabaptist church structure perspective, the charismatic/pentecostal perspective. the anti-calvinist perspective, the more or less liturgical protestant mainline perspective, the smaller the better perspective, the anti-clerical perspective, and the I will never set foot in church again perspective. All of whom, more or less, think that the way they represent is the best way (some seem to think it is the only right way) to do church.
Personally, my response to each and all is “you go for it.” I do not see in scripture or in common sense that there are nearly as many detailed rules for doing church as humanity has created.
Oh this is nothing more than a whitewash. Mark Driscoll *owns* these people and they’re going to give him a clean bill of health.
After observing Scientology for 20 years and having looked at other cultic-type groups, I’m not convinced that even if Mark Driscoll were to be expelled from Mars Hill that this would be over. He’d probably take himself to a warehouse in some part of Seattle and be packing it out in no time.
In short: absent some sort of miracle, we’re stuck with the Mark Driscoll “brand” for as long as he’s on earth. Because it’s really, really hard to put a cult out of business. *Really* hard.
“My principal reason for getting involved with this is that Driscoll is popularizing and legitimating spiritual bullying for young men, and is infecting thousands of young men” with his ideological machismo. ” ~ Jim Henderson
… “your primary and ultimate allegiance is not to me, and it is not to the pastors in this church. I will say this publicly: I am one of the pastors. They can out-vote me and fire me. They have total freedom to do so.” ~ Mark Drisoll
…”And if at any time in the history of this church the elders discipline me, do not be loyal to me. Be loyal to them; be loyal to Jesus. And if at any point — God forbid — I should say or do something that would disqualify me from being your pastor — and I have no intentions of, and I do live a life above reproach. And I’m not a sinless man, but I do love Jesus and I do love my family and I do love you. And if by – I just shudder to say this, but if I should ever say or do anything that the elders would need to fire me, do not be loyal to me. Be loyal to Jesus; be loyal to your elders. ” ~ Mark Drisoll
It will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming year. I’m patient about these things.
I gotta memorize that line.
Gotta wonder how would react to “we got it…you don’t like Janet Mefferd…Stop being bitter and move one. The self-righteous irony is mind-blowing.
@ senecagriggs yahoo:
I did not say that. Roebuck said that.
David, commenter connected to Mars Hill, under Warren Throckmorton’s latest post:
“Unfortunately, it will mostly be Mark’s closest friends that will be reviewing the charges against him. Aj Hamilton, Tim Smith, and Bubba Jennings are leading point and will ultimately be the ones that decide whether or not the charges have any validity. Many of the elders at Mars Hill feel as though this will be a sham of a process.”
It could have been a wonderful story, but nope. I am dead weary of BS winning.
Does L’Abri have libraries, or do you mean your local public branch?
Seems no difficulty to criticize Piper, but ok. Best to you over there.
So true. Excellent comment.
@ William G.:
I’m sure there are bilingual sergices somewhere; I was just busting Lawyer’s chops 😀
@ linda: and in other news, Dee and her husband worked on the Navajo reservation at one time, as health care providers.
I’ll second Jeanette Altes’ suggestion that having your own blog is a good idea. You seem to come here lately w/the express purpose of lobbing brickbats at Deebs for doing what they’ve been doing for several years now. The question is (to my mind, anyway) why take potshots when you can have your own space to hold forth?
I’m not meaning to be unkind, but I suspect maybe you were, you know…
Thank you for your comment. Linda does not understand how exposing problems within the church is positive. In her thinking, it would be better to pretend all is well.
However, I have come to realize that people see thru faith’s *niceness* to the very real darkness. I believe others are more willing to respect us when we point out our own flaws and show we are willing to deal with them as opposed to pointing fingers to the outside at *them* and patting ourselves on our backs. But, perhaps she ould prove me wrong if she worked hard ar starting her own blog.
Good comment. I tire of the nonsense myself.
I plan to respond in a blog post tomorrow to Dave. I found the “move along” comment a bit “controlling.” But that is how some pastors roll these days.
As to people wanting privacy in churches, I am of two minds about that. While I certainly want to make friends at church, to volunteer, and I want to know about opportunities to help others in need, I would be very uncomfortable about the small group approach used by some of the mega churches.
Small group Bible study, a volunteer committee to plan and carry out some task, or socializing, (ie a pot luck dinner for the seniors or something like that) are fine but I cannot see the value of meeting every week to discuss the sins everybody commits that week. Are Christians that wicked that they can’t get through a week without sinning? And why would you need to discuss it? If you are cranky with your spouse say, shouldn’t the Holy Spirit be helping you see it so that you apologize and change your behavior right away? These groups seem unhealthy to me and could provide a way for spiritually abusive leaders to blackmail you.
And it seems to me that some of these churches keep people so busy with services and serving that the church becomes their whole lives. I want to spend time with friends who don’t attend the same church and have family time at home and pursue other interests.
As far as I can see, the only way to keep from eventual paralysis in a mutual sin-sniffing group, would be to insist that everyone also tell every success and progress of the past week, plus each small delight and goodness that they met.
But that would mean the meetings would take all night and the day after would have to be spent rebuilding one’s personal boundaries. Therefore it’s a dumb idea.
Jenny and Eagle,
Thank you for your fun “Montana” posts. We are flourishing here — and Montana is beautiful. Eagle, You really have long roots here; I hope your family has a blast in Butte. I think the history of this place is fascinating. I hope the weather turns nicer for you.
Reading today’s news on Driscoll makes me deeply glad that God’s last and best revelation of himself is in Jesus. What a contrast. What a relief.
…when integrity and personal responsibility isn’t up to snuff?
you guyz need a new pastor…
Intermission: Giuseppe Torrisi – “Per Qualche Dollaro In Più”
…cheating the Son of God out of His glory?
(Disclaimer: the following video is used for educational purposes only) :
@ dee: based on her long history of commenting here, it is pretty clear to me that she has no problem calling out what she believes to be wrong in churches in her own comments, so…
Linda, I wonder if you can see that? Or maybe not? (I honestly don’t know, hence the questions.)
Sorry everyone, it’s Monday moaning here in Blighty and I need to go into the office soon, so there follows a bit of a volley of comments…
The “small groups” thing… I think the following snippet from Acts 2 will be familiar to most:
… ohhhhh dear. The early church was officially a cult, then. Anyway, back at the ranch:
Rather than pick over that paragraph nit by nit to extract some kind of formula, I submit that it’s worth looking at the kind of scene Luke is describing there.
For one thing, there were not multiple churches split off and isolated from each other, treasuring their distinctive identities and jealously protecting their boundaries as much from each other as from the world and the flesh.
@ Marsha’s comment about meeting up with friends who attend different congregations is a sentiment I suspect many of us share. It’s true that the church, in Stirling and Sydney as much as in Seattle (and places not beginning with “s”), is currently split into factions. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept that as good, nor that we should do nothing about it.
Surely, a culture of getting out and about and building close friendships with other believers, outside one’s own Sunday walls, would be a hallmark of a healthy local congregation. For one thing, it would be much harder for spiritual abuse to fester in an environment like that, where no believer was isolated under the unique control of a single leader or leadership, or within a single mono-cultural group.
Many “para-church” organisations in the UK require that any Christian serving in them must be a “member” of “a church” locally. But actually, I think that’s the wrong way round. Any authentic and healthy group considering itself “a church” should require that its members actively serve and grow outside its walls alongside other believers of different backgrounds and cultures.
Whether indeed Fiscal did this or not, any CEO with a stated policy of throwing people out of his company with a “good riddance” message should be terribly afraid of using comparisons like that.
When the CEO of the Christian company (or “church”) in Glasgow threw us out, he lost two unpaid employees – myself and Lesley. Plenty left, and plenty more where we came from. But we lost the only church we had. We had, for a decade, invested everything into it; much of our free time (and that, increasingly, against our better judgement – for which I take responsibility), job prospects, money, and friendships. And all of it was taken from us in one meeting where the CEO declared Nick and Lesley to be gossips and divisive. Nobody rallied round us and declared from their own pulpits how much they owed us; nobody gave us a standing ovation. Years later, junior leaders within the CEO’s aegis remained reluctant to spend time with us, and nobody called them “bitter” or told them to grow up, deal with their “issues”, forgive us and move on.
And many people in a similar position have it much worse than we did. We had no children at that point, whereas they are forced out with their children, who lose many of their own friends to a battle that is not theirs. Nor did we have any relatives in the church (indeed, our parents were pretty glad we’d left!), whereas some find themselves cut off even from their own children. We were condemned in absentia, whereas others have found themselves completely alone facing a leader surrounded by henchmen, and are forced to witness their close friends queueing up to curse them to their faces.
Jesus was betrayed by one friend – and then abandoned by all the rest. He was tried alone before a hate-filled “jury” assembled purely to find him guilty. He was beaten and abused (and, although the gospels are light on detail, that abuse almost certainly had a violent and humiliating sexual element) alone before a large mob of Roman soldiers, before being publicly executed in a horrific and demeaning way where, again, he was alone before a mocking mob baying for his death. The only people who remained with him were a few women – who, in those days, were beneath suspicion – and one other crucified criminal. That very “following” was just one more part of his utter (apparent) defeat and humiliation.
And he cried out for their forgiveness.
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
As is my custom let me say “yes, but” alongside “no, but.”
Of this sentence let me say: if you mean the words “authentic” and “healthy” and “considering itself” and especially “require” there for me is a difficulty. That sounds like it could fit in with some attitude of: you all better do it my way (and enforce /”require” it) or else I will tell you right now you are not authentic or healthy and should not consider yourself a church. Thing is, what you suggest could lead to requiring that those who can barely function as it is and who stumble into church-may I say at the invitation of Christ himself- but who cannot measure up to a certain level of pre-detemined christian maturity; those people will have to be run off lest the church no longer appear to be authentic or healthy or as one commenter wants to say “real.”
As to what you said about the early believers in Jerusalem, I think I can refute any idea that what is said there is a requirement now or was a requirement then from Luke and Acts, as well as the idea that meeting in houses is the only way to go, or sharing meals is the only way to relate, or that having all things in common is required now or was required then, but I am sure we have all heard all the arguments before, so I will refrain.
So what is “church?” A lot of things, but for this conversation and using the cultural institutions of our day for illustrative purposes I am thinking of “church” as a hospital not instead of but in addition to being an educational institution and a social work agency and a sending agency and an orphanage and and and. Each of those paradigms has this in common, that it requires that adjustment be made for the individual situation. For that reason I did not say orchestra or military unit or street gang. And if one wants to say also the poor man’s Sunday morning country club, well whatever. I am still back at heal and teach and clothe/comfort/defend/and yes preach-stuff like that.
I have run on at the mouth right much here, so let me continue this on the next comment.
“actively serve and grow outside its walls alongside other believers of different backgrounds and cultures”
Here is the “yes.” I think I may be hearing correctly what you are saying, and if so then I agree. Big time. But I have heard something similar said in a context which means something different, and it is to that other approach that I want to say “but.”
We were told to go into all the world and preach the gospel. It is a general idea (command) without detailed instructions. We got that preach the gospel part but maybe not so much the go into all the world part. One way to do that is to get up a few folks and sally forth together all wearing the T shirt which says “Jesus Saves” and then try to do something “for” Jesus. Nothing wrong with that as far as it goes. Another way is to plunge oneself into the situation for its own sake, T shirt or not, because of the idea that God really does care about all things and everything and “the wind blows” were it pleases. By this I mean teach school because education is a good thing, not just for a chance to “witness” or as a way of gaining points in the eyes of God. Heal the sick because they are sick. Plow the field and run the business because humanity matters, not just as a way to be good or a way to appear righteous in the eyes of man. And all of this will be pretty much knee deep in a lot of stuff that one will not encounter at church or while hanging out with one’s church buddies.
Here we go: I heard Jesus say “come” and I heard him say “go” but I must have missed the part where he said “mostly hang out with your buddies and those who agree with you.” We need not be that fragile or that sensitive. We need to avoid the evil in the world and not the whole world itself. (Yep, chapter and verse available.)
@ Nick Bulbeck:
That was really crappy, Nick. I am so sorry that happened to you all. I got asked to take my children and go quietly (not actually thrown out) but I had not invested nearly as much of myself into the situation. And, because my children were young teens at the time and had time to work it all through, that and the fact that their dad was gone at the same time, it may have been part of what helped turn them into what they are now–realistic and tough. Like David fighting the animals got him ready to fight Goliath. (I love that book by M. Gladwell on the subject.) None the less it is crappy and needs to be roundly condemned whenever it happens like that and under those circumstances.
I don’t know Lesley, of course, but you do not sound like anybody who needs run off at all. Just saying.
The Kudos to Roebuck.
“Two Yeps, And A Woff”, Or “Church Scammers R’ Us?”
“If you love Jesus, you will keep ‘His’ commandments, perhaps?”
Unfortunate for many, the ‘church jesus’ will not save them. In some cases, the ‘church jesus’ will be used to manipulate , control, and abuse them – all in the name of ‘god’, amen! Their ‘take it or leave it jesus’ is best left on the shelf, or (as it were) to spoil on the vine.
Furthermore, for many 501(c)3 organizations that call themselves by Jesus’ name, well, IMHO, do they really know ‘Him’?
A. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever… ~Jesus
B. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” ~Jesus
C. “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them…” ~Jesus
D. “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love…” ~Jesus
“…We know that we have come to know Him (ed. Jesus) if we keep his commands. …In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, …and this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. …As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you ‘walk in love’… ” ~ The Apostle John
…walking in love,
—> see also (if you are so inclined) : John 14:21-24 ; John 8:42; John 15:10-14; John 21:15-17; Matthew 10:37; Matthew 25:34-40; 1 Corinthians 16:22; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; 2 Corinthians 8:8,9; Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 3:16-18; Ephesians 6:24; Philippians 1:20-23; Philippians 3:7-11; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 2:3-5; 1 John 4:19,20; 1 John 5:2,3
The following news item is presented in the style of a letter to the editor of Christianity magazine.
I was disappointed to read that Park Fiscal, in his recent statement to Mars Hill Limited’s unpaid staff and un-beneficial non-owners, failed to mention that NASA’s New Horizons space probe crosses the orbit of Neptune today today (August 25th 2014).
Emphasising his six-week break, to the exclusion of New Horizons, suggests that science and engineering are unimportant and could be seen as excluding and discriminating against people who are into science and engineering. Such exclusive and discriminatory practices do nothing to further Christ’s gospel and merely entrench discriminatory discrimination and exclusion.
I hope this is helpful.
@ Nick Bulbeck:
P.S. I should point out that probably fewer than 6% of letters to Christianity magazine are actually like that (i.e. complaining that some article or other didn’t mention my pet topic). But hey.
Yes, just as in the days of old when Jesus took on the abusive religious leaders of the day and took down their power over the abused a notch, just as He inspired Paul to tell us that we should have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness, but to expose them, I have been seeing His people rise up to take on and expose the evil of modern-day abusive religious leaders.
I am seeing Jesus marvelously at work.
@ Nick Bulbeck:
Nick, you left out the best part–assigning devious motives. For instance, I’m sure those folks must be anti-science, science deniers, or in cahoots with said anti-science types.
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
Nick, I commended CT for a science article in a comment on the Eagle discernment list post: @ oldJohnJ
From Warren’s article:
8. I have begun meeting with a professional team of mature Christians who provide wise counsel to help further my personal development and maturity before God and men. I have never taken an extended focused break like this in my 18 years as your pastor, and it is not a vacation but rather a time to focus on deep work in my soul in the areas of processing, healing, and growing. (Mark Driscoll)
– See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/08/24/announcement-mark-driscoll-will-take-time-off-while-charges-against-him-are-investigated/#sthash.sQdxrjpI.dpuf
Twice in his 8 points Mark talks about taking time for processing, healing, and growing. These are good things to do, but I have my doubt’s that any or all of it will be accomplished in 6 weeks.
What do any of these things have to do with repentance for hurting other people? Where does he once say anything about the people who he has damaged? Does he need to wait until the charges are vetted before he knows if he has treated people harmfully? Does he not have a conscience that is informed by the Holy Spirit? When leaders need to depend on a group of “others” to vet their actions, that is already a huge red flag to me as to a person’s character.
Mark comes across like a victim talking about healing, processing, and taking a focused break (which he has never done in the 18 years of being “your” pastor). Mark Driscoll is not a pastor. No one is a pastor to thousands of people. These streamed in celebrity teachers are delusional to think that they are pastors. They can’t possibly even know the people.
Well, my attempt to reference the comment didn’t work. It’s at Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 01:07 PM .
This has been my point all along.
I’ll let the late Edmund Burke reply to that. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
And I’ll add a word from the Apostle Paul…
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Eph. 5:11)
I saw Jesus active in my world yesterday as I visited a downtown church in my old hometown. Within its walls there seemed to be serving and growing believers of many backgrounds and cultures. People with an apparent diversity of gifts led the meeting, and I didn’t know who the pastor was until I shook his hand afterward. You see, he never once stood up in front. And the guest preacher was just a member of the church– and brought an excellent message. All that said, I suspect Jesus might have something against them– just speculation– I didn’t ask anyone. They believe in the New Testament concept of just one church per locality– the church in Ephesus, the church in Pergamum, the church in Thyatira etc…. But if they had a crisis– for example, if the pastor went off the rails and needed church discipline– they’d likely seek help from their same not-a-denomination in another city. They’d not reach out to the Mars Hill just up the hill, nor the First Presbyterian and Bible Presbyterian churches, which sit literally back to back. And so Fiscal will be counseled by folks of agreeable theology in distant lands, and maybe not by anyone in his local church (either within or without the walls).
Everything after the space supposed to be from me, not Nick.
Has anybody written the definitive work on “Discernment Blogs”? What are the parameters? How do you know you are called to this ministry? Answers to common objections. Moderating comments. Balancing exposing with healing.
I’m sure this is the right season for such a book, and it would certainly be a best-seller.
Received this message for Driscoll and his ilk:
Thus says the Lord God: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them.
@ Carole Ryan
My parents love “The Uptown” and “Lydia’s” in the flats. Though my family thinks Lydias has gone down in quality over the years. My personal haunt when I visit Butte is the “Jailhouse Cafe”. Love, love, love, that coffee house! No trip to Butte is complete without going to “Gamers” and getting a Pasty. Then there is “Danny Wong’s” which is one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in the western United States. My Dad went to school with Danny, and my grandmother taught him. And “M&M” has the best omelettes In Butte.
Oh and my parents remember meeting Evil Knievel in the original Acoma restaurant in the 70’s.
Some of them might go ahead and start using the word bishop to describe themselves, except they think that the idea of “bishop” is not biblical. Some may even fantasize about using the word apostle–I am not going there.
@ Carole Ryan:
Some videos about Butte!
Please don’t give them any ideas. They have enough unfiltered ‘ideas’ floating around in their brains as it is. Mark, from his own words, won’t be working on his ‘next book’ during this break. Can we say, “Amen”?
…because it’s all about him.
Patricia Hanlon wrote:
CJ Mahaney compared himself to Paul at the SGM Pastors conference he spoke at during his leave. Seems to be a pattern followed by pastors taking a break.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
I’m from Michigan, HUG. I think I could handle Montana winters. 🙂
I honestly think David Robertson doesn’t know what’s going on here. Most people don’t have the time, energy, or interest to dig into the stuff. Robertson’s denomination, I think, had a pro-Driscoll article in their monthly magazine some time back. Who knew that MD was/would turn out to be such a jerk. Also, Robertson, unless he’s spent an inordinate amount of time reading internet articles, will have no idea that Mars Hill doesn’t fit the typical Presbyterian church model for discipline. So forgive Robertson for his ignorance. He only means well. He just needs more information.
I believe that he may be ignorant of many of the issues swirling around but the way that he communicated his thoughts is concerning. I am going to discuss this tomorrow. Tied up on Driscoll prdictions today.
Personally, I think the technique of “ignore them, they only want attention” would only work very early on in the process, and/or for people who are pretty far out on the fringe anyway. Someone like Matthew Chapman (betrothal/arranged marriage guru who thinks the Botkins are too liberal)? Might work (though I’m still not sure I’d recommend it). But at the stage any megachurch pastor has reached, it won’t work anymore because they’ve reached critical popularity mass. It also probably worked better in the pre-internet era.
Um, ‘scuse me, but I know very well what darkness is and have experienced it at the hand of so called Christians. Up to a point, pointing out where the church is failing is healthy.
But only to a point. My friends in the SBC tell me I am really a holiness gal, and my holiness friends call me a closet Baptist. Probably I fit best with certain select groups of Anabaptists.
Which means I take the words in red seriously–very seriously. As in, laying out expressly how we are to live out our lives.
And Jesus told us that when we go looking for the sins of others, we are looking for their splinters and NOT DEALING with our own logs.
It is beyond saying that I disapprove of the antics of MD, CJM, et al. Way beyond saying.
But the vicious, taunting, blaming, shaming that often goes on on discernment blogs–of which, by the way TWW is one–is something I just don’t want to answer to Jesus for. Never. Ever.
There is a difference between not hiding the bad stuff and ragging on and on and on ad nauseum.
Pick the worst leader you can think of. Remember he or she is at least potentially part of the bride of Christ, however much of a cheater or abuser he or she may be.
Now whatever you have to keep saying to the point of all this “discerning” and “calling out”, do it consciously right in front of Jesus. About His Bride.
And if you are too chicken to do so, then maybe it needs to be dealt with in the church. Because yes, it definitely needs to be dealt with. Strongly. Sternly. Even harshly.
But the right way.
And as for the rest of all this “discerning”–it is gossip, plain cruel harmful hurtful gossip. Which is why some so delight in spreading the manure as far as they can. They get their own 15 minutes of fame, feel good about themselves by putting others down, and go on to cause havoc elsewhere.
So if you would really truly rather hash and rehash someone else’s sins (never our own, it appears) than talk about the awesome things Christ and His Bride are doing, go right ahead.
Just have your ducks in a row when you, as we all most certainly will, explain “every idle word” to our Lord.
Six weeks can’t fix a long standing character issue. It also does nothing to restore those who were abused. Some lost everything.
This talk about “healing and processing” is narcissistic gobblety gook. It becomes more and more obvious there is no insight, no compassion, no repentance. I’m sure he will miraculously be declared restored in a few weeks.
Read the story of MD’s administrative assistant who was fired because she made a comment at a church ladies gathering about a certain area where MD could use a little assistance. Not only was she fired for some trumped up charge of “gossip” , she was shunned. Until MD makes lists and publicly and specifically lists his wrongs and his plan of restitution towards these people, there is nothing he says that is worth hearing.
How is having discussions about the public words and actions of very public people who teach, preach, and write (and use God’s names in this pursuit) gossip? And please don’t put everyone who comments on a particular blog in the same box.
Bunsen Honeydew wrote:
But it lets the heat blow over before the Triumphant Return.
Troll or Yooper?
Above or Below Da Bridge?
Bless your heart. I am so glad that you understand our motives.That’s something I am not adept at. I would love to know just how you do that. That is why I stick to words and actions. Motive, even my own, often elude me. I do expect to be standing before God and confessing what I did and did not do. Thankfully, I will be covered by His grace, as will you.
I think you need to ask yourself why you are so upset. Are you really defending Christ’s “bride” or is this something personal? Did I step on a sacred cow?
Sounds like “Enlightened Self-Criticism” Sessions in the old USSR.
(Hmmmm…. Wonder if that’s where the Communists got the idea? Or at least from the Public Confessions of Sin/Juicy Testimony you got in a lot of Revivalist meetings?)
Isn’t that the original meaning of “Discernment”?
Seeing the Reality beneath the Appearance?
These are some pretty sweeping statements. How could you possibly know what any of us have done privately trying to address problems. Or what sins we have confessed in the process of that? Without the public airing of information, which you globally label gossip and manure, how would these “shepherds” ever be called to account?
How could the sheep be protected from a system which ignores their needs and uses them for the benefit of the shepherds? You have made a mistake, in the style of Joe Carter’s, by conflating these “shepherds” with Christ’s Bride. They may be believers, but they do not constitute Christ’s Bride, his church, the entirety of the ones he has called out for himself.
If these “shepherds” would do their duty with respect to the sheep, who belong to Christ and not these men, discernment blogs would be unnecessary. So, you really should be aiming your fire at them and not those of us here who have tried to protect the little ones of the flock
Nothing says “Spin” like a big-ticket Spinmeister “Consultant”.
Wonder how much he charges for his services?
Never try to argue with a sock puppet or fangirl.
The Bible tells us to expose evil.
Jesus repeatedly and publicly upbraided the pharisees and other religious abusers of His day.
Paul slammed Peter publicly for refusing to eat with gentiles.
Paul slammed the church at Corinth for putting up with abusive church leaders, mockingly referring to them as “superaposltes”.
The whole of the Bible from the first chapter to the last, with pretty much everything in between, is one long airing of Jewish and Christian dirty laundry.
Linda – I think you need to take matters up with the Lord Himself, because it appears as if, at the end of the day, based upon your position and His which was laid out for us in His Word, the One whom you are in opposition to is Him.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Yeah, the six week timeframe makes me lose all hope. It’s completely ridiculous.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Right. I was trying to spray a little spritz of Reason air freshener into the room to mask the smell of all the manure she claims is being spread around.
Although, before Ick Blubneck says it…42 days does have some kind of biblical wiblical gospeliocious flavour…
Of that I have little doubt, in fact, I think you most definitely are a “holiness gal” through and through.
The reason I know what I state above is because there is no possible way you’d be able to justify such an unhinged rant, in which you rail against the “sins” of posters who “put others down” without having all their “ducks in a row”, when in fact you are doing precisely the same thing. That is, you could not be expected to deal with the cognitive dissonance of the glaring hypocrisy in a post where you put people down for putting people down unless you have an uniblical holiness mindset in which you think you’ve already got all your ducks in a row.
Oh my yes – the audio library that used to be on reel-to-reel tape. I have always had a very hard time focusing on audio-only lectures (even recorded books, no matter how good the reader), so that part of my time at Swiss L’Abri was both difficult and not helpful. The staff who proctored were a bit overzealous, too (probably bored!), but I was able to get away with some quick pencil drawings of things I could see from the windows when they weren’t looking my way.
As for the book library at Swiss L’Abri, it was pitifully small at the time. My hunch is that there was a lot of theft.
Someone’s been taking A Deep Breath (besides myself), no? 😉
@ numo: oops – no A in the latest episode title. My bad!
Dee – Based on some of what’s going on here and what’s going on on other fora, such as Throckmorton’s, I think this weekend has definitely nosed some of the unhinged over the edge. This latest Driscoll debacle has put them on tilt.
So you are Right and We are Wrong?
Give us a break.
@ Law Prof:
Sins against the sheep are done in the dark and those who committ them rely on the dark to keep them hidden. Such people also conveniently make big deals out of gossip, questioning, and unity. It’s how they keep their tower from crumbling. Nevermind lying, covering up molestation, financial malfeasance…those are no big deal, especially when the leadership does it. Buy, hey, the great unwashed, how dare you ask questions and commit sins of “mistrust”. It really is George Orwell meets American evangelicalism.
It is gossip to shine a light on these celebrity “ministers” who, frankly, enjoy being in the public and have ammased great wealth in doing so?
If we are to know a tree by it’s fruit, then it seems the fruit of these celebrities should be evaluated and spoken of, especially when there are bad patterns being reported…for years.
heeeee, right on ! (I’m sure Fiscal would approve of this parlous rhyming slang)
Okay, for the first time ever I have no idea what you’re talking about Names 🙂
I had a pastor who compared himself to Jesus. He also taught that Solomon was a type of Christ. So, he (the pastor) compared himself to Solomon. He also taught on the Songs of Solomon, presenting Solomon as the handsome, wise king, that all of the young women pined after. He wove a very sophisticated theology that in essence, put himself in the place of Christ/Solomon, for whom all the women pined.
I’m sure you know the end of the story.
@ Law Prof:
Numes: thanks to the almighty Google I now know to what you refer… haven’t watched it yet… no spoilers please 😉
I get what Linda is saying. It doesn’t upset me at all.
Sometimes, I think discernment blogs and comments go too far.
When I think the conversation is becoming unhealthy for my own emotional well-being, I find it best to step away and go engage in those activities I do find healthy.
I do tend to return to these blogs, because they highlight issues with which I’m so familiar. Oh, so familiar! But, again, if the conversations head down a road that is unproductive for me, I have lots of other things to do.
I can pop in, see what’s going on in the wacky world of “fill in the blank”, and then happy that I’m not longer involved, exercise my freedom to go do whatever I want without some pastor/church telling me what I can or can’t do. Or telling me how to think. Or chastising me for not doing everything exactly the way they think it should be done.
PS. I just proofread my comment, and had to make one change. I originally wrote “…without some pastor/church telling me what I can’t or can’t do.” Maybe I should have left it the way it was.
Happy in my freedom.
Because Dee and Deb just sit around baking cookies and waiting for readers’ suggestions, here’s mine. Could we have a meaningful discussion (perhaps Wade Burleson would also like to contribute?) about pastoral pressures – from a pastor’s perspective. This comment, also picked up by Bridget, tweaked my antennae: #8 “… I have never taken an extended focused break like this in my 18 years as your pastor…”
I’m of the mind that thinks six weeks in a theological/pastoral/academic world is not an extended break. In the corporate world, yes. Ah, I’ve just seen the ?irony.
Further, a few here have identified as former MKs or PKs (ministers kids or missionary kids; pastors kids). Would they like to speak to the pastoral pressures and mental health challenges that were unique to their family?
As a pastor/minister, how do you really take a break? How can you try to maintain any family normality? (I assert there’s no such thing in a MK household).
None! (Silence in the library and all that…)
Read the new post. I predict more to come.
1) We are consciously calling out abusive pastors and church leaders right in front of Jesus. You don’t seriously imagine that He doesn’t know what we are saying here, do you?
2) As for these things being a matter for the church, we are the church. The church is the body of believers.
3) I didn’t enjoy gossip back in the eighth grade and I don’t like it any better now that I am 61.
Dee, I can get the simple gist of what Linda is communicating without tripping over the details which I may, or may not, agree with. Remember your words – that if someone is vocalizing a thought that differs with the one you hold that you can be sure there are many more who would agree, but are silent?
Your response to her seems to have an element of sarcasm and smugness, imho. I think something is spiritually wrong if you feel justified to answer her in that manner. Even though I appreciate much of what you’re doing – have you ever thought of taking a 6 week hiatus to get a fresh view on the direction you’re heading? That’s an honest question. ken
This is a really interesting one. And good use of the word “season”, btw.
I have no unilateral authority to write anything definitive – though I don’t want to read more into the word than you meant! – but a big part of me wants to write something on the topic. Not just on discernment blogs but on the whole topic of how to avoid being deceived by writings warning you about how to avoid being deceived.
Different people mean different things by “discernment blog”, of course, and I tend to use the phrase – pejoratively – to refer to a website set up for the sole purpose of “exposing” one or more specified “false teachings” or “false teachers”. I have not researched every one in existence; there must be thousands of ’em out there. But every one I have seen is peppered, if not riddled, with inaccuracy and falsehood. All of which makes me ask: where is the real deception? My belief thus far is that the goal of deception is not wrong doctrine, but a wrong heart.
I’ll be absolutely honest here. The day TWW becomes a blog whose prime directive is to “expose deception”, I’ll quietly leave and not come back. But it’s not. The prime directive is to give a voice to the voiceless. And the recent interaction with Jordan Hall was encouraging too, because it indicates that Deebs are willing to relate constructively and honestly (so, it would seem, is Jordan!). Moreover, TWW is about behaviour, not dogma and ideology (or “doctrine”, as it is called), and there are strong variations in opinion even between regulars here. Am I being hypocritical? Maybe… but hey. 🙂
I followed the link and did a quick word search, which suggests I was wrong on both counts: the phrases “by God’s grace” and “love Jesus” both occurred only once.
I shall discuss it with my PR firm.
You mean like a Christian saying that some people who are leading others into pharisaism ought to castrate themselves? Or calling people who abuse others within the church superapostles? Or calling people whitewashed tombs? That the sort of “sarcasm and smugness” you’re referring to?
@ Law Prof:
We have a dedicated few on this blog who believe that God has called them to “let me have it straight.” They get frustrated when I don’t take it too seriously.
As a PK, and, as a Pastor with kids, I think a lot of the pressure that is experienced are often deeply interwoven with the personality of the pastors themselves. One of my wifes regular complaints about me is that I never get stressed out about stuff. Which, when you have a wife who is 38 weeks pregnant with your third child, can be quite a point of contention. I recognize and can respond to things that are “problems”, but I have never felt consumed by a problem, regardless of the seriousness of it.
Basically my entire life has been lived through the experience of the “pressure” of ministry. But I never really get stressed. And my dad never really got stressed either. It isn’t because we have some specific training, or, have discovered some deep spiritual truth. We are just wired in that way. I don’t trumpet my calmness as a point of pride anymore than I like to wax eloquently about my brown hair. It really has nothing to do with me.
With that being said, I often interact with people in ministry who do not have a personality that is healthy for ministry. Sort of like how hypochondriacs probably shouldn’t be in the medical field….. Witnessing people burning out in ministry from my perspective is more influenced by a personality limitation than some great and rare specific circumstance.
Also, personality types that are not well suited to pastoral ministry can, and often do, create ministry paradigms that exponentially increase the possibility of having untenable and oppressive experiences. In the specific observations of MD and MH, you take a naturally antagonistic personality with control issues and regardless of the reach and size of the ministry, it will eventually blow up. The MD situation plays out every month in small churches all over America, but no one knows about them because they are so small.
The pastor who preceded me at my current church was exactly this type. Ex Millitary control guy. He lorded authority over people and couldn’t handle conflict or questions. It was obvious to everyone that he was becoming more and more miserable as he hit more and more roadblocks where his heavy handed approach was unwelcome. Until he just up and quit on a Sunday morning in the middle of service. All indications were that he and his family were extremely stressed and unhappy. Was it because the church itself had problems? Not from my 2+ years of observation. The people are gentle, sweet and really caring. But his personality type set him up to drive himself, and his family, crazy.
Dee, You seem to be doing the very same thing Driscoll is doing with his critics – not charitably reading/hearing their concerns and not giving them serious contemplation/response, but rather seem content on summarizing these concerns with your own infallible interpretation that conveniently lets you off the hook.
Recess is a good thing that can bring much needed perspective. 🙂 Perhaps the urgency you and Mark feel regarding your personal objectives distracts/blinds you from receiving unwanted perspective?
Would be interested in hearing what your PR says concerning my concerns. 🙂 ken
Status Keyhole: “MerkyD has stack’d da proverbial Marzhil deck, perhaps?”
Charges have bern brought against MD by twenty-one former MH church elders.
MD indicates that the charges will be examined.
The current Mars Hill Church by-laws, do not give the current elders the authority to examine these charges.
The current elders do not have the ability to vote on Mark Driscoll’s status at the church.
The independent members of the Board of Advisors and Accountability are in charge of the process.
Currently, Michael Van Skaik, and Larry Osborne are the ‘two’ independent members of the BOAA.
Object lesson in ‘religious accountability oversight futility’. (RAOF)
AOR ‘type’ tactics revisited.
Resist change, roll da bus wheels… (da people don’t seem ta matter)
Da wheels on da MarzHil bus go… Krunch, Krunch, Krunch!
Krunch, Krunch, Krunch!
♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ hum, hum, hum… I woke up some time ago,
Saw a church world full of trouble,
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down,
How’s it ever gonna turn around?
So I turned my eyes to Heaven,
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “Look what they are doing to my church…”
(…now if that isn’t a call, then what is?)
Well, I just couldn’t bare the thought of
people suffering at the hands of abusive pastors, who keep their people in spiritual slavery, or worse, when Jesus came ta set um’ free…
That thought deeply disturbed me,
So, I looked to Heaven, and said, “God, help me do something!” 
The spiritually blind receive sight,
The siritually lame walk,
The spiritually abused find healing, and new hope,
Those with closed ears learn how to hear again,
The spiritually dead are raised up,
And the poor in spirit have the good news of what Jesus has done shared with them a fresh!
…Blessed is he who does not take offense at Jesus, the Son of God.
 Words reflects original lyrics parody adaptation: Matthew West – “Do Something”
; Songwriter: Matthew West; lyrics © Copyright: Songs For Delaney, External Combustion Music, Songs Of Southside Independent Music Publishing Co. ; Original Lyrics link:
Content Ref: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/08/24/announcement-mark-driscoll-will-take-time-off-while-charges-against-him-are-investigated/
Thank you for your concerns abou my health. 🙂 It reminds me of an episode in Homeland, Season 3. 🙂
MOM…I want 6 weeks off with pay. And a mansion! can that be arranged? 😛
Fascinating. I appreciate you boldly sharing your perspective, and it definitely gives me something to consider about Christianity.
Yes, we love all those places, especially Gamer’s. I got hungry just reading your post! I will watch the videos you link. Do they include the PBS documentary, “Butte, America”? My favorite. Today the weather was gorgeous again.
@ Carole Ryan:
Yup the PBS Documentary was awesome!
I have been reading TWW carefully since December. You strike me as one who usually strives to come across as gentle and ‘winsome’. However, your aim most often is to correct the hosts and guests. Why?
Tonight your response to Dee came across as demeaning, even if you meant to do it in a teasing way. I think Law Prof’s and others’ insights here tonight were spot on. I hope you will pay closer attention.
Hmm…on the previous thread, Linda called this a “haven” for “bad girls” and “bullies.” When asked to explain, she chose not to answer. Then she posts on this thread a comment that felt to me to be a passive/aggressive swipe at both the authors and commentors.
Personally, I’ve had my fill of the religious labelling me a “bad girl” or “rebellious,” etc., etc….to lob those labels and not respond and then call the commenters here gossips and hypocrites….well, it reminds me why I have not desire to be involved with a church.
You might be confusing this ken with the German Ken who usually posts here. I don’t think they’re the same person.
It must get used or you wouldn’t bother about putting in broader range of books. Who goes there, do you know?
I remember maybe 20 years back there was a (general) christian book library in our area but it closed down when church libraries because fashionable.
Actually – and I’d appreciate either Ken verifying or correcting me here – “German Ken” is not actually German, nor posting from Germany; rather, for some IP-address-related reason, The System erroneously gives him a German flag. I believe we do have two Ken’s, but it is more accurate to distinguish between “flag Ken” and “no flag Ken”. This is further complicated by the fact that all of us occasionally lose our flags.
I hope this is helpful.
Ther are actually 4 Kens. The one who focuses on the two of us resides in the Maryland/Virginia area. We have irritated him and it is not a generic irritation, although he might deny it.
Ah! My mistake.
Still only one Nick, mind. Though we also have a Nicholas, which is my full name (though only people reading my passport or driving licence ever call me that).
Various translations have been offered for the Greek Νικόλαος. Some evil miscreants have suggested that the name means “victory over the people” and that Nicholas of Antioch was the first celebrity pastor, and even that he was the founder of the Nicolaitans whose practice Jesus himself hates.
I, on the other hand, know the truth.
Νικόλαος actually means “a victorious people”. It refers to a people of one heart and mind, who love and respect one another, triumphing over adversity together precisely because they have no-one who loves to be first among them, but are joined together under one Head.
I hope this is helpful.
Given that you usually manage to calm things down around here when they’ve gotten a little crazy, clearly you are really St. Nick. 😉
And given the proliferation of Kens, Johns, Anons/Anonymouses, etc., see why I chose the name Hester and put a big red A next to it? Nobody can mistake you for someone else when you fly your freak flag that high. 🙂
Except I think other ken upthread has a flag. An American one, though, not a German one. Are all the other kens lowercase? “German flag Ken” is always capitalized.
And if he’s reading this thread, he’s probably laughing at our attempts to give him a quick identifier…
Addendum @ Nick:
TWW comments are actually easier to navigate now than they used to be. There used to be (at least) 4 Jeffs too. Now I think there’s mostly just one.
“For in the Devil’s theology, the most important thing is to be Absolutely Right and to prove everyone else to be Absolutely Wrong.”
— Thomas Merton, “Moral Theology of the Devil”
Law Prof wrote:
Who tells you at great length about her own Holiness.
As well as being The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.
(And it beats Jesus in the Wilderness by two days, so there!)
@ Headless Unicorn Guy: very apt quote, HUG!
Dee, our interaction on Wade’s site regarding the destiny of infants and my giving account of my son’s cat destiny was an eye opener as far as wrongful assumptions you made about me and my daughter. I think possibly goes both ways as far as an “irritation” (to whatever degree it may exist). I think we got off on the wrong foot – I hope it would have been different if we conversed in person over a meal.
I am not denying that I have on-going concerns regarding your judgement – especially when it comes to the level of respect that you exhibit for people you profile. I remember reading the article over a year ago about Zen’s and Viola’s take on slander/gossip (the one you just referenced in your most recent post to David Robertson) and was dismayed that you did not speak one respectful or honorary word about either of these two men who have done much for the kingdom of God (in particular those who have been battered).
Do you know either of these men personally? I do. Have you spoken with either of them regarding their articles you critiqued? I have. Obviously you didn’t slam them in your critique, but your attitude towards them lacked a positive exhibition of love/care. The reader’s comments in general displayed negative feelings towards the two men as well, which I felt were undeserving and could have been avoided had you voiced more respect.
A couple of weeks ago I went and visited a new church plant from Covenant Life in my neck of the woods. I really don’t know why I did, as my wife and I haven’t been part of an organized church in 9 or 10 years. I got up and walked out after 15 minutes of hearing how important membership was, and after hearing how they spent their money (80% of almost a quarter million $ budget on administration). Emailed the church a short blip of my experience and got a mild admonishment from the pastor who chided me for not asking more questions, but wished me well. I asked if he’d be willing to meet in person…took over a couple of weeks, but we met at Starbucks. Chatted for an hour and a half. I think he’s a good guy, but caught up in a bad system. He needs to come here and read some of your articles (and the comments) to get perspective, but I often think your response to some of concerns voiced (mine included) often lacks respect or value in a response from you.
Want to clean slate it and start afresh? I’d be willing. 🙂 ken
You have no idea how I have gone to bat for Viola. You should see the emails that I have received. I have elected not to make my actions nor the unjust accusations public. He would not know about it as well since I did not contact him to tell him what I have done. So go ahead and judge me but you do not have all the information nor will I disclose to you what I know and have done.
Now I remember you and your comment about how you treated your son’s cat. I have no desire to further discuss that incident which I found appalling since I am involved in rescuing pug dogs and have also rescued a pregnant cat. I love animals too much to go there again. In fact, I wish you had not brought it up again since I have tried to forget that image and had until now. This is not a discussion that will be productive and I would appreciate it if you do not bring it up again.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
David Robertson wrote:
Amen, & again, Amen.
Mind you, I was all in favor of bombarding the daftie with water balloons full of garlic-dill pickle juice, myslef, but being Irish makes me a tad……enthusiastic in the treatment of such [ahem!! self-edited] as Park Fiscal.
If smugness or sarcasm were intended, she would have said, “bless your LITTLE heart”.
My grandmother was born & raised in Richmond, VA, & I know the difference…..I can also tell a hawk from a handsaw…..but I digress :-)……
There is a continuum of bless you heart-ness around here. The variables include the actual words, the tone of voice and body language, the use in the sentence, and whatever the “bless…” is in response to. In all probability this may vary somewhat with locale, since almost everything does (in the south? everywhere?) but it is a somewhat complicated expression. The words in that continuum range from “(well)(just)(now) bless (you or)/your (little/ “other in addition to little) heart.”
Bless your heart.
Bless your little heart.
Well, bless you.
Well, bless your heart.
Bless your little heart.
Well bless your little heart.
Well now bless you.
Well now bless your little heart.
Well now just bless you.
Well now just bless your heart.
Well now just bless your little heart.
Well now just bless your little pea-pickin heart.
Well then I guess we just have to bless (her/ your) little pea-picking heart, now don’t we?
Rule of thumb: after the first two which are potentially expressing sympathy, the more words the more negative the comment.
Can “bless you” and “bless your heart” be used to convey sympathy? Yes. Depends on the context and tone of voice. Can they be used as a negative comment? Yes. If one sneers, then lots of things can be negative. I personally would never use “bless you” to convey sympathy but I would not hesitate to use “bless your heart” to convey sympathy. Why? Simple: “bless you” seems too abrupt to be really sympathetic. Southerners use a loooooot of words whenever possible, and failure to use a lot of words gives offense sometimes. Failure to use a lot of words is intended to give offense sometimes. Never mind that the above example seems to say just the opposite. How many words are to be used and when is a southern art form which I have not mastered even after all these years.
Adam Borsay wrote:
The double whammy !
Thanks for your response. You’ve got me thinking. I’ll be stewing on this one for a while. There are so many facets to it. Cheers
You seem to be missing or ignoring the point. Think of when a exploratory surgery is happening and how clean and sterile the environment has to be to keep the nasty bacteria from growing.
Pour on the praise, admiration, respect for Viola and Zens before you critique them (maybe even call and chat with them) and you won’t be (to a great extent) having to fight the bacteria growing. From my perspective I could hardly tell if you cared squat for either of them. Most of the readers here have suffered unwarranted abuse and thrashings from leadership are wanting to bite heads off. Do your utmost at setting the stage with respect and love.
My .02 cents.
LOVED this. It semi-reminded me of the British St Michael and St George orders of chivalry:
From wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_St_Michael_and_St_George
In the satirical British television programme Yes Minister, Jim Hacker MP is told an old joke by his Private Secretary Bernard Woolley about what the various post-nominals stand for. Season 2, Episode 2 “Doing the Honours”:
Woolley: In the service, CMG stands for “Call Me God”. And KCMG for “Kindly Call Me God”.
Hacker: What does GCMG stand for?
Woolley: “God Calls Me God”.
Like the “People’s Republic of Tyranny” entry at TV Tropes:
The more adjectives about Democracy there are in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.