Friday, July 25, 2014

upcoming incubation time for forthcoming material

may not be too active here for a little while.  It won't be due to a lack of material to present. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Driscoll sort of touches on the 2006-2007 leadership period, a review of statements from that time regarding real estate purchases and governance changes

So it would seem Mark Driscoll has mentioned in a video that there's a season of learning afoot.  This may be the first time Driscoll has mentioned the leadership transitions of 2006-2007 in any even insignificant fashion in a while.

Rather little is said about the 2007 period in which two controversial terminations happened.
It's worth pointing out the transcript is hardly a full transcript and in at least one place "chick" has been replaced by "girl", for a sample of some of the pertinent audio ...
and the day after ...

The actual audio is about 2:45:00 (i.e. a very long time) and the mention of the pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus is more or less a tiny fraction of what else has been in this audio session.  WtH may get around to addressing other content from that audio later.  But that would be later.

For now, it may be worth revisiting what Mark Driscoll had to say for himself on behalf of Mars Hill back in a letter dated November 8, 2007.  Keep in mind the terminations of Bent Meyer and Paul Petry but the rest of this blog post will not necessarily be dealing directly with that.  Rather than attempt to directly address terminations that Pastor Jamie Munson described as, "we didn’t want to wait on what we had determined were necessary and inevitable firings until after the bylaws had been voted into approval because that would have been deceptive." what we can do is address the background of what pastors Driscoll and Munson considered the background to the firings that made the firings somehow necessary.  While some readers will no doubt imagine that this has to go to the 2007 by-laws that is arguably not going back far enough.  Read on, if you wish, and we'll highlight a few possibilities after the quotes.

... For me personally, everything culminated at the end of 2006. Despite rapid growth, the church
was not healthy and neither was I. My workload was simply overwhelming. I was preaching five
times a Sunday, the senior leader in Mars Hill responsible to some degree for literally everything
in the church, president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network which had exploded, president of
The Resurgence, an author writing books, a conference speaker traveling, a media
representative doing interviews, a student attending graduate school, a father with five young
children, and a husband to a wife whom I have adored since the first day I met her and needed
my focus more than ever. I was working far too many hours and neglecting my own physical and
spiritual well-being, and then I hit the proverbial wall. For many weeks I simply could not sleep
more than two or three hours a night. I had been running off of adrenaline for so many years that
my adrenal glands fatigued and the stress of my responsibilities caused me to be stuck “on”
physically and unable to rest or sleep. After a few months I had black circles under my eyes, was
seeing a fog, and was constantly beyond exhausted.

Nonetheless, the demands on me continued to grow as the church grew. We added more
campuses, gathered more critics, saw more media attention, planted more churches, purchased
more real estate, raised more money, and hired more staff. It was at this time that I seriously
pondered leaving Mars Hill Church for the first time ever. I still loved our Jesus, loved our mission,
loved our city, and loved our people. However, I sunk into a deep season of despair as I
considered spending the rest of my life serving at Mars Hill Church. I simply could not fathom
living the rest of my life with the pace of ministry and amount of responsibility that was on me.
Furthermore, the relational demands of the church and its leaders depleted me entirely. In short, I
had lost my joy and wanted to lose my job before I lost my life. Tucking my children in bed at
night became a deeply sorrowful experience for me; I truly feared I would either die early from a
heart attack or burn out and be left unable to best care for my children in the coming years. I have
met many pastors who have simply crossed the line of burnout and never returned to health and
sanity and that was my frightful but seemingly inevitable future.

One of the problems was that Mars Hill had essentially outgrown the wisdom of our team and
needed outside counsel. The church had grown so fast that some of our elders and other leaders
were simply falling behind and having trouble keeping up, which was understandable. To make
matters worse, there was a growing disrespect among some elders who were jockeying for and
abusing power. The illusion of unity our eldership had maintained over the years was kept in part
by my tolerating some men who demanded more power, pay, control, and voice than their
performance, character, or giftedness merited. While this was a very short list of men, as elders
they had enough power to make life truly painful.

Sadly, it was during the bylaw rewriting process that two of our elders, who curiously were among
the least administratively gifted for that task [WtH, as though drafting by-laws requires administrative gifts of any kind?] , chose to fight in a sinful manner in an effort to defend their power and retain legal control of the entire church. This included legal maneuvering involving contacting our attorney, which was a violation of policy, one elder who is no longer with us disobeying clear orders from senior leaders about not sharing sensitive working data with church members until the elders had arrived at a decision, which has caused much dissension, and that same elder accusing Pastor Jamie Munson, who was the then new Lead Pastor of Mars Hill, of being a deceptive liar in an all-elder meeting with elder candidates present, despite having absolutely no evidence or grounds because it was a lie. This was heartbreaking for me since I have seen Pastor Jamie saved in our church, baptized in our church, married in our church, birth four children in our church, and rise up from an intern to the Lead Pastor in our church with great skill and humility that includes surrounding himself with godly gifted older men to complement his gifts.

To make matters worse, this former elder’s comments came after my more than one-hour lecture
in that meeting based on a twenty-three-page document I gave the elders as a summary report
about what I had learned from the other pastors I had met with in addition to months of
researching Christian movements. I had just explained the cause of the pains we were
experiencing as a leadership team as largely tied to our growing number of elders and campuses,
as well as ways that my research indicated men commonly respond by sinfully seeking power,
money, preference, control, and information as ways to exercise pride and fight for their interests
over the interests of the team, church, and mission of Jesus Christ.

The elder who sinned was followed up with following the meeting by a rebuke from a fellow
Executive Elder, but repentance was not forthcoming. To make matters worse, some vocal
church members ran to that elder’s defense without knowing the facts, made demands upon the
elders, acted in a manner that was not unifying or helpful, and even took their grievances public
on the Ask Anything comment portion of our main website for my forthcoming preaching series.
Of course, this was done under anonymous names to protect their image in the eyes of fellow
church members while maligning the elders publicly. Some church members even began
accusing the other elders of grabbing power and not caring for the best interests of our people,
which is nothing short of a lie and contradictory in every way to the entire process we were
undertaking. It broke my heart personally when amidst all of this, a member asked me on behalf
of other members if the elders really loved our people. Now having given roughly half my life to
planning for and leading Mars Hill Church, the questioning of my love and the love of our elders,
some of whom even got saved in our church, for our people was devastating.

Today, I remain deeply grieved by and for one man, but am thrilled that what is best for Jesus
and all of Mars Hill has been unanimously approved by our entire elder team because I do love
Jesus and the people of Mars Hill. Furthermore, my physical, mental, and spiritual health are at
the best levels in all of my life. Now having joy and working in my gifting I am beginning to see
what a dark and bitter place I once was in and deeply grieve having lived there for so long without
clearly seeing my need for life change. My wife and I are closer than ever and she is the greatest
woman in the world for me. I delight in her, enjoy her, and praise God for the gift that she is. She
recently brought me to tears by sweetly saying, “It’s nice to have you back,” as apparently I had
been somewhat gone for many years. Our five children are wonderful blessings. I love being a
daddy and am closer to my children with greater joy in them than ever. In short, I was not taking
good care of myself and out of love for our church I was willing to kill myself to try and keep up
with all that Jesus is doing. But, as always, Jesus has reminded me that He is our Senior Pastor
and has godly other pastors whom I need to empower and trust while doing my job well for His
glory, my joy, and your good.

The past year has been the most difficult of my entire life. It has been painful to see a few men
whom I loved and trained as elders become sinful, proud, divisive, accusatory, mistrusting, power hungry, and unrepentant.
[emphasis added] It has, however, been absolutely amazing to see all but one of those men humble themselves and give up what is best for them to do what is best for Jesus and our entire church. In that I have seen the power of the gospel, and remain hopeful to eventually see it in the former elder who remains unrepentant but to whom my hand of reconciliation remains extended along with a team of other elders assigned to pursue reconciliation if/when he is willing. Furthermore, sin in my own life has been exposed through this season and I have also benefited from learning to repent of such things as bitterness, unrighteous anger, control, and pride. As a result, I believe we have a pruned elder team that God intends to bear more fruit than ever. This
team of battle-tested, humble, and repentant men is now both easy to enjoy and entrust.

Emotionally, I told our Board of Directors recently that I felt like I walked Mars Hill down the aisle
and married her off so that she could be best cared for and loved in the next season of her life. I
remain her father who loves and cares for her and is vitally involved in her growth and well-being,
but now trust the elders to take good care of her thanks in part to a structure that enables her to
be loved well. Subsequently, for the first time in my tenure at Mars Hill I am able to work in my
area of gifting with men I trust on a mission I believe in with church members I love and a Jesus I
worship. That harmony is priceless.

That's a sprawling excerpt, to be sure, but several things are worth noting.

First, while Driscoll went so far as to say that he nearly died from overwork, it's worth remembering that it was Mark Driscoll who, by his own account, had wanted to handle all the pulpit preaching as soon as he could manage so that he could learn-by-doing. 

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan
page 69-70
... Lief was running a construction company, and Mike was running a campus ministry at the University of Washington, so I was the only person focusing full-time on the church.  I really wanted to just take the pulpit and figure out how to preach by doing it every week [emphasis added], but I also wanted to respect these older, more seasoned, and very godly men. In time, they sat me down and said that they believed in me, wanted to cover my back, and wanted me to take the pulpit and lead the church.

... To some degree I had been wrongly allowing Mike and Lief to shoulder the burden because I feared failure and hoped to share the blame if things went poorly.

It was Driscoll's idea to handle the pulpit on his own because that's what he wanted.  Gunn and Moi were willing to let that happen. 

As for the comment about how frustrated he was to see leaders he had trained turn on him ...
there's something that can serve as a postscript to a post at this blog about the problem with Driscoll saying he failed to raise up good leaders with him without mentioning that he was the runt of the litter recruiting the time, skill, experience and financial leverage of older men.  That postscript would be this, a statement  Here's a screen cap if you want to see for yourself, and a copy of the relevant text for those who can't pull up images:
In all honesty, I think the biggest waste of time for a church planter is training leaders. Leaders cannot be trained. Leadership is a spiritual [sic] gift. Leaders can be encouraged and helped to grow, but sitting around talking about leadership is like phone sex where the talk is good but the action is missing. [emphasis added] Anyone who has planted knows that most of your original core disappears before the launch for various reasons (they are flaky, they don't get their way, the vision varies from theirs, they move away, they are lazy etc. etc.). Then, another core emerges to launch the church. Then, around six months to one year after the launch, the skill set needed requires a whole new core and with the launch team getting tired you get your third set of leaders. So, leadership development is something done every day rather than up front with the anticipation that those people will actually be there in five years still going strong.

So, the best way to see who is a leader is to lead. Those who keep up with you and drag others behind them are leaders. Most leaders seem to learn better from modelling than teaching and need to be in the mess of the details to get any inspiration.

The sooner you can transition to some larger event the better because most new people want to come through a front door that is large and public and enables them to check things out without getting a full body cavity search. I have yet had a new person enter our church through a Bible study or other cell. They always come to the service and once they trust us then they connect in a smaller community.

Going into someone's home with a small group of people who know each other is about the most terrifying thing a stranger could do. The only people who generally do this are the "What About Bob" types who have bizarre social reasoning, no social framework, and need lots of attention. Or, horny young men sizing up the draft board.

Lastly, you'll be lucky to find strong young alpha male leader types who connect first to a cell. Why? Because a lot of small groups philosophy feels pretty queer to a young guy who's wary of sitting in a group and sharing his feelings. Anyone who's seen Fight Club can relate.

and yet now community groups are kind of a big deal at Mars Hill ... .

So it seems that way back at the dawn of the millennium Driscoll thought the biggest waste of time for a church planter was to train leaders because the turn-around in church-planting activity would render the resource investment wasted time and effort.  It's not just that Driscoll somehow failed to raise up leaders alongside him when he was planting Mars Hill, it's that he had a view of leadership that was so essentialist as to reject explicitly the idea that training leaders in leadership or recruiting leaders was even a worthwhile enterprise.  Clearly in the last thirteen years someone has changed their minds about that.  But this may be yet another way in which the chaos Mark Driscoll described himself as coping with could have been a fairly natural outworking of the consequences of his philosophy of leadership and ministry on the one hand and of the level of responsibility and activity he voluntarily took upon himself as an individual on the other.

Now, as for adding more campuses, it can't be avoided by now that one of the catalysts for developing multi-site from 2006-2007 was because the real estate purchased in 2005 was purchased without having researched or settled the licensing and permit issues associated with what is the 50th street building.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006

page 176
Our current facility cannot accomodate much growth beyond our current four Sunday services. Additionally our kids' ministry is busting at the seams, our Capstone classes are in desperate need of space, and our cramped, windowless office space woudl perfect if we were a third-world sweatshop.

So the elders voted to purchase a 43,000 square-foot dumpy warehouse Jamie [Munson] found one block away from our current building. When the project is completed, we will have two buildings only a block apart, each hosting church services with 1,300 seats in one location and a projected 1,000 seats in the other. We will be able to grow to more than 10,000 people per Sunday through multiple services in multiple locations. Each service will have live worship teams, but I will only be live in some services and on video in others. [emphasis added] Some of our people are mildly unhappy about watching me preach on video instead of live because they feel it isn't very authentic. But in our current worship space, about half of the people sit so far away from the stage that they watch me on a video screen anyway.

The following material was discussed in an older post:

For sake of review:

In his July 30, 2006 sermon in 1 Corinthians Driscoll said several things about the property mentioned in Reformission Rev:
[dead link, of course]
There is the building a block away. We purchased it a year ago. It was heading into foreclosure. We purchased it for under market value. It has increased in value since that time, and this is just some interior and exterior shots of the space, and our plan was to turn that into a large room to see maybe 800 to 1,000 people. And so, what we have instead decided to do, first, we’re going to keep that building – and it’s been great – ‘cause according to King 5 television, they had a report that said that 98105, which is this zip code, is one of the five fastest, increasing valued zip codes in the State of Washington. Since we bought that building, as it was going to foreclosure, we already have gained a million dollars in equity in that building. We have no intention of getting rid of it, but here’s what we do want to do with it. We want to knock half the building down and just turn it into parking to increase our parking capacity. Secondly, the other half of the building – we don’t feel that we have to use right now because of some other things that have come available that we’re gonna tell you about – but we’re gonna keep it. We’ll rent it out with the hopes that a tenant will pay most of our mortgage. We can keep it then, and then if we ever do wanna build on it, we can develop it and do whatever we want with it but we feel it’s important right now to watch and see what happens with this neighborhood, particularly what happens to parking, and then make a determination down the road as to best use.

And the reason that we don’t need to develop it as we had thought is because of some other things have come available. Among those is Shoreline and these are some shots from the Shoreline campus and where we are meeting at Christa Ministries, at Shermer [sic, Schirmer]Auditorium. Four hundred seats, plus a full daycare. It’s amazing kid space. Huge gym for the kids to run around in. Lots of parking. They’re letting us use that on Sunday and now this fall for beginning, for midweek programming for nothing. It’s free. We don’t even pay for janitorial, we don’t even pay for utilities. It is a savings of over $100,000.00 a year. We can be there for two more years. It’s a savings of 200 plus thousand dollars. We love Christa. We’re very, very grateful for their kindness to us. Eventually, we will need to purchase a permanent site for our Shoreline. We’ll need to get them a permanent purchase campus, ‘cause we can only be there for two years. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if somebody let you how the house for two years for free? I mean that’s a very kind gift, so we are actively looking for another place to buy….

Page 72/145 from Mars Hill: A miracle of Jesus
November 9, 2007

Section: Stewardship

Answers submitted by Pastor Jamie Munson
Q: What is the status and future plans for the property M.H. owns just north of the Ballard campus?
We purchased the building on 50th with the intention of performing a massive renocation, and by connecting it with our Leary building, to create a large campus in the middle of the city. Sicne the 50th building dedication, our renovation plans were delayed by our attempt to obtain a change of use permit. During the permitting delay we were gifted a building in West Seattle and undertook renovating and opening that building as our next campus. At the time of these changes we communicated this to the members of the church openly and honestly as we wanted to be faithful to the stewardship and generosity of the body. Also, each quarter a letter is sent to members, along with their donor statement, urging faithful stewardship and giving updates to vision and building strategies. In addition, Pastor Mark wrote a lengthy letter that was sent ot members electronically, and handed out at all campuses explaining the shift ot a multi-campus church before the West Seattle campus opened.  Due to the restrictions and expense of buildilng a single large buildilng in our city our focus has shifted from one large campus to becomine a multi-site church of smaller campuses.  Your elders feel this will enable a more effective and cost-efficient spread of the Gospel throughout Seattle and beyond.  It will still take capital campaigns and the purchasing of facilities but allows us to spread and grow more quickly as Jesus leads.

We are leasing part of the 50th buildling to generate some revenue. We are also performing a minor renovation of portions of the building to alleviate our current office and production space needs.  This will eliminate the need for leasing office space for our use.  In addition the property provides some much needed parking relief for our Ballard campus and also needs such as storage.  An average church of our size functions with about 4 times as much square footage as we do with our Ballard campus.  Storage, meeting rooms, office space and parking are greatly needed and this property serves those with purposes in the mean time. Future development options are being considered as well but there are no firm plans for these.  This is further complicated as the city is considering further zoning changes and restrictions in industrial areas of the city.  Until this legislation is decided it hangs property owners up as the future possibilities of the property are unclear.  We are hanging on to the property and using it to the fullest extent possible in the mean time.

Said property is on the market now.

So for those who were there the necessity of multisite arose out of the abject failure of all of Mars Hill leadership to account for zoning and land use permit issues for the 50th street real estate purchased in 2005.  Multisite was a boon in terms of assimilating real estate that didn't have to get any development in the face of restrictive land use zoning and permit issues.  But it came with some challenges and some potential drawbacks.  Mars Hill, by Mark Driscoll's account in 2007, simply lacked the infrastructural competence to make multisite work all that smoothly, it seems.  In order to get better at managing a multi-site system with rapidly acquired real estate things had to change.

What changed was not the development of a set of by-laws that more explicitly addressed campus by campus governance but a shrinking of the executive elder board and an expansion of its enumerated powers and a loosening of requirements that had to be met with respect to the executive elder group toward the rest of the pastoral roster. 

So for sake of review, by Driscoll's account he was stressed out to the point of adrenal fatigue because he was preaching all the time and yet by his own account he early on wanted to just take the pulpit and learn by doing preaching every Sunday.  There was no particular obligation on the part of Mark Driscoll, except to his own ideas of what he ought to be able to do, to NOT SHARE the pulpit with the team of elders at hand. 

As to the expansion of Mars Hill into multi-site in 2006-2007 that allegedly necessitated revised by-laws, it's useful to note that the selection of the multi-site approach looks as though it was adopted in the wake of Mars Hill discovering that it spent about $1.5 million on a piece of real estate it couldn't do a whole lot with and hadn't researched adequately before discovering all of this after the purchase.

Another way of putting things would be to point out that a great deal of the stress Mars Hill in general and Mark Driscoll in particular have faced has been fairly mundane consequences for pursuing a set path.  The multisite model was, depending on how you look at what Driscoll so eagerly announced in the April 2006 book Reformission Rev, Mars Hill attempting to make lemonade out of the purchase of a real estate lemon.  The real estate's fine if you have a business but for church stuff the purchase was not the most brilliant purchasing move.  Had Driscoll 1) been willing to keep sharing the pulpit 2) been willing to repudiated much earlier than he did the canard that leaders simply can't be trained (and that he invoked statements about how it is better to train the called than to call the train might be a subject someone else can take up) and 3) not presumed upon divine favor to overcome city zoning and land use restrictions on real estate along with the rest of the leaders circa 2005 then a lot of the stresses that Driscoll would go on to say could have killed him could have bee largely avoided all across the board. 

Then again ... hindsight, as the saying goes, is 20/20.  Even this late in the game Mark Driscoll seems unable to grasp or unwilling to concede that the troubles he has so eagerly shared that he has gone through have been troubles that can seem like fairly natural consequences to the paths he has taken and the decisions he has decided to make.  After years of being willing to say things such as this:

You either enjoy confrontation or you enjoy sin. You get to pick one or the other. If people sin and there’s not confrontation, then you better enjoy sin because that’s what’s going to happen.

in the sermon "Fathers and Fighting" in the Nehemiah series, Mark Driscoll has, only lately, introduced the possibility that there's a third way, that there are mistakes that aren't sins.  Whether this might be an allusion to seven published books with citation errors documented by Warren Throckmorton or an allusion to the confusion and concern people have expressed this year about what on earth has been going on with the monies donated to and through Mars Hill Global, Driscoll may no longer believe that you have strictly one of two options, to enjoy confrontation or enjoy sin.  He may no longer believe you get to pick one or the other.

If Driscoll took the trouble of mentioning 2006 and 2007 then it's impossible to not know the big names from that tumultuous period.  It's rather difficult to not read the sprawling sample of Driscoll's 2007 letter quoted above and not see references to Paul Petry and Bent Meyer. That letter was at the front of a document distributed to Mars Hill members.  Thousands of people saw that letter, if not tens of thousands since 2007.  If Mark Driscoll were to follow the counsel (but perhaps not the example) of his former Lead Pastor Jamie Munson he could "own it and move on".  But that would require that he own up to anything at all and given the bureaucratic and procedural insulation that seemed to surround Mark Driscoll in 2007 one can sometimes wonder whether the point of the whole process was to ensure that none of the 2007 firing process or trial process could ever make its way back to Mark Driscoll himself. 

So what, exactly, per Jamie Munson's recent counsel, Mark Driscoll has owned up to at this point is nebulous, if it is anything at all.  That's just addressing the mere possibility that Mark Driscoll has, seven years afterward, conceded that maybe he and the other leaders at Mars Hill didn't handle the transitions in 2007 in as loving a way as they could have.  If Mark Driscoll has gone so far as to say that then the question of why two dozen men voted to have Meyer and Petry removed is back on the table for public discourse.  Of course regular readers of this blog know that topic never went away.

If even Mark Driscoll might dare to concede that things weren't very lovingly handled back then now might be a good time for any men who were in eldership at Mars Hill back then who have since had a change of heart and mind about how they voted in 2007 to consider making some kind of public statement.  A few have done so already, after all.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

end of fiscal year 2014--"we are excited to report that we beat budget for the year!"

Tucked away in something that may have been distributed to attenders and members of Mars Hill could be something short like this:

End of Fiscal Year 2014
Thank you for your faithfulness! Fiscal year 2014 ended on June 30th and we are excited to report that we beat budget for the year! Thank you to each person in our Mars Hill family across our 15 locations and our Global Family across the world. 

No surprise there.  Whatever the trying season has been for MH lately it has probably had more to do with the plagiarism scandal, the scandal about the use of Result Source, the anxiety and discontent that erupted in volatile employment changes when Sutton Turner joined the Mars Hill executive team in 2011, and perhaps the controversy and questions associated with how much Mars Hill executive leadership did or didn't know about the eviction in Orange County before it happened.  Driscoll claimed to not have any idea what the reason for the eviction of Orange County could have been and mentioned retaining legal counsel ... for those who saw the long-since-scrubbed video. 

Legal counsel has not always been in the best interest of Mars Hill from a PR standpoint, though, since it was a Stokes & Lawrence letter that was arguably responsible for the trademark/logo kerfuffle in late 2011 while Mars Hill was nailing down the final details of promoting Real Marriage with help from Result Source. 

What Mars Hill leadership may or may not fully appreciate is that the controversies in this recent trying season in at least one case literally has the signature of an executive elder all over it.  If Mars Hill wants to move forward perhaps they could follow the advice (but not necessarily the example of pastor Jamie Munson "own it and move on".  Or perhaps they could follow the "cut your losses" path.

... or is Jamie Munson actually no longer a pastor at Mars Hill these days compared to the start of June 2014?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mark Driscoll's history of flip-flops on TD Jakes from 2007 to 2014--from word-faith heretic to on-our-team trinitarian to no mention of his name lately

Pastor Mark Driscoll
Jan 31, 2012

1. I appreciate godly friends who don’t want to defeat me publicly but rather help me privately. 

Two, I believed it was an important event and rather than talking about Christian leaders, the opportunity to talk with them is important as it models humble but forthright disagreement. In the acrimonious age of the Internet this kind of modeling is important. I know I too have been guilty of talking about people rather than to them, so I do not exclude myself from the need to learn and mature in this area. 


Some years ago when I was leading our megachurch with no formal theological training and having never been a formal member of any church let alone a pastor in any church, I was in a scrum with the emergent church and was completely full of myself. Dr. Gerry Breshears, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, put an arm around me, built a degree program for me, loved me, served me, and helped me grow theologically. 

 How specifically tailored to Mark Driscoll was that program that Breshears built for Mark Driscoll? Because there's no illusion by now that the signal event at Elephant Room 2 was Mark Driscoll shaking hands with T. D. Jakes as though he were a traditional Trinitarian, is there?  There's also little doubt that Driscoll had made a point of saying that nobody should presume anything about Jakes until a person could get on a plane for Jesus.

Oh, but guess what?  This is a dead link now.

Well, conveniently enough Wenatchee The Hatchet discussed Driscoll's discussion of some of this stuff at the time.

From PastorMarkTV
...Admittedly, sometimes when speaking, a teacher presents a belief in a way that is inaccurate and unclear. So called “discernment” bloggers who are usually not connected to any noteworthy or respected evangelical Christian theologians, schools, denominations, ministries, churches, or pastors make their living taking what people said wrongly, transcribing it, and then falsely—or at least wrongly—accusing them of heresy when it is untrue.

The ear is more forgiving than the eye, and when we say something wrong, people tend to give the benefit of the doubt. But, when what is said is then written down, there is far more scrutiny as a statement is parsed like a Bible verse, which is unfair. ...

In closing, I want to thank Pastor MacDonald for putting together what could be an amazingly insightful event around the Trinity and many other issues that the Church needs to consider. I thank God that I have an opportunity to be involved and ask some questions. I want to encourage folks to wait until the event before making any final judgments about anyone or anything. And, I want to encourage all the men who are signed up to show up. We worship a Jesus who died for what he believed. The least we can do in his name is get on a plane for what we believe.

And it looks like this video content of Driscoll ripping on The Shack from his 2007 sermon series has been taken down, too. 
But there's this, for people who might want to see for themselves Mark Driscoll ripping on The Shack as though its primary goal was discussing the Trinity rather than abuse.  As noted at Wenatchee The Hatchet earlier, if Driscoll had been assessing The Shack as a literary work rather than a catechism he could have pointed out some of the problems in how the doctrine of the Trinity was depicted without treating the book as though it was "about" the Trinity.

In fact all references to The Shack by William Young have been obliterated from even the downloadable transcript.

For a sampling of how at least one member of The Gospel Coalition took all of Driscoll's statements and actions toward Jakes as a sign of a bad trend, here's something to read.

The second lesson Driscoll mentioned from his time at Elephant Room 2 is interesting.

2. I don’t want to just make a point—I want to make a difference by God’s grace. 

At an event hosted by Perry Noble, Andy Stanley gave one of the most helpful and practical leadership talks I’ve ever heard. He said as a leader we have to decide if we mainly want to make a point or to make a difference. 
If we want to make a point, we don’t need to pursue, know, or love someone. We can simply sit back, create a caricature of them, and shoot them. If we want to make a difference, we have to pursue them, get to know them, understand them, love them, and serve them. 
Making a point is easy. Making a point will get you a rabid online fan base who love it when there’s someone else’s blood in the water. Making a difference is hard. Making a difference will get you attacked by a rabid online fan base who love it when your blood is in the water.

7. Winning people is better than winning arguments. 

It appears that in January 2012 in an interview with Justin Brierley that Mark Driscoll was really living out by example the precept he was articulating in the wake of Elephant Room 2, at least as transcribed (it seems) over at cognitive discopants.
Brierley: Well, men. I mean, men come in different shapes and sizes. I mean, yah, both really. Men who are very masculine, men who are, I guess, on a spectrum, more effeminate. But I couldn’t say that there’s been a sort of dearth of men in the church since she’s arrived. I mean, Mark, I don’t want to get into a sort of argument.
Driscoll: No, no, you don’t want to sit in my seat, I understand. So does your wife do counseling with men? Sexual counseling? Does she talk about masturbation, pornography, the stuff that I do?
Brierley: Well no, she doesn’t.
Driscoll: Well, who does talk to the men about those things, especially the young men?
Brierley: Well there are other people that she can pass them on to. We have male elders in our church who, you know, would be able to tackle those kinds of questions. I mean, but would you speak with those kinds of issues to a female in your church?
Driscoll: Uh no. If they’re a married couple we might meet with them as a couple. But if it’s a woman, we would have women leaders meet with them.
Brierley: Sure, well it’s the same scenario in our church really.
Driscoll: Well except for who’s in charge.
Ah, yes, that's making a difference rather than a point, isn't it?  That's winning the person rather than the argument, right?

Then there's this little gem of weirdness.
6. Fear of man is deadly. 
Proverbs 29:25 says that fear of man is a trap or a snare, depending upon your translation. Fear of man causes us to live for the approval of our tribe and to fear criticism or ostracism from our tribe. Fear of man is a form of idolatry—living to please someone other than Jesus Christ. One day I will die and give an account and it won't be to a mirror or a blogger. 
We will all die and give an account, but it won’t be to a blogger or a mirror. Right now I’m working on my next book based on Ephesians, with the big idea of what it means to have our identity rooted “in Christ.” In God’s providence, this season of criticism has been met with a rich and rewarding extended time in God’s Word helping me to do what wise counsel and I believe is right in light of the gospel, regardless of the outcome. I’m more a prophet than a politician. 
Now aside the fact that the link in the quoted content above is dead, the idea that somehow a "prophet" is in any way a contrast to a politician in any sense, whether in biblical literature or even from the standpoint of any judicial/advisory role in the context of the history of biblical literature or even old pagan literature, is completely impossible to sustain.  If you want a fascinating and free monograph on Divination, Politics and Ancient Near Eastern Empires (HT biblioblogger Jim West) read on.  Chapter 5's proposal that Ezekiel's oracle about Gog and Magog subversively redeploys the literary genre of embodied chaos defeated by Marduk to subversively recast Gog as Marduk defeated by YHWH is intriguing, as is the proposal that ancient Hebrew biblical prophecy includes a strikingly high proportion of criticism of kingship and people that is atypical of prophetic oracles and divinatory literature.  If Mark Driscoll really wanted to lean hard on what makes biblical prophecy unique it would be to grant that harsh and even brutal intra-critical writings within the Judeo-Christian faith tradition are the rule rather than the exception and that the canonization process paradoxically made this tradition public and canonical rather than "private", which would all completely fly in the face of his first "lesson" from Elephant Room 2, wouldn't it?
To briefly deploy the kind of argumentation and rhetoric Driscoll might deploy for a statement like this if it had come from someone elsse, the only sorts of people who would set up a contrast been a prophet and a politician on the basis of biblical texts, history and associated archaeology would be a completely ignorant fool or someone who's willing to lie to you.  You can't even begin to discuss the books of Isaiah or Jeremiah without discussing ancient near eastern military campaigns and politics.  And since the Mars Hill taxonomy of prophets, priests and kings has practically referred to ideas and ideology about church governance it's not a huge surprise the link in which Driscoll opined he was "more prophet than a politician" isn't even up any more.  The fact remains that it was ever up to begin with.
Now some of you readers may be wondering why Wenatchee The Hatchet mentioned the date 2007.  That's a fair question.  The answer is that back in that session that is probably only known because it was the one where Mark Driscoll said "there's a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus ... ."
That was just in the Q&A section of a nearly three-hour session.  Wenatchee The Hatchet has been given the full audio and in addition to the semi-notorious quips about the Mars Hill bus and the woodchipper it turns out Driscoll mentioned none other than T. D. Jakes. If Chris Rosebrough had access to the audio of the Mars Hill bus quip he may likely have this little bit of Driscollian commentary on T. D. Jakes and word faith from the same session.  If not, well, may he have it soon.

Driscoll addresses a question from Tim Smith in an invitation only session from October 1, 2007
on word-faith teachers.

Yeah, those flipping wingnuts, that are word-faith, those are the guys that are on TV. They say that we are essentially little gods and as God spoke reality into existence we, too, with the power of our words, can speak reality into existence. I, I actually pulled up a quote from a T. D. Jakes sermon (I'm putting clips together for Philippians just to, I figure, I might as well criticize everyone) but there's this quote from T. D. Jakes saying (misquoting Proverbs) that the power of life and death is in the tongue and that you can create life by your words. That's a, that's a, that's a false god is what I become. I become God and I can, see, you and I, we don't do, we don't create God's word and we don't invent God's word we simply echo God's word. That's what a good preacher does. He echoes God's word. He says what God says in scripture. And then those guys give themselves permission for creating extra-biblical revelation that's authoritative like scripture--God told me this, God told me that, I got this vision, I got this, you know? All of that is false prophet.  It's all heretekos.
How and why all the content from the 2008 Spiritual Warfare series didn't somehow qualify as extra-biblical revelation is probably not something anyone connected to Mars Hill really wants to field right now seeing as they purged all that content in the last few months, but the main point of this blog post is to show that from 2007 through 2012 and beyond Mark Driscoll has flip-flopped on Jakes on a few things.  Or maybe he hasn't, maybe he's always considered T. D. Jakes to be a word-faith heretic since 2007 and has never waivered in that but decided that Jakes was a Trinitarian rather than a modalist based on some questions asked at Elephant Room 2.  One wonders where you could even find any of that audio or video content this days.

And, after all, the Phillipians series has been pulled.  It's as though after the public dog and pony show of Elephant Room 2 Driscoll and company would just as soon nobody remembered any of that happened. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

on David and Joab in the book of Samuel, planning the death of Uriah the Hittite--a potential application to watchblogging

Thanks to biblioblogger Jim West, Wenatchee The Hatchet has spotted Jacob Wright's book David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory.  Something interesting about Wright's discussion of the Bathsheba affair is to point out how much the narrative sets up a condemnation of David before the "official" sin has even begun.  In the times when kings go off to war, as the text is generally rendered, tips us off as readers that what is about to happen is going to happen because David has dispatched his armies to go fight a battle while he kicks back at the palace at home.  We know about the official scandal but it can be easily forgotten that David and Joab have an exchange or two about how Uriah is to be sent off to his death. 

What Jacob Wright points out is that however literary all this account is it conveys something about the insider correspondence that was involved in David's plan to make sure Uriah died rather than be found out in his sin.  What analogy might we be able to come up with for this sort of thing?  It's like the Bible lets us read the confidential email correspondence between two Judean warlords who are planning on killing off one of their best and most loyal non-Judean proselyte soldiers, if you will.  An evangelical might note here that it's as though God the Holy Spirit inspired people to write down the private and top-secret correspondence of the leaders who arranged for the death of a righteous man. 

That "might" have some potential applications to what some would call watchblogging.  If the folks over at Mars Hill are as Calvinist as they have said in the past then it's "possible" that piles of correspondence dispatched by leaders via The City could have ended up being read by outsiders and this might not merely be because some people shared stuff that Mars Hill top brass hadn't realized they might have wanted to say was top secret, but because, if Mars Hill is really being managed by Calvinists who believe in divine sovereignty and so forth, God foreordained a ream or two of content from The City to be leaked to outsiders for some reason we cannot necessarily immediately discern. 

But there is, strictly speaking, no need to invoke divine providence for any of this stuff. Mars Hill was so utterly committed to distributing its brand and name through broadcast and social media since its foundation that it was only gong to be a matter of time before the media saturation Driscoll and Mars Hill had was going to include content they have since decided they wish no one to currently or presently see.  It's too late for all that.  The reason it is interesting to mention how the Bible includes narratives that feature top secret discussions disclosed to the reader is because Mars Hill generally and Mark Driscoll in particular, has so often of late found ways to transform the Bible into a de facto narrative about his own life and times.  Not that Wenatchee The Hatchet is particularly interested in that sort of self-aggrandizing eisegesis but if Wenatchee The Hatchet wished to, it would not be hugely difficult to suggest that the pile of content leaked from The City to Wenatchee The Hatchet in the last two years could have some divine providence behind it and that there would even be a "biblical" precedent for it in the sense that we've been made privy to the exchanges between David and Joab about how to ensure Uriah the Hittite's death thanks to the scriptures. 

No doubt Mars Hill will find even the possibility of such a thing rather unpleasant.  If Mark Driscoll has been permitted by his executive elder team to transform Acts 6 into the basis for sermons about mistakes are not necessarily sins and that there are alpha wolves then why couldn't Wenatchee The Hatchet consider that in light of the narrative about David arranging for the death of Uriah the Hittite that God could not providentially once again permit insider correspondence and statements to get leaked to the outside world to show that maybe some leaders among some people of faith need to publicly deal with some things they have tried to keep "private" on a social media system that has no less than 22,000 people participating on it. 

By the way, Wright's book is fascinating and will likely become the basis for some more blogging down the road.

Becky Garrison publishes a couple of blog posts addressing Mars Hill

Throckmorton continues to look at Mars Hill Global, was it a fund or a donor type and how does one find out?

A bit of the survey so far. 

The reason it may matter whether Mars Hill Global was a fund or a donor category or both or any combination of the above depends on clearly defining whether donations were 1) solicited or unsolicited donations and 2) whether the fund designated gifts were placed in was a restricted or unrestricted fund.  Solicited gifts come under more stringent accounting requirements than unsolicited ones.  If Mars Hill were to attempt to propose that there was a misunderstanding or that solicitation was in some sense "passive" by saying that all that footage of Ehtiopian kids didn't necessarily imply that money wasn't going to get used for local and United States expansion projects that might well not fly.  For a little overview of solicited vs unsolicited gifts involving restricted designations and unrestricted designations for 501(c)3s ...

This was something WtH had some experience with so it will be .... interesting to see how soon MH decides it is better to present an itemized break-down of all the general ledger codes and revenue/cost amounts associated with all versions and conceptions of Mars Hill Global for public examination than to give vague and not quite apologetic answers about money that by now has probably already been spent.  At this point that would be the fastest, though perhaps not the most pleasant, way to clear the air about any and all misunderstandings.  Just tell everybody exactly where all the money went and things should be fine, right?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

sex as god, gross or gift? Mark Driscoll self-identified as leaning "god" early on, a survey of Driscoll on marriage and sex or a lack thereof from 2004-2012


There are a few things that never got particularly thorough discussion about Real Marriage when it was first published.  The most significant thing that wasn't discussed in 2012 that should have been was the amount of plagiarized material that showed up in the book.  But Driscoll as a lightning rod tended to dominate discussion.  What didn't get discussed at all were some basic questions about narrative in the book.  The book was billed as a self-help/marriage advice manual and so the fact that the framing sales pitch for the entire book was a narrative of Mark and Grace Driscoll's marriage and their history as the founding couple of Mars Hill went undiscussed.  That they were not the only founding couple to establish Mars Hill has been taken up in other posts.

But amid all the fracas about the Driscoll book over citation problems or the Result Source controversy some other things have not come up for discussion, such as a basic question about narrative.  Mark Driscoll mentioned that he tended to view sex as a god but didn't describe how or why this was.  In fact the story of the Driscoll marriage seemed to be that the cure for Mark Driscoll's depression was more frequent sex.  Grace Driscoll described a tendency to view sex as gross and yet Mark Driscoll's account within the opening pages of Real Marriage raise some question about whether husband and wife were ever on the same page.  Why?

Real Marriage
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
Thomas Nelson
ISBN 978-1-4002-0383-3
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0 (IE)
page 9-10
To be honest, fornicating was fun. I liked fornicating. To stop fornicating was not fun. But eventually Grace and I stopped fornicating, got engaged, and were married between our junior and senior years of college.

I assumed that once we were married we would simply pick up where we left off sexually and make up for last time. After all, we were committed Christians with a relationship done God's way.
But God's way was a total bummer. My previously free and fun girlfriend was suddenly my frigid and fearful wife. She did not undress in front of me, required teh lights to be off on the rare occasions we were intimated, checked out during sex, and experience da lot of physical discomfort because she was tense. [emphasis added]

Keep that emphasized material in mind as we go.

Before long I was bitter against God and Grace. It seemed to me as if they had conspired to trap me. I had always been the "good guy" who turned down women for sex. In my twisted logic, I had been holy enough, and god owed me. I felt God had conned me by telling me to marry Grace, and allowed Grace to rule over me since she was controlling our sex life. [emphasis added] I loved Grace, but in the bedroom I did not enjoy her and wondered how many years I couild white-knuckle fidelity. ... We desperately needed help but didn't know where to turn. Bitterness and condemnation worsened.

page 14
I grew more chauvinistic. I had never cheated on a girlfriend, but I never had a girlfriend who did not cheat on me. And now I knew that included my own wife. So I started to distrust women in general, including Grace. This affected my tone in preaching for a season, something I will always regret.

There's an entire post to be written about just that quote.  It's striking that Mark Driscoll expresses regret about his tone but no regret at all about the substance of what he said over the years.  Now, on to the pertinent quote about sex as gross and sex as god.


page 121
... When we married, I (Mark) tended toward sex as god. I was a newer Christian who had accumulated most of his knowledge about sex from culture, locker-room talk, and sinning sexually with a few young women. Conversely, Grace was raised in a home that was religiously conservative when it came to sex, had sinned sexually, and had been sinned against sexually. She considered sex gross. For her I was too much sexually. For me she was too little sexually. We made very little progress for many years until we had spent considerable time talking through our sexual history and beliefs, working together through many hours in the Bible and Christian books to arrive at a unified view of sex as gift.  Once we came to the same place in our thinking about sex, we began to work as allies instead of enemies. Our marriage has never been the same since, and our sex gets better all the time.

When we got married, I (Grace) didn't understand the physical and emotional aspects of sex for men. It seemed with his high sex drive that was all Mark wanted from me and that he didn't appreciate anything else I did. His drive seemed to get stronger the less we had sex, and I wondered if it was an idol to him or if that was normal for me. I later realized it was partially a real physical need, not an obsession, since he wasn't masturbating  or getting relief some other way, which I am thank for. I read somewhere that if you have sex more, it actually decreases the necessity for frequent sex over time for most men. I tried that but it didn't seem to change anything for Mark.

Grace refers to sex as almost a physical need.  What never gets discussed is whether males have almost a physical need for sex regardless of whether or not they are married.  Mark Driscoll has only intermittently addressed the connection between male sexuality as an identity and the sex drive in particular but that is the subject for some other post.  What we can establish from the cumulative Driscollian narrative is that Mark Driscoll believed that he needed to have more sex, convinced his wife of this reality, and it was made so.

While Grace Driscoll describes how she tended to view sex as gross Mark Driscoll's account about a hundred pages earlier remarks on how unpleasant a surprise he had when his previously fun and carefree girlfriend turned out to be his frigid and fearful wife.  What happened?  They decided to stop fornicating and wait to resume sex until marriage.  It's certainly possible Grace tended to view sex as gross and who can know the thoughts of a mind but the mind itself, as Paul the apostle so famously noted?  Still, by Mark Driscoll's own account he seemed pretty satisfied with the nature and frequency of sex he was having with Grace before they decided to take their respective Christian faiths seriously.  There's a paradoxical sense in which a heathen would suggest the problem was just that, that the Driscolls took their respective Christian faiths seriously, stopped having the kind of sex they'd been having, and then found they couldn't get back to the old normal once they were married.  The solution outlined by the Driscolls later on looks lie something a completely secular counselor would have advised, communication.  At least the communication part.  Can't see a reason to address the rest.

page 164

As with many things in marriage, communication is key. When I cam to the conclusion that the cure for a lot of my moodiness was having more frequent sex with my wife, I simply told her. Yes, it's that simple. For years, when I would endure depression, I tried to talk to Grace about it. Her natural inclination was to want to have long talks about our feelings toward each other, and I know that connecting with her like this is important. But sometimes I was jsut too frustrated and ended up blowing up and hurting her feelings. The truth was I wanted to have more frequent sex with my life, and we needed to discuss how that could happen. 
To make matters worse, seemingly every book I read by Christians on sex and marriage sounded unfair. Nearly every one said the husband had to work very hard to understand his wife, to relate to her, and when he did that to her satisfaction then, maybe, she would have sex with him as a sort of reward. After many years I finally told Grace that I needed more sex. I asked if we could have sex more days of the week and try a variety of positions. She'd be the one to decide exactly how we would be together> Grace said that helped her think about our intimacy throughout the course of the day, which helped prepare her mind and body. To our mutual delight, we discovered that both of us felt closer more loved and understood, and were more patient with each other if we were together regularly in some way. And whether my depression was testosterone-induced or not, I just generally felt happier.

For a wife, sex comes out of a healthy relationship, whereas, for a husband, it leads to one. 

That last sentence is a zinger for anyone who has read some Puritans.  It would be difficult to overstate the contrast here between the Driscolls on sex in marriage and Richard Baxter's statement that an impotent man and a frigid woman can nonetheless enjoy the fellowship and benefits of marriage as there are other positive things to be enjoyed therein regardless of whether physical infirmities may prevent the husband and wife from having any sex at all.  But this is not a post to rehash the matter of the Driscolls vs the Puritans.


As noted elsewhere in this blog neither Mark nor Grace Driscoll saw fit to mention in their 2012 book that Grace endured no less than five C-sections and a miscarriage and that this just "might" have negatively impacted her willingness and capacity to have sex as often as Mark Driscoll may have wanted it.  This matter is made all the stranger by the reality that none other than Mark Driscoll himself saw fit to inform the entire world of these details of Grace Driscoll's medical history in the 2008 book Death By Love.

Copyright (c) 2008 by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Published by Crossway Books
PDF ISBN: 978-1-4335-0423-5
ISBN-10: 1433501295
ISBN-13: 9781433501296

page 164
My wife, Grace, and I love Gideon and thank God for him often. My wife is petite, and I have a big head, which resulted in C-sections with the birth of each of our children. Having endured one miscarriage and four C-sections, Grace was ready to be done with pregnancies. But I was not yet ready to do anything to prevent God from giving us a child. So, we left it in God's hands and we were given Gideon, whom I affectionately refer to as Guppy, for being the youngest, and as Flip Flop, because at a very young age he decided he only wanted to wear flip-flops on the wrong feet for the rest of his life.  To her credit, Grace often gives me a hug and thanks me for not stopping at four children, because Gideon has been an absolute blessing and a joy to our family.

page 166
... For example, before I met Jesus I was guilty of sexual sin. I was sexually active prior to marriage and also occasionally looked at pornography. But because Jesus died for those sins and saved me from them, I have been able to put those sins to death. As a result, you were brought into a family where your mom and I truly love one another and have been faithful to one another in every way.  We know that apart from Jesus , dying for our sin, sin would have killed our marriage. You would have been either raised by a single mother or trapped in a home of sin and bitterness, marked by unrest and hostility between your mother and me, if it were not for Jesus' death on the cross.

page 176
After four children, we thought we were done having babies because your mom suffered through painful C-sections with each birth, and we feared for her health. Yet, as I prayed, I believed that someone was missing from our family. Your mom prayed a lot and trusted me to lead our family. Out of our love you were conceived, and we were both thrilled because we believed that God has chosen you to be a blessing to our family and to the world in some way.  Throughout the pregnancy, your mother and I, and your siblings prayed daily for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

But with respect to the statements from page 166 ... it kind of seemed as though the first chapter of Real Marriage established that there was sin and bitterness marked by at least some unrest and hostility between husband and wife, didn't it? 


Now there is something worth noting in addition to all the above, that when Mark Driscoll referred to how he felt Grace was controlling their sex life and that he felt there wasn't enough sex in the marriage that based on a February 2008 lecture given to Mars Hill leadership Mark Driscoll considered this the first category in what he called the "ordinary demonic".
Spiritual Warfare part 2, The Devil
February 5, 2008

Ordinary demonic, about 10 minutes in

Sexual sin, a married couple should have sex frequently otherwise 1 Cor 7 says Satan will get in there and destroy everything.

"How many of you would think that a couple that doesn't have enough sex is experiencing demonic spiritual warfare? It's true. How many Christian marriages divorce?  Well, statistically, more than those who are not Christian. When non-Christians can work it out a rate that is more successful than Christians that would indicate to me that Satan has really found a way to climb into bed between a husband and a wife and, in one way or another, cause devastation.

When I'm meeting with a couple and one of them, maybe it's the husband, says, "Well, my wife's not being very nice to me so I'm gonna deny her sex and until she's nice to me I'm gonna withhold it."  That's demonic. The wife who says, "You know, I'm just never in the mood and, you know, I know you love me and we have a decent marriage and there's no reason I shouldn't have sex with you, but, I'm just not in the mood or, you know, I don't feel like giving it to you until you give something to me and it becomes a bartering chip in the relationship." That's demonic. That's demonic.

To be sure, there are sex addicts in marriage who are unreasonable in their expectations of their spouse but what I'm talking about is the common situation where one person in the marriage wants to be intimate more often than the other and they're rejected, they become bitter,  Satan comes in and feeds that bitterness, baits the hook of their flesh with the temptation of the world, and all of a sudden Satan puts in front of them images and people and opportunities to lead them astray and to destroy everything.

It doesn't make anyone a victim. It doesn't make anyone a victim because we all of our own choosing choose sin but it does mean you're giving Satan an opportunity to literally sleep between you and your spouse.

So it seems pretty clear Mark Driscoll viewed denying a spouse sex was Satanic as a general rule.  The case Mark Driscoll made to his wife for the necessity of him getting more sex was that it remedied his moodiness and depression in the 2012 book but in 2008 the instruction to leaders within Mars Hill Church (the 2008 Spiritual Warfare series was a lecture given to Mars Hill staff that was not shared from the pulpit on any regular Sunday service) the leadership culture of Mars Hill was told in pretty blunt terms that denying sex within marriage was simply Satanic.  A week after Wenatchee The Hatchet quoted from the 2008 Spiritual Warfare material Mars Hill decided to withdraw all of the audio.


And for all that, if the question one asks is how Mark Driscoll may have viewed sex as a god there may be hints from the pulpit preaching itself which has since been removed by Mars Hill.  But Wenatchee the Hatchet has a bunch of that stuff still at hand.

Part 8: 1 Timothy 4:1-8
February 22, 2004

You guys should aspire to get married.  You guys should aspire to get--you gotta get a job first. You gotta get a job, not a job where you wear a uniform and ask people fi they wanna supersize something. You gotta get a job.  You gotta get a job so you can get a wife so you can get kids.  And it's a great, glorious thing to be a husband and a father, and only a demon would tell you otherwise.  Only a demon would tell you otherwise. [emphasis added]

And if you're a guy in this church, c'mon. I mean look around.  It's like fishing in a trout pond. I mean, any woman that is in this church and endures me as her Bible teacher is obviously patient, kind, forgiving and loyal, right? She's just--she's got all this stuff to be a wife. She does.
There are universal sins, which are a sin for everyone: murder, rape, theft, lying.  For everyone, everywhere, all the time, all circumstances, those are universal sins.

Then there are also particular sins, which maybe your conscience won't permit you to involve yourself in but are not universal sins, so you have to obey your conscience. Maybe your conscience doesn't allow you to eat meat. Maybe your conscience doesn't allow you to participate incertain forms of diet.  Maybe it doesn't. And you know what? A good teacher will tell you to obey the universal principles and to obey your conscience in all of the particulars.

A false teacher will take their beliefs on all of the particular sins, and they will force them on everyone. We need to be very, very careful that we say what the Bible says, and where it's silent, so are we.  And if someone should ask, we can be free to say, "My convictions and my conscience is this way, and I conduct myself this way for these reasons. ...

We're all weak and strong in different areas, and we gotta abide by conscience. If the Bible doesn't prohibit something, we can't enforce prohibtion on one another, but bad Bible teachers don't know that. They make rules and legalisms and moralities; and they enforce their conscience on everyone. And in so doing, they're acting in a demonic way because they're going against the freedom that the Scriptures give.

We might get back to how that was all hypocritical in light of the courtship fad inside Mars Hill going on at that very moment some time later.

Still, for a reader who was never in Mars Hill at that time, that might all still look innocuous enough.  How about this?

Part 8 of 1 Timothy
Pastor Mark Driscoll
1 Timothy 4:1-8
February 22, 2004

So as a young boy growing up, I aspired to be like my father. I’m thinking, “You know what? I can’t wait to get married, have kids, be a dad, coach Little League.” This is like my vision and goal. I go to church. Catholic priest is effeminate. No wife, no kids, no Little League, can’t catch, can’t throw, can’t change his own oil, nothing. And I’m looking at him and I’m looking at my dad, saying these two guys are totally different, and I wanna be like my dad. So I didn’t go to church anymore. I just checked out till I got saved at 19, just checked out. Didn’t want anything to do with it. I was thinking, “You know what? I don’t wanna be like this guy. I don’t wanna be single.” Like virginity is a season, not a goal. [emphasis added] Sorry. I wanna have kids. Just thinking about that sort of just – it just hit me like how ridiculous that is. I wanna have kids. I wanna be a dad, and I wanna love my wife, and I wanna coach Little League. And like yesterday, I’m outside and my kids are riding their bikes.

"Only a demon would tell you otherwise?" eh?  Was Mark Driscoll positive about that because it kind of looks like Paul could be seen as saying that marriage, however valuable and positive, is not strictly necessary. 

Curiously, over in 1 Corinthians 7 (NIV)

25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong[b] and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.[c]

Was Mark Driscoll going to suggest that Paul was demonic?  No, the explanation was Paul was referring to a time of persecution or famine and that the normative pattern was that unless God called you to do something like smuggle Bibles into China you needed to be married.  Never mind the eschatological component that's not even latent in Paul's instructions. It wouldn't have been the first or last time Mark Driscoll made a sweeping pronouncement on who should get married and why without necessarily bothering with the whole counsel of Scripture, as the old saying goes.


But perhaps the 2004 quip about virginity being a season and not a goal was due to whatever had not yet happened in 2006 in Mark's conversations with Grace.  Very well, then. Let's consider a curiosity from 2008's Peasant Princess.  Behold!

MH-17? Seriously?
God gives young men such strong sex drives because that drive to have sex is what they're supposed to harness into becoming adults?  This sounds like what some folks in Seattle might call a heteronormative biological determinism!  That in 2008 Mark Driscoll would hinge so much of the impulse for a boy to become a man because he wanted to have sexual intercourse with a woman opens up an interesting conundrum to the sex-as-incentive-to-grow-up ... what if a person wants to have sex with someone of the same gender?  If that were to somehow turn out to be the case then the entire matrix of honorably pursuing a formalized heterosexual marriage as the simultaneous means and end of growing up evaporates.  It's astonishing that for all the work Mars Hill Church did to scrub away material from Peasant Princess this stuff is still sitting around in plain sight ... for now.  Let's give them a few days to decide to delete this stuff, too. The screen capture is still here at Wenatchee The Hatchet.


Now it's not just in 2008 that Mark Driscoll made a point of explicitly linking functional adulthood with an active sexual relationship.  He flipped things around in 2012 during the Esther series in his jocular definition of what a eunuch was.
Jesus Has a Better Kingdom
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Esther 1:10–22
September 21, 2012
about 8:39 into the sermon.

Number two, men are castrated. Men are castrated. I’ll read it for you. “He commanded—” and these guys got names. “Mehuman—” That’s kind of a rapper name, I was thinking, like, ancient Persian hip-hop artist, Mehuman. That’s how it’s spelled. “Biztha.” Sounds like a sidekick. “Harbona, Bigtha.” That’s my personal favorite. If I had to pick a Persian name, Bigtha. Definitely not Littletha. I would totally go with Bigtha. “Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas.”

Okay, a couple things here. The Bible talks about real people, real circumstances, real history. That’s why they’re facts. It’s not just philosophy. Number two, if you ever have an opportunity to teach the Bible and you hit some of the parts with the old, crazy names, read fast and confident. No one knows how to pronounce them, and they’ll just assume you do.

Here are these guys. So, you’ve got seven guys, “the seven eunuchs.” What’s a eunuch? A guy who used to have a good life, and joy, and hope. That’s the technical definition of a eunuch. A eunuch is a man who is castrated. [emphasis added] Proceeding with the story before I have to fire myself.

So that meant in Mark Driscoll's joke a man who had been castrated was a guy who used to have a good life, and joy, and hope.  Why?  Because of the possibility of one day having sex?  There's a point at which the kinds of jokes a person makes suggest what the person feels is safe to joke about.

If Mark Driscoll would have the world believe that at some undefined point in the past he tended to view sex as a god an explanation of how that was is not necessarily lacking.  We haven't even touched the Scotland sermon with its "Jesus commands you to do this" comment about wives and oral sex. There's no need to, really.  Alternately claiming in 2008 that God gives young men a huge drive to have sex because that's what will help them ... grow up?  That might be a sign of putting too much stock in sexuality as a basis for defining functional adulthood.  And the joke that a eunuch was a guy who used to have a good life, and joy, and hope?  There's a chapter in Isaiah devoted to sharing with eunuchs that might not be in the Bible that Mark Driscoll reads. 

Even if we assume for the sake of discussion that at some point Mark Driscoll made a god of sex in the past there's no clear reason to assume that has stopped being the case, particularly not when Mark Driscoll worked in the idea that denying sex in marriage is Satanic in a 2008 spiritual warfare teaching; when Driscoll seriously claimed in 2008 that God gives young men a high sex drive to spur them to grow up; when Driscoll joked in 2012 that eunuchs were guys who HAD hope and a future before being castrated; and when in his 2012 book Driscoll declared that the cure for his moodiness and depression was more frequent sex.  Where in that decade-spanning sequence of material is there any sign that Mark Driscoll stopped making a god of sex if he assured us he tended to view sex as a god to begin with? 

What is most striking about all of this content is that to date Mark Driscoll has been willing to sort of say he's sorry about his tone but has never once apologized for the substance of things he has said.  That's not a small thing.  It's all the difference in the world in relational terms to say "I'm sorry you were offended by what I said" on the one hand and, "I am sorry for what I said, it was wrong, and I ask that you forgive me."  In older Mars Hill terms one would be described as a sign of real repentance and the other as an evasive concession that maybe something happened amiss but nobody's going to confess to the true scope of the problem.

POSTSCRIPT 7-23-2014
If withholding sex within marriage is satanic and a category of the "ordinary demonic" then who knows whether one of the most satanic things a group of women could propose to do would be a sex strike? Like the one proposed earlier this year by Ukrainian women to protest recent events, for instance.