It's not customary for Wenatchee The Hatchet to blog at any length about Sovereign Grace Ministries and this will be no exception. As readers are likely to know, a lawsuit has been pending against SGM for reasons that won't take long to go look up at a variety of places.
Since it has been noted in a few places that Mark Driscoll is a friend of C. J. Mahaney it can't hurt to note references made to the friendship in years past.
For instance on November 9, 2007
In the past year or so I've been encouraged to see a friendship develop between Mark and C.J. Mahaney. I've benefited so much from C.J.'s investment in me; I knew only good things could come from their interaction with each other. So this past week when I heard that Mark had preached on humility during his series in Philippians and referenced C.J.'s influence, I wanted to hear it for myself. I wasn't surprised by the kind words Mark had for C.J. but what caught me off guard was the very humble and specific confession that Mark made to his church.
Harris alludes to the following partial transcript from "The Rebel's Guide to Joy in Humility" in which Driscoll refers to Mahaney intervening in some fashion.
For the sermon on humility, here's stuff to follow.
A new feature is to have various tabs within web pages no longer functional as separate links. It's an innovation in the Mars Hill sites that has come up in the last few months. So since not all the above excerpts linked to are necessarily as comprehensive as a fuller quote, here's the relevant excerpt from the sermon in which Driscoll mentions C. J. Mahaney.
... And I am primary teaching pastor of this church, and I can’t simply look at the pride in some of our people and say that I am in no way responsible or complaisant. So I’m a guy who’s pretty busted up over this personally, and it really came to my attention last December, just in time for Christmas. The critics really brought me a lot of kind gifts of opposition and hatred and animosity. Merry Christmas. And some of those most vocal and nasty critics were Christian – some of them prominent Christians – and so I was getting ready to fire back my usual tactics. They hit you. You hit them twice and then blog about your victory, which I don’t have any verses for. I’m not saying it was a good idea, but it had been a pattern in my life until a man names C.J. Mahaney called. He wrote a book called “Humility”. Much of my sermon today will be simply taken from his book. I would commend it to you all for reading. It’s a good, simple book. He’s a very humble, gracious and good man. Not humble. He’s a man pursuing humility. That’s what he would say. I need to get that right; otherwise he’ll call me this week.
C.J. is a guy who pastored Covenant Life Church and handed it over. Runs the Sovereign Grace network. He called me up during these periods of criticism in December and said, “Mark, I know we don’t know one another. We have many mutual friends. How do you respond to these critics? What is your plan?” I said, “I don’t have a plan.” And he said, “Might I suggest that this is an opportunity for you to practice humility, grow in humility, learn humility – that perhaps God and his providential care for you has this season appointed to you for humility.” My first thought was, “Well I sure hope not. That sounds convicting.”
And so as he talked, I really came to understand humility in a way that I had not prior. I had always considered humility to be a cowardice and a compromise. In the name of humility, you give up biblical conviction and passion and the willingness to contend for the faith, as Jude 3 says, and to fight false teaching in the name of humility. And what he was describing was orthodoxy and belief and humility and attitude, and that those two together are really what God desires. And so it got me thinking and studying and praying through pride and humility and repenting and learning and growing.
And so I would start by saying that I thank my dear friend, C.J. Mahaney, for his ongoing friendship and the kindness he’s extended to me and the things I’ve been able to learn through his instruction. Furthermore, I apologize and repent publically to you, the church, for whom I am responsible for much pride in the history of my ministry that some of you have poorly imitated. And for that, I’m deeply sorry. And thirdly, to say that I am not a humble man. But as result of study, I’m a man who is acknowledging his pride and pursuing humility by God’s grace.
With that being said, I still have to preach a sermon on this subject because it’s in the Bible, and so I’ll tell you a lot about Jesus, since he’s the only one who really has the right to tell you anything about humility.
Harris added, among other statements:
... But what this latest sermon confirms for me is probably the most encouraging trait that I've observed in his life: Mark Driscoll is good at repenting. There are few skills more important for a follower of Christ to possess. Few things more vital in the pursuit of humility.
Two passages from God's word come to mind when I watch this clip from Mark's sermon. Proverbs 13:20 says, "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise". Mark has chosen a wise companion, and I can think of no better instructor in learning to walk humbly, than my friend C.J. Mahaney. And James 4:6 says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." I believe the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in Mark's heart will only lead to more grace and more influence. ...
Brent Detwiler refers to, apparently, a missive attributed to Mahaney in early 2007 that was said to
have been sent to Driscoll.
Then there's some documentation of Driscoll making reference to Piper and Mahaney over here via Tim Challies.
Reference is made to the sermon from the Religion Saves series, specifically the sermon on the regulative principle:
So what I need to do is start emphasizing in addition to God’s holiness in our sin, the grace of God. And I was talking to Pastor CJ Mahaney and he said it this way. It was very convicting. We had a time together. It was very encouraging. He said, “Mark, in an average week at Mars Hill, you all get to see more of God’s grace than the average ministry sees in a lifetime.” I believe that. It was deeply conflicting.
Because I’m that guy – I don’t know if you’re like me. I see everything that’s wrong. I see everything that’s not done, everything that’s incomplete, imperfect. I see all the problems. I’m just that guy. I’m the guy can walk into the spotless perfect house and immediately see the one thread on the floor that the vacuum cleaner missed, and that’s all I’m thinking about for the rest of the day. I’m obsessed with it. I’m that guy. Alright?
And so what can happen for me is I overlook all that God is doing and I look at all that we still have to get done. I could overlook all the people whose lives have been changed and I could focus on the one person who’s hard‑hearted or rebellious. The result can be I get discouraged. I get frustrated. And when I come to teach, sometimes my tone is too stern and my attitude is too harsh.
So as an act of repentance, I want to talk to you a little bit about the grace of God in my life and how I’ve seen it this week and in our church. I’ll start by telling you I’m seeing the grace of God in my health. This time last year, I hit the wall. I was in bad shape. I’m sleeping great. I feel great. I’ve got a great doctor. I’m healthy. I feel great. My energy levels are good. My clarity is good. I praise God for the grace of good health. Also, my wife and I, March 12, we celebrate the 20th year of our first date. And I can honestly tell you I love her more. I’m more drawn to her, more attracted to her in every way, more satisfied with her, more curious about her than at any point in our lives, and I’ve always loved her.
So Driscoll made reference to Mahaney being his good friend. Now it would seem normal to
So for those who may be curious, when's the last time Driscoll made a reference to Mahaney as a friend besides the aforementioned sermons?
There's this brief Twitter exchange.
@pastormark who's sermon's and teaching do you recommend for me to fill my ipod with?
@solepsis John Piper, CJ Mahaney, Tim Keller. Some dead guys if you can find audiobooks: Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon
11:14 AM - Mar 13, 2008
But more often what Driscoll's been tweeting is to stuff like this.
There's this recycling of material from the old Phillipians sermon.
It includes the following:
4. Humility is a direction, not a destination
None of us can say, “I used to be proud. Glad that’s over!” That would be proud. In his book Humility, C. J. Mahaney describes himself as “a proud man pursuing humility by the grace of God.” The same could be said for all of us. As Christians, we venture in the direction of humility, by the grace of God. The question is not, “Have you arrived?” but rather, “Are you even trying?”
Well, another plug for the old book on humility but by now I guess everyone knows Mahaney is Driscoll's friend so Driscoll, perhaps, felt it wasn't necessary to refer to the friendship.
James MacDonald's gotten a few nods by way of the Vertical Church tour and being on a bus but Mahaney, readers are welcome to find any references since March 30, 2008 in which Driscoll refers to Mahaney as a friend.
Meanwhile, how things play out for Sovereign Grace Ministires is, admittedly, beyond the sustained interest of Wenatchee The Hatchet. Wenatchee is about half-way through putting together some new blog content about Ferdinand Rebay's chamber sonatas for guitar. This is a little overview of the Driscoll/Mahaney mentoring relationship (as it was generally described) in light of Mahaney's recently announced transition. And some other stuff but we're not blogging about that at the moment.