Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Heidelblog's on Driscoll/Breshears' historical and doctrinal shortcomings lets us ask "Who is Gerry Breshears?"

"While six middle-aged men continue to receive their comeuppance for challenging the soundness of rap and hip-hop, the imbroglio over whether Mark Driscoll plagiarized Peter Jones continues. (I don’t know why people are not debating whether Driscoll should even be writing books.)  "

To this R. Scott Clark wrote:


Cue a brief overview of the problematic nature of the eternal subordination of the Son and why rejecting "begotten" is more Arian than orthodox but let's curious readers follow those threads on some other occasion.  What's worth noting is that the Doctrine book in question was co-authored by Mark Driscoll with this guy, Gerry Breshears.

Whose "Recent Published Work"...

Recent Published Work

Consists entirely of works co-authored with Mark Driscoll? 

Prior to that, when we consult his CV, we see the next most recent thing is an entry on "Ecology" in the Evangelical Dictionary of Missions. Life happens but in scholarly activity eight years seems like a really long time to not have any published work, doesn't it? And all his recent published work amounts to co-written material with Mark Driscoll. Breshears is currently ...

Professor of Systematic TheologyChair, Center for Biblical and Theological Studies

at Western Seminary where Mark Driscoll got a Masters in Exegetical Studies which seems like it might be a subsidiary of this program


"Born in North Dakota, Mark Driscoll grew up in south Seattle, the son of a union drywaller. After graduating from high school, he attended Washington State University on scholarship. He became a Christian during his freshman year, and finished college with a degree in speech communication from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication. He later completed a master’s degree in exegetical theology from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon."

Okay, so if he went the exegetical track what's with making jokes and quips about nerds who care about what the Greek and Hebrew say?  What's with claims that scholars are too chicken to say what the Hebrew in Song of Songs is really referring to with female anatomy?  Go consult the various Hebrew terms for yourself, or even just stumble across a discussion of Hebrew usage in, say, a commentary by Barry Webb on the book of Judges and you may find that the belly button is, in fact, a belly button after all. 

As we've discussed at some length in the past in the series "Esther and Mark Driscoll's interpretive mojo" the culminating case for why Mark Driscoll thinks Esther could have and should have refused to go along with the auditions for a replacement for Vashti is not an expected exegetical discourse but, basically, a conversational anecdote about Ashley Driscoll.  Understandably, dear reader, you may not want to read the whole five-part breakdown of how the Driscoll sermon, well, breaks down.  There's a point to getting to the point.  So here we go:

"So even though Driscoll has mentioned his degree in exegetical theology in press materials and has blogged mentioning a commentary on Esther he likes ... when it comes time to make a case for why Esther was not that godly in the beginning he comes up with "Esther should have said no".  His reasons for this view amount to 1) she might not have gotten punished and 2) his daughter Ashley said that, put in Esther’s position, she would say no.  If that’s the best Driscoll can do then he has no basis complaining about other pastors or scholars providing speculation about anything in any biblical text anywhere."

We can even set aside the observation that in this Esther series he preached Mark Driscoll contradicted the observations Grace Driscoll had made about Vashti being disrespectful but that Mark and Grace Driscoll collectively offer contradictory and incoherent counsel from the book of Esther may not be entirely shocking as a whole.  What is puzzling, though, is how Mark Driscoll has touted his masters degree in exegetical theology while not exactly providing the most compelling evidence that he's paid attention to details like Greek or Hebrew if he's got some other point to make about Song of Songs referring to a woman's vagina rather than her navel.

It could lead one to wonder whether or how much Driscoll studied the biblical languages to begin with.  And the fact that the only notable publications Gerry Breshears has to his name since the dawn of the current millennium have been co-authored with Mark Driscoll and that Breshears looks like he's chair of a program from which Driscoll got that masters degree may be something worth further investigation.  After all, given what Christian Brady had to say about Driscoll's egregious errors regarding the rabbinical commentary on Genesis known as the Targum Neofiti; given that Mark Driscoll credited Gerry Breshears with uncovering what has turned out to be wildly inaccurate claims about the targum in terms of dating and translation; and given that that scholars ranging from R. Scott Clark to Christian Brady to Scott Bailey to Robert Cargill end up shaking their heads at content co-written by Driscoll/Breshears on a host of basic points of scholarly accuracy and historical competence ... well, Hart may have put it best, "I don't know why people are not debating whether Driscoll should even be writing books". 

Of course given the research that's been done by Janet Mefferd and Warren Throckmorton it's become a live question in the last year if Driscoll's actually the one who was actually writing all that material to begin with.

And for someone who was apparently on the exegetical track Driscoll seems suspiciously dismissive of language studies.  Anyone who can dig up the transcript to show what coursework in Hebrew and Greek Driscoll did is welcome to speak up.  Did Driscoll fulfill the language requirements for the exegetical track if he was on the exegetical track?  Breshears seems to have been chair at least as far back as 2008http://www.westernseminary.edu/files/documents/faculty/BreshearsVita.pdfAccording to Colin Hansen's Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists, Breshears has been chairman of division of theological and biblical studies since at least 2001.


Anonymous said...

Kudos. This is some of your best sleuthing yet!

One question: Did Breshears write those books "with Driscoll" or did Driscoll write those books "with Breshears"?

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Given the errors that Brady, Cargill, Bailey, and Clark have found with the books it almost seems moot, doesn't it?

ExeGe said...

Not sure if you'd picked this up yet:

Mars Hill is now offering 'Campaigns' for pastors/churches.
Meaning, pastors no longer have to preach or teach or prepare but they just download sermons in video and audio formats, complete with slides, artwork and research.

More non-Mars Hill Mars Hill churches everywhere.


This is explicitly what Mark has called out pastors for in the past: not reading the bible, not preaching anything new, using other people's sermons and re-using the same sermons over and over again.

Anonymous said...

Well now he doesn't have to call them out. They don't need to preach those tired old reworked sermons. They just need to gift over their real estate, and they can have The King himself, larger than life, on a giant HD screen. Easy.


Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Haven't there been campaign bits at Pastor Mark TV for a while? A migration of campaigns from Pastor Mark TV to Mars Hill Church might not be a big shift in itself.

A more signal shift would be that MH members are going through sermons where they've got books they can buy for stuff Driscoll's about to preach through. It's like immersive entertainment a la Star Wars where the movie and the toys come out all at the same time.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Ah, there were campaigns at Pastor Mark TV but they announced they'd move stuff to the MH side of things after December 2012


"Beginning December 2012, future campaigns will be available on MarsHill.com."


ExeGe said...

There is a new sermon series planned for fall based on a large survey that Mars Hill paid for.

This new sermon series will (surprise!) coincide with a new Mark Driscoll book.

I wonder if MH will, again, encourage CG members/leaders to buy it from Amazon to push it up the charts like they did with Real Marriage.