Part 12: 1 Timothy 6:1-10
Pastor Mark Driscoll
March 21, 2004
About 32:53 along
Satan robbed these people. They don’t even have the tools and the framework to come to the truth. They’ve been robbed. They are theologically, morally, spiritually vacant. There is nothing there.
Here’s the bottom line. They think that godliness is a means to financial gain. You want the sick, hard, cold truth, friends? Every time there’s heresy, error, church splits, divisions, factions, fighting, trace the money, and you’ll find the taproot. It’s always, it’s always, always financial. It’s money. It’s power. It’s control. It’s wealth. It’s affluence. That’s what it is.
These silly, stupid, little denominations, what they do is this. Hank in Dubuque, Iowa, is a union farmer. He goes to his local church, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, whatever mainline liberal denomination it might be. Hank loves Jesus. Hank gets radically saved. Hank takes 10 percent of all the money from his plumbing job, and he gives it to his church 'cause his pastor there loves Jesus, and he doesn’t know any different. The pastor’s a good guy, and Hank’s a good guy, so Hank gives 10 percent to the church. Hank thinks it’s going to the church.
Well, it doesn’t go to the church. Hank’s 10 percent goes into some fund that’s far away from Hank in some bureaucrat’s office. And that bureaucrat’s paid by Hank to sit around and make decisions and write silly little books that’ll govern Hank’s church. And if Hank doesn’t agree with it, that’s just tough 'cause Hank doesn’t have a Master’s degree. [emphasis added]He only loves Jesus. He’s just a plumber. He should shut up. He’s like Jesus. He’s a blue collar guy, not really fit to do doctrine.
And so this guy over here and his bureaucrat friends who get their salary paid by Hank’s 10 percent and his buddy’s 10 percent from the union hall, they decide that all the sudden Hank’s gonna have a homosexual pastor. All of the sudden, Hank’s not gonna believe that the Bible’s the Word of God 'cause they took a vote.
All of the sudden, they’re gonna send theologians in to do a conference telling Hank that maybe Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. And Hank wonders, “Why do I gotta put up with this? Am I not paying your salary? You don’t seem to love Jesus.”
And then those guys say, “Well, you know what, Hank? We own your building. You and your kids and your grandkids and your friends, you guys worked really hard, and you’ve given sacrificially to pay off that building? Ultimately, Hank, we own your real estate, so Hank, you gotta put up with this, meaning you gotta keep paying our salary to abuse you. And if you try to rebel, we’ll steal the real estate that you paid millions of dollars for, Hank.” That’s how mainline denominations work. You wonder why people don’t leave their denomination? Because the denomination – the liberal ones – own the property. Guys, think about that.
We bought this building a year ago. You guys are giving sacrificially. We’re paying for this building. Can you imagine working very, very, very hard as a church to pay this off and we don’t own it? Some bureaucrat in office somewhere that you never met, that doesn’t know you, that when you get sick won’t be at the hospital laying hands and praying over you, won’t baptize your kids when they get saved, won’t officiate your wedding, won’t sit down and study the Bible with you? A guy you can’t even meet with, you’ll never know, just some guy pushing paperwork somewhere who’s not your pastor, he control your building that you paid for. [emphasis added]
And if he decides that Jesus is not God, tough. Tough. And if you want, he’ll sell you the building, and this happens all the time, and you buy the thing twice. It’s the sickest thing I can think of. It’ s unbelievable.
So who owns the real estate that is identified as Mars Hill Church these days? The church as a corporation? The executive elders? The Board of Elders? Who owns the real estate?
For that matter, when Driscoll inveighed against distant denominational bureaucrats states away from regular tithing members ... well, how many people today in Arizona or California or New Mexico have any idea where Mark Driscoll even lives? How many people attending the Ballard campus even know where Mark Driscoll actually lives?
Driscoll went on:
I got a buddy locally. He’s a wonderful guy, loves Jesus. His church loves Jesus. They’re in a wack job denomination that has totally left the farm. And I said, “Well, why don’t you leave?” He said, “Well, if we leave, we lose the building. I lose my salary. I lose my pension, my retirement. I lose my ordination. Some of these people are third, fourth generation in the church. Their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents literally carved the pews that we sit in. If we leave, we lose everything.” [emphasis added]
I said, “Well, you better else or you’re gonna lose Jesus, and the church isn’t a place. It’s a people. And it’s not a business. It’s a family. I don’t care what the false teachers say and vote and do. You stick with Christ. And if they wanna go the way of Judas Iscariot and put their hand in the till, then you let God deal with them.”
I’ll tell you guys a dirty, little secret. There’s a place in Manhattan called The God Box. I went there a few years ago. I was doing some consulting in Manhattan, take me to The God Box, this huge building in downtown Manhattan, expensive real estate. [emphasis added] Each floor in the building is the headquarters for a different liberal mainline Protestant denomination: American Baptist, Evangelical Lutherans, Presbyterian Church USA, United Methodist, Episcopalians. Everyone’s got their floor.
I’m thinking that’s weird, and it’s all filled with bureaucrats. It’s weird. It’s like the house on Scooby Doo, you know? It’s just a lot of weird things in there. It’s all kind of nefarious, you know, like, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! We have a concord. We wrote a little book.” You know, it’s just all this weird stuff comes out. And I went into it, and I remember meeting with one of the guys there 'cause we got a tour, and then we went down to lunch.
And all the guys from all the denominations come down like the United Nations, and they all have lunch together, and they all sit around and they all have these – this is how they come up with these agreements and all these joint resolutions and all this stuff, and I wondered how this all happened. Well, they’re all sitting in The God Box in Manhattan.
And I remember sitting there with this guy, and I’m like, “So what do you do?” He says, “Well, I’m blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I said, “Well, you know, are you in a church? Are you a pastor? You baptize people, teach the Bible, officiate weddings?” “No, no, no, no, no. I work for the denomination.” “Well, what do you do?” “Well, I sit here in The God Box, and they pay my salary, and then I come up with decisions, me and my other guys on this team, and then we enforce it on all the other churches in the United States of America.” I’m like, “So you get to tell everybody what to do?” It’s like yeah.
Most people don’t know that. Most people don’t know that it’s really not their pastor and their brothers and sisters in the seat next to them that controls the destiny of their church but somebody in The God Box, who’s a bureaucrat trying to get on CNN or get a book deal or be the next rock star for whatever silly little academic nonsense is going on in pop culture. And he’s sitting there having lunch with a couple other guys who are bored as well, and they’re tired of shuffling paperwork so they dream up some nut job scheme that destroys everything. [emphasis added]
So ten years ago Driscoll was preaching against denominations in which bureaucrats in some God Box states away from regular churchgoers made bureaucratic decisions that people at the local church level couldn't possibly appeal against or overturn. These bureaucrats would be trying to get on CNN or land a book deal or be the next rock star for whatever silly little academic nonsense is going on in pop culture.
And yet for someone who was at Mars Hill Church ten years ago it can look suspiciously as though Mars Hill Church has its own God Box now in which people who aren't even members or attenders of any Mars Hill Church get to make statements in public defending leadership that has been involved in controversial and even questionable activity. That group appears to be called the Board of Advisors and Accountability that stood by the executive elders after it was revealed Mark Driscoll's books made use of the published works of others without citation and after it was revealed that Sutton Turner signed a contract with ResultSource on behalf of Mars Hill Church to secure a #1 spot for Real Marriage on the NYT bestseller list. Let's not forget that in the wake of a controversy over Driscoll posting about effeminate technically male worship leaders over on his Facebook page that Mark Driscoll decided to explain what he believed was the real issue under a lot of issues. Driscoll wrote:
... I then put a flippant comment on Facebook, and a raging debate on gender and related issues ensued. As a man under authority, my executive elders sat me down and said I need to do better by hitting real issues with real content in a real context. And, they’re right. Praise God I have elders who keep me accountable and that I am under authority.
So, we are working on a new website where I can speak to these real issues in a fuller context. Lord willing, sometime in September, after my trip to Europe with my family and a lot of other people, and then some recovery time, we will launch a new website.
In the past, I’ve not had a regular place to work out personal commentary on social issues, and so I’ve erred in sometimes doing so in places like Facebook, Twitter, and the media, where you can have a good fight but don’t have the room to make a good case.
The first content on the new website will be about gender, and much of it will be around a book my wife, Grace, and I have completed together called Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together, to be published by our friends at Thomas Nelson in January.
Both Grace and I will be blogging at the new site on issues related to gender and marriage, including mistakes we’ve made, sins we’ve committed, and convictions we agree on. And, we’ll have lots of other content on other issues as well. Until then, have a great summer, and a sincere thanks to all my critics who sometimes have good wisdom that helps me out.
Apparently that website was ... PastorMarkTV. Wasn't there a time when Driscoll made fun of Casey Treat and said that if the pastor has a ministry website with his own name on the domain there was something amiss? Maybe that didn't really happen.
Now seeing as Mars Hill Church has been purging its media library of sermons from before 2008 and has introduced robots.txt to its various websites to preclude web crawls from The WayBack Machine perhaps the buddies of Mars Hill in the past, The Gospel Coalition, maybe be of some help. They happen to have the audio for the sermon available for download. Download it while you can, though.