Friday, August 22, 2014

NYT--A Brash Style The Filled the Pews, Until Followers Had Their Fill: Mark Driscoll is Being Urged to Leave Mars Hill Church

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/us/mark-driscoll-is-being-urged-to-leave-mars-hill-church.html?smid=pl-share&_r=1

“He was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously,” said Timothy Keller, the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and one of the most widely respected evangelical intellectuals in the United States. “But the brashness and the arrogance and the rudeness in personal relationships — which he himself has confessed repeatedly — was obvious to many from the earliest days, and he has definitely now disillusioned quite a lot of people.”

There's nothing Justin Dean or Anthony Ianniciello or even Mark Driscoll himself can really say in reply to that.  Ever since Driscoll shook hands with T. D. Jakes and did his pre-emptive strike on Justin Brierley by way of also putting down British evangelicalism Mark Driscoll and The Gospel Coalition have not been on the most publicly lovey-dovey terms.  For those who don't remember this ...

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/gospeldrivenchurch/2013/12/18/re-mark-driscoll/

Jared Wilson's blog post was striking.  When Driscoll began to alienate men who had his back the way Jared Wilson did in online conversation that was the start of alienating the support base.  A salient feature of the NYT feature is highlighting that Driscoll's confrontational and inflammatory style has reached a saturation point, a point where even evangelicals and conservatives no longer see a reason to back him. 

As Wenatchee The Hatchet has been blogging for years now, there are reasons to doubt the fiscal policies and accountability of Mars Hill as a corporation.  There are still plenty of wonderful Christian brothers and sisters over there to be sure, but the leadership culture has reached a degree of sickness that is becoming evident enough that not even someone like Michael Van Skaik seems to wish to contest the point by now.

On the other hand, it also appears that not enough leaders inside Mars Hill have taken seriously the sheer scale of plagiarism that has taken place.  It is unfortunate Mark Driscoll has only publicly discovered the possibility of mistakes not being sins as a theological point since he was accused of plagiarism on the air.  Driscoll used to say that we humans tend to have this problem of having this idea, "I want mercy for me when I sin against others but if you sin against me I want justice."  When it comes to intellectual property Mars Hill has unfortunately shown that it has been slightly more eager to insist on defending its intellectual property than taking care to respect the intellectual property of others, even in cases where that involved material published with editorial oversight by members of the Gospel Coalition like Don Carson.  Should the reader not remember or recognize those details, dig into the press coverage of Mars Hill's response to Mefferd's evidence that the Trial study guide plagiarized an IVP volume. 

Whatever the big announcement is that Driscoll has coming up on Sunday it's not going to be so big as to get beyond the recent Tim Keller quote. 

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