Saturday, March 08, 2014

why things are not likely to change

In spite of the news in the last few months that Mark Driscoll has used material from other authors that was not adequately cited and that his bestseller Real Marriage was bought on to a place on the NYT bestseller list, expect everything to continue.  People don't necessarily care that Mark Driscoll may have been shown to be a plagiarist who has revised the history of Mars Hill Church to increasingly be a reflection of his efforts and ideas rather than the more collaborative vision it seemed to be to people who joined more than a decade ago.  People don't necessarily care and won't necessarily care.  The Board of Advisors and Accountability has weighed in and is determined to stand by Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas, and Sutton Turner while not having refuted any substantial claims regarding plagiarism or status-buying, the actually significant subjects in the news cycle of the last few months.

It may be helpful to highlight that the book Real Marriage opens with a narrative.  That narrative is the basis from which the rest of the practical and propositional instructions of Mark and Grace Driscoll is given.  This microcosm speaks to the macrocosm of Mars Hill Church as a community defined by a narrative, a narrative that the Driscolls have largely defined over the years. Think of this as being somewhat like loyalty to a political party or a national narrative or family history.

Once people buy a given narrative they filter everything through commitment to that narrative.  If we treat Mark not as a pastor but as a politician or a salesman then we ignore the details of the Bible verses and look at what the real entry point is both in Real Marriage and the rest of Mark's stuff.  Mark has set up a story that applies at every level at which he wants to be an instructor, for his own life, his wife, his kids, the church he co-founded.  It's from within that overarching narrative that everything else gets filtered. 

What this means for Driscoll as a polemicist (not to say preacher or pastor) is that Mark uses his story as the prism through which people are forced to contend with how he interprets the Bible.  This has been, I think ,why so very few critics of Driscoll have been successful.  They're usually stuck having addressed just one of two elements of how Driscoll's narrative works as a polemic for whatever he insists upon. 
 
1. Either they have to focus so much on the mechanics of the text he's using to shill his particular idea that  they bore people who want to know why this matters, and when there's going to be some practical application to these debates. Or ...
2.  they directly attack Mark's propensity to hang his tendentious reading of a biblical text on his own narrative of his life, wife, kids, and church and risk looking like vindictive or whiny assholes by questioning everything about the narrative he presents.  Here the people who assume Driscoll lies all the time and doesn't tell the real story become reflexive foils that more often than not reinforce and retrench those already sympathetic to Driscoll. 
 
Driscoll got his degree in speech communications and has clearly refined the art of rhetorically forcing most of his critics into this Scylla or Charybys situation, a double-bind in which they are forced to question his integrity as a scholar about details most lay Christians don't even care about or to question the legitimacy of hanging his sketchy ideas on anecdotes about the wife and kids.

This really hit me when I heard Mark preach on Esther and built up to his claim that Esther was basically a prostitute by leaning on a story about Ashley saying she would run away instead of doing what Esther did.  So despite that degree in exegetical theology the real zinger for the sermon was "my sweet daughter Ashley wouldn't do what Esther did and that's basically why Esther was wrong."  You can't contest that approach to the book of Esther without directly dismissing Ashley Driscoll's interpretation as presented by Mark Driscoll.  Of course Ashley Driscoll's interpretation of Esther's life and character is something she's entitled to but it's ridiculous to promulgate such a view from the pulpit when one has been advertising one's masters in exegetical theology, if that degree were worth something in the case of Mark Driscoll.
 
As was demonstrated a while back, Rachel Evans wasted a bit of time trying to get someone to comment on Esther as literature without seeing through (maybe?) the real gambit Mark pulled in his sermons.  If anyone were to question Mark's interpretation they have to go through the teenaged girl he's raised in order to do so.  He's used the Ashley narrative to essentially insulate himself from either exegetical disputation or from any questions about why on earth he'd use his teenaged daughter's opinion as a basis for interpreting a biblical book from the pulpit to begin with.  It would take someone with a fairly vast grasp of both biblical literature and rhetorical techniques to see how consistently he does this kind of thing.  But the basic tools themselves are simple.
 
In a way it's like we've been seeing this dynamic play out in politics in the US for decades and Mark may just be one of a handful of high profile pastors who have figured out how the emotional game works.  It may explain why Mark's fans will defend him even after he's been caught plagiarizing.  They're defending their own investment in the story he tells, not any specific set of things he's said or done.  He seems to know this and that might be why he might be loathe let on to his own church he's been shown to be a plagiarist even on The City if they don't already know.  It would explain why leaks from The City seem to have bothered MHC leadership as much or more than just negative press. Regular readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet may already know the sheer scale of leaked content from The City that has made it to this blog. Leaks of content from The City that somehow end up on Wenatchee The Hatchet seem positively irrelevant compared to controversies about plagiarism or buying a #1 spot on the NYT bestseller list or Mark Driscoll crashing the Strange Fire conference.  Driscoll and company are so adept at creating their own bad publicity and MH PR has been managing to create rather than quell PR issues at intervals since the Andrew Lamb disciplinary situation erupted into headlines in early 2012. 
 
Yet it appears that in controversy after controversy Mars Hill would rather blame outsiders than own up to the full magnitude of what they have said and done.  So the Board of Advisors and Accountability has assured everyone the Result Source deal was some idea from outside Mars Hill.  So what?  Mars Hill Church decided to follow that advice.  What was Eve's reaction when she was confronted?  "The serpent tricked me."  What was Adam's reaction?  "The woman whom you gave me gave me fruit and I ate of it."  Well, let's keep those details in mind when we consider Mars Hill's Board of Advisors and Accountability talking about how, yes, they did have someone on their staff who signed a contract in 2011with Result Source ... but the idea was suggested by some outsider, as if that had anything to do with Mars Hill having one of their representatives actually sign the agreement. 
 
Blaming the advice on some outsider never changes the reality that someone in Mars Hill signed the agreement to begin with. Buying a spot on the NYT bestseller list for a book that plagiarized Dan Allender is still ultimately the decision and responsibility of Mars Hill Church as a corporation which has had Mark Driscoll as its president since at least 2012.  It doesn't matter in the end which outside counsel provided that idea, the corporation known as Mars Hill Church had someone sign that contract.  John Sutton Turner, specifically, signed that contract. 
 
But the story has been told and those who want to believe that story about how Mars Hill Church and its executive elders were given some counsel to use Result Source that Sutton Turner signed a contract for are going to believe what they wish to believe.  It's not that the contract is going to be seen in a positive light at this point, it's that the grand metanarrative or meganarrative or mythos, if you will, has already been written.  Preserving that is important enough that even criticism that people might consider accurate, legitimate, and factually verifiable applied to any other situation will be interpreted in this case as "gossip" or "slander".  Let's give pause to consider that these people are not defending anything less (or possibly more) than their investment of themselves into a narrative.  And it seems clearer and clearer each year that those who would attempt to critique Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill will need to account for the way in which he so entwines his interpretation of a biblical text with his own family/personal story that the popular online ways of criticizing Driscoll as a bully or a failure as an exegete will mean nothing to the fan base.  There will be plenty of people at Mars Hill tomorrow and likely year after year and this in spite of the cumulative evidence of citation errors and buying a #1 spot on the NYT bestseller list.  The story Driscoll's fans have invested themselves into isn't the kind you can buy at a store but it can be measured in member contracts and the stories they tell.

Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability statement, some observations

Before we get to the news of the day we should consult the news of the past.
http://marshill.com/2013/11/23/dr-paul-tripp-joins-mars-hill-s-board-of-advisors-and-accountability
Paul Tripp
Michael Van Skaik
James MacDonald
Larry Osborne
Mark Driscoll
Dave Bruskas
Sutton Turner

Let's take a short trip to see who these people are. Mark Driscoll is a founder and the president of Mars Hill Church. Dave Bruskas is the vice-president, and Sutton Turner is the secretary and treasurer (at least these are their respective roles for now).  James MacDonald is a friend of Mark Driscoll's who has been said to have the spiritual gift of real estate acquisition.  Larry Osborne is someone Driscoll has name-dropped for years who played a role in the 2007 re-org.  Paul Tripp's affiliation with CCEF would mean he's got a history with an organization that's directly credited by biblical living pastors with training and resources.  I.e. we could not that there's a business history that's been mutually helpful in the Tripp/MH history.  Finally, there's Michael Van Skaik. 

The Compensation Committee consists of at least three members of the Board of Elders chosen from among the nonpaid elders serving on the board. The members of the committee are appointed by the Board of Elders. Currently, the following elders serve on the Compensation Committee: Michael Van Skaik (Chairman), Will Little, and Jamie Munson.

In the 2012 governance document (much more on this elsewhere) Van Skaik was listed as a Mars Hill elder on the Compensation Committee, the chairman, in fact.  So while Van Skaik may look like he's not an elder now and may not even have a profile on The City it would be highly inaccurate to say he has had no significant history within eldership at Mars Hill.  You can't have served on the Compensation Committee as chairman and not have had at least a nominally significant role. 

Now, with all that out of the way, let's get to the news of the day.

http://marshill.com/2014/03/07/a-note-from-our-board-of-advisors-accountability
By Board of Advisors & Accountability
March 7, 2014


Mars Hill Church and Pastor Mark Driscoll have always been passionate about teaching the Bible and spreading the gospel by making disciples and planting churches. Immense growth in the size and complexity of the church has highlighted areas for, and has resulted in, several improvements.
This statement has been developed by the Board of Advisors and Accountability to update the members and friends of Mars Hill Church on the changes that have been made, and areas where we believe this church has learned and grown:

Not much to see there.  We just know the names of the people who are on the board, most likely.  It's not impossible that Jon Phelps could be on the board in some capacity but as yet confirmation of any members of the board that are not publicly listed has not materialized. I.e. we have to consider chiefly the publicly listed names.

Changes to Governance

For many years Mars Hill Church was led by a board of Elders, most of whom were in a vocational relationship with the church and thus not able to provide optimal objectivity. To eliminate conflicts of interest and set the church’s future on the best possible model of governance, a Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA) was established to set compensation, conduct performance reviews, approve the annual budget, and hold the newly formed Executive Elders accountable in all areas of local church leadership. This model is consistent with the best practices for governance established in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability standards. Mars Hill Church joined and has been a member in good standing with the ECFA since September of 2012.

Mark Driscoll often touted a line attributed to Chuck Smith that you don't call the trained, rather you train the called.  So it was popular to draw on Mars Hill 1.0 types like Jamie Munson to be part of leadership because outsiders wouldn't necessarily know the community they were supposed to be serving.  Kind of.  Eliminating conflicts of interest simply invites the question what the previous conflicts of interest were.  What were they, since the BOAA current statement is worded in a way that presupposes conflicts of interest simply existed, had to be eliminated, and that this necessitated changes in governance?  Didn't Mark Driscoll at one point say that putting Jamie Munson in charge as legal president of Mars Hill saved him the trouble of conflicts of interest back in 2008? 

http://www.theresurgence.com/mark_driscoll_2008-02-27_video_tnc_qa
2.28.2008

"Jamie Munson is head of the elder board. Jamie Munson is executive pastor. He is legal president of the organization. And for me, to be honest, it was the most freeing, liberating thing I could have dreamed of because now I don't have all that conflict of interest. I can be friends with someone but I don't have to fire them, do their performance review, and decide how much they get paid. It's just too conflicting for me." 
So, yes, Driscoll did say that Munson being in charged freed Mark Driscoll from "all that conflict of interest". Mark Driscoll said that having Munson as head of the elder board, as executive pastor, and as legal president of Mars Hill was the most freeing, liberating thing Mark Driscoll could have done.  Because now he didn't have all that conflict of interest.  So how and why did Mark Driscoll become legal president again if the reason he hand the reins over to Jamie Munson, by his account, was that Mark didn't have to deal with conflicts of interest? 

So you see, dear reader, there's apparently a thread of history here where Mars Hill leadership refers to having fix problems of conflict of interest without necessarily defining what those conflicts of interest were.  More distressing is that a corporation like Mars Hill Church (or, more properly, its leadership) can't seem to quite grasp the significance of public statements about having to resolve conflicts of interest to begin with.  If you're publicly admitting in any fashion there have been conflicts of interest aren't you inviting doubt about the fiduciary responsibility of the corporation altogether? Even if we take at face value that the conflicts of interest got fixed there's still the unanswered question of what those conflicts of interest were.  The only observable change in the executive elder board in the last four years seems to have been that Jamie Munson was out after Sutton Turner arrived and Sutton Turner took over the "kingly gifts" role, which turned out to have evolved from legal president of the organization to its secretary and treasurer.  Munson drafted bylaws in 2007, it seems, that made himself legal president of Mars Hill. 
And to step back to "setting compensation", Michael Van Skaik had that role on the Compensation Committee when he was an elder at Mars Hill Church in 2012.  It looks like he may still have that role but in a different formal way.

The BOAA moves on to former staff.

Former Staff

In a 2 year period ending in the fall of 2013, Mars Hill Church endured significant turnover of key staff members that made many wonderful contributions to the development of Mars Hill Church during their tenure. A number of these staff transitions were acrimonious. Pastor Mark and the other executive Elders own their part in any discord that could have been avoided with a better process or a more patient interaction.

During the Spring of 2013 the BOAA mandated that a thorough review be conducted with all former staff from that period, soliciting their feedback so that no needed lessons for a healthier future would be neglected. In the summer of 2013 the BOAA reviewed that report, and needed corrections to policy and detrimental management patterns had been made. A former staff elder, Dave Kraft, whose disagreements with Mars Hill policies have recently been made public, had previously communicated with the BOAA numerous times that he was satisfied with the steps we have taken to address his concerns.

The BOAA supports the policy of requiring staff to commit their signatures to a mutual agreement, such as a separation agreement, that private matters of the church learned during a season of employment not be divulged outside the organization. We have seen this practice as wise for stewarding the resources entrusted to the church while engaging in common human resources practices.

A number of staff transitions were acrimonious?  The executive elders own their part in any discord that could have been avoided?  Let's bear in mind that way back in 2007 when Bent Meyer and Paul Petry got fired executive pastor and lead pastor Jamie Munson stated in correspondence that the firings were necessary and inevitable. Owning a part in discord that could have been avoided is moot if firings were considered necessary and inevitable.  In any event, simply owning to a part in any discord invites readers to suppose that the number of acrimonious staff transitions were as acrimonious as the BOAA says they were because of the role members of the executive elder team (i.e. maybe half the BOAA itself at this point) played in those transitions. 

Which seems to means nothing at all unless names are named. 

And so they do get to Dave Kraft, whose role in the EIT of 2007 has been partly discussed elsewhere.  Dave Kraft is welcome to speak on record at any point now that the BOAA has stated emphatically he repeatedly informed the BOAA he was satisfied with the steps they took to address his concerns, whatever they were.  But who has said Dave Kraft ever expressed any concerns again?  So far, in public, just the BOAA. 

The BOAA proceeds to the news of the week, not so much the cumulative evidence of citation errors and even plagiarism in seven of Mark Driscoll's published books, but the news that Result Source was contracted with by Mars Hill Church.

Result Source
In 2011, outside counsel advised our marketing team to use Result Source to market the Real Marriage book and attain placement on the New York Times Bestseller list. While not uncommon or illegal, this unwise strategy is not one we had used before or since, and not one we will use again. The true cost of this endeavor was much less than what has been reported, and to be clear, all of the books purchased through this campaign have been given away or sold through normal channels. All monies from the sale of Pastor Mark’s books at Mars Hill bookstores have always gone to the church and Pastor Mark did not profit from the Real Marriage books sold either at the church or through the Result Source marketing campaign.

Unsurprisingly, the Board of Advisors and Accountability for Mars Hill Church states that it was outside counsel that advised the Mars Hill marketing team to use Result Source to market the Real Marriage book back in 2011.  Who was on the marketing team at that point? There are not many clues left these days as to who may have had what role in 2011. Possibly someone who was director of PR and Media Relations?  Or would it have been someone else.    Wenatchee The Hatchet, for instance, managed to dredge up that Nick Bogardus had a role as Director of PR & Media Relations from 2009 to 2011:
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/10/mh-pr-leaders-before-and-after.html


http://www.linkedin.com/in/nickbogardus

Nick Bogardus' Experience 

                                                                                                                                                                                            
Lead Pastor            
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
June 2011July 2013 (2 years 2 months) Orange County, California Area
• Founded and led a church that grew from four people to more than 500 in two years.
• Led and developed a team of staff and dozens of volunteer leaders.
• Doubled congregational giving and community involvement.
• Launched regional theological training center.
• Developed and implemented a six-month training curriculum for young leaders.


Director PR & Media Relations

Mars Hill Church

Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
20092011 (2 years) Seattle, WA
• Represented PR for one of the most visible church leaders and church movements in America.

• Increased both the quality and quantity of media coverage. Effectively garnered coverage in outlets such as CNN, ABC, USA Today, The Washington Post, Loveline, Relevant, and the Seattle Times.

• Conducted interviews as a spokesman on camera and by phone with USA Today, the Seattle Times, and major local TV affiliates in Seattle (market 12).

• Developed and implemented the organization’s strategic communication plan. Identified key messages and produced both external and internal communications.

• Led content management team for the church and its affiliate ministries, the Resurgence and Acts 29. Combined, the sites have an audience of 700,000 visitors per month and more than 600,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

POSTSCRIPT 03.08.2014 10.09PM
[Since MH OC was getting a ramp up campaign as early as March 2011
http://marshill.com/2011/03/16/be-a-part-of-mars-hill-orange-county

There's little to no chance Bogardus was going to have had any involvement in anything to do with Real Marriage.  Driscoll wouldn't have announced the informational meeting in March 2011 unless a lot was already worked out about who was heading over there, which means Bogardus was likely preparing to transition into being the pastor at Orange County possibly as early as December 2010.  Wenatchee The Hatchet was part of a campus transition years ago and knows enough about what that process could involve that Bogardus can basically be ruled out if he was mentioned with an OC connection as early as March 2011]


That's a for instance.  There was an old blog post on the BAJI group done last year that featured a variety of people who were with Mars Hill through about late 2012 over here.  But in the wake of the plagiarism controversy of late 2012 it would be a challenge to find the people who would have been involved in the intra-MH campaign to get Real Marriage on to the NYT best-seller list and those people may have thoroughly covered their tracks.

Well, consider uncovering them if only because it's become apparent the Board of Advisors and Accountability seems to be implying that the Result Source advice was given by an outsider yet was followed anyway.

Now, to get back to this statement, "All monies from the sale of Pastor Mark’s books at Mars Hill bookstores have always gone to the church and Pastor Mark did not profit from the Real Marriage books sold either at the church or through the Result Source marketing campaign."

If  Mark Driscoll did not profit from the Real Marriage books sold either at Mars Hill Church or through the Result Source marketing campaign how on earth was he getting enough money to feel confident enough to buy a million-dollar home in Woodway?  Was he able to do that with a housing allowance?  Was he able to do that because he had an annual salary big enough to pay for a million-dollar home in Woodway that was bought by the Driscolls in May 2012?  If Mark Driscoll did not profit from the sale of Real Marriage then where did the money come from to buy that house?  Wenatchee The Hatchet has had a pdf copy of the deed of trust for the Driscoll's Snohomish County home for some time now.  That's the thing about government records, accessible to the public. 

The point is not the precise address, the point is that if what the BOAA insists upon is true then it becomes all the more pertinent that at some point the BOAA clarify how the president of Mars Hill Church could afford to pay for a home in Snohomish County that cost about a million bucks if he wasn't profiting in any fashion from his NYT bestseller (and let's note the BOAA hasn't even touched upon the multiple cases of citation error aka plagiarism).

But let's face it, On Mission LLC spells out in its articles what its function is.
http://www.sos.state.co.us/biz/ViewImage.do?fileId=20111058965&masterFileId=20111058965
This was e-filed January 28, 2011 at 1:44pm
ID# 20111058965
doc# 2011058965

According to the articles of organization

Article I
The name of the Limited Liability Company is On Mission, LLC

Article II
The term for which this Limited Liability Company is to exist is 50 years
Article III
The Limited Liability Company is organized for profit and the nature of its business or purposes is:

A. To manage book royalties, printing and publishing and all related and derivative activities and
B. To engage in any lawful act or activities for which corporations may be organized under the Colorado Limited Liability Company Act.

discussed further here.

So if Mark Driscoll did not profit from the sale of Real Marriage what's the point of the On Mission LLC he set up in January 2011?  It's explicitly stated as organized for profit, to manage book royalties, printing, publishing and all related and derivative activities and to engage in any lawful act, etc.

Who started On Mission LLC?

http://www.sos.state.co.us/biz/ViewImage.do?fileId=20111058965&masterFileId=20111058965

Article V
The Limited Liability Company is to be managed by managers who shall serve as managers until the first annual meeting of the members of the Limited Liability Company or until its successor is elected and qualified. The manager of the Limited Liability Company shall also be a member of the Limited Liability Company. the name and mailing address of the manager and organizer of the Limited Liability Company is as follows:


Name Address
Mark Driscoll


4570 Hilton Parkway, Ste 203
Colorado Springs, CO 80907


Down on page 6 in Article VIII we see contributions from Mark Driscoll ($125) and On Mission Charitable Remainder Unitrust ($375). 

The registered agent is V William Moritz at the same address listed for Mark Driscoll in the earlier article.
Since at some point in life Wenatchee The Hatchet worked with planned giving officers ... perhaps an estate planning aside might be helpful here.  On Mission Charitable Remainder Unitrust suggests that at least one link to defining what a charitable remainder unitrust even is could be helpful.

http://www.estateplanners.com/articles/what-is-a%C2%A0charitable-remainder-unitrust-crut/

For reasons not known to Wenatchee The Hatchet, the first actual IRS google result is a 1998 article about how charitable remainder unitrusts were used for self-dealing,
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicg96.pdf

What connection, if any, could exist between On Mission Charitable Remainder Unitrust and Future Hope Revocable Living Trust, which was the financial instrument Mark and Grace Driscoll were listed as trustees for when they purchased a house in Snohomish County, is something others can dig into. 

All that to say, if Mark Driscoll did not profit from the sale of Real Marriage what was the point of setting up the On Mission Charitable Remainder Unitrust, On Mission LLC, Lasting Legacy LLC, and OMCRU Investments LLC? That last one lists as its member the On Mission Charitable Remainder Unitrust, from the look of it.  So if all the money made by Real Marriage didn't go to Mark Driscoll but went to Mars Hill Church how did Mark and Grace Driscoll afford to buy the roughly million-dollar house in Woodway, again?  A pastor can get a sizable housing allowance, perhaps, but


To correct a statement in a recent article, Pastor Sutton Turner was the General Manager, not the Executive Pastor or Executive Elder as reported, at the time he signed with the referenced agreement with Result Source. In the time since this campaign we have established a new Executive Elder team, new Board of Advisors and Accountability, as well as a new marketing team.

Be patient here, we're about to revisit some old posts.  You see it doesn't just so happen Wenatchee The Hatchet documented what Sutton Turner was presenting about himself on his LinkedIn profile a couple of years ago.  The BOAA can say they're correcting a recent statement about what Turner's role was.  The implication seems to be that people were misrepresenting information about Turner.  Okay, so did Turner have to say about himself back in 2012?  It does not just so happen Wenatchee The Hatchet documented just that back in 2012.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/04/sutton-turner-explains-we-serve-king.html
POSTSCRIPT: 04/14/2012
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sutton-turner/12/525/91b?trk=pub-pbmap
Executive Pastor
Mars Hill Church
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
April 2011– Present (1 year 1 month)Seattle, Washington

Sutton currently serves Mars Hill Church as Executive Elder and Executive Pastor. Mars Hill is a 15,000+ multi-site church with 14 current churches across the states of Washington, California, New Mexico, and Oregon. Mars Hill has planted over 400 churches through its www.Acts29Network.org and trains disciples through www.theResurgence.org. As Executive Pastor, Sutton oversees all centralized functions for all Mars Hill Churches and Acts 29.

The LinkedIn profile has since been edited into the following that you can read today:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sutton-turner/12/525/91b

Executive Pastor & Executive Elder
Mars Hill Church 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
April 2011 – Present (3 years) seattle, washington

Sutton currently serves Mars Hill Church as Executive Elder and Executive Pastor. Mars Hill is a multi-site church with 14 current churches across the states of Washington, California, New Mexico, and Oregon. Mars Hill has planted over 400 churches through its www.Acts29Network.org and trains disciples through www.theResurgence.org. As Executive Pastor, Sutton oversees all centralized functions for all 14 Mars Hill Churches, TheResurgence.com, Mars Hill Global, Mars Hill Network, Resurgence Books, and Resurgence Conference, all external Campaigns, as well as serving Pastor Mark Driscoll as his Executive Pastor.

April 2011 thru November 2011 he served as General Manager before becoming an elder.

Sutton Turner may have rectified the error about what the exact nature of his role was up through November 2011 but it's looking like it's nobody's fault but his for getting that misinformation out there for unwitting journalists and fact-checkers to mess up in the first place.

The BOAA simply cannot pin the blame on any outsider when one of its own members, Sutton Turner himself, could have written things down accurately in his own LinkedIn profile the first time around. If the BOAA of Mars Hill was intending to correct an inaccurate statement let the record show it's a statement Turner himself originally made at his own LinkedIn profile. 


Stewardship and Accountability

We take stewardship at Mars Hill very seriously, and thus we pay very close attention when accusations are made claiming that we are mishandling the money received by our congregations’ tithes and gifts. We voluntarily undergo an annual external audit, and public disclosure of our audited financial statements is part of our commitment to accountability. Much more information is available online:
http://marshill.com/stewardship
http://marshill.com/governance [WtH--the amount of revision and purging to the Governance document over 2012 to 2013 is vast enough to warrant separate discussion, here. You can't even begin to imagine how drastically the Governance page has changed in the last two years if you haven't kept tabs on it]
http://www.ecfa.org/MemberProfile.aspx?ID=32663

The BOAA stands unreservedly behind Pastors Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas as the Executive Elders of Mars Hill Church. We deeply appreciate their endurance through false accusation, their submission to authority, and their humility where regrettable decisions from the past have come to light. We are thankful to God for His grace, which is evident in all that he allows for our good and his glory. We are confident that God is preparing Pastor Mark and the ministry of Mars Hill Church for a great harvest of souls in the days ahead.

 - Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability

So now that the BOAA has assured everyone the Result Source idea was suggested by someone not at Mars Hill who was that person?  And what were the reasons MH executive leadership decided the thing would be okay to try?  At this point whatever Sutton Turner was describing himself as may be moot seeing as he signed the contract.  The buying of a book onto the NYT bestseller list is simply one facet of the book Real Marriage that has been controversial.  The other was, obviously, the uncredited appropriation by Grace Driscoll of material published by Dan Allender back in 1990.  That matter has been sort of rectified but the BOAA has not addressed a single point regarding plagiarism on the part of Mark Driscoll.  The Tyndale press release only covered two books, the book A Call to Resurgence and the Trial study guide from the 1 & 2 Peter series. The BOAA has not addressed, for instance, that the MH public response to Janet Mefferd's allegation and evidence that materials were used and not adequately cited in the study guide was to begin talking about how the book was assembled with the help of a team of people that included a research assistant.  Whose idea was it to passive-aggressively blame the assistants? 

The BOAA can feel free to explain what the false accusations have been.  It can't be that Sutton Turner was Executive Pastor at Mars Hill Church any time between April 2011 and November 2011 because none other than Sutton Turner himself was making that claim in his LinkedIn profile for some time. 

The BOAA is confident that God is preparing Pastor Mark and the ministry of Mars Hill Church for a great harvest of souls in the days ahead.  What humility, if any, Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas and John Sutton Turner have displayed in the last few months in the wake of controversy about plagiarism in Mark Driscoll's books (seven according to Warren Throckmorton's research) and buying a place on the NYT bestseller list, has yet to be demonstrated.  For that matter, merely asserting false accusations have been made is not the same as establishing that Mark Driscoll and Grace Driscoll did NOT make use of the work of Dan Allender without proper citation.  Pulling the Trial study guide and apologizing for citation errors doesn't sound like a response to a false accusation at all.  Amending the acknowledgments in Real Marriage to admit that Dan Allender even exists and that his work was formative on Mark and Grace Driscoll's life and ministry isn't a response to a false accusation.  These don't look like cases where executive leadership in Mars Hill is patiently enduring false accusations; these look like cases where people are trying to quietly avoid admitting the magnitude of the mistakes that were made.

And nobody on the BOAA breaks out of the pseudo-anonymous corporate speak to even mention the word Mark Driscoll utters from the pulpit repeatedly in discussing the words and actions of other people, sin.  We're probably never going to see anyone on the BOAA, which features the executive elders the group is defending, ever concede that any of them could have sinned, for real. Mistakes were made and owned but at the end of the day everything is either defended or blame is deferred to outsiders, if this BOAA statement is meant to be the first, final, and only word about the controversies surrounding Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill.

Meanwhile, the people who once publicly boasted with pride in their roles in promoting the book couldn't burn bridges fast enough. It looks like Warren Throckmorton has been noting that now Mark Driscoll's biography has been scrubbed of any reference to his being a best-selling author. When the cumulative evidence that Mark Driscoll has plagiarized and published factually untrue statements comes in; when the evidence surfaces that his NYT bestseller was bought on to the list; and when his naturopath gets a license suspended under allegations of hoodwinking cancer patients what does the BOAA do?  It stands by the executive elders who are members of the BOAA themselves as if they are heroes enduring false accusations, without refuting any misinformation that wasn't presented to the public by one of the executive elders themselves and who is himself a member of the BOAA. 

A Board of Advisors and Accountability that only responds to waves of public controversy and mounting evidence of some significant problems in Driscoll's published works by having its own members generically justify their actions, claim they are enduring false accusations, and finally commend themselves on their humility and endurance while assuring themselves of divine favor can call itself what it likes.  It is not at all clear right now that in any of their recent words these people have shown themselves to be a Board of Advisors and Accountability in anything but name.

POSTSCRIPT 03.08.2014
10.30AM

It's been noted via comment that the BOAA indicated Driscoll did not profit from sales of the book within the subheading dealing with Result Source, which was not to say Driscoll has not profited from sales of the book in contexts besides Mars Hill Church or the RSI agreement.  A useful observation.  Which gets to this.

http://nonprofitstats.com/organization/on-mission-crut-wa-seattle-ein-456293166
On Mission Charitable Remainder Unitrust
Address information
1411 NW 50th St Seattle WA

Asset Amount $464,340 (464.3 thousand)
Income Amount nA
Form 990 Revenue Amount NA

There's not much more but this listing may be a start.

POSTSCRIPT II 03.08.2014
4.40pm
http://www.pajamapages.com/on-driscoll-its-called-inurement-and-its-probably-illegal/

James Ducan at Pajama Pages has broached the subject of whether what Mark Driscoll has done in the Real Marriage case can be interpreted as inurement.  What is striking about Mark Driscoll's books since about Radical Reformission is that the copyright in the books has been owned or co-owned by Mark Driscoll and not Mars Hill Church as a corporation, generally.  The most notable exception was the Trial study guide.

Additionally, Warren Throckmorton notes that there has been a shift in wording and position from what Mars Hill's Justin Dean said earlier in the week and what the BOAA published yesterday.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/03/08/mars-hill-church-quickly-changes-message-on-strategy-to-place-mark-driscolls-real-marriage-on-best-seller-lists/

Back when Andrew Lamb's disciplinary situation made headlines MH indicated that it had released staff over some issues and then clarified that they hadn't, really.  Justin Dean made a statement that MH had some kind of connection to Lifelong AIDS Alliance that the organization stated did not exist.  Justin Dean more recently was on hand to explain things about that attempt by Mars Hill to make a bid on already-purchased real estate in Bellevue that Sound Transit bought.  If Justin Dean's job is to handle PR on behalf of MH his track record in handling public controversy is ... baffling. 


Thursday, March 06, 2014

Warren Throckmorton: the signed contract that helped get Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage on the NYT bestseller list

Warren Throckmorton has produced the signed contract between John Sutton Turner ant Mat Miller over at this blog post

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/03/06/the-signed-contract-that-helped-get-mark-driscolls-real-marriage-on-the-new-york-times-best-seller-list/

the complete contract
http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/files/2014/03/RSIMHCContract.png

While Matthew Paul Turner managed to get ahold of a generic copy of the kind of RSI contract that might have been signed, Warren Throckmorton has the signed contract between Mat Miller and John Sutton Turner.  Let's just say Wenatchee The Hatchet has enough eyes and ears that Turner's signature is a match for other publicly available documents featuring the same signature and the formal name certainly matches that on the Washington State Secretary of State listings for the Secretary/Treasurer of Mars Hill. 

Looks like Throckmorton's got a match.

Now if we revisit old material over here we can observe that On Mission LLC was incorporated in the state of Colorado on January 28, 2011 with a Bill Moritz as the registered agent.  In the December 2, 2013 post we observed that the governing persons as far as Washington state was concerned were managers, aka Mark Driscoll.  Then in the wake of the Janet Mefferd on-air allegation of plagiarism and all that followed something happened, Mark Driscoll stopped being listed as manager of On Mission, LLC and Lasting Legacy LLC and OMCRU Investments LLC became the members.  LLCs within LLCs is kind of surreal.

But let's revisit the revisions linked to here:
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/01/wheres-on-mission-llc-located-these.html
The Colorado stuff doesn't seem to have changed but the membership for the WA side has.  There's not a whole ton out there about the On Mission Charitable Remainder Unitrust but that would be an interesting thing to investigate further for those who have tools to investigate or explain what the function of a charitable remainder unitrust is and how it works.

Back when we observed that at one point Mark Driscoll said he didn't start a side company in a 2009 sermon we noted that by 2011 he had started On Mission LLC on January 28, 2011 over in Colorado before starting it up in Washington.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/02/mark-driscoll-in-2009-i-didnt-start.html

Now something else to keep in mind is that according to Snohomish County Records there was a purchase of a house for about one million dollars made by a Future Hope Revocable Living Trust, whose trustees were Mark Driscoll and Grace Driscoll and the detail to keep in mind is ... [and here's something from the deed of trust for the sale of a house]

Mark Alan Driscoll, Grace Anne Drsicoll
Trustee(s) of the Future Hope Revocable Living
Trust Under Trust Instrument
Dated 02/07/2011

The instrument is listed as having been set up on February 7, 2011.

So it was hardly more than a week after Mark Driscoll and Bill Moritz set up On Mission LLC in Colorado that the Future Hope Revocable Living Trust was set up as a trust instrument in February 2011.  The house (which is in Snohomish County, went for a million dollars, roughly.  The purchase happened in May 2012.  It's important to keep in mind, as we noted in substantial detail over at this blog post:
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/09/mars-hill-church-in-may-and-june-of.html

That during the period in which Mark and Grace Driscoll bought their roughly one million dollar home in Snohomish County that Mark Driscoll was urging the flock to give and as anyone who saw the fundraising film from 2011 God's Work, Our Witness, Driscoll was willing to say to his church they sucked at giving and that he/they in leadership knew they could do better. By June 2012 Driscoll was sharing from the pulpit that there had been a lot of layoffs and that MH had been running systemic deficits at every campus for a while.  Nobody sinned or anything, MH just had a financial model that wasn't viable for its long-term future.  Of course 2013 would arrive and Driscoll would later share how MH avoided going over its own fiscal cliff but this last fiscal year, Sutton Turner informed MH, was the best financial year in a while. 

Giving did go up but overall percentages went down.  More people didn't give anything to MH in the previous fiscal year than ever before.  Average attendance went down despite the addition of 1337 members and that addition of members still led to no more than sixty net new members in FY2013 compared to FY2012, which meant they had to lose 1,277 between FY2012 and FY2013 to get such small net growth in contracted members.  All that's documented over here.

If someone were to hazard a wild guess about variables that could have informed such an exodus, controversy about church discipline, concern about reports of the Driscolls buying an expensive house in Woodway, and layoffs and firings of long-time staff could all have alienated now former members. 

But let's get back to the detail about the trust instrument being set up in February 2011.  Whatever the reasons for moving the Driscoll household the intent to buy a house looks like it began at the start of 2011.  Given Driscoll's public statements about how the hardest part of ministry is the threats to the safety of his family we'll keep that in mind.  There are other questions that can be raised about the particular tales Driscoll shared and whether or not his role as William Wallace II may have catalyzed one of those incidents but we'll set that aside for the time being.

The contract John Sutton Turner signed is dated October 13, 2011 and we've established that On Mission LLC was set up in January 2011 and Future Hope Revocable Living Trust, the instrument used to buy the million-dollar home for the Driscolls, dates to February 2011.  People can't just go around buying million dollar homes without some planning.  Driscoll had shared extensively in his 2009 sermon that he hoped one of his books popped so that, ideally, he could make enough money of royalties to not draw a salary and to preach for free at Mars Hill.  For those who didn't hear the sermon and can't find the sermon transcript (because, curiously, there isn't one) here's what Driscoll said on the subject of side companies, greed, and why he didn't have a side company in 2009:

http://marshill.com/media/trial/humble-pastors/prophets-priests-and-kings#downloads

Prophets, Priests and Kings
 Trial: 8 witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter
May 3, 2009
1 Peter 5:1-5

... So in all of this, as well, I've had people ask, "So what about the book sales?"  Here's how it works, I didn't start a separate company. One of the ways that guys work this, they become a leader in a church and they have a company on the side and they use the church to funnel business into their side company and I didn't start a side company (like a lot of guys do) for my book writing. Instead I publish under Mars Hill.


So the way it works, I don't get all the money. Mars Hill gets a huge take. Mars Hill gets all the marketing dollars, they get paid by the publishers. Mars Hill gets half of all the royalties so the books that I publish, about 75% of the revenue goes to Mars Hill Church, not me. Not me.  Because I'm worried about this issue, greed, shameful gain. Just using Mars Hill as a platform so I can start a business to rake in massive dollars. I don't think it's a sin for a pastor to get a salary but we're now at the point where the books and the marketing, that a huge portion of my salary is covered by income that I generate.  And, I'll be honest with you, I hope one of my books pops or I get enough books on the shelf, titles in print , I'd love to see the day where I'm basically working for free and that the book sales and royalties and such let me generate enough money for Mars Hill that I can work free of charge. That's my hope and my goal. I don't know if we'll get there but that's what I'm trying to do.

Since he stated up front what his hope and goal was and Sutton Turner signed the contract with Result Source, were the Mars Hill executive elders at some point hoping that they could get Real Marriage to "pop"?  Whatever the revenue from the sales actually were, it was in May 2012, about a quarter after Real Marriage was published, that the house in Snohomish County was finally purchased.

When Mark Driscoll shares thoughts about loving the city and reaching out to the city you have to bear in mind he hasn't actually lived in Seattle by any definition of the name since May 2012.  Think Everett or Edmonds and you'll be closer to the zone.  Wanting a book to "pop" is understandable.  Signing a contract that amounts to a payola deal for a book to become a bestseller may seem like standard operating procedure but along the way it looks like it involved Mark Driscoll 1) setting up a side company after he said he didn't have one and wouldn't set one up 2) having his secretary/treasurer Sutton Turner sign a deal to get a book on the NYT bestseller list in 2011 almost as soon as Turner was formally introduced as an executive elder.

No ... wait ...

http://marshill.com/2011/11/23/introducing-pastor-sutton-turner

Wasn't Turner introduced on November 23, 2011?  Turner inked the deal with Result Source, it seems, before he was formally installed/introduced as an executive elder.  He was apparently, in some sense, a general manager up until that point but LinkedIn profiles for people associated with Mars Hill have proven mercurial enough that one can't be 100% certain.  It's worth noting, at least, that Turner inked the deal with RSI a couple of months before he was even introduced publicly as a pastor at MHC in November 2011 and the month after it was publicly announced Jamie Munson was stepping down.

So, there you go, it looks like the Driscolls set up a revocable living trust in early 2011 that was used in 2012 to buy a house. Nobody just goes out and buys a million-dollar house and the degree to which buying an expensive house was predicated on an understanding that the revenue absolutely would be there to pay for the house remains to be discovered, if ever it can be.

World Magazine: Result Source contracted with Mars Hill get Real Marriage on NYT bestseller

http://www.worldmag.com/2014/03/unreal_sales_for_driscoll_s_real_marriage/page1
http://www.worldmag.com/2014/03/unreal_sales_for_driscoll_s_real_marriage/page2

World Magazine has gotten ahold of a contract between Mars Hill Church and Result Source to ensure that Real Marriage would get on the New York Times bestseller list.  Smith writes about the contract being between a Mat Miller and John Sutton Turner. 

So in addition to there having been some controversy in the last four months about the degree to which Mark Driscoll plagiarized the work of others, and included egregious factual errors in a number of his books over the last five years, it also transpires that his NYT bestseller seems to have been bought into a place on the NYT bestseller list.

Buying a spot at the top is hardly unheard of and there are those who are pointing out that since it isn't really strictly illegal what is the story here?  Well, how many evangelicals who would make the case that because it isn't illegal there are no ethical qualms to be had about it would turn around immediately and apply the same rationale to abortion? Anyone?  Surely there will be someone but the point is that when the venue of the this breaking news is World Magazine we could expect a slightly different response.  And surely we don't have to actually bring out the observation that something being legal does not necessarily confer upon the thing the status of being unimpeachable on the matter of ethics. 


So, for sake of review, let's recap some of what has been observed about Real Marriage.  We've compared chapter 7 of Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll to chapter 9 of Dan Allender's The Wounded Heart.

We have also considered the chronological puzzle of Grace Driscoll talking about how when she shared her story of abuse (which Mark Driscoll has placed somewhere in 2006) there were few resources available for sex abuse victims. There are several puzzles involved in this. 

1. In Real Marriage Grace Driscoll described the resources for sex abuse victims as being inadequate even though the men in charge of ministry to abuse victims were apparently recruited by Mark Driscoll himself and the leadership appointments Mark Driscoll made that included giving Bent Meyer charge of counseling and recovery groups had to have predated April 2006 when Confessions of a Reformission Rev was published.

2. Grace Driscoll went on in the bestseller to commend books written and published by MH staff under the Re:Lit banner that weren't published until 2011, half a decade after she shared her story with Mark about a specific case of abuse.  What on earth was happening between first sharing a story of abuse and the five years later when books by Mike Wilkerson and by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb got published?

3. It turns out, in fact, that at the 2006 mens' training camp booklet Mark Driscoll was commending Dan Allender's work on the subject of sexual abuse in a teaching event. And since it's beyond all possible doubt Allender's work had a formative  influence on the Driscoll's approach to counseling victims of sexual abuse what, precisely, was supposed to be not gospel-centered or wrongly-focused on behavioral change in Allender's work?  On pages 130-131 of Mark Driscoll's Confessions of a Reformission Rev he wrote about assuming the identity of William Wallace II and rebuking men for being immoral and cowardly and on page 131 in particular he wrote that the ultimate result was,

"The life change was unreal. We had guys getting saved en masse. We had gay guys going straight. We had guys tossing out porn, getting jobs, tithing, taking wives, buying homes, making babies, and repenting of the sins of their fathers. We had guys who had divorced their wives remarrying them. We had men adopting children so they would have a Christian father. ... "

What about that litany of life change that was unreal couldn't be described as behavior change? Everything about Driscoll taking on the pseudonym William Wallace II and the way he proudly describes the results, whether in Confessions of a Reformission Rev or the fundraising film God's Work, Our Witness, highlights the glory of how because he yelled at young immature guys they shaped up and flew right, doesn't it? Good luck actually finding anything published under the pseudonym William Wallace II from the old unmoderated Midrash, though.

So, this gets back to Grace Driscoll's statement that in 2006 there weren't many options and those that existed were ... not gospel-centered or were wrongly focused on behavioral change? 

And, again, we're back to the reality that by Mark Driscoll's own account, Allender's work was known of and commended as far back as 2006, and that Grace Driscoll listed Dan Allender as a favorite author as far back as 2000.  An amended acknowledgment section in Real Marriage mentions Allender.  It would seem, now, it is officially impossible for authors to have lifted concepts and wording so thoroughly from an author whose works were available and commended in the church in 2006 to have, against all odds, been not gospel centered or wrongly focused on behavioral change.  If it was somehow lacking, according to the Driscollian narrative in chapter 7 of Real Marriage, why rely on that work so extensively?

There's also the curious matter of how strikingly similar Mark Driscoll's woke-up-and-threw-up narrative in chapter one of Real Marriage resembles a narrative in chapter five of Confessions of a Reformission Rev.  In one case there's a nightmare that inspired Mark Driscoll to wake up, throw up, and stay up on a couch all night because of a terrible sin committed against and yet also apparently by a person that Driscoll said he wouldn't name.  This nightmare is described as having happened a couple of years after Ashley was born.  But in the narrative in Real Marriage, a nightmare Mark Driscoll had about Grace cheating on him so shook him that he woke up, threw up, and stayed up on a couch all night hoping the nightmare wasn't true before Ashley was born.  Now it's certainly possible for someone to have multiple nightmares over multiple years that inspire emesis but there is ... how to put this delicately, a synoptic question that seems to come up with these two narratives. 
In the 2006 account Mark Driscoll said unequivocally the nightmare about the unnamed person was a satanic, accusatory nightmare.  In the 2012 account the dream happens before Ashley's birth and is regarded as some kind of revelation. It's not a given, after all, what the source of the revelation was but a book sold through a Christian publisher to Christian readers might lead one to infer a divine origin.  If you'd like to read through the two nightmare accounts go over here.

One of the crucial things to observe about the book, now that it's been out for a couple of years, is that it opens with the story of the Driscoll marriage.  This is the opening gambit, the basis from which all subsequent instruction is informed and the leverage from which a reader is invited to take that instruction seriously.  We can survey the doubts even complementarians had about Real Marriage in substance some other time.  What we're reviewing here is that the narrative itself in Real Marriage, in light of what has been publicly available in other writings by Mark Driscoll, is not entirely certain. Did Mark have two vomit-dream incidents or one?  If Grace Driscoll claimed there weren't resources that were properly gospel-centered or able to avoid a wrong focus on behavior change why was Mark Driscoll boasting about behavior change in a 2006 book? 

For that matter, again, the matter of Dan Allender--wouldn't use of his phrases suggest appreciation of his work?  Now that Grace experienced some kind of abuse often enough to not recognize it as abuse is not in dispute at all.  But as we've noted here before, chapter 7 of Real Marriage actually tells us a whole lot more about the birth of the Mars Hill Re:Lit imprint than about what actually ever happened to Grace Driscoll.   And in a way that's fine. Grace Driscoll should not feel obliged to explain what happened to her no matter how many times her husband says she was raped, but it's unfortunate that the chapter with her name attached to it featured uncredited use of Dan Allender's ideas when it came out in 2012, and it's also unfortunate that it seemed to focus a lot of attention on promoting books from the Re:Lit banner that were published just a year earlier.

So there's all that even if there weren't any news about Mars Hill Church having a contract with Result Source to get the book on to the NYT bestseller list.

What is interesting is to observe how the members of On Mission LLC went from being Mark Driscoll to two LLCs in the wake of controversy about whether or not Mark Driscoll plagiarized the works of others.  The change in the LLC is documented over here. That there's an On Mission LLC at all to which royalties from Driscoll books goes at all would seem to be a change of heart from what Driscoll was saying from the pulpit in 2009 about how he didn't have a side company. Between On Mission LLC and Resurgence Publishing it would seem there's at least two for profit companies on the side these days, wouldn't it? Since Driscoll was describing himself as president of The Resurgence back in 2008 how far back was it a for profit company?  If Driscoll was regaling members about how he didn't have a side company in 2009 and yet has On Mission LLC now what changed?  Informally people theorize that John Sutton Turner has had some kind of role.  Who's John Sutton Turner?  Such as it is, a rambling tour through his professional history is available.

So, there's a broad overview of the various issues that emerged about Real Marriage since it was published in 2012 as some background for the recent statement by Warren Cole Smith at World Magazine about the Result Source agreement with Mars Hill Church.  We'll get to a stroll down memory lane on whether complementarians were even all in agreement about the substance and quality of Mark and Grace Driscoll's book later.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Warren Smith, at World Magazine, states that he has a non-disclosure agreement document from Mars Hill Church

http://www.worldmag.com/2014/03/signs_and_wonders_megachurches_order_staff_to_keep_their_mouths_shut

Warren Smith at World Magazine has recently published the following words:

... I’ve obtained a copy of the Mars Hill agreement, it covers both the employee and the employee’s spouse, and it threatens legal action if the employee has “any intentional or unintentional violation” of the agreement. Dave Kraft, a former elder who refused to sign the document and subsequently left the church, said, “It amounts to a gag order.”

There have been reports here and there that gag orders of some kind exist, enough reports to have sounded plausible even if no direct or indirect evidence was available.  It looks like Warren Smith has gotten ahold of a copy of a Mars Hill agreement that covers an employee and the employee's spouse, threatening legal action if there are any intentional or unintentional violation" of the agreement, whatever the agreement might be.

If someone were to produce even a redacted copy of a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement that would be interesting, to say the least. 

Warren Throckmorton compiles a chart of citation errors in Mark Driscoll books

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/02/20/mark-driscolls-citation-errors-at-a-glance/

The chart is fairly comprehensive, it seems.  In seven books published since 2008 Mark Driscoll's work has been shown to have a number of citation problems that Throckmorton categorizes as follows: 1) plagiarism 2) factual error 3) ghostwriting 4) recycling own material.  This fourth detail will be lost on non-writers but copyright and licensing restrictions can preclude you from recycling your own work across publishers, or preclude you using already published material in a derivative work.  Such restrictions are not unheard of, at all, in publishing agreements.  So, yes, it actually is possible to self-plagiarize in this day and age, not just in the time of Vivaldi.

As thorough as the chart is, Throckmorton left out the problematic statements Mark Driscoll made about the Targum Neofiti, a rabbinical commentary on Genesis that Mark Driscoll has claimed, and he has credited Gerry Breshears with discovering this:
1) a Targum that predates Jesus by 2 centuries that
2) shows that pre-Jesus Jews believed God was a trinity

Both of these statements have been so thoroughly debunked by the scholars Scott Bailey, Robert Cargill and Christian Brady you can go look up their rebuttals at your leisure.  The reason this particular error is egregious is not simply because Driscoll/Breshears presented doubly wrong information about the dating and content of the Targum, but also because this erroneous material is integrated into both the book and the sermon series Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe.  Now here's why it matters.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2010/05/06/an-interview-with-mark-driscoll-on-the-book-that-cost-mars-hill-a-thousand-church-members-and-gave-him-an-intestinal-ulcer—and-whether-or-not-the-new-calvinist-coalition-will-hold-together/

... As we expand to more campuses, states, and possibly even nations, I wanted to do all I could to ensure doctrinal fidelity and clarity for our church. As the tree grows and the fruit increases, the roots need to sink deep as well. So, when our attendance was at about six thousand people a few years ago, we did something unprecedented. We canceled out the membership of everyone in our church and I preached the Doctrine series for thirteen weeks. Each sermon was well over an hour and included me answering text-messaged questions from our people.

Those who made it through the entire series were interviewed, and those who evidenced true faith in Christ and signed our membership covenant were installed as new members. We had always had a high bar for membership, but I wanted to raise that bar higher as we pursued our goal of becoming, by God’s grace, a church of fifty thousand. In so doing, we lost about a thousand people, dropped to five thousand total, and missed budget for the first time in our church’s history. We then rebounded over the next few years to ten thousand people a week and as many as thirteen thousand on our peak weekend. We had pruned, which hurt, but then we harvested, which was healing.

How exactly is presenting two easily disproven claims about the Targum Neofiti raising the bar for doctrinal fidelity and clarity?  Wouldn't a sermon explaining the development of Trinitarian thought in early Christianity have been possible without leaning on Gerry Breshears' alleged discovery?

Now having a statement made in a sermon series that hasn't been thoroughly fact-checked the week of, okay, that's an understandable mistake that can happen from the pulpit.  Such things are unfortunate but to err is human, right.  But between that sermon in 2008 and the publication of the book in 2010 why did no one spot in the review/fact-checking process that these claims by Driscoll/Breshears were, at best, speculative and at worst patently wrong? It's not as though Christian Brady hadn't debunked all the points Driscoll tried to make about and with the Targum Neofiti the same year the sermon got preached.

Well, perhaps all that was simply a mistake on the part of Driscoll/Breshears.  And Driscoll has noted recently that some mistakes were made and the Trial study guide got pulled.  Whoever gets the job of editorial manager will have to oversee fact-checking to make sure these sorts of factual errors don't make it into the finished products.  If Warren Throckmorton's chart is an indicator of the books published by Driscoll (with or without Breshears) in the past, there may be a lot to be vigilant about in the fact-checking department.  Heidelblog fielded the egregious error of Driscoll/Breshears claiming that Arminius was the son-in-law of Calvin.  The problem is not necessarily how many factual errors ended up in the Driscoll books but how utterly wrong those factual errors were and how easily they could have been headed off at the pass before publication. 

Peruse the chart Throckmorton has posted as you see fit. 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

new job openings at MH opened in the last month, at least according to indeed . com

We've been on a semi-sabbatical here at Wenatchee The Hatchet but it's not for a lack of interest in writing.  There's a few things simmering on back burners but we can get readers up to speed on a few interesting job openings that have popped up at the local brand.  We can take them roughly in reverse chronological order.

Executive Pastor-University District

http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8a699b98420908cc0142106ed7fd5632&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
1 day ago
... Pastor Sutton Turner, Executive Pastor and Executive Elder to Pastor Mark Driscoll has provided an insightful look into our perspective on the Executive Pastor role at Mars Hill Church. As the author of Invest Your Gifts for His Mission, he will discuss the principles from this book with top candidates for this position. So, we encourage all candidates to be prepared to complete our job application by first reading Invest Your Gifts for His Mission.

So there's Turner's book to buy and read if you're interest in this position, which may have been vacant for quite some time.

http://marshill.com/udistrict
http://web.archive.org/web/20130211021732/http://marshill.com/udistrict

Andrew Lisi formerly had this position
listed in screen captures via The Wayback Machine up through about May 3, 2013
http://web.archive.org/web/20130503160359/http://marshill.com/udistrict

Lisi is currently pastor of Community Groups at Mars HIll West SEattle
http://marshill.com/pastors/andrew-lisi

Also of note, Matt Johnson was listed as Senior Managing Editor and Pastor at MH U-District up through December 4, 2013

There happens to be a job opening for
Editorial Manager
http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8a75db204460250d0144666e24637e84&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
2 days ago

... The program you’ll run has a vast audience, and includes both employee-facing content and customer-facing content. The channels include two blogs; newsletters; and an employee-facing intranet (coming soon). And the content you’ll lead ranges from blog posts, news stories from our churches and events, marketing/promotional content, internal communications, infographics, etc.

Your editorial talent and leadership is of paramount importance, but a experience in overseeing the day-to-day workflow of a digital editorial process is required, including the development and management of content in all formats from assigning through editing, copyediting, fact-checking, optimization, QA, publishing and measurement. In short, you’ve worked in a dynamic and integrated content publishing environment. You understand the best practices of maximizing content across platforms and audiences, and you’re capable of identifying opportunities for leveraging content across multiple channels— including print, tablet, newsletter, social and web. And you’re a born diplomat, comfortable and adept at building and strengthening client relationships.

An employee-facing intranet sounds like something they might want a Software Development Engineer for ... maybe?  That's quite a list of things to do. 

Then there's this job
Human Resources Manager-Compensation and Benefitshttp://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8ad8db0b446c596b014470916b6c140d&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
2 days ago

It's just for compensation and benefits, apparently. Perhaps it's a sign of how large their human resources branch has become that there needs to be a position filled that just deals with compensation and benefits?  Moving along, this might be a job that's been open for months.

Software Development Engineerhttp://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8a699b9841895e140141b7d058a05c4b&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
4 days ago

We noted that this job opened up in a post from November 10, 2013
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/11/mars-hill-is-looking-for-software.html

It looks like one David Anderson is Lead Software Engineer for Mars Hill Church these days:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/dmanders
Lead Software Engineer
Mars Hill Church 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
February 2012 – Present (2 years 2 months) Greater Seattle Area


So the Software Development Engineer may have been filled and vacated or it may have been vacant since November 2013.  According to a search in indeed.com the job of the SDE got posted 4 days ago.  But this job may be tough to fill seeing as it involves designing a next generation social media type system from the ground up.  Given the Connect Accounts and the existing role of The City it may be a new platform is intended to integrate all these existing systems or to replace them.  It remains to be seen. 

Another job that got posted recently, it seems, has to do with product development:

Project Specialist - Product Developmenthttp://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8a699b9841895e140141b7cc020a5a59&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
4 days ago

Another position that has a recent job listing on indeed.com is:

Creative Director
http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8a699b9841895e140141aa03263614c0&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
4 days ago

Colin Day had this role up until October 2013

http://www.linkedin.com/in/imcolin
Creative Director
Mars Hill Church 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
October 2010 – October 2013 (3 years 1 month)

Creative thought leadership for a non-profit organization that runs 14 churches, a publishing company, record label, and a leadership blog that receives close to 7 million visits annually. Set the creative vision for a team of over 20 writers, designers, filmmakers, and coders. Developed branding for products, sermon series, national conferences, and special events–including one event that drew over 21,000 people across 4 states, and over 50,000 people watching online. Built a collaborative workflow for the entire department and pitched new work regularly to executives–all of this in a highly results-driven environment.

Someone who had the job of Creative Director at Mars Hill Church from January 2005 to August 2012 is Jesse Bryan:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/jessebryan
Creative Director
Mars Hill 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
January 2005 – August 2012 (7 years 8 months) Seattle

Bryan was interviewed here.  For a video interview including Jesse Bryan before the launch of MH Portland or the OC you can find a link to it here. Bryan explained how films for individual campuses would help people get to know various campuses and feel they have a part in the story of the church (campus and network seem to be implied).

Another job listing is ...

Live Broadcast Video Producer
http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8a699b984433d7f40144471cdf041e26&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
10 days ago
The job description has a coda that includes "... we receive an overwhelming number of candidates for these amazing opporunities ... ."

Might want to reconsider applying for this one unless you've got concrete evidence of your skills.
Ditto for this one ...

Video Producer
http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8a699b9843f6237b014418da13db5bbf&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
11 days ago
They're swamped with applicants for this one, it seems.

Going a bit further back there's ...

Event Manager
http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8acda11043f600e20143f9580e4b179f&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
13 days ago
... The Events Manager will be part of the Marketing and Communications team and will drive conferences and events for both Mars Hill Church and The Resurgence. We’re looking for a driver and a visionary more than an administrator. ...

A little bit further back and there's ...
Head of Security
http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8ad64ec643f5e1690144190cbd45458d&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
19 days ago

A bit further back and ...
Construction Manager
http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8acda11043f600e20143f9580e4b179f&source=Indeed&source=Indeed
26 days ago


So that's quite a few jobs that, at least according to indeed.com, have had job listings posted in the last 30 days.  But as you may have seen from the various links some of these jobs have been vacant, dormant, or not quickly filled for some time.  There may not have been an executive pastor at MH U-District since about May 2013.