Saturday, January 03, 2015

looking back on a few years worth of blogging--Mark Driscoll and the allure of legacy

Wenatchee The Hatchet may have written five to ten books worth of the history of Mars Hill and the life and times of its leadership.  It will be nice to set that aside for a while and get the blog back to the stuff it was originally intended to be about.  Now that the corporation is moving toward dissolution that may get to happen.  It will be kind of a relief that traffic to the blog will go down.

There have been and will be many attempts to figure out what we can all learn from this stuff with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill.  But what lessons we learn may depend entirely on what we were or weren't looking for to begin with.  For conservatives and liberals alike there might be a question of how a church like Mars Hill emerged within a somewhat liberal and secular city like Seattle.  That was, in its way, not all that difficult to imagine.  Seattle is a hub of tech and university and aviation development.  Wenatchee The Hatchet ended up in Seattle for college and had heard about Mars Hill being a place where someone who was theologically conservative but culturally broad-minded could go and probably feel at home.  So if you weren't a dispensationalist and held to scripture being inspired but also actually liked movies by Satoshi Kon and dug avant garde classical music then Mars Hill was a place you could go. Or at least that's how it started for some blogger. 

***

It would be necessary to stress at this point that in the early days of Mars Hill a good deal of its appeal didn't lay in Driscoll himself but in the way Driscoll was complemented by Mike Gunn and Lief Moi.  Driscoll came across like a self-aggrandizing frat boy loudmouth whose idea of a "counterculture" was a standard-issue middle class whitebread American dream.  It's not that that's necessarily even a terrible thing, really, so much as that Driscoll was grating in the way he presented that lifestyle as countercultural just because Mars Hill was set in Seattle.

On the other hand, Gunn and Moi had observable roles in the Seattle scene.  Gunn was with Athletes in Action and interacting with the college scene and Moi, with his construction businesses and radio presence, had something of the street scene covered.  While Driscoll would go on about Braveheart you could talk to Mike Gunn about Spike Lee films.  Moi bought and renovated the Paradox to bring back an all-ages scene. One of the great mistakes of coverage over the last eighteen years was to fixate on Driscoll as the central appeal.  He was the focal point and he made sure of that, but to understand the appeal of Mars Hill in the earlier years it's necessary for someone to articulate that Driscoll's presence and style was what slowed some of us down from committing.  It wasn't Mark I was particularly struck by early on so much as Gunn and Moi.  If they were willing to work with this other guy ... maybe this other guy could grow up ... eventually.

***

But if one were to try to distill the length and breadth of Driscoll's appeal for those to whom he made the appeal then that appeal would be "legacy".  Mark Driscoll wants a legacy, he wants people to want to leave a legacy.  He wasn't going to settle for being just some local church pastor even before he founded Mars Hill.  Even before its launch he was sharing a vision of a movement that started a Bible college or a seminary, that started a music label, that started a publishing company, that hosted conferences and planted churches.  Driscoll could not honestly tell anyone in early 2014 that any of what had transpired in the prior 18 years was "not even close" to what he had initially envisioned when preparing to launch Mars Hill Fellowship..  In fact nothing could be further from the truth for Driscoll to have said "not even close" because it was only in the last two years that Mars Hill was finally appearing to get within spitting distance of all the things Mark had been vision-casting for the church to accomplish since its birth. 

The allure of a legacy hardly needs an explanation does it?  But in Driscoll's case it might because while it's tempting for people to say Driscoll focused on young men at the expense women (very true) it can be easy to miss what may have been the potency of the appeal.  It can be easy to forget what the appeal for all those young guys might have been, legacy.  Driscoll never successfully bridged the gap between the ideal of manliness he espoused and his actual life in the long run and that was probably going to hurt him but it was only going to hurt him because we live in an era in which one's mystique can be dismantled so quickly, especially if one were to pile up so much broadcast and social media content that the mystique collapses under the weight of a person's actual life and conduct. 

Many people have described many tipping points.  Some have cited the 2007 by-laws being changed.  That was a significant political change but it can be easy for insiders to fixate on that at the cost of understanding that there was something crucial that was not compromised by any of that, and that would be the public narrative.  Let's think of that narrative as the public legacy. 

Either the decade-long narrative Mark Driscoll sold from the pulpit about life with his wife was a fantasy that didn't match reality ... or the narrative in Real Marriage didn't correspond to what really happened ... but it wasn't practically possible for both sweeping narratives to be equally true.  One had to be more true than the other and the poison in the 2012 narrative was that it stopped discussing the legacy of Mars Hill as the legacy of a people working together on a mission (Confessions of a Reformission Rev) and instead recast the entire narrative of the people of Mars Hill into the story of Mark and Grace Driscoll fixing their marriage and anything and everything that was done in or to Mars Hill as a community that furthered that end was justifiable. 

So, yeah, from the standpoint of insiders who saw how power was wielded 2007 was a watershed, but then so was 2001-2002 when Driscoll decided to blow everything up and introduce strategic chaos to see who with the leadership mojo would rise to the top.  But since within this period Driscoll controlled the narrative, too, neither of these may have been big shifts.

On the other hand, there is a sense in which those who say the arrival of Sutton Turner in 2011 was a game-changer were right.  Sutton Turner was even newer to the Christian faith and by various admittedly anecdotal accounts even less competent in biblical literature than Munson could sometimes be.  Munson may not have ever been deemed preacher enough to even preach sermons but at least he was homegrown and one of the earliest disciples who converted under Driscoll's preaching.  That so many men who plugged into leadership were Christian (or Christian again) because of Mark Driscoll's preaching should have been a red flag.  It wasn't, not for the majority of us.  But that gets us back to Sutton, because Sutton was probably the next logical step in a Driscollian ethos, the go-getter entrepreneurial sort for whom Jamie Munson's "you can't teach hustle" axiom may have been even more true. Rumors spread that either Munson ticked off Turner or that Munson had quit over the stress of managing Mars Hill.  In either event what seems beyond dispute is that Munson did not have hustle enough to keep being in leadership at Mars Hill but then again Munson's avoided ever explaining on record why he quit and whether or not it was a voluntary decision.

But as macabre quips about Sutton Turnover or the Hatchet Man began to slowly circulate, and Sutton Turner explained to journalists his job was basically to do for Mark Driscoll all the things Mark Driscoll didn't want to be bothered with there was only so much momentum that could be sustained.  If that was Sutton Turner's on the record way of describing himself then whatever he did that may have been perceived as punitive or arbitrary or alienating within the leadership culture of Mars Hill could still be traced in some way back to Driscoll. 

So people who locate the shift in 2011 have this going for them, they can point us to a narrative that has emerged from piles of documents leaked to bloggers and to the press, with Sutton Turner came a new era in executive leadership at Mars Hill.  This was not the era of early 2008 when Mark Driscoll could declare that doubt about the love of the executive elders for the rank and file was "a demonic lie" to a closed-door leaders-only session and have it be received.  This was a new era in which Driscoll was more remote not only from the regular attenders by way of more video screens and a week-delay sermon; this was also a Driscoll who moved to Woodway and yet kept going on about urban ministry and loving the city with the implication that he was still even living in Seattle. 

As the Driscolls prepared to promote their marriage book another shift happened.  The pulpit was now revolving around not a book of the Bible but Mark and Grace Driscoll's book.  A detail that no outsider would be expected to know, and a detail that even many insiders might not have spotted was that Real Marriage was basically the third or fourth time Mark was recycling his Song of Songs spiel from the pulpit.  As people came and went through Mars Hill who would have heard the 1998 Sacred Romance series?  The 2001 Proverbs series with its salacious "Lovemaking" sermon?  Or even heard of the 2007 Scotland sermon?  Peasant Princess from 2008?  ... Maybe ... but by 2012 a person could still reach the conclusion that Mark was starting recycle and rebrand his greatest hits in the way that preachers do, the preachers who Driscoll warned against, the types who ran out of anything new or cogent or helpful to say who leaned on the old standbys.  For Driscoll it was sex and marriage, which was part of the legacy concern.

And in that way it became more awkwardly apparent to people who stayed at Mars Hill for ten or more years that this legacy stuff was starting to sound less like something we were all working toward and coming to understand together and a whole lot more like a legacy whose definitions and measurements were increasingly and more vehemently defined by the legacy-seller himself. 

But for those of us who signed on, we thought we were participating in what we were told would be a positive legacy of influencing the region for Jesus.  This was a legacy in which and for which generations could interact.  It was exciting when people with actual gray hair were involved with Mars Hill because then it wasn't just 20-something types in the Clinton era during a dot-com boom trying to see if they could find some different way of doing or being church from whatever backgrounds we did or didn't have.  We didn't know enough church history or theology to realize we were just reinventing a whole series of wheels but maybe for someone like Mark Driscoll reinventing the wheel wasn't even a problem so long as you didn't tell him that's all he was doing.  Maybe he was able to persuade himself and the rest of us along the way that even if we were reinventing the wheel THIS WAS SEATTLE where the wheel had never really been introduced before.  Maybe ... .

And let's get back to those young men, many of whom are not so young twenty years on.  Social psychologist Roy Baumeister proposed that what makes men valuable to society is their paradoxical disposability.  You could kill have the men in a generation and there'd be enough penises to sire a new generation.  If half the women in a generation died for any reason at all, the culture is as good as dead.  But modern American society can be considered in some sense not just post-modern but post-industrial.  We're reaching a stage in Seattle where unemployment gets highest for the 16-20 bracket and boys may have it worse than girls.  Driscoll used to appeal to guys who could be yelled at to tune in, check in, and step up in contrast to the older hippy mottos of the past. 

That Driscoll's appeal depended in part on a generational animosity that simultaneously leveraged father figures in the form of older men who were willing to back him was a paradoxical heart to his appeal.  Driscoll spent hours explaining how our fathers had failed us and how that generation had selfishly placed personal gratification over other goods and he didn't exactly have father figures flanking him at the start of Mars Hill but Mike and Lief could be seen as fathers because they were fathers, and in that sense Driscoll kind of set up the example he was inviting young men to shoot for. 

But the early Driscoll years were during the Clinton years, when the dot-com bubble had not yet burst, when sub-prime lending and variable interest rates had not quite emerged or brought forth the bubble that burst in 2008.  Driscoll and Mars Hill 1.0 men could benefit greatly from a series of unusual economic and social circumstances that don't exist any longer and the pull yourself up by your bootstraps by help of the Gospel approach that Driscoll refined was in some sense a mere accident of macroeconomics in the United States at the turn of the century.  There might have been a lot of talk about "living in community" and single guys renting every spare room in the Driscoll house but it turns out that in the long run the ideal was Driscolls alone living in a house nobody could find without prior permission and for which the house was paid for by the patriarch.  For those of us who were already used to extended family situations or a few housemates of simple economic necessity the "community" part seemed like a more serious commitment than it turned out to actually be.  We may have just convinced ourselves there was a principle to this life in community thing when for someone like Driscoll, in the long run, it may have been pragmatism.

Wenatchee The Hatchet wonders now whether the way to frame the social crisis is to say that we've been forced to ask which of two options makes the most sense:  Did Mark Driscoll sincerely believe in the ideals of truth, beauty, meaning and community he used to extol and then just forget about them along the way amidst refining his brand?  Or did Mark Driscoll never quite convince himself of any of these things?  Did he just find them useful as buzzwords that would appeal to ambitious 20-somethings kind of like himself?  It made sense to reach out to the musicians and the artists because Mark Driscoll would go on to talk about reaching all the culture-makers.  Reach all the people who would go "upstream" and define the culture of the future and you'd basically won the war. 

Yep, war.  Progressives and secularists managed to see through this part more clearly than evangelicals did but it may be asserted that Mark Driscoll was always ultimately going to drift toward some culture war polemic.  Tilting more overtly toward a formal battle them was what seemed to happen with A Call to Resurgence and showing up on Glenn Beck.  What was supposed to be resurging again?  What was his thing?  Get the young guys to man up and be responsible.  Because if you get the young men you get everything, the women, the real estate, the kids, the culture.  You don't get the young men you get nothing. 

How do you get the young men?  Promise them a legacy.  Promise them a legacy in a cultural setting where thanks to education and information access any one average teenage boy can get the distinct impression he's making no impact on a society and that boy will commit and if he won't you don't want to waste your time on him anyway.  Dead Men, William Wallace II.  You had to figure out which of these guys would be inspired by the verbal beating to try harder and you'd keep those guys.  You'd keep the guys who knew they may be disposable anywhere else and then invite them to join the mission.  Tell them that you can't do this without them and tell them that this is their legacy.  Tell them this is the legacy they'll be able to share with their kids and grandkids that made the city a better place. 

The neo-Reformed bromides about the crisis in masculinity over the last decade were just more grist for the mill.  There might eventually be a housing bubble and there might eventually be a decline in the median age of first marriage to a point resembling late marriage rates from the Great Depression but if you were doing this Driscoll style you put everything on the individual man.  Don't grant any concession to shifts in the labor or tech markets. 

Let's play with the four concepts that were popular early on.  truth. beauty, meaning, community.  Let's take them in reverse order.

Community.  For a bunch of youngsters with little earning power and an interest in a legacy of Christian community this was simple.  If Driscoll shared how the Baby Boomer generation had selfishly gratified itself at the expense of subsequent generations then one of the paradoxical ways to affirm a different ethos would be expanding the working definition of family.  Those who praised the Driscolls in the earlier years were impressed by the broad sense of community fostered by the example of the Driscolls.  Since Mark's always said he was an introver who couldn't handle heavy social interaction it would seem that it would have been Grace rather than Mark Driscoll who was capable of sustaining a host and hospitality approach that would have fostered community.  In fact in the 2005 book Confessions Driscoll admitted that at times he resented his wife's engagement as hostess and party-host and having the Driscoll house be the social hub of the church because it gave him less time with her where she could just be his wife. Yet years later in story after story the hospitality of the Driscolls was considered a focal point for Mars Hill as a nascent community.

Meaning.  Meaning seems simple enough in Christian theological terms but "meaning" could piggy back on the "what" and the "how" of community.  One of the things that emerged from Mars Hill (though in some sense less from Driscoll than from others) was a more narrative approach to identity.  Perhaps the most articulate and thorough exponent of the idea that our lives can be understood as part of a massive narrative was former Mars Hill pastor James Harleman.  Our lives gain meaning through our individual experiences, perhaps, but chiefly through our identity in Christ which anchors all our being in a meganarrative that moves beyond metanarrative and defines the cosmos itself.  Haven't unpacked that very well or very much but a review of Cinemagogue is probably two years overdue here.  Since in Christian terms this would hinge on truth we may just set it off and get to

Beauty.  It might be hard to overstate the significance of artists and musicians and writers finding the early Mars Hill appealing.  If in an earlier paragraph I mentioned that for a Mark Driscoll it might be crucial to get all the culture-shapers of tomorrow on your team, for someone interested in participating in the arts being at a church that was broadly evangelical but in which there were virtually no preconceptions about what a Christian "ought" to be doing in the arts, things could be fun. Maybe for Mark Driscoll the dream of starting a music label was a prestige thing, a status thing.  For actual musicians and artists and writers within Mars Hill it was some other thing.  Yeah, there was the possibility of being in a band and writing lyrics or liturgies or what have you, but there was something else.  Let Wenatchee try to explain it ... .

With the core values of Christian profession being the foundation there was simply no preconceived approach.  Even if you were to suppose the regulative principle as a limit and a few other things, on historical grounds there was still no real basis for claiming that a handful of Presbyterians in Idaho had locked down what kind of music was "robustly Trinitarian."  It wasn't even a given that tonal music was even to be bothered with ... unless it made it easier for people to sing along with, maybe.  In other words, there was room for every possible type and level of debate among Christians interested in the arts and back when Mars Hill was fairly small the artists and musicians could reliably build up enough ideas and interest to run the gamut from screamo punk to rockabilly to neo-Baroque choral music to U2 knock-offs.  The message and teaching of Christ was the unifying element.

Wenatchee The Hatchet had already arrived a generally catholic approach to music.  If in Christ there was no Jew or Greek, slave or free, or male or female then there was surely no high or low, indie or pop, or necessarily even East or West.  Hadn't the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu optimistically mentioned that eventually East-West fusions in music were likely?  Yeah, though Wenatchee will understand if you don't look that up. 

Having sloughed off the late 20th century American premillennial dispensationalist Rapture panic button theology by the late 1990s, what we had an opportunity to explore here was a way for Christians to explore beauty in the arts without any fixed cultural notion of what that "ought" to mean.  We were also in a major port city that featured anime and birthed that big river company that made its mark by being able to deliver startling varieties of books and music to whomever placed orders.  If Driscoll saw this as a region ripe for courting the cultural producers for artists this was still late grunge era and there were art forms exploding with possibilities that the earlier generation hadn't really taken seriously ... but the whole discourse on cartoons should come later.

I might not always get everything Strike Force was doing or where it was coming from but I could lend Jeff Bettger a recording of "Pendulum Music" by Steve Reich and we could compare notes on Arvo Part  I could explain to James Harleman how that Blockbuster-ized edition of Perfect Blue sliced out one of the two murder sequences that were vital to understanding the thematic concerns of Satoshi Kon's film.  The Harlemans could introduce me to Justice League.  I could end up in a debate about aesthetic paradigms and musical form with J.S. and we might disagree but the bit about the community and the meaning and the truth was that we could disagree about the specific interpretations of "beauty" but still have an understanding of where we'd come back to, a shared Christian profession.  I suppose in some sense what Driscoll may have set up with a legacy in mind was, for a while, almost a kind of a weird evangelical Christian art commune in Puget Sound.  Over time it began to seem like the mission was not going to stay the course of "truth, beauty, meaning, community" for very long.  The mission became expansion and then the mission kinda became furthering the mission.  It was as though like banking or real estate bubbles the goal was to simply keep the endless growth going as though there was never going to be any snap, any pop, any swing-change in the pendulum.

Over time it began to seem like the legacy we had been invited to was one we could all explore and discover together but the legacy we were being told to commit to and "re-up" membership to was a legacy more and more defined by the narrative of Mark Driscoll.  Whose lasting legacy were we working toward in the end?  A legacy of Christian service to the Puget Sound area that we hope would make it a better place?  In the last year or so people could be forgiven for beginning to wonder if the lasting legacy their effort and sacrifice had gone into was going to look less like that and maybe a bit more like this. What is this?  Some side company that manages book royalties ... because Driscoll once said he didn't have that kind of side company.

But if Driscoll had had nothing positive to sell no one would have bought in.  No one.  The question is not whether or not something like Mars Hill will happen again.  It inevitable will and it must.  A question that should be asked is how and why anyone thought Mark Driscoll was ever fit for ministry to begin with ... or even ever would be?  A potential answer for that question may come in the form of "legacy".  A whole lot of us were willing to gamble on the idea that Mark Driscoll would eventually become someone competent enough and careful enough and considerate enough to eventually fit into that legacy stuff he was telling us all to work toward. 

Unfortunately ... Driscoll never turned into that guy.  The books and the output overall became so much it seemed too good to be true and it turned out it was.  Driscoll at length turned out to be someone who told guys to not take short cuts and to not cut corners but who turned out to have done all that stuff anyway.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/10/mark-driscoll-in-2001-sermon-on.html

After having preached to others ... it looks like between Result Source Inc and the citation errors ... he didn't really preach to himself.  A shame.  Assuming Driscoll didn't set out to be a charlatan, the man deluded himself into thinking he held on to the principles he espoused from the pulpit.  He was thrust into a celebrity for which he was potentially never quite ready by a publishing industry that found him useful.  Even if we grant "maybe I made a mistake" for so many books Driscoll's legacy necessarily contains the plagiarism scandal and the RSI scandal.  His scandals came to define his ministry and his legacy.

It remains to be seen whether the lately rebranded campuses from Mars Hill will survive and be around in two or three years' time.  With so many questions about the fiscal competence and responsibility of Mars Hill's leadership open-ended there is a sense in which Mark Driscoll's "legacy" is in a no-win scenario.  If the churches survive and get any traction then if it's all about Jesus nothing Mark Driscoll did would warrant any credit.  In fact Mark Driscoll could be stricken from the whole history of all the recently re:branded and re:launched churches as though he never planted any of them ... which is technically true.  Yet if the churches founder and close it might suggest that all that kept them going was the power of Mark Driscoll's brand.  That could make it seem as though things were built not on a foundation of Christ but ultimately on a cult of personality.

And from a formal standpoint, Lasting Legacy LLC has already outlasted the church that was planted that was supposed to change the city for Jesus.  That's a weird and paradoxical legacy.



Well, that post is probably the way to wrap up a blogging year.  Starting tomorrow it's officially 2015 for Wenatchee The Hatchet, finally.

POSTSCRIPT

Or ... not ... since Lasting Legacy LLC expires in April but the corporation known as Mars Hill doesn't hit its expiration date until December 31, 2015.

http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=601677819
MARS HILL CHURCH
UBI Number 601677819
Filing Date 12/22/1995
Expiration Date 12/31/2015
A lesson to be learned here is a literary sense of irony should not be preferred over government registered dates!

The year after CT's "The Survivor" profile on Mark Driscoll looks at how he went from a doctor to a naturopath, the 2008 warfare session Q&A mentions his taking 25 vitamins a day and getting IV shots.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/02/mark-driscolls-eye-twitch-naturopath.html

Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship & life togetherMark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson
(c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0 (ie)
page 208

I had multiple stress-related symptoms--heartburn, headaches, nervous eye twitch, aggressive driving, constant low-level anger, high blood pressure, and self-medicating with foods and drinks packed with fat, sugar, and simple carbohydrates, along with caffeine.

Perhaps a few months after things had reached this level, a godly friend in the church, named Jon, scheduled a meeting with me. God had laid it on his heart to speak some wisdom into my life. He did so with great humility, and in that meeting he gave me some insights that were life changing.  [emphasis added]
Jon had been taking notes on how he organized his life, things he had learned, and what he felt the Holy Spirit had asked him to tell me. His wisdom was a priceless gift. He called it "Reverse Engineering." The big idea is to anticipate life forward and live it backward.  ... For my health I found a doctor named John who was a naturopath and ordained pastor and started doing what he told me to do, which has changed my life. 

http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/january/survivor.html

...  Put my head down, worked seven days a week. I preached, gosh, 48 or 50 Sundays a year, five or six times a Sunday, an hour or more per sermon. And I traveled to speak, to make ends meet, because I was still supplementing my income. I didn't even have a full-time assistant until we hit 6,000. And by then my wife and I had five kids.

It was go, go, go, and at some point my body just couldn't go anymore. I once had an old car and the ignition would get stuck. You'd have to literally pop the hood and disconnect the battery to make it stop. I was like that car. I couldn't shut down. I couldn't sleep. I'd fall asleep for an hour, wake up, and then be up all night. I'd be exhausted but unable to sleep. I had adrenal fatigue.

What finally happened?

First I went to a conventional doctor, who told me I needed blood pressure meds, heartburn medicine, sleep medicine, anxiety medicine. I'm like, Man, I'm in my 30s. That's a lot of medicine! [emphasis original] So I went and found a naturopathic doctor, who said, "You need to quit your job and find a different vocation."
 
http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/january/survivor.html?start=2

I said, "Well, Jesus said to do this, so that's not really an option."  So I found another naturopathic doctor. He gave me supplements, vitamins, minerals, IV treatments for adrenal support, and custom tailored vitamins. He put me on a regimen for wellness and recovery. His approach was to naturally rebuild the body, to not just treat the symptoms. He told me, "You've got to work really hard to change your lifestyle and your organization, everything."

And what did this start to look like?

http://castroller.com/podcasts/MarsHillChurch3/1599379
Spiritual Warfare
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Part 4 Q&A

35:29
I'll tell you what this looks like for me. My doctor is trained in naturopath and traditional medicine in Eastern and Western. He loves Jesus. I mean I go in for IV treatments. Just for additional vitamins and minerals and supplements I take 25 vitamins a day. [emphasis added] We do blood work. I work out. I read my Bible. I pray. I sleep. I, you know, drink so many ounces of water a day. Get time with my wife and kids. Proper physical [and] emotional affection from my family. Time with my friends. Silence and solitude. My whole life is integrated and if the body's off the mind is effected, if the mind is off the soul is effected. Everything works together and so for me it's having an integrated approach to my walk with God.

A lot of the stories Driscoll recounted about his roller coaster health suggests he may have risked (or actually arrived at) caffeine dependency.  Even if we were to bracket off Mark Driscoll's accounts of spiritual attacks altogether his caffeine use, sleep deprivation, and other health problems might suggest he was overdue for a full medical and possibly a psychological evaluation for some time.  While Driscoll's formal profession of the importance of viewing life as an integrated whole is commendable the majority of testimony Driscoll gave about himself is that he's never really been assessed by a professional psychologist or gotten much by way of counseling.  This introduces the somewhat unnerving possibility that Driscoll spent nearly twenty years in ministry doing his thing without ever once having been on the receiving end of the kind of counsel he's given to others or the kind of counsel he at one point was instructing Mars Hill pastors to use in dealing with members and attenders of Mars Hill Church.

And ironically, it would seem after feeling it would be weird to take a lot of doctor prescribed medications in his 30s as he recounts his 2007 thinking in a 2014 interview, turns out that by early 2008 he was sharing with Mars Hill leaders he was taking twenty-five vitamins a day. It's as though so long as the door to a jaw-dropping regime of pills and shots was prefixed with "naturopath" instead of conventional doctor Mark Driscoll was okay with it.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 5 commentary 6 "don't believe the demonic lie that I don't care" CF 2007 "You either got on the bus or get run over by the bus. Those are the two options but the bus ain't gonna stop."

The first thing that seems relevant to share is that as tempting as it may be for some readers or listeners to think all the stuff Mark Driscoll said on February 5, 2008 was some long con and that he doesn't believe in any of this stuff, you probably didn't listen to the nearly 3.5 hours, did you?  Nobody goes on at such astonishing length about topics they neither care about nor believe in, do they?  Not even in entertainment. 

The sincerely of Mark Driscoll has never really been a question.  Driscoll's motives, as such, have not even been inherently important.  Let's reframe this in light of something readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet will already know is a pet subject, biblical literature.  The biblical authors expressed relatively little interest in expounding on the interior monologues and emotional highs and lows of figures described in the biblical texts.  We're nowhere near Dostoevsky or confessional memoirs. No, the biblical authors tended to focus chiefly on what people said and what people did and that summation accounted for their character, good or bad.  So for the purposes of Wenatchee The Hatchet speculating as to Mark Driscoll's sincerity in his teaching on spiritual warfare isn't relevant.

On the other hand, the social and political framework within which Driscoll spoke is relevant. 

Don't believe the demonic lie that I don't care. I founded this church in my living room. Many who are on staff I had the privilege of leading to Christ and baptizing.

Let's propose that Mark Driscoll would not have said those sentences in a vacuum.  He wouldn't have told pastors and deacons to not believe the demonic lie that he didn't care unless he thought there might be any reason at all for them to actually think that.  Why might people wonder whether or not Mark Driscoll cared about the "ground war" or the rank and file?  At the risk of pointing out the obvious

http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2012/06/mark-driscoll-brags-about-pile-of-bodies-behind-mars-hills-bus.html

"There's a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus and by God's grace it'll be a mountain before we're done." 

Something like that. At the top of October Driscoll talked about a pile of dead bodies and how two guys weren't on mission so they were unemployed.  In November Driscoll preached the Scotland sermon.  Though he'd wrapped up a lot of writing for Death By Love as far back as 2006 he had transitioned into preparing it for publication with Breshears as a co-author. 

Mars Hill was also preparing to expand and grow.  Driscoll seemed to sense that there was a real risk of dissent from within the church and was willing to frame that dissent in terms of diabology.  But he didn't go so far as to demonize opposition in any direct way.  Instead what he did was he framed a general discussion of spiritual warfare in terms of practical (or theoretically practical) considerations about individual counseling and solidarity within Mars Hill leadership. 

But a lot of that push for solidarity seemed to come in the form of warning of wolves within and of infiltrators.  It was not a given that even a deacon was even really a Christian, for instance.  And just a few months earlier it had transpired that even two elders (Meyer and Petry) who Mark Driscoll seemed to have personally recruited into taking up ministry had turned out to not be on mission and were thus fired.  If there were reasons leaders might wonder if Mark Driscoll really cared or not it might be because some of the men whom Mark Driscoll had recruited into ministry were the men Mark Driscoll had thrown under the bus.  Some of the men who heard the February 5, 2008 teaching on spiritual warfare, Satan and demons would have also been present for the "here's what I've learned" speech.

In later 2007 Driscoll would regale members with an account of how he nearly died from health problems and of how a couple of men were standing in the way of progress for the church.  But in the infamous "bus" audio Driscoll also made it clear that the people who weren't on board were going to get thrown off the bus or get thrown under the bus and run over by the bus.

If Mark Driscoll had any reason to wonder why maybe, just maybe, there were doubts about whether or not he and the other executive leaders of Mars Hill loved the people of Mars Hill in general or even cared about their welfare it would seem like a reasonable proposal to suggest that some people heard what kinds of things Mark Driscoll was willing to say to fellow leaders behind closed doors and have reason to doubt.

Even within the 2008 session Driscoll had earlier categorized doubt about the motives of the executive elders as belief in a demonic lie.  It might have been easier to quell doubts and insecurities from the lower level leaders about Driscoll's approach if he hadn't made a couple of explicit statements literally and figuratively demonizing dissent. 







2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 5 commentary 5 Clinton Arnold CV and the book Driscoll referenced is now available on Kindle


I recommend that they keep a journal to record lies and accusations. Write `em down as they come so they can remember, "I believed this junk." And if they're married I them, "Go to your spouse and ask them, `Is this true? Am I an idiot? Am I a failure? Did Jesus not die for me? Should I kill myself?" Let people who love Jesus confirm and then I give them some recommended reading. Parts of the Bible, Clinton Arnold's book Answers to Three Questions About Spiritual Warfare. Things of that nature.

Along the remarkably sprawling session Mark Driscoll referenced a Clinton Arnold.  By 2008 the book Three Questions About Spiritual Warfare was apparently out of print. But ... it's now available in a Kindle edition and if you want to get some sense of who Clinton Arnold is ...

or a CV go over here  http://www.talbot.edu/faculty/profile/clinton_arnold/ ]

http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-Questions-about-Spiritual-Warfare/dp/0801057841

One of the things about keeping a journal is that it might have mixed results.  Was it in one of the cantos of Edmund Spenser's The Faeirie Queene that one person said to another that venting frustrations could ease their pain, to which the second person said that, yes, it could be giving voice to grief can distill its sorrow (i.e. "I might cry even more if I try to actually describe what just happened")?  Well ... anyway ... from that it may be proposed that a danger in journaling stuff might be that it cements conviction of things a pastor or counselor might consider lies.  It might be said that for those struggling with depression that keeping a journal might make things worse, that a person could get caught in the feedback loop of expressing their depression in ways that reinforce it. 

When Wenatchee The Hatchet has intermittently dealt with depression one intermittently useful adaptive strategy has been not to focus on depression or its potential or actual causes but to compose music.  The idea is to take up some kind of productive activity that redirects the mind and body. 

But we were discussing Clinton Arnold ... right?  Well, anyway, the name-dropping may just have to suffice because Wenatchee The Hatchet does have limits. It's not like transcribing maybe sixty percent of Mark Driscoll's 2008 spiritual warfare session was a walk in the park.

One last aside, though.  When Driscoll mentioned "ask the spouse", it's hard not to remember a story in which Mark Driscoll solicited Grace's thoughts on which person in the book of Ruth Mark Driscoll most resembled.

http://marshill.com/en/transcript/redeemingruth/gods-hand-in-our-suffering
January 7, 2007
Redeeming Ruth
Part 1: God's Hand in Our Suffering
Ruth 1:1-1:22


Let me wrap all of this up. As your pastor, who loves you very much – I say that sincerely – would you be as honest as Naomi today, and would you acknowledge that your life and mine are like Naomi and Ruth’s stories in which the providential hand of God is at work, in which he calls us to be honest and to run to him and one another as God’s people, to work out those parts of our life that we consider afflictions, but not yet have received them as sanctified? And would you identify yourself with someone in the story – who are you? How many of you, you’re Elimelech-ish? You’re Elimelech-ish. Elimelech is the guy – Everything falls apart. It looks dark. It looks bad. He takes a poll. He makes a plan. He decides Moab has a lower cost of living. Moab has more vocational opportunity. Moab has food on the table – I will make a plan. I will be the sovereign. I will take care of everything. Trust me, I know what I’m doing. He leads well. He plans well. He tries to be the sovereign. Everybody dies anyways.

I am Elimelech. I asked my wife, “Which one am I?” Oh, my wife – she didn’t even breathe. Didn’t even take a breath. “Oh, you’re Elimelech.” And his name means what? My God is King! That was me. If you ask me, Jesus, sovereign, Lord, King, God, and if I ever need ‘em, I’ll call, but I don’t think I do ‘cause I got this all taken care of. Elimelech-ish.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 5 commentary 4 "That's why CCEF, I brokered that deal" can someone explain what the CCEF deal was that Mark Driscoll said he brokered?


Many of you represent the heart of the ground war. The ground war matters more to me than it does to you. Don't believe the demonic lie that I don't care. I founded this church in my living room. Many who are on staff I had the privilege of leading to Christ and baptizing.

Many of you in this room I've counseled, met with, officiated your weddings. The day has come to where it is I'm incapable of doing all the ground war but I care more than you do. I care more than you do. I love our people. I care for our people. I'm concerned for our people.


I want the best for our people. I really want out people to walk in the freedom of the gospel that Jesus has for them. That's why CCEF, I brokered that deal. [emphasis added] That's why the biblical training and the reliving and the reorganization, I spearheaded that. And I'm not saying in pride, "Look what I've--" what I'm saying is this, "You and me, we work together." That's what I want you to know. When you sit down with somebody in a community group or Redemption Group; or you sit down with them to counsel them in an office, or your home, or over coffee; and I stand up here and I preach and teach and write; you know what? We're working together. I love `em. You love `em. I'm doing my part.  You're doing your part. I'm hitting the masses, you're hitting the individuals and groups. I care at least as much as you do for them and I'm trusting them to you to love them, to pray for them, to care for them, and to shepherd them to point them to Jesus. It is work that I used to do almost exclusively and now there's just too many of them and I can't and it doesn't mean I don't care. But it does mean I really appreciate the opportunity to teach and to train and to help you guys think biblically because I want our people to be well-served and cared for and it means the world to me.

Can someone explain what the CCEF reference was?  The circa 2006 conference on How People Change? Time flies by and it's not always easy for even Wenatchee The Hatchet to recall what the CCEF thing was.

Naturally comments are open for this one but do be nice and keep them on topic. :)

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 5 commentary 3 a historical question of which "Pastor Tim" at Mars Hill had done demonic trials by February 2008


52:21
Number eleven--part of this, too, is I'll say this, don't try this on your own. I've done this. Pastor Tim has done this. You don't just grab this sheet of paper and do this. If a counseling issue comes up like this there are a handful of elders who've done this. We may be involved, you can observe first time along. Watch. Learn. See. Don't just start doing this. I'm not giving anyone permission to just do this like, "Cool.  I gotta sheet of paper. Let's go ghostbusting." No [laughter from the audience]. The lies, the accusations, the vain regrets, the ordinary demonic, the temptation, the world, the flesh, all of that [is] normal biblical counseling. That's just using the Gospel. When it gets into having a full trial dealing with demons, speaking to them, make sure you get more than just this lecture.


Now if memory serves in February 2008 there were at least the following guys who could have been colloquially identified as "Pastor Tim"

Tim Smith
Tim Gaydos
Tim Beltz
Tim Quiring

Driscoll never explained which "Pastor Tim" it was but the take away might simply be that the kind of demon trial/inventory Driscoll had been recounting in Part Three of spiritual warfare was something that had already been done by others in ministry at Mars Hill even before February 2008.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 5 commentary 2 "I wrote it with Dr. Gerry Breshears" but in 2006 Driscoll indicated he'd mostly completed Death By Love already

... Last thing and then we'll take a break. In the very, very back in chapter fourteen, I do give you a chapter. I've got a book coming out called Death By Love. It'll be out in October with Crossway. I wrote it with Dr. Gerry Breshears of Western Seminary and what we did was I wrote twelve chapters that are biblical pastoral counseling and what I do is I tell someone's story and then I write them a letter. The Bible's got some letters written to people, I thought it might be an interesting idea. And each chapter, I tell someone's story and then I write them a letter about one aspect of the atoning death of Jesus on the cross and what he's done for them. It comes out of our ministry here at Mars Hill. This is an unpublished (so don't distribute it), this is an unpublished copy of chapter one, "Christus Victor", about a woman who was demonically tormented and I tell her story and I write her a letter explaining in a pastoral way much of what I've taught you today. And my goal there is just to give you an example of what, you know, spiritual warfare, Christ-centered, cross-centered biblical counseling would look like under the doctrine of christus victor. You can read it on your own. I hope it's helpful. It's not yet published so this is not final proof-edited version, Crystal is cleaning all of it up for me, but I give it to you as an example, as an example.

Death By Love would get published and both Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears were listed as co-authors.  One of the things that would eventually get addressed by Warren Throckmorton would be the number of citation problems in the book.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/02/20/mark-driscolls-citation-errors-at-a-glance/

It was in Death By Love that the first uncredited appropriation of concepts coined by Dan Allender occurred.  It was also the book in the easily refuted claim that Arminius was the son-in-law of Calvin was made.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2013/12/16/historical-problems-in-mark-driscolls-death-by-love/

Thanks to R. Scott Clark for having pointed it out.

http://heidelblog.net/2013/12/the-ninth-commandment-and-the-new-media/

More remarkably, Breshears also chunked both the dating and the content of the Targum Neofiti.  Wenatchee The Hatchet has discussed that at some length and that would be material that would have been developed in 2008.  But, again, as Wenatchee The Hatchet has discussed elsewhere, a good deal of Death By Love was written as far back as 2006.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-blast-from-past-resurgence-blog-post.html
 
Driscoll mentioned being mainly done with Death By Love as far back as 9-16-2006.

We are still giving 10 percent of our money to help lead the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. I'm still writing a lot, including a book titled Death by Love on the subject of the cross that is nearing completion.

So if the book was near completion back in 2006 was it just stuff about the Targum Neofiti that was new in 2008? Driscoll's Amyraldian solution to a traditional tension between those who espouse a limited and a limited atonement could be taken up some other time.  The question is about how a book that Driscoll described as nearly done in 2006 entirely by himself transformed by 2008 into a book that was co-authored with Gerry Breshears. 

In fact the whole question of why, when so many authors tended to not get credited the first time around when their materials were relied on (think "Dan Allender") by Mark Driscoll, did Mark Driscoll give Gerry Breshears a co-authorial credit for as many books as he did?  What was the deal there?  We can even ask that literally, was there some kind of deal in that? 

Given how ridiculously ignorant and indefensible Mark Driscoll's unyielding stance on the "navel" has been in Song of Songs against even the most rudimentary working definitions of Hebrew words it's hard to imagine Driscoll has to date provided any material proof that he got a degree in exegetical theology. Unavoidably problematic is the reference to the "navel" of a son in Proverbs 3.  For further discussion on that go back to the following.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/08/real-marriage-in-january-2012-and_30.html

Which is to say that it's never been clear to Wenatchee The Hatchet that Mark Driscoll ever took biblical languages getting his master's degree.  Perhaps his transcript can be fished up to establish if the case has been otherwise and Mark Driscoll actually studied any biblical Hebrew.  Meanwhile, the question of how between Breshears and Driscoll the two of them could chunk something as basic as the Arminius was Calvin's son in law remains a mystery.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 5 commentary 1 "sometimes it's nothing"?


What effects have you had on them? That question is, I'll hear things like: "I gave them this illness. I made `em sick. I made `em depressed." For one person it was, you know, "they'd had multiple surgeries and I keep harming them physically" and after we dealt with it the person was miraculously healed and no more surgeries. Sometimes it's nothing.

First commentary is about this, "Sometimes it's nothing".  What effects has a hypothetical demon had on someone in terms of internal influence or external oppression and ... sometimes ... the answer is ... nothing?

Then how exactly was someone ever going to get to the conclusion that a demon was in any way involved if there was nothing? 

Just sometimes.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 5 the trial continues, checklists, and allusions to forthcoming books and past conferences

http://castroller.com/podcasts/MarsHillChurch3/3711825
Spiritual Warfare
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Christus Victor (Part 3)

48:13
I then ask, "Who sent you?" and I check all this over and over by the white throne. Invariably it's Satan. I know that. That's always the answer but I want `em to say it because I want the counselee to hear, "You know, I can't open this door. If [knocks] there's a knock on my door and I look out--who is it? `uh, Satan sent me.' Don't open the door."

How many associates are working under you?  Three, four, seven.  Sometimes they'll lie and give you a crazy number like they're really powerful. No. Sometimes it's zero. Will that stand as truth before the white throne of God almighty? I wanna know who all's involved here and what we're dealing with.

What effects have you had on them? That question is, I'll hear things like: "I gave them this illness. I made `em sick. I made `em depressed." For one person it was, you know, "they'd had multiple surgeries and I keep harming them physically" and after we dealt with it the person was miraculously healed and no more surgeries. Sometimes it's nothing.

"Do you still hold any ground against them that would keep you from leaving upon command?" Again, they've opened the door. We're gonna repent of sin and kick you out and then shut the door. Is there any reason that if we tell you to leave you don't have to leave because they still want you to be here?  And this is where they have to be 100% honest and totally truthful with repentance. This is where I'll be sitting with a couple and a demon will say, "Yeah. I don't have to go anywhere." Why?  "Well, they haven't told their spouse about the adultery they had last week. It's been going on for years." And the person hears this in their mind and immediately they have two choices--lie and just keep the demon or tell the truth and get rid of it but sometimes they're reticent to get rid of it because they don't want to tell the truth. And so what you're really dealing with here is getting to the root of sin in people's lives and bringing them to repentance because, again, the issue is if you open the door, if you welcomed them in and you refuse to stop living in this way then you have no right to kick them out.

And this is where we get brutally honest with hardcore real repentance. I've had people confess things that would blow your mind. They'll say, "I want the demon gone." Okay, why does it not have to leave? "Well it says it doesn't have to leave cuz I still got a porn stash in my house and I got my bong and, you know, I got my girlfriend and my wife and--"  Well, yeah, you're not a victim here, you opened the door. You invited evil in and until you're willing to repent thoroughly, meaning `get rid of all of this sin', and be honest with your spouse and whomever else needs to know, yeah, a demon's just gonna keep living at your house. They don't have to leave. You're welcoming them. You keep biting the hook.

Once we get all the sin confessed, all the ground cancelled, we get it all cleaned out, I then have them pray after me: In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we command (whatever the spirit and its name is) to leave the person with all your works and effects, all your associates and all their works and effects. Go to the pit immediately (again, I dont want them going to anybody else). We command you in the name of Lord Jesus Christ." And then we pray that the Holy Spirit would fill the space that is has been vacated because if you cast out a demon and the Holy Spirit doesn't come you get seven more demons. And then we do this over and over and over and we work through ALL of the various areas: sexuality, drugs, suicide, depression, spiritual supernatural power, ancestral sin, rape, pedophilia, homosexuality, whatever it is we work through all of it. And then lastly I do a mop up. Of all the spirits that are remaining I command that spirit holding highest authority to step forward and sometimes there's nothing there, we've cleaned up everything, sometimes there's something we've missed. Complete the process.

52:21
Number eleven--part of this, too, is I'll say this, don't try this on your own. I've done this. Pastor Tim has done this. You don't just grab this sheet of paper and do this. If a counseling issue comes up like this there are a handful of elders who've done this. We may be involved, you can observe first time along. Watch. Learn. See. Don't just start doing this. I'm not giving anyone permission to just do this like, "Cool.  I gotta sheet of paper. Let's go ghostbusting." No [laughter from the audience]. The lies, the accusations, the vain regrets, the ordinary demonic, the temptation, the world, the flesh, all of that [is] normal biblical counseling. That's just using the Gospel. When it gets into having a full trial dealing with demons, speaking to them, make sure you get more than just this lecture.


Couple of things, too, number eleven--sometimes the trial can really get bogged down. They're not listening. They're not responding. It's not going well. I stop and we pray and I have the counselee pray with me. We ask the Holy Spirit to enforce the ground rules and to glorify Jesus and punish those who disobey and sometimes I'll just hand the Bible to the counselee and I'll have `em read offensive psalms. God, crush my enemies. Come against those who would do me evil. I'll use Psalm 18, Psalm 27, Psalm 31, Psalm 35, Psalm 83. I'll go in with psalms and occasionally say, "Look, this isn't going so good, just read the Bible." Just pull out the sword, read the Bible. It helps to build the counselee's trust in Scripture and it puts things back in order.

And then, when we're all done, here are my follow-up recommendations. One, I tell them (leaving here) keep short sin accounts with God. If you sin, repent. Don't keep opening the door welcoming everybody--don't do that anymore. If you open the door, repent, kick them out, shut the door. Whatever you're doing keep short, close sin accounts with God.

Number two, pray offensively. In the psalms there are lots of offensive prayers. [note this is a contrast between offense and defense in the verbal delivery, not an allusion to Ps 137 and killing babies] Too many people pray AFTER they've been shot. Pray before you get shot.

Number three.  Read scripture, read scripture, read scripture, read scripture. Dispel the lies with the truth. 

[Number four?] Do not obsess over lies and accusations.  You WILL get lies.  You WILL get accusations. That is [a] normal part of Christian life. Jesus was accused. Jesus was tempted by the enemy, you will be, too. This is normal.  Don't freak out but, when the lie comes, reject it with the truth. When the accusation comes, reject it with the truth. Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice." Keep listening to the voice of Jesus.

[Number five?]
Be in fellowship. The enemy loves to isolate people. Stay close to you friends, to you family, to people who love Jesus. Schedule another appointment if things arise. If something goes crazy let me know. 


[number six?]
Exercise the authority Christ has given you.  You don't need me. I'm not some guru. The same spirit is in you that is in me; the same Bible in my hand is the same Bible in your hand; this is not guru-ism. This is: "what's the truth? what's the lie? where's the sin? where's the repentance? I command you in the name of Jesus to leave me alone. I belong to him and he's forgiven me." You have the same authority I do.


[number seven?]
Be careful to avoid arrogant pride. Don't walk arou--some people do this. They're like, "Yeah, man! I learned a new trick. I can kill demons now." Satan loves pride. He just--you cast the demons out and bit the pride hook which is the big one. You know, that's not what we want.


[number eight?]
I recommend that they keep a journal to record lies and accusations. Write `em down as they come so they can remember, "I believed this junk." And if they're married I them, "Go to your spouse and ask them, `Is this true? Am I an idiot? Am I a failure? Did Jesus not die for me? Should I kill myself?" Let people who love Jesus confirm and then I give them some recommended reading. Parts of the Bible, Clinton Arnold's book Answers to Three Questions About Spiritual Warfare. Things of that nature.


I've got some Q&A in the back for you that you can take with you. Last thing and then we'll take a break. In the very, very back in chapter fourteen, I do give you a chapter. I've got a book coming out called Death By Love. It'll be out in October with Crossway. I wrote it with Dr. Gerry Breshears of Western Seminary and what we did was I wrote twelve chapters that are biblical pastoral counseling and what I do is I tell someone's story and then I write them a letter. The Bible's got some letters written to people, I thought it might be an interesting idea. And each chapter, I tell someone's story and then I write them a letter about one aspect of the atoning death of Jesus on the cross and what he's done for them. It comes out of our ministry here at Mars Hill. This is an unpublished (so don't distribute it), this is an unpublished copy of chapter one, "Christus Victor", about a woman who was demonically tormented and I tell her story and I write her a letter explaining in a pastoral way much of what I've taught you today. And my goal there is just to give you an example of what, you know, spiritual warfare, Christ-centered, cross-centered biblical counseling would look like under the doctrine of christus victor. You can read it on your own. I hope it's helpful. It's not yet published so this is not final proof-edited version, Crystal is cleaning all of it up for me, but I give it to you as an example, as an example.

[goes to a prayer, which Wenatchee the Hatchet isn't going to bother transcribing as a whole.  There are some salient statements within it, however]

58:15
Many of you represent the heart of the ground war. The ground war matters more to me than it does to you. Don't believe the demonic lie that I don't care. I founded this church in my living room. Many who are on staff I had the privilege of leading to Christ and baptizing.

Many of you in this room I've counseled, met with, officiated your weddings. The day has come to where it is I'm incapable of doing all the ground war but I care more than you do. I care more than you do. I love our people. I care for our people. I'm concerned for our people.


I want the best for our people. I really want out people to walk in the freedom of the gospel that Jesus has for them. That's why CCEF, I brokered that deal. That's why the biblical training and the reliving and the reorganization, I spearheaded that. And I'm not saying in pride, "Look what I've--" what I'm saying is this, "You and me, we work together." That's what I want you to know. When you sit down with somebody in a community group or Redemption Group; or you sit down with them to counsel them in an office, or your home, or over coffee; and I stand up here and I preach and teach and write; you know what? We're working together. I love `em. You love `em. I'm doing my part.  You're doing your part. I'm hitting the masses, you're hitting the individuals and groups. I care at least as much as you do for them and I'm trusting them to you to love them, to pray for them, to care for them, and to shepherd them to point them to Jesus. It is work that I used to do almost exclusively and now there's just too many of them and I can't and it doesn't mean I don't care. But it does mean I really appreciate the opportunity to teach and to train and to help you guys think biblically because I want our people to be well-served and cared for and it means the world to me.

an aside about the reported continued use of The City by churches formerly known as Mars Hill

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/01/03/mars-hill-churchs-social-media-still-online/

No surprise.  Ever since Mars Hill sold The City to Zondervan to keep from sinking into the red The City has been a platform used by a lot of churches as a social networking and communication tool.  One of the things that was "probably" handed off to individual campuses/churches in the dissolution and replant process would be the informational infrastructure of City accounts.  Because the resources aren't even owned by Mars Hill in the sense that Zondervan owned The City handing off assets that might include information used by third parties could be sensitive.  It would be easier for things to be kept as close to what they were as possible in a dissolution or hand-off.

If Wenatchee The Hatchet had thought to tag posts dealing with the history of the sale of The City those could get a tag link but, alas, it hasn't happened.
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-selling-city-overview-of-role.html
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/449118717.html

http://marshill.com/media/generous/generous-part-2b#transcript
Part 4 Generous (Part 2B)
December 21, 2008

Pastor Munson:


So, a couple things I want to hit. You guys are all familiar with The City. Anyone not familiar with The City? That’s our custom, social, online network that Pastor Zack Hubert developed. This is real exciting. We were able to build this in-house. It’s a custom network for Mars Hill. It allows us to communicate. To interact as a community. To reinforce the community that is Mars Hill Church – the daily life of the church.

We set out to build this, ‘cause some of our old systems were just not working for us.[emphasis added] And never set out to sell the thing, but in God’s grace, a couple months ago, as we’ve been using this, a bunch of people have taken interest. Zondervan, a big company, a big Christian media company, came to us and said, “Hey, we’d like to buy that.”
...
So, we started working with them, negotiating with them, figuring out, “Okay, what would this look like? How do we make this work?” Tons of details. We wanted to make sure that the church is protected in it. That it’s not something where we’re selling our data, or anything like that, but that they want to take the tool and leverage it for other churches to go use.
This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in terms of a church developing a piece of technology that a for-profit company is then coming in and purchasing.

We get to continue to use it free as a church. It’ll continue to be private. Our data is not being sold, nothing like that. We’re not gonna have banner ads.

It’ll exist how it is, plus they’re putting a lot more staff into it than we were able to. We had Zack and another part-time – or a couple employees that were working very part-time on The City.

They’re gonna build a staff in Seattle of about 15 people that Zack’ll go and oversee and work with. And they’ll make the tool even better. So, we get to use it. In that, we’ve been given $4 million to steward. It’s a gift that’s come to Mars Hill Church, and we want to share with you what we’re going to do with those funds.

So, we’ll walk through this quickly. The escrow and potential taxes – 1.6 million. There’s a chance the proceeds will be taxed. Our accountant doesn’t think so, but we want to be sure. We want to be safe. We want to put some money in the bank that can just earn interest, that can protect us. In case it is, we’ll have that money set aside.

So, we’ll know that in the next few months. But for – in the meantime, we’re just gonna safeguard and put that in the bank. In addition, we’re gonna bolster up our cash reserves. We always have a cash reserve to float us in times of lean giving. To float us in times of seasonal giving, when the summer’s down or the winter’s up. It allows us just to continue to operate.

Trevin Wax provides a Mars Hill postmortem that's better than average, citing that character of leadership and polity can make or break a church culture

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2014/10/16/the-mars-hill-postmortem/

In contrast to the bloviation of Vanderbloemen in the last four months, Trevin Wax over at The Gospel Coalition has gotten closer to nailing down what lessons there may be to learn.  He also seems to have an idea that the four points were things people were trying to articulate from within Mars Hill before its dissolution.  The four points are summarily:

1. Leadership Matters

Wax notes "This situation marks the first time I recall a pastor resigning from a church for a reason other than marital infidelity or embezzlement. There were moral issues and financial impropriety involved in the Mars Hill controversy, of course, but the presenting reason for Mark’s resignation is an abusive form of leadership that revealed significant character flaws."

For the many people who have gotten the impression that a conservative Protestant pastor couldn't possibly end up out of ministry for any other reasons than sexual sin, this theoretically opens the playing field. A cursory survey of the synoptics and John suggest the possibility that Jesus hammered Pharisees and other self-selected religious leaders for their corrupt uses of money and power.  It's not that Jesus didn't address sexual conduct along the way (as in his teaching on divorce), it's that his critical remarks about the religious leaders of his day was often over money and power. 

2. Church Polity Matters

Here Wax notes that the last thing he heard from Driscoll was years ago, and Driscoll was mocking congregational government in church.  Driscoll spent nearly the entirety of his ministry mocking congregational government by way of ripping on democratic populism or by saying that congregational church polity was like letting the inmates run the insane asylum.  When this analogy is used to describe the community of Christians who would, in theory, possess the Spirit and be providentially given gifts that might aid the body of Christ, then there might have been some Christians around the history of Mars Hill who could have advised against buying a 1.5 million dollar piece of real estate because they (and not Mark Driscoll or Jamie Munson) actually knew about the zoning issues in land use within King County.

Wax doesn't have that kind of inside observation about Mars Hill history But observing that polity in Mars Hill did not help the earlier issue of Driscoll's character get addressed is worth restating.  That becomes the formal concern in ..

3. Character Matters as Much as Doctrine

4. The Celebrity Culture Hinders Our Witness

These two could conceivably be bracketed together, and there are other things that seem more interesting to get to this weekend.  Still, as post-mortems of Mars Hill go, this one was a little better than average because Wax zeroed in on the concerns that were expressed from the inside and from informed critics about what could have changed.  Unfortunately, since the propensity within Driscoll's orbit was to define critics and criticism largely in pejorative terms there weren't any lessons learned in the long run, were there?

2015 begins and a couple of the LLCs associated with Mark Driscoll in WA state had expiration dates of 12-31-2014, registered address for On Mission LLC has moved

http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=603258287
ON MISSION LLC
UBI Number 603258287
Category LLC
Active/Inactive Active
State Of Incorporation CO
WA Filing Date 12/06/2012
Expiration Date 12/31/2014
Inactive Date 
Duration Perpetual
Agent Name CT CORPORATION SYSTEM 
Address
505 UNION AVE SE STE120
OLYMPIA WA 98501 
Governing Persons

Title
Name
Address
Member
OMCRU INVESTMENTS LLC
23632 HWY 99 STE F441
EDMONDS , WA 98026 

Member
LASTING LEGACY LLC
23632 HWY 99 STE F441
EDMONDS , WA 98026 

Now before we get to the listings for OMCRU Investments LLC and Lasting Legacy LLC we need to take note of something. 

              date filed       posted          effective                        doc #
Report   12/23/2014   12/23/2014   12/23/2014 03:51 PM   20141776224  

Comment
Change of Registered Agent Address / Change of Entity Address 




http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=603258278
OMCRU INVESTMENTS, LLC
UBI Number 603258278
Category LLC
Active/Inactive Active
State Of Incorporation CO
WA Filing Date 12/06/2012
Expiration Date 12/31/2014
Inactive Date 
Duration Perpetual

Member
ON MISSION CHARITABLE REMAINDER UNITRUST
23632 HWY 99 STE F441
EDMONDS , WA 98026 
http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=603199549
LASTING LEGACY LLC
UBI Number 603199549
Category LLC
Active/Inactive Active
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date 04/17/2012
Expiration Date 04/30/2015
Inactive Date 
Duration Perpetual
Agent Name CT CORPORATION SYSTEM 
Address
505 UNION AVE SE STE120
OLYMPIA WA 98501 
Governing Persons
Member,Manager
DRISCOLL , MARK
23632 HIGHWAY 99 STE F441
EDMONDS , WA 98026 
Member
DRISCOLL , GRACE
23632 HIGHWAY 99 STE F441
EDMONDS , WA 980269211

HT Becky Garrison: as of formal dissolution Dave Bruskas president of Mars Hill Church, Caleb Walters secretary

http://praisethelord-passtheammunition.tumblr.com/post/107027185999/mars-hill-church-amends-corporation-docs-before

Wenatchee The Hatchet has wondered who would take over the presidential and secretarial roles since Sutton Turner resigned in September 2014 and Driscoll resigned in October 2014.  Somebody had to fill the officer roles.  Bruskas seemed like a simple substitution for Driscoll for presidency but who would be secretary?  Since the bylaws did not seem to require that the secretary actually be an executive elder it wasn't clear who might fill the role or why.  But Garrison has found out who filled the role and it turns out it's someone Wenatchee The Hatchet spotted having been added to the Mars Hill team a while back, Caleb Walters, who is lately listed as Director of Development for the lately dissolved Mars Hill Church.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-real-estate-finance-manager-job.html

While Turner resigned in September, he could still be found as having had a membership and some kind of activity on The City in the following month, as discussed briefly at this post:

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/10/sutton-turner-may-have-resigned.html

While Bruskas is reportedly returning to New Mexico to resume participating in things going on there, Bruskas is still listed as a member of the corporation that was known as Mars Hill Church. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 4 commentary 8: besetting sins and the unintegrated self, a possible pivot point on the subject of spiritual warfare and secular psychotherapy

Then I ask them this, and this comes out of their homework: give me the two or three primary areas that are most troubling. If you want to deal with one thing, two things, three things, what's the big thing you wanna get rid of that's killing ya? What's the place we start? I start with the big issue rather than the little issue so that we can get off to a good start but they're not exhausted.

Now this may be the money quote if a person were to try to read into this Driscollian sprawl anything that might actually be useful if it were handled by someone else with a firmer grasp of theology on the one hand and psychological research on the other.  It is in this little moment that we have a window that might open up as to why people might go to someone like Driscoll, recurring problems dealing with besetting sin or a problem of anxiety.  Driscoll had at several points said that people only give demons authority to mess with them if they've been in unrepentant sin.

But how might we reframe this in a way that a secular reader might be able to appreciate?  Well, let's take a shot at this, that the common denominator in these anecdotes seemed to be that someone went to Driscoll with a lament, that there was something they could not integrate into their sense of self.  There were one or two things, maybe three, that could not be integrated into the counselee's self-perception as a Christian and it would seem to have been these things that spurred them to seek pastoral help.  The solution on offer was, in a word, a Christian identity more thoroughly integrated into the Mars Hill conception of Christian life, whether this entailed conforming more closely to Driscoll's advised roles and duties for men and women or on why not doing that might be bad, or approaches to other things.  Even though a case can be made from the Old Testament narrative literature that demonic attacks or spirits of chaos only tend to be released to act to punish wicked and self-serving Israelite rulers who arrogate authority in ways that harm the common good ... within Mars Hill there was in 2008 a push to have pastors consider demons more.  But what would that mean?

Practically speaking it seemed as though all references to demons could be explained in figurative and not necessarily literal terms.  IF a practicing Christian at Mars Hill had some part of his or her life that could not be integrated into an identity of "Christian" as defined within Mars Hill that could be the demon right there.  Whether the demon was alcohol abuse, chemical dependency, mental illness, or failing to conform to the sexual ethics and ethos of Mars Hill, it begins to seem as though the counseling sessions were a way to identify those points of failure.  The ways in which one's life and practice did not integrate with one's understanding of the self could be engaged.  A secular author could go so far as to suggest that the demons could be regarded as those things that can't be integrated into the sense of self that are figuratively and literally demonized by the subject in the process of confronting the crisis of realizing there is a part of one's life and practice that doesn't match the self-understanding. 

The way that the further integrated sense of self seems to have been arrived at (if it was arrived at) in the accounts of Mark Driscoll seems to have been a sense of self integrated by way of counsel given at Mars Hill.  Ostensibly making this all about Jesus the further integrated sense of self was mediated through the community of Mars Hill.  The pitfall here would obviously entail a risk that this integrated identity was predicated on social integration into Mars Hill.  But if the conflict or tension involved friends or family who were not part of Mars Hill and those outsiders were in any way implied as sources of demonic corruption then people might double down on isolation as an adaptive strategy.  This would seem to have anecdotally been borne out by people who have found that their family members who immersed themselves in Mars Hill culture began to identify them (i.e. the non-member family) in increasingly negative or even combative terms.  Was this in response to real problems in the relationship or problems perceived in the relationship only in the wake of an inculcation in Driscollian paradigms of male and female?

While those who received counsel at Mars Hill may have felt they benefited from a more integrated sense of self that they came to believe was more in keeping with what they understood to be a Christian identity, now that Mars Hill has dissolved and the constituent campuses are rebranding the end of the brand reveals, in some sense, an end of the identity.  People can no longer simultaneously be at a church that was once called Mars Hill and also identity either as still being part of Mars Hill proper (trademark/branding issues) or at a church that can no be considered in any direct way planted or co-planted by Mark Driscoll. 

POSTSCRIPT
1-3-2015

One of the things that could be pointed out is that while many Christians subscribe to some form of the idea that secular psychology deals with some atomized less-than-whole person this is not a given.  The idea that psychology may not be of any help because there are competing schools of thought within psychology that account for human behavior is a canard.  Christians would not necessarily presume there's no value in Christian ethical teaching because synergists and monergists differe on the capacity of the believer to participate in the initial moment of conversion; or because Arminians and Calvinists differ from each other on these details in the ordo salutis here and there. 

And at ths risk of doing a Driscollian style prooftexting gambit, Ecclesiastes says it is good to lay hold of one without letting go of the other.  In actually Reformed contexts there's this notion of common grace that proposes that those who do not believe in Christ are capable of understanding true things about the world and the human condition because God has created the world in an orderly fashion.  By extension, knowledge of heuristics and shortcuts taken by the brain could help us understand the mistaken mental shortcuts we take to try to understand things. 

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 4 commentary 7: false teachers within, abusers of members without? grandpas and uncles come off pretty badly in Driscoll's cycle of anecdotes


...
I know one family where incest was just part of the family. They actually had very intricate rules to control incest. The grandfathers and uncles could molest little girls but daddies couldn't and you could only do that once they hit the age of ten. You couldn't molest any child before that. I get these complicated rules that have been passed down for generations for the sexual abuse of the children. You're like, this, your struggle here, your temptations, your issues, they have generational lineage.
...
Next question question I'll ask, "When did you come to them?" And you know what's amazing to me with this, most of the time I get year, month, date and sometimes hour. It is unbelievably precise. If it's ancestral it'll be in the womb or birth. If it's at some point in life--I mean I've heard things like, (and I'm, like, making up the day) "Well on March 27th of 1983 they were seven years old and when their uncle molested them that's when I came." Hmm. They'll just, the person'll just say this and I'll say, "Okay, when were you born?" We work backward, make sure it's true. "I was born in 1980 and they say they came 1987." "Yeah" "March 23, is that when your uncle molested you?" "Uh, uncle molested me, that sounds right, yeah. Yeah, it was at my cousin's birthday party and his birthday's March 23. That's true."

...


I dealt with one girl, years ago. She was repeatedly sexually abused as a child and then raped and a couple of the older men (I think it was an uncle and a grandpa) who would molest, after they were done with her they would say, this is what they'd tell her, "You're a dirty girl. That's why I make you do dirty things."

In part 3, with Driscoll's rambling discussion of ground rules and arrival times for demons, a person could begin to get the impression that grandpas and uncles are the worst sorts of people in the history of humanity.  Whether Driscoll somehow kept running into these molesting and abusing uncles and grandpas amongst counselees sharing things at Mars Hill over and over, or whether Driscoll kept recycling the same story from a number of different perspectives it would seem that uncles and grandpas were harmful. 

Demon trials and demonic inventories have been rather generally alluded to in discussions of Mars Hill but as yet there's only been one direct, concrete allusion to a demonic trial from someone with a real name.
http://welovemarshill.com/post/89675576093/darlene-lopez

A couple months passed and then she of the blue said, “I don’t want to be your friend. I went to a demon trial”. Apparently, the elders were doing demon trials on members or anyone who had oppression in their life. Mark Driscoll wrote this whole procedure on how to summon, and then put on trial the demons that are oppressing the believer. It all sounded strange to us. I asked her why she couldn’t be my friend and she said my name was brought up in a demon trial. I asked her what that meant, and she didn’t answer any more questions other than “talk to your elder about it, but that she would no longer ask me for prayer, talk to me about spiritual things, etc. without giving any other reasons. She said we were still welcome to attend community group, though. A flood of emotions came in, there was no sin issue as we had already dealt with her concerns of gossip/talking too much two months prior so I didn’t understand why now she didn’t want to be friends. Her defense was that she should have listened to God two months ago and not be my friend. I asked her if she saw any changes in our friendship since then. She said yes, that we were talking less on the phone and that when we did talk we were praying and keeping it Christ-centered. To this day she says she ended our friendship because of “sin.” But it wasn’t until that demon trial that things changed.

Well, since as mentioned earlier, Wenatchee The Hatchet felt obliged to not renew membership after hearing about the demon trial process, it's seemed overdue to make available to the public the raw material that was once available for millions to download.  Lopez' story touched on content that has turned out to have been available for years.  While the content's been taken down on the Mars Hill side and the recycled recent variations by Driscoll (or done on his behalf) strip away a lot of the meat, we can try to keep the raw material up and highlight a few things about it.

It's worth noting that there can sure seem to be a prevalent pattern in which the outsider or the upstart who isn't a member of Mars Hill could be viewed as a demonic gateway.

When in the course of the sprawling spiritual warfare session Driscoll explained that he basically never let any of his kids go to slumber parties it's remarkably easy to get an overall sense why, quite possibly any slumber party could turn out to be a fateful encounter with demons. 

And well before getting to part 3 Driscoll had explained how scrupulous he was in shooting down women wanting to be friends with his wife because so many of them were demonic gossip mamas or drama queens.

If in Part One of spiritual warfare Driscoll spoke of the danger of false teachers and dissent from within in the demonic inventory and ground rules of Part Three he seems to shift, and the shift may have implications for pastoral counseling within the history of Mars Hill and the possible emergence of an ad hominem narrative not just within the leadership about dissent, but possibly also amongst the laity attending Mars Hill with respect to outsiders.

While the accounts of counselees discovering or being told they were abused as children, subjected to demonic dedication rituals and the like may well distill all the fads of the 1980s and early 1990s that have been debunked, it could seem as though there was a common thread, the source of demonic entry might have involved a counselee sinning but the entry time and method seemed to involve those who could have been considered outsiders to the Mars Hill scene.  One could only hazard a guess that the molesting grandpa was probably not also attending Mars Hill at the same time a counselee might have been meeting with Mark Driscoll. 

The reason it seems necessary to have dredged up so much of this material years after it was taught is that as more and more stories came to light it has become more and more evident that what Driscoll taught in early 2008 informed member discipline and pastoral counseling.  Unless at each of the campuses pastors who have affiliations and history with Mars Hill repudiate this kind of counseling approach it will be perpetuated within the churches that have been spinning out of and rebranding away from the Mars Hill umbrella.  And it may still be a risk that leaders may see the entry points for demonic influence in members or attenders as coming from outsiders.  The fuller potential significance of demon trials for demonized Christians, as Driscoll has explained that may warrant a separate post in which Wenatchee The Hatchet takes a shot at trying to explain what it may mean in terms a secular reader may be able to appreciate.

Why Driscoll could imagine any abusers would just admit straightforwardly to whatever he's claimed they did is still mindboggling.  There's just no real words for that.  But there are words for something else coming up shortly.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 4 commentary 6 "will that stand as truth before the white throne ... ?" Why would Driscoll think that saying those words keeps a person from lying?

...
 command that the answers you give stand as truth before the white throne of God almighty. Some will say you don't ask any questions of the demon because they're liars and they lie and I say, "I know they lie but when they stand before the white throne of God mentioned in Revelation, all truth will be known and I check it by that." I'll show you how that's done.

...
Next question, then I ask, "Will that stand as truth before the white throne of the Lord God almighty?"

The 2008 spiritual warfare session becomes quite a slog, almost interminable, in the "practical" part 3.  And one of the things that is striking is how often Driscoll came back to that question, "Will that stand as truth before the white throne of the Lord God almighty?"  It almost sounds as though Driscoll perceived the question as inherently endowed with some innate power just by dint of its formulation.

But why would it, necessarily?  Even for Christians who affirm the deity of Christ and that triune formulation of God as Father, Son and Spirit, why on earth should Christians presume that that specific combination of words Driscoll comes back to time and again would ensure that a counselee wouldn't lie?  Let's set aside the bit about demons for a moment, because Driscoll never even considers the possibility that the entire demon trial/inventory might be brought to bear on someone with no demons whom Driscoll erroneously interpreted as probably having a demonic influence.  That's precisely why it should be considered, because even though Driscoll told leaders at Mars Hill he believed they had erred in focusing so much on the flesh and the world they overlooked demons maybe pastors who had leaned heavily on the flesh and the world were doing something that was not only biblically sanctioned but also sensible (yes, dear potential secular readers, those two are not necessarily ALWAYS at loggerheads.  :) ). 

It would seem that if one wished to cast out demons the way Jesus was described as casting out demons then a few general patterns might emerge.  First, Jesus never really needed to know the names of the demons or to ask if the demons had names.  It wasn't relevant.  Jesus cast out demons and that was that.  Second, Jesus is not described as sending demons to the pit.  So as Driscoll's ground rules proliferated they seemed to proliferate without any use of biblical texts to provide particularly compelling evidence.

We haven't even gotten close to mechanics of Tyre or Lucifer, have we?



2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 4 commentary 5: the problem with Driscoll on the sons of Sceva and "Ground rules", he adduces a point with no basis in his Acts 19 prooftext

And then I lay down the ground rules, right? Court is now in session, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, right? Test the spirits, here's the ground rules--you remember those guys, in the, remember the seven sons of Sceva in the New Testament? No ground rules, they walk and "Hey, are you a demon?" and they then get, like, beat up bloodied running for their life naked. You don't want to be that guy, or gal.

You don't wanna be that. Lay down rules. Before you start talking to a demon lay down some rules by the authority of God through Jesus Christ and enforced by the Holy Spirit.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+19%3A11-20&version=ESV

The problem wasn't that the sons of Sceva didn't lay down any ground rules, the problem was they were Jewish exorcists trying to invoke the name of Jesus to cast out demons without actually having any faith in Christ.  This is a rather straightforward polemic that not just anyone can invoke the name of Jesus to cast out demons, only a Christian. 

So beyond the ridiculous assertion that Jesus named one guy "Legion" because he had many demons; beyond the wildly inaccurate declaration that if you don't always send the demons to the pit they hurt other people and by so saying forget that Jesus sent demons into pigs that one time; there's this other problem of yet another "ground rule" Driscoll insisted on in 2008 that not only has no clear basis in any biblical text but ostentatiously misinterprets and misapplies a text where things are actually plain enough without Mark Driscoll's "practical" notions getting in the way.