Monday, March 16, 2015

comment at Throckmorton's blog that's interesting, on how the implosion was more gradual than sudden

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/03/05/justin-dean-talks-about-what-went-wrong-at-mars-hill-church/#comment-1903691816
Carson 

Mars Hill wasn't "robust" and then imploded in less than a year. There is a useful Rabbinic parable: a man is being slowly lowered into a deep well. At the bottom are poisonous snakes leaping up -- they can leap their body length of 5 feet. Nothing is happening to the man being lowered and the ride is long and pleasant until he is about 5 feet from the bottom when suddenly he is bitten by a whole host of poisonous snakes. Anyone who says of his demise that it was "all of a sudden" meaning "unforeseen" never understood the situation in the first place.

I agree this interview sheds light -- it makes very clear that Dean, having no insight now, never understood the situation 5 or 10 years ago. He is part of the enablement. It isn't like there was no one pointing out the decline years earlier. Listen to Driscoll at SBTS on emergent churches or on his dealing with physical demons blocking his car -- he was a stud back then and these talks are completely about himself and almost none of it true in detail. People looked the other way because it was detail, there was growth, the larger good more than made up for it. People like Dean were part of the MH problem.

What is so numbing about the MH episode is the failure of so many "leaders" who were there to see that hitting the snakes was inevitable and who are now giving snake advice. It's like Typhoid Mary giving talks on how to avoid typhoid.

I'm waiting for Steven Furtick or Perry Noble to explain what happened. One of Furtick's talks at MH included his exuding "there is such a [great] spirit of inappropriateness here." Even Furtick got it -- that's how "sudden" it was..
Wenatchee The Hatchet stopped attending in later 2008, just before Peasant Princess kicked off.  WtH also shared on the way out that there were a few concerns about where things had gone.  There was a first concern, that the fiscal model implied by the growth paradigm meant MH was adding operational expenses and real estate liabilities much faster than it was cultivating its donor base in a way that could ultimately afford to keep all this stuff running.  If there were simply a stop in growth, let alone an actual numeric decline, the entire edifice would collapse under its own dead weight financially. 

A second concern was that there seemed to be no clear set of precedents and procedures establishing what the real nature of church discipline was intended to be.  Little did Wenatchee The Hatchet know at the time there WAS a disciplinary protocol document in place and it was ... well, anyway ...

A third concern was that disciplinary measures might one day be considered so arbitrary and punitive that someone might actually go so far as to contact the public about a case.  Wonder if THAT happened ... like in 2012?

Wenatchee The Hatchet has written in many a post that pretty much every major disaster WtH was afraid was likely to happen at MH if it didn't change course actually came to pass.  The concerns were shared back in later 2008 and maybe in 2009, such as memory serves.  So as Carson was putting it a few days ago, those who would say the implosion of Mars Hill was sudden were not in a position to have seen how far back the seeds of its decline were sown. 

As for the spiritual warfare stuff, the majority of the 2008 warfare teaching session has been transcribed for a reader's consideration.  It still seems helpful to propose that that session can be construed as a political manifesto on the part of Mark Driscoll about how leadership was supposed to operate within the church culture. 

Now with that said, things are more likely to turn back to technical analyses of guitar works from the early 19th century here, give or take a few days or a week. Maybe.  It depends in part on whether or not some folks insist on reviving issues that were often considered dead horses before they got in front of cameras.

2 comments:

Joshua Probert said...

I and I believe a lot of other people held out hope that there would be real openness and repentance over time. How often did Mark joke about not being the one to talk to the church about pride or anger or taming the tongue, but "as a fellow hypocrite..."

This offered some reassurance that he was aware of (at least some of) his shortcomings. Part of the delusion came not out of an effort to excuse obvious sin because of the growth or the way God was using the church but as evidence that if God was at work through Mark then He was at work in Mark and over time we'd see fruit of sanctification in his life.

Perhaps we should have taken this as warning: "Is not Saul among the prophets?"

What so many of the Mars Hill histories seem to miss is the letter from the Nine was such a bombshell specifically because it cracked that edifice of "I'm sure someone's calling out Mark" because Paul Tripp as his formal "accountability" wasn't able to, the Pastors "under" him got attacked for straying from their lane for trying to call him to account and it laid bare various false narratives espoused by Mars Hill (eg Dave Kraft wouldn't give us the names of the witnesses to investigate his charges...because you wouldn't open a formal investigation, you dingus!)

It broke any sense that even if the issues I see aren't being dealt with at the speed I'd like, surely the issues raised by Paul Tripp were taken seriously.

It all has a strong, reformed flavor. God is at work sovereignly calling my Pastor to repentance, so I should trust Him to work out these issues institutional and personal in His time. And the response on the other side provides a mirror image, God sovereignly chose for the church to break up in the time and manner in which it did for His mysterious purposes...

unknown said...

"It all has a strong, reformed flavor. God is at work sovereignly calling my Pastor to repentance, so I should trust Him to work out these issues institutional and personal in His time. And the response on the other side provides a mirror image, God sovereignly chose for the church to break up in the time and manner in which it did for His mysterious purposes..."

Therein lies the crux of the matter, which brother Probert insightfully articulated. For those trying to understand how what happened at Mars Hill was able to happen, how so many otherwise good people could turn a blind eye to the truth and explain things away - the above paragraph provides a succinct explanation, and reveals an ugly side of neo-reformed orthodoxy.