Thursday, April 02, 2015

Throckmorton: Mark Driscoll's website revamp, Learning for Living becomes Mark Driscoll Ministries, revisiting a 2006 Driscoll sermon on the problem of a man's name being a ministry domain

Mark Driscoll’s “admin” sent out an email today with news of a revamped website and a new “application-pending registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization” — Mark Driscoll Ministries. Mark Driscoll Ministries has the same address as Living for Learning, the other “application-pending registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization” described on the former version of his website. The new Mark Driscoll Ministries has the same address as Living for Learning - 23632 HWY 99, Suite F 517 Edmonds, WA 98026, which is a UPS store. Possibly Driscoll changed the name because Living for Learning was trademarked.

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Something that would be hard to ignore about the name change is something that Mark Driscoll said about nine years ago, about how certain Christians get elevated like rock stars and that's not good.
Part 3 of 1st Corinthians
Pastor Mark Driscoll
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
January 22, 2006

You know, what happens is they get these teams and they fight. Everybody gets a jersey, and it’s like you’re rock stars. And the indie rockers don’t like all the teeny-bop pop fans and everything’s sorta – and they carried this sort of cultural arrogance into the church. And they said, “Well, Paul’s my guy”, or “Peter’s my guy, Cephas.” Or “No, Apollos is my guy.” And they broke off into teams in the church. So they’d show up with their jerseys on, you know. The Raider fans over here in their silver and black, and then the Hawks fans over here on this side, and the East Coast hip-hoppers, and the West Coast hip-hoppers. And the whole church is divided and fighting, and they need not be.

They need not be the team of Paul, the team of Apollos, the team of Peter. Because Paul and Peter and Apollos all love Jesus, all said the same thing. They all serve the same God. Apollos was a great preacher. Peter was the leader of the disciples. And also Paul was the one who had founded the church. There were good reasons to respect each of these men. And what happened was that the church had an elevated sense of human leadership, and they adored, appreciated, admired and almost worshiped their leaders too much. This still happens in Christianity, right? Some of you love John Calvin. Some of you love John Wesley. Some of you love whomever it might be.

Some of you have teams that you consider yourself to be on, theologically or philosophically insofar as how church should be done. And what happens is that certain Christians get elevated like rock stars, and it’s not good. It’s not good at all. I know one church the pastor’s name is the domain for the church website. That’s not good. Like if it was and that was our website, you’d go, “You know that’s a little much.” That’s a little much, because if he gets hit by a car do we gotta get a new name? That seems that the church should be more than a focus on one person. That’s why to be honest with this church I try not to show up and speak at every event.
As is known, in the months following Mark Driscoll's leave of absence things declined within Mars Hill and the church formally dissolved at the end of 2014.  The individual campuses may yet be able to successfully re-launch as autonomous churches but the current process of dissolution involves distributing and selling assets.  A number of the campuses may be financially self-sufficient enough to keep going if the logistical arrangements can be made to ensure they have stable meeting venues.

Meanwhile, it would appear that Mark Driscoll is positioned to have some kind of return to public ministry, although it would seem advisable to consider simple membership in a spiritual community for three to five years submitting to the kind of spiritual authority he used to admonish people to submit to when he preached from the pulpit at Mars Hill.  There's still time to take that option.  After all, God doesn't need any mere mortal for His will to be accomplished. 

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