Friday, May 15, 2015

the Thrive speech in context, first question--who told Mark Driscoll to quit? Comparing the three (wait, four) narratives given since Driscoll's 2014 resignation

Wenatchee The Hatchet could delve into the theological/historical matters of Mark Driscoll's Thrive presentation but that is best saved for some time later.

The first and most rudimentary question that emerges between the Thrive speech, the Gateway performance with Robert Morris, and the resignation letter published at RNS, is who exactly told Mark Driscoll it would be a good idea to quit?

Let's take them in chronological order.  First, the published letter from Mark Driscoll to Michael Van Skaik regarding his resignation.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2015/05/may-2015-driscoll-said-god-audibly.html
http://www.religionnews.com/?p=109053
 October 14, 2014
Michael Van Skaik
Chairman, Board of Advisors and Accountability
Mars Hill Church
Dear Michael:
 ...
That is why, after seeking the face and will of God, and seeking godly counsel from men and women across the country, we have concluded it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church we helped launch in 1996. I will gladly work with you in the coming days on any details related to our separation.
...


So there's an unspecified number of men and women across the country there in the resignation letter. That's the first account.

Second, the Robert Morris/Mark Driscoll moment at Gateway in October 2014.

http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/files/2014/10/Transcript-Robert-Morris-Mark-Driscoll.pdf
Transcript of Robert Morris and Mark Driscoll from the Gateway Leadership + Worship Conference
on the evening of Monday, October 20, 2014, as broadcast live via DayStar Television:
Robert Morris:
 Uh, it was publicized that we cancelled him; that’s not true, we did not cancel. I’m speaking of Mark Driscoll. We did not cancel him. He and I decided together uh that he was going to step out of ministry for a season and get some healing. [emphasis added]

So according to Robert Morris it was he and Mark Driscoll who decided together Mark Driscoll was going to step out of ministry for a season and get some healing.

Now on October 19, 2014 Warren Throckmorton published this:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/10/19/mars-hill-church-board-of-elders-mark-driscoll-resigned-instead-of-enter-restoration-plan-to-deal/
Driscoll submitted his letter of resignation on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and the BoAA issued a statement on Oct. 15.

Throckmorton went on to quote a statement regarding Driscoll's resignation
...

The investigation of formal charges against Mark Driscoll has revealed patterns of persistent sin in the three areas disclosed in the previous letter by the Board of Overseers. In I Tim 5:20, it requires that an elder be rebuked for persistent sin. Our intention was to do this while providing a plan for his eventual restoration to leadership. The Board of Elders in agreement with the Board of Overseers are grieved, deeply grieved, that any process like that was lost to us when Mark Driscoll resigned in position and left the church. [emphasis added] Now is the time to move on and consider what God is calling us to next as a church as we participate in Jesus’ mission to make disciples in His name. Today begins a new chapter in the history of our church which has proceeded in one direction under one leadership for many years now, but I want you to understand this, God is our Father. That does not change. Jesus is the chief shepherd of the church and that has not changed.
So according to a statement reported by Warren Throckmorton the day before the Gateway presentation, Mars Hill's Board of Overseers seemed to have had a process, a plan to restore Driscoll to leadership, eventually.  The Board of Elders, in agreement with the Board of Overseers, were sad that such a process was lost to them when Mark Driscoll resigned his position and left the church.  So Robert Morris' account was he and Driscoll decided it would be good to take a break.  Driscoll's own account was he and Grace had consulted a number of godly men and women.  Everything up to this point seems to indicate some kind of networked/polling process on Driscoll's part.  Remember, by the time Driscoll's resignation had been announced, he'd notified the BoAA he'd gotten godly counsel from men and women across the country.  Keep that in mind when we get to the newest account.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wYBTnRpPHRb8N1nqtgP2FcHcdnBeMIqCYy2SyQCEWBg/edit
Transcript | Mark Driscoll | Thrive 2015-05-01
[6:34]
It finally came to the point where God released my wife and I from our responsibility to ministry. He spoke to us audibly. It wasn’t what we were expecting. It wasn’t what we had agreed to. We were both pretty shocked and the announcement was going to come out that week. [emphasis added] And, uh, our server, our e-mail and things apparently were hacked and there was no way to get anything done without it being a public situation. And so the Board, which are good, godly people in authority, which I appreciate -- they released a statement earlier than we were anticipating, so um, but that meant, and I agree with that decision, I’m not critical of it.  But that meant that I hadn’t told my kids that I had resigned and they were in school, taking test, it was a test week, …. we threw some stuff in a bag and ran to school to grab the kids and within minutes it was on TV, I think it was on CNN. 

We pulled the kids out of school, and they already knew because of social media -- media moves so fast.  So we told them they couldn’t go back to the house for a few days so we jumped in the car and went to a hotel and it was just kind of a emotionally wrecked.  We’d served in that city for 20 years.  Founded that church in our living room. And served it for 18 years.  (loud applause) Baptized somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 people. (audible amens from crowd).

First, if you're the legal president and iconic speaker beamed across screens at fifteen sites a week and you resign, odds are pretty high that will be announced as soon as possible.  Driscoll's comment that the Board released a statement earlier than the Driscoll's were anticipating seems dubious. To invoke a historical comparison, Richard Nixon could not resign from the presidency of the United States without it being news.  Ergo, Mark Driscoll could not quit being president of or a member at Mars Hill without it being news.

Second, this thing about Driscoll saying "it wasn't what we were expecting" merits a comment all its own.  It wasn't what they expected but the letter that was sent to Michael Van Skaik and released to RNS showed Mark Driscoll explicitly stating that after he and Grace had sought godly counsel from men and women across the country they decided it was in the best interest of Mars Hill to leave ministry there.  Let's go back to that letter again:

http://www.religionnews.com/?p=109053
 October 14, 2014
Michael Van Skaik
Chairman, Board of Advisors and Accountability
Mars Hill Church
Dear Michael:
 ...
That is why, after seeking the face and will of God, and seeking godly counsel from men and women across the country, we have concluded it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church we helped launch in 1996. I will gladly work with you in the coming days on any details related to our separation.


In other words the stories are 1) we sought advice from a group of men and women and concluded it was time to quit for the health of family and MH; 2) MH leadership indicated they found Driscoll to have sin issues and were preparing a restoration plan that, if he'd followed it, would have restored him to ministry but Driscoll opted to resign before that was possible; 3) Robert Morris and Mark agreed between the two of him he should take a break; 4) Mark Driscoll told people at Thrive 2015 God audibly released him from ministry and independently confirmed this release with Grace even though it was not what either anticipated or expected.

These accounts seem ... kinda different from each other at a few points.

1 comment:

Benjamin Ady said...

Wenatchee you have a gift for dispassionate observation. Thank you