Thursday, July 02, 2015

If Driscoll's saying he's reached out to people, and he reached out to Osteen, has he reached out to Justin Brierley?

Let's consider for a moment that if, as Mark Driscoll has lately stated, he reached out to Joel Osteen's team to express some regret for stuff he said in the past, has Driscoll ever even MET Joel Osteen, or vice versa?  One article reported that when Osteen was asked what he thought about Driscoll's public take-down of him from the pulpit that Osteen didn't even have any idea who Mark Driscoll even was or why he would matter.

In case you want a review of how Driscoll once discussed these sorts of things.

Meanwhile, you'd think that if Mark Driscoll had reached out to someone whose character, journalistic integrity and theological position he'd pre-emptively attacked in 2012 that would be more impressive.  Wenatchee The Hatchet is, of course, talking about Justin Brierley.

Again, this is something Wenatchee has covered in the past and it's worth revisiting if Driscoll's told Brian Houston he's been reaching out privately to people he's been less than gracious about/to in the past.  As public take-downs go it would be difficult to top Driscoll's pre-emptive strike on Justin Brierley.
January 12, 2012

There is reportedly an article coming out in a British Christian publication that features an interview with me. As is often the case, to stoke the fires of controversy, thereby increasing readership, which generates advertising revenue, a few quotes of mine have been taken completely out of context and sent into the Twittersphere. So, I thought I would put a bit of water on the fire by providing context.


 I have a degree in communications from one of the top programs in the United States. So does my wife, Grace. We are used to reporters with agendas and selective editing of long interviews. Running into reporters with agendas and being selectively edited so that you are presented as someone that is perhaps not entirely accurate is the risk one takes when trying to get their message out through the media.

With the release of our book, Real Marriage, we have now done literally dozens of interviews with Christians and non-Christians. But the one that culminated in the forthcoming article was, in my opinion, the most disrespectful, adversarial, and subjective. As a result, we’ve since changed how we receive, process, and moderate media interviews.  

The interview in question had nearly nothing to do with the book or its subject matter, which in my understanding was supposed to be the point of the interview. My wife, Grace, was almost entirely ignored in the interview, and I felt she was overall treated disrespectfully. The only questions asked were about any controversial thing I’ve ever said in the past 15 years with a host of questions that were adversarial and antagonistic. It felt like a personally offended critic had finally gotten his chance to exercise some authority over me.

Things got particularly strange near the end of the interview. I was asked a question about, if a woman was the pastor of a church which that pastor’s husband attended, would that be emasculating to him. The question was asked in such a pointed way that it was odd.

At the end of the interview, I started asking questions of the interviewer. He admitted that his last questions were really about himself and his wife. Apparently his wife is the pastor of their church, he’s strongly committed to women as pastors, disagrees strongly with our complementarian position, and takes it to some degree personally.

This not only became more significant with Elephant Room 2's result and Driscoll's reflections on important lessons from it, it also took on significance when people had a chance to hear the interview Driscoll was blogging about for the Brits.

A short excerpt from the interview included the following:

Driscoll: No, no, you don’t want to sit in my seat, I understand. So does your wife do counseling with men? Sexual counseling? Does she talk about masturbation, pornography, the stuff that I do?

Brierley: Well no, she doesn’t.

Driscoll: Well, who does talk to the men about those things, especially the young men?

Brierley: Well there are other people that she can pass them on to. We have male elders in our church who, you know, would be able to tackle those kinds of questions. I mean, but would you speak with those kinds of issues to a female in your church?

Driscoll: Uh no. If they’re a married couple we might meet with them as a couple. But if it’s a woman, we would have women leaders meet with them.

Brierley: Sure, well it’s the same scenario in our church really.

Driscoll: Well except for who’s in charge.
That attempt at a witty rejoinder turned out to be hypocritical.  Consider a review of Real Marriage in which it was noted gloomily that Mark Driscoll described how his wife Grace was his functional pastor.

The highlight of what the Driscolls teach on marriage is probably the importance of friendship. This is, indeed, an overlooked topic and experience shows that many of the best marriages are the ones in which the spouses are fast friends. A strange mis-step in this chapter is Mark’s statement that he has asked Grace to be his “functional pastor,” Because he is a pastor and he does not have anyone to pastor him, he has asked Grace to fill that role. [emphasis added] This must speak as much to his church’s leadership structure as to the Driscoll’s marriage; it is an unusual position and not one I would want others to emulate.
As we've noted earlier there's this other problem in Driscoll's taxonomy of relationships.  Headship for the husband was described as follows a while back:
Church Discipline
Pastor Mark Driscoll April 11, 2006

In discussing spiritual leaders given authority, in a discussion on Hebrews 13:17 Driscoll mentions at about the 1:21 mark:

"... I always like to say `It's not really submission until you disagree.' Up until that point two people can agree and there is no such thing as submission, there's agreement. Submission is required when there is disagreement. That's when it is required."
So the wife who serves as the functional pastor could be that up to the point that there's a disagreement and then it's not really submission until she disagrees and then, well, woman submit?  Where's the functional pastor there?  Now aside from the problematic claim that there were no men to pastor Mark Driscoll, wouldn't it seem more consistent with Driscoll's publicly espoused complementarianism for him to have gone out looking for older and more spiritual men to submit to than to choose as his "functional pastor" his wife?  After all, in Driscoll's publicly formulated views on ministry and authority, the wife's the one toward whom the headship card can be played.  It's not submission for a wife until there's a disagreement. 

The other reason the Grace as Mark's functional pastor seems ridiculous is not just because his theology of marriage would render her eternally subordinate in spiritual hierarchy if his complementarianism is what he seems to have espoused, it's that he'd publicly testified to various guys being his pastor, including ...

Some of my dearest friends today are not at Mars Hill. They're also pastors at other churches.  Darrin Patrick is here. He's the vice-president of Acts 29. I love him. He's a brother. He's the guy I call. ... He's a pastor to me, you know? [emphasis added]

Who? Oh, right ...


As the Board of Acts 29, we are grateful to God for the leadership, courage, and generosity of both you and Mars Hill in not only founding the network but also sustaining it through the transition to this board three years ago. The very act of giving away your authority over the network was one of humility and grace, and for that we are grateful.

Over the past three years, our board and network have been the recipients of countless shots and dozens of fires directly linked to you and what we consider ungodly and disqualifying behavior. We have both publicly and internally tried to support and give you the benefit of the doubt, even when multiple pastors in our network confirmed this behavior. In response, we leaned on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability to take the lead in dealing with this matter. But we no longer believe the BoAA is able to execute the plan of reconciliation originally laid out. Ample time has been given for repentance, change, and restitution, with none forthcoming.

We now have to take another course of action. Based on the totality of the circumstances, we are now asking you to please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help. Consequently, we also feel that we have no alternative but to remove you and Mars Hill from membership in Acts 29. Because you are the founder of Acts 29 and a member, we are naturally associated with you and feel that this association discredits the network and is a major distraction. ...

Matt Chandler
Darrin Patrick
Steve Timmis
Eric Mason
John Bryson
Bruce Wesley
Leonce Crump

So if one of the guys who Mark Driscoll described as "my pastor" signed off on the ejection of Mars Hill from Acts 29 out of concern for unrepentant sin that couldn't even have happened if Mark Driscoll didn't have Patrick around as a pastor to be in relationship with, could it?  And yet according to the 2012 book, Mark Driscoll asked Grace to be is functional pastor because he didn't have anyone to be a pastor to him.  "If" that's the case then what this suggests is that the various men whose names Mark Driscoll dropped in the last 18 years were more for the sake of name-dropping prestigious people than for the sake of actual accountability.

And if Grace is Mark Driscoll's functional pastor now he might as well be an egalitarian. 

And in that sense he REALLY owes Justin Brierley a public apology if Grace is his functional pastor.  It's not as though the way Mark Driscoll laid into Joel Osteen's theology was as harsh as what he had to say about Justin Brierley before the interview he conducted with the Driscolls was published, was it?  Of course reader opinion may vary.


mike w said...

First, Driscoll is the one who specializes in hyperbole, e.g., Washington State most decidedly does not boast a top ranked communications program; they are in the bottom half of the Pac 12. Note: I am in full time teaching academia for a university about the size of Washington State and received my terminal degree at a Pac12 ranked in all respects higher than Wazzu--which, let's face it, is a perfectly average university known primarily for one thing: darned good quarterbacks.

Second, if Driscoll is such a communications guru, why does he have such a hard time communicating coherently and why is his writing somewhere on the spectrum between precocious 12 year old and mediocre college underclassman?

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

I think it is very important that Justin Brierly receive an apology from Driscoll, because that would be an indicator of some humility, and even help to heal any division Driscoll may have caused between the British evangelical community and the American.

Having grow up in the UK, I found Driscoll's points (written after the terrible interview) to the British Christian community simplistic, and it felt like someone without a clue coming in and judging a culture on the surface without understanding it in depth, and certainly not caring to, which is worse.

(I also think that Janet Mefferd should receive some apologies from several individuals and groups, but I absolutely am not holding my breath on that count.)

My concern, observing this, is that Christians are getting the wool pulled over their eyes by political apologies to celebrities, whereas, Driscoll has some apologies to make to the Petry and Meyer family and several other less famous individuals for how he has treated them in secret and referred to them in public. I think he knows well who they all are; it's just not politically expedient to him to humble himself in that way, especially as he will never be leading those people in any way again.