Friday, December 18, 2015

Fighting for the Faith revisits Driscoll, discusses the new corporate re:launch of Driscoll, notes that this is a corporation and not actually a church.

but first ... he discusses that kinda weird version of "Silent Night" Hillsong went with.  Let's just say it's a long way from a German dude with an autoharp.

Chris Rosebrough notes the obvious but necessary point that this entity Driscoll has going may be called The Trinity Church, but it is a corporation that has no members.  This is a corporation rather than a church.

Now, to be clear, it has never been clarified by Mark Driscoll what the nature of the trap was that had been set. 

It is worth revisiting that Driscoll left Mars Hill after, by his account to Brian Houston, agreeing to submit to a restoration/disciplinary process given to him by the board of Mars Hill.

If Driscoll never defines what "a trap has been set" even means then there's plausible deniability across the board about everything except the assertion that God audibly released him from ministry.  We've discussed how in the course of biblical narrative literature the guys who get verbal releases from divinely appointed jobs are guys like King Saul.  Guys who get divine notices that "a trap has been set" don't get to escape them.  If anything, Mark Driscoll seems to have skimmed over that for particularly wicked and self-serving rulers who abuse their power, prestige and social authority to get what they want rather than serve the good of the regular people God occasionally permits a lying spirit to delude said king into going to his doom.  That's how it went with Ahab, after all.  So even if Driscoll sticks with the 2015 narrative that God told him he could quit that wasn't what he led with in 2014 when he wrote his resignation letter, which was full of "godly counsel" from men and women across the country.  In 2014 the wording of the resignations uggested an informal behind-the-scenes poll had been taken and the conclusion was it would be good to quit.  Robert Morris volunteered that he played a role and that he and Mark Driscoll agreed Mark should step down for a season. 

Then in 2015 suddenly, lo and behold, God told Driscoll to quit.  Well, if God told Driscoll "a trap has been set" Driscoll's resignation could catalyze whatever that trap is.  After all, in resigning in the way he did Mark Driscoll destroyed any last vestige of credibility he had as someone who would opt to live by the kind of submission to spiritual authority he'd spent his public career admonishing others to follow.  And now?  The "church" that exists in a box at a UPS Store in a mall in Phoenix, Arizona could be described in any number of ways but as Chris Rosebrough has put it, it's a corporation, not a church.


There's been some guesswork that Driscoll would re:brand and re:launch as soon as he could manage.  At one point I'd guessed he'd rely on "covering" from people in Texas to re:locate to the OC.  That was largely mistaken guesswork and yet with Jimmy Evans there does still seem to be a decent presence of the Lone Star State.  One of the lessons learned from On Mission LLC is that Driscoll was willing to incorporate in Colorado while doing activity in another state, Washington, when the time came to roll out Real Marriage.  Of course Driscoll's in Phoenix now and the UPS box that with "church" in the corporation name is also in a shopping center in Phoenix. But if the church is pending a launch in January Driscoll doesn't have the resources to pull off a launch.  The place is in a mall.  Rent theater space?  That's been the "new" and edgy thing to do. 


chris e said...

"Guys who get divine notices that "a trap has been set" don't get to escape them."

I still think - in the spirit of preparing for all possible eventualities - one has to consider that it is also possible to present this in the light of Joseph being warned in a dream, or Balaam being warned by his donkey. It is possible to have a coherent explanation for this - it's also possible to spin ones way out.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

true, and in the cases where the disaster can't exactly be escaped people can be prepared for them.

Since Driscoll's never even attempted to explain what he thought was meant by what he says God told him, which was just "a trap has been set" and maybe "there's no way [we/you] can return to ministry at Mars Hill." it could be anything so long as it doesn't get explained any further. Which may be where the words can retain their greatest level of effectiveness.

I don't think the trap was able to be a reference to either the board or its decision, since Driscoll has kept saying how he agreed with the board.

Conversely ... when Paul was warned by Agabus what would happen to him he went straight on course into the peril. Driscoll's described himself as a small "a" apostle and if the example of Paul as an apostle applies maybe Driscoll should have stuck around? Paul knew when a danger he was warned about from the Spirit was something to not run away from but embrace as part of a divine task.

Luke said...

I've been reflecting on Driscoll's "spiritual father" shtick after hearing the audio on Warren Throckmorton's site, as well as his "audible release from God" story and your ongoing, thought-provoking analysis WtH. It got me thinking about a perhaps unexplored angle, and that is what role Grace may play in the future of MD's ministry.

In the audio clip, MD also seemed to see a role for Grace as a "spiritual mother", and that together they would parent their followers. Indeed, he said people may "find help and hope and love and healing from the senior leader and his wife". (An incredibly statement in its own right, but "and his wife" being the relevant part here.) MD seemed to draw on NT parallels for his own mooted spiritual fatherhood, but one wonders what precedent there is for "spiritual mothers", or whether MD simply sees "mother" as implied by "father".

It was fascinating to see the passive, supportive, but otherwise mostly silent role Grace played in the Brian Houston interview. Her more prominent role in the Real Marriage series seemed awkward and forced, but presented them more as a "team" than just MD alone. I wonder if that was a model they were building with an eye toward the future: incorporating Grace into the 'brand'.

All of which makes me wonder: What are her feelings on being a "spiritual mother" to a new church, when she has 5 kids of her own? Is it merely the continuation of her role as "the pastor's wife" that she's be fulfilling for 15+ years prior, or does she see some transformation ala Mark in going from sibling to parent? Was she ever asked? Or did it happen by default when Mark became (to his mind) a father figure? And if it was only Mark that matured from "brother" to "father", and Grace had always been the "mother", what does that say about their marriage prior to Mark's supposed transformation?

Food for thought :)

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

yes, a lot of food for thought.

It's seemed most likely that Driscoll's comeback will have him as a charismatic without a seatbelt. He's said he's Reformed but he doesn't display the Reformed ideas of church polity or other things. His Amyraldianism would not cut it for a Reformed denomination historically. As Trueman has been putting it the failure to distinguish between error and heresy these days means that people don't know how to respond in kind. Amyraldianism was deemed not exactly heretical but a problematic doctrine for Reformed ecclesiology, if memory serves. Driscoll's "limited unlimited" atonement, however, is a fine example of trying to have it both ways. :)

If Driscoll's going to re:brand as a charismatic he will eventually have to revise or simply hide his views on women in ministry. He can't really run with the charismatic/Pentecostal crowd for long without his views on women running afoul of the charismatic/Pentecostal tradition that permits a woman to have a word of the Lord for him that he needs to hear. Being a former Pentecostal I can speak with confidence that this kind of thing happened plenty! It's a matter merely "when" and not "if" this happens. Grace's line of work used to be public relations, if memory serves, so she's already got an educational background that prepared her for brand shaping and promotion. Whether or not she's an increasing part of the Driscoll brand remains to be seen, not likely with so many kids still not out of high school yet but a very likely element in ten years if the Driscolls are still pursuing public ministry.

But if Driscoll does not explicitly repudiate everything he ranted about in Pussified Nation and Using Your Penis it's going to hang around his neck like an albatross. At some oint he will have to explicitly reject his complementarianist ideas if he wants to gain more traction in the charismatic/Pentecostal end of things and it isn't clear ye whether Driscoll is pragmatic enough to go that route or principled enough to rethink his interpretive approach to biblical texts. If he was unwilling to rethink that in the hear tof Seattle he's even less liely to be open to that in Arizona. Still, it would not be a surprise if he eventually formulates a new theological approach in which Grace can play an increasing role in ministry. This would be another reason why egalitarians cannot afford to assume that the reason Driscoll's bad is (a la Tony Jones' dubious bromides) because of his theology.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

What's still remarkable about the Houston interview is combining it with the other narratives of the resignation. It would appear that if we compare the Thrive account to the Houston account then both stories show Mark and Grace getting confirmation on a Monday night that a trap had been set. But in the Thrive account Mark said he and Grace had not yet told the kids about the decision to resign until it was in the news, and it made news on a Wednesday. That meant there was a roughly 20 to 30 hour stretch in which either Mark or Grace could have told the kids Poppa Daddy decided to quit (in contradiction to what Mark said they'd told the kids the plan moving forward was) but neither did so, if all the accounts are taken at face value. It may be a dramatic story for Driscoll to tell people at the Thrive conference that the kids found out about social media Mark resigned before they could tell the kids ... but if Mark told Houston God talked to him on a Monday there was time between Monday evening and Wednesday afternoon to have told the kids what was going on, right?