Monday, April 24, 2017

on the Walsh/Robison interview with Mark Driscoll, part 8--the new church that Mark Driscolls kids started even if Mark Driscoll is the President and CEO

PART EIGHT: THE CHURCH THAT MARK DRISCOLL’S CHILDREN STARTED, EVEN IF MARK DRISCOLL IS THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF SAID CHURCH

So when Driscoll continues in the interview with Walsh and Robison he camps out on family, whom he credits with having founded the church he preaches at.
...
Mark: I'm a Bible teacher and can be intense and there are times I've said and done things that I regret and publically acknowledge. But I'm seeing a lot happen in a culture that didn't have a lot of churches that were very large. There were some good churches but a very unchurched area.

Has he publicly acknowledged the “there’s a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus” statement? Now that he’s granted that there was some kind of church conflict that started back around 2007 can he clarify what he thought was good about that metaphorical pile of dead bodies behind the bus now that the bus is no more?  To date he has not publicly acknowledged that he said this or even expressed regret for having said it. If he has, let Mark Driscoll clarify for the record that he has and in what published context he has done so.   The implication seems to be that in spite of whatever regrets he claims he had there was a lot happening in a culture that didn’t have a lot of churches.  By this Driscoll may simply mean not a lot of low church Protestant churches that would fit the increasingly nebulous description of “evangelical”, but in any case there might be an implication that the sheer size of the “results” of what he did in Seattle may in some limited sense serve as a kind of defense of what he said and did over a twenty year period. 

But “I’m seeing a lot happen” neither means that Mark Driscoll at any point deserves credit for what a Calvinist would say is the grace of God on the one hand, nor on the other would it justify any of the decisions he made for which Acts 29 decided he’d shown he was unfit for pastoral ministry. 

Walsh and Robison, for their part, can’t be so naïve as to truly not know about the years of controversy that swirled around Mark Driscoll’s intellectual property and how it was promoted.  The plagiarism scandal and the Result Source scandal were not exactly blips on the media radar. Driscoll’s tale of how there was an eight-year struggle inside Mars Hill over governance doesn’t make sense.  It can’t be squared with Mark Driscoll’s proud 2007 declaration that the bylaws that Meyer and Petry objected to were unanimously voted in; it can’t be squared with the BoAA’s statement in 2014 that Mars Hill had successfully addressed problems of conflicts of interest.

On the whole the history of public discussion of governance at Mars Hill does not suggest a continuous eight-year conflict but, rather, a series of incidents in which people connected to the leadership culture of Mars Hill expressed concern that the governance systems in place seemed to ensure that Mark Driscoll could not and would not be held accountable unless he wanted the outcome.  Only since the start of the final year of Mars Hill did Driscoll begin to speak as though there were any unresolved conflicts or relational fractures related to governance in general or his role in being leader of Mars Hill in particular.

Having turned discussion back to children, Driscoll got a few more questions about them.

Sheila: What are you saying to your kids in the midst of this? Do you even have the strength to say anything? When your whole life has been built around the fact that God is a God of love and redemption and now you're having to hide in your own house and protect your own children, what do you say to them?
Did Walsh say this out of a familiarity with Mark Driscoll’s writing as William Wallace II or as an editorial writer at the Evergreen at Washington State University? Perhaps not.  Driscoll’s reply:

Mark: Well, first you own anything you can that you contributed to it so that your children see repentance and humility and honesty and integrity. …

Note that the emphasis is strictly on the Driscoll children whether or not the same was done to the Board of Advisors & Accountability; any of the members or attenders of which Mark Driscoll said “we never got to say good-bye; or any of the men that Mark Driscoll said were “off the bus, under the bus”. 

… Then you teach them forgiveness.  So when we -- it was just really weird. I've been a pastor 18 years. All my kids were born in the church. They've never been in another church. We started the church before we had kids and wake up on Sunday and I realize, I'm not a pastor, I'm not a church. We can't go to church. I think the media is on the other side of the fence wondering what we're going to do today so we'll just stay here.

This is particularly vague.  For those who lived in Seattle in 2014 there was an incident in which KOMO’s Russ Bowen paid a visit to the Driscoll house in Woodway.  Watch the footage circa 0:50.

http://komonews.com/news/local/mars-hill-pastor-let-go-after-criticizing-church-leader

So Russ Bowen went to the million-dollar home in Woodway to the fence and the intercom Driscoll some questions.  Driscoll’s response was “Sorry, wrong address. I don’t know.” The Driscoll dog was evidently let loose and the police were even called but because Bowen and KOMO news had done nothing wrong in approaching Driscoll for an interview that was that.  Every time Mark Driscoll refers to the media visiting his house in Woodway he has to live with having told Russ Bowen “wrong address”. 

But the most salient part about talking about media on the other side of the fence, if Driscoll was referring to any conversation that did or didn’t happen with Russ Bowen is this, the Bowen attempt at contact was in August 2014, nearly two months before Mark Driscoll resigned. Assuming that Russ Bowen did find Mark Driscoll’s real address he wasn’t waiting for two months outside the Driscoll house waiting for Mark Driscoll to resign so Mark Driscoll could share a story about how his kids decided to start a church because Mark Driscoll just didn’t know what to do and the “media” was waiting on the other side of the fence for an answer? So, for the moment, of the available accounts of attempted media contact with Mark Driscoll in Seattle we’ve got the Russ Bowen incident but that was months before Driscoll made the decision to resign in 2014.  When talking  to Walsh in 2017 it’s as though everything that happened across the span of months, assuming everything described or alluded to actually happened, gets collapsed into a narrative that implies everything was transpiring simultaneously.

And in this new narrative it is Mark Driscoll’s children who make the decision “We’re a church” and everything in Driscoll’s career moves forward from that.

So we sat down as a family and I was very emotional. My kids just decided, well, we're a church so my one daughter who can sing, the rest of us can't sing, she led worship and my other son led us in prayer and one of the kids did scripture reading. And we had brunch together and my eight-year old son came down and collected an offering.

These are the kids who, as Mark Driscoll recounted at the Thrive conference in May of 2015, didn’t know their dad had resigned from ministry and membership at Mars Hill the day it was announced mid-October 2014 until it was on national media. If this is really what they did their resilience in the face of a father, who confounded all the adult men on the Board of Mars Hill with his abrupt decision to resign, might be commendable. Yet in this story it sure looks as though Mark Driscoll has set it up so that it wasn’t him who yearned to start over and start a new church from scratch, it was his children, and who can argue against children brimming with philanthropic drive?

Mark: To give to a single mom that he knew wasn't going to have enough money for kids for Christmas. So he collected the offering. So I started teaching a Bible study on forgiveness because I believed the heart of the demonic is unforgiveness. I believe God does forgiveness and Satan and demons are never forgiven and never forgiving. I believe if you want to err enter into demonic torment and just get bitter and don't do forgiveness.

One can only guess what kind of collective and individual confession of sin may have happened that day.

So Driscoll began to teach on forgiveness and the demonic, which was something he had a lot to say about in his spiritual warfare sessions from 2008.  Driscoll has taught that if you harbor unforgiveness in your heart about something toward a person you are creating a demonic foothold that can become a stronghold.  That was the same 2008 teaching marathon in which Mark Driscoll also described “not enough sex inside marriage” as the first of a category of things he called the “ordinary demonic”.  Depriving a spouse of sex was described as demonic, although to go by Mark Driscoll’s account of talking with Grace about sex in 2012’s Real Marriage his plea to her was not that depriving him of sex was demonic but that more sex from her would cure his moodiness. The possibility that his own bitterness against his wife over the lack of sex might itself be a demonic foothold of the sort he’s warned others about appears to have never even been a thought. Almost certainly it was not in whatever teaching on forgiveness he would have imparted to his kids the week he resigned from Mars Hill.

The problem is simply that if Mark Driscoll were to measure his own spiritual life by the criteria with which he’s measured others, the question of how demonized he might have become by the bitterness he nursed against his wife is impossible to evade, even if it has never come up as a topic in interviews.  When Driscoll talks about the need for forgiveness to avoid demonic footholds, as he did at length in a 2008 seminar on spiritual warfare, it was about how “you” need to forgive so that “you” don’t become demonized because of your bitter root.  What’s alarming is that this seems to be the theological approach to diabology he’s shared not just with leaders from Mars Hill circa 2008 but is now imparting to his children.

So I sat down with my kids. I said, "Okay, you need to forgive your dad for anything he's contributed. We need to forgive anyone else who has participated in this complex situation. Because what I don't want to raise is bitter pastor's kids who are in demonic torment because they have a church hurt. We need to forgive, we need to love, we need to heal up." And so we did church together at home as a family for many, many months; then invited some family and friends to join us just to have safe fellowship and community. So my kids basically ran their own church. [emphases added] And I got to teach, sometimes in my pajamas, which was really great.

So the first service in this new church that consisted entirely of the family of Mark and Grace Driscoll was a sermon about the necessity of forgiving Pastor Dad for anything and everything “he’s contributed”, to what?  The implication seems to be the hurt or resentment of the Driscoll children themselves, since Mark Driscoll expressed that he didn’t’ want bitter pastor’s kids who are in demonic torment because of church hurt.  Who was in a position to cause that church hurt?  The most probable candidate would seem to have been Mark Driscoll himself. 

Yet in Mark Driscoll’s tales of the patriarchal legacy of his dad Joe he praised his father for deciding to pull up stakes and leave North Dakota to escape the previous Driscollian legacy of drunken woman-beating loserdom.  At what point are the sins of fathers things that need to be renounced and fled from rather than simply forgiven?  This isn’t an abstract question, it’s one of the most concrete and practical questions in the legacy of the O’Driscoll family as recounted by none other than Mark Driscoll himself. If healing up involves abandoning the church that the children of Mark and Grace Driscoll grew up in then, in a way, perhaps Mark Driscoll has done for his children what his own father believed was best for his children—in that sense perhaps there’s some form of history not exactly repeating itself but rhyming.

Driscoll continued:
...
Mark: Yeah. We waited; we felt like our oldest daughter should be able to graduate with her friends from high school. So we made that pledge to her. [emphasis added] Then we prayed and my wife and I, we had written a book previously on marriage and really focused on friendship, was really one of our big things. And so thank God, we didn't know the hurricane is coming but we had really doubled down on our friendship and our friendship was super tight and close. Some say that a good friend makes the good times twice as good, and the bad times twice as bad. When your spouse is your friend and the pressure pushes you together rather than pulls you apart, that's a real blessing.

Mark Driscoll repeatedly said “We never got to say good-bye.” This now turns out to mean that the oldest daughter was able to graduate from her high school. That sounds like someone in the Driscoll family getting a chance to graduate and say “good-bye”.  So if the eldest Driscoll child was able to graduate from high school how were Mark and Grace Driscoll never able to “say good-bye” if there was the remainder of an entire academic year for their oldest child to graduate?  What kept them from saying good-bye to people at Mars Hill?
...
So yeah, in that my wife and I prayed and we met with wise counsel and pastors and counselors we trusted and didn't say anything publically and tried not to vent and leak. So we prayed about it and we both came to agreement that it was time to transition. So we felt called to Arizona, West Coast. I like the sunshine. So it was So Cal or Arizona; my wife really liked Arizona, I really liked my wife so Arizona seemed really good to me.

So we moved down there not knowing what was next. It was one of the places I didn't have a job offer. [was this supposed to imply he was, in spite of all the controversy leading up to his resignation, getting job offers in the 2014-2015 period?  Who was offering him jobs after he resigned from Mars Hill, or would that be covered by a non-disclosure agreement?] Once we moved, a 200-foot tree fell on our house. We still had all our possessions in our home, back in Seattle --

Sheila: The one you were trying to sell?

Mark: We moved and put it up for sale because we couldn't have open house with us living there. It would have been a bunch of drama. Boom! A 200-foot tree falls on the house, shears the bedroom off, destroys our bed; would have killed us if we were home.

The actual house owned by the Driscolls in 2014 in Seattle, in Montlake, sold December 14, 2014.  The trees in the area seemed to look well-tended.  Now the house in Woodway, where a substantial windstorm hit a while back, may well have been hit by a tree. That gets us back to the old question of why Mark Driscoll indicated to Russ Bowen that the Woodway house was “wrong address”.

Sheila: This is getting very Job-like.

Mark: Yeah. I'm like really? I read the Old Testament but I didn't want to live it. So yeah, it was complicated.

At the risk of coldly pointing out the obvious, if your children are still alive and haven’t died because a strong wind blew down a house after God made a bet with the devil you wouldn’t renounce the Lord even if the Lord allowed your children and your entire personal legacy to get wiped out in a day, we’re not even close to talking about a Job-like narrative. The very fact that Driscoll has been able to talk so much about his children already shows us how very not like the story of Job his life has been.  It’s not like Grace has told Mark Driscoll to curse God and die.

So then we're down in Arizona. We can't sell the house, we can't buy a new house, I don't have a job. Where are the kids going to school? We've got elementary, junior high, high school, college trying to figure it all out. And in God's grace, I can tell you a year and a half later all the kids are walking with the Lord. They came to me and said, "Dad, we did church in our house, that was fun. Can we plant a church?"

So the kids wanted to plant a church. I was like, "Really? You want to plant a church?"

So they dreamt up the name of the church and the branding and had a lot of conversations around the dinner table and so we decided to plant a church as a family project

Cute as that story is if we consult the history of the Driscoll family for who has a B.A. in Public Relations/Communications, with a minor in Technical English it’s Grace Driscoll.  While it’s certainly possible for the Driscoll kids to have brainstormed the name and branding of the church will Ashley Driscoll end up being a pastor there?  Unless Mark Driscoll pivots on his brand of complementarianism into an egalitarian position we’re not likely to hear sermons from Ashley Driscoll.  Then again, he didn’t start out a Calvinist and formerly considered T. D. Jakes a heretical Word faith wingnut and publicly lambasted Joel Osteen, both men he’s since made friendly overtures to.  It’s still possible Mark Driscoll could announce he’s an egalitarian down the road.

This new narrative is remarkable for what it reveals about Mark Driscoll’s new approach. The guy who used to preach that headship in marriage means it’s the man’s responsibility even when it isn’t his fault has been remarkably eager to share just how much of the responsibility for brainstorming the branding and concept of Mark Driscoll’s new church has come from his children:

Mark: I always say when you forgive someone it's not letting them get away with anything, it's letting you get away from everything. You're basically saying, I forgive you and I'm going to let this be passed up to a higher court and I'll let God render the verdict. But for me, I'm going to move on with my life and I'm going to want God's best for you. But that's between you and God.
Randy: So your whole family gets together and you start a church in Phoenix.

Mark: We start a church. We don't know anybody. We don't have a building. We've got nothing!

Randy: Trinity Church in Scottsdale.

Mark: Yeah, we named it after Grace's dad; he planted a church called the Trinity Church and he had passed away. So the kids were like, "Let's name it after grandpa to honor him." I was like, "Okay." So we made an announcement, we're going to plant a church. We have no people. We have no money. We have no clue. And God provided a building in a supernatural way. We got a mid-century modern historic cool church building.

Yet if the Driscolls had no money what was the deal with Mark Driscoll announcing the purchase of Resurgence assets at a “public auction”? Back around July 27, 2015 Mark Driscoll had an announcement.
https://markdriscoll.org/driscoll-family-update/
27 Jul Driscoll Family Update
Posted at 16:50h in Blog              
by Mark Driscoll


It’s been a busy few weeks for the Driscoll family, and we wanted to give you some updates, along with expressing a sincere thanks to  everyone who has prayed for us, including those who have sent encouraging emails and let us know how to pray for them.

Grace and I were also honored that Pastor Brian Houston sat down to interview us, as he did with other ministry leaders, to show at the Hillsong conferences in Sydney and London. The link to that interview is here.

The Resurgence and our Move to Phoenix

The Mars Hill Church board also very recently approved the sale of the assets of The Resurgence ministries through an independent auction conducted by a law firm. Having now gained first access to these resources, it will be some time before we catalogue and decide what will happen with the content. [emphasis added]

However, if you are newly receiving this email it is likely because you were part of The Resurgence mailing list. If you would like to receive ongoing updates from me, as well as free Bible teaching, you need to do nothing. If you would like to be removed from the mailing list you can do so by clicking the link at the bottom of this email and following the automated process.

After meeting with many former church leaders for reconciliation and closure in Seattle, our family is in the midst of a new adventure as we have moved to the Phoenix area.


It’s nearly impossible to imagine what would have been covered by a non-disclosure agreement Mark Driscoll may have signed with Mars Hill after his resignation, given the enormity of what he has said since a mere few days after his October 2014 resignation.  If the Driscolls had no money then who did have the money to allow Mark Driscoll Ministries to purchase the assets of The Resurgence?  For that matter, since Mark Driscoll was at one point the president and founder of The Resurgence it might almost seem mysterious why Mark Driscoll Ministries would have needed to buy the resources.  The officer of The Resurgence in its final days was, at least to go by the Washington Secretary of State, Sutton Turner.  But as to the Driscollian presidency of the Resurgence this was something Driscoll confirmed in 2007 had been the case:

https://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/elders-response-to-questions-11-9-07.pdf
 ...
For me personally, everything culminated at the end of 2006. Despite rapid growth, the church was not healthy and neither was I. My workload was simply overwhelming. I was preaching five times a Sunday, the senior leader in Mars Hill responsible to some degree for literally everything in the church, president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network which had exploded, president of The Resurgence [emphasis added], an author writing books, a conference speaker traveling, a media representative doing interviews, a student attending graduate school, a father with five young children, and a husband to a wife whom I have adored since the first day I met her and needed my focus more than ever. [emphases added] I was working far too many hours and neglecting my own physical and spiritual well-being, and then I hit the proverbial wall. For many weeks I simply could not sleep more than two or three hours a night. I had been running off of adrenaline for so many years that my adrenal glands fatigued and the stress of my responsibilities caused me to be stuck “on” physically and unable to rest or sleep. After a few months I had black circles under my eyes, was seeing a fog, and was constantly beyond exhausted.

Eventually The Resurgence would turn into a corporate entity whose assets Mark Driscoll or an associated LLC didn’t own, it seems.  Thus there was need to purchase those assets and, as Mark Driscoll assured Walsh and Robison in an interview broadcast April 6, 2017, the Driscolls had no money.  Did Mark and Grace Driscoll somehow lose Lasting Legacy, LLC?

http://ecorp.azcc.gov/Details/Corp?corpId=L20752916
File Number:
L20752916
Corporation Name:
LASTING LEGACY, LLC

Agent Name:  CAPITOL CORPORATE SERVICES INC 
Agent Mailing/Physical Address: 
815 N 1ST AVE STE 4
PHOENIX, AZ 85003
Agent Status:  APPOINTED 03/09/2016 
Agent Last Updated:  03/14/2016 
Entity Type:  DOMESTIC L.L.C.  Business Type:   
Incorporation Date:  3/9/2016  Corporation Life Period:  PERPETUAL 
Domicile:  ARIZONA  County:  MARICOPA 
Approval Date:  3/14/2016  Original Publish Date:   

MARK DRISCOLL MANAGER
21001 N TATUM BLVD
STE 1630-527
PHOENIX, AZ 85050
 03/09/2016 03/14/2016 

MARK DRISCOLL MEMBER
21001 N TATUM BLVD
STE 1630-527
PHOENIX, AZ 85050
 03/09/2016 03/14/2016 

GRACE DRISCOLL MEMBER
21001 N TATUM BLVD
STE 1630-527
PHOENIX, AZ 85050
 03/09/2016 03/14/2016

It moved from Washington to Arizona, perhaps, but there’s been no clear indication that On Mission, LLC or OMCRU Investments just collapsed in the last five years.   You would think that a family with no money and no clue would be loath to commit to starting all over again a process that happened twenty years before and ended in disaster with the rise and fall of Mars Hill.   You’d be wrong.

My kids demoed it. Volunteers showed up. My kids did all the demo, helped throw away two dozen dumpsters of garbage, ripped out carpet, painted walls. We literally planted a church as a family and then other families showed up for work parties and we did it altogether. We put bouncy houses in the back of the auditorium because we didn't have a kids’ ministry and I would teach a Bible study; no sound, no lights, no video, no band, no transition. And then we would all get our gloves on and go to work; and it was 120 degrees out so you know those are good people if they show up for that. So that's what we did.

Even if we set aside skepticism about the “no money” claims from Driscoll, let’s consider the board of directors at his newest church:

http://ecorp.azcc.gov/Details/Corp?corpId= 20491878
THE TRINITY CHURCH
MARK DRISCOLL PRESIDENT/CEO
21001 N TATUM BLVD
STE 1630-434
PHOENIX, AZ 85050
11/20/2015 10/07/2016 

RANDALL TAYLOR DIRECTOR
21001 N TATUM BLVD
STE 1630-434
PHOENIX, AZ 85050
11/20/2015 10/07/2016 

JIMMY EVANS DIRECTOR
21001 N TATUM BLVD
STE 1630-434
PHOENIX, AZ 85050
11/20/2015 10/07/2016 

MARK DRISCOLL DIRECTOR
21001 N TATUM BLVD
STE 1630-434
PHOENIX, AZ 85050
11/20/2015 10/07/2016

How do you get a board of directors and a corporate listing set up if there’s no money?  Driscoll may not have been as bereft of money as his story begs us to assume, but even if he were, his benefactors can’t have been penniless.  In fact the new church went from renting to owning its site.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Mark-Driscoll-will-launch-ministry-resurrection-6885689.php
By Joel Connelly, SeattlePI 
Updated 6:58 pm, Friday, March 11, 2016
...
The newly launched Driscoll congregation has signed a rental contract for the 50-year-old church, which opened on Easter Sunday in 1966. [emphasis added] The official launch of the church has not yet been announced.

http://thetrinitychurch.com/the-trinity-church-welcomes-you-to-our-easter-open-house-2/
...
Pastor Mark and his family moved to the Phoenix valley last year. After spending months praying specifically for a church building with 1,000+ seats along the 101 Freeway, Pastor Mark believes that God has supernaturally provided. [emphasis added] Like most older church buildings, this one needs some service projects and financial investment to make it a good home, but we are excited about its potential.

We know that God has gone before us, preparing an opportunity to minister. This building provides a wonderful opportunity for our mission: Why? So that lives and legacies are transformed!

...
Pastor Mark couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity for evangelism that God has provided The Trinity Church, and is praying every day for the people who will meet Jesus Christ in this building. He also looks forward to ongoing partnership with other pastors as part of Jesus’ one big Church in the valley. He says, “God is planting The Trinity Church and we are following his leadership. God has a plan that has been fifty years in the making. My youngest son and I first walked around the building after baseball practice late one night. Still in his uniform, under the moonlight of a warm and clear desert evening, my little buddy folded his hands and prayed that Jesus would provide us the building to worship Him in. God answered his prayer! God has provided a home for The Trinity Church”. [emphasis added]

http://thetrinitychurch.com/2016/06/30/god-provided-a-home/
Hey everyone! I have a really exciting announcement. We have officially purchased our historic church home in Scottsdale, Arizona!

Every family needs a home, and this one is a wonderful fit for our church family.

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/pastor.mark.driscoll.says.past.hardships.led.him.to.open.new.arizona.church.sometimes.hard.things.come.from.god/92737.htm
...
Purchasing the church building was no easy feat, since the Maricopa County Assessor's Office revealed that the church's evaluated cash value for fiscal year 2017 is a whopping $21,265,300. But Driscoll said The Trinity Church family received a lot of "generous donations" not only from church members, "but also from friends of The Trinity Church that just want to help support this new Church plant."

And there was apparently money enough for Mark Driscoll to purchase, along the way, all the assets of The Resurgence.   The amazing thing about this narrative is how thoroughly and inextricably the Driscoll kids are woven into this.  But who is the President and CEO of Mark Driscoll Ministries?  Mark Driscoll, obviously, as well as being the CEO and President of The Trinity Church and Lasting Legacy, LLC.  What Walsh said next was to suggest that this was all saying positive things about Mark and Grace Driscoll being willing to plant a church because their children suggested it.

Sheila: You know what that says to me about you and your wife? That your children would say, "Let's plant a church" because if you had reacted differently, responded differently, you could have turned all your children against the Lord. But instead --

Mark: If I had embittered my kids against the Lord that would have been worse than everything I had been through. I mean I really love my kids. They're really wonderful kids.

What happened to all the terror and heartache of “The Hardest Part of Ministry?” If everything during the Mars Hill period was as traumatic for the Driscoll children as Mark Driscoll has continuously said it was it’s a little bit mysterious why the week their dad resigned from Mars Hill the Driscoll kids, to go by this new narrative Driscoll’s shared with Walsh and Robison, seemed unable to resist starting a church immediately.  And the “aw shucks” tone of the narrative in the April 6, 2017 Driscoll provides makes it seem as though the kids are the real visionaries and he’s just, you know, along for the ride, sort of.

If we remember a warning from Mark Driscoll about doting family men, Haman could have been described as a loyal husband and decent family man.  Ten years ago Mark Driscoll was issuing warnings to guys about Word faith heretical wing nuts like T. D. Jakes and since 2012 Driscoll has described Jakes as one of his friends.  If the Driscoll kids are as good at theology as Mark Driscoll has said some of them are the question of why their dad has embraced as friends some of the men he denounced as heretics a decade ago won’t just go away.

Mark: They're really great kids and I didn't know the Lord until I was 19. So watching kids grow up to know the Lord is such a better plan that the one I had.

Randy: What has he taught you through your own children?

Mark: The father heart of God; that God loves me like I love my kids. And God is there for me like I'm there for my kids. And God intends good for me as I intend good for my kids. Yeah, I've learned a lot about the father heart of God through all of this. So when it all came people would ask, "How are you doing?" I didn't know how to answer that. All I know is we're in God's will. [emphasis added]

This statement could be remarkable depending how literally we take it.  Mark Driscoll compares the love of God the Father ‘s love for Mark Driscoll to Mark Driscoll’s love for his own children. That might be an epic comparison of the greater to the lesser that many a Christian might find terrible.  What exactly is “the father heart of God”, some fourth as yet previously unknown member of what we used to call the Trinity?  Is this really the same Mark Driscoll who declared to Mother Jones magazine about twenty years ago that he was a confrontational guy and not some pansy-ass therapist? 

Mark: Sometimes that's all you've got. [sometimes you have all nearly all the intellectual property of twenty years’ worth of Mars Hill preaching because the intellectual property is copyrighted to you and not the now defunct Mars Hill Church] But the truth is that's all you need. So I remember one day we were literally going into the church for Bible study and work party and my daughter grabbed my hand. She always holds my hand. She is the affectionate one. I just thought, all I need to do is take my Dad's hand and walk with him. I don't know where we're going, I don't know what we're doing but I know I've got a good dad and I know if I stick close to dad, wherever we end up is going to be a good place.
…  Mark: Here's my wife, here's my kids, I've still got a place in heaven and now God's being gracious. We get to teach. I get to go to church with my family. My kids sit on the front row every Sunday and they take notes, and then after church they give me feedback on the sermon. And now my kids are asking about going into ministry and how to prep sermons. And I'm like, you know, maybe this will be a season where we get to do things together as a family that otherwise were not possible. And if so, that makes it really rich and rewarding.

Was Mark Driscoll talking about all of the Driscoll kids or just the sons?  Has Driscoll wavered on his complementarianism if his daughters have expressed interest in vocational ministry?  If they have and Mark Driscoll has begun to consider whether, as a complementarian, he thinks his daughters should be informal ministry, couldn’t such a pivot seem motivated entirely by nepotism rather than a consideration doctrinal, historical or textual approach to biblical literature?  Rather than ask this fairly obvious, if literal-minded question, Robison switches over to a question of message.

Randy: Has anything changed in your message? I know the overarching message has not because you're preaching the gospel but has anything -- is there any nuance difference maybe?

Mark: I think when I was a young man I focused a lot on Jesus. I still like Jesus -- yay Jesus! But now the fatherhood of God and the Holy Spirit, I'm getting to know the person, the presence, the power of the Holy Spirit in a deeper more intimate, emotionally maturing way, I hope. -- And again, the fatherhood of God. So I'll still be very focused on Jesus but I think sometimes depending upon what church or tradition you go to there's one member of the Trinity who sort of gets the billing and the rest are opening acts. So I'm spending a lot more time getting to know the Father and the Spirit.

A few years ago Driscoll said his angry young prophet days were over, to be replaced with a father figure, mentor of mentors role. Why does it seem that Mark Driscoll’s focus on God lines up so elegantly with the role he intends to play within his ministry as a figure to be looked up to or looked to for counsel? 

And I think too, focusing a lot more on emotional health, relational integrity, and building a foundation on relationships at the church because I think apart from emotional health and healing, and relational health and healing, you don't end up with a healthy family or church family. So there's a lot of emphasis going that direction.

Randy: Where do you hope you are in another year or two?

Mark: You know, Scottsdale is not a bad place to be all winter. My wife and I are really good friends and I don't know what the Lord has next but I'm just really excited about who I get to do it with, Grace, the kids, the friends that we have, the new friends that we have, the old friends that have really proven true. When hard times come you really figure out who your friends are. And as the old puritans used to talk about the "swallow friends," they leave when winter comes. But we've really found some deep, profound friendships, old and new. We feel far less rich in resources but honestly, very rich in relationships. So that's been really healing and really encouraging. It's actually been really enjoyable.

For reasons unknown, the Walsh and Robison interview with Mark Driscoll is no longer up at Life Today but it is still available at Mark Driscoll’s website. Mark Driscoll may feel far less rich in resources now that he has one church with one location rather than a gigachurch with fifteen locations, a publishing company and the possibility of a Bible college.  But for all of the controversy he’s weathered it’s not put him off from ministry. In fact what makes his past laments about the danger his children were in when he was in the Puget Sound is how there’s not the slightest trace of that in the Arizona plant; it’s even been presented as primarily the instigation of the Driscoll kids to start The Trinity Church.  That’s all very paradoxical.

It may be easier for Mark Driscoll to keep coming back to his wife and children rather than discuss directly just how vitriolic and visceral his polemical style has been since, well, always. By 2017 it’s possible to ask whether or not Mark Driscoll is, in some sense, opting to hide behind stories about his children rather than confront direct questions about his character and conduct.   While there was a time when, from the pulpit, Mark Driscoll could admit to his ambition and competitiveness the new Mark Driscoll seems determined to conceal his ambitions behind stories about his wife and children while talking about the father heart of God who happens to love him the way he loves his own children.

If Mark Driscoll from 1997 were to listen to the things said by Mark Driscoll in 2017 would that old Mark Driscoll regard the new Mark Driscoll as a sell-out pansy-ass therapist?

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/07/generation
...
"I really preach; it's not just three points to a better self-esteem," Driscoll says. "Megachurches have perfect services with perfect lighting. We're a friggin' mess." Driscoll delivers his sermons largely off-the- cuff, and refuses to follow a point-by-point outline like most pastors at megachurches do. "I'm very confrontational," he says, "not some pansy-ass therapist."

Well, that was 1998.

1 comment:

Cal P said...

Even though, for ecclesiological, philosophical, and ethical reasons, I abhor the Church utilizing civil mechanisms of enforcement and violence. Having said that, this story made me miss the days of church courts and the stockades. It'd probably do Mark some good to be condemned by some prelates, publicly whipped, and fined for his abusing the flocks of God.