Monday, December 06, 2021

Warren Throckmorton demonstrates Mark Driscoll recyling material in a new book from an old Mars Hill era book in which women contributors went uncredited (then in that book and now in this one)

I refrained from commenting on how Mark Driscoll has recycled materials in the era of The Trinity Church from the era of Mars Hill Church much in the past because it seemed that even if I pointed out how Good News for Bad Christians was a recycled series from the Mars Hill era series Christians Gone Wild with serious cuts in at least one sermon, people attending Driscoll's newest church might not know or care.  Or at least I refrained for the most part. By now, however, anyone who carefully tracks Mark Driscoll's literary output likely understands just how much recycling he's done over the decades and may already be familiar with controversies about the extent to which his books have relied on a content management system.

Well, it seems that the labors of people who worked within the Mars Hill content management system are still getting re:purposed and re:cycled with Mark Driscoll's most re:cent ministry and Warren Throckmorton has shared details. 

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Brad Vermurlen's Reformed Resurgence, another book I recommend as providing some background on the rise and fall of Mars Hill

Many years ago Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, wrote about the coming evangelical collapse. 
Now, Brad Vermurlen has a book out that builds a case that in order to understand the rise of New Calvinism, real or perceived, we can’t  begin to properly understand that “Reformed resurgence” without understanding a dissolution of American Evangelicalism as a field rather than as any coherent, identifiable set of beliefs or practices.  Field theory doesn’t seem hugely difficult for me to understand but over at Mere Orthodoxy there were some jokes about how abstract the concept of relative growth of subcultures within a larger dissolving culture seemed to be.

"Aftermath" and the problem of Mark Driscoll's law-gospel dyad: there's no gospel beyond scripts of adulthood explicated by Driscoll exemplar rather than christus exemplar

Now that Mike Cosper has finished episode 12 of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill he brings things to a head with a question, what was the actual “good news” of Mark Driscoll’s idea of “the Gospel?”  In the episode “Aftermath” he surveys the fate of churches that were relaunched in the wake of the corporate dissolution of Mars Hill after Mark Driscoll resigned. He also interviewed a number of women and men about some disastrous experiences they had at the hands of Mars Hill “biblical living” counselors. If you weren’t subjected to that or subjected yourself to that while at Mars Hill you wouldn’t have known the nomenclature but that’s what it was. 

Saturday, December 04, 2021

so, yes, I see episode 12 has dropped, "Aftermath"

2 hours and 37 minutes is a lot of material.  Will get to it.  
Just saw it in the last hour.

That big old post on Roger Scruton blathering on about highbrow in `99 turning into a plea to take jazz seriously as an anti-Adorno stance in `09 will have to wait for some other time.  I've been meaning to get back to Scruton and the legacy of conservatives who might otherwise rant about cultural Marxists ignorantly recycling Adorno's  not-so-brief against pop music as art for a while now but I wasn't expecting The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill to drop in 2021. So a pile of things I'd meant to blog about this year have been tabled because I've got only so much time and energy.  Chronicling the history of Mars Hill was one of the big projects of this blog for a time and Cosper's project has been nothing if not ambitious.  If Episode 12 is like Episode 11 it should be substantial.  I've got other thoughts to share later about something a friend from the early MH shared about the divergent and not-always compatible forms of arguments that seem to be collapsed together in Cosper's project but ... if you saw the time ... I've got a pile of listening to do.

That Mark didn't stick around to see how many Mars Hill marriages didn't end up in divorce is a given but it will be interesting to see how much that factors into the episode.

2 thoughts Nathan Robinson on rightwing conspiracy--even if progressive/liberals have their version of conspiracy agitprop (Randall Balmer), Doug Wilson single-handedly proves Robinson's point has some merit

Recently at Current Affairs Nathan Robinson wrote up a piece about how conservatives have been manufacturing scares to protect monied interests and stoke fear for generations. He has also argued that such paranoia-selling has not been characteristic of the left. 

a fugue on "The Lick" in the style of J. S. Bach by Josiah Sprankle--I've got some thoughts on how The Lick lends itself to modal mutation, transposition, and being set against its own inversions and retrogrades

It's not "quite" The Lick because the seventh degree is turned into a leading tone and the rhythms are de-syncopated but Sprankle did say the idea was to write a fugue on The Lick after the style of J. S. Bach.  

Thursday, December 02, 2021

William Wallace II as an embryonic variation on themes from Doug Wilson's No Quarter November--revisiting the Wilson influence on Driscoll via thematic concerns

 I realize this is a contentious point but one I keep coming back to.  Mark Driscoll has made no secret of Doug Wilson's influence on him and while thanks to Midrash and being a member of Mars Hill I know Driscoll took a dim view of R. L. Dabney and Wilson's ideas about the American Civil War, when it came to gender, sexuality and marriage Mark was openly positive about Wilson's ideas being formative for him.

This is a point that people who admire Wilson and distrust Driscoll might have to actually think about. Compare what Driscoll wrote as William Wallace II (published here and elsewhere and accessible via to anything in Wilson's No Quarter November rambles from 2018 through the present and see if you can prove there's neither a stylistic nor a thematic connection.  Back in his William Wallace II days Mark Driscoll explicitly named Wilson as an influence.  He backpedaled from Wilson's ideas about the Civil War in the member only Midrash circa 2002-2005 so it's understandable no one who wasn't a contracted/covenanted member of Mars Hill at the time could possibly have known that, but, if anything, Cosper's podcast merely alludes to a Wilsonian influence without, probably from constraints of time or people going on record (?) exploring that further.

After twenty years and having chronicled the history of Mars Hill for as long as I have the burden of proof on Wilson admirers is to disprove the connection Driscoll made a matter of public record if they want to differentiate between the two men, or to explain how and why Wilson doesn't have Driscoll's character flaws.

Having read one of the NQN books I'd venture to say that's going to be a difficult case to sustain so far.  To read Wilson sound off on "Smash the Matriarchy" and "Surplices Are for Sissises" is to be reminded that Driscoll wrote "Pussified Nation" drawing upon the ideas of others.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Mark Driscoll's "10 commandments" of Critical Theory are a checklist of behaviors, behaviors that we by now have evidence to suggest are how he treats people, not just how he says critical theorists treat people

Christian Theology vs. Critical Theory
© 2021 by Mark Driscoll
ISBN: 978-1-7374103-7-9 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-7374103-8-6 (E-book)


Pages 16-17

When sinners sit in God’s judgment seat, as Critical Theory encourages, the following 10 Counterfeit Commandments appear:

1. Autonomy: I should be in authority, not under authority, which explains why

I tell everyone else what to do but will not allow anyone to tell me what to


Driscoll's would be 10 counterfeit commandments are really ten behaviors. The irony of this checklist of behaviors is that it isn't that difficult to demonstrate how Mark Driscoll has exemplified these ten behaviors in his own ministry career despite his imputing these behaviors to Critical Theory and critical theorists. So we'll start with the first "commandment" of autonomy, which Driscoll describes as the attitude outline above, an attitude that, as we go through the history of the late Mars Hill, seems to be remarkably like Mark Driscoll.  

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving--some scattered thoughts on Coltrane's A Love Supreme and Beethoven's symphonies as touchstones in art-religions

I have not been writing about music as much as I had planned to this year because, as regular reads no doubt no, stuff came up. I hadn't anticipated this year would be the year Christianity Today would do a sprawling podcast series on the rise and fall of Mars Hill and that that would inspire me to go back and revisit and build upon earlier writing I had done between 2010 through 2016.  I had gotten used to the idea that this blog was going to be back to things musical and musical-historical and theoretical.  But Cosper's project has inspired me, with a good deal of ambivalence, to stick to writing about the late Mars Hill, and of course there's still stuff to be written about the Charisma era books.

But for Thanksgiving I thought I'd share a sample of the recently released John Coltrane album A Love Supreme Live in Seattle.

I know for some classical music fans Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is the apotheosis of Western culture and distills the hopes of Western civilization and universal values and all that.  However, among Americans who have an appreciation of jazz I would say it's not hard to find people for whom their "Beethoven's Ninth" is "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane.  After decades of listening to music, studying it, writing it and thinking about it, I'd say that Beethoven's Ninth is still worth a listen but I don't think its message is more "universal" than Coltrane's.  I love me some Beethoven, as I wrote about at length years ago about his last piano sonata.  I think he was brilliant to shift his developmental episodes into the transitions rather than keep them all in the formal development section of the sonata form in his Op. 111 but the Ninth ... the Ninth seems overlong and self-serious to me more often than not.  I also can't really abide Missa Solemnis.  Haydn wrote better choral music for the obvious reason that he sang in choirs but for those in the cult of Beethoven he can't simple be a better than average composer, as someone suggested we regard him a few years ago to the fury of some people on the internet. ;) 

So there's been a lot I haven't written this year I meant to write.  I meant to write through a series of posts analyzing Matiegka's Op. 31 sonatas!  So that didn't happen!  I still mean to get to that, though. I  also meant to write about Ferdinand Rebay's solo guitar sonatas and that, too, has not happened.  I want to write about German Dzhaparidze's 24 preludes and fugues for solo guitar ... and the guitar sonatas of Angelo Gilardino, Dusan Bogdanovic, Atanas Ourkouzounov, and Carlos Guastavino, for instance.  I might even dare to write about Koshkin's two sonatas but, as you've seen this year, I felt drawn back to blogging about other stuff related to that church I used to be part of.  But I hope to get back to musical stuff ... maybe in 2022.

With that mentioned, my interests have been shifting toward books by Douglas Shadle and Joseph Horowitz about Dvorak and his Ninth.  So I admit there are times where I like Dvorak's New World more than Beethoven's Ninth, maybe even often.  I'm incubating, I hope, a sequel to Ragtime and Sonata Forms that I hope I can get to in 2022. Right now the working title is Perichoresis in Musical Time and Space.  If you know what the doctrine of perichoresis is in christology and trinitarian doctrine in Christian traditions then you can figure out where I'm going to go with that in a sequel to Ragtime and Sonata Forms.

But to bring things back around to Coltrane, while fans of Coltrane and Beethoven may regard their respective musical pioneers as having shared a glimpse of the divine in music people who aren't fans of them may regard it all as non-musical noise (yes, Beethoven, too). Think of the level of musical education and knowledge that has to go into appreciating the "universal" message of a canonized musical work.  I think it's safe to propose that by 2021 A Love Supreme is a candidate for being the Beethoven's 9th of jazz.  But what if your idea of musical greatness comes from hearing songs by Hank Williams Sr and Johnny Cash?  Could you get into either Beethoven or Coltrane?  Yes, but it would take some musical education as to what there is to appreciate in them.  Can a fan of Beethoven and Coltrane appreciate Williams Sr. and Cash?  Absolutely!  Music may seem like a language we all understand but it's not, obviously. 

There are many kinds of music and, contra Ted Gioia, there aren't any musical universals. There are acoustics and the patterns of the human mind and while I assent that there are aesthetic ideals or absolutes there isn't just a single absolute or a set of them.  Maybe after I finish my Jeremy Begbie reading marathon I can use his work to highlight a Christian doctrinal proposal that God has created a universe with physical constants within which humans can make art yet without the "universals" of Western aesthetics (a relatively recent invention) obliging us to write Romantic symphonies.  Begbie has written for decades that musicologists and theologians have not compared notes much in the last century but that this has been changing.  Secular people are absolutely entitled to skepticism about what theological traditions and theologians can bring to a discussion of the arts since, as Jeremy Begbie has put it, the track record of theologians suppressing and discouraging the arts is easy to look up--Begbie, you'll infer, has hoped to go in a different direction from that tradition of suppressing artistic activities but I'll try to get to him later.  I could say something similar about the work of Mark Evan Bonds on The Beethoven Syndrome and other books about the evolution of the cult of Beethoven and German art-religion.  

Leonard Meyer wrote decades ago in, I think it was Style & Idea, that what made the last Romantic movement unusual was not that there were no cycles of romanticism and classicism in Western history before but that ever since the capital `R' Romantic era a set of ideologies emerged that he described loosely as the ideals of elite egalitarians that fragmented out into elite and egalitarian ideologies in the last two centuries and, this was the crucial part, Meyer observed that this Romantic era never ended.  Romantic ideologies are still with us.  What I sometimes find in online discussions and disagreements is a propensity among some to take criticism of the ideologies of Romanticism as predicated on misunderstandings due to materialism and pluralism.  I just dropped "perichoresis" a few paragraphs ago. I've said it before but I'm not a materialist or a relativist and I am thinking that people who react to what I've written with any notion that I'm either of those things has not been reading me carefully.  What moderately conservative Christians and secular progressives in the United States might potentially have in common is a belief that just some of us have that the problems in the arts aren't necessarily the musical works of past musicians as the idolatries and ideologies that have transformed those inspiring men and women into gods whose places in the art-religion pantheon cannot be questioned. That goes for Coltrane as well as Beethoven and I don't think it's either man's fault what people did and said to deify their musical legacies after they died.

My criticism of Wesley Morris' NYT 1619 project was precisely that if I took his wish for black music having "roots too deep to steal" and replaced "black" with "German" and "white" with "Jews" I'd have a reproduction of Richard Wagner's rants against Judaism in music. Beethoven was a better than average composer of symphonies, Coltrane was a better than average jazz improvisor and composer but Romantic art-religion as a set of ideologies could have us venerate these men as portals to a mystical divine.  Maybe I'm too indebted to the theological traditions catalyzed by Calvin or even Bullinger and Zwingli but the German art-religion thing has generally been repellant to me. I don't need to endorse art-religion to love, enjoy, and contribute to the arts.  

As I see things, a person who cannot create a sonata form based on vernacular song and dance materials probably does not understand how to write a sonata form.  There's more writing I hope to do about problems in Adorno's polemics and comparably big problems in Scruton's writings.  These men from the left and right have defined the aesthetics of music in ways that haven't so much stuck as their legacies have been taken up by those who are not musically practical enough to understand the shortfalls of those legacies.  You should be able to take a  couple of ragtime strains and write sonatas with them has been my contention, and the fact that this can be done is a musical as well as an aesthetic argument against Adorno and Scruton.  You should be able, barring the usual concerns about IP!, draw upon themes by Ellington or Monk and compose sonata forms.  You could take a Coltrane head tune and compose a two-part invention on it.  

As far as I'm concerned Bach could have heard A Love Supreme "Part 2, Acknowledgment" and possibly thought, "That would make an interesting inventio for a two-part invention."

The great music of the past can be an inspiration and a foundation to build on, something we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving, without endorsing some idea that either A Love Supreme or Beethoven's symphonies represent some unmatchable acme of human spirituality.  These were two guys who loved music and making music, who made music in profoundly different ways and we can appreciate their legacies without, to make this point obvious, building churches around them. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

"It's good to have you back" in Driscoll's accounts of crises of power and accountability as a public preacher, revisiting the 2007 Mars Hill trials of Petry and Meyer and Driscoll's post-MH resignation account of a family conversation

Something that has stuck with me about "The Tempest", the most recent episode of Christianity Today's The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, is that while Driscoll has commented in some contexts about how it has seemed as though former elders at Mars Hill had some kind of script, careful consideration of Mark Driscoll's statements made during or after crises suggest at least the possibility that his sensitivity to people feeding him some kind of script might have something to do with his own propensity to fall back on a core script. For those who have heard the entire CT series so far you might recall Karen Schaeffer said there were times when Mark said it felt like his adrenals were shot and then, of course, later on Driscoll dismissed her from her position as executive assistant for being some kind of heretic. 

the Mark Driscoll who said the five points of Calvinism were garbage as a publicity stunt quote in 2019 can turn around and be the Mark Driscoll who cites the work of Arthur Pink in his 2021 book Pray Like Jesus

Back in 2019 Driscoll said in an interview he didn't subscribe to the five points of Calvinism, which he considered garbage because they were unbiblical. Warren Throckmorton took note.

Ever since Mark Driscoll preached his "Unlimited Limited Atonement" idea and worked it into his book Death By Love, however, Reformed writers, pastors and theologians have known perfectly well Mark Driscoll hasn't subscribed the the five points of Calvinism if he hedges by way of a hypothetically unlimited but practically limited atonement.   

Curiously, as I've noted in the past, Driscoll's condescending remarks about Calvinists resembled his own history of church-planting to a formidable degree.

But, far more curiously, if Mark Driscoll has regarded the five points of Calvinism as garbage why did he sing the praises of Why, for that matter, has he continued to quote works by Don Carson, who is identified as a Calvinist and in the New Calvinist orbit?  

Even more strange, in Mark Driscoll's most recently published book with Charisma House there's a chapter where there's no less than four foot notes to a commentary on the Gospel of John by Arthur Pink.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill--"The Tempest"--some observations and thoughts

There's an awful lot of material in 2.5 hours of podcast and at the moment I'm sharing a few things that jumped out for me.

a very belated observation about Karen Schaeffer's story in CT's ep 3 of The RIse and Fall of Mars Hill, dismissed as a heretic by the Driscoll who bragged to Ron Wheeler that Bent Meyer and Paul Petry were old guys who gave him respectability

At 40:23 Karen Schaeffer described how Mark Driscoll told her, "I would really love it if you would come work for me as my executive assistant." 

At about 41 minutes Schaeffer described how Mark told her he suspected his adrenals were shot (so far back, we'll inevitably come back to Mark invoking adrenal fatigue throughout his career).
At about 41:57 Scheaffer described answering a question about what the most difficult thing was about Mark Driscoll and she said:
My answer was, was not about myself so much at all.  It--I said, " I think it's watching him and seeing that he needs more men around him to go toe to toe with him. He needs more men who will not say `Yes' to him but really challenge him.
At 42:28 Cosper recounted that Schaeffer got a call from Jamie Munson.  About 43 minutes along and Schaeffer described a tense meeting in a small office where she sensed that Mark Driscoll had a blazing rage she'd never encountered before.  At 43:19 Schaeffer described Driscoll telling her, "You're being accused of heresy."   Schaeffer went on about 43:50 to say Driscoll told her, "You're being accused of heresy because you've said that you don't trust the leadership of this church, and, really, what you've said could destroy this church."

At 45:20 or so Schaeffer described Mark Driscoll's response to her explanation that he needed more men like Mike Gunn with him, and she said Driscoll scoffingly said, "Mike Gunn!? He'll never have a church of more than 250." 

Cosper stopped a moment at 44:09 to point out that heresy conventionally means a denial of a key doctrine of the Christian faith. 

Something has gnawed at me ever since "You Read the Bible, Ringo?", something that Cosper didn't highlight but that I will.  I recall back in August 2014 Ron Wheeler had a blog post at a WordPress blog in which he wrote, among other things, the following:

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

new episodes of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill have gone up and these are probably the more useful ones that get at something more like a cohesive chronological narrative

Although there was not a lot that was particularly new to me in the "Boca Raton" episode it was nice to hear that Cosper spoke with David Nicholas' widow and Rick McKinley down in Portland.

Nicholas' widow saying Mark always had to be the alpha male in the room is not the least bit surprising to anyone who ever met Mark Driscoll.  Cosper said there were as many stories about how and why David Nicholas stopped being part of Acts 29 as there were people to tell them but that invites the obvious and never-answered question of how many sources Mike Cosper spoke with about the departure of David Nicholas from Acts 29, despite having founded, named and funded the network.

But what becomes apparent from the episode was that the Mark Driscoll who eventually took sole credit for start Acts 29 didn't found it any way.  By Confessions of a Reformission Rev in 2006 Driscoll was described as sole founder of Acts 29 on the back cover.  What scant information and statements have since come to light between then and now suggest that it is more probable that Mark Driscoll took over Acts 29 after David Nicholas and others, perhaps, did all the substantial work of founding the church planting network and making it viable. 

As for the newest episode, the gigantic 2.5 hour "The Tempest"

It will take time to get around to writing about all of that stuff and it might take a while.  Ironically these two recent episodes are probably closer to actual historical accounts than anything else in the entire podcast series.  If you haven't listened so far and want to hear podcast episodes that give you a coherent chronological account of formative years in Mars Hill history when Driscoll needed David Nicholas' support and then didn't; and to then hear a lengthy account of the disastrous final two years of the late Mars Hill these newest episodes would be the ones to listen to.  That's all I've got for now but I may have other things to write later.  I will say that of "The Tempest" it would be hard to say that very much of anyone at all comes across well, which is part of what made the episode interesting.  

CT reports on a conciliator and ministry that was brought to Mars Hill in 2012 to deal with a small group situation and also spoke at Re:Train

about those glowing reviews of Driscoll's e-book, three of them have bylines that seem to be the names of men who are on staff at The Trinity Church

Praising the boss's newest e-book might not be a big surprise in this day and age but it should be a surprise that such reviews seem to be part and parcel of a roll-out promoting something like Christian Theology vs. Critical Theory.  When the glowing reviews are predominantly signed by men where their bylines match up with men on staff right now at The Trinity Church we don't seem to be getting reviews from people who don't have a vested personal interest in their boss and/or father-in-law selling a lot of copies.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

CT v CT again: Driscoll alleges that Christian Theology (which ones?) err by defining spiritual warfare as personal rather than systemic (which means he's never read Caird, Berkhof, Wink or Stringfellow)

There were moments in reading Mark Driscoll’s new e-book where I wondered if he had suddenly taken the side of Greg Boyd (sarcasm alert): 
Christian Theology vs. Critical Theory
© 2021 by Mark Driscoll
ISBN: 978-1-7374103-7-9 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-7374103-8-6 (E-book)

Page 20


The point is that unified unbelievers seeking to make Heaven on earth without God are more powerful than divided believers. Jesus said that a house divided cannot stand up but will fall. Knowing this, the Critic behind Critical Theory, the same spirit that was at work in Babel (also known as Babylon), is seeking to divide believers and unify unbelievers to dismantle systems and institutions and redistribute wealth and power to build their version of Heaven on earth without God. Simply stated, this is a counterfeit of God’s Kingdom ruled by King Jesus - our kingdom ruled by us.

Unified unbelievers seeking to make Heaven on earth without God are more powerful than divided believers? On the basis of what?  Driscoll went on to make another proposal that struck me as confident but baffling:

CT v CT continued: Mark Driscoll calls CRT a harmful religious movement (John McWorther did that in 2015) and says it's Marxist as if no Marxists have been critical of BLM or contemporary anti-racism as an alternative to real leftist policies

Christian Theology vs. Critical Theory
© 2021 by Mark Driscoll
ISBN: 978-1-7374103-7-9 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-7374103-8-6 (E-book)


Pages 25-26
Phase 4 – The Cult of Wokeism as Secular Religion & BLM
Around the 2010’s the few hundred-year-old term “social justice” was picked up to serve as an overarching category to describe hidden biases and systematic errors across most every academic discipline. The result was that social justice “scholarship” pulled all disciplines under Critical Theory making it the leading counterfeit metanarrative to the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Western world.


Underlying Critical Theory is social Marxism. Economic Marxism based upon atheism has so fully proven to promise Heaven but only deliver hell wherever it has been imposed, that it is an unsellable option to most anyone who has enough life to fog a mirror. Examples include the former Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba and elsewhere where the body count, killed by their own government in the name of cultural progress, stacked up to nearly 100 million citizens during the 20th century alone. Cultural Marxism has the same goals as economic Marxism but, rather than kicking in the front door to rob a home, it picks the lock and sneaks in the back door to accomplish the same task of redistributing wealth and power, when it actually only redistributes poverty and powerlessness. All of this is done in the name of justice, which is appealing to the Christian, since you will find that same word in the Bible, albeit with a different meaning. Just like the cults, note that words are used from the Bible and completely redefined so that the meaning is changed. Yes, the father of lies has a thesaurus and PR firm. The subtle shift from economic to cultural Marxism was moving the focus from capitalists and workers to race, class, and gender categories of oppressors, and the oppressed needing violent revolution in the name of justice, and the redistribution of power and wealth. It goes by many names, but you should pay attention when you hear things like “equity” instead of equality, which is something altogether different, “justice” or “social justice”, along with appeals to “inclusion” which has little room for heterosexual Christianity, “diversity” and “tolerance” which are not diverse or tolerant enough to include Bible thumpers, and “culturally responsive teaching” which are codewords for the intolerista.
You'd think Mark Driscoll has never heard of John McWhorter ... 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Remember how Mark Driscoll tweeted that you could download his ebook Christian Theology vs Critical Theory for free? Well, now you can buy it at Amazon in Kindle format (UPDATE: one-day-only deal, apparently)
Download "Christian theology VS Critical Theory" for just $1 on Amazon for Kindle TODAY! Party popper ​
11:10 AM · Nov 10, 2021·Sked Social

But this pinned tweet says you can download the book for FREE at

“Christian Theology VS Critical Theory” available for FREE DOWNLOAD HERE:

So now you can buy what previously was being offered for free?  Who could say `no' to that deal, eh?  I don't advise anyone actually buy the thing but if someone else reads it perhaps confirm whether Driscoll has added a footnote acknowledging that he used information provided by Stephen Eric Bronner.

It's for your own benefit the link in Driscoll's tweet doesn't even seem to work.  I've read Christian Theology vs Critical Theory cover to cover and it's unfortunately an incompetent grab bag of dog whistles and rants that won't give you any idea what critical theory is, let alone critical race theory and if you really want to read a book that just came out that is a coherent if perhaps disagreeable take on contemporary antiracism as religious zealotry skip Mark Driscoll and read John McWhorter's Woke  Racism.  Driscoll never actually even answers the implicit question he uses to steer his readers--if everything that God creates Satan counterfeits then what are critical theory and critical race theory actually counterfeiting?  He never actually answers that question.

UPDATE 11-11-2021

Looks like the following tweet
was a that day only thing

if you try to find it today ... expect the following
"Hmm...this page doesn’t exist. Try searching for something else."

the following is still available

I'm hard-pressed to show how Driscoll could be considered competent to address either CRT or CT.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Mark Driscoll as King Jehu rather than King David, a Jacques Ellul-inspired reading of the man’s self-confessed vices and ministry history

If in Driscoll’s understanding of church governance and ecclesiology leadership is from the throne down and not the pew up, and if Justin Dean’s account is accurate that the Mars Hill Church governing board offered Mark Driscoll a restoration plan in which he would stop being in a managerial role and would preach, then the most plausible explanation for why Mark Driscoll resigned that takes all of his accounts as factual, face-value accounts is this: he decided that a church as a corporate entity in which he was not seated on the throne (as president and CEO) was not a church in which he would be a member. 
All of that is by way of introduction. I know we are down to the last two episodes of the Christianity Today podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, not counting any possible bonus episodes that may emerge. I know that it has been popular among Christian bloggers, if from time to time, to compare Mark Driscoll to King David.  I find such comparisons to reflect a poverty of imagination regarding biblical literature.  If we’re going to compare Mark Driscoll to a king in the biblical literature who received a clear call and then was “released” (per Grace Driscoll’s remarks to Brian Houston in 2015) then it’s more probable that Mark Driscoll would be a King Saul figure than a King David figure?  Why?  David was never “released” from his leadership role the way King Saul and Eli were told by the prophet Samuel that they were dismissed from their leadership roles. Where Eli accepted the Lord’s dismissal of his household from leadership Saul did not accept the dismissal and tenaciously clung to power.
Yet, for all those potentially fascinating parallels there is still another figure among the kings of Samaria to whom Mark Driscoll might profitably be compared.  Jehu has a claim to being a potential parallel, if we’re going to entertain biblical parallels of rulers with whom Mark Driscoll might be compared.  So today I mean to consider Driscoll’s life in public ministry to Jehu with help from the work of Jacques Ellul.
A friend of mine once pointed out that Mark Driscoll often repeated the story that God told him to marry Grace, teach young men, plant churches and teach the Bible.   None of those things actually required that Mark Driscoll sought out starting a church.  Certainly there was nothing about that calling, if we assume it took place (and I’m well aware not everyone will) that requires us to suppose that what Mark Driscoll subsequently has done since 1990 should be construed as having always … or even ever … been the will of God.  It is here I want to make reference to Ellul’s work:

The Politics of God and the Politics of Man

Jacques Ellul

Copyright © 1972 by Editions de la Table Rondo and Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

ISBN 13: 978-1-61097-798-2

ISBN 0-8028-1442-5

Translated from the French Politique de Dieu, politiques de l’homme, Nouvelle alliance, Editions Universitaires, Paris, 1966


Pages 98-99

… Now this employment of an intermediary has a result one might expect. The message is changed. In the same way the Word spoken by God in Christ is undoubtedly modified by the church, and not for the better,. What Elisha says to the young man is this: “Lead Jehu to an inner chamber, anoint him with the oil of kingship, and say to him, `Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel,’ then flee, do not tarry.” There is nothing more, no address. The message to Jehu is both radical and also very terse. But this is not the way the young man delivers it. Instead, fleeing at once, he gives an address (as the church often does), and he adds his own invention: “You shall strike down the house of Ahab … I will avenge on Jezebel the blood of the prophets … the whole house of Ahab will perish, every male, bond or free. … The dogs shall eat Jezebel … .” In sum, the young man outlines a program of action for Jehu, which is something Elisha does not do. Now the young man is undoubtedly using prophecies of Elijah (1 Kings 21:19-24), but Elisha does not tell him to do this.  It is on this false transmission that the whole career of Jehu is based. We are usually struck by the fierce and bloodthirsty character of Jehu, and this is clear enough. But another and no less decisive element should not be missed, namely that all Jehu’s work is done in a situation of ambiguity and misunderstanding.


He is anointed by God, but in the long run he does nothing but evil wherever he goes. He fulfils prophecies but he is condemned for so doing. He is a man of God, but he uses all the methods of the devil. [emphasis added]


We are faced again by a question we have investigated already, that of the coincidence between God’s design and man’s, that of God’s employment of what is bad in man to bring about what he himself wills. Here, for example, there is undoubtedly coincidence between the anointing of Jehu and the existence of a conspiracy among the generals of Joram’s army. In fact, the conspiracy probably existed already. This would explain the immediate support of the generals and their siding with Jehu.


The situation was indeed favorable for a coup d’etat. The army was in the field, the king was wounded and had withdrawn, and the generals had a free hand. Probably Jehu already wanted to seize power and the decision of God passed on by the young man seemed to him to be a sign for action. There is also an obvious coincidence between the work that Jehu is commissioned to do and the glimpses we catch of his temperament. He is clearly a bloodthirsty man, and this not merely by reason of his trade. He is at home in massacres, and we thus see God choosing as the agent of his judgment a man whose temperament corresponds to what is asked of him. …

Given that Hebrew narrative can be laconic we might take caution here. Perhaps Ellul assumes the young man added a great deal that was not in Elisha’s statement. Or perhaps the young man conveyed something of Elijah’s warnings that were preserved in Elisha’s community that Elisha did not need to add.  Still, Ellul’s proposal that a rambunctious young prophet interposed a great deal upon Elisha’s instruction is thematically interesting—either way the young man transformed Elisha’s simple command into a pretext for setting a violent and activist agenda. Jehu was a man of violence and treachery who was given the task to depose the Omride dynasty and this Jehu did! 
But how Jehu deposed the Omride dynasty is what interested Ellul:

Page 101

Undoubtedly, Jehu is the man who executes what God has previously announced. In some sense he is the one who manages the important acts which accomplish the condemnation. But in the last resort he does it all in his own interests. [emphasis added] He takes part in the fulfillment of the prophecy, but he does so, one might say, within the order of political logic. The prophecy intimates this unfolding of political logic. Ahab triggers the movement. Jehu, the champion of Yahweh, uses the same weapons as Ahab, the weapons of politics and violence. …


Page 103

We see here another aspect of Jehu. He is cunning. He sets traps for men, as he will do later for the worshipers of Baal. Indeed, in the story of the massacre of the priests of Baal he goes further and lies openly: “ Ahab served Baal little; but Jehu will serve him much. … I have a great sacrifice to offer Baal” (10:18f.). It is on the basis of this promise and this profession of faith that he gathers together the priests and worshipers of Baal to destroy them. Here Jehu is shown to be a liar. …


Pages 112-113

The real question in the case of Jehu is that of the heart. Like Abraham, one may say, Jehu is set outside the morality which God established. But Jehu is not Abraham. In fact Jehu is a man who, faithful to God and knowing his will, commandeers this will and makes it his own. He identifies his own cause with God’s design. He thus sets out to shape history in the name of God  but also in the place of God. No doubt he does everything exactly as prophesied. No doubt he achieves what the Lord intends. But it is now his own affair. He has substituted his own will for God’s. It is he who does it, he does not let the Lord act through him. He puts a screen between history and the Lord of history. For man can always erect this barrier and achieve his own purpose. What was God’s purpose has become purely and simply the autonomous will of jehu. He seizes control of the prophecy. He makes it his own cause, confident that he is in the line of God’s will.  He himself has decided to fulfill the prophecy. [emphasis added] …


Wanting to put into effect God’s decision, he pays no attention to the great statement that it is not of him that wills nor of him that runs. Jehu is one of those in the Bible who want to fulfill and accomplish of themselves what God has said.  Thus Abraham wants to fulfill the promise of posterity by his own decision and at his own time, i.e., the means of Hagar. This is the whole problem. …


Page 115

… Jehu uses prophecy in the interests of politics while pretending to use politics in the interest of prophecy. …
Why mention so much about Jehu by way of Ellul?  Because Mark Driscoll once preached through the book of Ruth and mentioned something about himself he heard from Grace Driscoll:

Mark Driscoll

Ruth 1:1-1:22

January 07, 2007

...Elimelech is the guy--everything falls apart. It looks dark, it looks bad. He takes a poll he makes a plan. He decides Moab has a lower cost of living. Moab has more vocational opportunity. Moab has food on the table. I will make a plan, I will be the sovereign. I will take care of everything. Trust me. I know what I'm doing. He leads well. He plans well. He tries to be the sovereign (they're all going to die anyways). I am Elimelech.

I asked my wife, "Which one am I?" ... She didn't even breath, didn't even take a breath, "Oh, you're Elimelech." And his name means what? MY GOD IS KING! That was me. If you asked me, Jesus, sovereign, lord, king, God! And if I ever need Him I'll call him but I don't think I do because I've got all this taken care of.

And how many of you are Naomi-ish? You’re a bitter, moody, cranky, self-righteous, finger-pointing, brutally honest, frustrating person that God loves deeply, for no apparent reason. You want to know me? Here’s how I work. I start with Elimelech. If that doesn’t work, I go to Naomi. That’s me. “I’ll figure it out. I’ll make a plan. I’ll lead well. I’ll take care of everything. Give me the variables. I got it all figured out. It didn’t work? Well, God, did you not get the memo? I knew exactly what needed to be done! [emphases added] I’m not sure who to call to tattle.” And if we’re honest, we find ourselves at varying seasons in our lives identifying with each character in the story.

So by Driscoll’s own account he starts with Elimelech and if things don’t work out he goes to Naomi. He played it all for laughs in the 2007 sermon but you can potentially hear past the jokes that he confessed to being a Jehu, the kind of man who conflated whatever he thought he heard from God with his own personal agendas and desires.  What Mike Cosper has continually circled around in his podcast is why no one sense that this Mark Driscoll guy was a Jehu rather than a David. How did people not pick up that Mark Driscoll was a guy who, in his own accounting, had made an idol of victory?

RESISTING IDOLS LIKE JESUSPart 22 of 1st Corinthians
Pastor Mark Driscoll | 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 | June 18, 2006
Here’s the tricky part: Figuring out what your idols are. Let me give you an example. Let’s say for example, you define for yourself a little Hell. For you, Hell is being poor. For you, your definition of Hell is being ugly. For you, your definition of Hell is being fat. For you, your definition of Hell is being unloved. For you, your definition of Hell is being unappreciated. That fear of that Hell then compels you to choose for yourself a false savior god to save you from that Hell. And then you worship that false savior god in an effort to save yourself from your self-described Hell. So, some of you are single. Many of you are unmarried. For you, Hell is being unmarried and your savior will be a spouse. And so you keep looking for someone to worship, to give yourself to so that they will save you. For some of you, you are lonely and your Hell is loneliness, and so you choose for yourself a savior, a friend, a group of friends or a pet because you’ve tried the friends and they’re not dependable. And you worship that pet. You worship that friend. You worship that group of friends. You will do anything for them because they are your functional savior, saving you from your Hell. That is, by definition, idolatry. It is having created people and created things in the place of the creator God for ultimate allegiance, value and worth.

So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to get incredibly personal. This will get painfully uncomfortable if I do my job well. I’m going to ask you some probing questions. We’re going to try to get to the root of your idols and mine and I am guilty. I was sitting at breakfast this morning. My wife said, “So what is your idol?” I was like, “Hey, I’m eating breakfast! Leave me alone. I don’t want to talk about that.” I’m the pastor. I preach. I don’t get preached at. Eating bacon. Don’t ruin it. You know, it’s going good., And I told her, I said, “Honey, I think for me, my idol is victory.” Man, I am an old jock. More old than jock, lately, but I – I’m a guy who is highly competitive. Every year, I want the church to grow. I want my knowledge to grow. I want my influence to grow. I want our staff to grow. I want our church plants to grow. I want everything – because I want to win. I don’t want to just be where I’m at. I don’t want anything to be where it’s at. And so for me it is success and drivenness and it is productivity and it is victory that drives me constantly. I – that’s my own little idol and it works well in a church because no one would ever yell at you for being a Christian who produces results. So I found the perfect place to hide. 

And I was thinking about it this week. What if the church stopped growing? What if we shrunk? What if everything fell apart? What if half the staff left? Would I still worship Jesus or would I be a total despairing mess? I don’t know. By God’s grace, I won’t have to find out, but you never know. [emphasis added] So we’re going to look for your idols, too. Some questions. Think about it. Be honest with me. What are you most afraid of? What is your greatest fear? See, that probably tells you what your idol is. Sometimes your idol is the thing that you’re scared of not having, not being, not doing. What are you scared of? You scared that you’ll be alone? Are you scared that no one will ever love you? Are you scared that you will be found out that you’re not all that smart? Are you scared that you’ll be stuck in the same dead-end job forever? What are you afraid of?

And to this an Ellulian observation of the kind of man Mark Driscoll admitted himself to be would be to suggest that here is another Jehu.

Page 117

… As John says of himself: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30) Jehu, however, is a man who interposes himself while pretending to be accomplishing the purpose of God. …


Page 118

[Jehu] … is a type of the man who is unfaithful even in his faithfulness. He is both approved by God and also rejected by him. To be sure, he is always loved by God in spite of his lies, assassinations, and treacheries. But he is also rejected by God because of his commandeering of the Word and the harshness of his loyalty. [emphases added] The real tragedy, however, is that he is finally the reason for the rejection of the whole people, and the reference is very plainly to him in the extraordinary saying which Hosea speaks to Israel, “I have given you kings (a king) in my anger, and I have taken them away (will take him away in my wrath” (Hosea 13:11) …

Even if we suppose that Mark Driscoll had a sincere conversion experience and a genuine sense of calling to some kind of ministry literally none of that precludes interpreting his decades of pursuit of public ministry as partaking in the spirit of Jehu. Even if Mark Driscoll had a sincere conversion and calling process Jacques Ellul’s observation about Jehu was that Jehu ultimately regarded the word of the Lord as a pretext to do what he wanted to do. Deception and crushing enemies was just part of ruling.  Gaining and consolidating power through abuse and deceit was just part of Jehu’s deal.   Even when deceit isn’t involved there is, I suggest, a pragmatic streak in Jehu that may have been revealed decades ago when Mark Driscoll was talking to someone writing for Mother Jones.

“There are gays all over our church and I don’t need to yell at them like the religious right,” Driscoll says. “You can be a gay or punk and we’ll treat you like everybody else. Even if you never become a Christian, we’re still friends.”
Mars Hill is all about acceptance. Compared to the religious right’s favorite son Ralph Reed, a vision of fundamentalist zeal in a blue suit, Driscoll seems downright countercultural. He’s unabashed about using the pulpit to discuss sex. “I speak very frankly about the reasons God made our bodies to experience orgasm, the Bible’s approval of oral sex between a husband and wife,” he says. “Once you’re married and as long as you remain monogamous, God tells his children to be unblushingly erotic and passionate.”

He offers classes at church on topics such as “evangelical feminism” (“the Bible is clear that men and women are both created by God in His image and likeness and totally equal in every way,” he says) and disavows any link with conservative politics. “I used to think it was part of Christianity to be conservative,” he says. “I was further right than Falwell and Limbaugh.” Now he says he doesn’t even vote. What changed? “It got boring,” he says with a shrug. “And I realized that politics didn’t change anything, that in the meantime, people were still starving.”  [emphases added]

Time has shown that Mark Driscoll may have just been saying what he believed was strategically necessary to ensure his church plant survived. Driscoll more and more, as time goes by, seems like he has been a Jehu rather than a David from the beginning.