Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mark Driscoll shares reasons not to marry someone who is pro choice, tells us he was pro-choice in his teens


I first met Grace, my wife and the mother of our five children, over 25 years ago in high school. I was pro-abortion. She was pro-life. We argued over the issue. I pretty much always won. I was wrong, but I was tough to debate with.

That Mark argued with Grace would surprise nobody.  Driscoll used to say the early years of marriage found him winning all the arguments with Grace but sleeping on the couch a lot. People argue, sometimes for fun, sometimes in earnest. Driscoll clearly enjoyed and enjoys arguing for fun.

In fact the first sentence is kind of a championship Captain Obvious lead.  Where doesn't mention of Mark Driscoll note Grace and the five kids these days?  Would someone just happen to come across this one link and not know that Grace Driscoll is Mark's wife and the mother of their five children now that Real Marriage has been out for more than a year?  Well, maybe ...

But perhaps opening with the thumpingly obvious was meant to lead into something surprising.  Perhaps that what Mark Driscoll has aimed for with the sentences: "I was pro-abortion. She was pro-life." Okay, so Mark Driscoll tells us in his teen years he was for abortion.  At this point the veracity of his claims to have been pro-abortion could be hypothetically vetted by his four younger siblings and his parents and people who knew him from high school.  Any of those people want to vouch for Mark Driscoll's high-school pro-abortion position?  But have we ever been told the names of the Driscoll siblings?  Maybe in the Auburn area?  Mark Driscoll doesn't go on to elucidate any of those details because this is an opinion piece about who not to marry and why.  Driscoll goes on:

She came from an evangelical home. I came from a Catholic home. Both of our homes were pro-life. But I was not only pro-choice, I was pro-abortion. I agreed with the underlying principles of Thomas Robert Malthus, which greatly influenced Nazi Germany, and Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood. I read up on the issue quite a bit, and won debates in high school and my freshman year of college defending population control and abortion.

Distinguishing between "pro-choice" and "pro-abortion" looks sort of like distinguishing between a mountain lion and a puma at first glance.  What would have been interesting would have been if Mark Driscoll explained why he was for abortion in spite of his Irish Catholic family being pro-life.  Why did he agree with the underlying principles of Malthus or Sanger?  What, for that matter, would Driscoll say the precepts of Malthus or Sanger are besides the Godwin-jump into Nazi Germany?  
Mark Driscoll has spoken rather generally and vaguely about his past and particularly about his family.  If he was pro-abortion why was he pro-abortion? 

And, rest assured, Mark Driscoll read up on stuff and won debates in high school and in his freshman year at WSU.  But then lots of people read up on stuff and won debates in high school and in freshmen undergrad debates and none of this establishes anything about a clear grasp of the ideas, does it?  Arguing for views you don't actually agree with is par for the course in debate classes. 

Why was he for abortion?  Not just a "I bought into Sanger" explanation will suffice.  Mars Hill has been about engaging culture and entering into the stories of people around you, right?  Why was Mark Driscoll in favor of abortion?  What had he seen growing up in SeaTac that gave him the idea that, say, elective abortion was simply the right view to have and this despite an Irish-Catholic family?  This would have been interesting to read if the aim Mark Driscoll had was to share that but that's not the reason he's written the piece.

But it would have been genuinely interesting to find out how Mark Driscoll's siblings reacted to his stated advocacy for abortion.  What about his parents, Joe and Debby Driscoll (who show up for mere seconds in God's Work, Our Witness so that Joe can tell us stuff we already knew from Driscoll's PR team)?  Did they think their son was sincerely advocating for abortion or being contrarian?  What about his siblings and ... what are their names by the way?  Driscoll has a long history of being curiously quiet about his actual family life and even ascertaining the names of his siblings would take some research.

Meanwhile, Driscoll can say stuff about his high school years but when the statement is unusual, background matters.  And let's face it, Mark Driscoll telling us after all this time that he was for abortion when he met Grace is unusual given the years he spent saying he and Grace married each other because they agreed on all the important stuff.  And the challenge here is that there are times when Driscoll asserts stuff that becomes nearly impossible to establish.  For instance, Driscoll has said he's worked professionally as a journalist even though a non-OpEd byline with his name on it has proven hard to find. Let's face it "worked professionally as a journalist", in the field, never refers to op-ed pieces but to actual reporting.  To date Driscoll has no evidence he ever worked in a non-editorial journalistic capacity, which is another way of saying having worked as a "real" journalist at all. By analogy, even if Mark Driscoll were for abortion who would verify this?  His parents? His siblings?  Do they even remember things that far back by now?  Maybe. 

In rhetorical terms what Driscoll establishes is that having formerly been pro-choice he now gets to speak as someone who changed sides and the emotional and rhetorical effect of this gambit can take effect whether or not anyone can even investigate if and how seriously he endorsed abortion, elective or otherwise, twenty-five years ago. The question should theoretically be simple enough to answer and giving Mark Driscoll's relatives an opportunity to share what it was like living with the man who has, by his account, become a gigachurch pastor, would be fascinating, really.

Maybe he did win debates in high school and his freshman year of college making a defense for population control and abortion but this in itself would not entail that he ever truly endorsed those views.  Debating for points you don't agree with is pretty normal in classroom settings. Words from siblings or parents who would be willing to verify his claims would go a long way to backing up this relatively recent and unique statement from Driscoll.

Ultimately marrying someone who has the same views you have on abortion would be a good idea, regardless of what your view happens to be.  In fact this single point is so pedestrian in itself that if it were stated in that way it would be uncontroversial.  Mark Driscoll, though, obviously preferred to not state an uncontroversial point in an uncontroversial way.  Along the way Driscoll has potentially, if not actually, opened a small window into the story of his relationship to Grace Martin and to his own family that still sheds very little light on who the young man was

... or not.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mark Driscoll invites John MacArthur to meet in 2013 vs Driscoll refusing to meet with MacArthur in 2009 at MacArthur's initiative

First off, let's lead with a statement Mark Driscoll made in 2006

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006

page 190
Why is no one speaking in tongues during the church service?The issue of tongues is very controversial. and divisive in many churches, and thankfully it has never been so at Mars Hill. The elders do not believe the gift of tongues has ceased but believe tht it is often not done in a biblical way. Mars Hill has leaders and members who speak in tongues, as well as leaders and members who do not. What Paul does forbid regarding tongues, however, is speaking in tongues out loud during a church service because visitors and non-Christians will not know what is being said, will think we are nutjobs, and would be better served by convicting Bible teaching so they can get saved (1 Cor 14:12-25)
It's important to establish as deep background for the current situation that Mark Driscoll himself said that nobody speaks in tongues out loud in services at Mars Hill because it is considered an unbiblical use of tongues.  This means that MacArthur's polemic against charismatic/continuationist teaching and church practice is all but irrelevant to how an actual Mars Hill Church service probably still operates.  Whether or not Driscoll can be said to have properly or adequately exegeted 1 Corinthians 14 is interesting but currently irrelevant.

So just a couple of days ago Mark Driscoll made a very public invitation to one John MacArthur

That's the Christian Post link for you there.

.. As a Bible preacher, I rejoice in that. I actually considered attending your school myself after I finished my undergraduate work, but I was newly married and could not afford any seminary at the time. [
As Bible teachers, we both know that people often arrive at the wrong conclusion when they extract a line out of an ongoing discussion, ignoring the context, and then wrongly impugn someone’s character. I am guessing the security team and pastoral team were not entirely rowing in the same direction, and that security thought they were just doing their job.

Mistakes happen. I understand. And since no one owes me anything, I am grateful I got to hang out for a bit and meet some of the pastoral staff and your son. I would’ve been glad to have met you as well.

Maybe that can still happen?
At this point, I believe what would honor Jesus is for us to sit down and talk. So, I am formally inviting you to Seattle to join me on stage for our national Resurgence Conference on November 5–6.
I will pay for your travel. I will give an honorarium to you or any ministry you choose. And, I will cover the travel costs of any of your pastoral staff you’d like join us, as I would actually like to see them again.

Originally, I was going to have a company live stream our conference online for people who paid an access fee, but I recently tore up that contract. We’re now going to show the conference free online for the world in an effort to open up our important discussion to as many people as possible. I would also post our discussion in its entirely—without any editing—for free online.

I am working as an unpaid volunteer for this event, and I believe the loss of live stream revenue is worth it for an investment in the Kingdom. I assure you, I will be very kind and gracious and respectful. Ours will be a dialogue on very important issues, and I pray by the Spirit’s power we can model some graciousness and clarify terms while striving to state what we believe to be biblical truth.
I believe this could be a very profitable discussion—especially for young leaders who will be tuning in to learn as we model how to handle disagreement. In our day when online misquoting and Internet flame throwing hinder real progress, I truly believe we have a great opportunity to model a different way of dealing with important issues for God’s glory.

So now there's a public invitation of an all expenses paid visit from Mark Driscoll to John MacArthur.  As usual Driscoll talks about how single lines taken out of context can be used to impugn someone's character.  But the thing about John MacArthur and Mark Driscoll is that the breach between Mark Driscoll and John MacArthur has been close to a decade in forming and when the shoe was on the other foot MacArthur has already publicly informed us that when it was his idea to get in touch with Driscoll to talk about disagreements Mark Driscoll had no interest.

There's nothing about MacArthur's criticism of the November 18, 2007 sermon in Scotland from Song of Songs that seemed to take any lines or even entire sermons of Mark Driscoll out of context.  In fact Mark Driscoll mentioned somewhere or other that in light of criticisms of the sermon it seemed wise to take the sermon down.  But let's let MacArthur speak for himself a bit.

April 17, 2009

7. Why did you single out Driscoll and connect him with the "sex challenges"? Why call him out publicly? He has already repented of his unguarded speech, and he is being privately discipled by men like John Piper and C. J. Mahaney, who keep him accountable. Did you consult them before calling Driscoll out by name? If the problem is as serious as you claim, why haven't they said something publicly about it?

In the sermon that prompted this series, Mark Driscoll (speaking specifically to wives in the congregation) made several comments that were far, far worse than the seamiest sex challenges. Furthermore, Driscoll's edicts to married women were not mere "challenges" but directives buttressed with the claim that "Jesus Christ commands you to do [this]." That material has been online and freely circulated for more than a year. But you’ll be hard pressed to find even a single Web forum where anyone has demanded that Driscoll explain why he feels free to say such things publicly.
Nevertheless, I have written Mark privately with my concerns. He rejected my counsel. As a matter of fact, he preached the sermon I have been quoting from seven weeks after receiving my private letter encouraging him to take seriously the standard of holiness Scripture holds pastors to. Here is a small selection from the six-page letter I sent him ... [emphasis added]

So MacArthur has explained that he wrote to Mark Driscoll regarding some concerns and that, it seems on a plain reading, that Mark Driscoll preached the November 18, 2007 Scotland sermon on Song of Songs seven weeks AFTER receiving MacArthur's letter.  Not only did Driscoll not have any interest in responding to MacArthur in 2007 he preached one of his racier sermons just a couple of months after getting the letter. 

Currently Mars Hill has thrown down the gauntlet to Sound Transit over real estate Sound Transit has already bought that Mars Hill would like to use to, among other things, start a Bible college and to relocate its central headquarters.  Mark Driscoll also has a new book out that includes him musing on how he keeps taking potshots for things people assume he said that he didn't say or that were taken out of context.

MacArthur simply isn't one of those people about whom it could be said "he took Driscoll out of context".  If a rejoinder to MacArthur's criticism were that simple why did Driscoll's team take down the Scotland sermon?  For that matter what was the reason Mars Hill excised the woodchipper anecdote from "The Man" after Wendy Alsup quoted from it in her review of Real Marriage in early 2012?  Precisely what was Driscoll referring to in the "Fathers and Fighting" sermon if not to elders?

Chris Rosebrough broadcast an audio clip of Mark Driscoll talking about "a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus" from an Acts 29 event of some sort that was quite possibly never made publicly available. We've visited this topic earlier.  At this point there is documentable evidence that Mark Driscoll and his team have suppressed or withheld statements about some of his controversial decisions and stances in the past.  MacArthur may have ideas or views that are disagreeable to some but he has, it seems, been pretty public about what and why he dissents from Mark Driscoll's teaching and conduct. 

As we've seen this includes MacArthur's public statement that Mark Driscoll not only refused to respond to him years ago but that the Scotland sermon postdated MacArthur's private efforts to talk with Driscoll.  Mark Driscoll, for his part, opens his recent open invitation with some profession of admiration for MacArthur, mentioning that he considered going to MacArthur's seminary at one point, and saying that he's never publicly said anything bad about MacArthur despite some differences.  Well, so what?  "There's a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus ... " wasn't broadcast to the world and that doesn't mean it was misquoted or taken out of context.  It also makes it hard to dispute the claim that Mark Driscoll is a person who will have it his way or people get thrown off and under the bus. 

The big question Driscoll has to answer at this point is why he only deigns to offer a public all-expenses paid invitation to John MacArthur NOW when MacArthur was privately contacting him years ago.  Let Driscoll's team put the November 18, 2007 Scotland sermon back online where anyone and everyone can listen to it and find out what MacArthur was even responding to and then "maybe" the new invitation will have something to it.  Until then it could be alleged by critics of Mars Hill in general and Mark Driscoll in particular that Mark Driscoll only wants to respond to or recognize MacArthur's criticisms of Driscoll's character and textual interpretation on Mark Driscoll's terms.

POSTSCRIPT: 10-28-2013

The blogger linked to above suspects the whole thing smells like a PR stunt and points out some practical reasons why the offer couldn't be accepted and that Driscoll probably already knew the offer couldn't/wouldn't be accepted.  But making the public offer is great PR and looks sincere to people who haven't been paying attention.  Even if it is sincere the blogger's case that the timing of the invitation is pretty stupid remains.

While Mars Hill leaders set their sights on Bellevue, let's revisit the 50th street building

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006

page 176
Our current facility cannot accomodate much growth beyond our current four Sunday services. Additionally our kids' ministry is busting at the seams, our Capstone classes are in desperate need of space, and our cramped, windowless office space woudl perfect if we were a third-world sweatshop.

So the elders voted to purchase a 43,000 square-foot dumpy warehouse Jamie [Munson] found one block away from our current building. When the project is completed, we will have two buildings only a block apart, each hosting church services with 1,300 seats in one location and a projected 1,000 seats in the other. We will be able to grow to more than 10,000 people per Sunday through multiple services in multiple locations. Each service will have live worship teams, but I will only be live in some services and on video in others. [emphasis added] Some of our people are mildly unhappy about watching me preach on video instead of live because they feel it isn't very authentic. But in our current worship space, about half of the peope.l sit so far away from teh stage that they watch me on a video screen anyway.

What was that real estate, for the sake of review?

1401 NW 50th Street
Seattle, WA 98107

Go to that real estate now and will you find a second campus that seats 1,000 or 1,3000 people?  Are there services with live bands at 1411 NW 50th Street?  What happened to that grand vision of a future campus Mark Driscoll cast in Confessions of a Reformission Rev back in 2006?  It had a snag in the form of thee realities of licensing and zoning issues for land use for a piece of real estate in an industrial district, if memory serves. 

Sound Transit says it bought the property for $23 million. We don't know how much Mars Hill offered for it.

The Church had accused Sound Transit of taking the property by eminent domain, which Sound Transit denies. The Church has since backed down on that claim. Now the church leaders are questioning International Paper's acceptance of Sound Transit's offer. 

"We bid $250,000 over Sound Transit's bid," Dean said.
Let's keep in mind that in a recent profile on executive pastor Sutton Turner the Mars Hill budget was listed as $30 million.  Justin Dean is quoted as saying Mars Hill bid $250,000 over Sound Transit's bid, which The Stranger's reports was $23 million by Sound Transit's account.  $23,250,000. is slightly over 77% of the entirety of Mars Hill's current budget so ... where was Mars Hill going to find the money to outbid an already completed purchase by Sound Transit again?  After all, Mark Driscoll told Mars Hill "We're not a wealthy church".

But you see, dear reader, even if money were not an issue in outbidding an already completed transaction conducted by Sound Transit there's still the matter of Mars Hill's track record with their 2005 capital campaign.  Look how that grand vision turned out, or didn't turn out, and keep it in mind, Mars Hill members who might consider donating to any capital campaigns in the future.  Ask the leaders at your campus how the capital campaign of 2005 worked out and how closely the current 50th street corporate headquarters resembles what Mark Driscoll outlined in page 176 of Confessions of a Reformission Rev. You deserve to know, Mars Hill members.  ."

So with that in mind, let's get back to the Thomas Hurst statement about the apparently always in "core group phase" Mars Hill Bellevue.


After many months of searching and narrowing down our choices, only one building in Bellevue is available that meets the needs of the church that God is building on the Eastside. A few months ago we made an offer on a property in the Bel-Red corridor on 120th St. which was currently owned by the International Paper Company.

After renovations the property could feature:
  • - Seating for 3,000+ per service
  • - Local Bellevue Church office space
  • - Central Operations office space
  • - Media & Communications space
  • - Much larger Kids Ministry area
  • - Space for Mars Hill Students
  • - Training classrooms for a future Bible college
  • - Ample parking space on-site
  • - Large common areas

You might want to put emphasis on "could" in "could feature".  Full disclosure, Wenatchee The Hatchet refused to renew membership at Mars Hill after learning about the gap between the vision cast for the 50th street real estate in the 2005 capital campaign and in Mark Driscoll's book on the one hand, and what was actually reality about the real estate and zoning issues on the other.  It's worth noting that the legal president of Mars Hill back in that period was Mark Driscoll, just as he is now. Whatever grand vision is being cast for a piece of real estate that is already owned by Sound Transit go, Mars Hill members, to the 50th street corporate headquarters some time and read for yourself what Mark Driscoll cast as the vision for that real estate.  Then consider what Thomas Hurst says "could feature" in the real estate sold to Sound Transit if Mars Hill were able to own it even if Justin Dean's public statements about bids didn't involve a number that is slightly more than 77 percent of Mars Hill's current operating budget. 

Let's remember that according to their FY2012 annual report their total income for that fiscal year was about $24.6 million.  Don't want to believe Wenatchee The Hatchet?  Okay then, go see the numbers for yourself.

While we're at it, let's consider that while Mars Hill is looking for a Capital Development Manger Mark Driscoll mentioned in 2012:

Now, you look at this, you say, “Fourteen churches.” See, this is the myth at Mars Hill: “There’s a money fairy somewhere and the money fairy takes care of it.” Okay. You’re the money fairy. Okay.

Now let's suppose for sake of argument that the entirety of Mars Hill leadership may currently be completely convinced that that real estate currently owned by Sound Transit is "the only viable option" for what they want to do.  That's all the more reason to take a long look at the 2005 capital campaign and what Mark Driscoll said the vision was for the 50th street building that is current Mars Hill corporate headquarters, which was also where Future Hope Revocable Living Trust is/was based when Mark and Grace Driscoll bought a roughly one million dollar home just weeks before Driscoll would say "You're the money fairy" to Mars Hill.  [Wenatchee The Hatchet found the deed of trust which, while not a certified document in pdf format, establishes that Mark and Grace Driscoll bought the real estate in 2012 in May].  The history of 1401 NW 50th Street, Seattle, WA 98107 is something every contracted member of or prospective donor to Mars Hill Church should be informed about as Thomas Hurst's public statements about the vision for a building Mars Hill doesn't even own yet is sitting out there on the internet. 

Since Thomas Hurst is credited with the cover photo of Confessions of a Reformission Rev it's not like Hurst somehow can't know or remember how the 2005 capital campaign and the purchase played out. 

a weekend link or two

The de-elevation of the celebrity pastor.

"I Quit Academia", an important, growing subgenre of American essays

How Calvin & Hobbes Inspired a Generation (sort of a Captain Obvious promo for an upcoming film but, yes, I'm planning to see Dear Mr. Watterson in any event)

And staying on that topic ...

Shifting things more to the realm of Strongbadia ... (this link and the previous one get a HT to Alastair Roberts who, somehow, I just can't imagine playing this game)

In another HT to Roberts, "Why Zimbardo's Prisoner Experiment Isn't In My Textbook".  For those whose only familiarity with Zimbardo might be through the retort he got from Stephen Colbert this would be a supplemental reading. 

From Targuman, "The Value of Lament"

These will probably suffice for now