Saturday, December 20, 2014

As MH dissolves and the campuses reincorporate as "new" churches, MH issues note on year end giving, thanking donors for support
Without generous people like you continuing to give through the end of the year, many of these churches may not have the necessary funds to continue as new churches.

So relaunching eleven Mars Hill churches as church plants sure looks like a distinction without a difference.  The difference would be the corporate umbrella and that none of these churches are probably going to be allowed to use "Mars Hill".  Ironically if Mars Hill had played by the game plan Driscoll espoused circa 2002 in the Dead Men era all the churches would have spun off as independent church plants with their own government anyway rather than having spent the last twelve years under the corporate umbrella of Mars Hill with week-delay reruns of sermons Driscoll had preached earlier for so much of its history.

What's been fascinating about the plagiarism controversy as it got covered is that people like Mefferd and Throckmorton were able to go through the books of Driscoll and cross reference what he published to other published works.  While some Mars Hill and Driscoll advocates have attempted to say "there's two sides to this story" the whole nature of the plagiarism/book series of scandals is that the primary source (Mark Driscoll) himself was quoted as the catalyst for the controversy.  It's been Mark Driscoll who has by and large opted to not address in any public fashion the citation errors that were rampant in the first printed edition of Real Marriage. Nor has Grace Driscoll (assuming for sake of discussion she even wrote any of the words in the 2012 book credited to her name) seemed to have fielded the question of why she never made a reference to Dan Allender in Real Marriage from the beginning.  Press coverage has in the last year focused solely on Mark Driscoll without looking at Grace Driscoll and the degree to which materials credited to her could be shown to have used ideas of other authors without citation. 

All that to say this, that Mark Driscoll's publications were speaking for themselves as the catalyst of the controversy to begin with and to date Mars Hill has not revealed the extent to which Driscoll products included ghostwriters or the extent to which Docent Group research may have comprised X proportion of the published products of Driscoll.  Take away the Docent Group help; any possible ghostwriters; any self-recycling across publishers that might have caused licensing trouble; and leave Mark Driscoll to his own devices alone and what will happen to his literary output?  Will it continue or will it disappear?  The scandal of Driscoll as author may simply be that the machinery that went into creating the brand all got exposed at once in a tense year's worth of a news cycle.

And what that suggests about Christian popular authors and publishing should be really, really creepy to people.  How many staff members paid at Mars Hill may have had jobs of writing stuff in Driscoll's name? Now to be sure pseudopigrapha kind of has a history in religious writing ;) but evangelicals who might defend Driscoll cribbing here and there and maybe using a ghostwriter might not be so thrilled if we turned the discussion around and proposed that a huge chunk of the Pauline corpus was not written by Paul but by those appropriating Paul's name to produce content useful to local church communities.  The extent to which any conservative Protestants might try to defend the gist of what Driscoll's brand has been like might be the extent to which they would mount an intellectual and sociological defense of liberal mainline Protestant scholarship about the nature and origin of the Bible.  Just an idea to consider there, okay?

One of the reasons it still seems important to transcribe and discuss more of the 2008 spiritual warfare session is because in the third part on trials Driscoll gets into the practical approach of counseling, an approach that may still inform the "biblical living" pastors of all the upcoming Mars Hill plants that are basically looking like rebranded continuations of business as usual.  If things are going to change we need to look carefully at what has been so that people have a shot at recognizing what might need to change if there is, by now, in fact anything left worth preserving of the cultural system.

Might just skip the last half hour of part 2 and focus on transcribing part 3.

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