Part 12: 1 Timothy 6:1-10
Pastor Mark Driscoll
March 21, 2004
About 32:53 along
Satan robbed these people. They don’t even have the tools and the framework to come to the truth. They’ve been robbed. They are theologically, morally, spiritually vacant. There is nothing there.
Here’s the bottom line. They think that godliness is a means to financial gain. You want the sick, hard, cold truth, friends? Every time there’s heresy, error, church splits, divisions, factions, fighting, trace the money, and you’ll find the taproot. It’s always, it’s always, always financial. It’s money. It’s power. It’s control. It’s wealth. It’s affluence. That’s what it is.
These silly, stupid, little denominations, what they do is this. Hank in Dubuque, Iowa, is a union farmer. He goes to his local church, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, whatever mainline liberal denomination it might be. Hank loves Jesus. Hank gets radically saved. Hank takes 10 percent of all the money from his plumbing job, and he gives it to his church 'cause his pastor there loves Jesus, and he doesn’t know any different. The pastor’s a good guy, and Hank’s a good guy, so Hank gives 10 percent to the church. Hank thinks it’s going to the church.
Well, it doesn’t go to the church. Hank’s 10 percent goes into some fund that’s far away from Hank in some bureaucrat’s office. And that bureaucrat’s paid by Hank to sit around and make decisions and write silly little books that’ll govern Hank’s church. And if Hank doesn’t agree with it, that’s just tough 'cause Hank doesn’t have a Master’s degree. [emphasis added]He only loves Jesus. He’s just a plumber. He should shut up. He’s like Jesus. He’s a blue collar guy, not really fit to do doctrine.
And so this guy over here and his bureaucrat friends who get their salary paid by Hank’s 10 percent and his buddy’s 10 percent from the union hall, they decide that all the sudden Hank’s gonna have a homosexual pastor. All of the sudden, Hank’s not gonna believe that the Bible’s the Word of God 'cause they took a vote.
All of the sudden, they’re gonna send theologians in to do a conference telling Hank that maybe Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. And Hank wonders, “Why do I gotta put up with this? Am I not paying your salary? You don’t seem to love Jesus.”
And then those guys say, “Well, you know what, Hank? We own your building. You and your kids and your grandkids and your friends, you guys worked really hard, and you’ve given sacrificially to pay off that building? Ultimately, Hank, we own your real estate, so Hank, you gotta put up with this, meaning you gotta keep paying our salary to abuse you. And if you try to rebel, we’ll steal the real estate that you paid millions of dollars for, Hank.” That’s how mainline denominations work. You wonder why people don’t leave their denomination? Because the denomination – the liberal ones – own the property. Guys, think about that.
We bought this building a year ago. You guys are giving sacrificially. We’re paying for this building. Can you imagine working very, very, very hard as a church to pay this off and we don’t own it? Some bureaucrat in office somewhere that you never met, that doesn’t know you, that when you get sick won’t be at the hospital laying hands and praying over you, won’t baptize your kids when they get saved, won’t officiate your wedding, won’t sit down and study the Bible with you? A guy you can’t even meet with, you’ll never know, just some guy pushing paperwork somewhere who’s not your pastor, he control your building that you paid for. [emphasis added]
And if he decides that Jesus is not God, tough. Tough. And if you want, he’ll sell you the building, and this happens all the time, and you buy the thing twice. It’s the sickest thing I can think of. It’ s unbelievable.
In the last few months the Board of Advisors and Accountability, which includes a Board of Overseers whose role seems to have been defined as its members not being part of Mars Hill by definition, voted to dissolve the corporation. Can someone explain how that's not the "God Box" type of remote control corporate church leader Driscoll warned about ten years ago?
As for the questions about where money was spent and on what one of the questions has been why there has not been more transparency about exactly what happened with Mars Hill Global. A decade ago Mark Driscoll explained how denominations that left the farm used ownership of real estate and control of finances to prevent good Christians in leadership from being able to say anything without fear of reprisals.
Driscoll went on to explicitly describe The God Box:
I got a buddy locally. He’s a wonderful guy, loves Jesus. His church loves Jesus. They’re in a wack job denomination that has totally left the farm. And I said, “Well, why don’t you leave?” He said, “Well, if we leave, we lose the building. I lose my salary. I lose my pension, my retirement. I lose my ordination. Some of these people are third, fourth generation in the church. Their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents literally carved the pews that we sit in. If we leave, we lose everything.” [emphasis added]
I said, “Well, you better else or you’re gonna lose Jesus, and the church isn’t a place. It’s a people. And it’s not a business. It’s a family. I don’t care what the false teachers say and vote and do. You stick with Christ. And if they wanna go the way of Judas Iscariot and put their hand in the till, then you let God deal with them.”
I’ll tell you guys a dirty, little secret. There’s a place in Manhattan called The God Box. I went there a few years ago. I was doing some consulting in Manhattan, take me to The God Box, this huge building in downtown Manhattan, expensive real estate. [emphasis added] Each floor in the building is the headquarters for a different liberal mainline Protestant denomination: American Baptist, Evangelical Lutherans, Presbyterian Church USA, United Methodist, Episcopalians. Everyone’s got their floor.
I’m thinking that’s weird, and it’s all filled with bureaucrats. It’s weird. It’s like the house on Scooby Doo, you know? It’s just a lot of weird things in there. It’s all kind of nefarious, you know, like, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! We have a concord. We wrote a little book.” You know, it’s just all this weird stuff comes out. And I went into it, and I remember meeting with one of the guys there 'cause we got a tour, and then we went down to lunch.
And all the guys from all the denominations come down like the United Nations, and they all have lunch together, and they all sit around and they all have these – this is how they come up with these agreements and all these joint resolutions and all this stuff, and I wondered how this all happened. Well, they’re all sitting in The God Box in Manhattan.
And I remember sitting there with this guy, and I’m like, “So what do you do?” He says, “Well, I’m blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I said, “Well, you know, are you in a church? Are you a pastor? You baptize people, teach the Bible, officiate weddings?” “No, no, no, no, no. I work for the denomination.” “Well, what do you do?” “Well, I sit here in The God Box, and they pay my salary, and then I come up with decisions, me and my other guys on this team, and then we enforce it on all the other churches in the United States of America.” I’m like, “So you get to tell everybody what to do?” It’s like yeah.
Most people don’t know that. Most people don’t know that it’s really not their pastor and their brothers and sisters in the seat next to them that controls the destiny of their church but somebody in The God Box, who’s a bureaucrat trying to get on CNN or get a book deal or be the next rock star for whatever silly little academic nonsense is going on in pop culture. And he’s sitting there having lunch with a couple other guys who are bored as well, and they’re tired of shuffling paperwork so they dream up some nut job scheme that destroys everything. [emphasis added]
It's begun to look like Mars Hill has its own God Box, one that voted on the formal dissolution of the corporation. In ten years time Mars Hill as a corporation and Mark Driscoll as an individual seem more and more to have turned into nearly everything they publicly took a stand against. Thanks to the decisions of guys in the God Box, in just a few days Mars Hill the corporation will dissolve.