Saturday, August 23, 2014

apparently Throckmorton has come to the same guess as Wenatchee The Hatchet ... and has a letter --UPDATE, an announcement of redistributed pulpit work is starting to seem a more likely guess

Okay, so maybe both Warren Throckmorton and Wenatchee The Hatchet could turn out being wrong guessing that a move to get a permanent home for Bellevue/MH HQ/MH schools is what's going to get announced tomorrow ... but the guess is still an educated one.  Wenatchee The Hatchet compiled an inferential case from what has been purged in MH media content and what significance there might be in cancelling conferences and festivals in light of a continuing real estate need ... and Warren Throckmorton published a letter signed by one Thomas Hurst regarding fundraising activities toward a specific address. 

Now both Throckmorton and Wenatchee might be completely wrong.  More willing to make that guess for Wenatchee The Hatchet.  In light of two recent resignations from the BoAA those are roles that need to be filled. 

Might Driscoll confirm that Munson has in fact resigned membership from Mars Hill?  Who knows and obviously guesses are just guesses until the announcement gets made. 

It might be optimistic to guess that Driscoll's going to announce a complete itemized line item explanation of where every cent of monies spent by Mars Hill has gone each fiscal year for the last four fiscal years will be made available to the public.


The August 12 date makes it now seem impossible that the big announcement would have much to do with Bellevue as such.  Wenatchee rescinds the earlier guess.  There are vacancies in the BoAA that need to be filled and while Driscoll could opt to step away from formal presidency of the corporation as he did once before it was precisely during that period that the controversial firings of Meyer and Petry happened.  Driscoll's narrative about that period has shifted emphasis so many times it might be grist for a series of posts in itself (2007 church growth exceeded gifting of leadership, 2012-2013 Mark needed more time to be with Grace and couldn't say that was the real reason for the changes).  But it seems unlikely he will step away from the pulpit entirely.

What might thematically make sense is to ramp up the opportunities campus pastors have to preach on a monthly basis.  If he's really aiming for a legacy and is aware of how severely his controversies have damaged MH it might be shrewd to issue a public apology and announce (and then actually implement) a higher level of campus pastor preaching.  What better way to show love for one another than for Mark to let all those campus pastors who have up until now been preaching a tiny percentage of the time have more pulpit time?  Driscoll has possibly ditched his naturopath Catanzaro and may need to regroup for health and given that a recurring theme in the charges made against him has been that he's controlling, bullying, and domineering, planning to escalate campus pastor participation around a theme centralized at the executive level lets more preaching be done from plan that can account for the content.  At another level, Driscoll can't possibly commit to Mars Hill Schools as a teacher (whether or not anyone cares at this point about the controversy around plagiarism) if he's still cranking out sermons from the pulpit most of the time.  And for someone as prone to control the pulpit as often and as long as Driscoll has that could be a big announcement ... for him.  For any normal church announcing that other people would do preaching wouldn't be a particularly big deal. 

reviewing Turner's fiscal missives, noting that Good for Bellevue has vanished altogether, and how this may be a clue as to what the forthcoming big announcement "could" be

Some of you will no doubt remember this.
End of Fiscal Year 2014Thank you for your faithfulness! Fiscal year 2014 ended on June 30th and we are excited to report that we beat budget for the year! Thank you to each person in our Mars Hill family across our 15 locations and our Global Family across the world. 

Just as some of you may remember that.

Wenatchee The Hatchet did not see any particular cause to believe the financial situation for Mars Hill basic operating expenses was ultimately in peril.  Systemic layoffs have been happening at Mars Hill for as long as many can remember.  The real question was not whether they would merely "beat budget" for the basic annual expenses (like the as yet undisclosed salaries, housing allowances and so on for the executive elders) but capital expansion or high profile big-ticket public events.  It has since come to light that Mars Hill Church has cancelled Resurgence 2014 and the Jesus Festival (though there is a question hanging over how firmly scheduled that ever was with respect to Marymoor Park).  But Mars Hill Schools is on the way.  The guess Wenatchee The Hatchet would have is that MHC has a home for the schools project and for MH Bellevue to move into.  Not even Wenatchee The Hatchet has the time to trawl through local real estate listings to find out if this is the case but ever since went missing ...

Let's revisit what Wenatchee the Hatchet was able to preserve regarding the MH Bellevue situation as related by Thomas Hurst. The material was originally posted here:

From October 26, 2013, though the robots.txt introduced to MH websites make this link dead ...


Letter from Pastor Thomas Hurst

At the heart of every church plant is a “core group” of committed individuals who are always driving toward the mission of Jesus – making disciples and planting churches. This committed core sacrifice with great passion so that the church might grow and that more people would have their lives changed by Jesus. Much like the church elders, the members of a core group are able to see the vision of how the Gospel can change people, neighborhoods, even cities.

Through much prayer and consideration, the Executive Elders and I believe strongly that Jesus wants us to set down deep roots here on the Eastside by owning our next location [emphasis added] and planting a large healthy church that would include a training center. This location would serve as Mars Hill’s central operations center and regional hub for making disciples and planting churches.

Why Now?

God’s plans have far exceeded our own and, for his glory, He has given us fruit that has outgrown our current facility.

Our current location at the Danz building is a leased space and has been sold to the Rockefeller Group. They have announced plans to demolish the building and develop the entire block. Over the next few years our church would be situated in the middle of a major construction project, and ultimately we would be forced to move at the end of our lease in 2017.

The bottom line is this: God has had bigger plans for Mars Hill Bellevue all along, bigger than we could have ever imagined. When we moved into the Danz building we prayed for growth, and by God’s grace, the growth we’ve seen in Bellevue makes us one of the single fastest growing churches in America today. We need a larger location to accommodate what God is doing in our church.
We believe the right location is in Bellevue and that this church and training center will be the epicenter from which the Gospel will ring out around the world.

We’re Still in Core Group Phase
As we walk down the path God has laid out for us, we want to share with you a bit of a paradigm shift: Bellevue is now in “core group” phase. [emphasis added]

While many churches plant with a core group of 25 people, or 250 people, Mars Hill Bellevue is currently a core group of 2,500 people. As we look ahead, the Bellevue elders and the Executive Elders are not just praying for 1,000 people, or 5,000 people on a Sunday, we’re praying for 10,000 people to worship on a Sunday at Mars Hill Bellevue…10,000 individuals whose lives are forever changed by the Gospel. To this end, we need to think, act and pray differently, starting today.  If we wait until tomorrow, a year from now or three years from now when our lease is up, it will be too late.

With this in mind, we have found a site in Bellevue that meets these needs. I’m asking you to pray with us as we explore what it will take to move Mars Hill Bellevue to this new location, and how you can be a part of the mission.

The International Paper Property on 120th St.

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 weeks ago we made an offer on a property in the Bel-Red corridor on 120th St. which is currently owned by the International Paper Company.[all emphasis added]

The space is about 180,000 sq. feet on 10.5 acres of property, located directly on the new light rail line being developed in 2017. The City of Bellevue has plans to develop the area immediately surrounding this site with retail, restaurants, and urban housing.

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

Mars Hill Bible College
Part of this vision includes opening a Bible college. Recently we sent out proposal requests to the best Bible colleges in the U.S. with the intention of partnering with one of them to establish an accredited Bible school at Mars Hill Bellevue. We want to provide sound theological training for your children as we raise up the next generation of leaders and church planters.

We’re Not Done Yet
Upon submitting our offer for this property, we’ve hit a snag.

Sound Transit, the government agency responsible for building and operating the light rail transit system, has purchased this property to protect their interests, even though we offered to outbid any other offers.

Sound Transit intends to use this property to build an Operations & Maintenance Satellite Facility (OMSF), basically a large barn they will use to maintain the light rail trains, much like the one located in Georgetown just south of downtown Seattle. They have five locations in mind for this facility, and this property on 120th St. is currently their top choice.

“Good for Bellevue”
We believe, though, that this property is the location that God wants us to use to further the mission of the Gospel through Mars Hill Church [emphasis added], so we are continuing to pursue this property and work with Sound Transit to come to an agreement that works well for everyone involved.

We believe a Mars Hill church at this key location is far better for the church, better for the City of Bellevue, and better for the community and local economy than a transit maintenance barn. We will provide:

Immediate benefit to local commerce (restaurants, hotels, transit and more).
More jobs to Bellevue (150+ employees).
Much needed conference/multi-use space to Bellevue.
Ridership for Sound Transit will increase due to our large events and regular attendees because we will be located directly on the transit line.
We plan to use the existing structure, which supports local green initiatives and the development plan for the Bel-Red corridor.

The City of Bellevue can benefit greatly by having both Mars Hill Church’s largest facility and the Sound Transit OMSF located in the city. While Sound Transit has several options for their maintenance barn, we only have one option for our church. Our intention is to work with Sound Transit as they decide by the end of the year whether to use this location or choose one of the other locations that they have available to them.

Unfortunately we find ourselves in a position where we are going up against the government. Given the perspective, we are a small church with little chance of being able to make the government change their decision. However, we will continue to move forward with faith in a God who is bigger than any government. [emphasis added]

Why delete all that material in which Hurst explained the pressing and serious need for a new home for Bellevue?  Is there still only one building that meets the requirements the Mars Hill elders believe must be met for the path they think God wants them to take moving forward?  Or has another option potentially emerged?

If there is another building besides the ONE True International Paper Building available (where ever that new option may be), then there's no reason to have all that material up any longer.  Good for Bellevue can be gone. Mars Hill has probably not actually purchased the building (or even be close to having the money at hand) but they may have a workable site lined up for which they can do fundraising.  If so, it wouldn't be a bad guess to assume that Sunday might be a big fundraising pitch comparable to the 2005 capital campaign project Mars Hill did to get what has since become MH corporate headquarters. 

Speaking of which, you don't put the Mars Hill Church Admin (i.e. the corporate headquarters) out on the market if you don't think you have at least one real viable alternative for a replacement. Wenatchee The Hatchet has kept tabs on that site for years.

Now the possibility of a permanent home for MH Bellevue that could double up as the site for MH schools and MH corporate headquarters is just a guess, of course, and it could prove to be wrong come this Sunday when Mark Driscoll makes whatever the big announcement is being reported to be ... but it's not an entirely uneducated guess. These days it seems you can potentially learn more about what's potentially going at Mars Hill from what they purge than from what they publish. 

a history of MH attempts at record labels 2009-2013 postlude: the problem in Driscoll saying "not even close" in his March 2014 statement on The City, the music label was part of the vision at the beginning

On (or maybe before?)March 14, 2014 one Mark Driscoll posted a letter on The City to Mars Hill Church, which Warren Throckmorton has linked to via two different avenues.
For those of you who have been around for a while, it is amazing for us to see all that Jesus has done. People often ask if our church today resembles what I had originally planned. Not even close. The smallest location of a Mars Hill Church is bigger than what my total vision was for the whole church when we started.
In the second paragraph of that letter posted to The City (which has been widely and erroneously interpreted as and presented as a public apology of any kind for anything), Mark Driscoll stated that people had often asked if Mars Hill today resembles what Mark Driscoll had originally planned.  There's a problem with "Not even close."  The problem is that in both Confessions of a Reformission Rev from 2006 and the fundraising film God's Work, Our Witness from 2011 Mark Driscoll explicitly said he had dreams of starting a school and a music label from the earliest stages of planting Mars Hill.  You might have to hunt a bit to find the pertinent clip.  A chapter or heading "Launching Mars Hill Church" may be of help.

God's Work, Our Witness Part 1
Pastor Mark Driscoll

about 12:30 in
You know, and I thought, for sure, we’d probably tap out at two hundred. I thought if we can get this
thing to two hundred, that would be amazing.

And I had big vision for more. I put together a forty-page vision statement. I said, “We’re going to
start a school. We’re going to plant churches. We’re going to do a record label.” I had this whole vision, and I handed it out to, like, fifteen people, and they’re like, “Are you kidding me?”

So I had big dreams. But to be honest with you, man, if we could just get up to two hundred, I thought that would be amazing.
 About 200?
From "Seasons of Grace" by Mark Driscoll

In the fourth season, we launched the church in October 1996 at 6pm with an attendance around 200, which included many friends and supporters. The attendance leveled off shortly thereafter, somewhere around 100 adults, and we continued meeting until the Christmas season.
So at the launch of Mars Hill Church, according to Mark Driscoll's "Seasons of Grace" they had already launched at the number that Driscoll was saying in the 2011 film would be "amazing".
With that in mind, let's revisit the 2006 book

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll
Copyright (c) 2006 by Mark Driscoll
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27016-4
ISBN-10: 0-310-27016-2
CHAPTER ONE: Jesus, Our Offering was $137 and I Want to Use it to Buy Bullets
0-45 people

from pages 53-54
So in an effort to clarify our mission, I wrote down on paper the first of what would eventually be many strategic plans. I shot for the moon rather foolishly and decided that our church that was not big enough to fill a bus would plant multiple churches, run a concert venue, start a Bible institute, write books, host conferences, and change the city for Jesus. I started handing out these goals printed on boring white paper without any graphics, colors, or cool fonts, naively assuming that it would all happen eventually just because it was what Jesus wanted.

To get leaders in place for world domination, I also spent time trying to articulate the vision in my head to good men who would be qualified to rise up as fellow elders-pastors. So, as Jesus did, I spent time in prayer asking the Father which of his sons should be trained for leadership. The church started as an idea I shared with Lief Moi and Mike Gunn. Lief is a descendant of Genghis Khan and his dad was a murderer, and Mike is a former football player. They proved to be invaluable, except for the occasional moments when they would stand toe-to-toe in a leadership meeting, threatening to beat the Holy Spirit out of each other. Both men were older than I and had years of ministry experience, and they were good fathers, loving husbands, and tough. ...
So now this year Driscoll has said, "The smallest location of a Mars Hill Church is bigger than what my total vision was for the whole church when we started."  For Driscoll to have made that statement in March 2014 is to say something that flies in the face of things he's said on record in print and in film over a period ranging from 2006-2011.  There was a vision of starting a music label since either the launch of Mars Hill Church or to go by the numbers and the timeline laid out in Confessions of a Reformission Rev to a period even before the official launch of Mars Hill Church.

"Not even close" is hard to sustain based on Mark Driscoll's own testimony.  If anything it is only right now that Mars Hill Music has been in partnership with Tooth & Nail (after Re:Sound failed and after Mars Hill Music was announced) and on the eve of Mars Hill Schools launching (after the disappearance of the 2005 Capstone Institute and the dormancy of the Resurgence Training Center) that Mars Hill is on the cusp of things Mark Driscoll envisioned since the dawn of Mars Hill Church.

a history of MH attempts at record labels 2009-2013 part 3: "Mars Hill Music is partnering with Tooth & Nail"

POSTED: 01/15/13
Mars Hill Music Partners with Tooth & Nail Records / BEC Recordings
Mars Hill Music has entered a partnership with Tooth & Nail Records / BEC Recordings to share the variety of worship bands coming from Mars Hill Church. Located in Seattle, WA, Mars Hill Church is home to 35 worship bands such as Citizens, Kings Kaleidoscope, Ghost Ship, and The Modern Post. On February 12, Tooth & Nail Records / BEC Recordings will release the Mars Hill Music Worship Sampler, a compilation of worship songs as an introduction to bands featured at the church. Click here or below to see an intro video on Mars Hill Music.
About Mars Hill Music: Mars Hill Music is made up of a variety of musicians and worship leaders who serve throughout the various Mars Hill locations. Since its humble beginnings in 1996, Mars Hill has been committed to engaging the surrounding culture in order to point people to Jesus. Each Mars Hill band strives to do this with a natural expression and outgrowth of what God is doing in their cities.

This partnership was official and had press materials to go with it.  Unlike the previous change in planes announced regarding Re:Sound, there was no indication there were any management or revenue issues.  The partnership was announced not just at BEC Recordings but also by Mark Driscoll who, less than a year later, had announced,  "Head’s up: we’re starting a record label, and we’re gunning to take over Christian radio."
But in any case, on January 15, 2013 Driscoll let the world know:

It’s official: Mars Hill Music has officially signed with Tooth & Nail Records!

We’re incredibly grateful for this partnership. Not only does T&N do amazing work, but many of the folks on staff are members, deacons, and band members at our church. This includes Deacon Jonathan Dunn, who oversees Mars Hill Music after working at T&N for years, and T&N founder/president Brandon Ebel, a personal friend and member of Mars Hill’s Ballard church.
Thank you to all who have supported, prayed for, and participated in this project—including the musicians (many volunteer) whose hard work has turned a big vision into reality. By God’s grace, we’re ready to get some top-notch, Jesus-centered, theologically sound, and artistically rich music into the hands of millions around the world. We have literally dozens of bands in the church and we've done a lot to prepare for this opportunity.

Citizens and Ghost Ship have their first full-length albums nearly done, and Deacon Dustin Kensrue is working on his first-ever worship album after years in the middle of the post-rock scene. Following that, expect to hear from Kings Kaleidoscope as well.

The first LP will be Citizens' self-titled release, due out March 12. Can’t wait? Here’s one of the new tracks, “Made Alive”:

So "We're starting a record label" turned into "We're partnering with Tooth & Nail".  Precisely why was never announced and so it isn't a certainty that what were so directly described as management and revenue problems with Re:Sound applied with Mars Hill Music. 

The history of Mars Hill attempts at starting music labels seems to be one of DIY initiative swiftly transforming into partnership.  Re:Sound sputtered about a year after it was announced over both management and revenue issues, by its own account.  Mars Hill Music got a bold announcement from Driscoll but inside of a year the nascent label was announced as a partnership with the already well-established Tooth & Nail/BEC Recordings. 

In a history that seems to parallel Mars Hill attempts at starting a Bible college or seminar (Capstone vanished and the Resurgence Training Center only had what looks like one graduating class and is no more, to be replaced by the forthcoming Mars Hill Schools) Mars Hill seems to have set out to change things and shake things up by creating their own music label but at length has entered into a partnership with an existing entity that has the infrastructural and financial resources and competencies to take care of the business side while Mars Hill people focus on the marketable content. 

There is another detail that is worth noting about the repeated attempts to start a record label, which is to revisit Mark Driscoll's "public apology" that was posted to The City and then leaked to the public.

a history of MH attempts at record labels 2009-2013 part 2: Mars Hill Music

On May 2, 2012, Mark Driscoll gave the world a head's up that Mars Hill Church was starting a record label.
Pastor Mark Driscoll
May 2, 2012

Head’s up: we’re starting a record label, and we’re gunning to take over Christian radio.

At the helm of the newly minted label, Mars Hill Music, is Deacon Jonathan Dunn, interviewed here by Pastor Mark. Dunn, a founding member of the heavy metal band Demon Hunter, spent a decade at Tooth & Nail/Solid State Records, and was the director of A&R when he felt God calling him to Mars Hill—"one of the top three things ever called to in my life," he says. And he’s got a big vision for Mars Hill Music and bands.

Bottom line, whatever you think has defined “Christian music” up til now, you can forget it: “We don’t limit our bands to the Christian cul-de-sac of U2 circa 1987,” says Dunn. [Editor’s note: Said with all due respect to Joshua Tree and U2, who have a solid contingent of fans at the church.] In short, it’s a label defined by Christ and culture and corporate worship.

By May 2013 the label Mars Hill Music would end up becoming part of a partnership, but a more formalized one than the partnership announced for Re:Sound about a year after it launched.  The partnership was going to get coverage.

a history of MH attempts at record labels 2009-2013 part 1: ReSound

We'll start by going back to 2009.
[dead link, don't bother, and don't try The WayBack Machine as robots.txt precludes finding what the content was]
Tim Smith came to Mars Hill Church in the summer of 1999, never having owned an electric guitar, been in a band, or written a song. Somehow, by God’s grace, he became the worship pastor there and has been able to hang on and give shape to a movement of well over 30 worship bands leading many campuses. Tim is the husband of Beth and the father of three daughters. He also leads Re:Sound, a missional network of music and artists here on the Resurgence.
The guys over at the Resurgence are about to launch their music label, Re:Sound. Their website, is going live June 11th, but from today until then, they are giving away an 8-song EP sampler. Sounds great so far.
The need for deeper theology among young people can be seen in the success of websites like, a ministry of Mars Hill Church in Seattle and headed up by Mark Driscoll, a growing favorite among Christians in their 20s and 30s. The Resurgence has already branched out into publishing with Re:Lit, and now, with Re:Sound, Mars Hill worship pastor Tim Smith is taking them into the arena of music production. The first full-length album to be released is Rain City Hymnal, which takes 12 old hymns and transitions the songs into the 21st century beautifully. Producers Brian Eichelberger and Joel Brown bring together 5 different bands (The Northern Conspiracy, Ex Nihilo, Team Strike Force, E-pop, and The BCG) and create an album that has a palpable cohesiveness amidst the diversity. The album is available for a limited time for free (by giving them email addresses) or for whatever price you choose to pay at After that, it will be available for purchase through more “traditional” avenues.

So there were a few albums out and things went along with Re:Sound for a year years.

See that notice "Big Changes Coming For ReSound"?  What was that?  Don't try following it from The WayBack Machine ...

You can't read that because of robots.txt.  However, Mars Hill being Mars Hill ...

there's something up on Facebook.  It was published April 1, 2010 ... not that long after Re:Sound was announced.

For those who won't be able to read the text from the image ...

all bold emphasis is in the original statement:
Re:Sound was first an independent label. Management issues accompanying a label were terrible, and we realized it was not the right path. A label has to exist for its financial bottom line and must choose projects accordingly. At the end of the day, Mars Hill is a church and the Resurgence is a network of missional leaders on Godʼs mission. The heart behind Re:Sound has always been to showcase music we believe in from Godʼs people on Godʼs mission. So Re:Sound will be a relational network of missional musicians offering a consistent stream of music on a suggested-donation basis. At times we may sell special albums, but the vast majority of Re:Sound music will be available by suggested donation.

From publisher to partner

Our mindset was that to use our resources to distribute music we would have to own the rights to songs and albums. While this may be the default mode of the law, it would obligate us to control and administrate the rights to all this music—turning us into a publishing company. This is also a huge distraction from our core mission. Therefore Re:Sound will not own any songs or recordings, which will leave music in the hands of its creators and allow us to partner with a wide range of artists both inside and outside of Mars Hill Church. We have an exciting release schedule ahead, and look forward to telling you about it soon.

From control to influence

In an industry obsessed with grasping control over all musical rights, we realize that influence is much more important. Our heart is to show a stream of music that might never make the radar of the music industry. We believe that music should be more distinct, not less, as it represents Godʼs people on his mission to a particular people in a specific time and place. Our hope is that as we show more mission-driven, diverse music it would encourage others to not consume the foreign culture of music that is being marketed to them. Instead we would sing new songs as well as old songs in new ways, all for the glory of God.

So while Re:Sound started as an independent label management issues accompanying the label were terrible and they realized it was not the right path.

So Re:Sound transitioned from publisher to partner.  The next officially announced effort toward a Mars Hill music label would have to wait until 2012.

reader Tim Worley has a question about Mars Hill Church, Tooth & Nail records, and BEC recordings ...

Earlier today reader Tim Worley asked a question in a comment box.

Wenatchee, your blog is largely about MHC relationships and inter-relationships...with some of the MHC bands leaving the church, I'd be curious whether the Mars Hill/Tooth & Nail Records/BEC recordings link is being maintained, whether former Mars Hill bands can maintain the "record company" relationship apart from MHC, etc. On a practical level, I integrate some MHC musical material into what my church does on Sunday morning, but I'm getting increasingly nervous about potential negative connotations, even with some great material I find above reproach.

That's a good question.  There's been some memorable and interesting music to come out of Mars Hill and it's starting to find its way into services at church that aren't affiliated with Mars Hill.  Given the controversy surrounding Mars Hill recently are there reasons to worry about use of material that in many cases is copyrighted to Mars Hill, for instance? 

In a larger historic sense it might not be a huge problem. It's not unheard of to hear the hymn "Nearer My God to Thee" sung in Trinitarian liturgical settings even though the hymn was written by a Unitarian.  Lutherans can love Wesleyan hymns and vice versa.  Presbyterians can like Catholic texts set to music by avant garde composers (Messiaen's glorious setting of "O sacrum convivium" is a personal favorite)  But, uh ...

Anyway, that's a good question Tim. Would someone at Tooth & Nail/BEC recordings be willing to publicly field that question?  And it provides an occasion to briefly review the history of Mars Hill public announcements about music labels and music partnership. 

In fact we're about to do a little guided tour of the history of Mars Hill experiments at starting music labels since Tim Smith and company started Re:Sound back around 2009.  Stay tuned.

via Becky Garrison--another follow up on trusts and real estate

Garrison has gone to the King County records for marriage licensing and has been able to find that one  Melanie J Driscoll and  Leon E Thompson got a marriage license February 3, 1997.  Instrument number 199702037521.  Date of marriage 1/18/1997.

Friday, August 22, 2014

NYT--A Brash Style The Filled the Pews, Until Followers Had Their Fill: Mark Driscoll is Being Urged to Leave Mars Hill Church

“He was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously,” said Timothy Keller, the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and one of the most widely respected evangelical intellectuals in the United States. “But the brashness and the arrogance and the rudeness in personal relationships — which he himself has confessed repeatedly — was obvious to many from the earliest days, and he has definitely now disillusioned quite a lot of people.”

There's nothing Justin Dean or Anthony Ianniciello or even Mark Driscoll himself can really say in reply to that.  Ever since Driscoll shook hands with T. D. Jakes and did his pre-emptive strike on Justin Brierley by way of also putting down British evangelicalism Mark Driscoll and The Gospel Coalition have not been on the most publicly lovey-dovey terms.  For those who don't remember this ...

Jared Wilson's blog post was striking.  When Driscoll began to alienate men who had his back the way Jared Wilson did in online conversation that was the start of alienating the support base.  A salient feature of the NYT feature is highlighting that Driscoll's confrontational and inflammatory style has reached a saturation point, a point where even evangelicals and conservatives no longer see a reason to back him. 

As Wenatchee The Hatchet has been blogging for years now, there are reasons to doubt the fiscal policies and accountability of Mars Hill as a corporation.  There are still plenty of wonderful Christian brothers and sisters over there to be sure, but the leadership culture has reached a degree of sickness that is becoming evident enough that not even someone like Michael Van Skaik seems to wish to contest the point by now.

On the other hand, it also appears that not enough leaders inside Mars Hill have taken seriously the sheer scale of plagiarism that has taken place.  It is unfortunate Mark Driscoll has only publicly discovered the possibility of mistakes not being sins as a theological point since he was accused of plagiarism on the air.  Driscoll used to say that we humans tend to have this problem of having this idea, "I want mercy for me when I sin against others but if you sin against me I want justice."  When it comes to intellectual property Mars Hill has unfortunately shown that it has been slightly more eager to insist on defending its intellectual property than taking care to respect the intellectual property of others, even in cases where that involved material published with editorial oversight by members of the Gospel Coalition like Don Carson.  Should the reader not remember or recognize those details, dig into the press coverage of Mars Hill's response to Mefferd's evidence that the Trial study guide plagiarized an IVP volume. 

Whatever the big announcement is that Driscoll has coming up on Sunday it's not going to be so big as to get beyond the recent Tim Keller quote. 

so there's a big announcement ... ?

given the history of Mark's excited announcements in the past whatever it is is more likely to be about a recently acquired piece of real estate than a relationship.  :( 

Since the International Paper Building turned out to not be God's will for Mars Hill Bellevue after all that's a loose end that has been needing to be accounted for.  It's not like they haven't known they'd be needing a new spot to land there.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throckmkorton on the "bait and switch" of the cancelled Jesus Festival

Remember this?
On August 22, we’ll host our first-ever Jesus Festival at Marymoor Park near Seattle. Everyone at Mars Hill churches far and near is invited for this unique opportunity to grow together and evangelize within the surrounding community. Fun for kids, music, gospel preaching, baptisms, and good times at no charge because it’s always good to practice for the kingdom with a party!

Read more:

Out of curiosity, was Marymoor Park ever actually scheduled for use the day said event was announced to be taking place?  A park of that sort would likely have events scheduled out with public notices of use fairly far in advance, wouldn't it?

The reverse of the question of whether the Jesus Festival was cancelled unannounced is to ask whether it was firmly scheduled.

If it wasn't scheduled then, yeah, that might come across as a bait and switch.  Perhaps Seattle parks & recreation can clarify?

But it is prudent to not presume malice when other explanations are at hand.  Mars Hill may have come across as doing a bait and switch but given the "season" they've been in and the layoffs and resignations that have happened, maybe something else came up?  Mars Hill beat budget (again) this last fiscal year but they laid people off and now it turns out the Jesus Festival was cancelled (or possibly not firmly scheduled to begin with?) and the Resurgence conference got cancelled. 

As longtime readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet will already know, Wenatchee left MH in later 2008 and had not heard all the details of the firings.  But Wenatchee had heard enough about the way Mars Hill handled real estate acquisitions to have doubts that Mars Hill was being wise; it seemed as though Mars Hill was committed to a path of expanding faster than it was cultivating a stable donor base and this might lead to systemic deficits.  Lo and behold, come 2012 Driscoll announced that that had become the case.  A reason to reconsider giving to Mars Hill Church these days beyond any serious concerns about the Global Fund would be the General Fund, that if Mars Hill announces conferences and festivals and then cancels them without any clear explanation of what's up that should lead donors to reconsider whether Mars Hill has been fiscally healthy enough to merit donations. 

And for non-profits that are healthy and effective enough to merit donations you can probably find out the salaries of the executive officers of the corporation.

a follow up on trusts and real estate

Someone conveyed the following excerpt from a Mark Driscoll sermon to Wenatchee The Hatchet in the wake of recent media discussion about the Downs Family Revocable Living Trust and its connection to a piece of real estate that Mark and Grace Driscoll bought in May 2012.

Going all the way back to the Proverbs sermon series from 2001 ... Men and Masculinity
We – we didn’t watch Will and Grace and think it was funny. We didn’t – we were – we were a very masculine home. Okay? And I had two sisters and two brothers. My brothers’ names are: Mike and Matt. So, it’s Mike, and Mark, and Matt, and Melanie, and Michelle. That’s our family. I don’t know how that happened, but apparently we got stuck right in the middle of the alphabet. And in my neighborhood, my dad hung drywall every day to provide for the family. If you’ve ever hung drywall, it’s work; it’s significant work. To the point where, a few years ago, my dad broke his back hanging drywall and had to give-up drywall, because he literally severed his back. And my dad, when I was little, I remember him telling me, “This is a rough neighborhood. You look out for your brothers. You look out for your sisters. If I’m gone, you take care of the family.” And you had to in my neighborhood. ...

So that Driscoll has a sister named Melanie has been attested by Mark Driscoll from the pulpit.  You're not going to find the Proverbs series around in the media library these days, though.  Compare the two dated screen captures 1-25-2014 and 3-19-2014 respectively

So someone got the idea to purge the majority of Mark Driscoll's public teaching and preaching.  Why is not something that has been explained.  But what is interesting is that thanks to the plethora of media content Mars Hill has made available for more than a decade, it isn't all that difficult to consult a 2001 sermon in which Mark Driscoll mentioned that one of his sisters was named Melanie.  It has been mentioned by a handful of comments that the Melanie Thompson who is the trustee of the Downs Family Revocable Living Trust may be a relative.  It is "possible" but confirmation has not yet been established.  What is established is that from the pulpit, for the entire online world to download, Driscoll said he had a sister named Melanie.  Of that there is no doubt. 

on Driscoll's interview with Justin Brierley two years later

As noted earlier tonight, the formal charge that Mark Driscoll has said harsh and bullying things to other leaders behind closed doors has been a topic of discussion recently.  However, it is worth noting that Mark Driscoll has had at least one case in which he went on a pre-emptive strike not long after conducting an interview with Justin Brierley back in 2012.
January 12, 2012

There is reportedly an article coming out in a British Christian publication that features an interview with me. As is often the case, to stoke the fires of controversy, thereby increasing readership, which generates advertising revenue, a few quotes of mine have been taken completely out of context and sent into the Twittersphere. So, I thought I would put a bit of water on the fire by providing context.


 I have a degree in communications from one of the top programs in the United States. So does my wife, Grace. We are used to reporters with agendas and selective editing of long interviews. Running into reporters with agendas and being selectively edited so that you are presented as someone that is perhaps not entirely accurate is the risk one takes when trying to get their message out through the media.

With the release of our book, Real Marriage, we have now done literally dozens of interviews with Christians and non-Christians. But the one that culminated in the forthcoming article was, in my opinion, the most disrespectful, adversarial, and subjective. As a result, we’ve since changed how we receive, process, and moderate media interviews.  

The interview in question had nearly nothing to do with the book or its subject matter, which in my understanding was supposed to be the point of the interview. My wife, Grace, was almost entirely ignored in the interview, and I felt she was overall treated disrespectfully. The only questions asked were about any controversial thing I’ve ever said in the past 15 years with a host of questions that were adversarial and antagonistic. It felt like a personally offended critic had finally gotten his chance to exercise some authority over me.

Things got particularly strange near the end of the interview. I was asked a question about, if a woman was the pastor of a church which that pastor’s husband attended, would that be emasculating to him. The question was asked in such a pointed way that it was odd.

At the end of the interview, I started asking questions of the interviewer. He admitted that his last questions were really about himself and his wife. Apparently his wife is the pastor of their church, he’s strongly committed to women as pastors, disagrees strongly with our complementarian position, and takes it to some degree personally.

This not only became more significant with Elephant Room 2's result and Driscoll's reflections on important lessons from it, it also took on significance when people had a chance to hear the interview Driscoll was blogging about for the Brits.

A short excerpt from the interview included the following:

Driscoll: No, no, you don’t want to sit in my seat, I understand. So does your wife do counseling with men? Sexual counseling? Does she talk about masturbation, pornography, the stuff that I do?

Brierley: Well no, she doesn’t.

Driscoll: Well, who does talk to the men about those things, especially the young men?

Brierley: Well there are other people that she can pass them on to. We have male elders in our church who, you know, would be able to tackle those kinds of questions. I mean, but would you speak with those kinds of issues to a female in your church?

Driscoll: Uh no. If they’re a married couple we might meet with them as a couple. But if it’s a woman, we would have women leaders meet with them.

Brierley: Sure, well it’s the same scenario in our church really.

Driscoll: Well except for who’s in charge.

Now in his 10 Reflections, Driscoll wrote the following opening point:

1. I appreciate godly friends who don’t want to defeat me publicly but rather help me privately

Some years ago when I was leading our megachurch with no formal theological training and having never been a formal member of any church let alone a pastor in any church, I was in a scrum with the emergent church and was completely full of myself. Dr. Gerry Breshears, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, put an arm around me, built a degree program for me, loved me, served me, and helped me grow theologically. 
He remains to this day a dear friend loved by my family and me. I also appreciate that when many were taking shots, Dr. John Piper came and stood next to me put an arm around me and said he had hope for me and loved me. 
People like this are a gift. I want to grow in becoming a person like that, and though I’ve got a long way to go, I want to not get more angry, narrow, hardened and tribal as I get older but rather grow in grace. I don’t want to be a lonely old man shooting everyone who does not fit on my island. I have close friendships, most of them private, with Christian leaders across the theological spectrum. We share a love for Jesus and a love for each other. Some consider me their theology buddy whom they can call on issues, and I deeply enjoy those friendships and want to serve in any way I can.

So while for T. D. Jakes Driscoll was saying nobody should jump to any firm conclusions until Mark Driscoll had gotten on a plane for Jesus to get to Elephant Room 2 during the same month he decided to do a very public and pre-emptive strike on the character and doctrine of a man who interviewed him.  The transcript of the conversation between Driscoll and Brierley looked curiously like Driscoll was very content to make a point rather than a difference and to win an argument rather than a person. "Well except for who's in charge."  doesn't read like the statement of someone who seems to be in a good place to say at the end of the same month how he appreciated friends who don't want to defeat him publicly while he was willing to do a pre-emptive strike on a journalist.  This was during the major roll-out of Real Marriage and shortly after it had hit #1 on the NYT bestseller list.

For those who might not recall this, Driscoll's pre-emptive remarks about the Justin Brierley interview included enough comments about British evangelicalism they elicited some comments from Don Carson.  A short excerpt:

... (2) The phenomenon of the state church colors much of what is going on. Whether we like it or not, in England itself (the situation is different in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) the Church of England is the source of most heterodoxy and of much of the orthodoxy, as well as of everything in between. It has produced men like Don Cupitt and men like Dick Lucas. Exactly what courage looks like for the most orthodox evangelicals in that world is a bit different from what courage looks like in the leadership of the independent churches: their temptations are different, their sufferings are different. Although I have found cowardice in both circles, I have found remarkable courage in both circles, and the proportion of each has not been very different from what I've found on this side of the Atlantic.

(3) As for young men with both courage and national reach: I suppose I'd start with Richard Cunningham, currently director of UCCF. He has preached fearlessly in most of the universities and colleges in the UK, and is training others to do so; he has been lampooned in the press, faced court cases over the UCCF stance on homosexuality, and attracted newspaper headlines. Then there's Vaughan Roberts, rector of St Ebbe's, Oxford, in constant demand for his Bible teaching around the country. I could name many more. In Scotland one thinks of men like Willie Philip (and he's not the only one). Similar names could be mentioned in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Wenatchee The Hatchet got the impression Carson was politely suggesting that Driscoll was a little too ignorant of the history of Christianity in the United Kingdom to have had warrant to make the comments he made in the pre-emptive noticed about the Brierley interview.

A couple months on and Driscoll announced he was bidding farewell to the Gospel Coalition.

A pertinent question to consider in light of the recently discussed formal charges about Driscoll's way of talking about others is to ask whether it would be considered acceptable by either Mark Driscoll, his associates, or public defenders if someone were to pre-emptively question the scholarship, integrity, or teachings of Mark Driscoll.  The colloquial way of putting it is to ask whether there is sufficient evidence to determine whether Driscoll is willing to take what has been publicly documented as willing to dish out.  If Driscoll has changed on this particular issue then the evidence will emerge by way of what doesn't happen when any kind of comparable situation arises.  Conversely, if there are those who wonder if there is any basis for any of the concerns in the formal charges recently aired on the question of whether Driscoll has any history of saying negative things about others, well, the record would seem to be rather straightforward there based just on the reaction to the Brierley interview alone.  Unlike Mark Driscoll's past fusillades regarding Joel Osteen or T. D. Jakes the Brierley content is still available for consultation.

from earlier this year, Mark Driscoll on bitterness as a satanic foothold circa 2008, cf his bitterness at Grace over a lack of sex per Real Marriage in 2012

This material was first discussed on March 17, 2014.  Since Mark Driscoll has seen fit to start a multi-part series on spiritual warfare recently it seemed good to revisit material from the 2008 Spiritual Warfare teaching session he gave at a leaders-only event in which he expounded on a variety of topics. 

For those who know the narrative of Real Marriage Mark Driscoll mentioned how he figured once he and Grace were married his sex life could pick up where it left off but he discovered his previously fun and carefree girlfriend became his fearful and frigid wife.  This became a point of bitterness for Mark Driscoll. 

This revelation on the part of Mark Driscoll in the 2012 book was alarming for many of us who were attending Mars Hill at earlier stages of its history.  For instance, while there was much talk about "Pussified Nation" it was probably overlooked that William Wallace II also wrote "Using Your Penis."  Even if we assume for the sake of conversation that Driscoll was playing a character one can fairly ask on what material he was drawing for the character because it was pretty clearly not William Wallace but some other person's experience.  Whose, exactly?  Note that the way William Wallace II lays out the following problem presupposes unfaithful unmanly men who end up marrying Christian women raised on a steady diet of "gnosticism" and view sex as dirty and then the guy ends up in this bummer marriage where there's not that much sex and what sex there is is guilt-ridden.  To read the text would suggest that this was second-hand rather than first-hand observations on the part of William Wallace II ... or so it seemed to a few readers at the time.
William Wallace II
Member   posted 01-18-2001 11:13 AM             
Christian pornography. Christian phone sex. Christian cyber-sex. Christian lap dances.
Someone recently asked me about these issues. And, they are quite valid.

The problem with many unfaithful unmanly unmen is that they have heads filled with desires and dreams, but they marry a Christian women raised on a steady diet of gnosticism (so she hates her body) psychology (so she thinks too much before she climbs into bed) and guilt ridden don't have sex because it's a dirty nasty thing that God hates and makes you a slut youth group propaganda from hell/Family Books.

So the poor guy is like a starving man who is told he can only eat once ever couple weeks and his restaurant only has one crummy unspiced bland item on the menu and he either eats it or starves to death.

Bummer for that guy.

What the guy wants is to see a stripper, a porno, and have some phone and cyber sex. What the guy needs is a good Christian woman. The kind of woman who knows that men like unclothed and sexually aggressive women. Why? Because they are breathing. As long as a man is alive he is ready for sex every minute of every day.

Ladies, listen closely. The guy will never get the big dreams out of his head. He can either explore them with his wife, become bitter and sexually repressed, or sneak off to Deja Vu or log on to the net and escape in a moment of adventure. Birds fly, ducks float, dogs bark, and men think about sex every minute of every day because they have a magical ability to continually think of two things at one time, one of which is always sex. Any man who denies this is a liar or has broken plumbing.
So it would behoove a good godly woman to learn how to strip for her husband. Some nice music, a couple of drinks, candlight and a wife who has thrown her youth group devotionals to the wind would be nice. Most women do not do this because they are uncomfortable with their bodies. Know that for a man there are two variables with a woman's body. One, what does she have to work with? Two, how does she use it? Now I will tell you a secret, number two is the most important.

How about a Christian guy who wants to watch porno? Maybe his wife should get a Polaroid and snap a few shots of her in various states of marital undress and bliss and sneak them into his Bible so that when the guy sits down to eat his lunch at work and read some Scripture he has reasons to praise God. Or, maybe if the lady would plug in a camcorder and secretly film herself showering, undressing, making love to her husband etc. she could give it to him when he's on the road for weeks at a time, or maybe just so the poor guy can see his wife as some undressed passionate goddess. I have yet to find a wife take me up on this be rebuked by her husband.

And what guy breaking his stones on the job every day wouldn't like a hot phone call from his wife now and then telling him in great detail what awaits him when he gets home. Or how about the occasional instant explicit message from his wife rolling across his screen giving him some reasons to expect that dessert will precede dinner that night.

Do you know why the adult entertainment industry is raking in billions of dollars? Because people like to have sex and have fun. Does it lead to sin? Yes. Can it lead to worship. Of course. If you resist this message, please stay single until you get your head straightened out. If you are married and fully constipated, bummer for you and your upcoming divorce.

And this interpretation would tend to have been reinforced by comments from the pulpit years later in which Driscoll would sound off on how happily married he was.
Part 6:1 Timothy 3:1-7
Preached February 08, 2004

... I love my wife. I've been totally faithful to her. I'm a one-woman man. I met her at 17. I married her at 21. I've been chasing her ever since.  I'm quicker than she is, so I'm happily married.  You know, things are good. I just am. I love my wife. I adore my wife. I enjoy my wife, you know? ...

There were potential hints that not everything was ideal.
[roughly one hour in]

...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.

However, as noted earlier, it wasn't until the publication of Real Marriage in 2012 and the sermon series associated kicked off that things like this came along.  The new narrative suggested that perhaps the lament of William Wallace II on behalf of the guy who wasn't getting any sex in his marriage might not have been as abstracted as some former attenders of Mars Hill might have supposed.

Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson
copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0

PAGE 9-10
Before long I was bitter against God and Grace. It seemed to me as if they had conspired to trap me. I had always been the "good guy" who turned down women for sex. In my twisted logic, since I had only slept with a couple of women I was in relationships with, I had been holy enough, and God owed me. I felt God had conned me by telling me to marry Grace, and allowed Grace to rule over me since she was controlling our sex life. 

PAGES 14-15
Although I loved our people and my wife, this only added to my bitterness. I had a church filled with single women who were asking me how they could stop being sexually ravenous and wait for a Christian husband; then I'd go home to a wife whom I was not sexually enjoying. 

... We still disagree on how often we had sex (I [Mark Driscoll] was bitter, and she [Grace Driscoll] was in denial, which skews the perspective), but we both agree it wasn't a healthy amount to support a loving marriage.

Now that the historic stage has been sit for the bitterness that Mark Driscoll said he harbored against his wife and against God, we can proceed back to the rather long and substantial 2008 spiritual warfare lecture Mark Driscoll gave. 

While Mars Hill scrubbed the content of the 2008 Spiritual Warfare series about a week after Wenatchee The Hatchet broached this topic and its background in Driscollian material, the material seems relevant again now that Mark Driscoll has a new spiritual warfare series going up that largely recapitulates the basic ideas from the earlier series but in a significantly more sanitized written form compared to the rambling audio session of 2008.  A particularly salient quote is where Driscoll references a statement by Amy Carmichael about how bitterness is like water in a glass, that the water is already either bitter or sweet and that the bitter person was full of bitterness and can't blame the offender for that bitterness.  Driscoll also spent a considerable amount of time describing bitterness as a satanic foothold.  But the Carmichael paraphrase will arrive ... :
February 5, 2005
Mark Driscoll
Part 2, The Devil

about 34:10
The way bitterness works, as well, is bitter people are prone to blame their bitterness on the person that they perceive offended them. Amy Carmichael. she's a missionary, her little book If, she gives this great analogy she says:

If I have a glass filled with sweet water and I bump it, what comes out? Sweet water. She says if I have a glass of bitter water and I bump it, what comes out?  Bitter water.

All that sin against us, perceived sin against us, or bitter envy and selfish ambition by us reveal is what's already in our heart. The bitterness is IN there, and someone or some thing spilled it. And bitter people will say, "Look what you made me do. You made me sin, you made me gossip, you made me angry, you made me bitter, you made me fight, you made me run into conflict, you made me sin in my anger. Look what you made me do." And the answer is, "I didn't make you do anything. That was what was in your heart." I just bumped you.

about 45:00
What he says is, if you're a Christian and God, through Jesus Christ, is not bitter with you but forgives you then you must use the Gospel in your relationships to forgive other people. You have no reason to be bitter with them. In being bitter with them what you are saying is, "I refuse to use the Gospel for my relationships. I refuse to allow Jesus to do anything." And when you say that you ARE saying, "I am inviting Satan instead."

Now if Driscoll were to have applied all of this teaching to himself  and his long bitterness against his wife over the lack of sex in the marriage wouldn't that bitterness be inviting Satan instead of Jesus to define a key element of the relationship?  It would see as though if Driscoll applied his own teachings about others to himself he would have to reach this general kind of conclusion.  What happened after Wenatchee The Hatchet raised this question months ago was Mars Hill simply scrubbed the Spiritual Warfare material from their website without any announcement of explanation. 

But in light of formal charges coming to light and pastors expressing concerns about Mark Driscoll having said things behind closed doors there are reasons a person could raise questions about whether Driscoll applies to himself teaching he was comfortable applying to others that was available for public consultation for years. 

a new series on spiritual warfare by Mark Driscoll has been going up, Driscoll in the present on gossip and Driscoll in 2008 on gossip (with respect to women, especially)

This series has been going up over the last month even while Driscoll was on vacation, which suggests that either Driscoll has had a very, very loose understanding of taking a sabbatical from social media or some suitable proxy has been reassembling and recycling older material on his behalf during the hiatus.  Precisely what inspired a recycling of old material about spiritual warfare might be difficult to discern.
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Posted: Aug 21, 2014

Spiritual warfare, part 5: Satan’s schemes
Scheme 3: the Devil

The Bible speaks of Satan’s work in what can commonly be understood as the ordinary demonic and the extraordinary demonic.

Ordinary demonic work entices us to sexual sin, marriage between Christians and non-Christians, false religion with false teaching about a false Jesus, unforgiving bitterness, foolishness and drunkenness, idle gossiping and busy-bodying, lying, idolatry, attacking our identity through false and condemning thoughts, demonic dreams and night terrors.

Extraordinary demonic work includes torment, physical injury, counterfeit miracles, accusation, death, and interaction with demons.

But since the material has been going up it might be a suitable time to revisit some earlier material in which Mark Driscoll has addressed gossip as a sub-topic in a discussion about spiritual warfare.
Spiritual Warfare part 2, The Devil
February 5, 2008

about 50 minutes in to the 1 hour mark.

How about this one? Idle gossip and busybodying. 1 Timothy 5:11-15. This one is amazing. Ladies this one is especially for you. Some of you say, "Oh, it's not me." Yeah, it is. 1 Timothy 5:11-15, but refuse to enroll younger widows for when their passions draw them away from Christ they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.  Besides that they learn to be idlers

Women learn how to make a lot of free time. Going about from house to house. Well now it would be from email to email and from phone call to phone call. Technology makes idle busybodying far more effective than ever.

And not only idlers but also gossips. They like to talk about people. How are you doing? What are you doing? And this isn't sisterly accountability, this is "I need to know what everybody's doing because I like to know what everybody's doing and then I can tell other people what other people are doing and then I can say, `Hey, you need to pray for so-and-so.' and I can make it sound spiritual so that when I'm gossiping and busy-bodying I'm doing so in a way that seems really Jesus-like." And busybodies, they need to know what everybody's doing. They need to know what everybody's doing, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children and manage their household, right? Stay busy, and give the adversary (that's Satan) no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. Hmm.

A woman who's a gossip and a busybody; a woman who has to put her nose in everybody's business and knows what everybody's going on; know what they're doing, she's working with Satan. Now I know most women would say, "No, no, no. I'm not Satanic, I'm concerned. I'm not Satanic, I'm an intercessor. I'm a prayer warrior. I'm not Satanic, I'm an accountability partner.  I'm not Satanic, I'm a concerned friend."  Okay, you're a Satanic intercessory prayer warrior accountability partner concerned friend but just start the whole list with "Satanic" so that we don't misunderstand your job description. 

Now there's a difference between someone inviting you into their life and saying, "I want to be friends, I want to have an accountable  relationship." and you pushing yourself into everyone's life, okay?  I'll tell you, in the history of Mars Hill, I mean, I have had to put up a firewall, a moat, guard dogs, and a high wall with barbed wire on top, and snipers behind it, around my wife. There are certain women who, they just need to know what Grace is doing and they are determined, they say things like, uh, "Hey, we need to have dinner with your family." [slight chuckle] No you don't. "Hey, we need to have coffee." No you don't.  "Hey, phone number." What? Nope. "Email." Nope.  Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

"Oh, come on." Nope.
"But I thought you were our pastor."
I am and my first lesson is to tell you you're Satanic.
"Oh, come on, in our last church the pastor's wife [sob] she was my best friend and I got to talk to her all the time."

Well, she was Satanic, too.  Give me her number, I'll call her and tell her. We'll help her out.
You ladies KNOW these women. Right? How many of you ladies know these women? They will try first with the hyper-spiritual, "Oh, praise the Lord! I'd love to pray for you. Let's get together. Let's do Christian community. Let's go to heart." If you decline, then they emotionally manipulate, [inhales, sobbing voice], "I thought we were friends, I thought you loved me. I don't have anybody to talk to." It's all manipulation. It's FEMALE manipulation.  Some of you ladies, right now? You think, "I can't believe he said that." It's all true. It's Satanic, Satanic.

Paul says, "Don't be a busybody, stay busy." Right? Your husband, your kids, your family, your home, Jesus Christ. You got things to do.

Busybodies stay busy inserting themselves into everyone else's life. In some churches there are certain women, if you call them, they'll know everything that's going on because, somehow, they know everything. There's a difference between being a woman who is invited into someone's life for friendship, prayer and accountability, and a woman who emotionally manipulates and is pushy and is sometimes hyperspiritual and demanding and forces herself in because she's a drama queen and has to be at the center of all the drama. That is a Satanic woman.

You need to believe that and the worst thing you can do is accomodate it. Okay, we'll have you over for dinner once. And then, the next month, it's "Okay, buddy, we haven't been together in a month. We need to get together again. I'm sure a lot has happened in your life and I don't know what it is and I need to know because I need to know everything. I have a God complex of omniscience. I want to know everything about everybody." And what you find with these people, Paul says, they tend to be gossips, meaning you don't just talk to them, then they talk to other people.  "Well, did you know their marriage is struggling? Did you know that she's depressed?  Did you know that  she's post-partum?  Do you know that, sexually, her husband's impotent?" These are conversations I've heard in this building. Really?

Sometimes womens' ministry is the cesspool that this kind of activity flourishes in. Some have asked, "Why don't you have womens' ministry?" The answer is we do, but it's, you have to be very careful, it's like juggling knives. You put the wrong women in charge of womens' ministry, the drama queen, the gossip mama, all of a sudden all the women come together, tell her everything, she becomes the pseudo-elder  quasi-matriarch; she's got the dirt on everybody and sometimes the women all get together to rip on their husbands in the name of prayer requests. Happens all the time. Happens all the time. We have worked very hard so that the women who teach here are like Wendy Alsup who I really love and appreciate and respect. She's not like that. It is not that no woman should lead, that no woman should teach, that no woman should in a position of authority over other women  under the authority of their husband, Jesus and the elders it's just that the wrong women tend to want it. The wrong women tend to want it and they tend to want it for the wrong reasons. And sometimes it's the humble woman, who isn't fighting to be the center of drama, control and power; who doesn't have to be up front; she's usually the one who is most capable and qualified.  

And for you single men as well I would say be very, very careful because if you're on staff at Mars Hill  (everything I say sounds terrible, this will just be added to the pile) there are certain women who will tell you, "I want to marry a pastor." Really? You should want to marry a Christian who loves Jesus, loves you, loves your kids should God give them to you. I've lectured enough Bible colleges and seminaries, the young women who come up and say, "I want to marry a pastor"  my immediate default question is, "Are you a gossip? Are you a busybody? Are you a drama queen?" "No. No, I feel called to serve the Lord."  Well, you can serve the Lord without being called to be a pastor's wife in fact, take it from me, it's easier to be a woman and serve the Lord than being married to a pastor.   You single  guys, you gotta be careful, man. There are some women, they want to marry a pastor so they can be the center of power, authority; they can be the first lady;  everybody knows them, everybody wants to be their friend, everybody wants to tell them everything; and they can be the center of all the drama. Run for your life. Run for your life. Run for your life. It's Satanic.

See?  I need you women to really search your own heart. Are you Satanic? Is this still part of your flesh, this sick desire in you to know everybody's business? I'm not saying you don't have friends but how much are you on the internet? How much time do you spend emailing? How much time do you spend crying nad freaking out and knowing everybody's business and on the phone and having to meet with people because, "Did you know so-and-so did such-and-such and so-and-so is feeling this way and did you?" Are you the center of LOTS of activity? Why? It's Satanic. It's Satanic. I think I've made my point.

On the subject of gossip as somehow a uniquely "feminine" or "womanly" vice Wenatchee The Hatchet has become ... skeptical.  It is possible for men to be every bit as prone to gossip as women supposedly are but men may find ways to "spiritualize" the talk in a different way.  The evasion would not come through "go to heart" rhetoric as much as "shop talk".  We're not gossiping about a guy, we're just talking about how sub-standard his work is when contractors in an industry just sorta happen to have a meeting at a bar one night.  We're not gossiping about someone so much as we're discussing current events.  It is possible for men to be even bigger gossips in some settings because of ... do we playfully call them "industry standards"?  Let's consider the text of an old statement Mark Driscoll made in 2006.  It would be the one most generally misrepresented as having ever been a commentary on Gayle Haggard.
My suspicion is that as our culture becomes more sexually rebellious, things will only get worse. Therefore, as a means of encouragement, I would like to share some practical suggestions for fellow Christian leaders, especially young men:

 •The only way to stay away from sin is to stay close to Jesus. Colossians says that we are prone to making a lot of rules but that if we don't deal with the issues in our heart, we are fooling ourselves; holiness cannot be obtained by the sheer force of white-knuckled will power. More than anyone, a Christian leader needs time with Jesus in repentance, for their own soul and not just to make them a better leader or teacher. Death comes to every Christian leader who goes to Jesus and Scripture for purely functional and not relational purposes.

•Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors' wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him either.

Why did Mark Driscoll feel any need to enquire into the sex lives and sexual conversations of "most pastors I know"?  So Mark Driscoll met pastors' wives who really let themselves go?  What about Mark Driscoll's own history of weight fluctuation?  What about Mark Driscoll's career spanning bromide about how your wife is your standard of beauty.  If she let herself go then let-herself-go would be your standard of beauty if she's your wife, right?  But since Mark Driscoll by his own account objected to a "mom" cut because he loved Grace having long hair Driscoll's ability to live out in his own life the axioms he gives to others has been shaky.  If your wife is truly your standard of beauty and she tries out a "mom cut" that's your standard of beauty until she grows it back ... or is it?

Now it is probable that all of the above was merely rhetorical flourish but if Mark Driscoll was making a point to talk with most or all pastors he met about sex how, amidst all that, did he still somehow find no one to talk to about the struggles in his marriage?  And, to put Driscoll's 2006 comments up alongside his comments in 2008 about women as busybodies and gossips how, exactly, would Mark Driscoll probing the sex lives of "most pastors I know" to find they were not satisfied not an exercise in having to know what everybody was doing because he wanted to know what everybody was doing or not doing in the bedroom?  If Driscoll is willing to preach it and teach it to others has he successfully lived out in his own life the warnings to not be a gossip?  The formal charges that have recently been disclosed might themselves be considered gossip (though Paul Tripp's recent public announcement of resignation should give us pause, since if he publicly stated the BoAA cannot do what it was supposed to be doing it is not clear that leaving the charges "private" would be effective). 

And yet if Section 12.1 of the by-laws founders on there being no formal agreement of employment between Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church then the BoAA or Board of Overseers could not even remove Mark Driscoll as preaching and teaching pastor from Mars Hill precisely because the power to remove him would be stipulated on the existence of an employment agreement with terms and conditions that actually provided for his removal.  In other words, until Justin Dean and company publish the formal employment agreement that could be invoked according the bylaws Section 12.1 it's not a given that not sharing the formal charges to the public (which may or may not be what some of the former pastors have done in the last 24 hours)  would constitute "gossip" any longer.

So, we've reviewed what Driscoll has said in 2014 on gossip and a bit of 2013 content and compared that to what he said in the 2008 spiritual warfare series that got pulled earlier this year.  There are a couple of other details to be revisited from the 2008 series which, though it has been pulled has never been publicly repudiated or recanted in its substance by Mark Driscoll.  It is probably safe to operate under the supposition that until such time as Mark Driscoll publicly recants the substance of what he taught leaders in a leaders-only session in 2008 about spiritual warfare that he still subscribes to the things he taught then.  If anything the 2008 commentary on women as manipulative busybodies and gossips could do much to explain the cryptic concerns Mark Driscoll mentioned about wanting to avoid certain types of female manipulation in the earlier chapters of Real Marriage.

a few general observations about the formal charges

Many Christians brandish the word "slander" in a way that can confuse rather than clarify a set of issues.  While the authors of the document linked to above are at liberty to use whatever working definition of slander they wish to use the choice of the word may be problematic.  Normally "slander" and "libel" are understood as divisions of defamation more generally.  The simplest distinction to be made was summed up by J. K. Simmons in Sam Raimi's first Spiderman film. "Slander is spoken. In print it's libel."

But there is a further element that should be considered, that in order to be slander the statement would have to be public in some sense.  It might be difficult to convince a leadership culture at Mars Hill that has already shown an eagerness to rally behind the executive elders in general and Mark Driscoll in particular that the evidence for the formal charge involving slander ever actually involved slander.  It might be said that the cumulative examples alluded to but not as yet clearly described don't generally measure up to what outsiders would call slander.  No one outside the walls of Mars Hill may have heard any of the things that are alleged to have been said by Mark Driscoll.  That the quotes attributed to Driscoll sound rather like him may still be a matter for discussion and debate, but even if all those things attributed to him were actually said it would seem that this would not substantiate that Driscoll slandered in a normal publicly accepted sense of the word "slander".  It would, however, potentially go some distance in alleging that Mark Driscoll was a gossip. 

Gossip is a thing that has been addressed by Mark Driscoll (or a suitable proxy since many of the blogs in this series have gone up while Mark was technically on vacation) in a recent series on spiritual warfare.

Scheme 3: the Devil
The Bible speaks of Satan’s work in what can commonly be understood as the ordinary demonic and the extraordinary demonic.

Ordinary demonic work entices us to sexual sin, marriage between Christians and non-Christians, false religion with false teaching about a false Jesus, unforgiving bitterness, foolishness and drunkenness, idle gossiping and busy-bodying, lying, idolatry, attacking our identity through false and condemning thoughts, demonic dreams and night terrors.

Extraordinary demonic work includes torment, physical injury, counterfeit miracles, accusation, death, and interaction with demons.

For a more general overview of Driscoll on gossip or slander ...

3. Slander/libel
Malicious and often false information used to inflict harm is slander (spoken form) or libel (written form). Leviticus 19:16 makes it clear that, “You shall not go around as a slanderer.”
Case-builders collect information like stones to throw at somebody—just waiting for the right opportunity to impugn and attack someone’s character and integrity. If you’re a case-builder, you’ve decided that someone is your enemy and then justify sinful slander as righteous aggression.

In our day, we have an opportunity to slander people more immediately and effectively than ever in the history of the world through technology. Before you post, remember Jesus’ words: “On the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matt. 12:36).

Uh-oh. Did you know that Jesus has Internet access? Imagine you die and stand before Jesus and he pulls up all your social media accounts and already has your smartphone in his hand. Would he find anything that is harmful or destructive against others? Even if what you you’ve communicated is factual truth, your motives are untrue if the purpose in communicating is to harm your neighbor rather than bring glory to God and good for your neighbor.

That second paragraph is quite a generalization.  We have an opportunity to slander people more immediately and effectively than ever in the history of the world through technology?  That might be the case but the use of the royal "we" seemed like Driscoll deploying the first person plural more for the literary effect of including "you" the reader in the charge rather than admitting to anything with respect to himself.  The Lawrence played by Peter O'Toole could have heard those words "in our day ... "said and ask, "Do you speak from experience?"  How would Driscoll know that in our day we have opportunity to slander people more immediately and effectively than ever before? 

Now nobody is probably going to "want" to apply an "NSA test" here but perhaps you could run with the idea that if you wouldn't want it kept as evidence by a government Big Brother office it might be best not to say.  The analogy, of course, is bound to be imperfect. 

Then there's Driscoll on gossip:
5. Gossip
Just in case I haven’t pinned you to the mat yet with points 1–4, let’s talk about gossip. First Timothy 5:13 specifically calls out “gossips and busybodies” for “saying what they should not.”

If you’re the person everybody comes to for disclosing secrets, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Just like toilets flush and send everything to the sewage plant, you may be the spiritual version. The Christian’s temptation is to sanitize this information by calling it “prayer requests.” But you can’t throw a Christian word in with a non-Christian deed and expect to fool anyone. If Sally wants people to pray for her because her husband committed adultery, let Sally tell the group herself.

Sometimes gossips say things that are untrue, but more often they’re simply “saying what they should not.” Telling other people about somebody else’s business is no way to love your neighbor. In fact, gossip is often sharing damaging information with the intent of murdering someone’s reputation. Murder can be physical death, but gossips commit a form of murder that destroys a person, emotionally or psychologically.

And then there are the websites and magazines that have turned celebrity gossip into a business model. Just because someone is famous doesn’t mean you need to know what they eat, where they live, or what their kids look like. That’s called stalking.

Who do you need to stop following? The information you’re getting may not be untrue, but what’s your motive?

There are a lot of reasons why we lie, and we're all in the guilty bucket together.

With Driscoll's ministry in a "difficult season" and with charges having recently been announced, it will be a season for discussing what "we" mean by these varying terms.  To the extent that Driscoll's comments about others behind closed doors have not been brought to light to the public it would be difficult for those comments to be understood as slander. On the other hand, within the leadership culture of Mars Hill and Mars Hill history, it's conceivable a case could be made that the anecdotes related in the formal charges could be considered gossip. 

Another matter to consider is that Driscoll has said and written enough about the history of Mars Hill and its leaders and history over the years that concerns could be raised about his leadership approach based simply on things that have been available for the public record (though much of that material has been purged this year). That Driscoll has a history of touching on behind-the-scenes events or controversies from the pulpit is actually pretty easily established.  That might be best saved for another post.