Saturday, November 15, 2014

Todd Pruitt raises the question of where John Piper's discernment was on Driscoll, a possible explanation

Over at Mortification of Spin Todd Pruitt published a post November 13, 2014.

Dr. Piper mentions Driscoll’s “flaws.” Again, this is not the issue. I don’t know of anyone who criticizes Driscoll for having flaws. All of us, without exception, have flaws. The problem is that the word flaw trivializes what was happening at Mars Hill. Plagiarizing, bullying, foul language, global missions funds being used for local projects, generously offered tithes being used to buy a bestseller, etc. are far more serious than flaws.
What possessed John Piper to promote this man? Piper acknowledges that Driscoll ran his church like a CEO presiding over a corporation. He praises Driscoll’s doctrine while saying that his interpretation of Song of Songs was completely wrong. He acknowledges that Driscoll had become a wealthy man. Over the years Piper has had appropriately strong words for pastors who live and lead in those ways. Nevertheless he invited Driscoll to speak a number of times at his national conference. Many people trusted Driscoll precisely because Piper trusted Driscoll. At the very least this was a failure of discernment. And when a world-famous pastor with great influence lacks discernment the consequences are high
The controversies surrounding Mark Driscoll were not suddenly discovered six months ago. For years there have been numerous voices sounding an alarm. And now, mere weeks after Driscoll’s resignation from Mars Hill Church the whole enterprise is collapsing. I am not blaming Driscoll’s sins on the well-known men who surrounded him. I do wonder, however, why they chose to promote him so vigorously when there was so much evidence of trouble. 

Having been a former member of Mars Hill who was recruited by leadership into a number of ministries (though having always been a layperson), Pruitt raises a question that many have had that has been implicit more than explicit.  The question is, "How on earth could Piper not know about Mark Driscoll's track record?"  Well ...

Let's bear in mind that on October 10, 2007 Scott Thomas informed Paul Petry that his presence was not required at his own trial.

The next day, it seems Thomas sent an email from his Acts 29 account to an enquiring Mars Hill member and replied that "A team of elders just concluded a conciliatory process with these two men. Be patient, trust Jesus and rest in the fact that this is His church."  Scott Thomas has since gone on to add his name to a letter public apologizing to Bent Meyer and Paul Petry about the nature of their respective terminations and trials as well as their outcomes.  Regardless of what conciliatory process may have been completed by October 11, 2007, Thomas and the members of the EIT were part of a trial and voting process that Scott Thomas has apologized for. 

Which indirectly addresses Todd Pruitt's question, if it wasn't even possible for contracted members of Mars Hill in 2007 to get a clear or what turned out to be an ultimately factually accurate explanation then how would John Piper, states and states away, have been able to discern what was going on?  Most people have never known the actual person Mark Driscoll but the various personae he has developed for the pulpit and the screen and the publicly read blog.  Who Mark Driscoll, the actual man, is now may ultimately prove irrelevant to his defenders and detractors alike. 

As Wenatchee The Hatchet has written over the years, the gap between Mark Driscoll the person and Mark Driscoll the persona may be substantial.  There were a lot of people, even within Mars Hill Church, who by Mark Driscoll's account may not have or didn't even know he was the one ranting under the pen name William Wallace II.  Driscoll clarified this year that much of the comments said under the pen name were removed within a few months after publication.  Yes, and while that can be read by sympathetic eyes as a sign of Driscoll's sincerity it could also raise another question, was there an incentive to prevent so many people even within Mars Hill's circles from actually getting to see what Mark Driscoll wrote under his pen name?  Possibly, if the rantings shared by the pen name could have jeapordized funding for Mars Hill. 

Piper may have never actually gotten to know or meet the real Mark Driscoll and given how introverted Driscoll has said that he is perhaps no one amongst those who are public figures in ministry may have truly met whoever the real Mark Driscoll may be.

But republishing the writings of William Wallace II and, particularly, the historical and social setting in which Driscoll adopted the pen name, had a multifaceted aim. 

The first was to preserve what Driscoll published as a way to be kept in consideration for the public record.  Why?  Let's let Mark Driscoll explain this part:

Real Marriage
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
Thomas Nelson
ISBN 978-1-4002-0383-3
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0 (IE)
page 14
I grew more chauvinistic. I had never cheated on a girlfriend, but I never had a girlfriend who did not cheat on me. And now I knew that included my own wife. So I started to distrust women in general, including Grace. This affected my tone in preaching for a season, something I will always regret.

Driscoll regretted his tone but expressed no remorse over the substance of anything he may have said during this nebulous "season" in which he grew more chauvinistic.  Preserving the writings of William Wallace II, whether "Pussified Nation" or "Using Your Penis" (which was far more crazy, in WtH's opinion, than Driscoll's more notorious rant), gives people a chance to look at what Driscoll said as WW2 then and observe the continuity of 2000 ideas with 2011 ideas.

And there's a second reason, which may be easier to explain but harder for some to accept as proposed.  Let's propose that in his rants as William Wallace II Mark Driscoll showed us who the real Mark Driscoll truly was when he had a pen name through which to vent his spleen.  Sure, it wasn't particularly secret, and William Wallace II tends to read more like a Tyler Durden than a William Wallace II (that Durden was the sociopathic second personality of a man who had gone insane and become the founder of a series of terrorists cels may have to be some other post for someone else to write). But nobody made Driscoll write what he wrote and that he wrote what he did under the pseudonym William Wallace II should not be forgotten.  It is an essential and unavoidable part of Mark Driscoll's legacy.  One can only imagine what his kids may surmise of any potential discrepancy between Mark Driscoll their father and William Wallace II.  One can only hope the gap is unfathomably great for their sakes.

But at a more practical level, the removal of so much material written under the pen name William Wallace II back in 2001 may be a snapshot of a larger process that could answer Pruitt's question.  Why did not John Piper and others get a fuller sense of Mark Driscoll's character flaws?  Possibly because the tracks were being covered or because Driscoll has had enough sense to behave in ways that cater to the audience he addresses. 

But in Piper's case there have been reports that people attempted to contact Piper as far back as 2008ish over the firings of Meyer and Petry.  Even if for the sake of conversation we grant that John Piper has some plausible deniability about how bad things were going at Mars Hill what would it have taken for him to believe there were significant problems?  Wenatchee can't even pretend to know. 

Wenatchee The Hatchet has been persuaded that the relationship between John Piper and Mark Driscoll was mainly for show.  Piper very likely never got to know Driscoll and Driscoll has managed to hobnob with the likes of Piper, Schuller, Jakes and other famous pastors. Driscoll trained in speech communication and has refined a public persona.  It's possible none of the famous guys in ministry ever got to know the real Mark Driscoll.  As Paul Tripp noted earlier this year, there's not much outside accountability that can get that "accountable" part done. 

With respect to "Pussified Nation" if Driscoll had ever truly repented of that stuff he should have left it all up, expressed remorse over the substance of what he said and not just its tone, and shown through his life and teaching he found a different path.  That's not what happened.  Driscoll found ways to soft-pedal the same ideas and expressed some apologetic words over his "tone".  He's come back to that over the years and this gets at the core of Todd Pruitt's larger question, if Wenatchee may be so bold as to suggest this, that the descent of Mark Driscoll has come about because people stopped asking about the tone of Mark Driscoll and asked some penetrating questions about his substance, both in terms of character and in terms of how great a previously unacknowledged intellectual debt he was building his brand off of in published works while Mars Hill was letting cease and desist communication go out to a church in California.  At best Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll showed themselves hypocrites with double standards regarding intellectual property.  At worst, Driscoll may be shown to have been a serial plagiarist in a publishing context in which multiple publishers didn't catch the copyright infringement or didn't care because there was money to be made.

If the people who keep looking for "lessons" from the Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill story keep looking for self-exonerating lessons nobody will have learned anything. 

And as for John Piper, it's easy to not regret a partnership that may have been nothing more than a partnership in mutually beneficial publicity.  That's not presuming the worst about John Piper's character, just a summary assessment of the depth of the relationship that probably existed.  It's not unfair for Reformed pastors and laity to raise the question of whether John Piper's substantial halo effect should have ever been lent to Mark Driscoll to begin with. Of course some are not very positively impressed by Piper to begin with

There have been many whom Mark Driscoll has called friends but where are they now?  What kinds of friendships has Mark Driscoll had over the years?  What if Piper was never able to address the issue of Mark Driscoll's character because John Piper never saw or heard the real Mark Driscoll?

Might be a reminder why the scriptures advised against laying hands too quickly on some people.

in contrast to Pyromaniacs, give Mars Hill Was a shot for a survey of timelines and content

"Communication today is instant, constant, global, permanent."   

-Mark Driscoll

Of course, technically the corporation is still in existence and the brand, while seriously tarnished, may yet be sustained but in a new format.

On Wenatchee's end, serious consideration to going back and tagging old posts and eventually featuring a tag cloud has been on the waiting list of things to do.  There's a lot of material sitting around that if it could just get tagged for easier reference might make it easier to let people read about things while they were happening and before some things got scrubbed.

For instance, who has the actual content of the important announcements regarding Jamie Munson's resignation?  Does Munson even know that in the last year Mars Hill did such a sweeping scrub job it's almost as though Munson didn't exist except to those who already knew where to look for his content? 

a new proof that the "lessons learned" about Mark Driscoll are the hobby horses of old, Pyromaniacs' Dan Phillips

As Steve Hays noted recently over here,

In the wake of the Mars Hill meltdown, you have Christian pundits who tell us what we can "learn" from the debacle. The takeaway lessons from that debacle.

I'd just point out that this way of framing the issue is presumptuous and prejudicial. It casts readers in the role of dupes who were taken in by Driscoll, and now have some hard lessons to learn from their disillusioning experience. He betrayed their faith in him.

No doubt there are some former fans of Driscoll who fit the bill. There are, however, Christians who never cared for him in the first place. In addition, there are Christians who appreciated the good he did, especially before he began to go off the rails. But it was never unconditional support. It was the same implicitly qualified support for any minister who's doing good at the time. It always made allowance for weaknesses. And it was always provisional. Always subject to retraction.

It could be presumptuous and prejudicial, yes, and particularly in cases where people came in advance disliking Driscoll over specific issues.  For the Salon/AlterNet/Mother Jones crowd it was Driscoll's views on gays and women.  For Team Pyro, it was charismatic stuff ... except that at one point Driscoll described himself as essentially cessationist.  No matter, the hobby horse was the hobby horse.   Thus, Dan Phllips may just have a chance to do an Elliot Reid-style "I told you so" dance.

But the Pyro/Slice of Laodicea crew have been against Driscoll for charismatic/contemplative things for close to a decade to pretty much no effect at all.  If anything their rhetorical approach toward charismatics was met in kind when Driscoll opted to refer to cessationists as deists and functional atheists. 

And in light of Janet Mefferd's confrontation with Driscoll on air last year it was also essentially beside the point.  Team Pyro has nothing to commend for themselves because they only went for the low-hanging fruit, the problematic aspects of Mark Driscoll's public persona.  And where did those problems come from?  Apparently from a particular doctrinal platform and not from Mark Driscoll's character.  But challenge Driscoll on the degree to which he cribbed the ideas of others and, a year later, where's Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll's public ministry?  Both down for the count, if perhaps only "for a season".

The problem, as ever, has been that whether it's a political left or a theological right both sides have wanted to make Mark Driscoll a useful symbol for their pre-existing judgments and convictions.  I.e. the echo chamber of their own prejudices.  Attempting to understand the history of Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll whether or not that history confirms what we already wish were or think to be the case has never been on the radar for Pyromaniacs so far as Wenatchee The Hatchet has been able to observe.

What outsiders continually fail to grasp is how often Driscoll has shifted on theological ideas.  If Driscoll in the next two years were to announce in public that he's an egalitarian cessationist would the issues in his character and intellectual property be different?  We'd have to find out.  Driscoll was self-described as a cessationist for years and the in-creeping of "charismatic with a seatbelt" to "I see things" may have evolved over time as more informal and formal power got consolidated around him and executive leadership. 

WtH is currently transcribing the 2008 spiritual warfare session from 2008 with an eye toward not treating the warfare talk as "just" a doctrinal statement but a type of intra-leadership political manifesto.  A person should not get hung up on the jargon and terminology or even the claims to divinely granted super-powers without understanding the political context in which this seminar was given, in the wake of the late 2007 firings and trials of Petry and Meyer and the loss of a thousand members, not so much due to the doctrinal rigor of the "Doctrine" series where Mark Driscoll presented a patently inaccurate history and summation of the rabbinical commentary on the Targum Neofiti, because the executive leadership seemed to be stonewalling and lying to members about what the reasons for the termination were.  When it was finally revealed Petry and Meyer were fired over their opposition to the bylaws (though the explanations for why the firings were "necessary and inevitable" turned out to be subject to change) a lot of people bailed.  Even people who were in leadership at Mars Hill had begun to leave in early 2008. 

So Mark Driscoll's lecture should be seen in some sense less for it's "how" (disguised as "what" in the form of spiritual warfare) and more for it's "what" in social terms, instructing the leadership culture of MH how to counsel and deal with members but also other leaders, with a warning that the wolves that could destroy Mars Hill were already within Mars Hill.  The spiritual warfare theme could be read, in a way, as the mere surface of what was going on.  Unfortunately for Team Pyro, as ever, there's a sense in which all they've ever engaged is the surface rather than the substance of the history of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Throckmorton Source in MH Bellevue mentions negotiation to hire preaching pastor

While it may be a coincidence, there is some speculation around Bellevue that Mark Driscoll may be involved in the process of securing a preaching pastor. According to a trusted source, Driscoll was spotted at Bellevue yesterday with his assistant Frank Park.

Given how insular and inbred leadership has become within MH and its history of reluctance to hire outsiders, MH Bellevue turning into Bellevue Church under new incorporation and just bringing Driscoll back seems weirdly plausible and this despite the pile of scandals that have swirled around Driscoll and also despite a sensible alternative of never letting Driscoll return to ministry within Mars Hill having voluntarily resigned to pre-empt any disciplinary/restorative activity as a member of the church he co-founded.

"If" this is what the organization does then a full-scale financial embargo seems advisable, along with leaving.  And reincorporation under new branding will not eliminate the question of how much MH or MD paid DeMoss to advise Driscoll.

For a more general overview of campuses

Transcribing part 2 of warfare has naturally meant a bit less time for keeping tabs on the real estate which, fortunately, Throckmorton seems to be taking up the slack for.

WSJ article by Pulliam Bailey mentions Mars Hill hired Mark DeMoss to do PR for six months

'The same rough edges that can land you in hot water are the very same things that attracted, in some cases, tens of thousands of people to you in the first place,' Mark DeMoss, whom Mars Hill hired to do public relations for six months before Mr. Driscoll’s resignation, told me."
So ... how much did that cost? 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

a sorta linkathon

been slowly transcribing part 2 of the 2-5-08 spiritual warfare session ...
it's not short and it's ... well ... you'll get to see it.  Part 3 will take time to transcribe, too and we may just skip the Q&A depending on how much work that is. 

In the "this is so lazy and prejudicial it makes the worst coverage AlterNet did on Mars Hill look reasonable", The American Spectator wins the award this week for a lazy op-ed with no interest in anything that actually happened at Mars Hill.

AlterNet/Salon at least fixed the very unfortunate factual inaccuracies in their April 2014 piece by Tarico once those were pointed out.  And it should go without saying that Driscoll was in trouble because conservative evangelicals began to take him steadily to task over doctrinal as well as ethical lapses.  But it would appear that for some types of conservatives all that matters is Driscoll ticked off gays and feminists and therefore there needs to be more of Driscoll's type of muscular Christianity. Nope, if there's a need for more of a clean and manly evangelicalism that would be the kind practiced by Chaplain Evers back in World War I.

It's easier to have that clean manly evangelicalism if you're literally in the trenches helping the soldiers in their time of need as opposed to pontificating via recycled material and ghostwritten material while ensconced in a gated house in a county away from the city you keep pretending you love as you plan to move as far away from it as possible. As ever, people on the left and right determined to shoehorn the history of Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll into their pre-established talking points isn't going to change.

But, back to something more fun ...

There's a lot of musical blogging that's been incubating for a while.  Some of it probably just has to wait until 2015, maybe even most of it!  For instance, Wenatchee The Hatchet plans to blog about all the seven solo guitar sonatas of Ferdinand Rebay.  So for now there's a need to get some attention back on to musical stuff, even if it's just nudging in the direction of music.  Rebay's sonatas are seven in number and only two of them, as yet, are on commercially available recordings.  They're becoming my favorite examples of sonatas for solo guitar so far, and for my time and tastes I'm digging them more than Ponce's still very fine set of solo guitar sonatas.  Rebay and ...

There are also plans to blog about the two grand sonatas of Wenzeslaus Matiegka (which Wenatchee had not managed to hear until the last year).  Having written in the past about the use of sonata form in the solo guitar literature of Sor, Giuliani and Diabelli it seemed like it would be a fun project to get around to Carulli and Matiegka, too, and try to give a sense of how sonata allegro form manifested in late 18th/early 19th century solo guitar literature.  Matiegka's sonatas deserve more exposure.  Matiegka and Rebay have solo guitar sonatas I'm hoping to blog about at some length but this may have to wait until 2015 and a few other things are given sufficient attention for the final year of a corporation in Puget Sound ... .

There's been some rants that have been dormant about superhero comics and films that may just never see the light of day.  Which would be fine, because you don't care just as Wenatchee The Hatchet has no interest at all in finding out about the thought life of Jarvis Pennyworth or whatever happened to Peter Parker's parents in Marc Webb's Spider-franchise.  Don't care, don't care, don't care, don't care.

The Atlantic Monthly predicted that since the show aimed too low the program Sesame Street was not built to last.  In one of the more charming and self-effacing moments of a publication eating crow decades later, here's this. It ended the only way such a piece could have ended. :) 
Over here there's a rumination on why so many bash jazz. I think it's an interesting direction but I want to add another important cultural element, that jazz gets no favors from the government and business when some of the greatest albums in the history of jazz have transformed into the soundtrack of being put on hold.  I find Kind of Blue less inspiring to listen to when I know it's what I've just had put on while I'm waiting to talk to customer service or a government office about some pedantic but unavoidable detail of life.  If the classic works of mid-20th century jazz get reduced to hold music then that's not helping the cause of a wonderful American musical art form.  Third stream largely didn't help much, either, but out of consideration for folks who enjoy Third Stream jazz Wenatchee will desist.
Instead, in keeping with musical stuff, here's something Terry Teachout wrote years ago about Haydn.
Haydn became one of my favorite composers in my twenties.  Teachout blogged recently about a 20-something rather flatly and innocently saying perhaps she's too young to understand or appreciate Haydn. Maybe ... or maybe Haydn doesn't appeal as readily to many compared to Beethoven or other composers. 
When I was exposed to the inevitable Big Three from the Classic Era of concert music (that is Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven) I found that I mostly didn't like Mozart.  He seemed too glib and too smug.  Beethoven seemed too ponderous and too serious and a bit long-winded ... and yet, actually, I've got all the piano sonatas and string quartets and symphonies ... no, wait, not the earlier string quartets.  But it's Haydn, of the three, I love most.  Why?
Well, I just like the directness and clarity of his work.  He's the most fun and as someone who grew up listening to classical and then to a lot of pop in my teens before getting back into classical music in my 20s, Haydn's the one who seems to have the finest balance of learned and popular/populist sensibilities.  Haydn could get that thematic economy of expression and compression that Beethoven would explode into epic scale but was able to do it in more of a pop song/rock album sense of scale.  Haydn's work, particularly, in monothematic sonata forms, has struck me as a potential blue print for ways in which people who are squarely on the side of concert music can find ways to assimilate pop/rock/jazz vocabulary into musical forms characteristic of concert music in a way that makes sense of the tendencies of pop musical language while also having some sensitivity for the strengths and weaknesses of "classical" forms.  It's also worth noting that writing monothematic sonatas is quite a bit more challenging than writing the more "usual" sonatas with two or three themes. 
Probably right after Bach's dedication to advancing and continuing the art of counterpoint I've been
inspired most of my adult life by Haydn's example of monothematicism as an organizing principle as a possible key for finding a fusion of my childhood and teenaged affections for both "classical" and "popular" styles.  The goal isn't "crossover", the goal is "fusion", and of a sort where affectation is either minimized or, ideally, altogether eliminated. Perhaps in place of a rondo one could have a ragtime, a set of variations could still be a set of variations, but a sonata and a fugue have no reason to not be informed by the vocabulary of Ellington or Monk any more than by Haydn or Brahms. 
But it also shouldn't be a matter of forcing things too much.  If it turns out a certain blues riff works as the subject for a fugue, great, but it doesn't "have" to be a fugue.  Now in many respects the gamut of developmental and conceptual possibilities for realizing the options of a single musical idea shifted in the 18th century from the fugue to the sonata form and you can't come to a very thorough understanding of how that process happened in Western concert music without engaging the work of Haydn.  As Robert Craft put it long ago, you can actually skip Mozart altogether and go from Haydn to Beethoven and the history of Western concert music doesn't change too much.  No argument there, and with a few exceptions in the string quartets (which aren't as good as Haydn's anyway) and the late symphonies Mozart is just sorta ... there.
This might be a bad way of putting it but Haydn in some sense may be a musician's composer ... or maybe a composer's composer.  All the same, I love his stuff.  And perhaps that might seem a bit odd from a dour and pessimistic Presbyterian who rejects altogether postmillennial optimism in favor an amillenial partial preterism. :) 

Then again, I've got every episode of the Powerpuff Girls. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Samuel James to Christian bloggers, "don't follow Mark Driscoll around", leading with a family snapshot kind of defeats that purpose

It has not been the custom of Wenatchee The Hatchet to comment about the blogs of others who blog about Mars Hill.  Sometimes exceptions get made. Samuel James has written a post of late requesting that Christian bloggers don't follow Mark Driscoll around. There's some concern expressed on behalf of Mark Driscoll's family for having to deal with so many things in the last year.  Those concerns are understandable.  The family should have been spared a great deal of trouble.

However, the four points enumerated by Samuel James at the following blog post ...

Let's present the four points as they came:
1) It really serves no good purpose.
2) It obscures Christian forgiveness.
3) It empowers skepticism towards the local church.
4) Finally, it punishes Driscoll’s family.

These are points that misunderstand what bloggers have done.  Tracking Driscoll's movements has not been what has gone on.  Documenting the statements and actions of Mark Driscoll is what's been going on.  As for tracking the movements, well, okay, that's happened but when a blog is written by someone who spent a decade inside MH and literally couldn't go a week without coming across people with MH connections and has set foot in at least one home each of co-founding elders ... it's not exactly following Driscoll around to keep track of what goes on in your neighborhood.

But more crucially, the four statements demonstrate that James may not be familiar with the breadth and depth of Mars Hill history.  It is also very simple to take Mark Driscoll's own public statements and demonstrate that to varying degrees the things James fears will come about by bloggers "following Mark Driscoll" were brought about by Mark Driscoll's public ministry approach over the last 18 years.

Now, Wenatchee The Hatchet doesn't follow Mark Driscoll around.  For that matter, Samuel James' post opens up with the sort of gambit that Wenatchee The Hatchet has repudiated across the board.  Photos of the wife and kids.  The blog posts here have scrupulously avoided publishing photographs of the Driscoll family.  Why?  Because despite various disagreements with Mark Driscoll on doctrine, theology, and a few reservations about his basic competence as an exegete and scholar and theologian, Wenatchee The Hatchet does not wish to hear that the rest of the Driscoll family has had any trouble on account of the foolishness and arrogance of the pater familias.

Which is more than can be said about Samuel James, who opened the above-linked blog post with a family portrait of the Driscolls.  There's such a thing as pity, dude.  If you want the family to be spared trouble don't broadcast to the whole blogging world what the wife and kids look like. 

A few additional observations.

1.  Mark Driscoll resigned from ministry at Mars Hill and resigned his membership and left the church after having spent his entire public career saying he wasn't going anywhere.  There's no reason to believe that privately he'd been dropping hints he might bail ... is there?  Well, actually ...

page 28 of 110

To date, governance has been structure on the assumption that Mark would outlive us all, yet the reality is that he will not outlive the organization. In fact, he made it clear that under the right pressure or discouragement he would bale [sic], which means the bylaw have to consider what would happen if the next lead pastor, had different doctrinal leanings and a different mission.

That's how Bent Meyer framed a concern he had about governance presupposing that Driscoll would outlive all other eldership. And yet as far back as the 2006-2007 period there were concerns that Mark Driscoll might bail on Mars Hill under the right pressure or discouragement. What circumstances were afoot?
From "A letter from Pastor Mark Driscoll"
November 8, 2007

page 3 of 145
At the same time I began receiving other lucrative job offers that would allow me to study, preach, and write without all of the administrative duties and burdens for which I am not sufficiently gifted
to be responsible for. For the first time in my life, the thought of leaving Mars Hill sounded very relieving. Since I had given ten years of my life to the church and love the people desperately, it
was obvious to me that something was deeply wrong that such offers would even be intriguing.

So, I began pursuing counsel from godly men outside the church that I respected. I spoke with Tim Keller about the difficulties of an urban church, John Piper about how to sustain longevity in the ministry, C. J. Mahaney about bitterness that had grown in me against some elders of Mars Hill and my need to grow in humility, D. A. Carson about how to best study so as to become an even better Bible teacher and writer, Gerry Breshears about how to best train other men for ministry to share the load, Pastor Larry Osborne about how to best architect a multi-campus church, and Pastors Craig Groeschel and Ed Young Jr. about how to lead a church of thousands and possibly tens of thousands. On top of that, I pursued counsel from a Christian doctor regarding my health and what needed to change in my diet, exercise, and schedule. In short, I sought wise outside counsel regarding if I should stay at Mars Hill and make changes in my life and our church, or simply move on to another church and start over.

In other words, Mark Driscoll had already considered giving up altogether on Mars Hill, pulling up stakes, and starting over back in 2007.  Why?  Well, Driscoll kept changing the story about why that was over the years.  In 2007 it was the general lack of competence in leadership to handle the growth targets Driscoll wanted to attain.  In 2012-2013 it turned into Mark Driscoll suddenly needing to be there for his wife Gracie as she was dealing with travails that, on balance, seem to have been more than at least partly caused by none other than Mark Driscoll himself.

So Driscoll quit his ministry and abandoned the church he founded sorta like a deadbeat dad (to invoke Driscoll's own sorts of metaphors).  Yet bloggers are somehow enjoined to not document this stuff?  Documenting that Driscoll has betrayed everything he once stood for is just documenting the case.  So that's something to consider for James' point 1.  As for forgiveness ...

2.  Let's go back to some tweets from none other than Mark Driscoll himself on what forgiveness is not.
Forgiveness is not covering up sin committed against us. If a crime is committed, you can
forgive someone & still call the cops.
10:38 AM - 17 Jun 13
Healthy transitions in relays & leadership come down to the handoff. Train up your successor.
Don't chuck the baton & storm off the track.
1:20 PM - 17 Jun 13
Doesn't it at least sorta look like Mark Driscoll chucked the baton and stormed off the track without appointing a successor?  And in quitting has it not seemed that Mark Driscoll doomed the corporation known as Mars Hill Church to its death?  It sort of looks that way and this in spite of a public assurance he wasn't going anywhere and was planning to live out his ministry days just at Mars Hill Church. 

So by Driscollian measures forgiveness does not mean ignoring when wrongs have been done and if people think the platitudes and bromides of Driscoll and his advocates have been adequate the Mark Driscoll of 2000 would have some words for those sorts of people.

Now if it seems that people will be encouraged to be skeptical toward the local church, well, that also indicates some ignorance of the local history.  There have been campus pastors in the history of Mars Hill who retained pretty good reputations even as Mark Driscoll's infamy stayed the same.  Some of those reputations have been rightly tarnished by their involvement in 2007 but their reputations are still positive in a number of cases.  If anything Mark Driscoll's week-delay jumbo screen approach to "pastor" work has invited skepticism about the local church.  To put a number on it ...

3.  The greatest catalyst for skepticism against the local church at this point, in the Puget Sound area, has beyond question been Mark Driscoll himself by the way he resigned his ministry.  After spending about a decade and a half building up a conception of masculinity that was so truncated and impractical even he couldn't live up to it for the better part of his adult life, why would bloggers have any impact?  Didn't Driscoll spend years dismissing bloggers as having no impact?  So by the measure of Driscoll's own words about "bloggers", any rebuttal to bloggers is already wasted activity, even if bloggers may have played some role in bringing some issues to public consideration.

4.  What Mark Driscoll has done in cultivating his inflammatory public persona has brought some trouble to the Driscoll family.  As for Driscoll's plea for pity because "the media" published his address, Driscoll told a member of the press "wrong address, I dunno", in so many words.  Lying to a member of the press when cameras are rolling is hardly good PR and to date no one in the press has published the address of the Driscolls that Wenatchee The Hatchet is aware of.  So it appears that Driscoll may have simply lied about whether the press published the current address the Driscolls reside at and in case Driscoll forgot the Big E on the eye chart about real estate investment it's called public records.  If Driscoll had been less of a moron about the financial instrument he used to buy the house in the first place it couldn't have been found.

And, finally, publishing a photo of the Driscoll family at the top of a blog post lamenting that bloggers shouldn't "go after" Mark Driscoll and invoke family is paradoxically contributing to a problem of making the Driscoll family part and parcel of what Mark Driscoll has said and done that has catalyzed the collapse of the church he co-founded.  Driscoll has misrepresented by elision how many times he's actually moved in the last fourteen years.  Driscoll has also somehow failed to convey to one of his children that press coverage does not mean that helicopters have "bad guys" who will kill family members.  That a video-venue week-delay preacher on a jumbo screen and his media professional wife somehow failed to inculcate an awareness of what media coverage is for their 8-year old suggests a massive parenting fail.  8-year old boys don't have a reason to assume aircraft above a house are signs of enemies.  Wenatchee The Hatchet rushed out of the house at the sound of any aircraft to practice identifying the kind of fixed wing aircraft of helicopter that might have been flying above, for instance, as a child.  Presuming the worst about a chopper is more likely to happen in a family where the pater familias has instilled an inherent paranoia about outsiders

Wenatchee The Hatchet has spent as much or more time investigating the history of the real estate acquisitions and leadership appointments of the corporation known as Mars Hill as dedicating time to examining the writings and statements of Mark Driscoll.  That there is a great deal of overlap is obvious, but it's a point that can be missed by a blogger writing about bloggers.

Finally, Mark Driscoll is a brand and critiquing the shortcomings of the brand is not the same as subjecting the man (who has scrupulously avoided revealing anything of note about his own family background in contrast to the mountains of information he's unleashed on the public about his wife).  If Driscoll can't take the heat of being the public figure he's sought to be over the last 18 years he can still get out of the kitchen but it seems he's determined to stay in the spotlight no matter how hot the heat of that light may burn. 

And it is ultimately Mark Driscoll who has subjected his family to the risks of his antics, going all the way back to ... William Wallace II and that fine line where fantasy & reality blend.  Full size image available at the break below:

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 1 part 5 observations ... and commentary

The stories of the two men who were contemplating adultery is a working summary of the distinction between what one's deepest desires will lead to in behavior.  Leveraging so much from ideas by Thomas Brookes and John Owen may just mean that this segment was going to be alright.

It still seems a bit odd to describe the world as "corporate flesh" and then not really get too much into the flesh beyond generalities.  Do we say the flesh is the propensity of fleshly weakness to be susceptible to sin?  Well, perhaps not because the body is not necessarily an evil.  We could try to digress into natural vs federal imputation a la John Murray's The Imputation of Adam's Sin but why bore literally everyone who hasn't gotten at least three books from

But there's something worth noting since there are some folks on the internet who have claimed new Calvinists go so far as to say Christians aren't regenerate and retain a sin nature.  Driscoll explicitly repudiated that idea in 2008:

I don't think a believer has a sin nature. I believe we have a new heart by the power of the Holy Spirit so I wouldn't say that a Christian's essential nature is total depravity and nothing but sin but I would say there are conflicting desires within a Christian between their regenerated nature and the Holy Spirit and their new heart and their flesh which is still that, that seed of rebellion from Adam in them that wants to disobey.

So where Driscoll's concerned, it's not possible to say Driscoll thinks Christians have a sin nature.  He may have a sloppy understanding of the nature of sin itself and of the flesh and its desires ... but it can't be said he somehow imagines Christians have sin natures as such.

Driscoll wrapped up part 1 with a few observations that many evangelicals could find basically agreeable.  It's worth reminding readers that this larger and broadly orthodox (if simplistic) notion of spiritual warfare is the frame in which a couple of specific statements were made.  The most important of these statements was condemning a "myth" that the executive elders of Mars Hill didn't love the church as "a demonic lie".  If cessationists were to consider the session not as a doctrinal tract, as such, but as also being a political act/statement within Mars Hill, we may get some insight into how Mark Driscoll dealt with the leadership culture.

If Part 1 had a few strange moments here and there (such as a number of implausible stories framing some recyclings from Puritans) Part 2 of Spiritual Warfare was where Driscoll cut loose.  That's where Driscoll began to sound off on women as gossips and bitterness as a demonic foothold and got into the "ordinary demonic" and opening straight out the gate with insufficient sex.

But transcribing that magic will take some time.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 1 part 5 The Flesh and two case studies
February 05, 2008

Number Two, the flesh. The world is your external enemy, the flesh is your internal enemy and I want you to see how these work together.

Your flesh (internally) has sinful desires, rebellious proclivities and the world continually provides opportunities for sin in the flesh.  One of my favorites on this is the Puritan Thomas Brookes. He's got a book, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices. I think he's one of the greatest puritan writers. He's just a very skilled writer. And he uses this analogy which I really like, I use it sometimes in my preaching--and that is that you need to see your flesh as a hook and you need to see the world as bait. I'm paraphrasing. That in you there are wicked desires and in the world there are wicked opportunities to feed those desires and they work together and all Satan wants to do is bait your hook with whatever feeds your flesh. So he'll take anything from the world, put it on the hook of your flesh.  As long as you bite he doesn't care. Satan will give people sex, money, fame, power, glory. He'll give them whatever they want. He doesn't care because his whole goal is to get them to bite and then reel them into destruction and death.

If you're a fisherman you know it's that way. Fisherman know fish are not the most brilliant of creatures and depending on what fish you're trying to catch that determines what bait you put on the hook and you drop it in and you wait for one that is foolish enough to bite thinking they're going to feast and then you feast on them.  That's how Satan works. The key is with yourself and the people that you counsel to really come to the place of honesty about the hooks in the flesh.  What is, what is the hook that you're most prone to bite on?  Is it sex? Is it drugs? Is it alcohol? Is it money? Is it pride? Is it comfort? What does Satan like to bait your hook with because it tends to be where you most frequently bite.

And when we're speaking of flesh, we're talking not just of your physical body--a misunderstanding of that word in some translations (they really confuse this) the flesh is not just your physical body, your flesh is your internal resistance to God. It's rebellion. It's that Adamic seed. It's that corrupt aspect. We're made in God's image; were image bearers; we sin; we become marred, stained, effected by sin; we still bear God's image and when we become a Christian we get a new heart and a new nature and a power through the Holy Spirit (the great doctrine of regeneration) but we still have flesh. We still have fleshly desires, fleshly yearnings. They don't completely go away until we're glorified (right?), we die, we rise, and we start over, as it were. But Christians still have fleshly desires.

Non-Christians, that's what compels and motivates them, are fleshly desires. And it doesn't mean they always only sin, it means that even they do it's for self glory instead of God and still it's a fleshly motive even if for a perceived good thing. So flesh is internal resistance, disobedience, defiance to God, desire for things that God forbids and are not good for us. The Bible talks a lot about flesh.
The NIV will use words like "sin nature". I'm not sure I really like that.  Soma is the body. Sarx is the flesh. I'm not a great Greek scholar but that's my memory. Your body is the physical. Your flesh is not just the physical it is the spiritual inclination toward resistance and rebellion and some translations will call it "sin nature". I don't think a believer has a sin nature. I believe we have a new heart by the power of the Holy Spirit so I wouldn't say that a Christian's essential nature is total depravity and nothing but sin but I would say there are conflicting desires within a Christian between their regenerated nature and the Holy Spirit and their new heart and their flesh which is still that, that seed of rebellion from Adam in them that wants to disobey.

That's why I think the key to overcoming the flesh is to nurture and feed the new desires out of a regenerated heart out of the power of the Holy Spirit and to tell people that, apart from jesus, ALL of your desires are going to be fleshly. With Jesus your DEEPEST desires will be for holiness but you'll be tempted by fleshly desires and the key is to nurture and feed the deepest desires for love and peace and goodness, and it's even telling people, because people will come in. I'll give you two examples, recently, in counseling appointments.

I met with one guy I explained this to him. I said "Your flesh wants to sin but if the spirit of God is in you, you have a new heart, you're regenerated [then] your deepest desire is gonna be to obey God." So I met with these two separate men and I sent them away to think about it. I said, "Come back to me and tell me what you're deepest desires are." Both were struggling with being very, very tempted to commit adultery their wives. Two men. And the one man came back, I said, "What is your deepest desire?" He said, "You know what? I do have fleshly desires to cheat on my wife, to commit adultery," and he said, "but my deepest desire is to love my wife, work out our very difficult problems, forgive her for sin she's committed against me, and fix this marriage."  So, okay, so you're deepest desire's out of your regenerated heart, your new nature, you've been born again, all that Bible language. Let's feed that, nurture that, the Holy Spirit will bless that. You'll be tempted in your flesh with other desires but your deepest desires are from the Holy Spirit. He said, "Yeah, that's what I want." I said, "Okay." See, even in telling him, "That's your flesh. Don't feed it. Don't respond to it. Don't, don't yield to it. Don't feel that it's so powerful you have to give in to it. Go with your deepest desire."

The other man I met with,  I said, "Okay. You've thought about it for some time. What is your deepest desire?" He said, "My deepest desire is to get a divorce and to commit adultery on my wife. THAT'S my deepest desire. That's what I want the most." I said, "Then you are not a Christian. You're not a Christian. If all you have is the flesh and your deepest desire is the flesh and your most passionate yearnings are for the flesh and you don't even feel bad about it, there's no conviction, you're not a Christian."  And that shocked him because this guy had been in church for a long time, knows a lot of Bible. I said, "Okay, take a few weeks and think and pray about this. Do you really love Jesus? Not religion, not doctrine. Jesus. He's alive. God. Do you love him? Do you want him to change your heart? Do you want him to change your desires? Do you want to live in obedience to him or not?" He comes back, here's what he says, "No."

So he's divorced his wife and left town and he's having sex with women he's not married to. At the end of the day, apart from a regenerated nature with new desires all he's going to do is feed the flesh. Did I try to talk him out of it? Of course I did.  Did I share the gospel with him? Completely. Did he care? Not at all. He's a non-Christian, all he has is the flesh. Apart from repentance and regeneration he has nothing but the flesh there's nothing I can do with the guy. There's nothing I can do with--I can't yell at him and here's what I've tried to do in counseling before--I've tried to yell at people.  That didn't work. I tried to threaten them. That didn't work. I tried to plead with them. That didn't work. I tried to cry, manipulate them. That didn't work. I've tried to call them every day and make them do what I tell them. You know, assuming the Holy Spirit's on vacation and I need to pick up, you know, where he left off. That didn't work. I can threaten, push, cajole, manipulate people into obedience for a little while but apart from a heart change I can't really do anything. I can't.  Just can't do it.

And so anymore I just ask the question, "What are your deepest desires? What do you really want?" If they say, "I want what Jesus wants", okay, you're a Christian. Let's work on that and let's work on you fighting the flesh internally and resisting the world externally. Let's resist internally let's reduce the temptation externally. Let's get you in a safe, loving community.  YOu know, let's get the external temptation reduced. If all your friends are drinking buddies and you're an alcoholic, you're gonna need some new buddies. Right? If you're living with your boyfriend or girlfriend and your sin is sexual you're gonna need to move. Right? Let's reduce the external temptation. Let's fight the internal flesh. Let's go live a new life with Jesus. If they say, "Look. I just love sin. I wanna sin." You've shared the gospel. You prayed for God to change their heart but you can't make them good, moral, holy, obedient and complicit because the flesh can't do that. And it's very grievous. It's heartbreaking because you love people and you don't want them to ruin their life and you pray they come to their senses before they come to their end.

How do we respond to the flesh? Romans 6, on this issue, it tells us that we're no longer under the bondage of the flesh. If you want to read in the area of how to deal with the flesh I think that the best is John Owen, the great puritan, mortification of the flesh, the doctrine of mortification works out of Romans 6. Justin Taylor's got an updated translation. Every biblical counselor should be thoroughly aware of John Owen's theology of the mortification of the flesh.  And the mortification of the flesh is death. Mortality, right? It's the same root word. Death. Put to death sin. Put to death the misdeeds of the body. Put to death the desires of the flesh. Too many people try to manage the flesh, try to weaken the flesh, try to control the flesh. No. Kill it. Put it to death because sin leads to death.

And there is no way to manage something that is bent on killing you.  Either you put your sin to death or your sin puts you to death. That's the way it works. It kills marriages. It kills intimacy with God. It kills families. It kills generations. It can kill churches. It can kill friendships and eventually it kills people. Gluttony kills people. Addiction kills people. People eat until they die. People drink until they die. People smoke until they die. People snort until they die. And the real truth is either you kill your sin or your sin kills you. No more blame-shifting. No more excusing. No more minimalizing. Owen rightly argues out of Romans 6 "Kill it." and that's gotta be the goal. You kill sin so you can go live a new life as a worshipper of Jesus.

Other ways to respond to the flesh, Galatians 5:16 talks about walking in conscious relationship with God the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit does indwell the believer, does empower the believer, does want the desires of the regenerated new heart and nature to be satisfied and fulfilled. And, again, greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world. The spirit of God allows us to say "no" to ungodliness and worldliness and temptation. But people need to walk in conscious relationship with the Holy Spirit and this is not some bizzare mystical thing. This is spiritual disciplines like prayer, talking to God. Reading your Bible. Renewing your mind. Being in fellowship, being in community, being under spiritual authority that's godly and helpful and good. Pursuing counsel, repenting of sin, paying attention to the conscience that the Holy Spirit works through to convict you when you're in sin and error and folly. Ongoing relationship with God the Holy Spirit.

And number three, it said, put to death, mortify, Romans 8 says, sinful desires. Kill them. So again, external enemy, the world. All kinds of temptation. Internal enemy, the flesh. Use Thomas Brookes' analogy, look at the flesh as a hook and look at the world as various kinds of bait that Satan uses to hang on the hook to get you tempted to sin and to lead you to destruction.

Now the third form of spiritual warfare that we'll deal with after a break is the devil. There's the world, the flesh, the devil. They work together. It is impossible to be a good biblical counselor and not account for all three. Some only focus, or overly focus, on the world. The result is everything out there is very bad. Be separatistic, be sectarian. Separate yourself from the world. The sin's not in here (like James says. James says that evil desires come up from within us) those who overemphasize the world say, "No, no, no, no, no. The problem is the world. Don't watch TV. Don't have any friends. Go live on a farm. Just read your Bible all the time and you'll be fine because the problem's out there. So get as far away from the problem as you possibly can." 

Well, the problem's not just out there.  The world, to be sure, is fill with sin and temptation and folly and death; and Satan and demons are at work in the world, to be sure (but Loveless is right, the world is corporate flesh, people DO need to restrict. They DO need to say, "You know what? That television show, that website, that relationship those hobbies, those ways of thinking, those books, those teachers, they're not helpful. That's very worldly and it's confusing me, it's corrupting me, it's tempting me. It's feeding the lust of my eyes, the lust of my flesh and the boastful pride of my life." I do need to restrict my interaction with that which is worldly) that's true, but it's not the only answer.

And when you teach people that's only the world then they just feel like they're innocent victims. "Oh, the world made me sin. Oh, the world tempted me." So rather than repenting they just want to change the world. "Oh, we just shouldn't have that on TV because I watch it and it makes me sin." It abdicates people of their own moral accountability and responsibility if you only focus on the world.
Others only focus on the flesh. It's just you, it's all you, it's only you, it's always you and the truth is the vast majority of the time it is.

But, as we'll see in the next lecture, sometimes it's also your enemy and you really are being oppressed. You really are getting shot. You really are being attacked and it's not just in you it's coming upon you. Those who work so hard on sin and repentance as to neglect the effect of Satan and demons end up being very helpful to those who need to repent of sin but no help at all to those who are being demonically oppressed. Again, knowing how your enemy works. In the same way, if the world is attacking you, you defend yourself in one way. Your flesh, constantly, is at war against you and you defend yourself in another way. But if those are the only two categories you have and your enemy attacks you you continue to be destroyed by him then just getting more distance from the world and repenting of sin doesn't help when your enemy is beating you up. And too many Christians are more familiar with the first two kinds of demonic and spiritual warfare and they're less familiar with the third.

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 1 part 4 commentary 2, the predictable conformity to the world by gender in Driscoll's survey of men and women who don't and do want domestic life

So do not love the world. Number two, do not let it shape your values.  Paul says in Romans 12, "Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world. Don't let this world set your value system. I mean hundreds of women I've spoken to they say, "I love Jesus and I wanna be a mom and I wanna stay home and I wanna raise my kids, but, but what will everyone else think? They're gonna think that I'm, I'm just a mom."

Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world [with a slight chuckle]. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, keep reading your Bible and see what God says. "Yeah, but if I'm just a wife and I'm just a mom and I'm staying home with my little kids, you know, what am I gonna boast about?  I can't boast about my job and how much I make and, and all the cool things I do and all the people I help and all the places I travel.  What am I gonna brag about?" Pride?

When Driscoll moves to discuss how one should no longer be conformed to the pattern of this world and be transformed by the renewal of the mind it's no surprise at all that his examples come from his pastoral counseling.  It's also no surprise that the case studies take the form of an aggregate gestalt and conform to particular notions about gender. 

Thus, the woman at Mars Hill feels as though she's got nothing to boast in if she's just a wife and a mom?  Mars Hill was the kind of church where if a married couple decided to have children and it took a couple of years to get pregnant the child could be hailed as a miracle baby.  On the moderated Midrash it was not that difficult to see women advocate for natural family planning or to even suggest that one should simply trust God will provide a way to provide for the children you don't avoid having because you want to trust that God will provide a way.  In Real Marriage Driscoll took time to say some guys sinfully didn't want to man up and give their wives the babies they wanted and that such desires were good and godly on the part of the women because they're clinging to childish ways (page 52 or thereabouts in Real Marriage).

Considering how much Driscoll has bragged over the years the idea that women in the church would come to him fretting about not being able to boast seems ... well ... incredible. 

And then there's ... :

I meet with guys, same thing, "Why should I get married? If I get married then I've gotta sleep with one woman for the rest of my life and then I get to hear about my buddies and all the women they're sleeping with and, you know, why is marriage a good thing? Why shouldn't I just stay single and enjoy a lot of women?" Uh, really, the whole point of life is to lust with your eyes, to feed the desires of your fallen flesh and then boast about all the women you conquered? That's demonic. It's not just an alternative lifestyle, it's demonic. Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It's an issue of getting people to think differently and think biblically because, again, the world is absolutely at work in every way to inform, to instruct, to shape the value system of people.

Wenatchee The Hatchet was not in the habit of going to the mens' retreats at Mars Hill (which were ludicrously named "advances" because men weren't supposed to "retreat", though WtH has been informed by military service folks that the preferred nomenclature has since turned into "tactical repositioning" which is a wonderfully defeat-neutral way of describing what used to be called "retreat"!).

So Driscoll was regaling folks with how women in the church felt that if they were "just" a wife and mother that was somehow nothing in spite of it being promoted relentlessly, meanwhile, somehow, guys were insisting that it made no sense to marry cuz then, dude, the guy has to have sex with just one woman.  Right.

As for boasts of conquests what about Driscoll's obsession with repeatedly saying at the end of each fiscal year how many baptisms happened, how many "marriages got saved", how many weddings happened, how many campuses opened?  If the axiomatic Driscoll bro-dude wants to boast of the women he's conquered it seems irrelevant since a reconstruction of some generic man or woman pales in comparison to the boasts Driscoll has made in public, to say nothing of what boasts he may have done in private.  We're not even counting humblebrags here.

And let's not forget that the Board of Advisors & Accountability defended the use of Result Source Inc. to pump sales for Real Marriage as not technically illegal.  After having inveighed against side companies in 2009 Driscoll set one up in 2011 to manage book royalties.  If Driscoll wants to tell other people boasting is satanic then Driscoll may want to take stock of how much boasting he's done.

And with respect to Driscoll hearing guys boast of their sexual conquests ... let's say it's true for the sake of discussion.

Real Marriage
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
Thomas Nelson
ISBN 978-1-4002-0383-3
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0 (IE)
from pages 14-15
Mark: In the second year of the church we had a lot of single people getting married, and so I decided to preach through the Song of Songs on the joys of marital intimacy and sex. the church grew quickly, lots of people got married, many women became pregnant, and my counseling load exploded. I started spending dozens of hours every week dealing with every kind of sexual issue imaginable. It seemed as if every other young woman in our church had been sexually assaulted in some fashion, every guy was ensnared by porn, and every married and premarital couple had a long list of tricky sex questions. Day after day, for what became years, I spent hours meeting with people untangling the usual sexual knots in their lives, reading every book and section of the Bible I could find that related to their needs.

Although I loved our people and my wife, this only added to my bitterness.  I had a church filled with single young 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.  [emphasis added]

As Driscoll noted, pastoral counseling was something that made him resent his wife even more than he already did because he got to hear how much sex everybody else in the church but him was apparently having.  It almost sounds as though Mark Driscoll may have envied the amount of sex, if not the variety of partners, some of these alluded to but not necessarily ever-identifiable guys in Mars Hill were having.

And there's this other thing, Driscoll keeps evading that the housing bubble and financial crashes have played a role in guys not marrying in the last ten years.  While the neo-Calvinists have bewailed the crisis of "adultescence" over the last decade and wrung their hands about how the median age of first marriage is higher than it's ever been what about the statistical possibility that the last time that statistic was so high was during the Great Depression?  Maybe there are a lot of people who would like to marry or eventually marry but find they can't?  As the population in the United States ages into retirement and out of the work force there are settings in which being married can penalize older couples on matters like health care and eligibility. 

And as Wenatchee The Hatchet has noted at some length, one of the conundrums in markulinity is Mark Driscoll's habitual failure to have lived up to his own ideals of manhood.  It'd be absurd if Driscoll told single guys to not even bother marrying unless they were making 75k a year if Driscoll wasn't already making that himself, and if he was then how did he reach that point?  If you're the president of a corporation you co-founded it "could" be easier to set that kind of compensation.

This section of the warfare presentation is a bit banal and that's precisely because it's a parade of Driscollian gender expectation.  The other two case studies that came up later in the session are of slightly more interest.

MH Huntington Beach, as expected, will not move on (at least not with Matt Wallace)

From Pastor Matt Wallace:
Church family,
A typical Sunday does not see everyone who calls Mars Hill HB home in attendance. If you were unable to join us, you will find below the announcement made by the elders this past Sunday regarding the future of our church community.
I hope to see you this coming Sunday at one of our services. And please plan to participate in the Member Meeting at 1:30p Sunday afternoon, as we will share some additional details that will shape the coming weeks and beyond.
Pastor Matt
Mars Hill HB,
It is with heavy hearts that the elders announce our determination not to move forward as an independent church.
I want to publicly acknowledge the profound commitment demonstrated by my fellow elders, Brian Jonkman and Steve Zietlow, in faithfully loving & leading this church family, especially over the course of the past year. Since the announcement that Mars Hill Church will dissolve on December 31, 2014, we have talked & prayed together as a team. I can say emphatically these men have also demonstrated a profound commitment to love me and my family.
The Spirit of God has convicted me, as I have wrestled with the future of our church, to listen to the wise counsel of the Spirit-filled men God has place around me. My fellow elders, as well as godly pastors outside of our church community, have consistently expressed concern about my fitfulness to lead at this time. The decision to move forward primarily rested upon my shoulders. While the call & desire to shepherd are present, the health & strength I need to do so at this time are not. 
The Spirit of God has also convicted me that the pace at which I have handled my pastoral responsibilities is unsustainable. One poignant result of my unwillingness to slow down is an undue burden on my family for 13 years, especially the last 5. It is beyond time for me to listen to the Spirit and slow down.
On one hand, I am deeply heartbroken at this conclusion, as I’m sure many of you will be as well. This is not the outcome we had envisioned or hoped for and, consequently, there is a grief that accompanies this decision.
On the other hand, I am greatly encouraged by the resilience and response of our church family. You have loved one another well. You have loved your leaders well. You have persevered through many hardships and, without a doubt, have grown in your devotion to Jesus and in your affection for the church, both of which we will carry forward into the church communities God provides for us.
Please know that your elders remain unified & resolved in our commitment to shepherd you in the coming weeks. If you would allow us to lead you through the remainder of this year, here is what we as elders would call you toward:
  1. Continue to love one another by gathering together here on Sundays and during the week in CGs. Jesus has blessed us, as we’ve all learned, with the community of the church. We will need the support, encouragement, insight and prayer from one another as we seek direction from Jesus.
  2. Although the coming days are sure to be bittersweet, let’s commit together to celebrate the abundance of God’s grace we’ve experienced together as a church. Each time we gather, on Sundays & in CGs, take the time to recount & retrace the numerous ways we have witnessed Jesus at work among us. On our final Sunday in December we will gather for one service and we’ll invite any who have participated in our community to join us for a party in Jesus’ name.
  3. Plan to join us next Sunday, November 16 for the Member Meeting at 1:30p. While the decision regarding a new church community rests with you as individuals and families, the elders encourage you to talk and pray together as community groups. We are also here to pray with you and help you discern the Holy Spirit’s voice. In addition, there is some direction for you to prayerfully consider that we are actively working on, which we will share in detail at the Member Meeting.
We love you, Mars Hill HB. Thank you for loving us and allowing us to participate in the work Jesus has accomplished in your lives.
Pastor Matt and the elders of HB

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The Matt Wallace letter bears some uncanny similarities to the Lief Moi letter from 2007 in terms of alluding to a job outgrowing giftings and being persuaded by good counsel to reconsider one's fitness for a particular ministry.

For those who have read more than a few of these resignation/departing letters there's this weird similarity between the Martian epistles and the enlightened self criticism of people living in the Soviet Union.  Driscoll used to talk about reverse-engineering life in five-year plans and Wenatchee The Hatchet used to joke, "Right, because we're run by the Politburo and live in a communist regime."

Well ... kinda ... maybe?

Marvin Olasky June 2014 interview with David Jeremiah, Throckmorton raised question of Jeremiah's use of Result Source
Warren Throckmorton raised the question of whether David Jeremiah may have used Result Source Inc to land a book on a bestseller list. 

While World Magazine played a necessary and pivotal role in breaking the story that Mars Hill Church contracted with Result Source Inc. it now seems that that incident was the tip of an iceberg that may shed light on the entire Christian publishing industry in the United States, depending on how common gaming books may be. 

Since we're about to hit the one-year anniversary of Mefferd's confrontation with Driscoll on air let's revisit an earlier piece published in World Magazine in which Marvin Olasky interviewed David Jeremiah.

From the google cache:
A team effort
Q&A | David Jeremiah shares marketing secrets that help Christian authors like him find readers

By Marvin Olasky
Issue: "2014 Books Issue," June 28, 2014
Posted June 13, 2014, 01:00 a.m. 

Marvin Olasky: The New York Times for its bestseller list counts sales from a bunch of secular stores; I understand there’s a company that will go in and buy several books in each of these bookstores. The companies that do that spread the release point of these books that are purchased by individuals so they can get attention. Is that legitimate?

David Jeremiah: The bottom line is you’re selling these books and they’re just not getting noticed. If you want the books to be noticed so that you can reach more people with them, you’ve got to figure out how to do that. I don’t know all of the ramifications of it, but I know that you can’t just write a book and say I’m not going to have anything to do with marketing. If you don’t care enough about it to try and figure out how to get it in the hands of other people, nobody else is going to either. 

And for those who want something more direct ... :
Marvin Olasky:
I appreciate your demystifying the process of authorship. What about becoming a bestseller?

David Jeremiah:
We release a new book every fall, and around that book are eight rallies that we do across the country in arenas. We have radio and television programs and a magazine read by 200,000-300,000 people: During the month the book is released all the articles, all the devotionals, everything has to do with the content of that book. We have a prelaunch campaign from August 15 to the first days of October, offer that book through the internet. We try to get people to pre-buy the book, and in order to do that we say if you pre-buy the book, we will open up for you a whole library of digital assets. 

Marvin Olasky:
Then comes the release. 

David Jeremiah:
We keep those books as they’re ordered until the book is released. Then we push them all through the wicket at the same time. When that happens, the book gets noticed: It’s not about how many you sell; it’s about how fast they go through the sale programs so they get noticed. One of the challenges if you write as a Christian is that Christian bookstores don’t report to the bestsellers lists, so you’ve got to build a marketplace in the Barnes & Nobles, the Books-A-Millions, the Targets, the big houses so the books get counted. For the first time last year we sold more books in secular bookstores than we sold in Christian bookstores.

Marvin Olasky:
The New York Times for its bestseller list counts sales from a bunch of secular stores; I understand there’s a company that will go in and buy several books in each of these bookstores. The companies that do that spread the release point of these books that are purchased by individuals so they can get attention. Is that legitimate?

David Jeremiah:
The bottom line is you’re selling these books and they’re just not getting noticed. If you want the books to be noticed so that you can reach more people with them, you’ve got to figure out how to do that. I don’t know all of the ramifications of it, but I know that you can’t just write a book and say I’m not going to have anything to do with marketing. If you don’t care enough about it to try and figure out how to get it in the hands of other people, nobody else is going to either.

Okay then.

Now, to be sure, top-selling positions have been rigged for books since as far back as at least True Grit. And it's known by anyone who bothers to read the history of music (popular and otherwise) in the United States that payola got many a song on the radio waves.  The questions that can emerge about the ethics of that gaming can and have hinged on questions about why the system was gamed.  In a mid-20th century setting where musicians of color might not even get airtime on some stations without a little monetary help some have considered payola a necessary evil and with cause. 

But if evangelicals go with the "Christians are held to a higher standard" the controversies surrounding Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage has begun to suggest that by and large the Christian publishing industry may believe Christians, particularly famous ones, are to be held to significantly lower than average standards until someone points out the obvious (and not so obvious).

As Wenatchee has noted before, the full scope and implications of the scandals connected to Mark Driscoll's books don't have to (or actually do) stop at just the Result Source and plagiarism scandals.  Even assuming Mark Driscoll didn't intend to plagiarize his intent was irrelevant to any copyright infringement that actually happened.  That not a single author whose work Driscoll made use of took any legal action might be "grace" since Mars Hill certainly let Stokes & Lawrence issue a cease and desist letter to a church plant in California.  The double standards afoot here would seem too obvious to bother mentioning but for the fact that these kinds of double standards don't seem to get mentioned. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 1 part 4 commentary 1 if in 2008 boasting in achievements was called demonic, why'd Driscoll boast from 2012 on?

In the sense that the world got defined as "corporate" flesh it would seem that defining the flesh first would have made more sense but that's not how it went.  The world was discussed first, and presented as a system architected by Satan to appeal to ... the flesh. 

What is interesting, too, in light of so much promotion of The Silence of Adam and years of talking about how Eve was deceived but Adam sinned with a high hand that Driscoll went with "And it all started with Eve."

And again, it started with Eve. Lust of the eye--the fruit looks pleasing to the eye.  Lust of the flesh--it was good for food. Boastful pride of life--it'll make you like God.  From Satan's first temptation of our first parents to the present it's the same scheme so you use Paul's language in 1 Corinthians 2:11.  It's just, just the same scheme. See something, want something, get it, brag about it, boast about it, rejoice in it, glory in it, worship it, be an idolator.  Filled with pride, just like Satan.

But let's backtrack from this momentarily, shall we?  Let's get back to this:

The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life. Right?  The boasting in what we have and what we do. Here's how smart I am. Here's what I've done. Here's how I succeeded, here's my accomplishments. Here's my good works. It's boasting in what we have and boasting in what we do. It's arrogance. It's pride. It's not humility and grace saying, "Here's what God has given me.  Here's what God has done. Here's what God has saved me from. Here's what God has empowered me to" it is me and my glory and my possessions and my achievements and my accomplishments, my significance.  Now if 1 John 2:16 is right and worldliness is visual stimulation, internal response and sinful desire that results in boasting and pride pretty much you could say that our whole nation is worldly. [emphasis added] See what I'm saying? The world we live in is worldly by definition.

Driscoll made a point of saying that boasting in what we have and what we do; boasting in how smart I am and what I've done and how I've succeeded and here's my accomplishment ... Driscoll's never done that, has he?

How about ... New York Times bestselling author?

Personally, publishing has been amazing with the Real Marriage book having gone to #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. Speaking continues to be busy with the Real Marriage Tour having sold out in multiple cities. The media demands continue to grow, and recently included Nightline, The View, Piers Morgan, Fox & Friends and others.
Literally, it seems everything is flourishing.

You try to write a book on marriage and sex with your wife and next thing you know there are a lot of ants crashing your picnic.

My wife, Grace, and I recently published "Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, & Life Together," which quickly became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller. [emphasis added]

In it, we’re brutally honest about our past struggles, share the lessons we learned along the way and talk frankly about sex. Criticism has ensued.

If you wish to find that criticism, just do a Google search. You’ll find plenty. My intent here is not to name names and pick a fight with my critics, but to provide context on why there is criticism.

We knew before we wrote the book that we’d catch a lot of flak, especially on the chapters dealing with sex. We also knew the criticism would come from every direction, as some people would think we went too far and others would think we didn’t go far enough.


In the end, for conservatives we’re too liberal, and for liberals we’re too conservative. We can’t win.
Thankfully, we’re not concerned with winning. We’re concerned with helping others build healthy, happy and holy, God-glorifying marriages.

And because they weren't concerned with winning they didn't see any reason to let a contract with Result Source Inc get signed to ensure a #1 spot for Real Marriage?

And has Driscoll ever boasted in his credentials and accomplishments?  How about his work as a "professional journalist"?
... The trouble started with a Southern Baptist blogger . . . yes, you should have seen that one coming. Now, to be fair, the blogger quoted an anonymous “source.” And, we all know that almost everything bloggers say is true. But, when they have something as solid as an anonymous “source,” then you can rest assured that when Jesus talked about the truth over and over in John, this is precisely what he was referring to. I have a degree from Washington State’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and worked professionally as a journalist, [emphasis added] and I can assure you that The Kerfuffle is a very serious matter to be taken with the utmost sobriety and propriety. In fact, one anonymous “source” I spoke to said that Watergate pales in comparison.
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.
I’ve taken on editorial duties at Resurgence, at least for a season. This means I’m reviewing nearly every blog article before we post it and giving content feedback in an effort to help our writers get their message out even further.

I don’t pretend to be the world’s greatest writer. But I did start writing professionally as a journalist in high school, paid my way through high school and college writing articles and editing my college newspaper, got a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the top-notch Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, and have written blogs and articles for everyone from CNN to the Washington Post to Fox News.

For a review of the failure of Driscoll to as yet produce a single non-editorial bylined work of his go over here or here.  You'd think that being a professional journalist and one with discernment that Mark Driscoll wouldn't even have needed Docent Group research and that not-mundane detail that he had any Docent Group assistance sheds light on Mark Driscoll's sermon prep time.
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Verified account
Prepping 2 sermons today. Thankfully, a sermon takes about as long to prep as preach.
9:30 AM - 15 Jun 2011

How'd he manage that?   A little help from Docent Group maybe? Without mentioning the assistance along the way an isolated tweet could sure read like a ... boast maybe? 

Take note that you might have trouble finding Driscoll's name on the Docent Group page now. Could Mars Hill passive aggressively trying to blame research assistants for "citation errors" that only had Mark Driscoll's name on it have been a factor? Driscoll used to be right about Craig Groeschel and now ... Matt Chandler's got a video pumping Docent but has Mark Driscoll's pump gone the way of the Joker's disappearing pencil?

For someone who in 2008 declared that boasting in one's credentials and achievements was Satanic and demonic Mark Driscoll sure was happy to tout his credentials and achievements in 2012. 

It would seem as though the Mark Driscoll of 2008 would have said the Mark Driscoll of 2012 was guilty of satanic pride, wouldn't it?  After all, it's what Driscoll said, that boasting in one's achievements and credentials was demonic pride, right?  So measured by the measure which he used to measure others ... it would seem Driscoll should be counted as having a worldly pride and his boasting in his achievements and credentials could be construed as demonic ... unless there's been some executive elder exemption ... approved by the BoO/BoAA ...

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 1 part 4 The World and types of worldly conformity men and women face
February 05, 2008

I think the problem with Satan and demons--people don't know how Satan works. They don't know his schemes and so they just get waylaid not knowing how to defend themselves. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:11 if we know how he works we can defend ourselves. Not only that we can go on the offensive and keep him from destroying us. and so in that I'll say that there are three aspects of spiritual warfare. There's the world, the flesh and the devil. This is classic teaching out of the Protestant Reformation and I think the problem is that most theologies deal primarily with the world and the flesh and they overlook the devil. Some emphasize the devil so much they sort of turn us all into victims of the world and the flesh.

We'll look at each of these in succession. We'll start with the world. Now when we speak of "world" there are seven, at least seven, senses that the Greek word "world" is used in the New Testament. So it has a very far-reaching wide-ranging doctrinal perspective. But here when we're speaking of the world we're speaking of it in its negative sense. We're not talking about all the human beings on the earth that Jesus  loves. We're talking about "world" in its negative sense. ... I call it, "an organized system in opposition to and rebellion against God." Richard Loveless says, "The world is corporate flesh and the structures it produces." Now you've got an internal enemy, your flesh; you've got an external enemy, the world; the world exists to elicit, entice, tempt your internal enemy. They work together in concert and all of this is Satan's architecting.  

So we'll start with the world, that's your external enemy. You need to see that the world we live in IS influenced by Satan and demons and the corporate flesh that comes together to create fallen culture is dangerous. In 1 John 2:6 he defines very aptly, he defines the world as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. So you think of those three. The lust of the eyes, that is physical desire and temptation. This is pornography, advertising, marketing. It's the lust of the eyes.  The whole goal is to get you to covet, to covet something that God forbids, breaking one of his commandments.

If you don't know that the world is set up to get you to lust through your eyes and be a coveter then you'll find yourself in great trouble. When Satan came to Eve it says that she SAW that the fruit was pleasing to the eye. It's the lust of the eyes. Satan's first effort was visual. Now you think of the day in which we live--television, iPhones, internet, I mean we are more than ever a highly visual culture. Not just worldly in the sense that if we want to see something we can go see it but we can through technology bring it to us. You want to see pedophilia there are about 100,000 websites right now committed to child pornography. You can see anything you want.  That's demonic, that's satanic. That's the world. That's active rebellion against God. You want to see pornography in any sort of depraved sort or kind; if you want to lust after a product and advertising, well, it is all there all the time 24 hours a day. Lust of the eyes is absolutely insatiable and there is every conceivable opportunity to feed the lust of the eyes. Lust of the eyes.

Lust of the flesh, meaning it feels good. The body likes it. Pleasure is not a bad thing. The psalmist says, "Lord God, in your hand are pleasures forevermore." But the goal is, through the eyes, to get us to covet and lust and then to experience in the body pleasure in its illicit form. Beauty is really what we lust after. Experience, pleasure, satisfaction.  It's why when you're watching TV lust, lust of the eyes--you see a hamburger. What do you have to eat? A hamburger that's lust of the lust of the flesh. You see something and immediately your body has to have it. You think of drugs, alcohol, sex, food, whatever it is. You see it or you close your eyes and your remember seeing it and you bring back that visual imagery as you think on it and meditate on it and feed those images then the lust of the flesh kicks in you have to have it. You have to eat it. You have to drink it. You have to feel it, touch it, experience enjoy it. It, it is absolutely consuming you that's the lust of the flesh. That's why some people, truly, go through withdrawal symptoms when they try to give up certain things.

The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life. Right?  The boasting in what we have and what we do. Here's how smart I am. Here's what I've done. Here's how I succeeded, here's my accomplishments. Here's my good works. It's boasting in what we have and boasting in what we do. It's arrogance. It's pride. It's not humility and grace saying, "Here's what God has given me.  Here's what God has done. Here's what God has saved me from. Here's what God has empowered me to" it is me and my glory and my possessions and my achievements and my accomplishments, my significance.  Now if 1 John 2:16 is right and worldliness is visual stimulation, internal response and sinful desire that results in boasting and pride pretty much you could say that our whole nation is worldly. See what I'm saying? The world we live in is worldly by definition.

And again, it started with Eve. Lust of the eye--the fruit looks pleasing to the eye.  Lust of the flesh--it was good for food. Boastful pride of life--it'll make you like God.  From Satan's first temptation of our first parents to the present it's the same scheme so you use Paul's language in 1 Corinthians 2:11.  It's just, just the same scheme. See something, want something, get it, brag about it, boast about it, rejoice in it, glory in it, worship it, be an idolator.  Filled with pride, just like Satan.


Now the question is how do we respond to the world knowing that the world is going to tempt us to sin? In 1 John 2:15 he says "Do not love the world." Do not love the world. If you love the world, sin and Satan they're gonna rule you. That's just how it is. Do not love the world. Do not love seeing things that are sinful. Do not love doing things that are sinful. Do not love boasting in a way that is sinful. Paul says (quoting Jeremiah) "Let me never boast but in the cross of Christ." You wanna brag? Brag about Jesus, not you, otherwise you're being demonic.  I think this is important when we meet with people and we're counseling or shepherding them, we need to tell them, "You know that the whole world, the whole world is full of lust of the eye opportunities and do you know thatSatan set that up? Do you know when you respond and feed those desires that you that you have internal urges that that is Satan giving you what will destroy you? Do you know that when you're arrogant and proud and tell me about all the good things you do what a good person you are and, you know, you're great resume of  works that that's demonic,  that doesn't impress me at all?  [that] that's demonic? Do you know you're being demonic?"

Most people don't because they've so bought into a worldly system that when they tell you all that they have and all that they are they want you to be impressed and instead you should be very grieved. This is particularly true when you are dealing with people who are very successful who are affluent and very wealthy and very powerful. Sometimes you can be, sort of, wrongly impressed. Oh, you're very important. Oh, you're very powerful.  Oh, you're very rich. Doesn't mean anything. Humility, love of Jesus, repentance of sin, that is what is to be for us encouraging, NOT the fact that someone is powerful and rich. I have not seen these with all who are powerful and rich but I have seen some who come in and immediately they want to tell me about how great they are and what they do and how much they make and how awesome they are and it's an effort to get me to praise them to feed their pride to join them in their boasting. No.  You're not a good shepherd if you do that. Not a good shepherd at all. Don't be intimidated by anyone. Don't be overly impressed with anyone. Humbly serve and encourage them to humility. That's the key.

So do not love the world. Number two, do not let it shape your values.  Paul says in Romans 12, "Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world. Don't let this world set your value system. I mean hundreds of women I've spoken to they say, "I love Jesus and I wanna be a mom and I wanna stay home and I wanna raise my kids, but, but what will everyone else think? They're gonna think that I'm, I'm just a mom."

Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world [with a slight chuckle]. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, keep reading your Bible and see what God says. "Yeah, but if I'm just a wife and I'm just a mom and I'm staying home with my little kids, you know, what am I gonna boast about?  I can't boast about my job and how much I make and, and all the cool things I do and all the people I help and all the places I travel.  What am I gonna brag about?" Pride?

I meet with guys, same thing, "Why should I get married? If I get married then I've gotta sleep with one woman for the rest of my life and then I get to hear about my buddies and all the women they're sleeping with and, you know, why is marriage a good thing? Why shouldn't I just stay single and enjoy a lot of women?" Uh, really, the whole point of life is to lust with your eyes, to feed the desires of your fallen flesh and then boast about all the women you conquered? That's demonic. It's not just an alternative lifestyle, it's demonic. Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It's an issue of getting people to think differently and think biblically because, again, the world is absolutely at work in every way to inform, to instruct, to shape the value system of people.

Number three, live through Jesus as crucified to the world. Paul says in Galatians 6:14 "Through Christ the world has been crucified to me and I have been crucified to it." You're either alive to the world and dead to Jesus or dead to the world and alive to Jesus. You cannot simultaneously be alive to Jesus and the world.  You can't simultaneously pursue the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. You cannot simultaneously pursue the Lord Jesus Christ, the king of kings, and the prince of the power of the air, Satan. You're gonna be dead to one and alive to the other. And Jesus' death allows us to put our sin to death and Jesus' death allows us to live as crucified, dead, tio the world. Dead to the world.

And this is a liberating truth because some people just think they're victims. "You know, well, that's the way the world is and what am I to do?" Well, you are to be crucified to the world. You are to not love the world and not have your value system shaped by the world but by God who is your maker.