Monday, July 27, 2015

Driscolls announce pending move to Phoenix, recent auction at which MH assets were available for sale

Grace and I were also honored that Pastor Brian Houston sat down to interview us, as he did with other ministry leaders, to show at the Hillsong conferences in Sydney and London. The link to that interview is here

Remember how back in 2012 when there was that interview the Driscolls had with Justin Brierley?  Remember how Mark Driscoll complained his wife didn't get to say anything or get many questions asked of her?  No?  We can job your memory on that.
January 12, 2012

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


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

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

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

Well for those who listened to all of the Brian Houston interview Grace Driscoll didn't say a whole ton of stuff.  If anything a listener might wonder whether her role was, at times, come across as a kind of teleprompter or "amen" to Mark.  This could have been an interview where she could have said a LOT but she didn't and it's not clear if that was because she just didn't have anything she particularly felt she wanted to say or whatever sentiments and thoughts she had were so utterly subordinate to her husband talking she didn't have an identity of her own. 

Since it's possible the Houston interview has been replayed recently at another Hillsong event, Wenatchee The Hatchet has taken some time to cross reference the resignation narrative in that interview with the five other resignation narratives/statements now available.  There's a series of posts with the following tag that goes through the details:

The most recently tagged post should be this one:

There are six accounts of the resignation, basically, and while they add up to a coherent series of events, the galactic chasm between what Mark Driscoll spent 18 years saying from the pulpit about how to be a church member and Christian submitted to proper spiritual authority on the one hand, and how he and Grace Driscoll only this year claimed God said they could quit (which never came up as a reason for their departure in the 2014 statements) is troublesome.

Moving along ... literally ...

The Resurgence and our Move to Phoenix
The Mars Hill Church board also very recently approved the sale of the assets of The Resurgence ministries through an independent auction conducted by a law firm. Having now gained first access to these resources, it will be some time before we catalogue and decide what will happen with the content.
However, if you are newly receiving this email it is likely because you were part of The Resurgence mailing list. If you would like to receive ongoing updates from me, as well as free Bible teaching, you need to do nothing. If you would like to be removed from the mailing list you can do so by clicking the link at the bottom of this email and following the automated process. 
After meeting with many former church leaders for reconciliation and closure in Seattle, our family is in the midst of a new adventure as we have moved to the Phoenix area.

Auction?  very recently?  When?  Where?  Was the auction public?  Because the first Wenatchee The Hatchet saw reference to said auction was from Mark Driscoll, founder of the corporation known as Mars Hill Fellowship aka Mars Hill. 

Can Caleb Walters or Kerry Dodd confirm, possibly?  So it was an independent auction that was very recent and one must surmise was not public.  What's not 100% clear is if Mark Driscoll Ministries paid for the assets directly or by proxy.  Anyone who might be willing and able to clarify things for the record is welcome to comment.  Because if the auction was public, where was it publicly announced?  The assets of the non-profit were put up for auction and how does Mark Driscoll Ministries have access to assets owned by a company for which Mark Driscoll was president?  Couldn't somebody worry that this could have the appearance of being a little ... insider? 

Anybody get an email from Mark Driscoll Ministries?  The way the whole update is formulated it looks like it is itself the copy that may have been sent in the recently alluded to email, though that can't be a certainty.  One can only guess that since the resources were gained after the independent auction conducted by an unnamed law firm that the email isn't like the Craig Gross scenario earlier this year Justin Dean ended up addressing.  For more on that, go to this set of tagged posts.

So Mark Driscoll Ministries gained first access to the assets of The Resurgence ministries?  Through an auction?  Resurgence Publishing.  Well, for those that remember this post.

set to expire at the end of May 2015, what's happening with the assets of Resurgence Publishing, Inc?

Another bit of note from the Driscoll update:

After meeting with many former church leaders for reconciliation and closure in Seattle, our family is in the midst of a new adventure as we have moved to the Phoenix area.

Which former church leaders?  Lief?  Jeff?  James?  Paul?  Bent?  Phil? Mike? Tim? The other Tim? Scott? The other Scott?  If Mark Driscoll had reached out to former leaders then within a day or so one would hope to hear them confirm that actual meetings happened for the sake of Mark Driscoll's reputation.  Those with whom Mark Driscoll says he's reconciled are welcome to come by and confirm that this happened.  We're even allowing anonymous comments these days, though all comments go straight into moderation for the time being. 

What's interesting is that the Driscolls have confirmed they are moving to the Phoenix area.  Warren Throckmorton pondered whether this was the next move in May earlier this year.

Looks like it has been confirmed, then, by none other than the Driscolls themselves.  Is a church plant or a church role formulating?  Are the Driscolls actually members of any church at all?  Well ...

There are no concrete plans for ongoing local church ministry as of yet. This remains a calling and desire, but my plan is not to rush into anything. Instead, caring for each member of our family, seeking the wise counsel of pastors we are walking with, and building local relationships with Christian leaders to help build churches locally and globally is our focus. Beyond that, we will see how the Lord leads. If anything more develops we will let you know via this newsletter

The answer for the moment appears to be "no" across the board.  There's no indication which church the Driscolls may land at.  As Wenatchee has written a few times, were Mark Driscoll to simply be a rank and file tithing member who is not in any ministry capacity of any kind for at least five years, submitting to the kind of spiritual authority and discipline he spent decades telling others to abide by but hasn't himself, that's be great for him and probably also good for his family.  If the recently linked-to site is correct that Driscoll's worth about $2.5 million and if Mark Driscoll Ministries in any way financially benefits from the liquidation of assets by the dissolving Mars Hill it's not clear why Mark Driscoll Ministries would particularly need money just yet.  That the existence of Mark Driscoll Ministries reveals Driscoll has embraced the kind of eponymous approach to ministry he warned from the pulpit a decade ago was bad news is not so hot. 

And with the promise of stuff in Ecclesiastes ...

Next Monday I’m also starting an online series about Ecclesiastes called “Meaningless Life?” My hope is to spend some months taking a road trip, verse by verse, together through this winding and confusing Book. This will include an informal audio podcast, blog based Bible commentary, and small group questions

If there's a book of the Bible Mark Driscoll has recycled material for almost as much as Song of Songs that book might be Ecclesiastes.  He mentioned it as a series he preached in the early years of Mars Hill.  He came back to it circa March to August 2005.

Driscoll used to warn that ye should be wary of guys who just keep recycling their old stuff. Well, if he recycles Ecclesiastes any more times he'll catch it up to Song of Songs for most re-used material within his public ministry.

But since he's going to hit Ecclesiastes (again), let Wenatchee The Hatchet commend to you, dear reader, a wonderfully readable and compelling commentary on Ecclesiastes by Martin Shields called The End of Wisdom.  Shields makes a compelling case for why Qoholeth was probably not Solomon (at all) and that the Preacher was not "writing his way to repentance" as Driscoll spent the better part of a decade claiming. 

Though defenses of the "traditional" view that Solomon was repenting have retained popularity Shields' observation that if Solomon were repenting you'd think there'd be any quotations of the Torah through that process.  The one possible allusion to the Genesis creation accounts features a question expressing doubt whether the breath of man returns to God and the breath of animals returns to the earth.  Shields proposes, reasonably, that even such implicit doubt about humanity bearing the divine image doesn't seem to fit a guy coming back to the righteous path and life of the mind.  The polemics against the stupidity of raving prophets circa Ecclesiastes 5 also makes it seem tough to sustain the idea that Ecclesiastes is a diary of repentance. 

Unless Mark Driscoll has gained some competence in handling wisdom literature revisiting Ecclesiastes without a drastically altered interpretive approach could be a disaster waiting to happen.
And then there's the thing that Driscoll warned us about, preachers who don't have anything new to say so they pull up stakes, move to somewhere new, and start recycling their material.


There's a reason that any actual meeting between Mark Driscoll and any former Mars Hill staff or pastors would preferably be confirmed by those third parties.  The problem is that Mark Driscoll has shown that he went on record saying of himself and Grace "We were virgins when we met and were sleeping together as high-school boyfriend and girlfriend." to Christianity Today and this in spite of the fact that in Real Marriage Mark and Grace Driscoll made it emphatically clear neither of them were virgins by the time they met each other and became sexually active together.  That's just one for-instance in which Mark Driscoll directly and flatly contradicted his own testimony on his own marriage and sexual activity.

Then there's the other memorable time where he claimed in the Malachi series there was no kids' ministry at the start of Mars Hill because there were no kids, in spite of having said in his 2006 book he recruited Mike Gunn and Lief Moi to help him co-found what became Mars Hill because he regarded them as good dads.
The sermon was originally an hour and seven minutes, so don't expect to hear the part that's getting quoted here on the stream at Mark Driscoll Ministries.  You need to get about 57 minutes into the unredacted audio of the original sermon for this.

about 57:27
Here’s where we’re at: Recently, 10,177 adults in attendance across Mars Hill. Fifteen churches, five states. We count people because people count. We count people because people count, and it’s not just numbers, it’s faces and names. There are also almost 2,500 kids, right? Can we say, “Praise God”? We like kids. When we started Mars Hill 17 years ago, there wasn’t even a children’s ministry—because there were no children. [emphasis added] People are coming in, getting saved, getting baptized, getting married, getting pregnant. Ideally, that’s the order, OK?

The pertinent quote gets said at about 01:00:35ish in the linked video.
Driscoll mentions pastors who cheat by recycling their greatest his about 44:00 in. He also mentions that pastors who use the preaching of others are cheating. 

Confessions of a Reformission RevMark Driscoll, Zondervan

page 54

... The church started as an idea I shared with Lief Moi and Mike Gunn. Lief is a descendant of Genghis Khan and his dad was a murderer, and Mike is a former football player. They proved to be invaluable, except for the occasional moments when they would stand toe-to-toe in a leadership meeting, threatening to beat the Holy Spirit out of each other. Both men were older than I and had years of ministry experience, and they were good fathers, loving husbands, and tough.  [emphasis added]...
If Driscoll has shown himself unable to keep his own story straight about whether he was a virgin at the time he met Grace and whether or not co-founding pastors of Mars Hill had kids we really can make a point of requesting that whoever these people are Driscoll generically described reconciling with make a few clarifying statements for the record.


Diane said...

I'm no fan of MD, as numerous comments in numerous places will show.
But I think the apparent inconsistency re his comments about using a leader's name for a website is a bit misleading. He currently has no church (that's good!) and when his fans are looking for material, it seems they would have no option but to search for his name. I don't think there's anything wrong with that - or that that is what MD meant when he criticized doing it. The problem is not the name of the website, but the content!

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

I take it that Driscoll, in an earlier decade, ,warned us against those men who name ministries after themselves. That Mark Driscoll in 2015 has come to embody most of the things he at one point publicly preached against from the pulpit is more salient a point now than it was even three years ago when he proclaimed T. D. Jakes a Trinitarian.

If any of the people whom Mark said he reconciled with wants to pipe up, now would be good. Driscoll has shown himself so incapable of keeping even the most basic facts about his own life straight it's reached a stage where we could use verification of reconciliation meetings. If in the last three years Mark Driscoll can't keep straight basic points about whether he was a virgin when he met Grace and whether founding pastors of Mars Hill had children or not then we'll need some corroboration before Driscoll's claims can be taken at face value. It hasn't been clearly confirmed by Team Osteen that they heard from Driscoll yet, has it? Even that would be useful to know.

Anonymous said...

Wait. Didn't Osteen's handlers once actually respond to an inquiry (I forgot where or when)?
They said, "Who is Mark Driscoll?

Sonja said...

" Driscoll has shown himself so incapable of keeping even the most basic facts about his own life straight ..."

Even when preaching at MH he couldn't keep straight when God audibly told him that he would plant a church, marry Grace and train men. Once it supposedly happened in Idaho, another time it happened somewhere in Wash State. I'd sure remember where I was if God spoke audibly to me. Yeah, you could be on the border but the locations weren't close.

Thanks for your hard and meticulous work. Sigh, I wish I could get a refund of all the money I gave to reinvest into God's kingdom. MH sure wasn't Jesus' kingdom and I hate to have been so duped for so long.