Saturday, August 01, 2015

Atlantic: the tragedy of itunes and classical music [yep, another rant on the disastrous shortcomings of metadata for non-pop music]

Aeon: "Why born gay is a dangerous idea" resorting to a biological deterministic defense thats precisely the opposite of what previous civil rights campaigns relied upon

African-American activists aggressively called out arguments about genetic and biological differences as legacies of racist, Nazi science. By contrast, the marriage-equality movement has embraced biological determinism. Gay and lesbian activists have led the way popularising the idea that identity is biologically determined

In evangelical blog contexts there's an idea that has not been discussed as much as it probably could, which is that when straight American evangelicals get married based on a kind of heteronormative biological determinism we may be looking at a culture in which, to borrow an old Catholic theological idea, concupiscence has gone from a reason to refrain from marriage to the most celebrated reason for straights to be married.  What was once potentially construed as an emotional/physical state to be found permissible within marriage, the sparks are expected to be there as a precondition of marriage.  Or, maybe we can let a commenter at Mere Orthodoxy spell it out.

12 days ago

I would agree that celibacy needs marriage. But that doesn't imply that the church can endorse any form of marriage and expect celibacy to thrive.

When Paul commends celibacy, he does so within a context where marriage would bear the following marks: (1) celibacy would be esteemed more highly than marriage; (2) marriage would be viewed primarily as a pragmatic institution whose value has no purpose beyond the current eschatological age; and (3) marriage is focused on the restraint of sexual desire, and not on the celebration of it.

American evangelicals have largely rejected all three of these marks in their practice of marriage. That is, after all, why Ryan Anderson has had such a difficult time getting folks to buy into his reasoning for denying civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Our culture jettisoned the conjugal view of marriage ages ago, and evangelicals and most Catholics have obliged without much of a protest. So, I don't think Justice Kennedy was proffering any kind of opinion as to what marriage should be in an ideal world. Rather, he was simply describing the institution as it has evolved in our American context, influenced as it is by post-Enlightmentment notions of romanticism and the Freudian tendency to suppose that all human attractions are fundamentally sexual.

I appreciate the discussion that Wes is trying to foster. Even so, we have to bear in mind that there's no reason to suppose that Christians can flourish within the institution of celibacy within the church context whose practices of marriage have departed sharply from the view of marriage that Paul commended as celibacy's companion.

I think we would do well to rethink what Christian marriage should look like, and should give some effort to extirpating the romantic and Freudian dross that has led to our current confusion. But evangelicals have invested heavily in propping up the current model, flawed as it is. I appreciated your effort to justify evangelicals' Freudian dalliance under the notion of an eros-focused view of marriage. Even so, I see nothing in Scripture that suggests that erotic attraction is an essential element of marriage. In fact, I Corinthians 7 would seem to suggest the opposite. ...

Greil Marcas on the failure of imagination in some songwriters and, even more, of their audience
Everything has to be real for it to have any meaning. You can see this in criticism over the last 20 years, where over and over again critics are writing about anybody’s songs as if they’re autobiographical, as if they’re not fictions, as if they’re not even professional attempts to get hits. To write songs that other people will want to hear and other people will want to sing; the craven, contrived, market-driven attempts at writing a song that will be popular. It’s all ‘What does this tell us about this real person?’ You know, here’s Rihanna, and she gets beat up by her boyfriend, and all of her songs are interpreted through that scrim. That isn’t really how anybody writes a good song. Somebody might start off writing a song because they broke up with somebody, but if the song is any good at all, becomes something else. It becomes a story. And the character in it becomes fictional.

But audiences want to believe what they’re hearing. They want to be convinced that it’s true. And so, for someone to get up and say “This is just what comes out of my imagination…” But you’re cheating me! I remember having conversations with John Irving, the novelist, and Graham Parker, the singer, both of whom are quite short. And I remember both of them saying to me, “It must have taken a lot of nerve for a short person like Randy Newman to write [‘Short People’].” And I said “I hate to tell you this, but Randy Newman is six feet tall.” And they were both, “What!? A tall person wrote that song about me?” Oh, they were upset. You know, Randy Newman always said this was a joke. It was supposed to be a satire on bigotry, how could anybody take this seriously?

Ultimately when a songwriter is telling you about himself or herself – “this happened to me, this is my story” – ultimately you, as a listener, are frozen out. But when a songwriter’s creating a fictional situation that lets you in because that allows you to become a fictional character in your own mind. That to me is how art works, and that’s what I was always looking for in Mystery Train. Whether Elvis wrote his own songs or not, he created the situations in which those songs became real.

"We live in the loudest of times", The New Yorker touches on the rise of dynamic range compression in the music we listen to
We live in the loudest of times. It all began about twenty years ago, when new digital technologies started to radically alter the way music was made, refined, and shared. It suddenly became fairly easy to endow songs with a more aggressive presence: with a click of the mouse, you just made it all—especially the quiet parts—louder. Since then, there’s been a debate over the effects of the “loudness wars” on our ability to appreciate nuance, particularly the dynamic range between loud and soft that, in the parlance of audiophiles, gives music the room to “breathe.”
But now that we listen to music everywhere—often in a semi-distracted state, across a range of devices and settings—it should come as no surprise that artists want their music to come pre-coated with a glossy immediacy. First impressions matter. Why not insure that you can’t be ignored?
Think of how many contemporary pop hits sound as if they were being belted from within a jet engine. The quiet parts of a Taylor Swift song buzz more boldly than the brashest moments of a heavy-metal album from the nineteen-eighties. The imperfections that resulted when artists pushed their recordings past peak levels have given way, in pop music, to new techniques, textures, and tastes. It’s just how music sounds now, from the noisy, self-conscious revolt of Kanye West’s “Yeezus” and the distorted crunch that occurs when a pop song hits the chorus to the way that MP3s gleam with a pre-formatted sizzle.

HT Mockingbird: new study finds bullies have highest self-esteem, social status, but lowest rates of depression
“Humans tend to try to establish a rank hierarchy,” says Jennifer Wong, the criminology professor who led the study. “When you’re in high school, it’s a very limited arena in which you can establish your rank, and climbing the social ladder to be on top is one of the main ways … Bullying is a tool you can use to get there.”
Meanwhile, separate research Volk is working on offers more evidence bolstering the concept: the bullies among 178 teenagers surveyed by the professor and his colleagues got more sex than everyone else.

“The average bully isn’t particularly sadistic or even deeply argumentative,” he says. “What they really are is people driven for status.”

That people who resort to aggression tend to have high self esteem dates back decades to research and writing from Roy Baumeister and others.  Baumeister has said that people with high but unstable self-esteem are most likely to resort to violence to preserve their self-perception. It's relatively new to propose that the real bullies, or the alpha bullies if you will, have truly high self-esteem and that that esteem is probably stable and that their social status is pretty secure, and that they even have the lowest rates of depression.

What might we infer from this if this set of conclusions is true?

We pretend we detest bullies but we don't.  We celebrate them if they are bullies for causes we admire.

as another epoch of Driscollian self-recycling approaches, the small tragedy of his remaining fan base, do they really look forward to more recycled material?

So Driscoll mentioned at the end of July he plans to start a new series dealing with Ecclesiastes.  Once again, he's recycling material.  He used to warn against guys who would cheat by recycling stuff.
Where is my Honor?
I talked to one guy some years ago—I’ll never forget it—I was new to ministry, and I was talking about Mars Hill. We were just a couple years old at the time, and I said, “Yeah, I hope to be here for my whole life, preaching and teaching the Bible. That’s my hope, man. I want to be with these people for the rest of my life.” I said, “How long have you been at your church?” “Well, I’ve been there a couple of years.” He said, “You know, the way it’s set up in our denomination, every two or three years, they move me from one church to another.” I said, “Wow, isn’t that hard?” He said, “No, no, no. I’ve got two or three years of sermons and I preach them here, and then I preach them here, and then I preach them here, and then I preach them—” and that’s his career. He doesn’t need to study the Bible anymore, doesn’t need to pray anymore, doesn’t need to grow anymore, just plays the greatest hits. That’s cheating.

Pastors who steal sermons from other pastors are cheating. Pastors who expect their people to work and give and don’t work and give are cheating. You need to know that we track the giving of the leaders, not in a legalistic way, but to make sure that we’re not asking you to do something that they’re not doing. There’s nothing worse than parents who look at their kids and say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” That’s cheating. That’s cheating.

This sermon was preached mere days after Janet Mefferd presented evidence for why she confronted Driscoll on the issue of plagiarism.

It was months after Wenatchee The Hatchet examined whether or not Grace Driscoll (and by extension Mark Driscoll) had bothered to include a single footnote's worth of credit to Dan Allender in Real Marriage.

The news about Result Source had not yet erupted.  The controversy about whether Mark Driscoll's books adequately gave credit to those whose ideas he was indebted to had just started. And Driscoll talked about how a pastor who preaches for some years and then leaves and reuses the same stuff elsewhere, that's cheating.

So by the measure of that rebuke, isn't Driscoll planning to "cheat"?

By Driscoll's account before he was a Christian he fibbed about his birthdate to get jobs he wanted.  Then he became a Christian which, theoretically, leads to changed lives and such.  Or ... well, Result Source could be considered a grander manipulation in its way.

It can seem as though the pre-Christian Mark Driscoll and the post-conversion Mark Driscoll were as susceptible as each other to the temptation to game a system for their benefit. 

The thing is, at this point, those who are still fans of Mark Driscoll won't care.  It won't matter because, hey, Jesus died for sin and nobody's perfect.  But that may be the surface rather than the root.  What might the root be?  Here's an idea for consideration.

People who listen to Mark Driscoll preach may think they love Jesus and they may well love Jesus.  But nobody needs Driscoll to be a Christian.  Nobody needs Driscoll's preaching.  But some people obviously want Mark Driscoll's preaching.  And those who are looking forward to yet another rehash of Ecclesiastes want Driscoll back even if he is recycling old stuff.

If Driscoll were to take a cue from Spurgeon he would have touched  the Psalms from the pulpit at some point in the last 18 years.  Nothing.  And his fans may be totally okay with this because it's possible that when people listen to Mark Driscoll's motivational speaking performances rather broadly and sometimes tangentially inspired by a biblical text it's not the substance of the biblical text they are soaking up, it's the narrative Driscoll creates in the performance.  It can't be this way all across the board. Plenty of people came to a sincere appreciation of the scriptures through sermons that happened to be preached by Mark Driscoll.  But if we stay close to the idea that can crop up in Reformed soteriology, Mark Driscoll merits no credit at all if the Holy Spirit providentially and paradoxically put his soapboxing to some actually beneficial use. 

If after 18 years people feel like they need to hear from their pastor they may not understand what pastors do. Decades ago Wenatchee The Hatchet heard a Pentecostal youth pastor preach from Ephesians 4.  That pastor explained that God appointed some to be apostles and prophets and teachers and that their responsibility  was to equip the saints for service. The youth pastor said, and I have to paraphrase, "my job as a pastor is not to do the work of ministry.  My responsibility is to train YOU to do the work of ministry.  If ten years from now you can't interpret the Bible for yourself and I have to do it for you then I've failed to do my job.  My job is to equip you to understand the bible so you can learn from it."

Wenatchee The Hatchet hopes to be able to say that that youth pastor succeeded, at least in helping Wenatchee The Hatchet.  If Driscoll is to be a pastor and  a shepherd the goal is to preach and teach in such a way that, well, he used to claim he wanted to be a father figure.  Fathers raise kids to go out into the world and reach a point where they don't need dad to bail them out or clear things up.  In that sense, if somebody comes off like an adultescent not embracing new vistas of thought and action it is now Mark Driscoll, revisiting his old hits in Ecclesiastes or Song of Songs, rather than moving forward to Lamentations or Isaiah or the Psalms or something where he would be tested in his competency handling the scriptures. 

And his fanbase may not care.  Their enthusiasm may be for Mark's performance rather than for the scriptures themselves.  What they want may be Mark Driscoll's motivational speaking performance art as a simulacrum for an actual appreciation of the Bible. 

If you dig into the narrative literature to figure out what was going on with Naboth's vineyard, that's digging into the text.  If somebody were to struggle with wondering what the deal with the Joash fundraising to restore the Temple was getting at that's engaging an issue in the text.  It's unfortunate to see Driscoll returning to Ecclesiastes because it speaks of his inherent laziness.  He's going for the recycled insights, insights that by now no longer seem to be grounded in an exegetical approach.  He can't just presume Solomonic authorship when even conservative scholars have expressed doubt about that in the last twenty years.  If Driscoll wants to fall back on an unexamined tradition he could re-preach Song of Songs as a typology of God's love for the church.  THAT would be new for him.

If it's all about Jesus Mark Driscoll is superfluous.  John the Baptist said "he must become greater and greater, while I must become less and less."  It would still seem best for Driscoll to shun the limelight for half a decade and just be a regular member at a church. No status, no prestige, no public voice.  He could drive that bread delivery truck he used to say he wished he could drive instead of being a pastor.  He could be a nobody who so trusts in the providential power and wisdom of Jesus that he feels no obligation to be a celebrity who isn't a pastor.

And those who are waiting for Driscoll to "come back", read the Bible.  If you have salvation at all it has nothing much to do with Driscoll except maybe in instrumentality and if God can use a donkey God can use a Driscoll.  But a divine commission is not inherently proof of lasting divine favor.  King Saul is a reminder there. 

If people wait for Driscoll to return they are waiting for the return of the wrong person.  They are awaiting the return of a man who has slowly and steadily become everything he himself repudiated from the pulpit a decade ago.  Adolf Schlatter wrote that the tragedy of idolatry is that the idol that is venerated is not even the thing itself which is the subject of veneration, merely an outline of its form.  Mark can possibly revive his second-hand truncated catchphrase and talk about being a nobody who's trying to tell everybody about somebody.  He can say it's all about Jesus but the Jesus Mark Driscoll has preached is a guy who had a dad named Joe who swung a hammer for a living and who grew up in a dumpy neighborhood, a backstory Driscoll has shared he has. When the backstory of Jesus so conspicuously parallels the celebrity it should raise a question whether the Jesus Mark Driscoll has come to preach is what evangelicals would call "the historical Jesus" or the Jesus that lines up with Mark Driscoll's ideals about manhood.

There are people who await a return from Mark Driscoll to a pulpit, possibly any pulpit. Those are people who are awaiting a second-hand enthusiasm. Driscoll's motivational talks may still entertain some folks but by his own account he is no longer a pastor. He quit the one and only pastoral role he had and he was self-appointed and practically self-ordained at that.  Mark Driscoll has said for decades, more or less, that God told him to marry Grace, teach the Bible, train young men, and plant churches.  Mark Driscoll wanted to be with Grace Martin before he was even thinking of being a Christian.  Driscoll was also, as his dad Joe explained in God's Work, Our Witness, on the debate team on student council.  Mark Driscoll was set to be a stand out sorta guy even before he decided to be a Christian.  He was already pursuing leadership tracks.  Mark Driscoll can claim the "trap has been set" stuff was stuff he didn't expect or anticipate but he was willing to quit.  The stuff Mark Driscoll has claimed God told him to do can be understood as things that Mark Driscoll already wanted to do before he ever identified himself as a Christian.  That goes most especially for the woman who became his wife. 

One of the things Adolf Schlatter wrote was that it is a lie arising from covetousness to remake God into one's own image and to make your own lust to be God's will.  It seems worth asking whether the stuff Mark Driscoll has kept saying God told him to do hasn't been precisely the things he already pretty much wanted to do anyway.
January 7, 2007
Redeeming Ruth
Part 1: God's Hand in Our Suffering
Ruth 1:1-1:22

Let me wrap all of this up. As your pastor, who loves you very much – I say that sincerely – would you be as honest as Naomi today, and would you acknowledge that your life and mine are like Naomi and Ruth’s stories in which the providential hand of God is at work, in which he calls us to be honest and to run to him and one another as God’s people, to work out those parts of our life that we consider afflictions, but not yet have received them as sanctified? And would you identify yourself with someone in the story – who are you? How many of you, you’re Elimelech-ish? You’re Elimelech-ish. Elimelech is the guy – Everything falls apart. It looks dark. It looks bad. He takes a poll. He makes a plan. He decides Moab has a lower cost of living. Moab has more vocational opportunity. Moab has food on the table – I will make a plan. I will be the sovereign. I will take care of everything. Trust me, I know what I’m doing. He leads well. He plans well. He tries to be the sovereign. Everybody dies anyways.

I am Elimelech. I asked my wife, “Which one am I?” Oh, my wife – she didn’t even breathe. Didn’t even take a breath. “Oh, you’re Elimelech.” And his name means what? My God is King! That was me. If you ask me, Jesus, sovereign, Lord, King, God, and if I ever need ‘em, I’ll call, but I don’t think I do ‘cause I got this all taken care of. Elimelech-ish.
Mars Hill has been dissolving this year.  It spiraled downward after years of controversy surrounding the man who tried to be the sovereign.  It's interesting to compare what Driscoll said from the pulpit to what he shared in 2010.

The multi-campus strategy we are using is sustainable and healthy. Being able to distribute as campuses of various sizes and personalities is a bit like the joy of being a father watching children with various resemblances but distinct personalities grow up. Having such a large team of elders, deacons, and members deployed across the campuses is a great relief to me as I see us taking better care of more people than we have ever been able to.

Children he loved so much he bailed on them, citing God's permission and release from fatherly authority. 

But there are those who are waiting in excitement for Mark Driscoll to come back to a pulpit, possibly any pulpit. If he's coming back with yet another series on Ecclesiastes it doesn't matter that he's recycling his old routine. What matters for them is they get to hear his voice again.

another visitation in irony, does God still want MH to have the International Paper Building after all if they're auctioning off assets? revisiting Driscoll's warning against the "God told me" card and the 2013 "Good for Bellevue" claims

Since there is no longer a Mars Hill as more than a holding company for assets (if that), it's all the more striking to revisit Mark Driscoll preaching in May 2014 about how you can't just pull out the "God told me" card.  Moreover, it's fascinating to revisit "Good for Bellevue" in this light.

Pastor Mark Driscoll
ACTS (5:12-42)
May 04, 2014

So I want to be careful with this because this can be an opportunity for spiritual abuse. Because sometimes people say, “God told me.” Well, we’ll see, OK? You can’t just pull out the “God told me” card. [emphasis added] Ladies, let’s say you meet a guy and the guy says, “God told me to marry you.” “Interesting, he didn’t tell me or my dad, you know, so I don’t have to just assume that because you say the Lord says that the Lord in fact has spoken.”

You need to be very careful. Somebody comes along, “God told me to plant a church.” Let’s check that. All right, you can’t—I mean, 1 Corinthians 14 is clear. If you think you got a word from the Lord, you’ve got to check it by the leaders. So what we’re looking for, if you believe God has told you something, especially to do something that is difficult like this, we’re looking for a godly person—Peter’s a godly person. In godly community—it says he’s with the apostles, they’re all agreed. Under godly authority—they all agree on this. With a godly motive—to talk about Jesus. Doing a godly thing—wanting to minister to people. In a godly way—by being open in public and not hiding anything. So if you believe the Lord has told you something, he may have, but I would ask, “Are you a godly person in godly community under godly authority with a godly motive doing a godly thing in a godly way?” ... [emphasis added]

With all that in mind, let's revisit how Mars Hill Church broached the matter of their interest in getting the International Paper Building in later 2013.


Letter from Pastor Thomas Hurst

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

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

Why Now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The International Paper Property on 120th St.

After many months of searching and narrowing down our choices, only one building in Bellevue is available that meets the needs of the church that God is building on the Eastside. A few weeks ago we made an offer on a property in the Bel-Red corridor on 120th St. which is currently owned by the International Paper Company.[all emphasis added]

The space is about 180,000 sq. feet on 10.5 acres of property, located directly on the new light rail line being developed in 2017. The City of Bellevue has plans to develop the area immediately surrounding this site with retail, restaurants, and urban housing.
After renovations the property could feature:
Seating for 3,000+ per service
Local Bellevue Church office space
Central Operations office space
Media & Communications space
Much larger Kids Ministry area
Space for Mars Hill Students
Training classrooms for a future Bible college
Ample parking space on-site
Large common areas

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

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

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

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

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

We believe a Mars Hill church at this key location is far better for the church, better for the City of Bellevue, and better for the community and local economy than a transit maintenance barn. We will provide:
Immediate benefit to local commerce (restaurants, hotels, transit and more).
More jobs to Bellevue (150+ employees).
Much needed conference/multi-use space to Bellevue.
Ridership for Sound Transit will increase due to our large events and regular attendees because we will be located directly on the transit line.
We plan to use the existing structure, which supports local green initiatives and the development plan for the Bel-Red corridor.

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

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

Notice that the added emphases aren't even to all the spots where Hurst implies that God's will for Mars Hill Church is a given with respect to a very specific piece of real estate.

For those who have followed this story it's worth noting that early on MHC was proposing that Sound Transit seized the real estate under eminent domain.

What MHC had claimed via Justin Dean to have offered above and beyond Sound Transit ended up being moot given that the Sound Transit purchase of the International Paper Building seems to have been finalized before Mars Hill even expressed interest in the real estate.

Well, despite the repeated statements to the effect that God wanted Mars Hill Church to have the International Paper Building is it possible God has changed His mind?  More recently Warren Throckmorton has mentioned newer discussions emerging from within Mars Hill leadership bout another piece of real estate that may or may not be God's will for Mars Hill Church to own now.

And if Mars Hill still existed there might be a case to be made God wanted them to have the building, but after Mark Driscoll resigned (not mentioning God as a reason for the resignation in 2014 but blathering on about it in 2015) it's looking like maybe God didn't want Mars Hill Church to have the International Paper Building after all.

revisiting a Driscoll invitation past, comparing the 2013 post-Strange Fire invitation MD gave John MacArthur in light of ignoring MacArthur up through 2009

Driscoll's decision to reach out in an apologetic way to Joel Osteen because he claimed God convicted him raises another question.  Would Driscoll apologize to John MacArthur?  After all Mark Driscoll and the executive elders and James MacDonald went to the trouble of crashing the Strange Fire conference.

Wenatchee the Hatchet discussed the Driscoll invitation back in October 2013 at some length. It's something to revisit as Driscoll's gotten in front of a camera this year to talk about how God allegedly convicted him to apologize to a man he denounced for teaching problematic doctrine in 2007, but has not gotten around to sounding off on whether or not maybe his whole approach to Strange Fire was a bad idea.

The ease with which Driscoll has abandoned any links to his "tribe" in the Reformed world is not really striking.  Driscoll got lumped into the "Reformed" camp because he used enough jargon that journalists lumped him into that camp.  Driscoll's described himself as a Calvinist but his approach to ecclesiology and sacraments don't indicate he's ever been Reformed overall. He's described himself as a "charismatic with a seatbelt" but prior to about 2002 he'd consider himself basically leaning more toward the cessationist position.  He began to talk more like a charismatic moving forward from circa 2005.  That may or may not also have been the process through which governance became more formal and consolidated while he was still legal president of the corporation. 

Well, anyway, here's the old post discussing Driscoll's public invitation to MacArthur to talk things out after Driscoll spent years stonewalling MacArthur when it was MacArthur reaching out to Driscoll.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006
page 190
Why is no one speaking in tongues during the church service?The issue of tongues is very controversial. and divisive in many churches, and thankfully it has never been so at Mars Hill. The elders do not believe the gift of tongues has ceased but believe tht it is often not done in a biblical way. Mars Hill has leaders and members who speak in tongues, as well as leaders and members who do not. What Paul does forbid regarding tongues, however, is speaking in tongues out loud during a church service because visitors and non-Christians will not know what is being said, will think we are nutjobs, and would be better served by convicting Bible teaching so they can get saved (1 Cor 14:12-25)
It's important to establish as deep background for the current situation that Mark Driscoll himself said that nobody speaks in tongues out loud in services at Mars Hill because it is considered an unbiblical use of tongues.  This means that MacArthur's polemic against charismatic/continuationist teaching and church practice is all but irrelevant to how an actual Mars Hill Church service probably still operates.  Whether or not Driscoll can be said to have properly or adequately exegeted 1 Corinthians 14 is interesting but currently irrelevant.

So just a couple of days ago Mark Driscoll made a very public invitation to one John MacArthur
That's the Christian Post link for you there.
.. As a Bible preacher, I rejoice in that. I actually considered attending your school myself after I finished my undergraduate work, but I was newly married and could not afford any seminary at the time. [
As Bible teachers, we both know that people often arrive at the wrong conclusion when they extract a line out of an ongoing discussion, ignoring the context, and then wrongly impugn someone’s character. I am guessing the security team and pastoral team were not entirely rowing in the same direction, and that security thought they were just doing their job.

Mistakes happen. I understand. And since no one owes me anything, I am grateful I got to hang out for a bit and meet some of the pastoral staff and your son. I would’ve been glad to have met you as well.

Maybe that can still happen?
At this point, I believe what would honor Jesus is for us to sit down and talk. So, I am formally inviting you to Seattle to join me on stage for our national Resurgence Conference on November 5–6.
I will pay for your travel. I will give an honorarium to you or any ministry you choose. And, I will cover the travel costs of any of your pastoral staff you’d like join us, as I would actually like to see them again.

Originally, I was going to have a company live stream our conference online for people who paid an access fee, but I recently tore up that contract. We’re now going to show the conference free online for the world in an effort to open up our important discussion to as many people as possible. I would also post our discussion in its entirely—without any editing—for free online.

I am working as an unpaid volunteer for this event, and I believe the loss of live stream revenue is worth it for an investment in the Kingdom. I assure you, I will be very kind and gracious and respectful. Ours will be a dialogue on very important issues, and I pray by the Spirit’s power we can model some graciousness and clarify terms while striving to state what we believe to be biblical truth.
I believe this could be a very profitable discussion—especially for young leaders who will be tuning in to learn as we model how to handle disagreement. In our day when online misquoting and Internet flame throwing hinder real progress, I truly believe we have a great opportunity to model a different way of dealing with important issues for God’s glory.

So now there's a public invitation of an all expenses paid visit from Mark Driscoll to John MacArthur.  As usual Driscoll talks about how single lines taken out of context can be used to impugn someone's character.  But the thing about John MacArthur and Mark Driscoll is that the breach between Mark Driscoll and John MacArthur has been close to a decade in forming and when the shoe was on the other foot MacArthur has already publicly informed us that when it was his idea to get in touch with Driscoll to talk about disagreements Mark Driscoll had no interest.

There's nothing about MacArthur's criticism of the November 18, 2007 sermon in Scotland from Song of Songs that seemed to take any lines or even entire sermons of Mark Driscoll out of context.  In fact Mark Driscoll mentioned somewhere or other that in light of criticisms of the sermon it seemed wise to take the sermon down.  But let's let MacArthur speak for himself a bit.
April 17, 2009

7. Why did you single out Driscoll and connect him with the "sex challenges"? Why call him out publicly? He has already repented of his unguarded speech, and he is being privately discipled by men like John Piper and C. J. Mahaney, who keep him accountable. Did you consult them before calling Driscoll out by name? If the problem is as serious as you claim, why haven't they said something publicly about it?

In the sermon that prompted this series, Mark Driscoll (speaking specifically to wives in the congregation) made several comments that were far, far worse than the seamiest sex challenges. Furthermore, Driscoll's edicts to married women were not mere "challenges" but directives buttressed with the claim that "Jesus Christ commands you to do [this]." That material has been online and freely circulated for more than a year. But you’ll be hard pressed to find even a single Web forum where anyone has demanded that Driscoll explain why he feels free to say such things publicly.
Nevertheless, I have written Mark privately with my concerns. He rejected my counsel. As a matter of fact, he preached the sermon I have been quoting from seven weeks after receiving my private letter encouraging him to take seriously the standard of holiness Scripture holds pastors to. Here is a small selection from the six-page letter I sent him ... [emphasis added]

So MacArthur has explained that he wrote to Mark Driscoll regarding some concerns and that, it seems on a plain reading, that Mark Driscoll preached the November 18, 2007 Scotland sermon on Song of Songs seven weeks AFTER receiving MacArthur's letter.  Not only did Driscoll not have any interest in responding to MacArthur in 2007 he preached one of his racier sermons just a couple of months after getting the letter. 

Currently Mars Hill has thrown down the gauntlet to Sound Transit over real estate Sound Transit has already bought that Mars Hill would like to use to, among other things, start a Bible college and to relocate its central headquarters.  Mark Driscoll also has a new book out that includes him musing on how he keeps taking potshots for things people assume he said that he didn't say or that were taken out of context.

MacArthur simply isn't one of those people about whom it could be said "he took Driscoll out of context".  If a rejoinder to MacArthur's criticism were that simple why did Driscoll's team take down the Scotland sermon?  For that matter what was the reason Mars Hill excised the woodchipper anecdote from "The Man" after Wendy Alsup quoted from it in her review of Real Marriage in early 2012?  Precisely what was Driscoll referring to in the "Fathers and Fighting" sermon if not to elders?

Chris Rosebrough broadcast an audio clip of Mark Driscoll talking about "a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus" from an Acts 29 event of some sort that was quite possibly never made publicly available. We've visited this topic earlier.  At this point there is documentable evidence that Mark Driscoll and his team have suppressed or withheld statements about some of his controversial decisions and stances in the past.  MacArthur may have ideas or views that are disagreeable to some but he has, it seems, been pretty public about what and why he dissents from Mark Driscoll's teaching and conduct. 

As we've seen this includes MacArthur's public statement that Mark Driscoll not only refused to respond to him years ago but that the Scotland sermon postdated MacArthur's private efforts to talk with Driscoll.  Mark Driscoll, for his part, opens his recent open invitation with some profession of admiration for MacArthur, mentioning that he considered going to MacArthur's seminary at one point, and saying that he's never publicly said anything bad about MacArthur despite some differences.  Well, so what?  "There's a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus ... " wasn't broadcast to the world and that doesn't mean it was misquoted or taken out of context.  It also makes it hard to dispute the claim that Mark Driscoll is a person who will have it his way or people get thrown off and under the bus. 

The big question Driscoll has to answer at this point is why he only deigns to offer a public all-expenses paid invitation to John MacArthur NOW when MacArthur was privately contacting him years ago.  Let Driscoll's team put the November 18, 2007 Scotland sermon back online where anyone and everyone can listen to it and find out what MacArthur was even responding to and then "maybe" the new invitation will have something to it.  Until then it could be alleged by critics of Mars Hill in general and Mark Driscoll in particular that Mark Driscoll only wants to respond to or recognize MacArthur's criticisms of Driscoll's character and textual interpretation on Mark Driscoll's terms.

POSTSCRIPT: 10-28-2013

The blogger linked to above suspects the whole thing smells like a PR stunt and points out some practical reasons why the offer couldn't be accepted and that Driscoll probably already knew the offer couldn't/wouldn't be accepted.  But making the public offer is great PR and looks sincere to people who haven't been paying attention.  Even if it is sincere the blogger's case that the timing of the invitation is pretty stupid remains.

Hillsong DMCA claim on vimeo publication of Brian Houston/Driscoll interview

Page not found

Vimeo has removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by Hillsong Church Ltd. claiming that this material is infringing: Mark Driscoll interview with Brian Houston
Removed on Friday, July 31, 2015 At 9:31 AM
A public record of this claim is available at:
Morgan Lee and Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra [ posted 6/30/2015 05:36PM ]
[Originally published on June 8 as "Distraction Down Under: Hillsong Drops Mark Driscoll from Conference"]

CT covered things Driscoll shared with Houston back on June 8, which is why this week's headlines from Charisma and the Christian Post are such bad jokes.  Way to be more than a month late talking about something Driscoll had said via video.

There's been more than a month to enquire as to whether anyone on Joel Osteen's side got the contact attempt from Mark Driscoll.  Since Osteen at one point was asked what he thought about Driscoll's tirade against him from 2007 and Osteen's response was to ask who Driscoll was, even Mark Driscoll's apology may not have been worth paying attention to because Mark Driscoll was never worth Osteen's attention.

Meanwhile, whoever posted video to vimeo got Hillsong attention.

Which makes it interesting that Houston didn't ask Grace Driscoll about her thoughts and feelings about the plagiarism scandal of 2013 since it was her chapter 7 "Grace and Disgrace" that was part of the larger controversy about whether Driscoll books had properly cited the published works of others.

Amid the length of the plagiarism controversy not one person opted to file a copyright infringement claim against the Driscolls.  This has been invoked by Driscoll apologists as a negative proof that Mark Driscoll didn't do anything wrong.  The retroactive revisions to Mark Driscoll's published work, documented by Warren Throckmorton about Real Marriage in particular, makes that case seem dubious.

Grace Driscoll did not just fail to credit Allender's work in the first edition of the 2012 book she co-authored, she also had a story about how all the ministry and resources at Mars Hill up into 2006 were inadequate because they focused on behavioral change or were not gospel-centered.

Ironically, whatever implied flaws there were in the Dan Allender book available to buy at Mars Hill in 2006 that Grace Driscoll may have been thinking of when she wrote chapter 7 of Real Marriage, she still took time to make use of the taxonomy of masks as secondary symptomology or "style of relating" for sex abuse victims.  The book can't have been that bad if Grace Driscoll appropriated the concepts after having announced to the whole internet 12 years earlier that Dan Allender was one of her favorite authors.

So the question is not necessarily whether the Driscolls appropriated the published works of others in a way that "could" have become the basis for a copyright infringement claim.  IVP said the Trial study guide was not defensible by an appeal to Fair Use, after all. A possibly unanswerable question is why nobody bothered to make a claim of coyright infringement against the Driscolls. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mark Driscoll from July 6, 2010, a note to Mars Hill on "6 reasons Why I'm Not Going Anywhere"

Five years ago Mark Driscoll wrote to Mars Hill to assure them of six reasons why he wasn't going anywhere.  Now in the year the corporation is in the process of dissolution and its assets have been getting auctioned off (with Mark Driscoll apparently having been given an opportunity of first access, to go by the Driscoll update this week), let's revisit what Driscoll said about why he wasn't going anywhere.   It's still up on his Facebook feed for the time being.

6 Reasons Why I’m Not Going Anywhere
July 6, 2010 at 7:10am

Dear Mars Hill,

It’s that time of year again when my family and I head out for a few weeks of vacation together. Recent weeks have been perhaps the most exhausting and packed of my entire ministry, so I am really looking forward to and needing the break with my family.

In light of some pastors leaving their pastorate, taking long sabbaticals, leaving ministry, or moving on to new opportunities, I felt compelled to let you know that I will be back. I say this not to criticize anyone else, but to answer a question I have been getting as to how long I foresee remaining at Mars Hill Church. Like a husband and father often tells his wife and kids he loves them and is devoted to them, I believe it is important for a pastor to regularly offer the same assurances to the church he serves.

After vacation, I will be coming back to Mars Hill. I won’t be coming back to Mars Hill because I love the weather, traffic, or cost of living in Seattle. But there are many reasons why I will be back, in no particular order.

1.I will be back because Grace and I feel called to the ministry of Jesus at Mars Hill Church. When I was 19, God called me to do four things: marry Grace, preach the Bible, plant churches, and train men. This has culminated in my family, our Mars Hill Church family, the Acts 29 Church-Planting Network, and The Resurgence. Simply, being able to obey God in all that he’s called me to do is a tremendous gift and great joy even in the hardest seasons. I want, by God’s grace, to be obedient to this call on my life.

2.I will be back because Grace and I are loved, served, and supported at Mars Hill, thereby making it a very healthy and happy place for our family. My family has always been a higher priority for me than my ministry, and if Mars Hill were overly negative or toxic, we would consider moving on. Thankfully, that is categorically not the case. My family and I absolutely love the people of Mars Hill and are well-loved in return. Grace takes comfort in the fact that I am surrounded by strong real elders who are friends yet willing to say no to me and lovingly correct me as needed. I am blessed with an amazing team of people who are gifted where I am not and are enjoyable brothers and sisters in the truest sense of the words. Grace, our children, and I have deep, meaningful, sanctifying friendships in our church that mean the world to us. On the weeks when I am not preaching live, my family excitedly attends various campuses to see what God is doing. To see that my wife and our children each love not only Jesus but also our entire church and its people is a great joy. Mars Hill is very healthy place for us to flourish, and we love our church. Furthermore, that my parents, Grace’s parents, one of my brothers and his family, along with two of my sisters and their families all attend Mars Hill is a unique gift. Our family is surrounded by the loving support of our church family as well as our extended relatives who are also part of our church family.

3.I will be back because we believe God is doing something unique that we delight in being a part of. Much grace and provision has been poured out on us. I do not believe that God blesses a man, but rather God blesses his Word, his people, and his Church. I simply do not believe I could repeat what we are enjoying at Mars Hill by doing ministry anywhere else. I say this not to boast of the ministry we enjoy, but to boast in all the grace that God has given us and to recognize that it is indeed gracious.

4.The multi-campus strategy we are using is sustainable and healthy. Being able to distribute as campuses of various sizes and personalities is a bit like the joy of being a father watching children with various resemblances but distinct personalities grow up. Having such a large team of elders, deacons, and members deployed across the campuses is a great relief to me as I see us taking better care of more people than we have ever been able to.

5.My heart is here. While I enjoy the opportunities for ministry that God grants outside of Mars Hill, were I allowed to only do one thing, I would easily and gladly choose to be an elder at Mars Hill, preaching God’s Word and shepherding God’s people. I have zero interest in doing anything other than being a pastor and have zero interest in being a pastor anywhere else. I am very content with where I am and what I am doing, and am very passionate about continuing to press forward together for more people worshiping Jesus more deeply.

6.There is more to be done. I do believe, by God’s grace and if God wills, that in the years to come we will be able to plant more churches and campuses, see more people saved, more lives changed, more couples married, more children born, and more innovation pioneered. I’m excited to pursue the future together.

In closing, I am in the best season of my entire life. I am increasingly aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in and through me, which is a great joy. Grace and I are so thankful to God for all the love, joy, and oneness we enjoy; our marriage is stronger, more fun, and more passionate than ever. Our children are flourishing in all areas, and our home is filled with life and laughter. We’ve endured some painfully hard seasons to get to the season we are enjoying, and God may have more hardship he’s preparing us for in the near or short future to make us more like Jesus. As of right now, though, in everything from health to love of Jesus, closeness to Grace, connection with our five children, unity with the church leaders, and ministry fruit, this is the best season of my life and I am deeply thankful. So, we will head out for a few weeks of fun and play and making memories as a family, and be back to work in a few weeks.

For Jesus’ Fame,

Pastor Mark Driscoll

And if you don't believe it, here's a screen cap you can look at after the break.

someone else Driscoll used to rip on, William Young, for The Shack. If Driscoll got friendly with T. D. Jakes and apologized to Osteen, how about the author of The Shack?

A few years ago Mark Driscoll anticipated meeting with T. D. Jakes at Elephant Room 2.  You won't find what he had to say, most likely, not without a little help.  Wenatchee The Hatchet commented on some of what Driscoll had to say and some of that material is still preserved.

From PastorMarkTV
Admittedly, sometimes when speaking, a teacher presents a belief in a way that is inaccurate and unclear. So called “discernment” bloggers who are usually not connected to any noteworthy or respected evangelical Christian theologians, schools, denominations, ministries, churches, or pastors make their living taking what people said wrongly, transcribing it, and then falsely—or at least wrongly—accusing them of heresy when it is untrue.

The ear is more forgiving than the eye, and when we say something wrong, people tend to give the benefit of the doubt. But, when what is said is then written down, there is far more scrutiny as a statement is parsed like a Bible verse, which is unfair. ...

In closing, I want to thank Pastor MacDonald for putting together what could be an amazingly insightful event around the Trinity and many other issues that the Church needs to consider. I thank God that I have an opportunity to be involved and ask some questions. I want to encourage folks to wait until the event before making any final judgments about anyone or anything. And, I want to encourage all the men who are signed up to show up. We worship a Jesus who died for what he believed. The least we can do in his name is get on a plane for what we believe.
Okay ... so Driscoll is encouraging everyone to wait until there's a meeting of the minds before making any final judgments about anyone or anything.  I'm glad to know Driscoll is encouraging people to suspend final judgments about the doctrinal purity and character of a man like Jakes who has been preaching for decades, just like Driscoll himself refrained from making final judgments about William Young and Young's novel The Shack back in 2008. Driscoll totally waited to actually go talk to the best-selling author about what his actual views on the Trinity are before going off in public denouncing Young as a heretic.

Oh ... wait a minute ...
[WtH 7-30-2015 a video that seems to preserve the rant is over here, for now.]

 Maybe Mark Driscoll didn't avoid making a rush to a final judgment about anyone and anything in the case of William Young and The Shack. So when Driscoll says we should wait with Jakes, and that we should not assume the worst about mere words like "manifestations" in a doctrinal statement maybe he just means "Do as I say, not as I did."  There needs to be time for the megachurch pastors Driscoll, MacDonald and Jakes to meet and discuss this stuff.  We should give folks the benefit of a doubt because Jakes hangs out with James MacDonald sometimes, I guess, and we are supposed to be doing what Driscoll says we should do and not follow his example. Driscoll seems tentative only because Jakes sometimes associates with MacDonald and MacDonald's cool so a good ol' boy network among megachurch pastors has to count for something, doesn't it? After publicly using Joel Osteen as an example of an unhealthy prosperity theology (Driscoll denunciations can be so stern he can make people sound like heretics even when he agrees they're fellow believers 02-05-2013) and implying that Ed Young Jr's sex sermons were creepy and overselling sex (and obviously not as good as Driscoll's own quarter year Peasant Princess) .... maybe Driscoll just feels he needs to cut a megachurch pastor some slack now? I don't know.

But here is something I am relatively confident about--William Young is, let us remember, a novelist and not a pastor.  He is not regarded by anyone as a pastor, or a theologian, or a spiritual authority on jack squat.  Let me reframe this a bit for further clarity, William Young self-published his one novel with a few other guys' help (who he's been suing, apparently) and it's a novel.  It's a made-up story that does not present itself as a sermon, as a catechism, as a creed, as a confessional statement, or anything other than a tale about a person.  Young never seems to have been out to create the next Nicene Creed or the next Heidelberg catechism or some Westminster Confession.  It's just a novel, and it is to date, apparently the only novel he has published.  There may not even be a second one, folks.

T. D. Jakes, by contrast, is a megachurch pastor who has been in ministry for decades, and Driscoll believes Jakes deserves the most leniency we can muster.  Innocent until Driscoll thinks Jakes is guilty even though Driscoll seems to have not really bothered to investigate things much. Okay, that Senator Grassley probe from 2007 didn't come up with anything untoward.  Untoward was what got Jakes' son Jermaine in legal trouble but that's a different kind of untoward behavior and that's not T. D.'s fault except in the neo-Calvinist realm of headship where "headship means that as the father, even if it's not your fault, it's your responsibility."  Driscoll at least used to put it that way. 

But something seems backwards here.  Wouldn't the person to be uncompromising and confrontational with is an actual pastor who preaches at a megachurch with 30,000 members; who's been in ministry for decadess; who has met with presidents of the United States; and has published numerous books? Wouldn't the person to take the wait-and-see approach have been the one-hit wonder novelist no one had heard of before, who has no theological training, apparently isn't even attending a church, and hasn't even had any other work published?

Since the preacher T. D. Jakes turned out to be Trinitarian enough for Mark Driscoll, and Mark Driscoll started referring to Jakes as "friend" after Elephant Room 2 (for a wile); since Driscoll told Brian Houston he felt convicted to apologize to Osteen (for what, precisely, was not made clear); then it seems that if Driscoll's going to apologize to guys he denounced from the pulpit in 2007 then he should not forget William Young now that he's publicly said nice stuff about Joel Osteen and T. D. Jakes. 

Not that Wenatchee The Hatchet has any particular fondness for T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen OR William Young.  William Young sued the people who helped him get his book published. So, eh, maybe Young wouldn't have been a significant figure to reach out to.  Osteen and Jakes have prestige and money.  Young was a one-hit wonder who ended up in litigation about the one book he's known for.  Still, ff Driscoll's made a point of getting friendly with people he denounced as false teachers why skip the third out of three?

anniversaries HT Throckmorton--a year ago Paul Tripp had resigned from the MH BoAA

A lot can change in a year.
Last year Mark Driscoll was talking about how reconciliation was hard because "we're not entirely sure who they are" but this week he was explaining how he met with people who were formerly pastors for reconciliation.

Michael Van Skaik and company couldn't have sent out more than 100 letters circa 2013 to people they couldn't identify ...

but a year ago today, as Throckmorton's just posted, Paul Tripp had resigned from the MH BoAA.

a haiku about men who never give up

the cologne of men who get
restraining orders.

Charisma transforms a month old video interview into this week's news, teary-eyed Driscoll says God conviced him of sin against Joel Osteen

Now to date nobody from Osteen's camp seems to have confirmed that Mark Driscoll contacted Osteen, have they?

If Driscoll could feel convicted to reach out to Osteen to apologize, a guy that Driscoll doesn't seem to have met and who seven years ago had no idea who this Driscoll guy even was, why couldn't Mark Driscoll have met with people who posted at Repentant Pastor. 

But, hey, if Mark Driscoll has felt convicted to issue public apologies regarding nasty stuff he's said about famous people who have never met him ...  and particularly if Mark and Grace Driscoll would like to clear up for the record that Mark Driscoll is not a misogynist ... then how about sharing some apologetic words with Adriana Lima?  For those who don't remember Mark Driscoll's little rant.  Check it out after the break. This was stuff from the fall of 2006.

NYT Rolling Stone editor who oversaw UVA story to step down

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Driscoll 7-21-14 "... we don't know how to reconcile ... because we're not entirely sure who they are ... ." Driscoll 7-27-15 "After meeting with many former church leaders for reconciliation ... ." Okay, who?
As well, one of the things that has been complex is the fact that a lot of the people that we are dealing with in this season remain anonymous. And so we don't know how to reconcile, or how to work things out with, with people because we're not entirely sure who they are, and so that has, that has made things a little more complex and difficult as well. [emphasis added]
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.

Okay, so last year circa July 21, 2014 Mark Driscoll stated that "we don't know hot to reconcile, or how to work things out with, with people because we're not entirely sure who they are ... "

So if Mark Driscoll and company weren't entirely sure who these folks were it seems Driscoll had a chance to meet with "many former church leaders for reconciliation and closure in Seattle". 

Great.  Who?  Name `em.   Better yet, let them volunteer their identities so as to confirm for the record that Driscoll met with them.  That would be helpful. 

What a difference a year makes, apparently.

Was it "We Are Not Anonymous"?  Was it Joyful Exiles? Was it We Love Mars Hill? Was it Repentant Pastors?  How did Driscoll come to discover who the many former church leaders were that he lately said he's met with for reconciliation and closure?  It would be fantastic if guys could come by and confirm that these meetings took place. 

Meanwhile, the mystery that can also get explained is how things went from "we're not entirely sure who they are" to suddenly retroactively announcing that a bunch of people were met with.

Comments are open, and go into moderation.  Come now, you who were once pastors, come and confirm the accuracy of the claim. 

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.

while Mark Driscoll Ministries gift solicitation, question, what is Mark Driscoll's net worth? Site claims he's worth 2.5 milion
Long ago, Mark Driscoll spoke from the pulpit about the problem of a ministry being named after one guy.
Part 3 of 1st Corinthians
Pastor Mark Driscoll
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
January 22, 2006

You know, what happens is they get these teams and they fight. Everybody gets a jersey, and it’s like you’re rock stars. And the indie rockers don’t like all the teeny-bop pop fans and everything’s sorta – and they carried this sort of cultural arrogance into the church. And they said, “Well, Paul’s my guy”, or “Peter’s my guy, Cephas.” Or “No, Apollos is my guy.” And they broke off into teams in the church. So they’d show up with their jerseys on, you know. The Raider fans over here in their silver and black, and then the Hawks fans over here on this side, and the East Coast hip-hoppers, and the West Coast hip-hoppers. And the whole church is divided and fighting, and they need not be.

They need not be the team of Paul, the team of Apollos, the team of Peter. Because Paul and Peter and Apollos all love Jesus, all said the same thing. They all serve the same God. Apollos was a great preacher. Peter was the leader of the disciples. And also Paul was the one who had founded the church. There were good reasons to respect each of these men. And what happened was that the church had an elevated sense of human leadership, and they adored, appreciated, admired and almost worshiped their leaders too much. This still happens in Christianity, right? Some of you love John Calvin. Some of you love John Wesley. Some of you love whomever it might be.

Some of you have teams that you consider yourself to be on, theologically or philosophically insofar as how church should be done. And what happens is that certain Christians get elevated like rock stars, and it’s not good. It’s not good at all. I know one church the pastor’s name is the domain for the church website. That’s not good. Like if it was and that was our website, you’d go, “You know that’s a little much.” That’s a little much, because if he gets hit by a car do we gotta get a new name? That seems that the church should be more than a focus on one person. That’s why to be honest with this church I try not to show up and speak at every event.
It’s amazing how few Christians have a pastor and have a church that they actually are connected to, involved in, and growing in. There is a growing number of people who profess to be Christians and just claim to be on Team Jesus. “I don’t need a church. Just me and Jesus, we hang.” These are people who have no respect for spiritual authority. They don’t have any real heart to show up and contribute to and benefit their church. They just tend to be people who are very – quite frankly – arrogant and proud. They’re so close to Jesus and they’re so much like him that they don’t need anybody else [emphasis added]

Well, it turned out that before Driscoll even preached that sermon somebody had set up   Now Mark Driscoll Ministries is up, which makes the irony of Mark Driscoll incrementally becoming everything he once criticized more striking.

http://mark driscoll  .org/support/ 

And the question of whether Mark Driscoll is a member of a church and submitted to spiritual authority of any kind is not the only pertinent question as to whether Mark Driscoll has been living out what he spent 18 years in ministry telling other people to do.

There's another question, seeing as publishers have retroactively amended books that had citation issues.  Given the royalties on book and other media sales and other assets how much does the ministry need gifts?  There's also the question of how and why Mark Driscoll, particularly since his video interview with Brian Houston, opted to make an apologetic overture to Joel Osteen, a man whose teaching he denounced in 2007 as errant. 

So, given that Driscoll's become and embodied so much of what he preached against there's a question whether he should get donations on that basis.  Then there's a pragmatic question of what he may be currently worth.  Even if he were preaching and teaching content Christians could whole-heartedly endorse there is also a question of whether he needs the money. 

Whether or not this website is accurate, it claims that Driscoll's net worth is $2.5 million.

Since Driscoll told Brian Houston he'd made an overture toward Joel Osteen and we can recall the Elephant Room 2 situation where Driscoll pronounced T. D. Jakes an orthodox Trinitarian (notwithstanding that Mark Driscoll denounced Jakes as a word-faith heretical wingnut in a 2007 lecture), what does the site say they're worth?