Saturday, May 07, 2016


things have been more laconic or dormant here at Wenatchee The Hatchet lately.  There's plenty to write about but it's not getting written just yet.  My friend Wendy's been writing about some stuff I hope to get around to addressing but it may take some time to get to that.  There's a small hill of background reading I'm doing revisiting prophecy and divination as political speech in ancient near eastern contexts and what might not seem to be a related survey of the way the magisterial Reformers defined prophecy in the 1520s and 1530s. Then there's also reading I'm doing in the Bible itself here and there as to what prophecy is described as being in the Bible itself. What I'm finding from a few too many people is that they seem eager to hinge a set of arguments on things said about the Bible rather than by the Bible itself and that this nexus of second-hand cases taken as coming from primary sources has revolved around things like what "prophecy" is and whether what is now known as an elder or pastor fits into that rubric. 

As I've written in the past, I do not consider myself either an egalitarian or a complementarian. These seem less like sincerely held Christian precepts to me than American political ideologies interpolated on to biblical texts to settle disputs about who should have access to what levels of institutional power within American Christian non-profit networks.  I am leaning toward the belief that because the nature of those power structures has been misinterpreted or misrepresented as to what the biblical texts say about the authority roles invoked that neither side is necessarily doing more than having a pissing contest about who can appropriate (and impose upon) biblical texts to rationalize a contemporary concern.

This is, in a way, what people from the New Perspective proposed must be borne in mind about the Reformers themselves.  The concerns of the Reformers may not have been the concerns of the biblical authors whose literary works were subject to such heated sixteenth century debate.

That gets at two, sort of, projects.  A third that may draw on the reading done for the first two may be what actually gets written.  On the whole I have not seen those who have taken up the activity known as watchblogging writing about watchblogging in a way that seems to make a case for its legitimacy on scriptural, historical or literary grounds.  It's not that such a case cannot be made.  I am certain that it is possible to take the sum of the scriptures, work from the magisterial Reformers, a brief overview of theories of the press, and a few other things to formulate a defense of the legitimacy of watchblogging with some necessary caveats as to the strengths and weaknesses of the enterprise inherent to its nature.  But that will take time. 

To the extent that Mark Driscoll bailed on Mars Hill and restorative discipline and has gone off to do his thing in Phoenix he has, paradoxically, given me a great deal more time to do more analysis of what happened (i.e. this year's series of posts using Ellul's writing on propagandists and propaganda to highlight how Mark Driscoll is not a pastor but a propagandist) and to get around (I hope) to formulating a case for the legitimacy of watchblogging with the benefit of no longer feeling quite so urgently obliged to chronicle things now that the twenty years of Mars Hill draws more definitively to a close. Because we seem to be in an era in which there could be more rather than less watchblogging and because Michael Spencer and Frank Turk's debate from 2009 ultimately, I believe, centered on a debate about the basis for any legitimacy of what is now called watchblogging, I feel some obligation as a former member of Mars Hill and as a reader/sometime contributor to Internet Monk to see what I can do to potentially illuminate this set of topics.  So, all that's to say that by deciding to quit when he did the way he did, Mark Driscoll did Wenatchee The Hatchet a favor.

Because as alert regular readers will know, I've been fairly happy to get back to writing about the kinds of stuff I was writing about before things went watchblog.  Music, cartoons, comics, stuff like that.  There's still posts I've been meaning to write about the music of Ferdinand Rebay, for instance.  There's stuff I've been wanting to write about regarding Leonard B. Meyer on romanticism and cross referencing that with Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast & Slow.

There's also a slow-incubating project in which I mean to consider Meyer's work in tandem with Francis Schaeffer's work on cultural decline and artistic directions.  I appreciated Schaeffer's work when I was a teen and in my twenties.  Now that I'm, er, more middle-aged I think that evangelicals who have relied upon Schaeffer as a kind of shortcut substitute to their own engagement with the arts need to find ways to move past his work.  Schaeffer has some useful things to share about the limits of the arts but there's a lot about the arts and their history he got spectacularly, embarrassingly wrong. As a stick-in-the-mud Presbyterian sort I think that in some sense this will be more gently and easily done "in house" within a Reformed context because when the fiftieth anniversary of a certain trilogy comes along the awkwardly obvious legend of WASP decline in Schaeffer's trilogy will not get soft-pedaled by progressives, least of all Frank Schaeffer.  I sometimes feel that the completely un-nuanced and confrontationally binary approach of the father has been carried on by the son.  Yes, there's valuable ideas and concerns in there ... but ... well ... we'll get to that later.  That's another project in the incubation process. 

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Mark DeMoss off board of Liberty U. in wake of public disagreement with Falwell Jr's Trump endorsement, revisiting the irony of DeMoss being concerned about Trump's bullying but not quite Driscoll's
... in late April, according to DeMoss, the executive committee of the Liberty University Board of Trustees voted to ask DeMoss to resign from the Board’s executive committee. For many years, DeMoss chaired that same committee.
"Donald Trump is the only candidate who has dealt almost exclusively in the politics of personal insult,” DeMoss said. “The bullying tactics of personal insult have no defense — and certainly not for anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ. That’s what’s disturbing to so many people. It’s not Christ-like behavior that Liberty has spent 40 years promoting with its students.”

It appears that DeMoss is off the board at Liberty University. 

We noted the irony a few months ago about Mark DeMoss having sounded off on Trump while being listed (even today) as a prayer supporter of Driscoll.

DeMoss is listed as a supporter of Mark "there is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus" Driscoll.  Now even if someone were to say that William Wallace II was all an act, a parallel between Trump and Driscoll isn't implausible.  Both men built careers as public figures sounding off on various topics via screens with a week or so for editing as an interval.  Anyone recall that in the earliest coverage of Driscoll he was willing to joke that he was to the right of Pat Buchanan on politics?  And we should note that even if we assume Mark Driscoll really apologized for the substance of what he said as William Wallace II in his 2006 book (which he didn't) Driscoll's never addressed the "pile of dead bodies" statement from 2007 that was made public by Chris Rosebrough around 2012.

Nor, for that matter, has Paul Tripp's comment that Mars Hill was the most abusive ministry culture he'd seen been addressed by either Mark Driscoll or Mark DeMoss.

 "This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with,” former Mars Hill pastor Paul Tripp said.
If Mark DeMoss's objections about Trump's use of the politics of personal insults were to have any weight, it might help if he'd clarified that the politics of personal insults as practiced by Mark Driscoll was objectionable, too, or that we might have some evidence that Driscoll was really changed.

But ...
02.20.16 9:01 PM ET
Driscoll’s new website lists more than two dozen church leaders who are “praying for The Trinity Church.” Among them is Mark DeMoss, owner of a Christian public relations firm who worked for Mars Hill in 2014 during the church’s many crises. DeMoss is not working for The Trinity Church, but said he’s just trying to “be a friend,” and offered insight into what he says are Driscoll’s plans.

“I think he’s very realistic and he realizes that he might launch a church speaking to 100 people. I don’t think he’s under any big idea that he’s going to open the doors and have a megachurch immediately. But, I think he has the potential to do that again.” [emphasis added]

Although DeMoss wouldn’t name anyone in particular, he says Driscoll “spent a considerable amount of time reaching out to people that he knew or thought he had offended or hurt in some way and did whatever he could do to right those relationships. He’s had some success with that, but there have been some people who were not receptive to a restored relationship.”

So according to DeMoss, Driscoll was being realistic and realized he might launch a church speaking to 100 people and wasn't under any big idea he would open doors and have a megachurch immediately.

Right, so ... .
Pastor Mark and his family moved to the Phoenix valley last year. After spending months praying specifically for a church building with 1,000+ seats along the 101 Freeway, Pastor Mark believes that God has supernaturally provided. [emphasis added] Like most older church buildings, this one needs some service projects and financial investment to make it a good home, but we are excited about its potential.

We know that God has gone before us, preparing an opportunity to minister. This building provides a wonderful opportunity for our mission: Why? So that lives and legacies are transformed!
We've noted this before, too, that it would seem that if Mark Driscoll's turned over a new leaf that holding out for a 1,000+ seat venue able to host multiple services before formally launching a church doesn't look like turning over that new a leaf.  Twenty years ago Mark Driscoll, notoriously, was okay with maybe a dozen-ish people at a Bible study that was sort of a church plant.  Now he's hoping for an Airstream and talking about how if your dream isn't so big that only God could get it to work then it's not ... big enough?  Driscoll, by his own account ten years ago, was shooting for the moon and plotting world domination. There is no evidence, based on his recent vodcast statements about having a vision so big that without God it can't work, that Driscoll's doing much more than recycling his old vision-casting approach and recycling his old sermons and wanting a vastly bigger launch for this new church than the one he started twenty years ago.


in a "the title pretty much says it, it seems" Throckmorton has reported that ...

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

new contributions at Mockingbird, getting back to cartoons and superheroes, a few thoughts on film criticism in an era of sympathy for the devils

Certain semi-notorious topics withstanding, this blog has never been dedicated to any one set of topics.  And I've never stopped taking time here and there to write about the DCAU.  Actually ... I've written a lot of stuff about the DCAU and the DC inspired films for Mockingbird over the years.

Here's a long-form piece of criticism about my not enjoying Batman vs Superman, why I didn't much enjoy it, and why I've found that in some ways negative reviews of the film have also been disappointing.

It's not surprising that film critics might find the religious images invoked by Batman vs Superman hamfisted without even being able to explain why.  It sometimes seemed as if literacy were at a low ebb on the topic of religion and comics alike for film critics.  But then ... let's take a quick look at what film critics had to say about The Witch earlier this year.

If you’re asking me, I find this film to be a passionate paean to the feminine. The forest and the farm at its edge are metaphors we’d all do well to contemplate, but human aggression delivers the most crushing blows here. I’d like to think that, for thoughtful viewers, The Witch may crystallize, then fossilize, and then transcend centuries of abuse, mistrust, and fear. But make no mistake: there is also arrogance here, and cruelty, and selfishness. I am woman, watch me burn. And hang. And drown. And fly through the moonlit night.

Not everyone got the same impression about the film, which has gotten praise for thinking outside of one box while studiously thinking inside another.

By Will Leitch
February 19, 2016

The Witch is the sort of horror movie that gets a ton of praise for its dogged resistance to conventional scary movie tropes. An indie hit out of Sundance last year, The Witch is the type of film that’s a success at film festivals but tends to evaporate once released into the wild; what works in the relentless hustle of a festival can feel airless when introduced to the elements of regular human audiences. The Witch is wrapped up in its own views of religion, of sin, of feminine power, but more than anything else, it is wrapped up in itself.

Which other box?  The way the film has been parsed as an ode to female empowerment has been interesting to read this year, particularly with commentary like this:

Normally, the fall of the main character in the final scene of a horror movie would be a director’s gloomy or gleeful surrender to evil. But The Witch presents Thomasin’s conversion as a victory for her: Embracing Satan allows her to escape from the physical hardship, moral hypocrisy, and gendered violence that’s tortured her thus far. (Given how few people in the Calvinist universe actually belong to the divine elect, hedging your bets by becoming a cursed, uberpowerful immortal is just good sense.) I can’t overstate just how shocking this moment feels, when you realize that the movie has up until now perpetrated a fundamental deception about its own point of view. All along, Eggers has stood on the Devil’s side; the triumph of the forces he’s trained us to dread and fear actually constitutes a happy ending. This hugely daring reversal could read as a middle finger to viewers, who’ve spent the past hour and change sympathizing with the pilgrims and rooting against the dark hosts. But don’t have such a limiting, orthodox view of what a horror movie ought to accomplish! Let the film’s ending serve as a reminder—as a certain goat might say—how delicious heresy can be.
So when film critics leap at the chance to propose that a young women who decides to join a coven after her family is killed off has gained agency by more or less dealing with witches that comes off as, well, one commenter at ArtsFuse put it this way:
Another positive review for a movie that I despise more and more with every positive review I see. The only way I can stand this movie is to see it the way that @Mirasalena01 over at The Wild Hunt sees it — as a pogrom against extremism. Otherwise this is just a depressing fairy tale with the message “If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em.” Eggers could’ve saved the energy and money he wasted on period costume and dialogue and filmed this in the modern day as the story of an abused girl giving up and joining a murderous drug gang. But then it wouldn’t have been given rave reviews and been praised as a “passionate paean to the feminine.” Argh!

and then there's the observation that joining the team of evil hardly seems like much of a choice ...

There are works of art that are praised by critics because, in a phrase, those critics can read themselves and their agendas on to the work.  When a character who succumbs to a case of Stockholm syndrome is presented as gaining agency for that reaction it may be worth asking whether the odes to girl power would have been the same had the end of the film shown Thomasin joining the Klan or the Republican party or some other organization not normally high on the list of groups that get praised by progressive arts journals in Boston. 

So in a larger cinematic context in which these kinds of conversations happen, it could be argued that the sloppy invocations of God and the devil made by Batman vs Superman aren't just ragged and incompetent at the surface level, they might be symptomatic of an entertainment industry sufficiently lacking literacy in both the comics its adapting and the biblical/historical tropes it attempts to invoke. If Blake claimed Milton was of the devil's party without knowing it, these days a whole lot of folks know they're of the devil's party and consider it the only real path to freedom.

In such a moment having Lex Luthor flip around between saying devils come down from the heavens and then saying one of those devils is God could have been coherent if Baudelaire were invoked.  But in the film we got?  It's more colloquially likely to get known as mixing metaphors.

Put Luthor's speeches together and we get a motive that is a mixed metaphor, which might sum up the problems with the script.  We're not given any insight into the screenwriters having a clear sense that they KNOW Luthor's motivation is expressed in a cumulatively mixed metaphor.  If you stick to the same metaphor from start to finish, like The Witch, for instance, you have a coherent story, at least, even if it can seem to be a blank slate on which film critics write what they wish. Batman vs Superman is the sort of film that won't let you, the viewer, decide what's going on, but it's too incoherent in its deployment of the canons of either DC comics or the Judeo-Christian literature to come across as knowing what it's doing.

oh, postscript

Monday, May 02, 2016

looking back on the prophet/priest/king thing at Mars Hill, Deuteronomy warned not to appoint a king who was an outsider, which gets us to the question of why Turner was brought on

Since Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner have been named as plaintiffs in a complaint this year it might be worth revisiting everything that was said about Sutton Turner as the "king" of Mars Hill.  Even if we set aside concerns that the prophet/priest/king taxonomy formulated within Mars Hill seemed like little more than a Myers & Briggs Type Indicator but for church leaders ... there's something else to consider.  Anybody remember what the Old Testament had to say about the appointment of kings in Israel?  No?  Shame on you for not reading Deuteronomy for the joy of it ...
Deuteronomy 17:14-15
14 “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.

That would seem clear enough, whoever the appointed king is, he should not be a foreigner but one chosen from among the people.  Even if some of us had ... to put it VERY NICELY, severe doubts about Munson's fitness to be the formal president of Mars Hill ... he did at least the homeboy qualification.  Turner?  He was brought in from literally another country.

What's kind of breath-taking is how obvious it was Sutton Turner was literally a fly-in from overseas.  If Mars Hill was going to use the language of "king" and "kingly" gifts and insist that there was a scripturally defensible basis for there being a "king" the least they could have done was attempt consistency with their own jargon by sticking to leaders cultivated from within.  A work night does not necessarily permit an exhaustive survey of what "could" be quoted ... but it's interesting how defensive Sutton Turner and Justin Dean turned out to be about Tripp's comments ...

as documented above when, if they'd just read the Bible and considered the prohibition against kings appointed from outside the people neither of these guys should have been entirely shocked that their respective tenures within Mars Hill ended as Mars Hill spiraled into death.  Let's review, shall we, what got said about the challenges Turner faced assimilating into Mars Hill and the preparatory praise he got.
In April 2011, I joined Mars Hill as the General Manager and reported to the Executive Pastor. I had enjoyed the teaching via podcast from overseas since 2007. My family and I looked forward to attending and serving in the church that we had enjoyed from afar, a church that loved Jesus and preached the gospel. I looked forward to using my gifts and experience to further the mission of Jesus through the local church.
When I arrived at Mars Hill, the financial books were a mess. During my first week, I asked the finance director to bring me the financials. He said he could provide me with September 2010 because they were about to close out the books for October. Financial reporting was six months behind. I thought, “How do they know how they’re doing financially?!” The finance team handed me a bank statement. (If you are in finance or accounting, you just cringed as you read the last sentence.)

Dear Mars Hill,
Earlier this month Pastor Sutton Turner informed our board of his intention to resign from his current staff and elder position. His personal decision is a sober acknowledgement that it would not be financially feasible for him to stay on staff as the church rightsizes itself, and secondly, not emotionally prudent to subject his family to what has been an ongoing season of personal attacks. We want to be clear: there are no disqualifying factors related to his decision.

Sutton put it this way: “Since 2007, Pastor Mark has impacted my life in a significant way. I am thankful to call him my brother, my pastor, and my friend. When I came to Mars Hill in 2011, my plan was to be here for a year, get theologically trained, and focus on the adoption of my son before entering back into the business world. Three and a half years later, I have been able to serve a church that I love as a staff member, but it is now time that I transition off of staff and return to the business world.”
In other words, in the BoAA account Turner was quoted as saying the plan was to show up, train for a bit in theology and then go back into the business world.  Really?  This was kind of second-hand although Turner may well have said precisely what he was quoted as saying.  It's just that that account makes it seem as though Sutton Turner himself did not imagine he was going to end up being a "king".

Executive Elders
Current Financial Situation
Saturday, March 17, 2012
After being at Mars Hill for 10 months and in my current role for 3 months, I now have a picture of a very broken and fundamentally financially unsustainable organization. I am sorry that I have not been able to really see the financial picture of the organization until just this week. So many distractions with A29, Real Marriage, GWOW, distractions with Churches, my Eldership, and a very incompetent staff when I arrived has kept me from not seeing the picture. But now I see the organization very clearly and we have some difficult decisions to make.

"GWOW" is most likely a shorthand for God's Work, Our Witness. 

One of the greatest and most harmful events was Pastor Jamie resigning and leaving me in this job as General Manager/Executive Elder. From early June until he resigned in August, he had basically checked out. So I had less than 6 weeks as General Manager before becoming #1 King without being an Elder. Then finally in November, I was made an Executive Pastor without have any creditability with the staff. This single fact hindered my ability to really even understand the organization or the people, much less see the problems as they had existed for a long time.

Of course ... if you think about it all in light of Deuteronomy 17 why WOULD he have had any credibility? He was a complete outsider who was brought in as a hired hand rather than appointed from among the people. 

Now  compare Van Skaik's account of Turner describing his path to Mars Hill from earlier to Mark Driscoll's introductions for Sutton Turner.
 By: Pastor Mark Driscoll
 Posted: Nov 23, 2011

Earlier this year, the Turner family moved around the world just to be a part of Mars Hill Church. They’d been listening to the podcast for many years, and when the opportunity arose to join the ministry, Sutton left a lucrative job in the Middle East to use his gifts to serve the church. [emphasis added]

Pastor Sutton’s experience has already been a huge benefit. He has a degree from Harvard Business School, led multibillion-dollar organizations, and even worked as an executive pastor for a number of years at a large church in Texas. More importantly, he is a godly man with a delightful family.

By God’s grace, Mars Hill Church is in an amazing season of growth. With that comes significantly more complexities, however. We need help and we’ve been searching for a leader of Sutton’s caliber for awhile. God is faithful and brought the right man at the right time.

and from the letters announcing Jamie Munson's resignation
Pastor Dave and I both believe Pastor Scott is the best choice for this role in this season. Pastor Scott [Thomas] has been very clear in his love and commitment to Mars Hill and has said he will gladly serve wherever he is needed, which we deeply appreciate. Administratively, Pastor Jamie was our senior "king" and his departure requires very competent leadership to cover his many responsibilities. Thankfully, Pastor Jamie was a great leader and humble man. He surrounded himself with great people. This allows us to not have the kind of crisis that could otherwise ensue. Pastor Dave and I agree that Sutton Turner should function as our highest-ranking "king." Sutton is new to staff, but not to ministry. He is a former executive pastor of a large church. Educationally, he is a graduate of Texas A&M, the SMU Cox School of Business, and Harvard Business School. Professionally, he has recently served as the CEO of a company that has nearly 1,600 employees. Prior to that he served as the CEO of another company that under his leadership grew from 0 to 500 employees in the first year. He and his family moved to Seattle sensing a call to serve at Mars Hill, and we believe he is a gift from God to us for our future. He is currently well into the eldership process so be in prayer for that as well as his many duties at the church. [emphasis added]
So it would seem that while Turner was promoted with gusto by the top dogs at Mars Hill at his arrival subsequent documents reveal that he was not very warmly received and he found his role as #1 King to be problematic in terms of relating to people already in the culture.  We know now that there was a practically catastrophic "season" of terminations and layoffs in the year and ahalf after Turner joined.

 As we now know, Tripp ended up articulating a concern that Turner was not helpful for Driscoll:

“Sutton is fundamentally unhelpful for Mark. Sutton plays to all of Mark’s weaknesses and none of Mark’s strengths.” He pleaded with them saying that what Mark needs in an Executive Pastor is a “55 year-old seasoned godly man who watches over Mark’s soul as he administrates the church, and who can pull Mark into a room and say ‘you can’t do that in a meeting’ and you need to call another meeting and ask for forgiveness from the people you just spoke to. He doesn’t need a man who is his trigger man.” He made it clear that Sutton lacks the emotional and spiritual maturity to be where he is at in leadership.

So it would seem, in sum, that when mars Hill leadership was promoting its new "king" in Sutton Turner the leaders had managed to invoke a patina of plausibility for three types of leaders without having bothered to conduct themselves in the appointment of those leaders in a way that could be squared with the most basic instructions about how to NOT appoint them.

Sure, there were those in Mars HIll who believed that appointing leaders from inside led to conflicts of interest and problems ... but the irony we've noted here at Wenatchee The Hatchet was that as Turner redesigned the governance of Mars Hill it led to a Board that had a number of the same guys who played key advisory roles in the formulation of the 2007-era governance that Turner came to view as so problematic.

What neither Sutton Turner nor Justin Dean seemed able to realize ... perhaps because they were outsiders brought in to a culture they didn't understand, was that the guys who ended up on the BoAA became a "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" kind of board. Larry and Michael were still around and still ended up in advisory roles.  So, ironically perhaps, Turner's redesigned board came to embody a board that Tripp said, by its very nature of being just outsiders who weren't part of the church Mars Hill itself any longer, could not do its job.

So ... well it might be said that not only was Turner an outsider who was made "king" over Mars Hill but that the board of advisors and accountability could be described as kings who ruled from a distance. 

believe it or not, Washington state Secretary of State website says that Mark and Grace Driscoll's Lasting Legacy, LLC isn't inactive ... just yet

Technically it's expiration date was the end of April and it would have seemed moot had the company not gotten an extra extension of some kind, apparently, in the year after Driscoll resigned.

UBI Number 603199549
Category LLC
Active/Inactive Active
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date 04/17/2012
Expiration Date 04/30/2016
Inactive Date 
Duration Perpetual
Governing Persons

23632 HIGHWAY 99 STE F441
EDMONDS , WA 98026 

23632 HIGHWAY 99 STE F441
EDMONDS , WA 980269211

As we saw with Mars Hill Church, it can take a few months for a corporation to get listed as inactive from an expiration date.

On Mission, LLC is finally listed as inactive
UBI Number 603258287
Category LLC
Active/Inactive Inactive
State Of Incorporation CO
WA Filing Date 12/06/2012
Expiration Date 12/31/2015
Inactive Date 04/01/2016
Duration Perpetual

The Mars Hill Foundation for Planting Churches is still active. Mark Driscoll and Dave Bruskas are still listed as President and Secretary for the organization.
UBI Number 603349072
Category REG
Profit/Nonprofit Nonprofit
Active/Inactive Active
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date 10/30/2013
Expiration Date 10/31/2016
Inactive Date 
Duration Perpetual
President DRISCOLL, MARK 1411 NW 50TH ST
Secretary BRUSKAS, DAVID 1411 NW 50TH ST
While it's reported Driscoll has big, big, big plans for a future church in the Phoenix area ..

it would be interesting to find out what the Mars Hill Foundation for Planting Churches actually does, and what churches it's currently funding for planting.

DG Hart asks what it is the New Calvinists really think they've got reasons to be optimistic about with scandal after scandal
After the recent controversies surrounding Darrin Patrick, C. J. Mahaney, and James MacDonald, I was surprised to see Jeff Jue be so positive about the New Calvinism

When asked to clear up what the reference to MacDonald was, Hart provided this link:

Hart just stuck with the departure of JM from The Gospel Coalition in the wake of Elephant Room 2.  There have been other concerns such as piles of debt connected to real estate and a controversy about something to do with MacDonald and gambling.

The Darrin Patrick situation has been a reminder that he was one of the guys who signed off publicly announcing Mark Driscoll should step away from ministry for a while and that Mars Hill was out of Acts 29.  Then that announcement vanished and next year Acts 29 board member Eric Mason and Mark Driscoll are scheduled to speak at the Stronger Man conference.

Of course Hart wasn't even counting former Gospel Coalition participant Mark Driscoll here but add him into the mix and it would seem that between Darrin Patrick, C.J. Mahaney, James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll there's a lot to NOT be positive about with the New Calvinist movement and I say that as a Calvinist. I've been making this point here and there for a few years but I've suggested that over the course of a decade we were going to see some fracturing of the image that Calvinists in the North American scene are a monolith. The old Calvinists and "new Calvinists" have not agreed on that many things in a couple of important areas ... even if non-Calvinists or anti-Calvinists have at times proven, alas, too lazy and ill-informed to keep track of these different "tribes" as a Driscoll would call them.

It might be easier for some of these guys to fixate on complementarian/egalitarian debates rather than look at other stuff. And the zeal with which some have insisted upon a Gospel of properly using your penis hardly seems to have been restricted to Mark Driscoll.

and ...

These days I'm inclined to cast a skeptical eye on both complementarian and egalitarian ideologies, which seem fixated on controlling or seizing access to institutional power within the American church without necessarily stepping back to ask if this kind of power is worth having and if it doesn't by its nature within the United States have a corrupting influence.  The reasons for that have something to do with megachurches being propaganda machines in the sense that propaganda was defined by Jacques Ellul but let's not bore you with that here. There's plenty of posts on Ellul as an author whose work can provide possible insights into Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill ... and possibly the higher profile celebrities of any stripe in celebrity Christianity.