February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Part 2: The Devil
How about this one? Idle gossip and busybodying. 1 Timothy 5:11-15. THIS one is amazing. Ladies this one is especially for you. Some of you say, "Oh, it's not me." Yeah, it is. [emphasis added] 1 Timothy 5:11-15, "but refuse to enroll younger widows for when their passions draw them away from Christ they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that they learn to be idlers" Women learn how to make a lot of free time. Going about from house to house. Well now it would be from email to email and from phone call to phone call. Technology makes idle busybodying far more effective than ever.
And not only idlers but also gossips. They like to talk about people. How are you doing? What are you doing? And this isn't sisterly accountability, this is "I need to know what everybody's doing because I like to know what everybody's doing and then I can tell other people what other people are doing and then I can say, `Hey, you need to pray for so-and-so.' and I can make it sound spiritual so that when I'm gossiping and busy-bodying I'm doing so in a way that seems really Jesus-like." And busybodies, they need to know what everybody's doing. They need to know what everybody's doing, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children and manage their household, right? Stay busy, and give the adversary (that's Satan) no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. Hmm.
A woman who's a gossip and a busybody; a woman who has to put her nose in everybody's business and knows what everybody's going on; know what they're doing, she's working with Satan. Now I know most women would say: "No, no, no. I'm not Satanic, I'm concerned. I'm not Satanic, I'm an intercessor. I'm a prayer warrior. I'm not Satanic, I'm an accountability partner. I'm not Satanic, I'm a concerned friend." Okay, you're a Satanic intercessory prayer warrior accountability partner concerned friend but just start the whole list with "Satanic" so that we don't misunderstand your job description.
Now there's a difference between someone inviting you into their life and saying, "I want to be friends, I want to have an accountable relationship." and you pushing yourself into everyone's life, okay? I'll tell you, in the history of Mars Hill, I mean, I have had to put up a firewall, a moat, guard dogs, and a high wall with barbed wire on the top, and snipers behind it, around my wife. There are certain women who, they just need to know what Grace is doing and they are determined, they say things like, uh, "Hey, we need to have dinner with your family."
[slight chuckle] No you don't.
"Hey, we need to have coffee."
No you don't.
"Hey, phone number."
Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.
"Oh, come on." Nope.
"But I thought you were our pastor."
I am and my first lesson is to tell you you're Satanic.
"Oh, come on, in our last church the pastor's wife [sob] she was my best friend and I got to talk to her all the time."
Well, she was Satanic, too. Give me her number, I'll call her and tell her. We'll help her out.
You ladies KNOW these women. Right? How many of you ladies know these women? They will try first with the hyper-spiritual, "Oh, praise the Lord! I'd love to pray for you. Let's get together. Let's do Christian community. Let's go to heart." If you decline, then they emotionally manipulate, [inhales, sobbing voice], "I thought we were friends, I thought you loved me. I don't have anybody to talk to." It's all manipulation. It's FEMALE manipulation. Some of you ladies, right now? You think, "I can't believe he said that." It's all true. It's Satanic, Satanic.
Paul says, "Don't be a busybody, stay busy." Right? Your husband, your kids, your family, your home, Jesus Christ. You got things to do.
Busybodies stay busy inserting themselves into everyone else's life. In some churches there are certain women, if you call them, they'll know everything that's going on because, somehow, they know everything. There's a difference between being a woman who is invited into someone's life for friendship, prayer and accountability, and a woman who emotionally manipulates and is pushy and is sometimes hyperspiritual and demanding and forces herself in because she's a drama queen and has to be at the center of all the drama. That is a Satanic woman.
You need to believe that and the worst thing you can do is accomodate her. Okay, we'll have you over for dinner once. And then, the next month, it's "Okay, buddy, we haven't been together in a month. We need to get together again. I'm sure a lot has happened in your life and I don't know what it is and I need to know because I need to know everything. I have a God complex of omniscience. I want to know everything about everybody." And what you find with these people, Paul says, they tend to be gossips, meaning you don't just talk to them, then they talk to other people. "Well, did you know their marriage is struggling? Did you know that she's depressed? Did you know that she's post-partum? Do you know that, sexually, her husband's impotent?" These are the conversations I've heard in this building. Really?
Sometimes womens' ministry is the cesspool that this kind of activity flourishes in. Some have asked, "Why don't you have womens' ministry?" The answer is we do, but it's, you have to be very careful, it's like juggling knives. You put the wrong women in charge of womens' ministry, the drama queen, the gossip mama, all of a sudden all the women come together, tell her everything, she becomes the pseudo-elder quasi-matriarch; she's got the dirt on everybody and sometimes the women all get together to just rip on their husbands in the name of prayer requests. Happens all the time. Happens all the time. We have worked very hard so that the women who teach here are like Wendy Alsup who I really love and appreciate and respect. She's not like that. It is not that no woman should lead, that no woman should teach, that no woman should in a position of authority over other women under the authority of their husband, Jesus and the elders it's just that the wrong women tend to want it. The wrong women tend to want it and they tend to want it for the wrong reasons. And sometimes it's the humble woman, who isn't fighting to be the center of drama, control and power; who doesn't have to be up front; she's usually the one who is most capable and qualified. [emphases added]
And for you single men as well I would say be very, very careful because if you're on staff at Mars Hill (everything I say sounds terrible, this will just be added to the pile) there are certain women who will tell you, "I want to marry a pastor." Really? You should want to marry a Christian who loves Jesus, loves you, loves your kids should God give them to you. I've lectured enough Bible colleges and seminaries, the young women who come up and say, "I want to marry a pastor" my immediate default question is, "Are you a gossip? Are you a busybody? Are you a drama queen?" "No. No, I feel called to serve the Lord." Well, you can serve the Lord without being called to be a pastor's wife in fact, take it from me, it's easier to be a woman and serve the Lord than being married to a pastor. You single guys, you gotta be careful, man. There are some women, they want to marry the pastor so they can be the center of power, authority; they can be the first lady; everybody knows them, everybody wants to be their friend, everybody wants to tell them everything; and they can be the center of all the drama. Run for your life. Run for your life. Run for your life. It's Satanic.
See? I need you women to really search your own heart. Are you Satanic? Is this still part of your flesh, this sick desire in you to know everybody's business? I'm not saying you don't have friends but how much are you on the internet? How much time do you spend emailing? How much time do you spend crying and freaking out and knowing everybody's business and on the phone and having to meet with people because, "Did you know so-and-so did such-and-such and so-and-so is feeling this way and did you--?" Are you the center of LOTS of activity? Why? It's Satanic. It's Satanic. I think I've made my point.
Now the thing that's interesting about that February 2008 statement is that it may have been given by Mark Driscoll before the Alsups had decided to leave Mars Hill. Wendy might have to clarify the specifics and details of a timeline of when things happened. I mention all of these because Wendy wrote on the topic of the late Rachel Held Evans earlier in the year and mentioned that at some point since 2008 Mark Driscoll decided and told at least someone that Wendy was a contentious woman.
Rachel Held Evans came to my attention when I was internally questioning things at Mars Hill without the courage to verbalize it. Mark Driscoll had a low bar for labeling a questioning woman as contentious. And I didn’t have the emotional confidence to bear up under such a label. If he had labeled me contentious in the early years (as he later did), I would have believed him. [emphasis added]
Rachel began pointing out problems with Mark Driscoll’s language, and not that he “cussed” (which has always been a ridiculous distraction for those who don’t realize how much they are like Mark in his misogyny and malice toward others). Rachel pointed out Mark’s sinful misogyny long before the folks that propped him up did. She was the young boy in the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes, the one with the courage to first say, “He’s not wearing any clothes.” As a questioner without the courage to verbalize my concerns, I will forever be grateful to RHE for leading the way. Like a Coastguard ice-breaker, she cut a path that made the way for others who followed.
But as Rachel began pointing out legitimate problems with the Neo-Reformed figurehead that was Mark Driscoll at the time, she used these problems to justify questioning the authority of Scripture. Because so many folks misused Scripture, and other well meaning folks disagreed on how to live it out in practice, the bottom line must be simply to love God and love your neighbor. Instead of other laws and instructions in Scripture hanging on that foundation, laws and instructions in Rachel’s paradigm lost their binding quality. In particular, explicit instructions concerning biological sex and sex in marriage were not binding today if they did not seem “loving” by a modern definition of love, one that often doesn’t involve self sacrifice. While Rachel gave me courage to voice my questions and concerns, she also inadvertently gave me clarity that the answer to these concerns was IN Scripture, not opposed to it. The answer was found by BETTER understanding how Scripture presents its Laws and instructions, not by writing them off as no longer relevant....
I have remained convinced that authors like Mark Driscoll and Rachel Held Evans are the kinds of authors we need less of in Christian popular publishing. Even though I can respect that RHE was willing to speak up in disagreement with Mark Driscoll in spite of his popularity I couldn't help but notice that her biggest moment of dissent from his views was in the year of 2011, when she had a book of her own that was also published through Thomas Nelson, as Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage would be. She was not saying much during the plagiarism controversy of late 2013 or the ResultSource controversy of early 2014, controversies brought into the news by Janet Mefferd and Warren Cole Smith respectively, if memory serves. Which is to say, bluntly, progressives may have cheered the demise of Mark Driscoll but that demise was the result of a spectrum-spanning process of journalistic investigation and theological discussion.
What I want to highlight, that I have highlighted, is Wendy pointing out that Mark Driscoll eventually did label her a contentious woman. Whether that designation was handed out after the review of Real Marriage Wendy wrote with her husband in 2012, or earlier, I couldn't say. The reversal of opinion and statement is the thing, that after having said "she's not like" in 2008, not like those women Mark Driscoll regarded as satanic busybodies and gossips interested in being in control, at some point after 2008 he decided Wendy Alsup was a contentious woman after all and said so enough that Wendy eventually heard about it.
As Wendy pointed out, Mark Driscoll had a very low bar for what he regarded as contentious. We've seen for ourselves that Mark Driscoll in 2008 was willing to joke about his regarding women as demonic who expressed interest in being friends with his wife. Regarding women who want to be friends with your wife and say so as demonic circa 2008 and saying so to your staff probably fits the bill of having a low bar for defining a woman as contentious.
Having discussed this in the series of posts analyzing the 2008 spiritual warfare teaching I'm drawing upon it again to establish what Wendy refers to when she wrote that Mark Driscoll had a low bar for defining what kind of woman he considered contentious, by way of demonstrating in a reverse process what things he considered praiseworthy about the ways he protected Grace Driscoll from people he considered bad influences.
the pertinent anecdotes start at about 33:40
... and this is an ENORMOUS part of my relationship with Grace. I mean I still remember when I first started seeing her she, uh, she went off to college, I was still in high school and they ran out of housing so they put her in a guys' dorm. And I was like, "What!?" so I got in the car and I drove to the university and I knocked on all the doors of all the guys on her floor. "Hi. My name is Mark. I love this woman. Anyone talks to her, touches her, thinks about talking about touching her I will beat them. Literally I threatened twenty guys. Just knocked on every door. No way she's gonna get messed with. No way.
Later on when she transferred to another university, WSU, she's five hours away. And she moved out there and her phone wasn't hooked up yet and we didn't have cell phones. And I told her, "When you get there, go to a pay phone. Call me. Let me know you got there safe." Well she ... didn't call so I got in the car and I drove there. Five hours. The day I had to work. And I knocked on the door. She answered it and I said, "Whu, you didn't call." She said, "I forgot." I said, "Are you okay?" She said, "I'm okay." So, okay, good, I got in the car and I drove home. Just checking. Six hundred miles. Who cares? It's Grace.
... even emotionally, people send her nasty emails, text messages, talk trash about me, leave the church and want to take parting shots at her. She has nothing to do with any of it. So I even put a white/black list on her email and some people so some people can email her and the rest come to me. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. So that she doesn't have to feel bad because people are taking shots at her. That's my girl. No shots. That's the rule. [emphasis added]
But Grace Driscoll trained in public relations ... so her ability to deal with the public would seem to be a given. It would not be very difficult to say that those things Mark Driscoll boasted from the pulpit were signs of his chivalrous care for the woman he loves could be seen as paranoid, jealous and controlling.
Between the plagiarism and the Result Source contract and patterns of behavior that could be regarded as paranoid and controlling on the part of Mark Driscoll, if Wendy concluded Driscoll had some character issues and wrote about her concerns on that issue and, in response to that, Mark Driscoll decided she was contentious then this probably tells us more about Mark Driscoll than it does about Wendy Alsup.
What makes Driscoll's praise of Wendy so peculiar in February 2008 was this was during the same session where he explicitly said that distrust of the Mars Hill executive elders was a demonic thing.
I think one of the great myths that has come about (it's a demonic lie) is that myself, the executive elders, the senior leaders we don't care about people. I was the only one who did ANY counseling until we had 800 people. We still do tons of shepherding, counseling, spiritual warfare, conflict. But we try to do so in a way that is humble, that isn't "and here is who I served and here are the demons we cast out and here's the list of people that I've healed." That's demonic. The truth is I love the people as much--actually, more than anyone in this church. And the senior leaders, the campus pastors, the departmental leaders, the executive elders love the people in this church as much or more than anyone else in this church. And one of my great concerns is not just, "Can you hold hands and help sheep?" but "can you also flip the staff over and defend against a wolf?" You HAVE to have that discernment, that courage, and that ability to tell someone: "You are in sin. That is false doctrine. You are not qualified to be a leader. If you do not repent you are not welcome here. And I will speak truthfully to those who want to follow you because my job is for the well-being of the sheep."
So distrusting the Mars Hill executive elders in the wake of the 2007 governance changes and what turned out to be kangaroo court trials for Paul Petry and Bent Meyer came from a myth and a demonic lie, but Wendy was great because she wasn't like the demonic busybody gossipy women in February 2008. But then ... something happened. Wendy and Andy Alsup left Mars Hill some time in the 2008 year, perhaps. Exactly when Driscoll decided Wendy was contentious can't be gleaned from Wendy's post,, but what can be understood is that Wendy deciding to publicly criticize Driscoll for his views and conduct probably had a role in Mark Driscoll changing his mind on whether Wendy was one of "those women".