Monday, February 10, 2020

Christianity Today: Acts 29 CEO Steve Timmis removed amid `accusations of abusive leadership', revisiting the somewhat opaque early phase of Acts 29 and its history of having leaders who have been described as overbearing UPDATE: Andrew Jones adds some background to early A29 history

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/february/acts-29-ceo-steve-timmis-removed-spiritual-abuse-tch.html
As CEO of Acts 29, Steve Timmis was an effective and respected leader. During his seven years at the helm, the church planting network rebounded from the fallout around its co-founder Mark Driscoll and expanded from 300 mostly US churches to 800 around the world.A gray-haired British pastor with sharp Bible teaching and deep passion for mission, Timmis was known for the model of intensive gospel community developed at his 120-person church in the middle of England, The Crowded House. He emphasized “ordinary life with gospel intentionality.”But while his international reputation grew, some who knew Timmis in his ordinary life—who prayed, fellowshipped, and evangelized with him in living rooms, offices, and pubs—saw a different side.

“People were and are afraid of Steve Timmis,” said Andy Stovell, a former elder who led alongside him for 14 years at The Crowded House in Sheffield.

Fifteen people who served under Timmis described to Christianity Today a pattern of spiritual abuse through bullying and intimidation, overbearing demands in the name of mission and discipline, rejection of critical feedback, and an expectation of unconditional loyalty.

In a letter to elders when he left in 2016, Stovell said, “I am not persuaded by the explanation that this is a case of strong leadership inevitably leading to some feathers being ruffled. People have been bruised by Steve’s style. People have become cowed due to it.”

Two weeks ago, internal reports raised similar concerns about Timmis’s leadership in Acts 29, and the board voted on Monday to remove him as CEO. Acts 29 president Matt Chandler announced the news in a video sent out to the network the following day, saying, “For where we’re headed next, we needed to transition Steve out of this role.”

...

Fellow British pastor Melvin Tinker said while teaching a training program alongside Timmis, students from other evangelical traditions began to complain that Timmis was “dismissive” toward those who brought up other views of church life. Tinker, vicar of St. John’s Newland church in Hull, met with him at the time to address their feedback. Though Tinker had known Timmis for over 30 years and considered him a close friend, Timmis’s response to the meeting ultimately led to the end of their teaching together.

“If Steve is challenged in any way, which he always takes as a threat, then the tables are turned and the challenger is made out to be the one at fault,” said Tinker, who saw the same pushback emerge during the decade his son, Michael, was a member of Timmis’s church. “This is classic manipulation.”
...

https://www.wthrockmorton.com/2020/02/10/what-is-going-on-at-acts-29/


By now, it is common knowledge that Acts 29’s CEO Steve Timmis was fired. According a report in Christianity Today, he was let go “amid accusations of abusive leadership.” The ripple effects are significant. His church in the UK is investigating and his publisher stopped selling his books. All of this is in the CT article.
The essence of the charges against Timmis involve micromanaging and defensiveness when challenged. According to the CT piece, Acts 29 staff members brought this to Acts 29 president Matt Chandler’s attention in 2015. However, Chandler led the dismissal of those staffers and required them to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to get their severance packages.
It is worth noting that Steve Timmis was on Acts 29’s board when Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church was removed from the Acts 29 Network in August 2014. Now we learn that within a year of that act, Timmis was accused of nearly the same actions and protected by Chandler and the Acts 29 board. What changed?
Another name on the list of board members who removed Driscoll was Darrin Patrick. In 2016, Patrick was removed from The Journey in St. Louis for “pastoral misconduct.” Steve Timmis was on Patrick’s restoration team. Now Patrick is back in business.
While none of this may influence how to plant a church, those who are in the market for such services should be aware of what they are getting into.
There has been an update at The Crowded House webpage.

We write with a concern for the reputation of Christ and a desire to care for his people.

Steve Timmis, the founder of The Crowded House, has been transitioned out of his role with Acts 29 following allegations about his leadership style. This was followed by an article in Christianity Today about his conduct in the church. On Friday 7th February Steve Timmis resigned as an elder of The Crowded House. We have valued his ministry among us and his role in founding the church. Many of us owe him a personal debt.

We also feel the weight of the stories told in the article. It is therefore our intention to ask someone from outside our network to explore what has happened and make recommendations. It will be for that person to shape the process, but we want to listen to all concerned with humility. We are willing to hear where we may have failed people. We recognise the need to open ourselves up to external and impartial scrutiny. 

- The remaining elders of The Crowded House churches.
Sunday 9th February 2020

Now longtime readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet may recall that one of the most opaque chapters in the history of Mars Hill Church and associated organizations was how Acts 29 went from being a network that at least one written source described entirely in terms of being founded by David Nicholas and how that network came to be defined as co-founded by Nicholas and Mark Driscoll and then, later still, for a time, as founded by Mark Driscoll.

https://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/05/christianity-today-discusses-acts-29.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/may/matt-chandler-preacher-stung-by-joy.html

... And just as Mohler became president of the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) flagship seminary at the young age of 33, Chandler has now become the president of the Acts 29 Network. The 16-year-old "gospel-centered" band of churches aims to write the next chapter of the missions described in the Book of Acts' 28 chapters. Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll cofounded the network with late Presbyterian pastor David Nicholas in 1998. In March 2012, during a meeting with board members present, Driscoll tapped Chandler to succeed him, shifting the offices to Dallas. (Driscoll remained on the board for a time, but is no longer listed as a member of Acts 29 leadership.)

But in the Spring 2000 Leadership Journal

http://web.archive.org/web/20010308211949/http://www.a29.org/about_us_history.htm
Leadership Journal, Spring 2000
 MAKING DEVOTED DISCIPLES
 Generation to generation
 How mentoring works for pastors
 Mark Driscoll


I'm a 29-year-old church planter in Seattle. A couple years ago I met David Nicholas, who lives in Boca Raton, Florida. He pastors a large church, Spanish River Presbyterian, that he planted 35 years ago, and he still has a heart for church planting. We developed a close mentoring friendship. I fly down to see David about four times a year, and he visits me each summer. We talk on the phone a couple times a week. He has walked me through some major issues in my life and ministry.

 I am now mentoring other church planters who have launched three daughter congregations out of our church. One is Ron Wheeler, a 23-year-old church planter with a congregation of 200 that already has had a daughter church, our granddaughter, as it were. That daughter church is led by a young man being mentored by Ron.

 David has interacted with all of these young planters. We've put together an entire network of church plantersÑfrom Omaha, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and other places. Each March, we gather with David in Florida for training and friendship.

 David and I are now partnering to launch a mentoring organization for young church planters called the Acts 29 Network. We began with 11 churches in the U.S., some overseas, and we're getting several requests weekly from young pastors wanting to join. David and I invest in them theologically, financially, and personally.

 All of this came out of a friendship between an older man and a younger man who share a love for church planting.

 Mark Driscoll

So if in a 2000 edition of Leadership Journal Driscoll wrote "David and I are now partnering to LAUNCH a mentoring organiation for young church planters called the Acts 29 Network" [emphasis added] then by Mark Driscoll's account circa the year 2000 the Acts 29 Network wasn't officially launched yet, was it?

Or maybe it was.

For some reason when Tom Telford broached the subject of Acts 29 Network in a 2001 book he didn't mention Driscoll at all and focused quite a bit on David Nicholas. 

TODAY'S ALL-STAR MISSIONS CHURCHES: STRATEGIES TO HELP YOUR CHURCH GET INTO THE GAME

Tom Telford
copyright 2001 by Tom Telford
Published by Baker Books

ISBN 0-8010-6381-7

Spanish River Church has listed as its "Most valuable missions agency: Acts 29 Network"
from page 63

page 66 David Nicholas' "Acts 29: Churches planting Churches" gets a reference from Telford.  Is that message still accessible for consultation?

from page 69

Acts 29 Network. With things moving well with the network of church-planting pastors, Pastor Nicholas felt led of God to start a new network of churches that wasn't directly part of the denomination. He decided to call it the Acts 29 network and wrote up guidelines: the planted churches should be theologically Reformed, have a heart for church planting, and prmoise that when they become self-supporting, theyw ill pay back the amount that was given to them to initially begin, and put 10 percent of their income into new church plants.

As he shared the idea with the church and others, almost right away, ten established churches responded enthusiastically and committed to the Acts 29 Network, agreeing to sponsor church plants. A Network agreement was drawn up to show the relationship between Spanish River Church and the church plant. The agreement requires reports for financial and leadership accountability.

For whatever reason, when Telford's book was published in 2001, David Nicholas was noteworthy and Driscoll wasn't.  The recent CT article states that Mark driscoll co-founded the Acts 29 network sixteen years ago as of 2014, which makes for a year of 1998. 

Nevertheless, Driscoll's early 00's account may square the circle here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20001210191200/http://www.marshill.fm/who/our_history.htm
Seasons of Grace: The Story of Mars Hill
By Pastor Mark Driscoll

In the eighth season, our worship ministry was in great disarray and I had a dream that Brad Currah, who had been a member of our core group before the launch, was leading worship. I repeatedly informed Brad that he was to be our worship leader and after numerous conversations he began volunteering time overseeing the worship and arts ministries. Brad had spent a few years playing the club scene with his band Springchamber, but was quickly overwhelmed with the demands of his first time pastorate and quit his job at Microsoft to free up time for ministry and hoped to live off of his wife Devonna's salary. But, she soon became pregnant and needed to quit her job. I then got a call from a pastor in Florida who had a network that funded church plants. Grace and I met with Pastor David Nicholas at Spanish River Church, and his church planting network agreed to help us financially. [emphasis added] This gift allowed us to bring Brad on full-time, which has culminated in a fantastic independent worship album, multiple worship teams, and an aggressive set of new songs written by some of our many gifted artists.
 
In our ninth season in the beginning of 1999 we were forced to move from our Laurelhurst location. Five days before the end of our lease we still did not have a location to meet in and were dreading the move. Then, pastor Rick Hull and First Presbyterian Church in downtown Seattle graciously welcomed us in. So, we shut down the 7pm service, and ran the 5pm service in their 1300 seat sanctuary. The move was nothing new, in three years we have had services in four locations and at four different times, and the office has had six different phone numbers due to all the moves. It was also during this season that we launched our first daughter church, The Gathering, one hour north of Seattle in Mount Vernon. A family, the Tackels, I had met while teaching at a conference purchased an RV to begin taking their children and their friends to our church. Their 23 year old son Ron Wheeler had returned from a one year missions trip in Africa and resonated with much of our ministry philosophy. He began a Bible study in his community that continued to grow until they launched their church at 6pm on Easter of 1999 in a beautiful old brick church in downtown Mount Vernon. Funding for Ron was generously given by Dr. David Nicholas and our Acts 29 church planting network, and funding for his worship leader Micah Kelly was given from Ken Hutcherson and Antioch Bible Church. [emphasis added] It was also at this time that we hired Janet Sawyer and Eric Brown, both members of our church, to come on staff full-time as administrators who have very much helped organize and stabilize our chaos. [emphasis added]


To date no public statements from anyone connected to Spanish River Church or David Nicholas has commented on what appears to have been the transformation of a project Nicholas started, by Tom Telford's account, into a co-founded project Nicholas and Driscoll founded or how Nicholas ended up no longer being in leadership or on the Acts 29 board.  All of these questions seem germane to recent public statements made regarding allegations of abusive leadership styles since, to use a phrase that sometimes shows up in the Christian blogosphere, it may tell us something about the DNA of the church-planting network if we could learn how the Nicholas/Driscoll transition took place in light of subsequent concerns that Driscoll and then Darren Patrick and now Steve Timmis have ended up being removed from leadership roles connected to Acts 29.  


https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/february/acts-29-ceo-steve-timmis-removed-spiritual-abuse-tch.html

...
Two former Acts 29 staff members told CT they spoke up about Timmis’s overbearing leadership five years ago, in his first year as executive director.

According to a copy of a 2015 letter sent to Acts 29 president Chandler and obtained by CT, five staff members based in the Dallas area described their new leader as “bullying,” “lacking humility,” “developing a culture of fear,” and “overly controlling beyond the bounds of Acts 29,” with examples spanning 19 pages.

During a meeting with Chandler and two board members to discuss the letter, all five were fired and asked to sign non-disclosure agreements as a condition of their severance packages. They were shocked. [emphasis added]

“I trusted Matt to do what was right. I had full confidence that our concerns would be heard by him and that we could work towards resolution,” one of the former staff members said.

The letter also described the staff’s issues with Timmis’s new policies for leading the then–heavily American Acts 29 network from the UK—like reviewing every post before it went up on social media and tightening flexible work schedules to require staff notify him whenever they were out. Chandler told CT that, at the time, he saw it as a clash in leadership styles, not as indicators of abuse.
...


Even within the history of Mars Hill there was some precedent for leaders who transitioned into Mars Hill from Acts 29 to end up having an alienating presence at Mars Hill.  Without getting into much detail for the sake of this post, between Mike Wilkerson and James Noriega who were at one point co-leaders of Redemption Groups (which has recently ended being identified as such), the two men at times inspired drastically different responses within Mars Hill at an informal level.  Wilkerson seemed to have the better reputation of the two, with Noriega eventually gaining, at least in some subsets of the Mars Hill scene a very bad reputation.  It was rare that I deleted comments, since I tend to disallow most anoymous comments and let comments go into moderation.  Comments from MHC associated people about Noriega were one of the key reasons I took that policy up.  People did not like the guy and had pretty unpleasant things to say about how he approached pastoral care.  When I left Mars Hill one of the concerns I had was that the "biblical living" department seemed to be going in a direction where it's approach to member discipline could seem punitive and arbitrary rather than restorative and that Noriega kept coming up in my circle of associates as someone people felt they couldn't really trust. As I researched how Mars Hill Church acquired what was once its West Seattle campus I began to have doubts that Noriega's training and qualification for ministry had been very well vetted.

https://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-mars-hill-acquired-west-seattle.html

...
Part 26: One Body, Many parts
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
Pastor Mark Driscoll
July 30, 2006

… In the meantime, we also picked up another miracle. This is West Seattle. This is on 35th at the top of the hill in West Seattle as you head toward White Center. I grew up in this neighborhood. This is a church building that is an absolute miracle. I’ll tell you the story on this space. I tried to launch Mars Hill Church in that building ten years ago, and we were rejected, and I’ve always wanted to be in there since. And what happened was, is we were growing. I went to Pastor Bill Clem, who was leading that congregation. He planted it for Acts 29 Church Planning Network [emphasis added], him and James Noriega, who is the other elder there and I said, “We’re maxed out. You got a fat building, 50,000 square feet, 1,000 seats.:” It’s a bigger building and the one you’re sitting in right now. I said, “Is there any way we to use it?” They said, “Well, we wanna reach as many people in West Seattle as possible. How about if we give it to you and work together?” we prayed about it for a second and said, “Yes.”

That is a $5 million gift. That is a $5 million gift, right? And I don’t know if you’ve been tracking the real estate market, people aren’t giving away a lotta real estate right now in Seattle and so we have – we’ve taken Pastor James and Pastor Bill on staff at Mars Hill. We have taken their members through the Gospel Class and they’re now members of Mars Hill. [emphasis added] They’ve been meeting as a core group over there. As we speak, there is $1.5 million of construction going on at the West Seattle campus, with the intention of opening in October in time for our ten year anniversary, and we want to expand over to West Seattle as well. We were thinking, “Well, we can borrow $8 million from the bank. We can spend $3 million and for $11 million, we can open up a 40,000 square foot location.” Well, we can now open more square feet for $1.5 million. So obviously, you take that opportunity.

The two cool aspects of this particular campus is one, is already zoned as a church, so we don’t need to fight use permits. We don’t have to bring it up to code. We can just walk in and use it immediately and it saves us, literally, a few years of permitting. Secondly, the lot that it is on is only zoned for 15,000 square feet of building and it already has 50,000 square feet, and because as grandfathered in, we could use it all. We could never build this building today as it exists.  And the cool thing with this building, a very Godly church that loved the Bible – started this church, built it, their denomination went liberal, dropped the doctrine of the inerrancy or perfection of Scripture and this building went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and was the test case for who owns the church building, the congregation or the denomination. The congregation lost and these people actually bought their own building back, because they refused to drop the authority of Scripture as their value. [emphasis added] And so, there were some Godly older saints who paid for this building twice. It then went into decline but there is still a core of these people, like in their 70s and 80s, that are now members of Mars Hill. Grandmas tithing, waiting for us all to show up and fill that thing up again, and they’re praying us in. It’s a really cool God story and what God has done is pretty amazing.
...

Driscoll recounted from the pulpit, in an extended account that has been purged from "One Body, Many Parts" since he launched The Trinity Church

over at Mark Driscoll's site, the new and improved "One Body, Many Parts", a 2006 sermon that's available in 2016 but one third the length it was a decade ago.


The short version, Driscoll and company sliced out anything referencing how Mars Hill acquired real estate in 2006 and what was mentioned in the acquisition of the West Seattle campus was that Bill Clem and James Noriega were the ones who needed to sign off on the transfer to Mars Hill of a piece of real estate Driscoll had said he'd wanted for Mars Hill ever since the founding of the church.

To be plain, Noriega had felony convictions and a high school education and was on his second marriage by the time he became a pastor in the Acts 29 network context during a period in which Mark Driscoll was church planting scout for Acts 29.


To make things plain, I have to admit I had some questions as to whether what made Noriega considered qualified may have been influenced by his being on a leadership team that was able to gift real estate to Mars Hill whether or not he had demonstrated enough biblical and biblical linguistic literacy to be working as a pastor.  The church, Doxa, had been an Acts 29 plant. 

The Timmis situation is not exactly a surprise, chronicling as I have so many things connected to the former Mars Hill and Acts 29, although the history of Acts 29 has been more opaque.  It seems to me that Acts 29 early history being as opaque as it is about how and why David Nicholas stopped being part of the network he either founded by himself in Tom Telford's account or co-founded in Driscoll's account might potentially shed some light on what has been going on in the last twenty years if people would be willing to speak on record which ... in light of reports of Acts 29 requiring non-disclosure agreements, it does not sound as though Acts 29 leadership wants people speaking on the record.

POSTSCRIPT 2-13-2019
Regular readers may recall my general loathing of Patheos across the board but there are sometimes things posted there that merit some mention.  Roll To Disbelieve mentioned WtH in a recent post discussing the Acts 29 news.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve/2020/02/11/steve-timmis-rise-and-fall-reveals-a-serious-problem-in-christianity/#disqus_thread

...
In my opinion, he’s a liar as well as a raging malignant narcissist. So I don’t advise anybody to take his word about anything.
Others dispute Driscoll’s fuzzy, gauzy story, Driscoll’s dating of the group’s beginning, and most particularly his placement of himself at the center of the organization’s founding. The writer of that link offers some eye-opening links to prove their points, too. These critics place David Nicholas much closer to the center of Acts 29’s origins (with Driscoll just an add-on follower of Nicholas’), and place the group’s founding somewhat later. Another book linked there paints Nicholas as the leader of a church-planting group already, calling Driscoll in 1998 to offer financial help to his struggling church. Either of those fit a lot better with our understanding of Driscoll’s character.
Whatever the case, shortly afterward Driscoll and Nicholas stopped speaking of each other. One wonders if this abrasive, aggressive, surly, narcissistic, egomaniacal, petulant man-child managed to drive away this patient-sounding, kindly-seeming older pastor like he did pretty much everybody else.
...

Yes, Wenatchee The Hatchet has contested Driscoll's account of the origin of Acts 29 for a while now and the trouble has been that finding people who can clear things up and feel comfortable doing so isn't easy.  Brad (regular readers will know who Brad is, most likely) posted some helpful links at a place WtH sometimes visits.

Brad also mentioned a clarifying recent statement from Andrew Jones.

https://www.facebook.com/andrewjonestallskinnykiwi/posts/10157068741784053
[16 hours ago as of WtH citation 2-13-2020 17:38 PST]


Acts 29. There is a lot of confusion about the founding of this network that is currently a hot topic on the internet after the firing of Steve Timmis. Mark Driscoll did not found it and it might be a stretch to say he co-founded it.
Captain Cassidy's recent blog post is very accurate. https://www.patheos.com/…/steve-timmis-rise-and-fall-reve…/…
Here's a little history from me from my point of view in case anyone is interested.
When I was with Young Leaders Network and throwing events around USA, David Nicholas from Spanish River Church in Boca Raton used to come along to find potential church planters. There were some funds at his church set up to start ten new churches a year and he saw our events as a pool for the right kind of people.
He had a small network called Acts 29 at the time and he invited us to come to Boca Raton in 1998 for a small conference. Sally Morgenthaller was one of the speakers. We smoked cigars. Had a good time. Mark Driscoll formed a strong relationship with David during that time and joined up with David, gradually bringing the hubris of the network over to Seattle. When problems arose in the Acts 29 network, David said he wanted to come and talk to them and Mark got him kicked off the board. [emphasis added] Story here
Back to David Nicholas. He was a lovely, funny, generous man and we loved him. Some of the YL group got funding to start a church. It was offered to me also but I turned it down for two reasons.
1. To be funded, you had to subscribe to all 5 points of Calvinism. I could not in all honesty do that but even if I could, I did not like the idea that churches overseas we were helping to start would have to come under a Western construct. [emphasis added]
2. The church planting model was very institutional. A paid pastor growing a church large enough to tithe back the initial funds which were more of a loan than a gift. At the time we were starting simple organic churches without paid staff and wanted to avoid the DNA of traditional Western church models.
But even though I turned down the funding, David Nicholas still gave us a Winnebago that was donated to his church and had sat in his parking lot for many months. We were praying for an RV since our family was traveling around USA at the time with a van and a tent. We went over to pick it up at Boca and were told that they wanted to fix it up before they gave it to us and spent $1200 to get it into a condition worthy of travel. We put 30,000 miles on it over the next 18 months, traveling the country to mentor young people starting new churches in urban centers. What a wonderful gift. So much nicer for our family of five (or were we 6?) than living in a tent. Interesting story about the Winnebago that I will write in the comments coz this post is already too long.
David Nicholas died in 2011. He is greatly missed.

The point that deserves emphasis from Andrew Jones' description of why he didn't accept funding from Acts 29 to start a church is literally the number 1 reason he mentions, to get funded by Acts 29 you had to subscribe to all five points of Calvinism and Jones wrote that he could not in all honesty have done that.  Remember that Driscoll was listed for years as a co-founder of Acts 29.  Since Driscoll claimed the TULIP was garbage last year and that he doesn't believe in it that invites a question as to whether he never subscribed to the five points of Calvinism.  He was known to have not subscribed to the five points of Calvinism in the earliest years of Mars Hill Church yet he came to be known as a thought leader in the young, restless Reformed.  Driscoll has since his resignation from Mars Hill indicated that he was labeled as a thought leader by the media, with an implication that you can't trust the media claim that he was a thought leader in the movement connected to him.

So he no longer claims to be a Calvinist now, but Andrew Jones' comments are a reminder that at some point Driscoll claimed to be a Calvinist or, to put this starkly, Driscoll may have decided to claim to be a Calvinist on all five points of the TULIP in order to secure funding from David Nicholas.  I have proposed this before but it bears repeating in light of Jones' comments, Driscoll may have decided he was Calvinist enough to accept funding from David Nicholas' Acts 29 network regardless of Mark Driscoll's own personal take on doctrinal issues. By 2008, it must be noted that by this time David Nicholas was firmly out of the way, Mark Driscoll articulated what is traditionally described as an Amyraldian position on the atonement, unlimited in potential but limited to the elect in practical application.

For those who were at Dead Men at Mars Hill circa 2000-2002 you may recall Driscoll would say things such as that there's the Calvinist way of interpreting the Bible and then there are all the other ways.  Driscoll may have sincerely convinced himself he was a full five-point Calvinist at some point and he certainly accepted credit as a co-founder of the Acts 29 that, as Andrew Jones recounted, required agreement with the five points of Calvinism as a condition of formal funding.  For Driscoll to have implied in the last few years that his Calvinism was more media report than actually true comes across as a type of spin.   If Driscoll was never really a Calvinist, however, then the spin would have been any indication on his part to David Nicholas that Driscoll subscribed to the five points of Calvinism.

If Driscoll was only as professing a Calvinist as he thought he needed to be to secure funding from David Nicholas and the nascent Acts 29 of which he was regarded as a co-founder in press coverage then it seems fair, some twenty years on in light of Driscoll's repudiation of Calvinism in interviews to the effect that it was the press that labeled him a Calvinist and young, restless Reformed leader (and the bewilderment of former Driscoll associates about that public repudiation), to ask whether that recent repudiation retroactively forces us to wonder whether his professions of Calvinism were actually in good faith.

Or Driscoll could admit that for a decade or so he really genuinely was a Calvinist back in the days when getting funding from Acts 29 was predicated on affirming the five points of Calvinism and that after David Nicholas was out of the Acts 29 board Driscoll was safe to admit he was an Amyraldian rather than a traditional full five-pointer ... although to admit such a thing might require Driscoll to admit that Nicholas ended up off the Acts 29 for ... some kind of reason.  We don't have to assume that Mark Driscoll was faking being a Calvinist but by the same token Mark Driscoll can't continually imply that his reported Calvinism was merely a construct of liberal media.  If Driscoll wasn't sincerely a Calvinist during his presidency of Acts 29 then that should cast yet more doubt on his sincerity on matters of doctrinal profession.  If he was sincere but sincerely changed his mind then there was no need to insinuate that his being labeled a thought leader in the young, restless Reformed movement was some kind of liberal media construct the way he did when he said last year that the TULIP was garbage.  Calvinists have been known to become Arminians in the past, after all.  If Driscoll had a sincere change of convictions on issues of soteriology and atonement explaining how and why and where applicable who was involved in persuading him there are problems in traditionally Calvinist soteriology would make more sense than just insinuating with some kind of nudge and wink that it was the media who claimed he was a Calvinist but, you know, you can't trust that liberal media. 

POSTSCRIPT 2-15-2020
To give some indication of just how inextricably Mark Driscoll's name is still tied to Acts 29, let's consider Julie Roys' recent coverage of the Timmis situation.

https://julieroys.com/acts-29-president-matt-chandler-under-fire-for-removing-staff-alleging-abuse-changing-story-about-removal-of-ceo/
...
In the letter, Chris Bristol, former Acts 29 communications director, writes that Timmis once insisted that Bristol give Timmis “unconditional loyalty.” Bristol said the request came immediately after Bristol had conducted a board-requested review of Timmis. Bristol added that Timmis said, “Don’t speak poorly of me to anyone, just like my wife wouldn’t say anything negative about me to anyone.”  
Bristol likened the type of loyalty that Timmis required to the “lack of accountability and openness” at Mars Hill Church, where Bristol had previously worked. (Mars Hill was pastored by Mark Driscoll, the founder of Acts 29, who was removed from Acts 29 for “ungodly and disqualifying behavior.”)   
...