Here’s a screen grab of a Resurgence email I received Tuesday:
Good, healthy unity and community are great practical analogies for Trinitarian theology. Love one another, someone famous said.
But like anything else that proceeds from the mouth of Pastor Mark Driscoll these days, one must consider the context of what is being said, and, unfortunately, suspect something other than God is motivating the message.
That’s because Driscoll has been caught in numerous instances of plagiarism, and 40-plus elders and many congregants have left the Mars Hill churches during the past three years, and former Driscoll associates like Ron Wheeler and Mike Anderson have revealed shocking information about working with the pastor.
So I find Driscoll’s appeal for “unity” to be little more than the manipulation of a biblical text for the purposes of keeping more people from leaving his church.
In several books detailing abuses of power and cult-style leadership within churches, authors have pointed out a biblical passage that has been manipulated by pastors and ministers:
“Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.”
The passage, found in the Old Testament books of First Chronicles and the Psalms, has been used by pastors and self-anointed prophets to maintain an unassailable control over their congregations and rebuff any critique.
Among the dozens of books analyzing that type of manipulation, I would most strongly suggest Twisted Scriptures by Mary Chrnalogar, By Hook or By Crook: How Cults Lure Christians by Harold Bussell, and Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth.
Now the questions for long-suffering members of Mars Hill churches are clear: Unity at what price? Dwelling together at what price?