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When your pastor is worse than ‘worldly’ — what’s Mars Hill Church to do?


An open letter to Pastor Mark Driscoll, or a blogospherical amicus curiae brief on behalf of those hurt and the 21 former Mars Hill pastors who filed a formal complaint

Updated 10:05 p.m  with an addition at the end.

Dear Mark,

Last night I saw a post about bullying on the Psychopath Resistance blog and the first person I thought of was you.

If a fraction of the allegations against you are true — and they are easy to believe — then you and your loyalists need to face the facts:

You were worse than “the world.”

You behaved worse than “worldly.”

Could Jesus have spoken this parable for you?

45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. (Luke 12:45-47)

Is there any “biblical warrant” for anyone continuing to respect someone like you, Mark?

Not if merely a fraction of the allegations are true.

Nowhere in the biblical texts can one find a single exhortation to respect someone who acts as despicably as you apparently have been acting.

But there’s warrant for your dismissal from ministry in Proverbs 26:18-19:

“Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death

is the man who deceives his neighbor

and says, ‘I am only joking!’ “

Oh, sure, you might not have been joking per se but let that stand for any excuse for your behavior following the damage you’ve done.

You’ve thrown firebrands and shot arrows and deceived numerous people around you — you’ve been the epitome of destructiveness — and now you’re going to try to talk your way out of it.

It’s appropriate that the television-and-Netflix series The Killing was set in Seattle because you’ve starred in The Spiritual Killing in the same city for years.

Where’s the Shepherd who is allowing you to injure so many sheep and disillusion so many others?

It’s like the U2 song: “Referee won’t blow the whistle / God is good but will he listen?”

And that’s not even considering the spineless, cowardly act of plagiarism.

For a minister presuming to help start a seminary, plagiarism is worse than grand theft auto, yet more pathetic than stealing 25-cent candy.

Congrats on occupying that unique space of horrible and pathetic, a space usually reserved for despots and Wall Street sharks.

The allegations against you could be a guide to bullying — it would be a New York Times bestseller, this time bestselling status that you actually earned, thanks to an endless supply of people interested in abusing power.

“Shame” is too good a word for what you should feel. Chimps have a better overall track record of behavior.

You’re a fundamentally indecent person, failing to act in the most basic human ways.

To borrow from William F. Buckley, I’d rather be taught by anyone among the first 2,000 names in the Seattle telephone book than by you or anyone who is still on your staff.

Do you need to learn what decency is? During the past three years, I’ve been reading through Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca. You’ve been worse than the pagans you’ve been screaming at for years, so maybe you could start by stepping up to the pagan morality of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca.

You’ve failed to live anywhere near the neighborhood of Romans 12:9-21. That excerpt begins, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”

In other words, you’ve lived the antithesis of that excerpt.

All your bullying just cloaks the wimp hiding inside.

Funny how the guy who claims real manhood is the wimp, and the one who tells men to have a pair doesn’t have his own.

How do I know? How can I say such a thing?

Because when a man has real security and true confidence, he doesn’t even feel the need to bully.

Doesn’t even feel the need, Mark.

Doesn’t even feel the need.

Do everyone who believes in any sort of God a favor and disappear from public view for the rest of your life, you bullying, reprobate pansy.

Most sincerely,

Colin Burch

P.S. Do you think I’m bullying you? Don’t be an idiot. I’m shouting at an influential, powerful authority figure who bullied people around him, and worse yet, used anti-Christian, sub-human behavior toward people who believe in Jesus. You do not deserve respect of any kind. You’re the wolf who tried to wear a sheep’s clothing. You’re the worst sort of evil: the degrading, maligning, self-aggrandizing preacher using the name of God to get your way.

Update: The dictionaries remind me “reprobate” has an archaic usage rooted in Calvinism. A contemporary adjective form means “morally corrupt,” and that was the version of “reprobate” I was intending to reference. Considering the likely audience for this post, I should have just stayed away from that word and used “corrupt” instead, because I’ll stand by my contention that Driscoll is corrupt if even a fraction of the allegations against him are true. I didn’t train in a seminary; I trained in newsrooms and then in a graduate writing program. Meanwhile, let’s remember, as I demonstrated above, Driscoll has forced many people to have a taste of Hell through the environments he has created.

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Is the Mars Hill Church board lying for Pastor Mark Driscoll? Or just using weasel words?


Contrast this excerpt from the New York Times (which deals with formal charges against Pastor Mark Driscoll, filed by 21 former pastors in the Mars Hill Church organization) 

In a written statement, Anthony Ianniciello, Mars Hill’s executive pastor of media and communications, said, “We take any complaint or allegation against Pastor Mark and Mars Hill very seriously, and everything is and will be examined by several governing bodies.”

He also pointed to a statement the church’s board issued last week, saying, “The attitudes and behaviors attributed to Mark in the charges are not a part and have not been a part of Mark’s life for some time now.” [emphasis added]

 — With the following excerpt of the formal complaint filed by those 21 pastors formerly in Pastor Mark Driscoll’s organization —

Mark Driscoll excerpt from formal charges

So, what have we learned?

We’ve learned that the church’s board thinks Pastor Mark Driscoll’s subhuman behavior has been submerged “for some time now.”

Meanwhile, the small above portion of the formal charges extends from far in the past through May of this year.

So, one side says Mark is a bullying jerk today, and the other side seems to be saying Mark hasn’t been a bullying jerk for a while, “for some time now.”

What does “for some time now” mean, and why did these allegedly godly men float such an ambiguous phrase?

Does it mean the board is lying on Driscoll’s behalf?

Does it mean the board members are trying to mislead anyone who would care to read their statement?

Are they using the phrase “for some time now” to give themselves an “out”?

For example, “We weren’t lying. We didn’t specify a particular length of time, so we’re cool.”

What is it that they say about the bad apple spoiling the bunch? Has Driscoll turned his entire board into replicas of himself?

Just remember — weasels use weasel words.

And weasels are more successful in politics and business than, say, those lame “let-your-yes-be-yes-and-your-no-be-no” types.

Whatever the reason behind such a vapid phrase, the church board should now be as discredited as Driscoll himself. The entire Mars Hill Church experiment deserves no greater regard than the sleaziest TV preacher’s donation hotline.

After all, Driscoll has plagiarized and bullied with the intent of maintaining a reputation as a godly man.

No sane person would stand by him. Even Tim Keller, quoted in the New York Times article, has been hit in the back of the head by discernment — after the fact, of course, as discernment never happens when anyone needs to avoid danger.

But what special powers of identifying danger after the disaster. Wow. That’s somethin’.

Kind of like Sovereign Grace Ministries, Inc., which allegedly had no discernment about pedophiles operating in their midst for years and years. I’m sure the Holy Spirit was awake and all, just not inside all those Specially Anointed Godly Men With Spiritual Authority Over Your Life.

I know, I know, I’m missing the real takeaway points here:

  • Might makes right
  • Will to power

Got it.

If only Driscoll were in elected office. Then he would face jail time. But since it’s Christianity, someone eventually will give him a pulpit again, along with more mechanisms to screw people.

It’s easier to forgive than to discern the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Oh praise the Lord and pass the bottle. I could be referring to Pepto Bismol, so you can’t say I meant alcohol — see, I can even learn from Mars Hill Church’s board.

Pastor Mark Driscoll

Plagiarist. Bully. It’s all about the Anti-Jesus.

The reality of pastoral gossip, or, Pastor Mark Driscoll trains you in godly leadership


One of the great things about Christian leaders is their example.

You can learn from their examples. You can follow them as they follow Christ.

As Ron Wheeler notes in this open letter to Mark Driscoll, one trait of a godly leader is the ability to hold private disdain for those with whom you work in ministry.

Wheeler writes,

But then I listened as you slandered and maligned the men and women we worked with behind their backs -who though we didn’t agree with some of them theologically- were wonderful people, and never deserved to be spoken of, or treated the way you did. People who I know would have considered you a friend and have no idea how you really felt about them. I have personally tried to go back and apologize to people who were “kicked to the curb”, along the way, and yes, I do feel I was complicit to your actions; guilty by way of association and being silent.

For that, I could not be more sorry. [emphasis added]

Clearly, Ron Wheeler is bitter because he is not able to experience the freedom and grace to slander and malign others.

(I admit I have failed to understand freedom and grace so my faith is shaky. I realized if you tell me about someone else, you’ll probably tell someone else about me. Christianity is, more often than not, the last place for sharing personal matters. Just go to secular psychologists for confession — they have solid ethics.)

Another thing Wheeler failed to learn from Pastor Driscoll’s godliness is the wisdom of Machiavellian political maneuvering.

Again, Wheeler writes,

Then you involved yourself in our Eldership in a most irresponsible and reckless manner. In hindsight, it never should have gotten to that point, and I accept full responsibility for that, but what I needed was trustworthy, Biblical accountability, and instead I got slander, threats, and verbal abuse. We had good elders who were caught between a pastor dealing with personal and familial sin, and an outside accountability that was reckless, irresponsible and ultimately had a destructive influence on a once unified eldership. I know it all now. I’ve read the communication you had with the other elders behind my back. Ugly, slanderous, defaming lies, Mark. I thought you were my brother and you treated me like scum.

On March 17, 2005, I sent a letter of grievance to the Board of Acts29, asking them to address what I had come to realize over time, were serious character flaws of yours. I made the case that Biblically you were unfit and disqualified as an Elder. A case based off long established patterns of pride, lack of self-control, sexually vulgar and slanderous speech, exaggeration that bordered on deception, gossip about others and confidentiality issues. An excerpt from that letter stated: “The fact that Mark is an incredibly talented leader and charismatic personality, cannot in any way substitute for the simple Biblical requirements of being Christ-like, much less the qualifications of being an Elder. I can make a Biblical case from Titus regarding his being overbearing, quick-tempered, self-controlled, upright, and holy, as well as 1 Timothy regarding being above reproach, self-controlled, respectable, not quarrelsome, and a good reputation with outsiders”.

Not surprisingly, we got a response letter from the Board of Acts29 informing us that they would accept our resignation from Acts29, as we had made our continued participation in the network contingent upon their dealing with your issues. Apparently, they lacked the fortitude and resolve to deal with your out-of-control behavior, and so became complicit themselves. How the board of Acts29 abdicated their responsibility in this, is beyond my comprehension. In addition, I was heartbroken as there were so many guys in the network that I loved. Guys that I came to miss dearly over the next few painful, depressing years. You asked me not to contact any of the guys and be “divisive”. I never did, you know. When I finally did just recently, I discovered that you had completely misrepresented what happened in my situation. Thus, what I had seen you do to others, finally came full circle around to me. It sucked. I didn’t like it at all. [emphasis added]

Before I get to the Mark Driscoll Leadership Tips we can draw from this passage, I just want to thank the Lord for the way the Holy Spirit has led Pastor Driscoll and the members of Acts29 in Christ-like behavior, wisdom, and discernment. I’m grateful that the evangelical flock can look up to these men of character, integrity, and timely insight. I’m glad all those prayers for Driscoll and Acts29 were fruitful. We’re blessed because all that time in The Word bore fruit.

Now, the tips we can learn from Driscoll’s godly leadership.

One, if you feel like you’re called by God, tell any lie you feel necessary to protect the manifestation of that calling. Can I get an Amen? The manifestation of your calling is yours at any cost — because Jesus paid ALL costs. That is grace and freedom, bro — the will to power must also be the will to maintain power.

Two, when in a pinch, work your network. That’s why you go to conferences with members of the Evangelical All-Stars on the speaker lists. You’ve gotta have friends and connections. Look, say what you want about the Roman Catholics, but they’ve got this down-pat. How else do pedophile priests face accusations only to get new jobs in other parishes? They’ve got a killer network, man.

But as a Protestant, you accept no earthly authority — remember that. Say to yourself, “I accept no earthly authority.” It’s far more meaningful than that silly “Jesus prayer” repeated endlessly by Eastern Orthodox monks. You accept no earthly authority. When you face accusations, you just cash in your networking chips.

This method worked wonders for C.J. Mahaney, who got his famous pals to ignore concrete evidence and declare him righteous. They might as well have said, “He’s so well-networked with us, we can’t imagine him doing anything wrong.”

Books that can help you become a godly leader like Mark Driscoll

the-prince
Because “it is better to be feared than loved.”
Pastor Mark Driscoll certainly has been feared.
 
The-Art-of-War
“Appear weak when you are strong, strong when you are weak.”
That could be Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Ministry Motto. It’s also could be the recipe for both false humility and bullying.

UPDATE: PLEASE ALSO SEE “POSTSCRIPT TO ‘THE REALITY OF PASTORAL GOSSIP’ — A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Knowledge-worker productivity


Paul Reiser of "Mad About You" at 20...Paul Reiser once said historians will one day record that our cities were built as construction workers stood around and whistled at women — and the buildings just appeared.

Now I realize how “knowledge workers” get their tasks done. They sit in meetings, and books are written, reports are filed, youth are educated, projects are planned — just like that, as if the pressure between the posterior and the chair yields paper print-outs and computer codes.

‘The Evangelical Rejection of Reason’


In case you missed it, read Karl Giberson and Randall Stephens’s New York Times op/ed piece, “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason.”

In The Episcopal Church, innovation is ‘For Me But Not For Thee’


I realized something about the 12-point claim that Bishop Mark Lawrence (Diocese of South Carolina) has left the doctrine and discipline (and worship?) of The Episcopal Church:

The people who assembled those 12 points would not pass my ENGL 101 class. That would be the one I teach to freshmen. Lawrence’s accusers wouldn’t pass because a fundamental contradiction undergirds the allegations.

In The Episcopal Church USA, numerous bishops and priests have allowed or embraced innumerable innovations in theology, doctrine, and worship – so on what grounds can Lawrence’s attackers say anything about what anybody else chooses to do?

Don’t say the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the church provides any grounds. That’s ridiculous.

The innumerable innovations in theology and doctrine haven’t followed the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church as presented in the Book of Common Prayer. Numerous priests and bishops deny the basic historic formulas of the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed, and they have received no discipline from the House of Bishops. So anyone who makes claims about violations against the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church has both feet planted in midair.

In this situation, I think my ENGL 101 students would realize that there’s no consistency in the church’s actions. The Episcopal Church USA has already allowed too many variations and violations.

The officials who put together the allegations  against Lawrence call to mind the title of a Nat Hentoff book: For Me But Not For Thee. It’s a book about the left censoring the right and the right censoring the left. Hentoff argues very few people take a principled stand on free speech and free expression; most people claim it for themselves while censoring others.

Flagrant, rank hypocrisy, in other words.

The message of Episcopalian diversity seems to be this: there’s no single way for everyone.

If there’s no single way for everyone, then how can you condemn someone for choosing his own way? His own expression of Episcopal-ness?

Since when does an essentially pro-choice denomination stop anyone from doing anything? (Referring especially to No. 7 on the allegations list.)

I’m beyond worry – this is all just hilarious. Grown-up liberals are acting like petty tyrants and fascists. Maybe it’s not liberalism that has influenced high offices of The Episcopal Church. Maybe the folks in those offices are under the spell of daytime TV.

There’s a solution, however. Let all those who made the allegations against Bishop Lawrence attend my ENGL 101 course. Or, we could just let one of my sections of the course take over the accusers’ positions. I’m thinking the 11:30 a.m. Monday-Wednesday-Friday group would do a great job.

 

Millennials Have No Moral Framework | Patrol – A review of religion and the modern world


Unsettling trend: Millennials Have No Moral Framework | Patrol – A review of religion and the modern world.