Tag Archives: Seattle

To the Manufacturers of Mark Driscoll

A friend posted this Monday article from The Daily Beast on my Facebook page. It begins:

“Just when controversial pastor Mark Driscoll was hoping to make a new start, former members of his old stomping grounds at Seattle’s Mars Hill Church have filed a lawsuit alleging Driscoll and his chief elder ran the now-shuttered megachurch like an organized crime syndicate, in which church members became unwitting participants.

“The lawsuit was filed on Monday in the Western District of Washington U.S. District Court in Seattle under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a law originally created for prosecution of Mafia figures.

“Former members have been threatening to file such a lawsuit for months to find out just where the members’ tithes—some $30 million yearly, according to church reports—actually went.”

I don’t know whether the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act really applies in this case, and I have no idea if pursuing that particular approach is a good idea — although of course someone needs to answer for the $30 million annually and any misappropriation of funds.

My reaction to the article, posted on Facebook, was aimed at those who helped Driscoll become a celebrity and a monster:

“He said Reformed things with boldness and strong emotions. That was enough to hide a multitude of sins. And while his influence and income increased, we were told that the mainline churches were dead, but it was purer, holier Driscoll who was dead inside. Sure, people don’t want to go to those old churches with their old facades and old ways, but the rotten wood was found inside new buildings in Seattle.”

 

Advertisements

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.

Throckmorton: ‘More Citation Problems in Mark Driscoll’s Book Real Marriage; Leland Ryken’s Worldly Saints and More’

See Warren Throckmorton’s post, More Citation Problems in Mark Driscoll’s Book Real Marriage; Leland Ryken’s Worldly Saints and More. Increasingly I think Driscoll’s rocket to stardom came at the expense of his integrity and on the coattails of numerous shortcuts. Considering the evidence compiled by Throckmorton in this and numerous other posts, I can’t believe Driscoll sincerely, genuinely thought what he was doing was OK. He might not have intended to plagiarize and possibly break copyright laws, but he surely had a flippant attitude toward the work of others.

Looking back to the original scandal, I hope you’ll join me in refusing to buy anything from Tyndale House Publishers until its executives improve their editorial standards.

Why I’m obsessed with Pastor Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism

I explained my obsession with Pastor Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism to someone on Facebook today:

Admittedly it’s a foolhardy endeavor, like spitting in the wind. If enough people like a minister, he can be as dishonest as he wants to be and get away with it, just like our elected officials. So far, Driscoll’s “accountability team” and alleged Christian publishing house Tyndale are A-OK with breaking standards that would get me fired, or get any kid in my classes a failing grade and a permanent mark on his academic record. I shouldn’t be so worked up about it, though, considering in the Roman Catholic Church, priests can rape children and the worst that will happen is they’ll get moved to a new church. So that’s the power of Christian ministry for you: cheat or molest, because either way, your job is secure! Praise the Lord, who must be sleeping.

As it would happen, a little more than 3 hours ago (from the time I’m writing this), NorthlandsNewsCenter.com in Minnesota posted “Bishop Sirba releases names of 17 priests accused of sexual abuse in Duluth Diocese,” which read in part:

Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba has released the names of 17 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children in the [Roman Catholic] Duluth Diocese.

During a news conference, officials with the Duluth Diocese said the priests on the list have been removed from the church, are under investigation or were deceased before the accusations were known.

Officials also released the names of five other priests with ties to the area who have been accused while working in other ministries.

The Diocese says the the accusations of sexual abuse range from 1950 to 2013.

“The release of this information underscores a sad truth that must be acknowledged: Over the last 65 years, a number of clergy members in the Diocese of Duluth have violated the sacred trust placed in them by children, youth and their families,” says Bishop Sirba.

Read the entire article here.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t already seen it, more book publishers and authors might have been victims of Driscoll’s plagiarism.

Driscoll announced a new college and seminary after being accused of plagiarism

It’s often said timing is everything in humor, and that’s just as true for unintended humor.

Shortly after the Mark Driscoll plagiarism controversy began, Driscoll announced two new academic institutions, as Sam Tsang reports:

“After this whole thing broke, here’s MD’s [Mark Driscoll’s] initial non-response response by announcing … get this … Western Seminary will open a campus on Mars Hill.  MD peppered his video with all sorts of churchy vocabulary about loving God, and secular vocabulary about bringing ‘accredited’ seminary education to Seattle, never mind that Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University both have accredited divinity programs and never mind that many can love God without going to Western Seminary located at Mars Hill.  The highlight for me in this video is MD calling himself one of the professors for this program. I thought professors have to contribute to the wider academic world and to the institution in order to get the title.  Perhaps, MD is the exception.”

If the paradox has not yet occurred to you, click here to read the academic integrity page at the university where I teach. Pay close attention to the “Honor Pledge” and “Prohibited Conduct” sections. Then watch Driscoll’s announcement about the two academic institutions that will be affiliated with his church, Mars Hill Church.

Mark, HOW DARE YOU? That’s old. I know. Couldn’t resist.

Related articles