Things I Think

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122 Responses

  1. Reuben says:

    Thought#1. I fear you are right. And that pisses me off. He build an empire that would protect him at all costs. Almost as if he knew this time would come. His empire was well trained. They knew what to do when the time was right. They acted when the trumpet sounded. They stand in his defense, the functional savior, the one who is now dying to save them from their own sins.

    And the one produces a thousand more.

  2. Michael says:


    The problem is that all concerned were presented with all the facts and all had to make a choice.
    The people that pay the bills made their choice.
    It’s their money and their right to do so.
    This will enable and empower not only Driscoll, but all the other tyrants in ministry today.
    It is a dark day, but Jesus is still the light of the world and He has already claimed the victory.

  3. Laura Scott says:

    This is from an article shared on Facebook by BD this morning in reference to MD’s interview on the Janet Mefferd show:

    All I can share is that there is an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes. You may not go up against the machine. That is all. Mark Driscoll clearly plagiarized and those who could have underscored the seriousness of it and demanded accountability did not. That is the reality of the evangelical industrial complex.


    Shame on us. I so wish I could say I have not put the man in the pulpit ahead of the message, but I have. I learned the hard way.

    Since this is a popular pursuit in today’s church, is there any other way but the hard one?

  4. Jean says:

    Thanks Michael!

  5. EricL says:

    Sadly, I think you are right about Driscoll. He gets to extend his vacation (paid, I’m sure) and call it a time of reflection. It is kind of like a kid picking their own punishment for misbehavior. “I will not get to eat liver for a year.”

    Nothing like fake discipline, fake contrition, and fake repentance… nothing real.

    Was there a Mars Hill in Sardis? Revelations 3:1-6
    Just wondering…

  6. Let me just say that I don’t care a thing about Mark Driscoll – he could drop dead today from Ebola and I would not bat an eye. However… and I will probably catch rage over this.

    This was never about justice or finding out the truth (and the truth may be that MD is the devil himself) but was well stated in Michael’s #2

    “This was a critically important test case for the power of social media to bring reform. If Driscoll could be taken down”

    It was all about “bringing him down” – the bloggers went for all or nothing – like a prosecutor going after the death penalty in a non death penalty case – and yes, as Michael has stated will probably end up with the nothing.

  7. This seems to have worked the way it was supposed to work. People were educated, some left, some were empowered to speak out and be healed. And one guy can change his ways, or not change his ways. Forced repentance isn’t really worth much anyways.

  8. Michael says:


    My friend John Calvin correctly noted that all of our hearts are idol factories…it takes hard lessons to tear them down.

  9. Just A Sheep says:

    Now again, I am no MD fan.
    Not in any way. And I figure I’ll give the minority opinion.

    But what is ironic about this is that the congregation who is there now wants MD as their pastor.
    People on blogs and the internet, who don’t go to his church, don’t want him there.
    But those people do.

    Now we can judge them and say the MD is the pseduo-Savior.
    or blame celebrity Americanism
    or whatever.

    But maybe, just maybe, people want to believe the best about their pastor.
    And understand the grace of God.

    I don’t know any church whose people don’t believe the best about their pastor.
    If you don’t, you don’t stay there.
    I mean think about it, when we chose a church, we chose to allow a flawed person lead us and teach us. Every pastor is flawed. But you chose to believe the best about them.

    Maybe people don’t care that he plagarized (or maybe better stated didn’t ‘properly cite’)
    In an internet age, original thoughts are rare.
    Maybe people expect that he used foul language (if you were adverse to it, you wouldn’t have landed at Mars Hill).
    Maybe people expected him to be strong & arrogant (again, if you were adverse to his style, you wouldn’t have called Mars Hill home).

    So maybe, for the people at Mars Hill, they knew all of this and chose to love their pastor anyway.

  10. Michael says:


    I think this was about bringing a leader to repentance.
    The case against Driscoll has been presented as godly as possible by most.
    I do believe he is disqualified from the ministry for at least a season, but his supporters beg to differ.

  11. “So maybe, for the people at Mars Hill, they knew all of this and chose to love their pastor anyway”

    That’s what I see, Sheep.

  12. Paige says:

    I hardly think the Mark Driscoll “saga is over”…. and frankly, my dear….I don’t give a rat’s behind.

    “3. The American celebrity church cares nothing about biblical standards, ethics, or virtues. It cares about success and social and economic stature. Thus, it is anti-Christ no matter how often it speaks the name of Jesus.”

    Celebrity churches aren’t ‘biblical’ in any way anyhow….. It’s all a product of star obsessed culture and there will be another ‘star’ somewhere else in churchdom. Already are many.

    I feel sorry for all involved and for the world watching, clicking their tongues and rolling their eyes at another opportunity to dismiss us all….. Driscoll, congregants and those celebrating the whole demise. Everyone loses in this mess.

    I’m sure that John 11:35 applies.

    Jesus wept.

    Blessed are those who mourn.

  13. Michael says:

    Is it loving to allow someone to walk in unrepentant sin?
    This is rank hypocrisy…if the issue was that Driscoll was gay instead of abusive there would be a flood of comments demanding that Mars Hill act “biblically” and remove him immediately.

  14. Jtk says:

    If you were a friend or an elder (or anyone MD would listen to for even a moment), what would YOUR counsel be to him?

    Imagine someone like that reads stuff here….

  15. Michael says:

    My counsel would be to repent.
    To get on the phone with these former elders and pastors and make it right to the best of his ability.
    Admit to what you’ve done…because in doing so he would model the power of confession and repentance and the grace of God that follows both.
    Every time we have a mess like this the power and grace of God to repentant sinners gets ignored…when in reality it would be the greatest teaching moment of that pastors life, if taken.

  16. Jtk says:

    That’s the Michael I know and love.

    Good counsel.

  17. “This is rank hypocrisy…”

    On the part of whom?

    There are gay pastors in tons of churches and I don’t demand anything of them. I wouldn’t go to those churches, just like I won’t go to Mars Hill…but at some point, the truth is out there and people can make their own choices.

  18. Michael says:


    This isn’t one of “those” churches.
    This is a conservative, bible believing, “Calvinistic” church.
    Calvin wept.
    I digress.
    If the issue was sexual instead of ethical and abusive, John Piper and crew would be demanding his resignation along with all of Mark’s famous conservative, Bible believing, famous friends.
    That’s a fact…and so is the fact that they are being either silent or supportive behind the scenes.

  19. Michael says:


    You are correct however, that the truth is out and people have chosen.

  20. papiaslogia says:

    “In June, the BOAA suffered its own setback when two members stepped down, Pastor James MacDonald and Pastor Paul Tripp.

    Pastor Tripp, explaining the reasons for his resignation in a blog post on August 12, said he felt the BOAA would “never work well because it isn’t a firsthand witness to the ongoing life and ministry of the church”.

    “Such a board at best can provide financial accountability, but it will find it very difficult to provide the kind of hands-on spiritual direction and protection that every Christian pastor needs,” he wrote.

    “Unwittingly what happens is that the external accountability board becomes an inadequate replacement for a biblically functioning internal elder board that is the way God designed his church to be lead and pastors to be guided and protected.

    “I would still love to see the leadership community of Mars Hill Church become itself a culture of grace and I am still willing to help, but not through the means of a board that will never be able to do what it was designed to do.””

    “Tim Keller, a distinguished evangelical and senior pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, was quoted by the paper as saying: “He was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously.

    “But the brashness and the arrogance and the rudeness in personal relationships — which he himself has confessed repeatedly — was obvious to many from the earliest days, and he has definitely now disillusioned quite a lot of people.”” CT Article on 8/23.

  21. “If the issue was sexual instead of ethical and abusive,”

    I dunno, it didn’t happen in Mahaney’s case either. This is autonomous church ecclesiology at its worst. Piper has no say over Driscoll, despite their agreements. It looks like Driscoll saw this coming a few years ago and fixed it so that noone could tell him what to do.

  22. Jim says:

    CJ’s saga wasn’t over when he took a leave of absence. He led a network of 70 churches, and now pastors a church of maybe 300. Gone are his high profile affiliations with T4G, TGC, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    The network itself is dying and is a shadow of it’s former self, and, like the MD case, the fat lady has not yet sung.

  23. wondering says:

    Wondering out loud: does anyone else think it evil that social media wants to win in matters like these? The people behind key boards are invisible; their every word is not recorded, only those they choose to write and edit. As far as I know, bloggers and sm types are not the church police. The people who choose to stay will and the rest should understand their desire to stand with their pastor. It is not–never was, never will be–the job of social media to tell others what they should want or be doing.

    As I say this, please understand that I wouldn’t go near MD’s church if it was the only one. That would be my choice. This sounds too much like ‘I will take my ball and go home because it didn’t turn out the way I wanted.’ What ever happened to praying for, and loving, those who we don’t agree with or, in a case like this, we hate. It really sounds this Monday like people actually hate MD. The indictment of those who stay is harsh, unloving, and judgmental. And all this against people you don’t even know. Maybe it is too easy to take shots at Jesus’ church from behind keyboards or i-phones.

  24. Michael says:


    Does the Bible have biblical standards for the pastorate?
    Should we care?

  25. Anne says:

    I found this list for the PR firm that MD is using very interesting. I believe it is just more evidence that so much of what folks claim is the move of the holy spirit is really the machinations of ambitious men. In the ‘celebrity’, ‘movements’, megachurch world at least. Rather than corporate worship, there are corporations developed and sustained to provide consumers with worship experiences. Corporation, consumption, celebrity driven just like the predominant US culture. Where numbers of consumers and $$ define success. So much like the entertainment industry: a star is born, fans follow the weekly shows, special tours,buy books and other souvenirs. Need good PR and agents to sustain it all. Lots of shareholders and fans dependent on and loyal to their ‘stars’.

  26. I don’t get what John Piper’s involvement would be – is he somehow attached to that church? Where would he get the authority to demand something of another independent church?

    I choose not to go to an ELCA church for all their poor teaching and the immoral things they seem to support … but I make no demands that they fire their pastors or that they even change their teachings.I stay away.

    Why do we get to interfere with Mars Hills?

  27. “Does the Bible have biblical standards for the pastorate? Should we care?”

    Yes, in our own local congregation.

  28. covered says:

    wondering, you make some valid points but we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The facts speak for themselves and when a celebrity pastor uses social media to grow his brand, then he/she shouldn’t cry foul when that same social media exposes their warts.

  29. wondering says:

    Of course the Bible has Biblical standards and, of course, we should care. About your church. It should not be the mission of sm-types to take down a church/pastor that is not theirs. That is for people in that particular church to decide. What is disturbing is the anger because sm was not successful in bringing him down. You did your job (general you) and informed people about what you know. You have done your job. Now, you just sound angry because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. SM is relevant because of its power to inform. Be satisfied that you did what you should have done. I am sure Jesus was pleased. But His pleasure stops with an indictment of thousands of people you don’t know (those who remain who still belong to Him) and your vitriol toward another man (MD) He loves. It’s almost like people who voted in the last election and lost and have spent the next 2+ years hating the winner. Believe me, I am no fan of the winner but am required by God to be respectful of him. And the people I am talking about in this post are believers. My (old-fashioned) newspaper deliverer has faithfully delivered my paper to my house for many years but has never once knocked on my door demanding I read it. He is only responsible for doing his job.

  30. covered says:

    wondering, do you believe that MD and other’s like Bob Coy don’t reach 1,000’s if not millions? As soon as books are written, conferences are scheduled and satellite churches are set up, you open yourself to every form of social media available. In other words, you got what you asked for. When it’s about the man and not about The Lord, you will reap what you sow. I even think that is in the Bible too.

  31. Michael says:


    We have different views on what constitutes the church.
    My view is that we are all connected to each other and when one is hurt we all are.
    Mars Hill is more than just a local church…it’s a template that has been copied over and over again.
    While that local body may have shown their love for “Pastor Mark”, they are also showing contempt for his victims by not holding him accountable for his sin.
    They are also reinforcing the negative of this template…which is pastor centered instead of body centered and devoid of real accountability at all.

  32. Ps40 says:

    The road to repentance is a terrifying one, and in our current culture, it is nearly impossible to stay on. There are so many “well wishers” that inadvertently lead a repenting one away from their difficult and blessed path and onto one that “feels” better.
    I say let him go.
    Is the God MD spoke of so vociferously not big enough? I wish the church, for MD’s sake and for their own, would step back and let Abba do what He does best.
    God help us all.
    Where are all those Biblical literalists when we need them?
    MD needs to be restored to God–not to his toxic pulpit addiction.

  33. Ps40 says:

    comment # 31 nails it…IMO
    thanks Michael for hanging in there on behalf of Christ’s church:)

  34. Michael says:

    Thank you, Ps40… 🙂

  35. wondering says:

    I do understand the reach/impact of these pastors. Clearly. Michael, if what you said is what you really believe, then your anger, though I am sure it seems righteous to you, has offended many. I dare say that your reach, Michael, is nearly as large as MD’s. The fact that these men are public figures does not give us the right to sin in our anger against them. The thing I would ask you to consider is your (seeming) hatred of the man and not just the pastor-centered model he represents. It also sounds a lot like you hate the fact that thousands of people who choose to stay disagree with you. Freedom of thought and response? I want to reinforce that I am far from Seattle and have not ever seen any integrity in MD’s ministry. I choose not to buy his books and will never listen to a sermon. The fact that he used social media to attain his lofty position doesn’t minimize the fact the sm also informed the world of his failings. He will live or die by his own sword. You simply have no right to be angry when people make their personal choices. Over the years, Michael, you have allowed all kinds of thought expressed on this blog. much of which does great damage to the body. You do so in the name of freedom to express. The body in Seattle has expressed themselves. Why is that any different that you choosing to allow heretical expressions of Christianity on this blog? Should we be angry with you because you allow certain people here (professing Christians) to offer heretical views? It’s your blog–you have said that many times. Thus, no one else has the right to expect you to operate this blog in a way that pleases them. If they don’t like it, they don’t come back. Pretty novel idea, huh?

  36. Anne says:

    I look at this blog and others like it as sorts of christian consumer reporting. Helps folks make informed decisions of where they will invest their time, talents and money. Helps others who are getting sick at their church, understand why and that they aren’t the only ones. Some folks don’t care how sausage is made as long as it tastes good. Others know junk food, artificial ingredients and coloring are unhealthy but choose to keep eating no matter how many facts they hear about the hazards to their health. Because it tastes good and is addicting. Others will make informed decisions to look elsewhere for their health and nutrition.

  37. Steve Wright says:

    Even in pastor-led churches, we can’t underestimate how hard it is to leave the relationships that have been made there – no matter how tired we might be of the pastor’s antics.

  38. Paige says:

    I wonder if the congregants and church staff, who make pastors into powerful stars are also in need of repentance……or at the very least have the guts to just walk out…. I personally understand how one’s entire social circle is wrapped up in a specific church, so leaving involves much more than the making of a statement by leaving a certain church.

  39. Kevin H says:

    Why do we care about Mark Driscoll? That being asked, why do we care about Skip Heitzig or CJ Mahaney or Steven Furtick or any other big name pastor who we see doing abusive/immoral/unethical things? First of all, we care about these acts from the big names because we know who they are. Joe Pastor who lives on the other side of the country with a congregation of 100 may be doing the same or worse things, but he isn’t a public figure and we don’t hear about his acts, nor do we even know who he is in the first place. We can’t care about something/someone about which we have no knowledge. Second of all, we care because we see injustice taking place upon the body of Christ by those who are supposed to be serving the body, not abusing it.

    And yes, ultimately, the bloggers and the media people and the rest of us outside the local church and/or denominational government cannot remove a pastor from their position. Only those on the inside can. But maybe, just maybe, the advent of social media can start bringing some much needed reform to the American celebrity church. Maybe not to the point where the whole thing is turned upside down. But maybe many more people start wising up to the pitfalls of the celebrity church and the celebrity pastor than would have 10 or 20 or even just 5 years ago. And maybe the corrupt celebrity pastors begin losing some of their influence and thus do not have nearly the breadth and depth of negative effect in people’s lives that they once had. And maybe down the road, significantly less people end up getting misled and hurt by the celebrity church because the people have been made aware of the problems of such and learn to avoid them before they become too dire.

    So yes, those on the outside cannot remove Mark Driscoll and other corrupt pastors from their position of leadership. But they can point to the problems and proclaim, “This should not be.” And maybe, just maybe God will use social media, in all of its imperfectness, to bring reform to the Church.

  40. Steve Wright says:

    I see Paige and I were on the same wavelength there…

  41. Michael says:


    I don’t hate anybody.
    I hate the fact that I believe basic Christian standards are constantly trampled in this church culture and the result is broken people.
    It’s too easy to label me a “hater” and refuse to engage the bigger argument.
    We should all be righteously angry when the church becomes a tool of oppression and grief to it’s members.

    Let me address the issue of people posting “heretical” views.
    First, this isn’t a church.
    Second, most of those who post those views here have been victims of the kind of oppression that I write against.
    They are bruised reeds and smoldering wicks that have hung on to Jesus the only way they know how…and that may mean that they embrace things that are outside mainstream orthodoxy and reject some things they ought not.
    As a pastor, I choose not to break the reed or snuff the wick…and I’m willing to be as patient as I need to be while instructing as gently as I can.
    Most of these folks post very occasionally because they respect that most of the community differs theologically.

    I believe I can best serve them by loving them and affirming that which they do believe.

    Yes, it is my blog.

  42. Michael says:


    You made my point much more succinctly than I did. 🙂

  43. Babylon's Dread says:


    Some thoughts about Mark Driscoll.
    1. Yes, this stepping away is like a jr high boy putting a book in his pants before the principle applies the board. He will smart a little but laugh about it with his friends later.
    2. We live in the world of FREE MARKET religion given to us by those reformers and the radicals whom we love. MD will go as far as the market takes him. It is the only real discipline.
    3. We like Mark because he is tough, ‘manly’, says what he thinks, prizes sexual fulfillment as much as the general male public, and really doesn’t give a damn what you think.
    4. We hate him because he is a bully, petulant, punches back when you stand up to him, intimidates the squinting kid, and gets away with stuff we wish we could do.
    5. He will survive because authority and power in the free church tradition leaves room for the charisms of the leader to dominate.

  44. Michael says:


    Well said…

  45. Michael says:


    Well said as well.
    Free market religion…

  46. Ps40 says:

    I have been “wondering” too….Except… there is no pretense in what this blog is doing.? I haven’t seen Michael abuse this forum. In fact, he pays a great price to allow his participants the freedom to be nearly “uncontrolled” on this blog. He certainly is not profiting from this “call” to hold the leadership of Christ’s sheep accountable? If not PP…then who is willing to pay the price for truth? Who is willing to be the suffering servant of Is 53 and bring the healing to where these wounds are (and there are many)? Ten years ago my ex-husband and I were the hot topic on this blog. I am so thankful that I was exposed to it [although the method was excruciating–seeing my crap online for all to see] and we were EXPOSED! Truth matters to the health and well-being of the body. It matters in a million ways. Cannot express my gratitude enough for this blog, and others like it.
    My biggest sadness is that so many that were in our fractured congregation continue to this day to “look the other way”–all in the name of grace, and they will undoubtedly fall pray to another huckster who needs a new gig.

  47. wondering says:

    Michael @41: if I did NOT say sounds like you hate, then I apologize publicly. I have been reading here a long time and know your heart better than that. What your post sounds like is hatred; I know that is not your heart toward people.

  48. Michael says:


    It’s hard to believe that was ten years ago…God has redeemed your sorrow and used it in powerful ways.

  49. wondering says:

    Michael, if you will re-read the final line of your #1, it really is VERY harsh toward people who choose to stay. That is what I meant.

  50. Michael says:


    It may well have been too harsh…and if so I apologize to those staying who were offended.

    The fact remains that in “free market religion” the power of reform belongs to the people who pay the freight…and we all missed a tremendous opportunity here.

    One of the central tenets of the Gospel is the act of repentance…and over and over again the church allows it’s leadership to be unrepentant and thus set an example that holds people back from the grace and mercy of God that follows repentance.

    The responsibility for the health of the Body of Christ does not only lay with the leadership…it is the responsibility of every member of the church.

    Those who stay in places like Mars Hill compound the wounds given by the leaders by not holding them accountable…and that’s not loving either party.

    The only star in church should be Jesus…

  51. Jean says:

    “Even in pastor-led churches, we can’t underestimate how hard it is to leave the relationships that have been made there – no matter how tired we might be of the pastor’s antics.”

    I think Steve makes an excellent point. At my church I have many relationships which are of a longer duration, and many of which are much deeper, than my relationship with my pastor. I consider those people my church family. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be faced with a decision to leave my church family if my pastor went off the rails. I think I would fight as hard as I could to get rid of the problem, rather than go church shopping. May that never be necessary.

  52. wondering says:

    I do not disagree with one thing in your #50. My only point was that it is their choice. You/we did not miss a great opportunity, they did. I feel badly for them and wonder why they would ever choose to sit under the teaching/pastorate of such a man. But choose they did…

  53. Ps40 says:

    Redemption. Yes, the cup of redemption CAN look very harsh indeed. But God will never wound without the intention of a miraculous healing work. And His work is unfathomably grandiose.
    Redemption, historically, comes with great pain.
    Perhaps MD’s pain of loss could be integral to his redemptive course? Perhaps we are actually wounding him by giving him a free pass and remaining in those pews-virtual or not?
    My question is, Would I stay with a doctor whose credentials turned out to be a farce? And would it be “kind” of me to remain his patient?
    MD is going to need the support of the body, but it doesn’t look like a free pass and another “restored” book deal just around the corner.

  54. Michael says:


    You need to write for us…

    “But God will never wound without the intention of a miraculous healing work. And His work is unfathomably grandiose.
    Redemption, historically, comes with great pain.”

  55. Michael, I feel bad for you, sincerely. I think you put so much of yourself into a righteous cause in the Skip Heitzig situation that it took quite a toll, so-much-so that you’ve lost hope that any similar situation will ever go the right way.

    I am more optimistic on this one. While I think Driscoll has circles the wagons and pulled a similar page out of Skip’s book, BG’s book etc etc…I think this time around some very positive dents have been made…and I think this is not over by a long shot.

    I hope Driscoll eventually acknowledges real mistakes and offenses and repents…probably not, but I hope he does. Regardless, I think this will dog him for a very long time and I don’t think his ministry machine will ever be the same. I think he’ll continue on, but in a greatly diminished way, which is probably a good thing.

  56. I still think that what Acts 29 did spoke volumes and was a real effort to publicly correct a pastor in their Movement/Denom and I still think they did the right and necessary thing…and that’s all they can do is try.

  57. Jim says:

    Michael provides teaching, inspiration, encouragement, and food for thought. He also covers current events in the church.

    This is not a Driscoll blog, although they exist. Those who start Driscoll/CJ/whoever blogs usually have some personal skin in the game.

  58. I think if Driscoll’s heart continues to harden, he’ll go on offense and sue some of the folks that have brought accusations against him as I am guessing some are not going to go away quietly and will keep at him.

    Once Driscoll starts down the lawsuit path, he’ll hang himself with his own rope and it will just continue to get worse for him, it will consume him. That’s my prediction.

    I hope it doesn’t go that way…but I think Driscoll will harden and his personality type will eventually go on offense…and I don’t think some of the group that has confronted his actions publicly are going to back down.

  59. Jim says:

    I agree with Alex. I reject the notion that this is over and MD “won”.

  60. Michael says:

    Alex, Jim…I hope you’re both right.
    However, you guys know how much I love history…and history says that he’s safe and sound.

  61. Pride is Driscoll’s demon, his personal poison. If he doesn’t sincerely accept responsibility for his wrongs…he will harden…and he’ll go on offense…and he’ll be consumed. We’re witnessing it now in some other pastor situations…and this is where I think this one will go eventually.

  62. Ps40 says:

    @ #59
    Alex! I am sad to report that I believe you are spot on here. It’s what guys like thats instinct tells them to do: fight back. It’s a hamster wheel of sludge until he gives it all up. And if he does…he will lay low for a long, long long time.

  63. What does Acts 29 do? I used to work in franchising and we would call Joe’s Motel and ask if they wanted to be a Super 8 or Motel 6 and we would sell them the marks and put them in the 800#

    Is this what Acts 29 does?

  64. Ps40 says:

    i meant to say # 61!!!!

  65. Jim says:

    Yep. CJ lost the loyalty of SGM pastors when he apologized, then apologized for apologizing.

    He was done long before the lawsuits were filed.

  66. “and we all missed a tremendous opportunity here.”

    That’s the only part I don’t get.

  67. papiaslogia says:

    God’s not done with Mark Driscoll, the leadership or congregation of Mars Hill just yet. He still sits on a throne and won’t share it with anyone. “God Rules!” wasn’t just an Undercover album – its good theology.

    Its possible that the congregation and leadership at MH will open their eyes and expect and demand for greater accountability and not let things get out of hand again. They have a lot to process. Think paradigm shift.

    Paul spent 3 years in Arabia getting his head straightened out after he believed on Christ. Perhaps those who have been “under the spell”(bad analogy – forgive me) of MD will see things differently in time.

  68. Bryan Stupar says:

    Nobody “wins” in this unless there’s,
    repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation….period.

  69. PP Vet says:

    “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.”

    That’s the way it works, folks.

    If you don’t like it, join a different religion.

  70. Chile says:


    Remember when you were a kid and your parents would remind you that God knows everything you think and do? Remember how they’d use that to encourage you to tell the truth? (assumption here.)

    Keep that in mind while I ask you this:

    Are you a part of the PR group that is now trying to rescue Driscoll? Tell the truth now … remember Who is listening.

    Context: Driscoll hired Mark DeMoss, PR Consultant of Mitt Romney, to help him do crisis management, ’cause that’s what fallen pastors in unrepentant sin do. Today, the PR team is out en mass hitting the blogs, twitter, et al. Ad Hom attacks abound.

    I don’t mind dissenters presenting their views/opinions. I mind it when they lie while doing it. I mind it when they defend Driscoll without taking the time to educate themselves as to what the actual accusations are, before they decide if Driscoll is actually repentant.

  71. covered says:

    Chili, when did MD hire DeMoss? I must admit that this really surprised me. I must be comppletely out of my mind because I just assumed that he would run to The Lord not to a PR Consulting firm. Wow…

  72. Francisco Nunez says:

    Perhaps there won’t be any needed discipline at the local church level however I don’t think MD will be teaching at any pastors conferences or any other local churches anytime soon. If he does than those who allow it become participants in his unrepentant sins.

    Don’t mean to be harsh, but Christ will hold elders to higher standards. Christ did say “unless ye repent ye will not enter the kingdom of Heaven” like 13:3. This isn’t open for negotiation here.

  73. Francisco Nunez says:

    Pls excuse my typos. I meant to say Luke 13:3

  74. brian says:

    “Game, set, match, Mark.” and $ are and always should be one’s only goals

  75. Babylon's Dread says:

    The likely reason this stuff is happening is the market. Publishers and bookstores might be the driver. Other than that it would be his peers. Otherwise he would just hunker down and take the hit.

  76. Babylon's Dread says:


    That post is devastating. PR firms are as old as mankind and were at work in the death of Christ…

    Pontius Pilate Dread

  77. I am league with some others here in that I could care less about this guy Driscoll.

    There is only one Church and one Body and Mars Hill is not it; although it may contain some of it…

    Now what I am deeply concerned about as a Christian in America is your #10.

    John 16:2
    … in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.

    You are right that they will not need to cross any desert to arrive on USA soil. They will indeed fly in on first class or better yet, in private luxury jets.

    With $2 billion in the bank — thanks to military victories in the past few months — ISIS has become the most well-funded terrorist group in the world.

    Check it out:

    And just for what ever:
    Muslim leader (and ISIS supporter) Anjem Choudary once said anyone who drinks “should be given 40 lashes in public”. He also tried getting these pictures removed from the internet.

    The president of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has called the ISIS militants “embarrassing” to the religion and urged Islamic leaders to unite in tackling extremism.

    There is some hope:
    Not sure if this link will still work. It is a video of a man who logically goes through the Koran and shares his discovery of Jesus in the Koran.

  78. mike says:

    M.D. is a symptom of the diseased state of celebrity driven, event/”ministry” centered American Christianity.
    We get what we pay for and allow ourselves to consume.
    It’s all so far from jesus it’s pathetic and sickening to even have a blog devoted to the next pathetic and sickening scandal.
    Just walk away and stop looking at the car crash that is the modern church. Start looking to jesus.
    2 Corinth 3:18…. we become what we behold.

  79. Wondering says:

    Not part of any pr team. Just not willing to assassinate the character of thousands of believers who choose to remain. For those of you who do/have, take Chil

  80. Wondering says:

    Take Chili’s warning seriously: you know who is watching.

  81. mike says:

    By the way, if you think the Driscoll drama is over… you’ve been sneaking too much of the communion wine.

  82. Wasn’t John the Baptist the front man for Jesus – making the paths straight, putting Jesus in his best light, saying that Jesus was so great that he (JtB) was not even worthy to do servants work for Jesus..

    Sounds like PR to me.

  83. Jon Gaus says:

    You nailed it! Very well said, couldn’t agree more.

  84. Babylon's Dread says:


    Sounded like Elijah to them

  85. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    A29 is a church planting network started by David Nicholas and Mark Driscoll. After a relatively short period (maybe a few years) Nicholas vanished from that scene and it became Mark’s church-planting network almost by default. Nicholas was PCA, if memory serves, and it was during the period in which the A29 partnership began that Mark began to lean more heavily on being a Calvinist or a “new Calvinist”. He’s technically Amyraldian (for the 1% of you who care about that kind of doctrinal jargon) so Driscoll has not been viewed as truly Reformed by the Truly Reformed for quite some time now.

    It would be hard to describe the history of the network in part because so much of its history has been presented via Mark and his associates. Finding out more about the early history of it when it had more PCA connections has been a side project of mine. Can’t say I’ve found a whole ton yet.

  86. Wenatchee, thanks for that much.
    But what does it mean “church planting network” – do they give you a “how to manual”? Do the take a percentage of the take? Did you have to sign a statement of faith?

    And lastly, was it just for church plants or could an existing church join? I am trying to figure their angle? Is this some sort of church pyramid scheme? Is Matt Chandler a crook in this operation also?

  87. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    it was/is both MLD. Churches get planted but churches can also join. I don’t know a ton about Chandler but I don’t consider him any kind of crook. There was a pretty big upheaval in early 2012 in A29 executive leadership. That was a year when Mark began to vent about Baptists causing all sorts of trouble, which had me wondering for a while if SBC deep pockets that had previously donated to A29 suddenly got cold feet about supporting A29 if MD and MH handled 80% of the funding and completely dominated the executive board and central staff. SOMETHING happened in the spring of 2012 that rotated MH out of A29 and that relationship has been slowly deteriorating behind the scenes, it seems, since then.

    There might be a percentage members give to A29, maybe 10% (what MH used to give) to promote church planting. I noticed that the publicly listed missions giving for MH nosedived after the leadership change in FY2012 happened. I wondered if once A29 was no longer an umbrella entity of MH in all but name if MH changed its mind about donations to it.

    Basically if you’re “Reformed” and complementarian and “missional” you’re in. It’s a bit nebulous compared to, say, being PCA (which is nebulous compared to being OPC). A29 is probably best thought of as a parachurch association that does church planting/church assimilation and that Mars Hill is essentially a denomination in all but name, a small one, but one with a lot of ambitions to influence the world. This might surprise some folks but I don’t particularly try to assess the motives of people. I don’t think I can meaningfully address Chandler’s motives, though I prefer to assume some basic goodwill. I’m sure that as Mark sees things he’s sincerely trying to do things the right way. The governance system and financial systems remaining the same isn’t very encouraging but King David was quite the monster for most of his life and yet he was still described as a prophet and a man after God’s heart, wasn’t he? I think detractors can forget that people they want to call monsters can be saints and that the defenders can forget that many of the saints in the Bible were also monsters. Jephthah may well have been one of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11 but that didn’t make what he did to his daughter the right thing to do.

  88. Babylon's Dread says:

    The scope of this thing is staggering. Either there are more people lying about this man than any pastor in the history of church or MD has been brutish beyond comprehension.Today have I read a number of first hand accounts of personal treatment of people. It is incomprehensible that a pastor would treat people in this manner.

    There is no level of apology that can clean up this mess. Michael, this is not going to go away. I now think your number 1 is mistaken. The kinds of behavior that have gone by that man do not stop unless one is very broken and humbled. He would have to embrace the spirit of the kind of man he has spent his life decrying. That is a bridge too far.

    Accusations against an elder must be confirmed in the mouth of two witnesses. Oh wow there is a legion. Either he had a penchant for gathering and scattering scores of insane people or he has operated without conscience toward people he was serving.

    Shocking, incredibly shocking… staggeringly shocking.

    Alan Hawkins aka Babylon’s Dread

  89. LorenHaas says:

    #83 John the Baptist was not “picked” by Jesus because he was well connected with the celebrity religious/political establishment. Oh, and what exactly did Jesus have to repent of?
    Your comment is nonsense.

  90. Babylon's Dread says:


    Unless you know MLD your conclusion would be fair… He was baiting not asserting… MLD is a Missouri Synod Lutheran, a fine thinker, a first rate theological mind and a provocateur unlimited. Sheath your sword…

  91. Andrew says:

    Only God can bring someone to repentance. Maybe Mark is repenting. I have no way to tell. I hope so. From what I am reading now however, I don’t think this saga is over. It seems that some celebrity pastors just love to thrive in the public eye as do other celebrities in the tabloid newspapers. Mark just seems like one of these kind of guys. Whether the attention is good or bad, they just want more of it because that brings in the ratings. If the saga truly is over and Mark survives, than maybe its a one sign of repentance when MD makes himself no longer worthy of blog material. Although Skip Heitzig may appear to some that he survived his ordeal, he still obviously makes it occasionally in blog headlines. But I think it may be the nature of offenses that separate Skip from MD. I don’t see Skip as one purposely trying to make blog headlines where as I do see these kind of antics from MD.

  92. SJ says:

    How is it already over already and MD will be back for sure? The pseudo investigation by hand picked elders is no even completed yet. Is there truly the chance in all honesty that ALL the elders will have his back? Some of them have to have some spine of truth. Maybe the HS is convicting and working on hearts as we speak. I hope so.

  93. brian says:

    There is only one reason MD should be restored, can he generate revenue and can in propagate the brand. If he cant hell is not merciful enough for him if he can all is forgiven. God wants overcomers only Broken wounded souls they should rot in hell and twice on Sundays, God loves overcomers. Always. I get that, I dont but I do. There was a time in my Christian past where I held to hope justice and grace, I was a pathetic piece of crap for hoping such nonsense. It cant happen and wont in the American Church. It is a business that is the sacrament nothing more. I get that and it is holy. Its not but I am a heathen, so what do I know. Do you want to hear something really pathetic, and it is pathetic, I use to lean on the death and resurrection of Jesus. I have repented of such nonsense a true follower of God does not need God that is what I have learned all my time in the corporation. No good news here, never has been, infact it is awful news. What a weird religion it really is.

  94. Nonnie says:

    Bab’s 89 is excellent.
    He is a man speaking who has the heart of a pastor . Thank you, BD.
    You express what each one of us would hope any pastor would express and live out.
    You care for God’s people. Thank you!

  95. Jim says:

    I think comparisons between Skip and Mark fall short. Mark is a Chuck Smith.

  96. mike says:

    Thats not a fair shot. How about… mark is a mark and leave it at that.
    Why bring it back to someone who can no longer defend themselves?

  97. I think Jim’s point is that Mark is the head of a movement, like Chuck Smith. Skip was an underling.

  98. papiaslogia says:

    But in the capacity to do wrong and get away with it, that’s where Mark is the same as Skip.

    And knowing what Skip did, there’s not much lower a pastor can go.

    At least Mark has never ridden a motorcycle into church, ala Rob Halford.

  99. Steve Wright says:

    One of the most odd facts to me is that Mars Hill began in 1996 and only two years later, Acts 29 was founded….

    They may have both been heads of movements, but Chuck’s initial desire was to simply pastor a healthy local church with enough people to support his wife and children. That’s what happens when you spend years “paying your dues” (i.e. being refined) in relatively fruitless ministry bouncing around multiple churches and working side jobs to pay the bills.

    There were multiple Calvarys all over the country before any sort of organization was established for affiliation, and I don’t know how many years Chuck was pastoring before he ever wrote his first book And he certainly never had a book tour for any of them.

    Nobody was more surprised than Chuck himself, as to what the Lord did with Calvary. I don’t know Driscoll or his story well enough to comment there, but the differences just looking from the timeline alone are quite large.

  100. Steve Wright says:

    Another way of looking at my comments above. Today, right now, Driscoll is 43 years old.

    Chuck was already 38 when he first became the pastor of tiny little Calvary Chapel, had been in ministry for well over a decade, and it was even a couple more years before the first hippy showed up.

  101. papiaslogia says:

    Steve, whether or not Mark or Chuck set out to leaders of movements is besides the point. The fact is they were\are figureheads, not just for their local church, but for a wider movement.

    Imagine if CCOF\CCA decided at one point to “disassociate” with CCCM due to something Chuck was doing? Do you honestly think that would have EVER happened? Could Chuck have done ANYTHING to have that occur?

    My hats off to A29 for taking the steps they have thus far. I’m sure they have been busy behind the scenes as well.

    I wonder: what was the catalyst, the straw that broke the camels back, that made Mark say to himself, “Hmmmm… maybe I need to do something about this?”

  102. Steve Wright says:


    we are in agreement….

    it is not a good comparison…for many reasons…

    (but I understand why Jim made Josh said)

  103. Paul says:

    Michael: “If the issue was sexual instead of ethical and abusive, John Piper and crew would be demanding his resignation along with all of Mark’s famous conservative, Bible believing, famous friends. That’s a fact…and so is the fact that they are being either silent or supportive behind the scenes.”

    Well, doesn’t scripture make it clear that breaking the seventh commandment is the only sin that will disqualify a pastor?

  104. joyful exile says:

    This makes me really sad, Michael, as I so want to believe that Mark would yield to the power of the Holy Spirit…But seven years and all that has and hasn’t transpired is a long time to hope and pray and wait…I do have much living to do apart from this MHC mess but somehow the sticky fingers of it keep me in the fray somehow…I have tried to be obedient with my silence, voice, and prayers but I’m sensing the time may be coming to lay it down, turn them over, shake off the dust and move on down the road…Will you all pray that those of us in it will follow Jesus faithfully and will know how to do this ending to the glory of God? Oh my heart aches…

  105. Michael says:

    joyful exile,

    Few people I know have been involved in something like this and still followed Christ as closely as you.
    You have been an inspiration in many ways.
    I will have more thoughts on this later as I have to check my own heart today…God is still on the throne.

  106. Jim says:

    The comparison is as Josh explained. Now imagine if CC had kicked CCCM out, and recommended that Chuck step down. Mark is far from unscathed, and the fat lady had yet to sing.

    Mark the younger had a passion for planting churches in unchurched, urban areas, and Acts29 hit it hard.

    In 2008, Terry Virgo allowed Mark so speak off the cuff at the end of an international pastors conference. Mark chastised the 600+ church network for only planting 30 churches a year.

  107. joyful exile says:

    Thank you, Michael. Your words and ministry have meant so much to me. You have encouraged and inspired me when i was too broken to speak.

  108. Steve Wright says:

    I really have a problem with too much of a gung-ho attitude on church planting for the sake of church planting – when it comes to America. (Many areas in foreign lands are different)

    And that includes within my circle as well.

    Better no new church in a town with plenty of churches already, then a new lousy church (or more directly a new church with lousy, immature, untrained leadership)

    Of course, with all the satellite church “plants” I guess that is how one gets around the problem….

  109. Jim says:

    Having been a part of two networks whose primary growth patterns were transplants from other suburban churches, I admired Mark’s focus on urban areas. He saw the cities as unchurched, and as cultural centers. Influence the City, influence the culture emanating from the city.

  110. Andrew says:

    Steve @100. They may have both been heads of movements, but Chuck’s initial desire was to simply pastor a healthy local church with enough people to support his wife and children.


    Steve, do you really believe what you are saying?

    In the very beginning in the Four Square church, Chuck had a grandiose prophecy. He claimed that a prophecy came to him in which the Lord said to him that He was changing his name. His new name would mean “Shepherd” because the Lord was going to make him the shepherd of many flocks and the church would not be large enough to hold all of the people who would be flocking to hear the Word of God.”. That quote came right out of his Harvest book.

    To me this doesn’t sound like a simply desire to just pastor a local church. In addition if what you are saying is true, you are making it sound like Chuck just started a church like someone starts a small business purely for economic reasons. If Chuck’s desire was simply to make enough money to feed his family, he probably should have taken a secular job instead of making money off of the sheep.

  111. Andrew, why do you have a problem with people making a living as a pastor? The last thing I want is my pastor to work another job. He has plenty to do tending to the affairs of the church.

  112. Steve Wright says:

    Here’s what you don’t include, Andrew. Context my friend, and it matches up with what I said (and of course there is a whole lot more to the history which likewise matches up with my earlier comment)

    Years ago as we were in a prayer group, hands were laid on me and prophecy was given that at that time seemed to be just something maybe of a dream, but nothing of reality, as the Lord spoke to me of the future ministry that He was going to give to me.

    Now the background of this is that I had been spending about seventeen years frustrated in the ministry because nothing was happening. I just hung on because I knew that God had called me, but ministry was frustrating. Having been given the prophecy that told of how God was going to bless my ministry and He was going to make me a shepherd of many flocks and it was, at that time, a seemingly preposterous thing-yet God fulfilled it!

    The Lord said He was giving me a new name. The name meant shepherd, for He would make me the shepherd of many flocks. The Calvary Chapel group that was meeting here in Costa Mesa decided to call me to come on down and to pastor and I had accepted the invitation. Then they called me and said, “Do not come. We are going to disband.” And I said, “Well, I have already resigned here. I am coming anyhow.”
    Andrew, I know you don’t talk to regular people like you do here on the topic of Calvary. I know that in any other conversation about any other church, if an innocent comment was made about the pastor hoping to have enough of a flock to support his family so he would not have to keep working an outside job and all his efforts could be spent in ministry, that you would not conclude such a man was in it “purely for economic reasons”

    I’ve tried to explain things when you have them wrong, or even a little off, tried to answer questions you have thrown out there about CCA…but at the end of the day I know I will never know as much about Calvary Chapel, the work at Costa Mesa, or the movement at large as you do…even after 21 years.

    So yeah…let’s conclude there is no difference between Driscoll’s history and self-efforts and Chuck’s. Forget all I wrote above…they are like two peas in a pod. Let no even remotely semi-positive comment be uttered henceforth

  113. Andrew says:

    MLD, I have no problem with a pastor making a living. The problem I have is in the context of being an American entrepreneur starting a small business to feed your family and then calling it a church and expanding it into the evangelical industrial complex that we see today.

  114. Andrew #114,
    Yeah Brother!! Nail on the Head.

  115. PP Vet says:

    I grew up under the ministry of Mark Driscoll. Well, not this Mark Driscoll. But the same man.

    A man that used his own face as a sledge hammer to break down walls so that the people of God could walk out in freedom.

    And when the underlings tired of his harshness, word-for-word they said what we are hearing now: “One day he said this mean thing,” etc.

    And a leader over 70 churches was cast aside.

    One day, the Lord said to me, “Bob needs to rectify himself with the people he’s hurt.” I reacted, “Lord, Bob could never do that.” The Lord said, “Tell him that’s the price if he wants to go on.”

    I went to him with the word of the Lord. He hung his head and said, “There’s too many of them.”

    I was still willing to serve under Him. But the Lord said I could not do that until Bob understood that “people aren’t pawns in the game, they are the game.”

    And that was the end of his ministry.

  116. Neo says:

    They are the game….. Boom.

  117. terriergal says:

    This whole saga has been so disgusting. My heart goes out to those trying to raise the alarm (while so many of those who are tokenly disgusted with Mark seem inexplicably to be equally disgusted with those who are shouting the warning from the rooftops.. I am fresh out of patience for such weasels.)

    I fear your post is exactly right. More bullies will be emboldened (We already have quite a few behaving much like him in other large churches and even smaller ones). Mix up a Moralistic version of Baptistic Calvinism with worldly Vision Casting/Church Growth philosophy that teaches the pastor he gets a vision from God, and therefore he has carte blanche to cast out anyone that offers any criticism. Dan Southerland so evilly named the whistelblowers in his “Transitioning” book after “Sanballat” aka “leaders from hell” and that book comes with a with glowing foreword by Rick Warren, who ironically seems so kind and benevolent and conservative himself. But what he teaches leaves the door wide open to all kinds of abuses.

    Church growth philosophy/methodology is not doctrinally neutral. It is man centered and will corrupt any church that tries to mix it with sound doctrine.

  118. terriergal says:

    As far as DeMoss being hired, yes, that has been explored by several. The Wartburg Watch has a post “9 pessimistic predictions” (I prefer to think of them as REALISTIC predictions) in which the author explores just what it is DeMoss does for his clients:

    Pay attention to #3 about targeting social media/bloggers/media.

    If they threaten anyone, it will be important for everyone to stick together, for the threat to be exposed immediately and not allowed to fester behind closed doors. DeMoss served presidential campaigns. (note, Romney did not win. *cough*) So he knows I am sure how to bring the big guns to bear.

    Would it not be ironic to see Christians being the ones to be leading the charge to censor free speech…

    Well, I guess we have already been seeing it. The Evangelical Industrial Complex just got a new partner — DeMoss’s organization.

  119. terrirgal said it well – “Church growth philosophy/methodology is not doctrinally neutral. It is man centered and will corrupt any church that tries to mix it with sound doctrine.”

  120. Jean says:

    I have no idea what “church growth philosophy/methodology” is, so I don’t know whether it will corrupt any church. Can anyone explain what this is?

  121. Kay says:

    Diotrephes was able to do what he did because of the congregation allowed him to, just as here with Driscoll. I have seen this played out before in a small rural church. The guarded wolf syndrome is nothing new,
    Congregations are reflections of the leadership. Jeremiah 5:30,31 .
    Encouraging sinful behavior is not love, whether it be a child or a pastor.
    While no one is perfect, God has set standards and requirements for the church and pulpit.

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