Why Driscoll Isn’t Finished…Yet

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51 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    The MD story has fooled me. Several times I thought it was just a big deal to a few people and half of them were cranks. Over and over it has taken a turn that I did not see coming. Something about this man has made people angry at a level that I didn’t see. I still can’t quite get it. Abuse of power doesn’t quite touch it. Bottom line is that people are responding to him like he is a bully who has been unmasked as being a coward. The once fearful are emboldened.

    Acts 29 was his friends, publishers have a financial motive, bookstores too. When have circles like that taken such actions? I never remember anything similar. Every time you think it is over something else… The human stories of pain that are coming out are the sort of things people relate in cultic circles. Pretty consistent voices are rising. “I was blind…”

    When any satellite breaks free that will be huge. I wonder what the legal paperwork says on that? What cost to the locals? This isn’t good for the body of Christ. The sad stories mount. Has it always been like this? My friends who are critics say yes.

    All I know is that we were half dead on the roadside when he stopped for us… Jesus that is. I wish we would learn to do likewise and to stop the other nonsense.

  2. PP Vet says:

    In my experience, when a kingdom warrior falls, whatever his sins, those who mourn are more honored by God than those who rejoice in the streets.

  3. Julie Anne says:

    I agree, Michael. As long as he has power or influence over them so that when he says, “trust me,” or “stay off the internet,” or “don’t listen to _____”, or has people convinced that “people who talk negatively about MH or me are divisive, slanderers, not of God,” Mark Driscoll will remain in the driver’s seat.

    You know I’ve seen this show before, too.

  4. Rob says:

    These issues will continue as long as people attend churches where the underlying messages are “authority” and “discipline”.

    The folks get sucked in because they are good Bible believers, and when they hear that teaching, they think they need to go along with it.

    Other leaders, teachers and pastors (IMO) need to preach against this. Some might say, “well, we don’t follow those practices in our church”. But, as we know, church membership in America is very fluid. People flow from church to church. If you teach today that this type of authoritarianism is wrong, it may protect someone tomorrow from getting caught up in this type of church.

    This saddens me. As I read the New Testament, I see a lot about our relationship in Christ, and what he has done for us. I don’t see a whole lot about coming under authority, submission to a church hierarchy, signing covenants (legal contracts) which forbid expressing disagreement, etc.

    Pastors teach truths, and teach the errors of false doctrine. Please, pastors, preach on this. Arm your people so they will be forewarned about these heresies.

    (Yes, I know there are other issues at work here, but this is one issue where I see “we” can do something about.)

  5. papiaslogia says:

    “When the reports come out that only 50 people showed up and they each gave a nickel…then he’s done.”

    “Nickel Sunday” would just about do it for MD.

    But then again, the ability of people to follow a man never ceases to amaze.

  6. Michael says:

    BD,

    What we have seen transpire in all this drama is what we’ve advocated for years.
    The one thing we haven’t seen yet is the most important…the mass exodus of supporters and givers.
    If and when that occurs we have a complete story.
    If it doesn’t, this is just CC ABQ Northwest…

    You have also rightly identified the need to watch the satellites…

  7. Michael says:

    Julie Anne,

    I know you have…

  8. Shaun Sells says:

    My guess is that many of the ones who stay have been extremely blessed by his ministry. That dichotomy is very confusing to me as I consider some of the heros of the faith that I have known – each one considered a scoundrel by someone else. And yet I still love and appreciate their ministry to me. That does not excuse poor behavior in any way – but reveals the human ability to walk in love when others are yelling crucify him.

    I would suggest there are those that think the same way about me – willing to ignore my warts and failures because of the ministry God has allowed me to do in their life.

    I would suggest there are those that think the same way about Michael – willing to ignore the warts and failures because of the ministry God has allowed him to do in their life.

    I would suggest there are those that think the same way about all of us.

  9. Michael says:

    Shaun,

    That’s partially true.
    It unfortunately doesn’t allow for accountability to the biblical standards of leadership.
    Love doesn’t allow sin to rage unchecked.
    Furthermore…
    In a church setting (not a para church or media ministry) the blessing should come from the ministry of the Word and sacraments and the fellowship of the family of God…not a charismatic leader.

  10. Nonnie says:

    “In a church setting (not a para church or media ministry) the blessing should come from the ministry of the Word and sacraments and the fellowship of the family of God…not a charismatic leader.”

    Wow!

  11. Linda Pappas says:

    Michael @ #9

    Rightly spoken.

  12. Shaun Sells says:

    I don’t disagree Michael. The call for accountability and Biblical standards of leadership are actually very loving to him and his church family. He and his followers need to heed their call.

    I would suggest that beyond the charismatic nature of MD some found the Word he preached to be valuable as well – not every sermon was about sex. The sacraments administered and the fellowship of the family will still be there this Sunday – even if MD is still there.

    I can’t discount the character of those who supported him in the past, people like John Piper and Matt Chandler. I don’t believe they only liked him because he was charismatic – they truly believed he was preaching the Word with power and sought to smooth out the rough edges. My guess is that many in his fellowship are still holding out hope even when older wiser leaders have given up.

    I am not seeking an argument, just trying to understand why some will still stay.

    Have a blessed day all.

  13. I know you have this opinion, Michael, b/c of what you experienced in the Skip Heitzig scandal…but this one is way different and something significant has been done.

    I think if Calvary Chapel Association (formerly CCOF) had publicly rebuked Skip and removed his affiliation, you would view things differently. Skip didn’t really cop to anything which means he didn’t repent…and CC ignored it. That’s a far cry from what happened with Driscoll…the many voices were heard and Acts 29 acted and now folks who choose to give to Driscoll are informed and can make an informed decision…and the Church has done all it can do.

  14. Michael says:

    Thank you, Linda and Nonnie.

    Shaun, I would say that the fact that they stay betrays Driscoll as a very poor teacher indeed.

    His actions deny the heart of the Gospel and evidently some are unable to recognize that.

    His actions deny the need for confession and repentance and thus denies the grace of God for those who do.

    His actions deny the commands to love and respect the family of God, to seek holiness, and to deal honestly…to live “coram deo” in our daily walk.

    It’s time that the whole church became accountable for the whole church.

  15. Neo says:

    Heck, this might encourage him (and other pastors) to engage in pastoring their local church.

  16. Michael says:

    Alex,

    While I’m encouraged by the response to Driscoll from many quarters, the outcome will be the same as ABQ if those in the pews shirk their responsibility.
    The final word will go to them…and they will be complicit in his sins going forward.
    They will also have the leadership they deserve…

  17. Michael says:

    Neo,

    Maybe… 🙂

  18. “The final word will go to them…and they will be complicit in his sins going forward.
    They will also have the leadership they deserve…”

    At what point will this be realized and the critics go home?

  19. Michael says:

    MLD,

    When he can’t hurt anyone but those who pay him to do so…

  20. So then the “final word” will never go to them. There will always be someone out there ‘feeling the effects’.

    We saw the 65 protesters a couple of weeks ago – do they outweigh the 12,000 in attendance?

  21. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I can’t give you a template for this…it just happens.
    I rarely write about Heitzig and when I do, it evokes the sound of crickets from Albuquerque.
    That tells me the matter is settled…they have the man they desire.

  22. Shaun Sells says:

    @14 – Ok, you can use that logic – but then you must concede that John Piper and Matt Chandler and a host of others were incapable of recognizing the difference between a good teacher and a charismatic teacher. In fact, John Piper still has three of Marks teachings linked on his website: http://www.desiringgod.org/authors/mark-driscoll

  23. PP Vet says:

    Glad you got a notch in your belt for bringing down a guy as big as you wish you were.

    Let me know how that works out for you.

  24. Michael says:

    Shaun,

    Teaching and discipleship is more than biblical exposition.
    People learn as much from our lives as our words.
    Pastors and elders are accountable for both.

  25. pstrmike says:

    ” but then you must concede that John Piper and Matt Chandler and a host of others were incapable of recognizing the difference between a good teacher and a charismatic teacher”

    I think they did show a lack of discernment, but I would add to that list, MacDonald, Laurie and Coy (who used to like to “hang” with Mark).

  26. Michael says:

    PP Vet,

    Let’s look at your statement.

    You assume that I want something more than I have in ministry.
    The truth is that I already have all that I want…and all I can handle.
    My beliefs about “ministry” don’t fit in with most of American evangelicalism…

    Second, I brought no one down.
    Let’s put responsibility for failures directly on those who did the failing.

  27. Michael says:

    The idea that “bigger is better” is a loathsome blight on pastoral ministry.

  28. Judy says:

    Michael: There are none so blind as those who will not see. How often did God refer to his people as those who had eyes but would not see and those who had ears but would not see. God will judge (discipline) those who have the Word and who can, for themselves, search it to find out what is in it. Not one person in that church can say, “I didn’t know” or “I am not responsible.”

    It’s a poor excuse when you have the Bible and refuse to be a Berean. I don’t say that to condemn them, I am only saying that they choose to be blind, for whatever reason. It is easier when you let someone else have the responsibility to lead and guide you. Surely it is harder to go to God and get an answer and then follow through. I doubt very much that the elders who voted out the bylaws didn’t know in their hearts that this was wrong. Yet they went along. Everyone wants to belong. Everyone wants to be somebody. It is the sickness that makes America so “great” today. I am sad for all these people.

    And perhaps they were never taught to search things out for themselves? If so, they are the most lost among us.

    God requires us to separate ourselves from the world. Unfortunately, the world has gotten into the church in large measure. When churches become corporations and take on worldly practices and godly men go along, something has gone terribly wrong. Where is the separation? Where is the teaching in today’s world for separation? How will people know evil from good if someone doesn’t teach it?

    I think the online community has done a great job of exposing this mess. If the people in the pews decide to stay, God will deal with them (discipline them, as a father disciplines his children) as much as He will deal with MD. I am sure that many who were involved and got run over will admit that they “knew” things were going wrong. It takes time to get past the dissonance to do what God wants us to do.I’m sure that the dissonance in that place is great.

    Obeying God is often a lonely thing. It came make us unpopular in Christian circles and in the world. The great saints of the Bible often suffered terribly for following God. Obeying God may mean giving up your “place” in the local church. It may involve a lot more. Maybe standing up to bullies.

    You cannot make the blind see. Either they choose to open their eyes or they refuse. I will pray that they choose to open their eyes and love them from afar because they so desperately need to see the truth, no matter how afraid of it they are. And my guess is that they are afraid of the truth because it WILL require that they change and we all hate that!

  29. Shaun Sells says:

    Ok Micheal – you may continue to see Mark and his previous ministry as inconsequential and of no value.

    I will not belabor the point anymore.

  30. Michael says:

    Shaun,

    I didn’t say that…and you’ve yet to answer the things I did say.
    Excellent deflection, sport.

  31. Michael says:

    Judy,

    Well said!

  32. And all the biggies will convene together on the largest Christian stage of the year starting tonight in Anaheim. Let the accolades begin.

  33. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’ll put up a separate article for that event later today.

  34. papiaslogia says:

    “The idea that “bigger is better” is a loathsome blight on pastoral ministry.”

    The idea that bigger means “The church is being blessed by God due to my efforts(holiness, knowledge, what have you) and that’s why the church is so big” is the not so subtle message behind “bigger is better”.

  35. Michael says:

    papiaslogia,

    Yep…

  36. I was one who was blessed by Driscoll’s ministry a few years ago. I would venture to say much of the criticism against him would also have been true of many others in history – Martin Luther for example was also often course and crude.
    Not to excuse his behavior, but it doesn’t invalidate any good that may have come from his ministry. Any truth he taught didn’t originate from him anyway. If anything, it only proves that God can use any broken vessel he wants to, but also that he won’t share the stage or the glory with anyone.

  37. Shaun Sells says:

    I did not deflect anything – I largely agreed with you:

    #12 – “I don’t disagree Michael. The call for accountability and Biblical standards of leadership are actually very loving to him and his church family. He and his followers need to heed their call.”

    You missed my point entirely, and I don’t really care to continue to the discussion.

  38. papiaslogia says:

    I post this link from CT with the understanding that I don’t necessarily agree with all the writers points: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/dissing.driscoll.what.the.church.can.learn.from.pastor.marks.fall.from.grace/39669.htm

  39. Michael says:

    Shaun,

    When you attribute words to me that I didn’t write, you already don’t want to continue the discussion.

  40. Shaun Sells says:

    Ok Michael, I am the bad guy here again – as always.

    Your lack of agreement or understanding of the simple point I was making spoke as loudly as your actual words. As you well know, communication is more than the words you say.

    I clearly agreed with you (as I pointed out), but you are unwilling to admit it, and accuse me of deflection and now slander as well.

    I wish you held yourself to the same standard as you hold me.

  41. Steve Wright says:

    There is just as much pride in a dying church as the membership continues to dwindle with no change or reflection in the leadership who insist they continue to be the “real, serious” Christians in the community. Numbers are meaningless when it comes to pride in pulpits and elder boards.

    Sometimes bigger is a sign of God moving His sheep to the pastures He wants them to be…especially if that growth is taking place where the Bible is proclaimed as God’s Word, Christ crucified is proclaimed as God’s Son and God’s salvation, as opposed to some “be the best you can be” itching ears pep talk.

    In my opinion sometimes the message here goes a little sideways when simply growing the local church is not seen as a good thing…..it doesn’t have to lead to multiple satellite TV churches all the time.

    How many folks went to Spurgeon’s church. Or G. Campbell Morgan’s.

  42. Babylon's Dread says:

    Wasn’t there an exodus of as many as 5000 when CCAbq had their issues?

  43. Andrew says:

    Bigger is a sign of God? Is this kind of like a “blood moon” being a sign from God? Growing the local church is not the responsibility of the pastor. Growing is the Lord’s job. Pastors just need to be faithful and let God deal with the numbers whether they grow or shrink. And how to you measure the numbers? Nickles and noses? Regarding Spurgeon’s church, he had membership there which is almost unheard of in mega churches.

  44. How many people went to Spurgeon’s church? How many went to Campbell Morgan’s church

  45. Shaun Sells says:

    “When Spurgeon arrived at The New Park Street Church, in 1854, the congregation had 232 members. By the end of his pastorate, 38 years later, that number had increased to 5,311. (Altogether, 14,460 people were added to the church during Spurgeon’s tenure.) The church was the largest independent congregation in the world.”
    http://www.spurgeon.org/spurgn2.htm

    I don’t know how many went to Morgans.

  46. Thanks Shaun – Looks like they either had a big back door or like my church they all die.

  47. Michael says:

    BD,

    It was about 5000…most returned.

  48. Michael says:

    Just to clarify…my point was simply that the size of a church is no indicator of the quality of a church or it’s standing in the kingdom of God.

  49. Law Prof says:

    The size of the church may well be an indication that the church is unhealthy and a cult of personality or it can be an indication that’s it’s a flourishing fellowship.

    I’ve been a member of a healthy megachurch where the vision for the church properly came from the body and the leaders were servants and slaves as Christ commanded. I’ve been a member of a tiny church that met in a living room where the church was similarly healthy.

    I’ve been a member of three tiny fellowships where the pastors were narcissistic thugs who in my opinion quite literally hated God and were possibly even drawn to church leadership because they could do more damage to God’s people that way. And of course, we have the examples of Furtick’s Elevators and Driscolls Mars Hillians to remind us that megachurches can be every bit as vicious and damaging as tiny crackpot cults.

    Size means nothing. Obedience to Jesus means everything.

  50. Bob says:

    Can I defend MD in one area? One of the positive fruits I constantly see from Mars Hill is a devotion by men to their marriages. Yea there’s a lot of stupid stuff like emphasis on submission, strange acts of intimacy and too much revelation of MDs personal relationship with his wife. But no where have I seen young men respond the way they do to being a husband and father like those of MH and Acts 29.

  51. Babylon's Dread says:

    I have a hard time believing most returned when one factors the exponential growth of Sagebrush that was simultaneous with the exodus of CCAbq. I have no trouble believing they recovered but doubt it was a return

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