1. In what follows I want to make some observations about what has clearly become the Driscoll dogpile. But in this, I don’t want to say anything that might come off as though I am privy to any back room information. I am not part of the private reconciliation or accountability processes, and so I want to compose myself as one who is not (Prov. 18:17). At the same time, elements of the whole saga have spilled out into the open, and I believe it is legitimate to talk about those aspects of it that are public, or which are acknowledged by all. For example, if Mark Driscoll says that he needs to seek forgiveness from certain people, he doesn’t need any defenders who are more catholic than the pope, saying that “no, he doesn’t really need to.”
2. I feel a bit sheepish about all the links to my own stuff, but as I say in one of them, this ain’t my first rodeo. If you would like to be critical, just chalk it up to my laziness, not wanting to write a bunch of the same stuff over again. That’s the ticket — laziness, not vanity. That said, here are a couple of posts that remain relevant, found here and here.
3. One of the criticisms I have had of “the resurgence” is the tendency to look to the business model of governance and ministry instead of looking into the very dry and boring topic of church government, as part of the exhilarating process of becoming a Presbyterian — which Mark Driscoll really needs to do. But the business mentality leads to a tendency to focus on numbers, demographics, non-compete clauses, image consultants, and protection of the brand. Now the problem is that if you live by the brand, you die by the brand. The fact that this is a problem in this quadrant of the church is seen in how easy it is to view the actions of the Acts 29 board as “protection of the brand” and not as an act of ecclesiastical discipline.
4. Completely aside from the issue of whether or not Mark Driscoll needs to seek forgiveness from anyone, we have clearly gotten to the point of this melodrama where demands for public apologies are being used as a weapon of war, and where compliance with the demand will only serve to further infuriate those making it. Everyone involved needs to sharply distinguish requests for forgiveness, which occur in the context of personal relationships, and demands for public apologies which become — in situations like this one — simply gasoline for the fire.
5. To the extent we are concerned about the optics, Mark needs to be careful that his apologies don’t come off as doing “whatever he has to do” to retain his position. And because more than one player needs to be concerned about the optics, the Acts 29 consortium needs to labor to demonstrate that what they are doing is more than “brand protection.” And while they are at it, they need to take care not to come off as a haphazard remake of The Revenge of the Beta Males.
6. When hard things happen, God wants us to be good stewards of the difficulty, and he wants us to learn from them. He wants us to turn a profit on our hard times. I trust that this is what Mark is going to do. But those who are abandoning ship really need to check their motives. If they were attracted to Mark’s ministry in the first place because of all the mojo, and they are departing now because they think of mojo as the departing Shekinah cloud of glory, then they are the one group that is not learning anything from this mess. They were chasing sparkly ministries before, and they are chasing them now.
7. I do differ with Mark on the matter of cessationism, as can be seen from our discussion here. But now that his star is not in the ascendant, I do think it is unfair to take this as an opportunity to haul out the canard that Mark has claimed to have “porn visions” given to him by the Spirit. The claim was that he was given a vision of detestable things. “He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations” (Eze. 8:6). When this happened to Ezekiel, that good prophet was not being given a peep show.
If the dispute is over whether that actually happened to Mark, or, if it happened, whether it was from God, then that is simply the cessationism debate, which is absolutely fair game. I think that whole issue needs to be resolved, and so have at it. But if you differ, there is sufficient material to object to without hauling an extraneous issue. I say this because the current climate will be a time when it will be very easy to haul in extraneous issues like that.
8. Remember to pray for Grace, and for the kids. Remember that bombing runs frequently cause collateral damage.
9. I liked Mark Driscoll before and I like him now.
10. I can do no better than to echo John Piper’s sentiments, and say: “I hope Mark Driscoll feels a tidal wave of hope-filled prayer for a new day and a new man in this season.” And to that I hope we can all say amen.