Ten Notes on the Driscoll Dogpile

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.

36
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
31 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
19 Comment authors
Eric StampherMattThe CanbereanOhioanCassandra Wright Recent comment authors

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Paul
Guest
Paul

Thank you for this, Doug.

Drew
Guest
Drew

Good words, Doug.

valerieab
Member

Amen.

John Rabe
Guest
John Rabe

Please, please don’t become one of those people who substitutes the word “optics” for “appearances.” Leaping lizards, do I hate that. (Which is a rather picayune observation considering the circumstances. Good words, otherwise.)

dchammers
Member

My, have I learned and been encouraged by Mark Driscoll sermons. And my, have I seen the train wreck coming for as long as I’ve been listening to him. Fame kills and just the quicker when you have an ego the size of Puget Sound. When Piper took some time off to let his ego cool, I thought the best thing he could have done was go wash dishes in some Christian mission for a year. For Mark, it might be two, followed by another of cutting grass. I sure do hope however that our Father is not done using… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

He’s a bit too cool for my jeans, but still is a gift of God to us. I wish in that cessation video you would’ve nailed down if Mark thinks real verbal propositional Spirit content occurs now. And if it does, how can it not be normative? How is it not “Bible, The Next Page!”?

Andrew Lohr
Member

Eric–because the Bible mentions real prepositional Spirit content that did not make it into the pages of the Bible, e.g. the prophecies of Philip’s four virgin prophetess daughters or in the church at Corinth. So does the Westminster Confession: assurance of faith amounts to the propositional content “God has saved me.” Keeping subcanonical prophecy and knowledge subcanonical is a genuine and serious practical and pastoral problem, but denying the existence of subcanonicals is telling God “Shut up” (not across the board, of course, but had we ever better tell Him that?)

Eric Rasmusen
Guest
Eric Rasmusen

I like the post’s point that public apologies are not solutions, and governance is. You say that it’s wrong to look for the business model of governance, but in fact half of presbyterianism is the same as the business corporate model. That half is having members of the organization elect a board composed partly of employees, partly of non-employees, that runs it and can fire the executive or override his decisions at any time. (The other half, having a presbytery of members of lots of boards to discipline each individual organization’s board, is not used by businesses.) Mars Hill by-laws… Read more »

Ohioan
Guest
Ohioan

To echo something I heard in a sermon once, I think that it’d be wise for people who comment on Driscoll to think about whether they’re acting like a David or a Saul when they talk about him. Of course, it cuts the other way too; I think Driscoll himself would be helped by reading his own story within that paradigm, and outlining the next chapter with that in mind. A great many people who have little or no authority are experts in hypotheticals, talking about how little they’d let authority go to their heads. I was among their number,… Read more »

Bruce
Guest
Bruce

Can I nominate these comments as the best ever? Seriously.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Eric said, “Whether he keeps his salary secret gives us a very simple indicator of the state of a pastor’s soul.”

So, you’d support every man in the congregation making his compensation public? If not, what’s the difference?

Larry
Guest
Larry

I wonder if you would have liked him then and/or now if he had ever wielded power over you and threatened to ruin you or any future work or church of yours. It’s easy to like someone if you haven’t been at the bottom of his dogpile.

Mark Hanson
Guest
Mark Hanson

Matt – I expect every leader in the congregation to be willing to open up his finances – at least to other leaders – for accountability purposes: does he tithe? is he spending money on what ought not be bought? is he in debt over his head? In fact, we ask questions like this of all the families in church when we have our annual visit.

I know in our PCA church the pastors’ salaries are line items in the annual budget presented to the congregation for review at the annual meeting.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Andrew, hi there.

It is not the denying of subcanonicals which = “shut up, God.” Rather it is the acknowledgment of them, then saying they aren’t worthy to be called canon.

“This is God’s Word!!! — just not good enough to be Bible.”

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Salary — If you’re taking $ from the plate I give into, ain’t it fair for me to know how much?

Maybe I’d like to stop supporting you.

GjT
Guest
GjT

This is not one your better efforts. Driscoll has disqualified himself, both by his own admission (being a fighter, lacking self-control with his tongue, etc.) as well as by the serious, widespread, and repeated accusations from different sources (not the same accusation being repeated by different people, but the same kind of accusation being reported as happening to multiple people over the years). He is not above reproach, nor does he have a good reputation of those without. He needs to step aside for a period of years at the very least and disappear from public view, and hopefully his… Read more »

mikebull1
Member

“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.

Yep. I think Pastor Driscoll is what you’d get if Joe Rogan got saved. Our greatest strengths are nearly always the flip side of our greatest weaknesses.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Eric, Is it fair for you to know what I’m getting paid because you’re giving? I suppose I could go there if I knew what you were giving. My default position over the years has been to be an advocate of complete transparency with these things, as a pastor, not because someone’s demanding it of me (which, frankly, seems to be the attitude behind your ‘I’m paying you, aren’t I?” angle…) but because I never want it said about me that I was hiding something. And that’s likely what I would still do, were I to have a call again.… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

Mark Hanson,

Your questions (of parishioners) are good ones. Perhaps some of the elders could ask the same of the pastor without making his actual income a matter of public record.

I know it sounds crazy in the light of superstar pastors and their mega-compensation packages, royalties, etc., but I’m wondering what biblical support folks adduce for making all pastors’ salaries (but not RE’s?) public while the average parishioner gets to make a ton, give 1-2% of his income with impunity.

Maybe our assumptions are wrong.

lief moi
Guest
lief moi

Thank you for not jumping on the “Bring Mark Driscoll down” wagon. Jesus’s prayer for us was that we would love one another and not just when they can benefit us or when supporting them is the in-thing. True repentance, forgiveness and restoration will show the world that we(believers) have something lacking in the world, Grace! First because we have received it from Him and as a result we can extend it to each other. How beautiful it will be when this Grace leads to a reconciled church.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

If the church is subsidizing me at all, you bet the elders have an obligation to see if I need it.

Does the pastor need my money? Prove it.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I see the “if the Spirit speaks, why isn’t it in the Bible?” to be a really poor late-modern misinterpretation of what the Bible is. The only book in the entire New Testament that resembles this type of Spirit content is Revelation. Other books from the time period that fit that description and were read widely in churches, such as Shepherd of Hermas (which even made some 2nd-century canons), were never included in the final canon. On the other hand, there is content in the New Testament that makes the clear claim NOT to be verbal content from the Spirit.… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Jonathon, you’re arguing for a closed canon on the basis of it being a historical compilation of dead white guys’ writings, not on the basis of it being God’s writings.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Eric, the canon has been closed for a long, long time, and no one is going to reopen it no matter what arguments you or I or anyone else in the world makes. I’d rather discuss the actual reasons the canon was chosen, and closed, than make up new arguments after the fact just so I can manufacture support for an unrelated agenda. p.s. – when did the apostles become White? And I’m pretty sure that they were all alive when they were writing. It helps to remember that the apostles founded our faith BEFORE the New Testament was written… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

The Canon was never chosen by man.
It was acknowledged and received on the basis that it is words from God = special revelation.

If words from God are found today, we must receive them as part of the canon.

Cassandra Wright
Guest
Cassandra Wright

Mark Driscoll has offended God and more than half of His church in the way that he denigrates women. I hope God clears that one up for him as well.

Ohioan
Guest
Ohioan

The Canon was never chosen by man. It was acknowledged and received on the basis that it is words from God = special revelation. If words from God are found today, we must receive them as part of the canon. OK, but chief among the people doing the real work of acknowledging/receiving it were those less than two generations from Jesus himself. The NT Canon wasn’t closed until Nicea, but it’s contents all predate AD 100. If Mark Driscoll has a vision that he thinks is from God, AND he thinks it’s meant to teach the universal church*, AND he… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

we are under no obligation to receive all of Paul’s words as Bible. The particular Words of Paul we accept as Bible, we do so because we recognize them has the words of God

The Canberean
Guest
The Canberean

Douglas,

Surely the character of a man is what matters most, even more so as a pastor leading God’s people. How he treats fellow human beings, especially those who are of no use to him, has to be a true measure of a man. This is how Mark Driscoll measures up on that front:

http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/preaching-paul_edits1.mp3

BTW the so called “woodchipper” which he refers to at the end is straight out of the movie ‘Fargo’. If you’ve seen the film you’ll understand exactly what he means.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Eric sez: “Does the pastor need my money? Prove it.”

Where do you get the idea that you keep your money until the pastor proves he needs it? It’s kinda funny… the pastor proving to you qua you that needs your money, instead of you understand that God requires your money to be given freely and in a spirit of generosity. As he’s profited you spiritually, so you profit him materially.

Or maybe he shepherds you less until you prove you’ve chipped-in enough?

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Matt, I stand corrected.

If he needs or deserves my money, prove it.

We have many options where to fund.