I’m not a follower of Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church, but it’s hard to be an Evangelical and not see his name pop up now and again. Driscoll has recently been hit with charges of plagiarism, unfair ghost-writing practices and most recently a book sales manipulation scheme. Yesterday he presented an open apology to his congregation. I’m pleased to see Driscoll make this step and to re-align his priorities around his congregation and his family.
You can read the letter here. http://renuemag.com/2014/03/16/an-open-letter-of-apology-from-pastor-mark-driscoll/
I was particularly pleased with this section:
First, a marketing company called ResultSource was used in conjunction with the book Real Marriage, which was released in January 2012. My understanding of the ResultSource marketing strategy was to maximize book sales, so that we could reach more people with the message and help grow our church. In retrospect, I no longer see it that way. Instead, I now see it as manipulating a book sales reporting system, which is wrong. I am sorry that I used this strategy, and will never use it again. I have also asked my publisher to not use the “#1 New York Times bestseller” status in future publications, and am working to remove this from past publications as well.
You don’t think that this sentence:
Is still a bit of a responsibility dodge?
I’m willing to grant that he was confused by the methodology (or was ignorant about it). Recognizing what was going on, I think he’s now taken the appropriate steps. But I’m also open to hearing how this is a dodge, I just don’t have the information at hand to make that judgment.
He also didn’t really touch on the ethics of ghost-writing. Hopefully in the future he’ll give his co-writers their appropriate credit.
I mean, I can’t know his heart and I don’t know all the details, but it sounds to me a little bit like it stops short of a full and repentant confession. If it was from someone other than a pastor, I might think it was close enough.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
Maybe another reason to self-publish if you’re book bound (no pun intended).
I think stories like this are strong proof that God must laugh.
This is one of those you don’t know what you don’t know situations. Did MD address the issues at hand or punt?
Otherwise I cannot stand the use of titles with first names. If Mark wants to be informal in the use of his first name, good for him. Don’t muck it up by adding a formal title.
I follow Driscoll a bit, although I disagree with him on many a topic. I tend to think that, at the very least, he’s an incredibly honest and straightforward person. That’s just how he comes across to me. I don’t know him personally, but I think this is sincere.
Jared C, I don’t get your point.
Christian J, he comes across to me as honest and straightforward as well. Until I learn otherwise, I have to see the best in him. “Love . . . is ever ready to believe the best of every person,” (1 Cor. 13:7 AMP).
Cal, unfortunately, Driscoll has a history of bad actions.
K, Please elaborate. Besides having some extreme complementarian ideas (and a number of others I don’t like), I’m not aware of any ethical issues with his ministry. I have no skin in the game either way.
As with many (all?) charismatic church leaders, he is hated by more conservative folks for his heresy, and departure from Bible. Like Mormons, he should be case from the fold: http://www.driscollcontroversy.com/ (FTR: I do not endorse anything on that site)
“cast from the fold”
Jared, I followed your link in search of solid evidence of his alleged heresy. The only quote of him that I saw was this:
“I assumed the students and singles were all pretty horny, so I went out on a limb and preached through the Song of Songs in the fall… Each week I extolled the virtues of marriage, foreplay, oral sex, sacred stripping and sex outdoors, just as the book teaches, because all Scripture is indeed profitable.”
I suspect the quote is somewhat out of its context. But anyhow, there is nothing wrong with marriage, foreplay, oral sex, sacred stripping and sex outdoors as long as it’s within a heterosexual marriage. The Song of Songs probably does extoll that stuff. Those who follow God’s boundaries for sex have the greatest fun with it. Jesus made sex fun because he loves us and wants us to be happy—besides perhaps inducing us to procreate. Sex within the context of a lifetime commitment between two people who love each other and love God is the best kind of sex.
Why not have fun?
If there’s a survivor’s network for former members of your church, that’s a sign. http://marshillrefuge.blogspot.com/
I think this is also worth reading: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/church-or-cult/Content?oid=12172001
Unfortunately, they don’t talk about this in Mormon Churches. Tell me more!
(And if gays can’t be married, can they at least have sacred stripping.)
Well, Joseph Smith said Song of Solomon was not scripture, so that’s surely why.
Apparently they do it in the Orthodox Church as well, if only through the subterfuge of the members. http://tazeen.net/2008/04/21/sacred-stripping/#
Sacred stripping aside, there are other qualifications to being an overseer and teacher in the church besides just not being a heretic. I also think there is a difference between casting from the fold and questioning sound judgement and the qualification to teach.
A lot of things I continue to read about Driscoll and the Acts 29 network in general leave me deeply troubled.
How are you supposed to find a good church, with so many wolves?
I think claims of apostleship are a pretty good indication that something is amiss.
What if there are 15 independent claims of apostleship?
I tend to a dim view on modern claims of apostleship. I generally get equally concerned when someone says, “God told me that you should…”
Do Driscoll and/or the leaders of the Acts 29 network claim to be apostles?
The short answer is Driscoll says the extraordinary office of Apostle has ended, but the ordinary role of church planter multi site pastor is corresponds to the role of (little “a”) apostle.
I have never seen anything to lead me to believe Driscoll’s view is accepted by the Acts 29 network. I think he has pulled chalks and cut ties with Acts 29.
How are you supposed to find a good church, with so many wolves?
The Protestant Lament.
Seriously, Its either one or the other right? A deeply centralize hierarchy with relative consistency in doctrine and practice or autonomy and “planting” – where some fall on good soil, some on rocks. I can see the pro/con in both of course.
Oh, I don’t think that a centralized hierarchy is needed for consistency in doctrine anymore than autonomy is needed for planting churches. Denomination has been bad word in much of American evangelicalism for a long time, as a somewhat new response (the last 20 plus years) para-church Networks of Churches like Acts 29 are used to replace denominational infrastructure while specifically eschewing the title denomination.
I don’t know if the network model works over the long term. It is an open question for some if the network model, especially when combined with a charismatic leader, has the institutional maturity to stop abuses.
I wrote a new blog post about some of this stuff: http://byzantium.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/how-i-became-a-calvinist-and-then-became-extremely-discouraged/
Perhaps a new thread is in order given that Driscoll has now taken a leave for at least 6 weeks.
Plus didn’t he get kicked out of Acts 29?
I read on an Evangelical blog that Driscoll has apologized many times for many things that he should not have done but got caught so he had to apologize; and then he gets caught, again, in those bad behaviors he just apologized for.
Mr. Driscoll has no credibility left, according to many Evangelicals.
you’re right. If I get some time I’ll write something up.