Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mark Driscoll Repents? Not So Fast, Say Phil Johnson and Chris Rosebrough

Post by Christine Pack

"I wish (Driscoll) would step out of ministry, at least for a time, for a long time, and really try to get the issues---,  really seriously reboot his life. I don't think that's gonna happen. I think what we're actually gonna see -- because he's hanging on to all of his authority and all of his influence and all of the things that really seem to matter the most to him -- I don't see him making the sort of changes that are needed." (Phil Johnson - Executive Director, Grace To You, beginning at 27:20 mark in his 3-18-14 interview with Chris Rosebrough)
In the wake of recent scandals that have rocked the Mars Hill empire of celebrity pastor Mark Driscoll, Driscoll has written an open letter of apology which was recently posted by Renue Magazine. Driscoll's apology (A Letter Of Apology From Mark Driscoll) reads in part:
"(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." (online source)
Driscoll wrote that, in conjunction with what he termed a "Board of Advisors and Accountability," he has decided he will "be doing much less travel and speaking" and "will not be on social media for at least the remainder of the year."

While many Christians (fans?) have rushed to accept this letter from Mark Driscoll as a genuine offering of true repentance in keeping with biblical mandates, a few are not so sure. For instance, Phil Johnson (Executive Director of Grace To You) and Christian talk show host Chris Rosebrough (of Fighting For the Faith radio) recently discussed Driscoll's repentance letter, and are publicly questioning the sincerity of it. On the 3-18-14 FFTF show, Phil Johnson made the following statement:
"Even the confession, if you call it that, was a bit weak because (Driscoll) manages to make himself sound like kind of a victim. He does this throughout the letter. He talks about the crushing weight of the responsibility, and his lack of a personal pastor, but when he gets to that part about the New York Times (bestseller) list, he makes it sound like he was sort of duped into doing that, that it was unwise, it was a bad decision and all of that. He doesn't really address the heart of what it is that makes (what he did) so wrong. And that it's a) dishonest, and b) he used church funds to do it."
And later in the discussion:
Phil Johnson: "When it comes to that letter (Driscoll) is the one calling all the shots when it comes to defining both what his sin was and what his consequences are going to be. That's not genuine repentance. Real repentance lets Scripture define the nature of the sin, and somebody else needs to define what the consequences are."
Chris Rosebrough: "Right. The way I read it is, Jesus supposedly is the pastor of Mars Hill, and Jesus and Mark Driscoll decided Driscoll's punishment, and then it was rubberstamped 'Approved' by their Board of Accountability.' I've never heard of or even seen a scheme like that run in any organization even remotely calling itself 'Christian.'" 
Phil Johnson: "No, but you have to see that that is the inevitable result of the notion that God speaks directly to (Driscoll). He's a prophet, he thinks of himself as a prophet. I think he even calls himself a prophet in that letter. He sees himself as a prophet, and therefore, he's in control of what is said about this, what is going to be done about it, because he and Jesus worked it out, just the two of them together. And they have this (Board of Advisors and Accountability)--- whatever they call it, it's hard not to see that as a total sham, because it was set up in the wake of several moves that so changed the leadership at Mars Hill, where (Driscoll) actually got rid of anyone who had any inkling of trying to hold him accountable." 
Also discussed in the Johnson/Rosebrough FFTF interview:
- That Driscoll has made public mea culpas in the past which don't seem to bear the biblical marks of genuine, biblical sorrow for the sins being apologized for 
- That Driscoll has yet to apologize for the lies he told in his gate-crashing publicity stunt at the Strange Fire conference 
- That Driscoll has claimed to receive what can only be termed as "pornographic visions," and which Driscoll has blasphemously ascribed to the Holy Spirit.  
- That Driscoll continues to engage in coarse/off-color language 
-  That Driscoll delivered sexually explicit content during a sermon (the infamous Song of Solomon incident), and when the inappropriateness of that sermon was pointed out by John MacArthur, Driscoll scrubbed the record of that sermon from the internet and told a series of lies to cover himself
- That, perhaps most alarmingly, Driscoll has extended the hand of Christian fellowship to modalist heretic TD Jakes
Rosebrough also commented that Driscoll has never publicly apologized to Janet Mefferd of The Janet Mefferd Show for saying on-air that she was just "having.....a grumpy day" for questioning him over his several incidents of plagiarism she had uncovered. (Incidentally, it is to Janet Mefferd that many Christians owe a great debt for being willing to publicly confront Driscoll over his plagiarism in a show some months back, for which she was severely criticized and forced to make a public apology. So kudos to Janet for being the first across the battlefield and being willing to be bloodied for that. It seems God has vindicated her in this matter.)

Quite a laundry list of known sin issues with Driscoll, isn't it? And yet, Driscoll's fanbase (there's no other term I can think of that more accurately describes them), continue to come out en masse whenever Driscoll gets into hot water and vigorously defend him against the charges made, no matter how heinous the charges might be. So in closing, I'd like to publicly give a big "thank you" to Chris Rosebrough and Phil Johnson for having the willingness and the boldness to publicly state that the problems with Mark Driscoll have reached enough of a critical mass for Driscoll to be disqualified from holding the office of pastor (see biblical qualifications listed below). May other Christian leaders come to understand how grievously harmful Driscoll has been to the body of Christ, and follow suit in calling Driscoll to step down from pastoral office.

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1 Timothy 3:1-13 - Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. 
In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. 
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. 
A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
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Titus 1:5-10 - Qualifications for Elders
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.

 Additional Resources 

How to Identify True Repentance (Fighting For The Faith)

Documenting the Problems with Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll [UPDATED]

True Repentance, The Ministry and What (Really) Just Happened (Janet Mefferd)

Mark Driscoll's Problems and Ours: The Crisis of Leadership in American Evangelicalism (Carl Trueman)

Documenting The Problems With Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll's Failed Publicity Stunt That Ended With Him Lying About What Really Happened

Mefferd/Driscoll Interview

Mark Driscoll bought his way onto the NY Times bestseller list through anonymous 3rd parties

Chris Rosebrough interviews Janet Mefferd about Driscoll's latest scandal

Mark Driscoll and His Rated R Sermon in Scotland (Warning: Explicit Content)

Mark Driscoll: "Shut Up and Do What You're Told."

Mark Driscoll Brags About Pile Of Bodies Behind Mars Hill's Bus