Gospel Centered Plagiarism-Further Evidence of the Demise of the T4G – 9Marks – Gospel Coalition Crowd?

By | November 22, 2013

Below you will see Mark Driscoll exposed in a very disturbing light.   An aspect of this which really concerns me is just what kind of fruit is being produced by these neo-Calvinist leaders?  Both John Piper and C.J. Mahaney have forged relationships with Driscoll.  I have recently written on the questionable wisdom of John Piper demonstrating strong support for C.J. Mahaney by speaking at his church and also Al Mohler holding a conference on leadership with C.J. Mahaney.  It appears I am not the only one to have questions about these relationships.

A very interesting blog questioning Piper’s lack of discernment as it relates to his support for Mark Driscoll can be found here.  The author states:

The purpose of this article is to show the close link between Pastor John Piper of Desiring God Ministries and Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, who founded the Acts 29 church planting network.

He then goes on to highlight many questionable actions and sermons by Mark Driscoll, yet John Piper remains true to his friend.

I think Roger Olson, Professor of Theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University, has spoken with wisdom in his article titled T.A.C.O.s Anyone?   (“T.A.C.O.”–”Totalistic, Aberrational, Christian Organization.”) He suggests that people should  “RUN from a congregation EVEN IF it is perfectly orthodox doctrinally and even though its reputation is evangelical” if they display any of the following signs:

1) Condoning (including covering up) sexual abuse or sexual immorality of leaders within itself.
2) Silencing honest and constructive dissent.
3) Treating leaders as above normal ethical standards, above questioning.
4) Implying that “true Christianity” belongs to it alone or churches in its network.

In my opinion many of the neo-Calvinist churches are displaying all 4 of these tendencies. Who are these neo-Calvinist churches?  Well, if your church is closely aligned with 9Marks, Together 4 the Gospel or The Gospel Coalition then you may have reason to be nervous.  Many of the leaders of these organizations have publicly backed C.J. Mahaney and Mark Driscoll.


“Mark Driscoll and I were never close. In the early days of proto-emergent, I was on the fringes and he was an intimidating figure in the inner circle. He made it abundantly clear that he had no respect for a youth pastor like me. By the time I made the inner circle, he’d left. I’ve attempted to correspond with him since — even to get together with him when I was in Seattle — with no success.

I say all that as prelude to the buzz that’s been making the rounds this week. A pastor who was fired by Mark a few years ago, and the pastor’s spouse, have gone public with their story. It is, I think you will agree, a chilling story. It’s full of intrigue, and could easily devolve into a gossipy sin feast.

But that’s not why I’m posting it.

I am posting it because I think it’s a cautionary tale. I think, as my headline indicates, that the particular theology that Mark Driscoll has embraced since he left the emergent posse (n.b., he was not a Calvinist when I met him in 1998) is untenable. John Piper excommunicates his son, C.J. Mahaney is removed from leadership because he is jerk to his colleagues, and now it turns out that Mark Driscoll has fired pastors and elders who had the gall to question his leadership.

When you read this story, make note of this: Paul and Jonna Petry are not liberals. They didn’t go off-message. That’s not why they were fired, excommunicated, and shunned. Their website is rife with the theological language of Calvinism, language that I and some readers won’t find compelling (e.g., spiritual warfare, “biblical eldership”). Paul Petry was not only a pastor, but also a practicing attorney. Petry expressed concern that Driscoll was having the by-laws rewritten to consolidate his power. Petry was fired, and shunned.

Our theologies have consequences. My hope is that Paul and Jonna Petry — and others like them — will reconsider their theological predispositions in light of what’s happened to them at Mars Hill. I hope that they will seek a theology that is more loving, open, and progressive.”

See the blog article in its original format here.

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Why the lead in with information on plagiarism?  Well, in a recent Mark Driscoll interview by Janet Mefferd, scheduled at the request of Mark Driscoll’s PR agent, to publicize his new book Janet Mefferd raised the issue of 14 pages of material Mark Driscoll copied from books authored by Peter Jones!

1 peter jones 1 god of sex


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I was very happy to hear Janet Mefferd ask Mark Driscoll some tough questions during her interview.  I was even happier to hear her stay the course as Mark Driscoll attempted to use a tactic common to narcissistic, authoritative men in positions of church leadership.  The tactic is to attempt to turn the conversation from the question at hand to one of questioning the questioner’s spiritual condition.  In this case when Mefferd was pressing Driscoll on the plagiarism issue he attempted to change the subject matter by stating “You’re being accusatory and unkind.” And then he implies that all is not lost for the weak Christian sister because she can turn this into an opportunity to grow.  Undoubtedly this technique has worked for Driscoll 98% of the time, but it didn’t work with Janet Mefferd.  Unaccustomed to having someone stand their ground Driscoll did what most narcissistic bullies do, terminated the conversation by hanging up his phone!

A Narcissist’s Characteristics.

A narcissist exhibits pervasive grandiosity — sometimes through behavior, sometimes in fantasy. A narcissist needs to be admired and shows little or no empathy or concern for the problems, difficulties, or even the interests, of other people.

Narcissists hold (perhaps “embrace” would be a better term) an exaggerated sense of self-importance. They overrate the significance of their achievements and talents. And they expect to receive accolades for what they believe are outstanding personal attributes and accomplishments. They tend to be totally absorbed in fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty, and other achievements and qualities. They believe they are special; as a result, they believe they can only be understood and appreciated by people who are — or organizations that are — also special.

Consequently, narcissists have unreasonable expectations of people and situations. They feel they are entitled to favorable treatment and unquestioning compliance with their hopes and expectations. Other people are supposed to acquiesce to their wishes.

Further, they exploit friends, acquaintances, and associates, taking advantage of others to secure their own desires. They tend to be haughty and arrogant, convinced that others are, or should be, envious of them.

While every narcissist does not display each and every one of these characteristics, every narcissist exhibits enough of them to be difficult to deal with.


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