Driscoll and Mahaney

By | March 27, 2014

It appears Brent Detwiler is prescient.  One year ago he authored an article titled “The Twin Brothers Driscoll and Mahaney.”  I suggest you go directly to Detwiler’s blog and read the article, but in lieu of that, Detwiler has given me permission to quote liberally from his post, which I do below.  It makes for some timely reading.


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…Like with C.J., Mark intimidated his local elders.  Like with C.J., the elders showed Mark favoritism, craved his approval, and allowed him to play by a different set of rules.  Like with C.J., an employee could easily lose their job or be demoted if you confronted or offended Mark.  Like with C.J., Mark set up a puppet board and changed the bylaws (used the bylaws in C.J.’s case) to secure his power.  Like with C.J., you could be excommunicated or shunned if you didn’t comply with authoritarian demands.  These boys are birds of a feather.

… C.J. last told me about his interactions with Mark Driscoll in November 2007 during my last leadership team retreat when I resigned from the Board of Directors for Sovereign Grace Ministries after 25 years (see A Final Appeal, pp. 90-92).  C.J. informed us then that Mark had asked for his input. This was another classic illustration of C.J.’s hypocrisy.  He was going to help Mark  discern the presence of pride in his life even though C.J. rejected all our attempts to help him see the fruits of pride in his own life.  He was going to cultivate humility in Mark’s heart when he refused to let others cultivate humility in his own heart.  I distinctly remember sitting in the meeting with Dave Harvey, Steve Shank and Pat Ennis stunned by the irony and audacity

…In reality, this person would act as a substitute for the elders in his “unique role.”  That is so often the problem.  There is no true plurality of leadership.  The founder, President, or senior pastor is functionally unaccountable.  The elders are afraid to be honest and fear losing their jobs.  For instance, they will not confront such men for neglecting their wives and children as they pour 70-80 hours into their ministries each week.

…C.J.’s involvement didn’t produce changes in Mark’s life.  C.J. may have provided “care, counsel and correction” but it didn’t translate into repentance, confession or restitution.  Like twins, Mark and C.J. responses to correction were identical.  Little fruit and no concern for people like Paul and Jonna Petry who were figuratively left to die in a roadside ravine after being blindsided by a Mack Truck.

…In the same way, C.J.‘s sins were covered up, so too were Mark’s.  The scenario at Mars Hills Church with Mark is almost identical to our dealings with C.J. in Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Like C.J., Mark took control of the process.  Like C.J., he silenced dissent.  Like C.J., he removed people he didn’t like any longer because they challenged him.   Like C.J., he surrounded himself with devotees.

…Nationally recognized leaders know there are serious issues with C.J. and Mark but  will not risk their own reputations, ministries or revenue streams in order to address them or don’t want to draw attention to themselves realizing they suffer from the same maladies.  In the former case, they fear losing favor (i.e., national recognition) over a falling out with Driscoll or Mahaney or whomever.  You don’t get invitations to speak at Conferences, preach at churches, teach in seminaries, sign book deals or benefit from name recognition by offending the powerful.  Young men like David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, and Matt Chandler are not going to correct or challenge Dever, Duncan, Mahaney or Mohler.

As a result, guys like C.J. and Mark fly beneath the radar screen undetected.  Inside their organizations, people are afraid to speak up for fear of consequences.  Outside their organizations, peers withhold critique in order to secure their favor and avoid offense.  Instead they build alliances of mutual benefit which are a key to advancing and promoting their ministries.  A lot of money, growth, and recognition comes in the aftermath.  On those occasions when conflicts arise, they are concealed and truces are secured.

Furthermore, if one of them is exposed from within or without their organizations, these alliances defend against attacks and silence the opposition.  As a result, people like the Petry’s are oppressed, mistreated, and forgotten like Old Testament widows, orphans or sojourners in distress.  They receive no help, no protection, and no care.  While nationally known leaders should be addressing Driscoll (or C.J.) the work is left to the weak, broken, and despised.


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