“There is a darkness in you. In all of us, probably. Beasts we keep chained. Ordinary men have to keep the chains strong, for if we let the beast loose then society will turn upon us with fiery vengeance.
Kings though…well, who is there to turn upon them? So the chains are made of straw. It is the curse of kings, Helikaon, that they can become monsters. And they invariably do.”
― David Gemmell, Shield of Thunder
UPDATE 2-28-2016 – It has been brought to my attention that on February 22, 2016, Mark Driscoll preached at Grace City Church, Wenatchee Washington. The title of the sermon is “Becoming a Godly Man.” Jory Micah broke the news on her blog. She has a good analysis of Driscoll’s sermon which may be read here. I covered the relationship between Grace City Church senior pastor Josh McPherson and Mark Driscoll at the end of this article.
Here is a link to the sermon page on the Grace City Church website.
Below is a three-minute audio of the introduction of Driscoll at Grace City Church. Interesting to me is the fact that Driscoll employs the same flattery tactics of C.J. Mahaney.
Also, of interest is why would senior pastor Josh McPherson open his pulpit to Mark Driscoll? McPherson is a Regional Director of Acts29. Further down in this blog you can read a letter the leadership of Acts29 sent to Mark Driscoll. The letter states in part:
“Based on the totality of the circumstances, we are now asking you to please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help. Consequently, we also feel that we have no alternative but to remove you and Mars Hill from membership in Acts 29. Because you are the founder of Acts 29 and a member, we are naturally associated with you and feel that this association discredits the network and is a major distraction.”
I have emailed Acts29 leadership asking them if, in their opinion, it is appropriate for one of their regional leaders to be inviting Mark Driscoll to speak at the church he pastors.
UPDATE 3-1-2016 -The Seattle PI has published an article titled, “Ex-members, in suit, charge Mark Driscoll with “pattern of racketeering” at Mars Hill Church.” In part, the article states:
“Four former deacons and members at Mars Hill Church sued on Monday, asserting that ex-senior pastor Mark Driscoll and general manager Sutton Turner engaged in a “pattern of racketeering” at the defunct Seattle-based mega-church.
The RICO (Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act) suit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle describes a pattern of activity under which “a deadly toxin was injected into the MHC body, ending in complete destruction of the church.“
A friend of mine living in the Wenatchee area advised me that Grace City Church has purchased land and is planning on building a church in the near future. With the disturbing lack of discernment exercised by Grace City Church senior pastor Josh McPherson regarding his ongoing friendship with Mark Driscoll (read this post) this will surely end badly. Free advice to all bank presidents in the Wenatchee Valley – I would not be loaning any money to Grace City Church leaders.
In this video, Mark Driscoll was eerily prophetic.
It takes a lot for “the good-ole-boy” gospelly network of the Neo-Calvinist Christian celebrity club to boot you out of their club. Basically, if you are able to bring in a buck, then the leaders of The Gospel Coalition, Together For the Gospel and 9Marks are able to overlook a whole lot of shenanigans. After all, C.J. Mahaney, the former leader of Sovereign Grace Churches, has blackmailed his fellow leader and covered up the sexual abuse of children in his denomination, yet he is still scheduled to be one of the plenary speakers at the T4G conference this April.
In 2014, Mark Driscoll finally became toxic enough that he started to have a negative impact on the revenue stream of the “gospel hawkers” mentioned above. Even though Pastor Emeritus Piper still loved his theology, that really wasn’t “the bottom line.” The real bottom line was the financial bottom line, so Piper and his gospelly pals finally cut ties with Driscoll and set him afloat.
Driscoll, forced to resign from his mega-church complex in Seattle and booted from the Neo Calvinista “gospel celebrity club,” decided it was time to pull up stakes. He put his house on the market and immediately set out to find a new group of Christian celebrities that he could manipulate into backing his play.
Within a month or two of Driscoll’s banishment from Seattle, he was rested and ready to be restored to his position of former glory. (Undoubtedly his bank account was being quickly depleted with no steady revenue stream to draw from.) He did all he could to keep his name “out there” starting up another blog and accepting speaking engagements from anyplace he could get them.
On February 1, 2016, Mark Driscoll deemed himself sufficiently reformed to start a
business church in Phoenix, Arizona. In spite of the pleas of many former members of Mars Hill, Driscoll found no shortage of Christian “leaders” willing to endorse his plan.
“I implore pastors who are keen to see Mark Driscoll return to the ministry. Until he deals with his abusive past, you are simply propping up an abusive man, and in so doing you add to the abuse.
The Gospel is about reconciliation. It ought to be that only after Mark Driscoll has genuinely reconciled with those that he has abused, that pastors who claim to love the Gospel begin to allow him a voice.
Below is a list of Christian “leaders” that Mark Driscoll has hoodwinked into endorsing him and his new church. In my opinion, these men are blind fools, lacking in love and discernment, and so driven by the pursuit of power and money that they have totally abandoned any concern for Christians who have been thrown under Mark Driscoll’s bus, or will be thrown under Mark Driscoll’s new bus.
If you attend a church pastored by any of these men I urge you to contact them and ask them to cease supporting Mark Driscoll. If they refuse I would find a new church.
One of the names on the list of those who will be praying for Mark Driscoll (and let me be clear, I find no fault with praying for anyone, but Mark Driscoll listing these men as praying for him, is, in my opinion, a not so subtle form of showing that these men endorse him) is Josh McPherson of Grace City Church in Wenatchee.
Wenatchee is the town where my wife grew up. I lived there for a few years myself and had my first bad church experience there. You can read about that here. I do not know Josh McPherson, but I do know a few individuals that I attended Bethesda Christian Center with now attend Grace City Church. In an attempt to gain more information on Grace City Church I emailed Josh McPherson, saying in part:
“The reason I write you is to ask if you would answer a few questions for me relating to your friendship with Mr. Driscoll. I am planning on writing a detailed blog post about Mr. Driscoll’s latest church start-up and your input would be of value to the article. The tone of my article will be one of opposing Mr. Driscoll’s new church as I believe his life has demonstrated that he does not possess the requisite requirements to serve as an elder/pastor in a church.Here are my questions:Were you a member of the Mars Hill Network of Churches in the Seattle area?If so, did you serve as a paid staff member? For how long?How long have you been the pastor of Grace City/Grace Covenant church?Were you sent out as a church plant from the Mars Hill network of churches?Were you an official of the ACTS 29 organization while Mark Driscoll was in charge, or was it after Matt Chandler dismissed him and took over?When you agreed to pray for Mark Driscoll’s new church was this, in your opinion, an informal request from a friend, or did you realize you would be listed on his web page as a Christian leader who (in my opinion) was helping to establish the credibility of Mark Driscoll. (In my opinion the list of leaders that are praying for Mr. Driscoll is being used as a list of leaders who are endorsing Mr. Driscoll and his efforts to start a new church.)In your opinion does Mr. Driscoll meet the biblical qualifications of an elder? Is he fit to be a pastor? Would you, if he were a member of your church, put his name forward to serve as an elder of your church?Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.Kind Regards,Todd Wilhelm”
Not surprisingly I have not received a response from Josh McPherson.
As I conducted research it became evident that Josh McPherson and Mark Driscoll are friends. McPherson is allowing Driscoll to use his good name to act as an endorsement for Driscoll’s new church. Driscoll posted a nice write up about his friendship with McPherson on his blog and said he is praying for the Grace City Church. Josh McPherson has preached at Mars Hill church back when Driscoll was still the senior pastor.
McPherson is also a Regional Director of the Acts 29 organization. Unknown to me is whether he obtained this position while Driscoll headed up the organization, or after he was no longer a part of the organization.
Either way, it is troubling that McPherson, as a leader within the Acts 29 organization, would maintain a close relationship with Mark Driscoll. Below is the letter Acts 29 leaders wrote to Mark Driscoll. The letter pulls no punches. One may rightly question the discernment of Josh McPherson.
As the Board of Acts 29, we are grateful to God for the leadership, courage, and generosity of both you and Mars Hill in not only founding the network but also sustaining it through the transition to this board three years ago. The very act of giving away your authority over the network was one of humility and grace, and for that we are grateful.
Over the past three years, our board and network have been the recipients of countless shots and dozens of fires directly linked to you and what we consider ungodly and disqualifying behavior. We have both publicly and internally tried to support and give you the benefit of the doubt, even when multiple pastors in our network confirmed this behavior.
In response, we leaned on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability to take the lead in dealing with this matter. But we no longer believe the BoAA is able to execute the plan of reconciliation originally laid out. Ample time has been given for repentance, change, and restitution, with none forthcoming. We now have to take another course of action.
Based on the totality of the circumstances, we are now asking you to please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help. Consequently, we also feel that we have no alternative but to remove you and Mars Hill from membership in Acts 29. Because you are the founder of Acts 29 and a member, we are naturally associated with you and feel that this association discredits the network and is a major distraction.
We tell you this out of love for you, Mars Hill, Acts 29, and most significantly, the cause of Christ, and we would be irresponsible and deeply unloving not to do so in a clear and unequivocal manner. Again, we want you to know that we are eternally thankful for what you as a man and Mars Hill as a church have meant to our network. However, that cannot dissuade us from action. Instead, it gives added significance and importance to our decision. We hope and pray that you see this decision as the action of men who love you deeply and want you to walk in the light—for your good, the good of your family, and the honor of your Savior.
Shortly after sending this, we will be informing the members of Acts 29, your Board of Advisors and Accountability, and your elders, as well as putting out a public statement on the Acts 29 website. It brings us no joy to move forward in this direction, and we trust that the Lord will be at work in all of this.
In sorrow and with hope,
The Board of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network
Source: The Wartburg Watch
Also, troubling is the fact that Grace City church is utilizing “Real Marriage” by Mark and Grace Driscoll as a study guide for their current preaching series called “Marriage Strong.” Below is a screen shot of the evidence; if you wish to view the entire page go here. There are a number of excellent Christian books written on the subject of marriage. The Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” is not one of them. Listen to Todd Friel and Tim Challies review the book on the YouTube video below.
As I mentioned above I attended Bethesda Christian Center many years ago. The church ended up bankrupt and many good people were hurt. Some left the faith. I know of at least 2 individuals who attended Bethesda with me who are now attending Grace City Church. I hope they are not going to have to endure a repeat performance.
I also hope Mark Driscoll’s latest attempt to start a church in Phoenix never gets off the ground. He has ruined enough lives.
For a discerning analysis of Mark Driscoll, I would recommend you read this article.
Here is a great program from “The Mortification of Spin” on Mark Driscoll and those who propped him up.
For further reading:
Fruit? (A Mark Driscoll Post) – This is a great article questioning why Driscoll is preaching again, and why an ACTS29 flagship church, Grace City Church of Wenatchee, WA, is allowing him to speak from their pulpit. You can find the story here.
New Petition Calls for an Investigation of Mars Hill Church by Washington’s Attorney General – Mark Driscoll’s problems may just be beginning. The church steadfastly refused to release information on the salaries of the pastors to church members. And since Mars Hill dissolved, millions of dollars in the Mars Hill Global Fund remain unaccounted for.
Question Mark: Why the Church Welcomes Bullies and How to Stop It
• How did the church become a haven for religious bullies—leaders whose psychological profile is more like that of a gang leader than a pastor?
• How are we inadvertently putting out a “welcome mat” to these people?
• What are the spiritual genetic markers in our systems that “predispose” us to miss the warning signs and minimize character flaws we swore we’d never accept in a leader?
The purpose of Question Mark is to shed light on the culture of the church that lends itself, not only to cultivating these types of leaders but creates a dysfunctional desire in its body for this kind of leadership.
There are three primary goals for this book:
1) to help readers identify the tendency toward spiritual pride that creates the proper environment for bullies to thrive;
2) to provide the tools they need to spot bullies early on;
3) to help churches grow past the spiritual adolescence bullies depend on.
The hope is that the insights and experience poured into this book can help avoid the pain of spiritual abuse and the distraction from what believers and seekers are supposed to get from participating in a faith community. Question Mark exists to add to and illuminate the conversation surrounding religious bullies so positive change can come out of the history of wounds too many have experienced in church.