The monarchial government of many seeker-driven churches is certainly efficient. When a leader is supported by a board of subordinates whom he has appointed, and can just as easily remove, he is well placed to Get Things Done. Nevertheless, is efficiency a virtue in the church?
What follows is a brief timeline of Mars Hill history. This timeline is by no means comprehensive, but merely gives a brief overview of some of what has taken place in Mars Hill under Mark Driscoll. In my opinion, three of the events below were pivotal moments that, taken together, caused Christians outside of Mars Hill to sit up and start asking questions about Driscoll.
According to Christian News Network:
Actor and filmmaker Kirk Cameron recently invited a former evangelical pastor who converted to Roman Catholicism to TBN to make the case for Santa Claus as Cameron promotes his new film “Saving Christmas,” which seeks to convince Christians who choose not to celebrate the holiday.
Cameron shared a segment of the interview on his Facebook page on Tuesday, in which he spoke with historian William Federer, a former evangelical minister who now identifies as Roman Catholic. Sporting the Liberty University logo embroidered on his shirt, Cameron invited Federer to outline the history of Saint Nicholas and other items found in his book “There Really Is a Santa Claus: The History of Saint Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions.”
I have noticed in recent weeks what seems to now be an annual occurrence of Christians-shouldn’t-celebrate-Christmas-because-it’s-a-pagan-holiday commentary online. So to address that topic head on, I should like first to say that I would never urge a brother or sister to go against their conscience if they felt that celebrating Christmas was wrong or sinful. I do not disdain my brothers or sisters who are uncomfortable with such celebrations, nor do I feel somehow superior in my freedom. But what I should like to point out is that a lot of this fear over celebrating Christmas (and oftentimes, Easter, too) comes from misinformation attributed to an historian named Alexander Hislop. We’ve posted before about the myths associated with Hislop – myths that were formed from his own biases, and which were not actually rooted in historical data. And I would therefore urge, with all gentleness and kindness, for my fellow Christians to think this issue through biblically, historically and truthfully. After all, God is the author of all truth, isn’t He? So truth matters.
Stand Up For The Truth writes:
OWN television has just announced the premiere of its new series titled, The Rob Bell Show. The same Rob Bell who challenges the truth of the Bible and continues to influence millions of fans around the world (having just returned from a national tour with New Agers Deepak Chopra and Oprah), despite his fall from biblical Christianity. The same former pastor of Mars Hill church who denies the doctrine of a real Hell (making him a heretic in the true sense of the word). He is the author of many books pushing unscriptural doctrine including Velvet Elvis, Love Wins and his new The Zimzum of Love, giving people a “startling new way of looking at marriage.” (Bell has come out in support of homosexual marriage.)
The Hebrew Roots folks are out in force again this Christmas season, attempting to convince Christians that they are sinning against God by celebrating Christmas.* Sorry, but I’m going to have to whip out my can of Luke on them for that. After all, if the gospel accounts record Jesus’ birth being proclaimed, angels singing his praises, shepherds rushing to see him, and wise men bringing him gifts some time later, why should we not, as Christians, also have the freedom to:
- proclaim his birth (using Christmas as a springboard to talk about how God has sent a Savior who died for sinners);
- sing his praises;
- dwell on the fact that one day I will bodily be in his presence, just as those who rushed to his side that day were in his presence; and
- exchange gifts with my loved ones as a way of remembering the greatest Gift of all time, our Savior, who was given to us by God out of his great loving-kindness?
* Please note that I respect the right of my Christian brothers and sisters who choose not to celebrate Christmas. And just as I do not look upon them with disdain, neither should they look upon me with disdain (Col. 2:16).
For those unfamiliar with Christian Reconstructionism/Theonomy, here’s a thumbnail sketch: Christian Reconstructionists are the buttoned-up version of Dominionism. On one side of the Dominionism coin, you have the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), who believe they have a mandate from God to take spiritual dominion of the earth. Out of this mistaken belief, which is based on misinterpreting various Bible verses including Genesis 1:28 and Psalm 8 (which are about taking physical dominion of the earth, not spiritual dominion), the NARs have developed errant teachings known as “Joel’s Army” and the “7 Mountain Mandate.”
But flip the Dominionism coin, and you will find Christian Reconstructionism, a much more theologically buttoned-up form of Dominionism, and one that has taken strong root inside the homeschooling community. Christian Reconstructionists work very, very hard to distinguish themselves from the New Apostolic Reformation, with its wackadoodle services where adherents sometimes shake, quiver, bark like dogs, and deceive themselves into believing angel feathers, gold dust and glory clouds are manifesting. Christian Reconstructionists eschew all this nonsense, and rightly so. Christian Reconstructionists are also, as previously noted, much more theologically buttoned-up and biblically grounded. But like their NAR counterparts, Christian Reconstructionists also believe they have a mandate from God to reclaim the culture, and the world.
Pastoring 101 – here’s what should happen when seminary students show up for their first day of class: they are handed two live sheep. And the professor then tells them this: your assignment is to look after these sheep for the next semester. You are to feed them, care for them, tend them, comb their wool, and protect them from wolves. If, at the end of the semester, you return both of these sheep to me, alive and in good condition (i.e. they not frightened, malnourished or missing any limbs), then you will have earned the right to graduate to the next step: learning how to minister to actual people.
Amy Spreeman, co-host of Stand Up For The Truth, reports that the 10th anniversary edition of the controversial book Jesus Calling has undergone a miraculous “transformation” without any explanation from publisher Thomas Nelson or the author Sarah Young. Could this be damage control by the publisher who discovered that Young’s “Jesus” is not the Jesus of the Bible?
Since his resignation, former megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll has reportedly fled the biblical process of church discipline at Mars Hill, perhaps in favor of setting up another church elsewhere with those willing to turn a blind eye to his sins and unresolved conflicts at his former church. (For documentation of Driscoll’s having fled the discipline process, listen to the audio of Mars Hill pastor A.J. Hamilton speaking at the 19 October 2014 Mars Hill church service, beginning at the 37 minute mark.)
Understandably, many eyes have now turned to Dr. Piper, who has in past years given Driscoll a large and generous platform, beginning with featuring Driscoll at the 2006 Desiring God conference. In a recent interview, Dr. Piper was asked if, given the magnitude of the scandals now associated with Driscoll, he had any regrets in partnering with Driscoll over the years. In essence, Dr. Piper stated in the interview published on 13 November 2014 that, despite “mistakes that Mark may have made” or instances in which “he might have walked out of step with the truth,” he had “no regrets” over partnering with Driscoll, and that despite some misgivings he had, he felt that Driscoll was on the whole a solid teacher.