A Hollow Victory

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65 Responses

  1. All that you have listed can be done through the coming new pastor. The board will take the hit and do the repentance.

  2. Judy says:

    Michael: I’m not sure the corporate model of church has survived another scandal. I think there’s been an awakening among God’s people in a way that never could have happened before and I think that it’s going to move on to other places. I certainly do not think God is done. I also believe that Driscoll has been exposed as someone who does not love Christ. He talks the talk (in some ways) but he doesn’t walk the walk and Christ doesn’t claim as His own those who do not obey him.

    Maybe this is what really happened here. Maybe this all was to show what is NOT Christian and what God does not accept. And hey, everyone has to decide for themselves what club they want to belong to. In America, this corporate spectator Christianity is a neato fit for a lot of people because it’s easy and requires little of them, or little more than belonging to a fraternity. Hey, fraternities are fun, but they have their limits.

    I think it’s disgusting that MD left this mess behind him and walked away with his little LLC’s tucked under his belt. I’m sure he will show up somewhere else, but people have been warned. You can’t force people to put God first, whether they stand in the pulpit or in the pews. You can’t force them to obey, grow, or mature. And you sure can’t force them to repent, as we have seen.

  3. OCDan says:

    I have only one wish. Please do not come down here to Orange County, CA. We have enough churchianity, disneylandianity, megachurch craziness as it is.

    Then again, Driscoll might just fit in here and make it.

  4. Warning – if you are in a pastor led church – flee.
    If your pastor is the board president – flee.

  5. Laura Scott says:

    Indeed. Well said, Michael.

    However, I do not believe this is done on the spiritual plane at all. When Psalm 37 talks about the evildoers and workers of iniquity, it says that they shall “soon be cut down like the grass.” Driscoll and all the others in that mode are having or will have their day (Satan got three days of apparent victory, too) and then it will be over and they will not be able to escape the Lord’s correction and judgment.

    The Lord simply takes longer than we would wish to get there. But He gets there.

  6. Nonnie says:

    Have I missed it? Has anyone posted what his severance package is?

  7. Was anyone here on the board at Mars Hill or did anyone here know all the details? It’s easy to say this and that would have happened if Mark Driscoll stayed at Mars Hill. But only God knows that, not you.

    David Pittman, “Martin Luther’s Disciple,” Judy, OCDan, Laura Scott how many times did you pray for Mark Driscoll during this situation? The Bible calls us to pray for our brothers and sisters in times of need.

    Judy said: “I also believe that Driscoll has been exposed as someone who does not love Christ. He talks the talk (in some ways) but he doesn’t walk the walk and Christ doesn’t claim as His own those who do not obey him.”

    Are you serious? Do you know Mark personally? Are you the sovereign God who sees into the depths of Mark Driscoll’s heart? If you judge your brother you judge the law according to the Bible.

    OCDan said: “I have only one wish. Please do not come down here to Orange County, CA. We have enough churchianity, disneylandianity, megachurch craziness as it is.

    Then again, Driscoll might just fit in here and make it.”

    More people need Jesus in Orange County, that’s all I know about that. The church in Jerusalem was estimated at 6,000 people in the early church days.

    “Martin Luther’s Disciple” said:

    Warning – if you are in a pastor led church – flee.
    If your pastor is the board president – flee.

    Jesus is the lead pastor of every church and appoints pastors to pastor the congregation. Paul was a pastor and missionary who helped start many church plants and discipled many people. I’m not sure I understand what you are saying. I would say flee from any church where there is not a pastor that leads based on 1 Timothy.

  8. Kevin H says:

    “This was a corporate resignation.” – You nailed this one Michael.

    I think one of the interesting factors to follow out of this is how many people flock to Driscoll when he starts his next church/ministry. Then we’ll see on the other side of the coin as to how effective this social media blitz was and how wised up (or unwised) the American evangelical church has become.

  9. Daniel says:

    Jake, how many times have you prayed for the real victims here? The folks that got run over by Mark’s bus? The folks who now hate God because of what happened to them at MH “Church”?

  10. Daniel says:

    @ OCDan, that’s classic. I love your word: Disneylandianity. That’s classic. Do you have that trademarked or am I allowed to use it? 🙂

  11. papiaslogia says:

    IDK if the “victory” is hollow. The only thing that’s changed is that MD is no longer pastor at MH. Its a small victory in the sense that he won’t be hurting anyone there again.

    Here’s to hoping that the leadership at MH will take steps to healing those broken, not just by MD, but all those who enabled and supported him.

    I can imagine that there are a remnant who truly believed that MD and other EEs had their best interest at heart, and are now in a state of shock and disbelief at the events of the last 24 hours.

    May God heal the broken hearted.

    A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. Is 42:3

    Puritan Richard Sibbs, in his book The Bruised Reed, has this to say about the passage:

    “When struggling against the corruptions of our own hearts, buffeted by temptations, and mourning over the weakness of our faith, and the coldness of our love, let us still remember, that Christ will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. As Captain of our salvation, he combats and conquers our rebellious inclinations, as well as our outward and spiritual adversaries, and hath furnished us with the shield of faith, wherewithal to defend ourselves, and enable us to repel the fiery darts of the devil. Satan, however, will sometimes endeavor to persuade us, that we have no faith, that we are destitute of love to Christ, that we are great sinners, and that the mercy of God, and the love and compassion of Christ, are blessings we have forever forfeited. To all these suggestions of the enemy of mankind, we are warranted and encouraged to reply: That albeit we are great sinners, Christ is an almighty Saviour; and though our faith be weak, and our love cold, Christ will not quench the smoking flax, but fan it into a flame that shall never be extinguished. Abimelech could not endure the thought, that it should be said concerning him, after his death, that he died by the hands of a woman; and how mortifying must it be to Satan, to find that all his arts have been unavailing, his threatenings vain, and his power inadequate to the task of extinguishing an almost imperceptible spark. To find that the soul, influenced by the grace of God, stands secure as an impregnable fortress: that the wiles of Satan cannot sap the foundation, nor all the artillery of hell batter down the walls of her defense; and that a weak child, a silly woman, or a decrepit old man, should, by the exercise of faith, force all his veteran legions to a shameful and precipitant retreat. Let us therefore rejoice in the promise—’My grace is sufficient for you;’ and let the assurance, of an ultimate triumph, invigorate our resolution to fight the good fight, and lay hold on eternal life. For though the warfare be arduous, if we strive, Christ will help us. If we faint, he will cherish, animate, and support us. If we follow the directions of our Leader, we shall assuredly overcome; and, overcoming, the crown of unfading glory awaits our reception.”

  12. OCDan says:

    Daniel, go ahead and use it.

    Jake, as to praying for the likes of MD. I can’t say I have, but maybe once or twice. Then again, I have enough to pray for between my family and the 50 or so of us at our church. It would seem MD was doing fine w/o my prayers for him, at least until yesterday.

    Also, couldn’t agree more Daniel, how many times did Jake pray for those that got run over by the bus?

  13. Judy says:

    Jake: People who walk the walk go to the people they have offended, as scripture commands, and they ask forgiveness. Mark did not do this with the many people he offended, hurt, damaged, shunned, fired, abused, and otherwise mistreated, thus he is not walking the walk. It’s really simple.

  14. Friend of Sinners says:


    It struck me as a bit convenient when you said, had Driscoll modeled repentance, etc. “grace would have flowed like a river”.

    Unfortunately I’ve seen guys (friends) who have fallen, repented, and subjected themselves to a process of restoration only to have you and others build a dam of suspicion, mockery, and slander in that river of grace. You seem to be playing both ways here.

  15. fyi says:

    Michael, I will only disagree in the one statement that grace would have flowed like a river toward MD had he done things right. God’s grace, yes but do you think for even one minute people like Throckmorton or Wenatchee or even some of your commenters in this brief sampling would ever give grace to MD? The real tragedy seems, to me, to be that we have chosen to be right rather than loving. Social media is no different that Fox news; people yelling (electronically) at one another trying to one-up those they disagree with. Nothing sounds like love. Siding with the so-called victims (not doubting for a minute there are some) and against MD is not a win for the church. Jesus loved the unlovable–even those in positions of power.

  16. Michael says:


    I disagree.
    I believe that the church as a whole would embrace a display of true repentance.
    I think WTH and Throckmorton did an outstanding job of documenting and reporting through this mess and should be commended for how they did what they did.

  17. Michael says:

    Friend of Sinners,

    I don’t know who you’re referring to, so I really can’t respond to your criticism.

  18. Chile says:

    Grace would have flowed, even by some of the most abused by Driscoll.

    It just looks like it wouldn’t because they keep rejecting Driscoll’s non-apology apologies.

  19. Watergate was famous for “the non-denial denial” that is what has been done to handle this case. As if to say… ‘We’re not saying he is guilty but he is leaving.’ or his own ‘I am not saying I am guilty but the situation has become impossible.’ It was a public relations cleanup. The whole matter is sad, for the church, for Seattle, for the people, for the “mountain under the bus,” and for the Gospel. No one wins.

  20. Babylon's Dread says:

    I do agree with those who say there is no conceivable level of humility that would have brought public expressions of grace. Somehow a sentence would be parsed or assumptions would be made that would continue to incriminate in the eyes of his critics.

    This case is very interesting because it is an abuse of power case and not a matter of the normal litany of gross sins.

  21. Michael says:

    I truly believe that true repentance that was matched by the fruits of repentance would have been embraced.

  22. papiaslogia says:

    Jeremy Walker on Reformation 21 makes some good points here: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/10/on-pastoral-disqualification-a.php

    Who said “Your repentance should be as well known as your sin”?

  23. Linda Pappas says:

    I wish I had been made aware of this.


    It is an apology that MD offered directly to those who attend MH. Heck, the CC pastor in Florida has yet to speak one word for the “moral” failures that led to his resignation.

  24. Babylon's Dread says:

    Doing some Jesus People research and just watched Riptide;
    Skip Heitzig is the narrator
    Mark Driscoll is one of the major commentators on what is needed in the church today
    Bob Coy is one of the key personalities
    They are all talking about the church being true to God, and to stay as salt and light … with commitment and influence.

    Lots of other voices; Raul Ries, Greg Laurie, lots of musicians but I was intrigued
    Chuck is of course a key voice.
    Levi Lusko made the film and comments on his Skull church

    I got what I was looking for… some input about Lonnie Frisbee.

    Here is the deal… all the preachers of grace need the grace of God.

  25. Linda @24 – too bad you missed that. Michael and the gang shot it down at the time as PR drivel. He can’t speak directly to the people, he can’t communicate in writing to the people – no matter what he does is never good enough, because it is just PR..

    That why I think these articles are Hollow articles.

    Me, I see it like an Al Capone situation. Driscoll needed to be taken out because of his non Jesus teaching – but no one can touch him there because… well so many believe that clap trap. So get him as being abusive, like getting Capone not for the many murders but for income tax problems.

  26. Linda Pappas says:


    So sad. In my mind, it takes a hell of lot of courage to stand before a congregation to not ad lib something, but to be able to offer a constructive and organized statement that provided a lot of information and then have his family come up with him. To me, this speaks volumes, even if, by chance he had help or someone else penned this for him. It was still a choice, a brave one at that to, to put himself out there and own it.

    One other thought:

    Is it possible that MD first addressed those who attended Mars Hills, then in keeping with a corporate framework, his letter of resignation was written accordingly. I know there is a lot of information to be found offering guidance of writing a resignation letter as an employee, but not so sure about dong so as a Senior Pastor.

  27. victorious says:

    Linda- Driscoll apologized to everybody in a scripted, “leaked to the public” letter describing vague generalities of bad additives and poor behavior.

    He apologized to nobody in particular and has made no efforts to reconcile and offer restitution to many he has ruined, threatened, fired, demeaned and humiliated.

    Mark Driscoll is the classic case of the NPD on steroids combined with an astuteness of mastering church and doctrinal language in order to build his brand combined with the shrewdness of how to manipulate a sentimentally soft culture .

    He has made a mockery of the gospel and of the church, perverting the pastoral ministry.

  28. Jessica says:

    Hollow Victory – well said. The same can be said to Bob Coy.

  29. Linda Pappas says:


    I think this is a process for everyone, including Mark Driscoll. Pray that God will continue to work in the heart of everyone, particularly MD to enable those things to take place.

    If he is a classic NPD, then I would agree with you, depending upon what type of NPD, along with not also being a sociopath or psychopath. I have known a few NPD who decided to get serious and get themselves into therapy, and a result did go back to make amends, as much as they were able to do. I have also known a couple of NPD who went through a wake up call such as this and in time, after submitting to brothers who genuinely knew what they were doing in terms of accountability, making amends, and so forth, did leave the narcissism behind and became far more humble, teachable, and empathic towards others.

    I am certain that those who have not been approached by MD whom he harmed, as you say are hurting in many ways and I agree that it is right and good that they would desire that MD would do what is necessary to help heal and to restore that which was loss and taken from them. I would be the last person on this earth to say, move on and get over it. Yet, at the same time, I would encourage each person to press forward and know that what was lost and what has been suffered will be redeem in time. Keep the faith, above all and no matter what, don’t ever permit this to hold you in bondage but rather, know that what was done to had more to do with them or him rather than you. What more, know that you have the wherewithal to stand —– so do so, while you learn to be healed even if he never ever comes to you to repent and to be reconciled with you. Don’t let his failure to do so keep you in bondage to the wrongs he has committed against you.

    From one who has been there and knows.

  30. Donner says:

    #11 thank you papiaslogic for sharing that rich word of encouragement.

  31. Donner says:

    Sorry, papiaslogia

  32. brian says:

    A song for Mark in relation to his maturity level during this entire episode.


  33. brian says:

    You dont have to listen to all the songs mark but they might help. I know they do me when I revert to my inner child. PS I actually like these songs.

  34. Stead Family says:

    And the bloggers targets seem to lessen and lessen who will they make their living off now?

  35. Jana says:

    Let’s see, if my family were now finding themselves in “physically unsafe” situations due to this, I would probably call it quits too. First, he is a Dad, and I think he has made the right choice though it grieves me, as it could have indeed like this article states been an opportunity. But first, he is a Dad.

  36. brian says:

    About physical threats, I have had a weapon pointed at me several times, one was a shotgun after I had my face smacked by a guy with brass knuckles. I will never forget the sound of the shotgun cocking, the first time I heard that noise was when cop did that and leveled the weapon at us. Guns are real serious business. To the first episode when I went to the police was basically, stop bleeding on the floor and the size of my never mind was measured and found wanting because I did not take them out like a superhero. In my area I cant get a conceal carry permit so I cant compete with a person with a firearm. I hope to move to friendlier grounds where people can protect themselves and their family. I had a guy with a knife threatened my mother and threatened to but her. The cops were pissed because we called them.

    I am not some gun toting nutcase, but I am tired of being assaulted watching kids afraid to get a movie from redbox and families terrified to go into a part of time. I remember some kids were renting some redbox videos and this homeless guy was screaming obscenities at them being the pacifist I am I went to my trunk and grabbed my tire iron and sat there with my door open saying I would stay there until they were finished. The guy cussed a few more time and I basically went over to him and said shut up and leave them alone. I am going off memory so this may not be fully accurate, but the kids got their movies and I felt like crap for the homeless obviously mentally ill person.

  37. j2theperson says:

    ***Linda @24 – too bad you missed that. Michael and the gang shot it down at the time as PR drivel. He can’t speak directly to the people, he can’t communicate in writing to the people – no matter what he does is never good enough, because it is just PR..***

    Isn’t Mark just reaping what he sowed? If you go out and hire a marketing agency to buy a spot on the best seller list, and you hire a PR firm to deal with blowback from a lifetime of poor decision making, and you’ve always tried to give the impression that you’re media savvy is it not to be expected that people will not think you are genuine?

  38. Neo says:

    Trust me on this one. His family is not “unsafe”. These guys make huge embellishments in order to further dramatize their situation to their advantage. Chances are, someone said something mean to one of their kids at school or made a snide remark to his wife at the store.

  39. Linda Pappas says:


    Oh, I think it all depends upon your perspective in what he was trying to achieve. Perhaps, he was scammed as well by someone making him think that he needed to hire a marketing agency. Perhaps, he just went along with a person or persons, not being as you say “media savvy.” So just laid it in their hands and they told him that it would cost to push him on and up on the best sellers list. I certainly wouldn’t know how to go about getting a book published or promoted. Perhaps, he is vulnerable to such sales gimmick and have a propensity to grab for the deal that is too good to be true. I do know he needs to be educated regarding what is healthy and unhealthy intimacy. And I do know that given many of his antics, he is not as self assured as he would like others to believe. But then again, how many of us will put on one face when we are in an interview or out in the public, for example

    Not defending him, but just saying, we may never know.

    Yes, I understand that a lifetime of making poor decisions can make others wonder just how genuine a person can be just as much as how one mistake can also be a weapon some will use after a person has made a turn about, in order to keep a person off the radar as well.

    Forgiveness is right, but reconciliation takes time, trust is earned—- not freely given. Be careful who you give the treasures of your heart and home.

  40. Linda Pappas says:

    “The underlying issue to them was Driscoll’s domineering style of leadership. So, in their minds, it is perfectly acceptable for a pastor to remain in leadership with a domineering attitude and behavior.”

    I didn’t take this as accepting a person to be able to remain in leadership as long as they maintain a domineering attitude and behavior. Quite the contrary. I took it as this person, in order be in leadership, one cannot exhibit an attitude or behave in a dominating manner.

    And to make sure this does not happened, he was asked or they came to an agreement that given the harm and damage done, it would be best for him to resign so that Mars Hills could rebuild their community. Sort of like people do when tornadoes go through leaving chaos and destruction behind it.

    Unsafe, has he or his family members received any threats of harm against them.

  41. Neo says:

    Linda. He would claim there have been. It’s all part of the narrative.

  42. lscott505 says:


    That’s a lot of latitude for someone who was clearly building a personal brand. He’s published several books before Real Marriage and he’s pleanty media savvy. It’s what created MH as a satellite church in the first place.

    Where MD is vulnerable is in his pride. That’s the root cause of all kinds of mischief and sin in all of our lives. When you have got pride running rampant on that scale, there is nothing you believe you need to learn or can be corrected in.

    That’s where he’ll show up next; on the Lessons Learned Tour and plant another church. He’s very fond of his celebrity and will move to reassert it again.

  43. Linda Pappas says:

    Neo, if he is a classic NPD, I would agree.


    Hopefully, it is just pride and not NPD. Pride is so much easier to break through.

    Hopefully, there comes about a change of heart and that the many lessons learned will be that which is more honoring to the Lord. That he will learn to use those gifts and talents given to him in a manner that also integrates those character traits that should take root as he stays in a repentant and recovering mode. Hopefully, good men will come alongside of him who are men of integrity, above reproach, and not easily taken in by that which could rear its ugly head to rise again, but will be quickly addressed and confronted.

    A huge reason why one man show is so enticing to those who tend to gravitate towards control and power environments.

    Better yet, an experienced well seasoned therapist working in concert with him and those men who are willing to do a 24/7 standby for the purpose of knocking down those walls of resistance and other defense mechanism.

    Old thoughts and behaviors are difficult to break when it’s all that you have known to do to keep oneself protected and safe from real or perceived harm. So, yes I sincerely hope that God would lead this man and his family to a place where this becomes evident to them and that they will seek out those who can facilitate this part of their journey.

  44. It’s hard to say at a time like this that a mere individual and his church is on trial. It’s bigger than that.


  45. Linda Pappas says:

    Bareknuckle Bible

    What bible translation are you using. Mine does say anything about the guy who was sleeping with the wife of his fathers as having married her.

    Are you serious about people being jealous and envious towards MD?

  46. Christiane says:

    his best chance is to find a way to get in with the CBMW people who push his brand of male patriarchy to the max . . . I can see them welcoming his hyper-macho act with open arms . . . (just look at how he publicly talked and wrote about his wife) . . . there is a place for him and he will find his niche, but the CBMW group does seem to be tailor-made for his sort . . . saves time for him and his fam

  47. Mark Driscoll didn’t resign for any of you.

  48. brendt says:

    I love the faux omniscience that flows here. After all, we KNOW that none of the items cited are happening behind the scenes. And we KNOW that none are in the works. And we KNOW that there was (and never will be) any actual repentance. So there is no real reason to pray for Mark (and never was).

    In fact, let’s start by classifying the separation of a pastor and his flock as a “victory”, albeit a “hollow” one. Yay, we won!

    Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual parse his resignation letter.

  49. gerald says:

    I have never liked this guy but he did the main thing he needed to do and that is hit the road, as a person who has suffered the abuses of Board led churches on several occasions I dont fault any pastor for hitting the road as quickly as possible. The difference with him is that he is a rich celebrity and will not really suffer. After 30 years of pastoral ministry and one heartbreak after another for myself and wife and kids, suffered at the hands of petty , judgmental, deacons and committees my advice to any pastor starting out is to start out PUSHING BACK! If you dont you will be eaten alive!

  50. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    There could be a lot going on behind the scenes but familiarity with the Mars Hill bylaws allows for some educated guesses. For instance, one possibility is that the BoAA could have already authorized an emergency sale of the four pieces of real estate that are on the market during Driscoll’s leave of absence. It would be a sensible if desperate financial decision for the BoAA to have to make and it’s in their enumerated powers.

    Driscoll may have resigned his eldership but he has not yet confirmed resignation of his membership with Mars Hill. It might be good for him to spend five years outside of ministry and get a feel for what it’s like to be living Christian life in a church he’s not running … if he can handle that level of humbling. Driscoll used to say that either you humble yourself or God humiliates you. If he’s going to choose the path of humility then being a tithing peon for a few years rather than the star attraction could be very helpful for him.

  51. victorious says:

    WTH- just read your post over on your blog and there you brought up the glaring problem that has been with Driscoll from the beginning.

    He has never been a member of a church before Mars Hill.That in and of itself is and has been a disqualification for,his leadership by pure negation from the start.

    He does not know how to integrate with a body of believers and develop as a disciple learning how to receive from others, affirm others and work through conflict with others.

    Biblical ministry starts off with modeling discipleship while being among a group of disciples.

  52. thatbrian says:

    Well said. Very well said.

  53. Babylon's Dread says:

    Graffiti will never lose its’ appeal

  54. Wenatchee The Hatchet says:

    of interest


    Today it’s been announced the BoE found Mark had a persistent pattern of sin, drew up a restoration plan that involved MD away from the pulpit, and MD cut the process off by resigning and leaving the church.

    The last time someone left Mars Hill after declining to participate in a Mars Hill disciplinary/restoration plan that made headlines was … Andrew, right?

  55. thatbrian says:

    Why aren’t the elders/board members being charged? They have not been called out yet, but they should be. They let Driscoll do what he did. They turned a blind eye (or worse). They encouraged his behavior by their inaction. They are culpable in this.

  56. Babylon's Dread says:

    The news that the board at MH had a finding that would require a restoration process is no surprise. Nor is it a surprise that the process was rejected.

  57. Steve Wright says:

    WTH – Then that makes the letter from the church to the public an absolute disgrace. They are truly not different than Driscoll. PR trumps the truth, and PR aimed at keeping the people in the seats trumps all.

    It also puts a context on Driscoll’s words about their assurance he was not disqualified from ministry – but I expect his spin to be less than 100% accurate. No doubt they said that in connection to the restoration/discipline process lined out.

    Question – If a church finds a pastor in need of restoration, and the pastor quits rather than submits to it…then isn’t that evidence of disqualification from that point forward?

  58. Andrew says:

    Question – If a church finds a pastor in need of restoration, and the pastor quits rather than submits to it…then isn’t that evidence of disqualification from that point forward?

    Substitute, pastor with just an ordinary attender. Are you saying an ordinary attender that doesn’t submit to the discipline of a church is disqualified to be an attender somewhere else? The fact is some churches are just plain corrupt. Whether its MH or CC, sometimes an attender needs to high tail out of there. With MH it seems the whole thing was corrupt so why should Driscoll stay around to face the music?

  59. An attender never needs restoration. The only qualification to attend church is to be a sinner.

  60. Andrew says:

    But I thought the pastor needs to guard the LORDs table against unrepentant sinners. I thought that was what church discipline is all about?

  61. But they still attend church. What does it say when you excommunicate – treat him like an unbeliever and a tax collector.

    How do you treat them – witness to them and invite them to church.

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