SSB Open Discussion

 

 

 

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Last Friday, I completed my second term at college and then had a fun visit with Kathi (Kathi helps me on the SSB Facebook page) on Friday and Saturday.  Today, for the first time ever, I became a “former homeschooling mom” as I sent all my kids to public school – two for the very first time.

At Kathi’s suggestion, I think I’m going to pull back a bit from the blog this week and take a break from writing new posts. It will be good to have some down time while my family is adjusting to this new season of our lives.

Posts will resume on Sunday with our SSB weekly gathering, but I will keep this blog post open for discussion (and will join in, too).

So, have at it – talk about whatever you like, post articles that you come across, share what’s on your heart.  

 

Mark Driscoll Stepping Down for 6 Weeks While Charges Investigated

 

Warren Throckmorton broke the story this morning that Mars Hill pastor, Mark Driscoll is stepping down for 6 weeks.

In a pre-recorded video announcement, Mark Driscoll told his congregation this morning that he will take at least six weeks off as lead pastor of Mars Hill Church while charges against him are investigated. Driscoll preached at Bellevue at 8:30 am to a packed house. According to sources in church this morning, Driscoll said he is meeting with mature Christian men unrelated to the church. The message is being played at each campus this morning.

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Sarah Pulliam Bailey of Religion News Service also picked up the story:

Seattle megachurch founder Mark Driscoll will step down for at least six weeks while the Mars Hill board of elders review formal charges lodged against him from previous pastors. (Religion News Service)

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Zach Hoag also posted a spoof article:

 

Returning from vacation noticeably more tan than usual, Mark began his video announcement to the church with these words: “Howdy, Mars Hill. So yeah, this month has been totally ridic. I’m out, bro. DONE. Forget angry young prophet and older spiritual father – I’m going to Southern California to chill, and you, Acts 29, and the rest of the Internet can suck it.”

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Morgan Lee of Christianity Today picked up the story as well, but also included discussed other pastors who have stepped aside from their pastorate to take care of personal failings, John Piper and C.J. Mahaney.  Lee’s article is here: Mark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges

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, a neighbor of Driscoll blogs:

All I want to say, before giving the following report is that I pray for Mark Driscoll and all who have been hurt by him directly or indirectly. As a newish resident church planter in Ballard (the site of the first permanent “main campus” as I understand it) I simply want to love my neighbors affected by all of this.

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Huffington Post now has taken Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s article and run with it: Megapastor Mark Driscoll Charged With Abusive Conduct By 21 Former Mars Hill Pastors

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David Hayward “Naked Pastor” posts cartoon and post:

Many people are calling for forgiveness for Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church so that he and the church can get back to preaching the gospel as effectively as it had and get back on the road to success, just like it was before things started unraveling.

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Andrew Jones of Tall Skinny Kiwi’s shared his thoughts, Will Mark Driscoll Drive to Church Today in a White Bronco?

A strange thing happened on the way to 50,000. The megachurch ceased its upwards numerical surge and haemorrhaged.

If the implosion of Mars Hill Church was just about numbers, it would make an interesting case study for church growth consultants. If it was just about ecclesiology and church government, Mars Hill would be the penultimate example of what happens when a church swaps the accountability of church elders and mutual submission to its members for a dodgy business model with untouchable leaders, shady practices and phantom accounting.

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Brad Sargent, blogger who has studied spiritual abuse, weighs in on the announcement by Mark Driscoll to step down in his article, Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse – Part 1 – Questions of Culpability, Complicity, and Recovery:

This post is about questions I’ve had that have emerge from the case study in allegations of spiritual abuse that Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and its co-founding pastor Mark Driscoll, have provided the U.S. Church. This is highly complex and grievous situation, and involves years of problematic leadership and labyrinthine organizational issues. I’ve been watching the situation especially since 2008 when I started research writing on spiritual abuse issues in depth.

 

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Jonathan Merritt, senior news columnist for Religion News Service, shares his thoughts:  

As I consider this development in light of the shifting tide of public opinion toward Driscoll and the barrage of scandals that he has endured this year alone, I arrive at only one conclusion: The hyper-masculine minister, Mark Driscoll, has been effectively neutered.   He will likely never write another book, and if he does, far fewer will read its words. He will likely never again jet set around the country speaking to tens of thousands week after week. And even if he returns to the pastorate–which I imagine is likely–he’ll ascend the stage a shadow of his former self. The glory days of Mars Hill and its celebrity founder are irrevocably behind them both. 

 

Mars Hill releases entire Mark Driscoll Statement.  Here are a few excerpts and my comments:

It is because of my deep love for the local church in general, and Mars Hill Church in particular, that it grieves me to see anything come against it or threaten to harm it. It also grieves me greatly when something I say or do results in controversy and publicity none of you signed up for when you decided to be a part of this church family.

When someone is grieved, they stop, look at the problem, and take appropriate action. People have been calling him account for years and years.  If he’s been “grieving,” he has not shown the appropriate response. These are mere “words” not true sentiments.

Over the years, as I have grown and as the Lord has been molding and pruning me, I have, on many occasions, shared with you some of the lessons I’ve been learning. Some of these have been painful, and some I’ve been slow to learn. I’ve acknowledged and confessed many of my sins, shortcomings and missteps, and God has been more than faithful with His forgiveness. Most of our Mars Hill family has been forgiving as well, and for that I’m grateful and blessed. By God’s grace, I want to always be humble and teachable.

No real commentary here about the victims, their thoughts, feelings. It’s all about MD and the process he’s had to go through. A truly repentant person does not focus on SELF, but on the ones he has hurt.

I want to thank those who have come directly to an Elder, lead pastor or me to tell us of an offense they are carrying. This allows us to deal with it head-on between the two affected parties, rather than in a court of public opinion and public media. I believe God is honored by this approach—the approach He prescribed for us in Matthew 18 and other Scriptures.

This is a back-handed way of saying that anyone who has spoken publicly about his leadership has done it wrong. He’s saying:  “don’t talk, but if you do talk, then come to your leaders.” Let’s not forget the scores and scores of people who attempted to bring grievances to elders/pastors and to Mark Driscoll privately, but were fired/removed put in church discipline and shunned. 

He then complains about people bringing up his pseudonym from years ago, that he took care of it a few years ago.  Perhaps he did not do a good enough job of taking care of it or it wouldn’t have come up again.  Or perhaps it came up again because the same pattern of behavior exists today.

Storm clouds seem to be whirling around me more than ever in recent months and I have given much thought and sought much counsel as to why that is and what to do about it. The current climate is not healthy for me or for this church. (In fact, it would not be healthy for any church.)

It is indeed healthy for both Driscoll and the church. Those who have been inside and who have known Driscoll outside his church are seeing the problems.  It is healthy to deal with this.  It is unhealthy to ignore it.  That’s what has been going on for years.  

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Warren Throckmorton posted the audio of the announcement:

 

Article by Becky Garrison who uncovers background on the new PR guy Driscoll said will be helping him:
Mark DeMoss to Manage Mars Hill’s Mess

This kind of advice doesn’t come cheap. So, how much will the bill be for his services, and who is footing this bill? Also, for those thinking Mark D. (as in Driscoll not DeMoss) will resign, churches bring in these kind of players to clean the joint up just enough so no one sees the real dirt. So while Driscoll wil be counseled to clean up his act, until the by-laws change to provide for actual accountability and the church opens up ALL of their books to bring about financial transparency, it’s still SNAFU at Mars Hill.

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From Rob Smith:  

Are Mars Hill Church elders elders in name only?

At the end of the day, Mark Driscoll may apologize and say he is sorry, for this and that, but he will not repent of bullying the 2007 bylaws into place.These bylaws removed his accountability to the elders of the church. His bullying included harming, shaming, shunning and slandering Paul Petry. Yet he will not repent of that act. By repenting he would have to admit that the entire bullying episode occurred so that he could change the bylaws via coercion and duress without due process.

 

 

Responses on Twitter (I’m posting new tweets on top and these are expressions that I’m seeing on Twitter – some vulgar language and heated sentiments from both sides:

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/BrandonAmbro/status/503603740956712960

 

SSB Sunday Gathering – August 24, 2014

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Spiritual Sounding Board  – This is our place to gather and share in an open format.  Feel free to join in the discussion.

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Bayou in south Louisiana Photo credit: Raymond Ernst


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This is your place to share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

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Hear my cry, O God;

    listen to my prayer.

 From the ends of the earth I call to you,

    I call as my heart grows faint;

    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge,

    a strong tower against the foe.

Psalm 61:1-3

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Russell Moore and John MacArthur Offer Diverse Responses on Challenging Issues

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Two Influential Christian leaders offer diverse responses regarding (1) professional counseling and (2) response to [adult] children with same-sex issues or identity.

 

 

Christiandom tends to follow church leaders when it comes to difficult life issues. Earlier, when reading an article at Religion News Service (RNS) by Adelle M. Banks, Russell Moore answers all you wanted to know about sex (but were afraid to ask), I was actually surprised to read a couple of things from Russell Moore. Russell Moore is President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.  In this position, he has a big platform from which to share his opinion in conservative Christianity circles. Here is one of the excerpts that surprised me:

In March, Moore took on the topic of a sexless marriage, raised by a pastor of a small congregation, approached by a woman whose new husband had refused sex in the eight months since they wed.

“It seems that I am finding more and more young couples having sexual difficulties,” Moore said at the time.

In his response, Moore was direct. “This is a marriage in crisis,” he wrote.

Among his suggestions: Seek professional counseling to learn whether there was some unresolved trauma in the man’s life.

Seek professional counseling?  It doesn’t say Biblical counseling or even Christian counseling, but professional counseling.  What a nice surprise.  I wonder if he will get any heat from that statement from those who believe anything other than Biblical counseling is evil – like John MacArthur. Here’s a little bit from an earlier article I did on John MacArthur regarding counseling:

Prominent church leader, John MacArthur has been very outspoken about the subject of psychology and his Master’s Seminary teaches against psychology:

Such a thing as a “psychological problem” unrelated to spiritual or physical causes is nonexistent. God supplies divine resources sufficient to satisfy completely all the spiritual needs.  ~John MacArthur (Source)

John MacArthur would not encourage this man to go to professional counseling, but only to receive Biblical counseling.

Now here’s another interesting comment from Russell Moore from the RNS article, this time about parental response to gay children:

Moore has also advised parents not to reject their gay children: “Be clear about your convictions, and at the same time don’t exile your child from your life.”

 

This statement comes about a month or so after John MacArthur posted an article and video, “John MacArthur on How to Respond to a Homosexual Child.” The video is just under two minutes:

 

http://www.gty.org/blog/B140603/john-macarthur-on-how-to-respond-to-a-homosexual-child

Both of these are very powerful men in conservative Christiandom and so it’s very interesting to see these diverse statements.   I will be keeping an eye on this.

SSB Sunday Gathering – August 17, 2014

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Spiritual Sounding Board  – This is our place to gather and share in an open format.  Feel free to join in the discussion.

 

 

spiritual sounding board, spiritual abuse photo-17

 

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This is your place to share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

 

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 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:14-17

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Be sure to listen to these great lyrics.

 

Learn to Discern: Who would you choose to marry, an abusive Christian or a kind and gentle unbeliever?

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Learn to Discern:  Is it better for a Christian woman to marry a kind and gentle unbeliever or an abusive Christian?

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JD Hall’s Public Confession Regarding His Twitter Conversation with Ergun Caner’s Son, Who Later Committed Suicide

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JD Hall’s public confession regarding the Braxton Caner exchange on Twitter.

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SSB Sunday Gathering – August 10, 2014

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Spiritual Sounding Board  – This is our place to gather and share in an open format.  Feel free to join in the discussion.

 

 

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This is your place to share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

 

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So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Hebrews 5:14-16

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Do you see any spiritual applications in this video?

Photo credit:  Hannah Smith

Who is @Rhology? What are #pulpiteers? How Do They Function?

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Alan Maricle aka @Rhology defends and imitates J.D. Hall’s (aka @pulpitandpen) bad behavior on Twitter.

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Sound Off on Spiritual Sounding Board

 

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I’ve got a lot of fires burning, so you get to call it.  Your turn to sound off whatever is on your heart.
Mark Driscoll made the Seattle news KOMO front page. How long can this last?
Ergun Caner’s 15-year old son committed suicide. I can’t help but remember a conversation I saw on Twitter at the beginning of July with JD Hall, Fred Butler and others as they were rudely going after him. I cannot get it out of my mind which might be part of my funk. This is deja vu for me and I’m so tired of “men of God” acting like bullies.

 

 

Ken Ham uses “Flat Ken” as an Evangelistic Tool? Or Maybe a Slick Advertisement Campaign Geared to Children to Promote His Business?

Ken Ham & Creation Museum claim to have an evangelistic tool, but who is it promoting, Ham or Christ? Sorry, Ken … just not kosher.

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SSB Sunday Gathering – July 27, 2014

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Spiritual Sounding Board  – This is our place to gather and share in an open format.  Feel free to join in the discussion.

Continue reading

Emotional Chaos after Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse can leave damaging scars, some resulting in real difficulties, including anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, etc.

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Dr. Albert Mohler and Response to Sex Abuse in Churches

Albert Mohler and Church Leaders’ Response to Sex Abuse in Christian Churches

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Invitations and Altar Calls: Is it Manipulation or Evangelism?

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What is going on when a pastor gives an altar call or invitation? Is this appropriate? Is it manipulation?

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SSB Readers Discuss D. Scott Meadows’ “A Christian Wife’s Catechism” and Addendums

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I’m opening this thread for discussion on the recent article by D. Scott Meadows, Addenda, Part 2: Clarification of “A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism” posted at Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog.

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Confusing Tweets by Owen Strachan about the War Against Satan

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A reader sent me the following tweets by Owen Strachan, president of Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

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A Pastor is Challenged after Releasing a Disturbing and Potentially Dangerous Article Directed to Wives of “Difficult” Husbands

Article by Pastor D. Scott Meadows’ article, A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism, creates a stir among the survivor community.

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Fallen Patriarchy Leader Doug Phillips Leaves Former Church and Becomes Member of New Church without “Letter of Transfer”

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Vision Forum’s fallen patriarchal leader, Doug Phillips, has become a member of another church without obtaining the required “letter of transfer” from the church he established and formerly led, Boerne Christian Assembly

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