Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Bellevue Campus to Host University Classes in Fall of 2014

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Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll to partner with Corban University and Western Seminary and host university classes at the Mars Hill Bellevue church campus.

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It seems an important Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll development may have slipped through the cracks while the world was paying attention to the Janet Mefferd and Mark Driscoll alleged plagiarism fiasco.  Early December, Mars Hill and Corban University signed a partnership. Have you heard about it?

I knew that Mars Hill was one of the fastest growing churches in the Nation, but I was not aware that they were expanding their growth to universities.  The Mars Hills Bellevue campus has plans for hosting university studies in fall of 2014.  They are offering a one-year certificate program partnering with Corban University of Salem, Oregon.  Additionally, a graduate program will also be offered, this program will be partnered with Western Seminary. Both the certificate and graduate programs will be hosted at Mars Hill in Bellevue, Washington.

Potential class offerings:

  • Bible and Theology Foundation
  • Ministry Skills Foundation
  • Introduction to Bible
  • Introduction to Theology
  • Christian Worldview and Apologetics
  • Biblical Spiritual Formation
  • The Gospels
  • Bible Study Methods

“Corban University is delighted to launch a one-year Bible certificate program in partnership with Mars Hill Church. This certificate prepares students to thrive in their faith whether they pursue university studies or serve in their local church. The certificate combines foundational biblical studies with practical ministry skills. It enables students to build a worldview that is anchored in the Scriptures and ready to answer the pressing questions of our day.”

Dr. Greg Trull, Dean, School of Ministry at Corban (Source)

But wait  – – – guess who will be one of the teachers?

Driscoll, who is the founding, preaching, and vision pastor for Mars Hill Church adds, “As the father of a child on the threshold of college, I am thrilled to be part of teaching a one-year undergraduate Bible program. As a graduate of Western Seminary, I am very excited to host this top notch theological program and to be in the classroom investing in students committed to serving Jesus’ mission through the local church.” (Source)

Better yet, hear it from the MD man himself.  This is a very short video.

A few thoughts:

Driscoll said he’s been praying for this for 17 years.  Evidently Mars Hill thinks that the seminaries in the Seattle area need some help:

“We are officially bringing formal accredited theological education to Seattle.  Not to criticize anyone that’s doing anything else, but we feel inclined of the Lord to do our thing.”

What exactly is “our thing?”

Do we need reminders of how Driscoll runs his church?   You can find accounts at Wenatchee the HatchetJoyful Exiles, Mars Hill RefugeDriscoll Controversy blogs.

Do we need to be reminded how he writes books, allegedly failing to properly cite sources?

“I’m looking forward to being one of your professors.” ~Mark Driscoll

It concerns me that this man, with so many publicly known problems will be teaching new church leaders.

One more thing – he mentions “accredited” several times, yet I found this quote by Corban Provost Matt Lucas:

“This certificate is not included under Corban University’s accreditation until NWCCU approves the program.” (Source)

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40 comments on “Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Bellevue Campus to Host University Classes in Fall of 2014

  1. I’m concerned about Driscoll’s claims again.

    Is the certificate really going to be accredited? I’m not aware that Driscoll is a professor so why does he say this:

    “I’m looking forward to being one of your professors.” ~Mark Driscoll

    Does he have to embellish their “thing” so much? I would also like to know what their thing is.

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  2. A lot of smaller colleges are having money issues. I could see Corban University making a deal with Driscoll in exchange for a much-needed ca$$$h infusion. At least he didn’t actually *purchase* a college with an accreditation and then proceed to make it over into his image. This has happened to small colleges in the recent past, where their accreditations are more valuable than the college itself. They get bought up by investors and then turned into for-profit institutions. We have one here in Phoenix (Grand Canyon University) which is still touted as a Christian college, but is owned and operated by Grand Canyon Education, Inc., which is traded on the NASDAQ (symbol: LOPE).

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  3. What degrees does MD hold? Accrediting bodies are requiring a min of a master’s in the area one is teaching to comply with accrediting bodies starting in 2014 or 2015. At least HLC, one of the five accrediting agencies recognized by the fed gov is requiring it.

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  4. Nutshell: He talks about his degree at the 1:25 mark on the video, but here is from his bio:

    Born in North Dakota, Mark Driscoll grew up in south Seattle, the son of a union drywaller. After graduating from high school, he attended Washington State University on scholarship. He became a Christian during his freshman year, and finished college with a degree in speech communication from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication. He later completed a master’s degree in exegetical theology from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

    (http://marshill.com/pastors/mark-driscoll)

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  5. Our former church/abusive system did the same thing a few years back. They partnered with some Christian colleges on the East Coast and tried to get church members who were involved in ministry to get “certified” and college credits through the classes taught at the church. It seemed like another attempt at trying to be all things to all people as well as a convenient way to maintain control over the enthusiastic “servants”.
    I believe I heard recently that it has fizzled out due to lack of interest.

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  6. Interesting. Driscoll says that he’s been praying about this for 17 years, and his daughter is now “on the threshold of college.” Wouldn’t that make her about 17 years old now (or close to it)? I admit that I wondered, as I read this, if this is his way to maintain control over his kids for as long as possible. Probably just cynicism on my part. Or coincidence.

    But then, over at the Pajamas Pages blog, I see that Perry Noble and New Spring are starting their own “college” too! And it sounds way worse than Driscoll’s scheme. Is this the new trend for the Mega Bad Boys now? Or again, is it just coincidence?

    http://www.pajamapages.com/how-to-buy-a-newspring-job/

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  7. Steve Scott – – I had my laptop synced up to my new Christmas present – a Bluetooth speaker when I hit play on ‘It’s Your Thing.” It was very loud . . . . haha – – love it!

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  8. Maybe the Driscolljugend are aging into the college years and cannot be allowed to mingle with the Heathen(TM) at that age? Does the college dress code include spare tire, fauxhawk, Mickey Mouse T-shirt, and puka shells? Are there extra credit for Beating You Up? Or for oral/anal erotic exegesis of Solomon and Esther?

    I SEE Things…

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  9. “Our thing” = I will teach you what you really should believe is truth. I’m on vacation, but I’ll look into it more re: accreditation issues. I worked at a small Christian college for a few years and had to work through the accreditation process. It concerns me that they would have someone like Driscoll, with his lack of higher education, leading an off-site program.

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  10. I’m kind of floored that both Corban and Western Seminary would be willing to so quickly partner with Driscoll after the plagiarism fiasco. Being truthful and not stealing are pretty big moral issues in Scripture. Who would want to align with that kind of reputation?

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  11. On the surface, it appears this may be a good thing. When I still participated in organized religion, one of my big frustrations was that the Sunday school material was written at about an 8th grade level. Now these lucky “church” members will actually be able to receive instruction at a higher level (though probably still not at a college level), in recognition of the one-tenth share of their income they have been forking over to Driscoll’s 501(c)(3) so called church organization.

    Oh, but wait! Maybe I’ve misunderstood. Maybe the students will be required to pay tuition, yet not receive credits recognized as satisfying the requirements of an accredited degree program!! No, surely I’m just being cynical!!!

    Well, at least we can be impressed at “professor” Driscoll’s generosity in contributing his time, almost certainly without remuneration, to this new cause–particularly in view of the fact that Driscoll, like the apostle Paul, must surely be ministering without personally accepting material support from those to whom he ministers. Surely he contributes his book profits to feeding the hungry, housing homeless, defending the oppressed, taking care of widows and orphans, etc.

    Yes, hope springs eternal. Not.

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  12. The Corban policy on plagiarism: “PLAGIARISM POLICY
    Plagiarism is not tolerated at Corban University School of Ministry in any form. A student found guilty of plagiarism will be subject to failure in the assignment and failure in the course.”
    This comes from a course syllabus posted by the adjunct instructor at this web address: http://www.epm.org/static/uploads/downloads/theology-of-heaven-syllabus-corban-final.pdf . This course was held in May 2012.

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  13. This situation of a plagiarizer teaching disciples seems like a recipe for disaster. Luke 6: 39-40, He also told them a parable: “Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

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  14. Randy Alcorn also has a lengthy article that relates to this general topic, without specifically considering Mars Hill or Driscoll. Jan. 01, 2002, “Scandal of Evangelical Dishonesty”, http://www.epm.org/resources/2002/Jan/01/scandal-evangelical-dishonesty/
    He also has a shorter related answer to a reader’s question: June 20, 2012, “What are your thoughts about book endorsements?” http://www.epm.org/resources/2012/Jun/20/what-are-your-thoughts-about-book-endorsements/
    I have high regard for Randy Alcorn’s writings.

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  15. This does not surprise me one bit. I have seen this trend in Texas at several mega-churches and was wondering when the big name pastors would jump on the bandwagon. I would be very wary of taking such courses at a church and not at an academic institution; I fear that the ability for oversight and accountability is rather limited. I am grateful that I pursued my degree in Classics at a secular university. I was given the privilege of learning from professors who refused to acknowledge their own religious leanings and through four years of study I was able to mine the Bible for truth as God revealed it to me, not as a pastor/professor chose to reveal it. Perhaps the instructors of the classes at Mars Hill would be so kind as to share syllabi and reading lists so that they may be compared with other institutions of higher learning.

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  16. Mark Driscoll is kind of like syphilis. Just when you think its gone away it keeps coming back. it’s the gift that keeps on giving…just like Mark Driscoll! 😛

    JAS- I shot you a few emails behind the scenes! 🙂

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  17. @ JA~

    “I’m kind of floored that both Corban and Western Seminary would be willing to so quickly partner with Driscoll after the plagiarism fiasco. Being truthful and not stealing are pretty big moral issues in Scripture. Who would want to align with that kind of reputation?”

    I haven’t been following the plagiarism deal much- last I read it was someone else’s fault and not Driscoll’s? Is that correct? Anyway, if that idea is floating around with some legitimacy, people can overlook that and deem Driscoll not guilty and go on their merry way.

    Do you know much about Corban? I never heard of it. A quick perusal of the prez’s FB showed pics of him with some professing Christian leaders I would personally run as far away from as I could (pics start around Sept. 19, one being Dr. Daniel Amen – remember him from Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan?).

    “Dr. Amen, an Oral Roberts University School of Medicine graduate, and Tantric sex expert TJ Bartel produced a six CD series called “Create More Passion Tonight.””
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2663804/posts

    Think I’ll pass on that, thanks anyway.

    Corban has the usual conservative statement of faith, but I’m not convinced. It seems like a perfect fit for a venture with “I see things” Driscoll. From what I am reading, Corban is a contemplative/spiritual formation friendly institution, along with having an emphasis on “kingdom” businesses.

    Lighthouse trails has a post about the joint venture. I do not agree with all of Lighthouse’s conclusions, but there is some interesting info. You can find it at Lighthouse Trails Dec. 26, 2013 Corban University (formerly Western Baptist College), a Former Non-Contemplative College Teams Up with Mark Driscoll.

    An excerpt from the article:

    “And today, a look at the Fall 2013 Corban textbook list is disheartening to say the least. Professor Kersey is using Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence, John Franke’s Barth for Arm Chair Theologians (Barth’s ideas are highly favored by the emerging church) and Marcus Borg’s The Heart of Christianity in TH413. You can’t get more emergent than Tickle and Borg. Borg actually denies basic tenets of the Christian faith such as the virgin birth and the deity of Christ. Tickle thinks Brian McLaren could be the next Luther. Professor Kersey also uses textbooks by John Piper, a contemplative advocate. At least one other course, IS202, is using a Piper book as well.’

    Hmmm….Heart of Christianity …. denies deity of Christ. Gosh….seems to me Corban might have bigger problems than linking arm and arm with an alleged plagiarist, although that is disturbing enough, imo.

    Corban recently hired Curt Jones as president for advancement:

    “Corban University welcomed its new vice president for advancement on Sept. 30.
    Curt Jones has a proven history of leading teams and raising funds. He is an entrepreneurial start up specialist with significant consulting experience. He served as owner/president/CEO for The BEST Companies, Inc.; executive vice president at Delta Financial Associates, Inc.; SVP for Continental Equities Corporation, Inc.; and more.

    Jones’ ministry and work experience during the past four years involved a project-driven entrepreneurial lifestyle of ministry endeavors, business ventures and consulting gigs. Jones is also a certified coach and trainer specializing in marketing/entrepreneurship. He considers himself to be a lifetime student of leadership and organizational development. He is married with three grown children and three grandchildren.

    “After months of avid searching, I am enthusiastic and optimistic about the person God has provided for such a time as this,” said Corban President Dr. Sheldon C. Nord.”

    I wonder if Jones had anything to do with suggesting the Driscoll partnership? We know Driscoll is all about marketing and likes to raise those funds.

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  18. Pingback: Comment Removed from Corban University President Sheldon Nord’s Facebook Page Regarding Corban’s Partnership with Mars Hill Church | Spiritual Sounding Board

  19. “CORBAN University”?

    Didn’t Jesus have something to say about the word “Corban”? Something about getting out of your responsibility to support an aged parent by claiming your money was “Corban” and thus dedicated to God (and available to yourself, of course)?

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  20. @Bridgit:

    I hope that Driscoll gets a grip on his use of the word “professor” and pray that he does not use the title when referring to himself. He has no level of schooling that would justify this title.

    “President Field Marshal DOCTOR Idi Amin Dada!”

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