14 November 2014

John Piper and Mark Driscoll: lessons not learned?

by Dan Phillips

NOTE: this week's SHST is pushed aside by a recent turn of events. To wit:

A recent "Ask Pastor John" segment is titled "Do You Regret Partnering with Mark Driscoll?" An answer to that question could have been very helpful. However, once the question is asked, the word "partnering" never recurs. Piper instead poses and answers a question of his own: "Do you regret befriending Mark Driscoll?"

I don't doubt that question was more appealing. Low-hanging fruit always is. However, it is is a question I've heard no one ask. I asked my Tweeps if anyone had heard that question asked, and no one had. (I also offered some other thoughtlets on Twitter: here, here.)

"John Piper has no regret for befriending Mark Driscoll," Piper said Bob-Dole-ically, answering the question he alone asked himself. Piper did go on to admit that he regrets not being a more effective friend. But then Piper somewhat undoes that admission, by saying that Mark knew he had flaws of leadership attitude, unsavory language, exegetical errors, and that Mark knew Piper knew. Piper says he always hoped the relationship would be redemptive and helpful. So it's really Driscoll's fault. Which, of course, ultimately is true...and, once again, was not the question.

Then, somewhat oddly, Piper stressed that Driscoll gave Piper a lot of time and counsel and "guidance." Driscoll gave guidance to Piper and his elders. "He certainly gave me more time and counsel than I deserved." Oh? What is this? Taken seriously, this rather subverts the perception that Piper was an elder brother taking Driscoll under his wing to sober, mature, guide and mentor the famously loose-cannon leaky-Canoneer. Instead, Piper depicts them as equals, giving and receiving counsel to each other.

Would that make Piper still less responsible for the direction Driscoll took? Is that the intent?

But this is all wide of the mark (no pun intended). The issue is that Piper had, as far as I know, a well-earned stellar reputation. He was regarded as a sagacious elder statesman. He lit the fires of devotion to God, delight in God, open celebration of God's sovereignty. He did and represented much that is really great and good. I myself have often admitted with enthusiasm (and do so again, here) that Piper's writings have done me great good, particularly Future Grace.

So when Piper extended his embrace to Mark Driscoll, all that gravitas and bona fides was added to Driscoll's resume. Driscoll had been "the cussing pastor" and all; now he was "John Piper's protegee," "John Piper's partner." When anyone started to express misgivings about Driscoll, he might hear the response, "But John Piper embraces him. Piper's working with him. Driscoll must be OK." Driscoll himself had that card to play, as needed.

Good men cautioned Piper privately and publicly, warned him, begged him to reconsider what he was doing. But Piper resolutely brushed them all aside and stayed the course. And so has Driscoll.

So now where are we? We are exactly where Piper's friends warned him he'd be. Driscoll has come to a sad place, yet remains defiant and undaunted, and it's Piper who has to explain their connection.

But Piper still doesn't seem to take it all that seriously.

In a way, Piper seems to ackonwlege that things are sort of bad now, though for unspecified reasons. Piper says he sees why Driscoll's books might be off of shelves temporarily. Yet he also immediately goes on to say he sees a day when they could be replaced and stand on their own merit. Which underscores something I'm going to say, below, about "echo-chamber":

Before we leave that paragraph, Piper says, "If he is disqualified from being an elder should he still exercise the teaching office of an elder through his books?" "If"? Is he, or isn't he? Driscoll himself insists that he is not disqualified. His hand-picked committee that was supposed to be counseling him insists that "we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry." Is Piper saying differently? If so, he is not saying it very clearly.

Despite all that publicly known information, what Piper does say clearly is that he has "no regret." Hear Piper:
John Piper has no regret for befriending Mark Driscoll, going to Mark Driscoll’s church and speaking at his events, or having him come to the Desiring God conference. I do not regret that.
Instead, Piper sees himself as in a position to issue lessons that he says he has learned, and which he says we should all take from the whole affair. Having admitted no errors in judgment, and detailing nothing specific that he would do differently, he's ready to bid adieu to the whole thing, it appears, with this list. Here it is, and I shall add my own brief thoughts in brackets:
  1. People are very complex. Some of our sins are hidden to ourselves. [Amen. But I didn't need this, to know that; and all the harm that has been done was not necessary for this point to be made.]
  2. We need to take very seriously what wise counselors tell us about ourselves. [Ironic. The advice of wise counselors to Piper himself that he should distance himself from Driscoll, or be more public in his rebukes, apparently is excepted.]
  3. Sometimes you can see what others are saying about yourself, sometimes you can't. If you see it, you repent and fight the sin. But if you can't? What then? You have to go with what you see, or you'd be hopping to everybody's varying opinion, something neither Paul nor Jesus did. Says Mark stood down instead of a fight (implying he did the right thing). [This paints Driscoll's stepping down as a noble act, given Driscoll's inability to get what his critics are saying. Putting it mildly, I do not see it that way.]
  4. Biblical leadership structures are not luxuries. [Amen. Yet Driscoll was unwilling to follow the counsel even of his hand-restructured structure.]
  5. Salaries shouldn't be huge. Corporate mindset, beware. [Like a pastor seeing himself as "the brand"?]
  6. Same theology on paper can coexist with very different personalities and leadership styles and sins. No theology on paper or merely in preaching that keeps a man from sin. See Peter — what he did in Galatia had nothing to do with his theology. Peter and those who erred with him believed the truth, but did not walk in step with it. [Amen.]
  7. God's kingdom and his saving purposes never depend on one man, church, denomination. His word is not bound. [Amen, and thank God. But is it not also true that "one sinner destroys much good" (Ecclesiastes 9:18)?]
  8. Let him who is thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall; restore such a one. For Mark's detractors to sniff "Good riddance" is sin and un-Biblical.  Renew and restore all, including Mark. [Already? It's time to talk about restoring Driscoll, already? To what? After what process? After assuring ourselves of what, and how? Should repentance play a part in restoration? Shouldn't we be talking about what repentance looks like (— like this, and this, and this, and this) before moving on to restoration?]
I'm not reassured to see that Piper thinks these are the main lessons he should learn from this. He did not already know these things? If not, what would he have done differently, knowing them?

Here are the lessons I'd like to suggest might be more helpful to learn from this. Were I someone whose judgment meant anything to John Piper, I'd be putting this before him:
  1. To whom much given, from him much is required (Lk. 12:48; Jas. 3:1). Piper should have been much, much slower to extend his good reputation to someone with such a genuine and palpable cloud around him (1 Ti. 5:22, 24). Piper made a mistake. I have no trouble believing that it was good-hearted and well-intentioned, but it was a mistake. I think it he should own it, not double-down about it. That would serve him and the church better.
  2. To turn a deaf ear to wise and godly counsel, as Piper did, is not wise (Pro. 11:14; 12:15; 15:22; 26:12).
  3. Widen your circle and get out of your bubble. The echo-chamber clearly did not get the word through to Piper. They did not serve him well. So I'll just say it, and take the hate that will come: what if Piper had read Pyro? What if he'd really thought about what (for instance) Phil Johnson was writing, years ago? What if Piper were to say, "Someone pointed me to this blog nobody'd ever told me of, it's called Pyromaniacs. Years ago, Phil Johnson and others warned that exactly this would happen. I wish I'd been reading and listening; I've learned I need to widen my circle among those sharing my core convictions but seeing things differently. I regret that I didn't do that then, and urge others not to repeat my mistake." Would that be constructive, specific, and perhaps admonitory to others who keep making the same sorts of errors?
  4. Re-think your enabling of Charismaticism. And then withdraw it. If you had read this (and additional comments like this and this), and had thought it through, you would have seen. Please, please consider what I am about to say very slowly and very seriously: there is a very short and straight line between (A) thinking God tells you stuff He tells no one else, yet (B) taking no responsibility and accepting no consequences for your claims to such revelation, and (C) abusive, egotistic, narcissistic, damaging leadership. History's told many such tales, and you just witnessed another firsthand. With such rotten fruit, shouldn't the tree be reassessed?
  5. Force yourself to admit the extent of the damage caused.
I don't begrudge Piper's befriending Driscoll, for my part. I have been befriended by men much, much, much better than I. Thank God for them. I feel like they're all slumming, having me for a friend. So what I do is (A) I try to learn all I can from them, and (B) I try not to make them regret their friendship.

So what I am sad about is Driscoll abusing the friendship Piper extended. And what I particularly regret is that Piper simply is not admitting the extent of the bad public decisions he made, the damage that resulted, and the utter preventability of the whole thing.

Which simply assures more iterations. And does nothing to correct the specific situation we're discussing.

Thus endeth the post that, of all my many posts, I probably most hated having to write. I hope it does someone some good, for the sake of Christ's name and church.

Dan Phillips's signature


Rowdie Jones said...

Piper served as a pivotal springboard in the ascent of Driscoll to evangelical super stardom. He is partially culpable for this train wreck.

Charles Putnam said...

In listening to Piper's comments, I kinda got the sense that he didn't want to kick Driscoll "while he was down" and just wanted to be the nice "grandfatherly" type.

All well and good, but....it avoids the truth, as you pointed out in your article (very well written and to the point). There were many that expressed their concerns regarding Mark Driscoll's tendencies, but his cheerleaders chose to ignore those warning signs.

What's most concerning is that Pastor Mark will most likely land somewhere else, and continue doing "ministry" the way he's always done it...only to leave more carnage in its wake.

DJP said...

After publishing this, I now see that Todd Pruitt has offered some good, additional, complementary thoughts.

Michael Coughlin said...

I thought this point "1. Widen your circle and get out of your bubble." was well made and encompasses the ultimate goal both believers and nonbelievers ought to share which is generally speaking to learn from our mistakes and take measures to prevent them in the future which we can now see would have prevented certain past mistakes.

Tom Chantry said...

"Bob-Dole-ically" is an awesome word, even if it's a little sad that we all know immediately what it means.

OK, I'll go read the post now.

Frank Turk said...

The final bullet list of actions is worth the loss of SHST this week.

Frank Turk said...

Why is it so hard to say, "I've made a huge mistake?"

DJP said...

My best serious answer to that — though one that doesn't satisfy me — is that David Wells was far too right in No Place for Truth. It's all about image. Re-inflect: it's ALL about image.

The elitists who blacklist us and la-la-la-still-not-listening what folks like us say do so because we aren't image-at-all-costs types. There are things that matter more than the image.

The irony is that reality will ultimately RUIN the image, whereas embracing the wounds of a friend would save (or redeem) the reality.

OK, after writing that last, I'm a bit dizzy, so... excuse me...

Luke said...

You will hear no arguments from me about Mark Driscoll's issues, but using anything from Janet Mefferd in this discussion lessens the point, because she obviously had it out for Mark Driscoll from the beginning. I don't think there has been a more unhelpful voice in this situation, lacking any sign of grace or nuance.

For instance, that tweet! There were plagiarism issues in his books, but his books in their entirety were not plagiarized, and it is unhelpful and dishonest to tweet like it was. Death by Love in particular was indeed a gospel centered, pastoral, and helpful book.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; such things are much more evident in Piper's life than Mefferds. I pray that those who surround my life have the fatherly gentleness of Piper not the shrill harshness of a radio host looking for publicity.

Phil Johnson said...



DJP said...

Piper seems to be saying, "I had good intentions [so don't blame me]." Luke, you seem to say "I divine that Janet has bad intentions [so don't listen to her]."

How about if we stick to the facts? Janet had 140 characters for that one thought. She can speak for herself, but I doubt she meant to say every book was plagiarized. But is there not a shadow over more than one book? Piper did not differentiate; why must Janet?

Robert said...


The thing I will never understand about that type of attitude in anybody (myself included) is that it isn't biblical. We're all sinful in our hearts and we're going to make mistakes. We're going to need to repent and we should try to model that repentance for others to follow.

There is a flip side to that, though. If we don't model repentance, then pride takes root and our "tribal leaders" become our idols that we worship and defend instead of the Bible and Jesus. If you have had any discussions with MD's fans/followers about this stuff, you have probably noticed this.

I couldn't watch the video past the six minute point because when he started talking about going with what you see when others criticize you, it was too much. We need other Christians around to guard our blind spots. All that advice will serve to do for Driscoll is embolden him in areas where he was clearly wrong, but believes he was right. Unless he is just silently repenting for stuff like the Strange Fire stunt and the invitation to MacArthur to join his conference under the pretense of reaching out in acceptance. I'm not sure how one truly silently repents for a public action like that, though.

I am glad that you said that you hated writing this. I think/hope most of us feel the same. Heck, I would be excited to see genuine, public repentance and apologies from Driscoll so that he can enjoy the true fellowship of the saints. I'm just a wretched sinner myself...and seeing repentance should always increase my joy. Just as seeing this whole mess and these types of attitudes breaks my heart.

crosscurrent212 said...

This is a much needed conversation to have. Thanks for your thoughts Dan, they are insightful and convicting.

Bill O'Neill said...

Whenever I saw the "Give me a little taste" of the tongues gift excerpt from Piper at the Strange Fire Conference, my heart sank. And the subsequent reaction of the panel, including JMac, was significant for obvious awkward discomfort. I really hoped that Driscoll's"confiscated" moment was the conference's sole Jump the Shark moment
I was wrong.

Sharon said...

Bill, I'm not clear as to whether you're dissing Pipers seeking after tongues, or the conference itself. I suspect the latter, but hope I'm wrong.

Jim Peet said...

Thanks. Used on Sharper Iron here

Terry Rayburn said...

The following from Dan's post should not be taken lightly:

"there is a very short and straight line between (A) thinking God tells you stuff He tells no one else, yet (B) taking no responsibility and accepting no consequences for your claims to such revelation, and (C) abusive, egotistic, narcissistic, damaging leadership."

Who knows if even the normally careful Bible teacher Piper might not have been influenced by the subtle thought which Continuationists are prone to:

"What if Mark really IS hearing from God? What if he really is a See-er? What if I really would be 'touching God's anointed' if I listened to his detractors? Until God speaks to ME to tell me to dump Mark, I dare not."

Obviously, Piper would never articulate that publicly, and may not even see that as a possible consequence of this Continuationism.

But I've been around Charismatics and Continuationists long enough to see the signs (no pun intended).

SuzanneT said...

Really well said, Dan, on all accounts.

Failing to disuade a well respected, inestimably valuable leader to evangelicalism such as Piper is, from fellowshipping, partnering & promoting a man so glaringly, blatantly *off* had plenty enough head-scratching discordance on its own..yet when those warnings come to fruition and this is the response..? It would have been much better, I think, had he remained silent.

Some things are and will simply remain an anomaly till the day of glory. The enemy of our souls is always at hand seeking to confuse and destroy the sheep. We indeed have been given much. May we respond with grace and wisdom in these times, knowing that the world is watching.

Bill O'Neill said...

Sharon, I hadn't set out to diss. Perhaps I dissed.

Doug Hibbard said...

I think, connected to point 5 on your action steps, we tend to underplay the ripple effect. It's as if our minds, as preachers, make this jump: "Well, if someone is listening to me, they are hearing good truth. IF they listen to someone else and that someone is a fraud, they should know it because I'm teaching them the truth. Therefore, it's on them for falling for someone."

Even if the same preacher who thinks that is the one recommending the fraud in the first place. There's a mental disconnect that doesn't get made.

Jeff Hagan said...

This blog painted a rather bias picture of what is going on. When one listens to Piper for themselves all the little nuances, and the straightforward claims, the author of the blog is making about Piper loses their "punch." I hear a mature, seasoned, Christian leader trying not to make all the same mistakes and judgments so many others have made toward Mark. I hear someone trying to react maturely and with love and not with condescension and self-righteousness as the author of this blog does (and often has regarding Mark and others, and now Piper). Mefferd as a resource? Come on now, you might as well add some Throckmorton quotes in for good measure. Let it go people, let it go.

Michael Coughlin said...

I really hate these types of circumstances where God's Word doesn't give us a bunch of really great specific instructions.

I wish someone like Paul would have had to deal with something like this so he could have not only told us what God thinks, but also maybe write down what he did and how it worked out.

Oh well. Maybe Hillsong will write a song about it.

DJP said...

You heard Jeff, folks. Nothing to see here. Move on, move on.

Next week: a seminar on How the Celebrity Culture Survives.

Bill O'Neill said...

But, but, Tim Keller stays quoteworthy, gets a seat at the adult table, all while punting six days. Can't Piper get a repurposed Keller pass so that we can all just head downstairs to the potluck?

Elaine Bittencourt said...

Thanks for writing this Dan. When I first listened to the Ask Pastor Piper audio yesterday, at the end I was telling myself "he did not answer the question". Oh well, I don't think he ever will, imo.

I believe that Piper lets his emotions get the best of him many times in similar circumnstaces. I don't understand that disconnection, it's like he stops applying the Word and all that he knows of theology and doctrine when it comes to individuals he knows. I wouldn't have any confidence in him being my pastor and shepherding me and my family well.

That disconnection puzzles me as much as his comments responding to John MacArthur about the Strange Fire (a previous Ask Pastor Piper). I could not believe he actually talked about something he did NOT read or heard himself, his comments were ALL from hearsay. It makes me scratch my head to this day.

Thanks again!

DJP said...

Right. "I so deeply respect John MacArthur that I'm going to respond to what he said without actually listening to it or the conference for myself."

Tom Chantry said...

And in the comment from someone who's never read Pyro before category:

"When one listens to Piper for themselves all the little nuances, and the straightforward claims...

Now we know your problem, Dan! You missed the nuances!!!!!


(Rolling around on the floor holding my gut in pain because I'm laughing so hard), because sometimes LOL just doesn't do the moment justice.

Tom Chantry said...

In all seriousness, Dan's point 4 is the main point to be made here. Piper can't fathom what's really going on with Driscoll, because Piper respects prophets, and Driscoll shows all the signs of a modern day prophet: he says he is one.

Tom Chantry said...

And by the way, did I miss it when Luke flashed his "tone police" badge? Did anybody catch that?

Paul Peterson said...

I'm afraid much of the impact of this post was lost on me by its "I-told-you-so" tone. There is certainly a place for constructive criticism within Christendom —and perhaps even in this particular case. But I am more likely to be persuaded by criticism when it is tempered by humility and love.

DJP said...

So, Paul, in your mind, the really important issue is not whether or not a warning was given and ignored.

To you, the really important issue is the tone in which that fact was pointed out.

Does that about capture it?

So, who do you blame for the prevalence of the celebrity culture?

Elaine Bittencourt said...

"To you, the really important issue is the tone in which that fact was pointed out."

Tone which only he and a couple of others commenting here heard.

I didn't hear that in the writing. Typical detraction technique though, "let's make the tone be the real issue here".

Michael Coughlin said...

Actually, my heart-judge-o-meter was registering over the normal limit upon the accusations of tone in the comments more than the article itself.

Does my opinion count?

Tom Chantry said...


I'm judging you for that.

Michael Coughlin said...

That explains the burning feeling in my ear.

DJP said...

It could have been worse.

Aaron Snell said...

"I myself have often admitted with enthusiasm (and do so again, here) that Piper's writings have done me great good"

"Putting it mildly, I do not see it that way."

"Here are the lessons I'd like to suggest might be more helpful to learn from this."

"Piper made a mistake. I have no trouble believing that it was good-hearted and well-intentioned, but it was a mistake."

"Please, please consider what I am about to say"

" I don't begrudge Piper's befriending Driscoll, for my part. I have been befriended by men much, much, much better than I."

"So what I am sad about"

"what I particularly regret"

"Thus endeth the post that, of all my many posts, I probably most hated having to write. I hope it does someone some good, for the sake of Christ's name and church."

Seriously, Dan, where do you get off using such critical language, so untempered by humility and love?


Don Johnson said...

Dan, I agree with your criticism's, except that you seem to be giving Piper too much deference. There are many serious errors in his theology, beginning with continuationism, extending to his open [and ongoing] associations with the likes of Driscoll and Warren et al.

Yes, his friends on the right warned him about Driscoll. Presumably some of them warn him about getting to close to Warren as well. He didn't listen. Should we listen to him?

For some reason, you still want to hold Piper up as a worthy leader to follow. I get that you like his theology on certain points, but when do we get to the point where we say, "Enough, already. Too many errors."

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Frank Turk said...

Comments here are under moderation. That means that when you hit "Publish," we take it under advisement. If your comment is on-topic, inside the bounds of the rules, and in any way useful, we'll also hit publish.

All other comments are filed for reference.

Be patient.

trogdor said...

I'm greatly grieved that such a post was necessary, but it absolutely was. As much as I've benefited from John Piper's writing and preaching over the years, this level of awful requires an appropriate amount of awesome response.

Let's hop into the wayback machine and take a trip to 2008. Todd Bentley's Lakeland revival was going full steam. Wise counselors advised staying away from this steaming pile. Meanwhile, John Piper waited a few months, then begrudgingly gave a tepid "I guess it might turn out to be bad, but you never know!" statement. Then after it fell apart, he gave this lame postmortem in which "don't blame this on charismatics!" seems to be the greatest concern, for which he was appropriately taken to task.

So yeah, the blind spot towards charismatics and non-biblical claims to revelation has shown up before. He seems to be taking seriously one of the most awful charismatic pleas for cover, and following the advice of Gamaliel. Something happening that's clearly unbiblical? Well we need to wait and see, you never know, it might be from God!

Never mind that Driscoll never met the scriptural qualifications of an elder - 'God' told him to be a pastor! And Piper promoted him largely because he was out of the typical pastoral box (that box being what God says a pastor must be, of course), despite clear warnings about the impending disaster. Now that the inevitable has happened, he's concerned to make sure we learn from it. Well, what about him?

Tom Chantry said...

Is Piper a gifted exegete? Maybe. Has he said some useful things? Probably. But does he have any discernment? No, not really.

Understand, while Dan has put it nicer than I would have, he has put the finger exactly on the reason why Piper is incapable of recognizing wolves: he's more or less a charismatic, and discernment simply doesn't happen in that crowd.

So, Don, I sympathize with your comment, and I'm pretty much done carrying Piper's water in any conversation. But what Dan has done here is to say, essentially, "Piper may have said/written many good things, but his discernment is tremendously weak."

Tom Chantry said...

And before someone goes bananas over the fact that I wrote "incapable of recognizing wolves," try this on for size: Forget for a moment we're talking about John Piper. Forget that he's written books. Forget that you like his sermons. Imagine a nameless, faceless guy who runs a conference. Over the years he's invited Doug Wilson (who was disciplined for holding the Federal Vision and denying justification by faith alone), Daniel Fuller (whose radical strain of antinomianism has led to bizarre rejections of various historical doctrines), Tope Koleoso (whose 'Calvinism' is so weird that he doesn't think you can really be a Calvinist unless you're charismatic), Rick Warren (who...is Rick Warren), and of course Mark Driscoll, who thinks women were created mainly as sex toys for men. Do you trust this nameless, faceless guy to run a junior high Sunday School class? Because I wouldn't!

Dan has gone out of his way to be kind to Piper out of respect for his books and sermons. Kinder than I would be, but its an honorable kindness nonetheless.

Jim Pemberton said...

Any damage is due to Piper's celebrity. I think that while Piper is aware of his celebrity, he doesn't hold it in very high regard. For that, I think he may not judge the damage in the same way we do. He's only just an ordinary retired pastor that happens to have a lot of people paying attention to him as far as he's concerned. I think from his standpoint:

a) He warned Driscoll, and that's all he could do.

b) He's giving Driscoll the benefit of the doubt where he can (and being extremely generous there by refusing to acknowledge some of the more obvious issues).

c) He'll let God worry about his own reputation as long as he has a clear conscience about it.

I honestly think that's where Piper is.

Guymon Hall said...

"and Driscoll shows all the signs of a modern day prophet: he says he is one."

I agree: about the only sign that's required for a modern day prophet is to say you are one. Well said.

jmb said...

Very good post. And I think Tom Chantry's last comment is also very pertinent.

I wonder, though, if Jim Pemberton's point about Piper's not holding his celebrity "in very high regard" is true.

In a relatively short time, Piper became lionized by the YRR. It was as if they hung on to his every word. How many of us would not be affected by such treatment?

My point - and, yes, it's sheer speculation - is that, having become a Christian celebrity himself, Piper was more given to accepting other celebrities. I'm still amazed at the wholehearted pass he gave to Rick Warren. When, after being criticized for this, he questioned Warren about his beliefs, he lobbed one softball after another, asking questions that could be answered "yes" or "no." He was like a teacher trying to do everything he could to give his student an A.

Doug said...

I apologize if this was already asked or if it has been addressed at length in previous blogs but I have to ask. We make a big deal out of Piper and Driscoll and so we should but where was the discernment years ago when we all knew where Driscoll was going and Mark Dever ponied up with him to discuss ministry related issues in the Elephant Room. I don't remember Mark Dever ever saying he regretted his blind spot of discernment sitting down across from Driscoll. Dever spends a lot of time with Johnny Mac and Mr. Johnson. I'd be curious to hear if Dever has ever been asked if he regrets that discussion.


Doug said...

Tom is right. It is very noble of Dan to go so far out of his way to be kind. My question is when do you think secondary separation should kick in here. For me it was years ago when he first asked Driscoll and then Warren to his conference. I guess I'm just less magnanimous than Dan.


AJM said...

Re: ToM Chantry:
"Celebrity" gets a pass.
Everyone else = ruined.
Pragmatism anyone?

Sonja said...

This was excellent and thank you Dan. I can only add one thing as an ex-Marshillian, shame on Piper for not acknowledging the very real victims of Driscoll's reign of terror and that terror silenced the victims. Mark is in no way a good man and I mean that totally disregarding his lack of qualifications as a pastor and the fact that he beat the sheep. He needs serious help. I left as a member in good standing, but if elders thought I needed a "plan of restoration", I would not have been allowed to leave in good standing.

Rules for me, not for "God's anointed". Blech.

Unknown said...

Here is what Jonna Petry wrote about appealing to John Piper after Mark Driscoll fired two elders and changed the church bylaws to remove the authority of the church elders and vest it in himself and his handpicked executives:

After multiple appeals were continually rejected by Mark and Jamie, we discreetly implored some local and then national leaders, who Mark said he respected, to help us, including John Piper and C.J. Mahaney. No one was willing to get involved. I was shocked and heartbroken
again. You’re kidding? The whole Body of Christ and no one is willing to step in, judge the
matter, and attempt to make things right? How can Matthew 18 be carried out if not one
Christian leader will stand in to bring peace and reconciliation?



Gareth Mc said...

Point 4 is, respectfully, pish. People the web over see blaming Driscoll's issues on his complementarianism, his rejection of congregationalism, his like for UFC and Chris Rock, as well as his alleged charismaticism.

Fact is, the guy is and always has been an unaccountable, glory seeking knob of the highest magnitude. No other reason. I see that JMac holds to at least two of the same points of view as Driscoll detractors blame his downfall upon - yet JMac still stands, not because he rejects charismaticism, but because he is accountable, and not a knob.

Rob Smith said...

Continuing to call Driscoll "Pastor Mark" will simply hasten his continuation to do "ministry"

DJP said...

Perhaps the problem there is the ongoing dilemma of there being no "Irony" font.

Bill O'Neill said...


Pensive said...

Well, Dan, it could be worse. If you had been a woman, imagine the outcry. You might also have been accused of having a "grumpy day," despite the accuracy of your content. You are just a big meanie. Piper is a nice grandpa who wants us all to be happy (and maybe all have our own "encounters" with God), and Driscoll is just a misunderstood prophet with a potty mouth--- everyone who doesn't play along has an attitude problem. Especially those under the bus. It's their own fault they are under there-- if only they had listened to their leaders. Oh wait. They did. Long live the celebrity pastor machine!!

Robert said...

I must say that I lost a lot of respect for Piper after listening to Phil's presentation from Strange Fire. And it all goes back to his roots in continuationism and his lack of discernment there. It seems like that just pours over into his interactions with many people who take the title of pastor, but don't follow the biblical model for a pastor (or even meet the biblical qualifications). And it doesn't seem like he has (or is even willing to, based upon his "go with what you see" response) learned from his mistakes and the aftermath of his interactions with these people. At some point, a faithful steward cares too much about the people God entrusts his care to and stops exposing them to harm. Should we think that nobody under his care wound up tangled in any of this mess?

Thankfully, at the end of the day God is still in charge. And I think part of that is that He works through those who call out the errors and offer good counsel. And that is actually a biblical concept...just read the Bible and see the books of the prophets in the OT or the epistles in the NT.

Rowdie Jones said...

"How can Matthew 18 be carried out if not one Christian leader will stand in to bring peace and reconciliation?" - Unknown

Matthew 18 cannot be carried out because there is no biblical adjuration for Christian celebrities.

For example, groups such as TGC function outside the boundaries of biblically established, God-ordained leadership. This makes them virtually unaccountable.

The only effective recourse often becomes public outcry.

James Sundquist said...

Dear Dan,

My highest commendation for your expose on John Piper and Mark Driscoll.

As bad as that alliance and endorsement was, by far, the biggest damage, in my view is Piper's unrepentant support of Warren, in spite of the colossal ongoing damage Warren is wreaking.

I entreat you to be alerted to three things re Rick Warren, who is another clear and present danger to the church because his Purpose Driven Global Peace Plan disenfranchises and dismembers Christian saints and churches whom he calls “enemies of the 21st Century” and “Sanballats from Hell” who now have NO church:

1. http://www.perfectpeaceplan.com/post/is-rick-warrens-claim-that-his-book-is-the-best-selling-non-fiction-hardback-book-in-history-true/

2. View this just-released film documentary investigation on Rick Warren produced by Elliott Nesch:


3. Rick Warren’s Global Peace Plan includes Muslims see this film documentary:

Kindest regards in Christ,

James Sundquist

Morris Brooks said...

It wasn't just Piper that was giving cover to Mark Driscoll, it was the other elders who "served" with him. While Driscoll has been taking all the heat for the mess he created, the elders who served alongside him have come out relatively unscathed. They should also be held accountable for the atrocities that were committed under Driscoll’s reign as they reigned with him, and in most cases were complicit in much of the abuse that went on, either directly or in their turning a blind eye to it. They have attested to this themselves in the letters of apology we have seen coming out from them over the last few weeks.

It seems, at least to me, that, in addition to Mark Driscoll, most of the current elders are also disqualified from serving in that capacity. Maybe the best thing for Mars Hill and all of its churches to do is to appoint new elders in every church. We saw Paul assign that task to Titus, so obviously it can be done.

Additionally, this was a most gracious rebuke, a good model for us all.

SuzanneT said...


Here are the confessions of many of those to whom you are referring:

jer179 said...


Here are confessions of those to whom you are referring:

Hmmmmmm said...

Nice way to keep the hate going in Christian circles...oh no, that's right, you guys are doing the rest of us a huge favour with your critiques that have no love, no grace, and no real desire to see any good come from anything. As long as you can rest your heads on your pillows at night and congratulate yourselves for having figured out the best and wisest form of Christianity, I'm sure you guys are okay. Man you guys crack me up. I can see you all poised ready to strike anyone who shows the slightest support for Driscoll. And filling with rage when they don't kick him while he's down, or give the strongest possible public berating. You won't be satisfied til you've convinced a good deal of people to enter into your hate. We get it, he messed up badly. I'm not sure how all this blog carry on is supposed to help. I'm not sure at all.

Shane Anderson said...

great article DJP!

That Mefford and Throckmorton get any heat from any Bible believing Christian over this mess is bizarre! I'm sorry, but their courage (as well as World Magazine's and Carl T.) to speak the truth (as Pyro has for years) rather than coddle the celebrity-drunk masses is the ONLY reason this has ended with Driscoll finally being removed/running away from his empire.

All the "nuanced" responses are full of hot-air as far as I'm concerned.