Welcome to De-Commissioned, a place for former members of the Great Commission movement (aka GCM, GCC, GCAC, GCI, the Blitz) to discuss problems they've experienced in the association's practices and theology.

You may read and post, but some features are restricted to registered members. Please consider registering to gain full access! Registration is free and only takes a few moments to complete.
De-Commissioned Forum
February 22, 2024, 04:25:51 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 
  Home   Forum   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Mars Hill series is so eye opening  (Read 3845 times)
WoodBern82
Regular (15-99 Posts)
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 24



« on: October 12, 2021, 11:25:47 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/podcasts/rise-and-fall-of-mars-hill/

I am posting this again because they have been adding a number of new segments to the series. This doesn't address any GCM (formerly) churches but it really sheds light on a number of church related things:  accountability, abusive leadership, character of leaders, etc.  It focuses on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church (Seattle) but also gives some relevant historical background to address how leaders develop without any theological training and start entire denominations.  It includes the history of mega churches, the seeker sensitive movement, multi site approach to church growth.  I initially liked the church planting model of Evergreen (bloomington, MN) in the way they emphasized a dual leadership for church planting but somewhere in the process it seemed to show the weaknesses in character and loyalty at any cost.  the Mars Hill church was growing at a time when Driscoll was acting quite abusive to leaders... Growth and numbers (including new converts) trumped all the bad stuff behind the scenes.  Hhmmmm.... sound a little familiar? I'd say for Evergreen but cannot speak for other GCM locations. 
Logged
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1894



« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2021, 02:40:54 pm »

Woodbern82, thanks for telling all of us about this series. I like the objectiveness of ChristianityToday. It seems from stories on this site, that EXCUSE (about converts) was used nationwide across GCx Churches. I like what someone said on here about that - ‘not sure how much real fruit was borne, perhaps too much was chaff.’ If God is the one who brings the true fruit (‘apart from me you can do nothing’) that leads to an important question - what are they brought into? If Christ is not the focus, then they are simply making “loyal” members.

It seems that the number of converts; or the “impact” and “status” of the ministry may also have influenced (or been the excuse) for the lack of accountability in Ravi Zacharias’ abuse.

If you want to share any specifics about these podcasts please post.


Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Linda
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2520



« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2021, 04:25:07 pm »

We have been working our way through this series for a few weeks. Excellent series. The Josh Harris one was insightful, sad, troubling, and triggering all at the same time. I feel for him. I hope he finds his way back to faith. It's good to analyze how and when things went wrong. And, I am grateful for those who endured the heat to speak truth to power.
Logged

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
WoodBern82
Regular (15-99 Posts)
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 24



« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2021, 08:30:58 am »

Janet....  to reply to your question.  All of them are great.  in Episode 5 "The things we do to women" might be relevant to the Mark Darling/Evergreen er Hometown church issue so I would look at that.  Episode 2: "The Boomers, the Big Sort, and Really, really Big churches" also gave great background on the whole suburban church growth in the usa.  Episode 7: "state of Emergency" was most interesting in the way it portrayed Mars Hill in the light of Elitism which I have found can be evident in a number of Evangelical camps where the leaders make the body think they are God's last option to save the lost since the main lines are in such decline. If a leader portrays the mission of the body as this emergency we must answer to it   These are just a few of them... the whole series goes very indepth to what was at the core of Mars Hill and other church cultures that would chew up leaders and congregations.  As Mark Driscoll once said:  If you are not on the bus with us get out of the way or be run over.  I don't think Evergreen really got this bad but it had a culture that could help nurture such extreme cases. 
Logged
Huldah
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1053



« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2021, 12:50:31 pm »

Thanks so much for recommending this excellent series! There's a lot of good material there and obviously a lot of research went into it.

The episode on the Mars Hill origin myth struck home because it brought to mind the origin myth from GC. One example is the GC 50th anniversary video, which doubles down on Jim McCotter's  importance to the movement and the high regard in which the leaders still hold him. And of course there are other websites that extol the brave young band of zealous believers who founded GC against all the odds, without mentioning the damage they did along the way. Even the Weaknesses Paper upholds the founding myth.

On a side note, there's one passing remark in the episode, "What We Do to Women," that won't give me any peace until I address it. This isn't at all meant to criticize the series as a whole, of course.

At the beginning of that episode, there's a historian who briefly mentions that communism was perceived as anti-God and anti-family. Her tone of voice suggests that this was some sort of overreaction on the part of the church.

Back in the late 70s and early 80s, I met a number of people, mostly foreign language teachers, who had managed to flee China, Cuba, or the USSR. Of all the stories I've heard of their hardships, there's one in particular I want to share. There was a man who came to speak at my church in Germany one Thanksgiving, a Russian Christian who had been imprisoned in Siberia for years for the crime of teaching the gospel to children (yes, that was literally a crime in the USSR). No beds in the prison; he slept on the concrete floor. No blankets; even in winter, all he had was his overcoat. His wife was left struggling to raise their children alone for years while the father/breadwinner was locked up in prison. Communist mistreatment of Christians (and other religions) is well documented; in places like China, it's ongoing. It's not just a perception. It's alarming that many people aren't aware of what happened, and still happens, in totalitarian states.

But again, this is by no means a criticism of the Mars Hill series. It's just a detail that wouldn't give me any rest because of what I've heard and read from people who've lived under communism. The series is really quite good and very informative.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2021, 01:34:52 pm by Huldah » Logged
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1894



« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2021, 07:23:04 pm »

My husband and I are listening to the series also, albeit slowly.

That comment about ‘communism being perceived as anti-God and anti-family’ would bother me too, Huldah. I can’t remember at the present where, but there is a fantastic outline of steps describing the slow infiltration of communism into countries around the world. Someone who defected in the 80’s, I believe, to maybe Canada and then the U.S. wrote it. He was in an official capacity in Russia so he knew of the inner workings of their wily propagation. The rift with God was something that was introduced later in the outline in the progression of this sly ideology.

One of the foremost and effective methods they used to spread communism was education. They would offer professors enticing opportunities to study in their country or to “conferences” and then little by little keep introducing what they would call the ‘great and vast benefits’ of communism (without any of it’s negative impact.) These foreign teachers might visit multiple times. After being brainwashed these college professors would then bring a positive view of communism back to their classrooms and writing. The communist regime would also send loyal subjects of their own out into the world as college professors in all kinds of areas to spread their propaganda, especially to such impressionable minds as college students. Too many of us know how the wool can be pulled over our eyes at this time in our lives.

Anyhow, all that to say it sounds like this historian may have been educated under this “agenda” without even knowing it because it has now become widely accepted among colleges all over the U.S. At this point, it is probably beyond tracing since it’s now pervasive throughout our country. One challenge is that many of today’s young to middle age college educated believers have likely never truthfully heard of communism’s crushing realities.

I will try to find this very ENLIGHTENING DOCUMENT. I think my son was familiar with it via his Christian high school.


« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 06:27:14 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1894



« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2021, 07:49:56 pm »

Found the source which no doubt some of you are way more familiar with than me. It is the book, “Love Letter to America,” by Tomas Schuman. Tomas was born Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov and was ‘a Soviet journalist for RIA Novosti and a former PGU KGB informant who defected to Canada.’

Here are links first to the book, and second to it’s PDF and the companion book “World Thought Police” (by the same author):


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17405942-love-letter-to-america

https://ia800602.us.archive.org/11/items/love-letter-america/love-letter-america.pdf#page33


A look at the table of contents invites you inside. It’s definitive outlines assist in the understanding of the subtle and scary steps.



« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 06:25:19 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
Huldah
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1053



« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2021, 07:34:15 am »

Thanks for the links, Janet. I'll check those out.

Totalitarian states and totalitarian churches have this in common: both are hostile to the Gospel. And both are oppressive toward the most vulnerable members of their state or church. I believe this podcast series is limited to Mars Hill, but Mark Driscoll is back with a new church in a new state. If reports are true, the new church is worse than the old one. If reports are true, Drscoll himself seems to have become profoundly paranoid. Power and paranoia are a dangerous combination.
Logged
Huldah
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1053



« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2021, 10:11:39 am »

One other thing struck me in the episode about women. The narrator says that Mark Driscoll encouraged Mars Hill members to get married, buy a home, and have a lot of children, all on a single income since wives were supposed to stay out of the paid workforce.

Home ownership. Large families. Single income. In the Seattle area.

What a huge burden of expectation! Housing is sky-high in that area. There are working people who have to live in their cars because it's so hard to find an affordable apartment, much less buy a home. I have a number of relatives in the Puget Sound area so I know how ridiculous it is to find decent housing, in addition to the high cost of other living expenses in that area. If Mark Driscoll really advised this, then he must have been a couple of steps removed from reality. But I guess if you're living off the donations of dozens or perhaps hundreds of devoted followers, you might forget what it's like for ordinary working folks who have no donations coming in.
Logged
Janet Easson Martin
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1894



« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2021, 02:50:28 pm »


Totalitarian states and totalitarian churches have this in common: both are hostile to the Gospel.
-Huldah


Agree! Though those kind of churches may “preach” that Jesus is the way to Heaven through the cross, they have great trouble PRACTICING the good news. In fact, the goodness and rejoicing that comes from it seem to quickly fade in their congregations. They loose their communion and dependence on Jesus because men have come to harshly set and enforce their rules. They loose their adventurous spirit as they are not “permitted” to closely and rightly follow the Spirit as he leads them. Their individual gifts and purposes are oppressed. Though they can’t be honest with themselves, they are actually pretty miserable there. That is what slowly, but surely happened to me in GCx’s “totalitarian” environment.


From Oxford Languages:

to·tal·i·tar·i·an
/tōˌtaləˈterēən/

adjective

relating to a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.


« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 05:37:40 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
WoodBern82
Regular (15-99 Posts)
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 24



« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2021, 09:56:41 am »

Huldah, and Janet.  with all due respect to your comments it sounds like we are in a thread hijacking here.   Linda laid out this rule of the forum.... 
4. Be mindful of the topic. A small deviation from the original topic is permissible, but if your post is going to radically alter the direction of a thread (known as "thread hijacking") simply make it into a brand new thread. In some cases we may split threads and move off topic posts to a more appropriate forum. Also be mindful of which forum would be most appropriate when posting a new thread.

so the topic while interesting on communism might be a new thread.  the series has so much more to say than that single topic.  Hope you each have finished the series. It would appear that CT is not adding any more episodes to the Mars Hill story.  But stay tuned... unless Mr Driscoll has a true repentance it sounds like the Trinity church near Phoenix, AZ is showing evidence of similar troubles since Mark Driscoll is the leader there also. 
Logged
Linda
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2520



« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2021, 12:57:48 pm »

Huldah, and Janet.  with all due respect to your comments it sounds like we are in a thread hijacking here.   Linda laid out this rule of the forum.... 
4. Be mindful of the topic. A small deviation from the original topic is permissible, but if your post is going to radically alter the direction of a thread (known as "thread hijacking") simply make it into a brand new thread. In some cases we may split threads and move off topic posts to a more appropriate forum. Also be mindful of which forum would be most appropriate when posting a new thread.

so the topic while interesting on communism might be a new thread.  the series has so much more to say than that single topic.  Hope you each have finished the series. It would appear that CT is not adding any more episodes to the Mars Hill story.  But stay tuned... unless Mr Driscoll has a true repentance it sounds like the Trinity church near Phoenix, AZ is showing evidence of similar troubles since Mark Driscoll is the leader there also. 

Nope. Linda laid out no rules for this forum because, just like you, WoodBern82, I am a mere poster on this forum and have no more authority than you do. I did not start this forum and I have no moderating powers.
Logged

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Huldah
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1053



« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2021, 04:13:41 pm »

Hi, WoodBern82, I think there may be a misunderstanding here.

In one episode of the podcast, they played a sound clip from a historian who represented communism as something relatively benign. (She specifically portrayed some of the attitudes at Mars Hill as an overreaction to communism). I felt that this part of the podcast was wrong enough and important enough to be worth challenging, and I gave examples to back up my opinion.

Unfortunately I don't have a time stamp for the historian, but if anyone missed it, I think it was in the first half of the episode. My point is, Janet and I were reacting directly to an issue raised in the podcast, even if it wasn't the main issue.

So it wasn't really a question of being off topic; it was a case of different forum members noticing and commenting on different parts of the podcast.

I hope this clears things up.


« Last Edit: November 15, 2021, 04:45:19 pm by Huldah » Logged
Linda
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2520



« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2021, 11:14:46 am »

FWIW, I thought the posts were in line with discussing the Mars Hill series. You picked up on a topic in one of the podcasts. Didn't seem like a thread hijack to me.
Logged

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
LostCreature2
Obscure Poster (1-14 Posts)
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 10



« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2021, 04:16:33 pm »

This series has been both therapeutic, eye-opening, and heartbreaking to listen to.
But I am glad it exists and that they are going it about it the way that it is.

One thing I've been thinking about since I left my GCX church,
is how many evangelical churches are starting to look more and more like what Mars Hill became:
Charismatic macho leaders, obsessed with growth, control, and the culture wars.

My wife and I tried multiple churches that were incredibly friendly, but had this same feel.
It seems that GCX and Mars Hill are not anomalies lost to history, but indicators of what the Church in America wants.
It's frustrating and frightening to watch...
Logged
Huldah
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1053



« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2021, 12:25:23 pm »

It seems that GCX and Mars Hill are not anomalies lost to history, but indicators of what the Church in America wants.
It's frustrating and frightening to watch...

I never thought about it that way--that this is what American evangelicals want--but I believe you're right. That seems to be exactly what's happening.

As American culture becomes more divided, more given to ideological extremes (at both ends of the political spectrum), less tolerant of opposing viewpoints, and more crude and vulgar in its forms of expression, the church itself is also becoming those things.

The fact that people are still willing to support Mark Driscoll--and apparently support him quite generously when it comes to finances--while knowing his history in Seattle, should be great cause for concern.
Logged
Huldah
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1053



« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2021, 07:36:41 pm »

And the Mark Driscoll podcasts just keep on coming. This one was just posted. It deals with Driscoll's new church in Phoenix, and it particularly references the appeal that Driscoll's hypermasculinity (their word) holds for some followers. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OMd1S0Y8h1U
Logged
WoodBern82
Regular (15-99 Posts)
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 24



« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2021, 10:49:38 am »

this was also a good podcast. I plan to watch more from her.  One thing I am learning from the whole Mars Hill thing about Driscoll is that he avoids any real accountability and just moves on. He is getting similar problems at Trinity Church in Phoenix.   Doesn't this sound eerily similar to US Catholic priest scandals where they got moved on to new parishes??. I don't know if Shepherd shuffling is a common thing with Great Commission or not.
Logged
Huldah
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1053



« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2022, 11:50:01 am »

Here's another take on Mark Driscoll and his teachings from author and blogger Rebecca Davis. She analyses Driscoll's interpretation of a strong conscience vs. a weak one and shows why she thinks he has misinterpreted Scripture.

These posts are from 2017. I think they were meant to be part of a three- or four-part series, but I can only find the first two posts. If someone else finds them, feel free to update.

Part 1, “Conscience” in the Bible: Insight Into Abusers and Their Targets https://heresthejoy.com/2017/04/conscience-in-the-bible-insight-into-abusers-and-their-targets/

Part 2, The Defiled Conscience: Should We Lovingly Help or Sharply Rebuke? https://heresthejoy.com/2017/05/the-defiled-conscience-should-we-lovingly-help-or-sharply-rebuke/
Logged
WoodBern82
Regular (15-99 Posts)
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 24



« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2023, 08:37:47 pm »

I thought I would add this link to the final epilogue to the Mars Hill series
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/podcasts/rise-and-fall-of-mars-hill/epilogue.html?utm_medium=widgetsocial
Logged
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  


Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
SimplePortal 2.1.1