In a message to the Mars Hill Church congregation via the Mars Hill social media website, Mark Driscoll expressed regret over using ResultSource to move his book Real Marriage to #1 on the NYTs best seller list. He says he has asked his publisher no longer to use the designation of New York Times best selling author. He pledged to stay off social media for the remainder of the year and plans to cut back on travel in order to concentrate more on Mars Hill and his family.
Driscoll says he has had meetings with those who have been harmed by Mars Hill and wants to have more. He lauds the Board of Advisors and Accountability* but admits that the transition from the elder led church to the current regime was not always handled well. He claims that in the early days of Mars Hill, he was an angry young prophet and said he was sorry and now wants to be more of a spiritual father.
The statement was conciliatory in tone but did not address the plagiarism controversy, the pastors who were fired in 2007 or charges which were addressed to Mars Hill governing board in 2013. The social media pledge seems a bit hollow since Driscoll has a team that tweets for him anyway.
My reaction to the ResultSource disclosure is mixed. On one hand, I think it is commendable that Driscoll will cease referring to the NYT best seller list. However, on the other hand, it is hard to believe that he didn’t know what he was getting into when the church signed on with ResultSource. This is the third reaction from Driscoll/Mars Hill to the ResultSource scheme. First, Justin Dean told World Magazine that the RSI-Mars Hill relationship was an “investment” and an “opportunity.” Then the Board of Advisors and Accountability said the scheme was “unwise.” Now Driscoll says he first saw it as a way to maximize book sales, but now sees it as manipulative and “wrong.” The vacillation about whether gaming the system is a good opportunity, unwise or wrong is confusing and won’t do much to convince people that Mars Hill and Driscoll can be candid.
In 2007, Driscoll preached a sermon with similar themes.
*the governing body of Mars Hill made up of four outside pastors/advisors, and the three executive elders (Driscoll, Sutton Turner, and Dave Bruskas).