Are These the Last Days…of Mark Driscoll’s Pastoral Ministry?

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Are these the last days of Mark Driscoll's pastoral ministry?I'm not sure, but it's a question worth considering. (Some follow up questions: Would that be a good thing? Would it be a bad thing? How do we better handle the prospect of celebrity preachers and megachurches in general?)In addition to the plagiarism and bestseller gaming scandals, there is a rising level of strong critique coming from former pastors at Mars Hill.Here's Mars Hill's Board of Advisors statement about that … [Read more...]

What Everyone Might Be Missing About Mark Driscoll: It’s All Business

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This past week yet another scandalous story broke having to do with the ministry of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church in Seattle.This story is, frankly, somewhat derivative - last month a similar one surfaced about megachurch pastor Steven Furtick. And, it follows on Driscoll's last moment in the media rotation over questions of plagiarism. But this one could be a hell of a lot more serious than those previous blips on the evangelical media radar.Essentially, Driscoll/Mars Hill hired a … [Read more...]

The Roman Catholic Steven Furtick?

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While this falls outside the evangelical Celebrity Christianity trend, the tendency toward abusing position and power in the church in order to serve selfish and excessive desires knows no denomination. The story of John Myers, Archbishop of Newark is heartbreaking (and infuriating). It's the kind of thing the current Pope seems intent on rooting out. And we evangelical-type Christians should be intent on the same. This does not honor Jesus. For generations, this blond brick Catholic elementary … [Read more...]

Why We Sometimes Need to Say “Cult”

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After my post on Monday went a little bit viral, I received quite a bit of feedback along the lines of, "Be careful about using the 'cult' word - that's a big accusation."And I get it. Those outside the church who have interest in dogging the church have been prone to promiscuously throw "cult" at any expression they don't particularly like or understand. If it's a new church that looks or feels different from traditional churches - cult! If people meet in a home instead of a historic church … [Read more...]

Addendum: Steven Furtick Needs Your Seat

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Thanks to a heads-up from Matt Stout, the following "Code" from the Elevation Church website is presented without comment as an addendum to yesterday's post:Ok, maybe one comment. When a church publicly declares that it is built on "the vision God gave Pastor Steven" and will "aggressively defend that vision" and then threatens you that it "needs your seat" if you are all about your "personal preference", and finally compares itself to a high-end steakhouse chain and brags about its o … [Read more...]

What Furtick’s Millions (& the “We Serve a Lead Pastor” Mantra) Might Mean

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In the heart of the Bible belt, Steven Furtick's new-school Southern Baptist Elevation Church continues to boom - and make media waves.The latest hits have come in the form of a leaked infographic from the church listing 30 reasons why it's the best place to work, and yet another local news story about Furtick's million dollar home and how that connects to his salary and book sales.To be honest, none of this is surprising in the least, as it smacks of Southern prosperity theology and … [Read more...]

On Quitting Things…& Joining the Patheos Progressive Christian Channel

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At the end of December, I posted my new year's resolution: To quit the Progressive Christian Internet in 2014. The post generated a good deal of conversation, which was surprising since it felt a little more like a personal rant, a brief window into an internal gut-decision that I was making and thought very few people would understand. I posted it at like 1AM. Thought no one would even read it, honestly.But people did read it, and people reacted strongly. I learned from the exchange and … [Read more...]

When Celebrity Christianity Backfires

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Let's be real, you guys.The Internet does not need another post about what is certainly now the most significant bearded Christian duck-hunting reality show controversy OF ALL TIME.And honestly, I wouldn't add one if I didn't think this might be a slightly different angle than the majority of what I've been seeing in my feeds, which amounts to either conservative or progressive Christian outrage at A&E or Phil Robertson. But is this outrage, on either side, the best response to the … [Read more...]

Video: Mark Driscoll’s Right Wing Resurgence

For a while I've been suggesting that what's usually called the neo-reformed or neo-calvinist movement is producing a new religious right in America.That is, a Christian movement framed primarily according to conservative political stances. And this is important because new life is being breathed into what seemed to be a dying trend among evangelicals. As we speak, Mark Driscoll is holding his Resurgence Conference, right on the heels of the release of his new book, A Call to … [Read more...]

The Strangest Fire

I grew up charismatic, in the 80's and 90's.I grew up in a family that joined a pioneering kind of Pentecostal stream flowing out of the Jesus Movement of the 70's, a stream that had strong pastoral personalities founding brand new churches, some of them mega, and even denominations, schools, TV stations, and seminaries. Part and parcel of this pioneering experience was an atmosphere of resistance from the non-charismatic church. There was a kind of scorn that developed among the Billy … [Read more...]


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