Breaking: Mark Driscoll Resigns As Pastor of Mars Hill

Breaking: Mark Driscoll Resigns As Pastor of Mars Hill October 15, 2014

mark-driscoll

The long awaited answer from Mars Hill has come; Mark Driscoll has resigned his position as pastor of Mars Hill.

The road has been long, the wounds have been deep, and so today I pray for the health and healing of the Mars Hill community, those who have been wounded and left the Mars Hill community, along with Mark Driscoll, his wife and children. We pray peace upon everyone.

Below is the full text of his resignation, as published by RNS.

 

October 14, 2014

Michael Van Skaik

Chairman, Board of Advisors and Accountability

Mars Hill Church

Dear Michael:

By God’s grace I have pastored Mars Hill Church for 18 years. Today, also by God’s grace, and with the full support of my wife Grace, I resign my position as a pastor and elder of Mars Hill. I do so with profound sadness, but also with complete peace.

On August 24th I announced to our Mars Hill family of churches that I had requested a leave of absence from the pulpit and the office for a minimum of six weeks while a committee of elders conducted a formal review of charges made against me by various people in recent times. Last week our Board of Overseers met for an extended period of time with Grace and me, thereby concluding the formal review of charges against me. I want to thank you for assuring Grace and me that last Saturday that I had not disqualified myself from ministry.

You have shared with us that this committee spent more than 1,000 hours reviewing documents and interviewing some of those who had presented charges against me. You have also shared with me that many of those making charges against me declined to meet with you or participate in the review process at all. Consequently, those conducting the review of charges against me began to interview people who had not even been a party to the charges.

I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many things I have confessed and repented of, privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit. As I shared with our church in August, “God has broken me many times in recent years by showing me where I have fallen short, and while my journey, at age 43, is far from over, I believe He has brought me a long way from some days I am not very proud of, and is making me more like Him every day.”

Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry. Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

That is why, after seeking the face and will of God, and seeking godly counsel from men and women across the country, we have concluded it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church we helped launch in 1996. I will gladly work with you in the coming days on any details related to our separation.

Recent months have proven unhealthy for our family—even physically unsafe at times—and we believe the time has now come for the elders to choose new pastoral leadership for Mars Hill. Grace and I pledge our full support in this process and will join you in praying for God’s best for this, His church, in the days and years ahead. Grace and I would also covet your prayers for us as we seek God’s will for the next chapter of our lives. Therefore, consider this written notice of my voluntary termination of employment.

Finally, it would be my hope to convey to the wonderful members of the Mars Hill family how deeply my family and I love them, thank them, and point them to their Senior Pastor Jesus Christ who has always been only good to us.

Sincerely,

Pastor Mark Driscoll

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Congrats to him for doing the right thing…

  • Terrence Theodore

    This is such a sad story. He seems very humbled and contrite, and I can’t understand people seemingly happy to see him leave. God used him greatly, and for that I’m grateful. I wish him the best in the next phase of his life.

  • DC Rambler

    The thing that bugs me about his letter and every other pastor or politician that goes down in flames completely by their own actions is how they weave God into every sentence and use it as a blast shield against attacks from the detractors…YOU did this Mark, 100 %, with your own actions and words. You should stand alone with no excuses and talk of prayerful moments..Just say I failed, I’m sorry, please forgive me now I must resign..Goodbye…That’s it !! Ride off into the sunset..Go find a homeless shelter where you can do God’s work..That’s what it’s all about, right ?

  • Ron McPherson

    The outcome most expected I suppose.

  • Colin Nunn

    A little harsh I think. The man made no excuses demeaned no-one and simply resigned. What more do you want?

  • otrotierra

    Resigning is an excellent first step for Mark Driscoll. Now Driscoll has at least two additional steps to take: 2) apologize for his blatantly abusive & hate-filled theology, and 3) remove himself from all pulpits, microphones, cameras, keyboards, and social media communications.

  • hatchet87

    Wow, his resignation letter is still full of pride and lashing out at those who brought his abuse to light!

  • SMH

    I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus
    Christ. There are many things I have confessed and repented of,
    privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have
    confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit. As I shared
    with our church in August, “God has broken me many times in recent years
    by showing me where I have fallen short, and while my journey, at age
    43, is far from over, I believe He has brought me a long way from some
    days I am not very proud of, and is making me more like Him every day.”

    Sounds like he’s owning it to me. I have never been to his church, don’t live anywhere near there, but I do know pastors are not perfect and neither am I. If you want to live in a glass house, knock yourself out, but you’re sounding very judgmental.

  • Buford Justice

    What is sad is the body of Christ acting like hungry alligators and him being the unfortunate wildebeest who fell in the water. Now we judge him because he has stepped down? This is not an incident calling for fangs and claws but prayer for him and his family as they go. Please show me the scripture that says we are to shred the brother/sister who admits falling short. Please…show it to me.

  • Are you referencing this article, or the internet in general? Because nothing in this article had fangs.

  • Certainly this is a painful time for Mark and for Mars Hill. What I don’t understand is how the Mars Hill board states that Pastor Mark is not disqualified from ministry, yet they mention that he has problems with anger and arrogance, both of which are specifically mentioned by the Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy and Titus as disqualifying traits for an elder.

  • Matthew

    Thanks for the post Ben. I think it says it all.

  • gimpi1

    I live in Seattle, and I can say that he’s been a divisive and negative figure for some time. Personally, I have no dog in this race. However, I’ve seen the pain his arrogance and demeaning behavior have caused. I don’t wish him ill, but I think he made the right choice here. He had caused too much harm to remain.

    If you want a representative of your faith who casts it in a good light, you should be aware that Mr. Driscoll was not doing that. His aggressive and bombastic style attracted people early on, but those same traits drove as many or more away. I’ve seen it, living in the area.

  • gimpi1

    He’d been demeaning women, gay people, men not “manly” enough for his taste, progressive Christians and people of different faiths for years. Personally, I’d like him to say that he’s learned that he was behaving badly, and that belief is no excuse for cruelty.

  • gimpi1

    It’s a start, but, in my – admittedly not relevant – opinion, not enough. I want him to apologize for his past condemning and cruel behavior towards the community at large, not just his own church. I live in the Seattle area, and have seen how divisive Mr. Driscoll has been.

    I have to say, until recently when it all began to turn on him, he seemed to be eating it up. He appeared to love the domination, attention and controversy he engendered. It was only when the issues of using funds to push his book-sales, plagiarism and harassment of anyone who offered him criticism came to light that he began to show any signs of repentance.

    Also, his churches here have been hemorrhaging members and money. Several have had to close. I’m not sure he truly had a choice here. His resignation may have been a face-saving gesture.

  • Tim W Callaway

    My understanding is that one of the criticisms against Mr. Driscoll was plagiarism in his writings. Was that ever verified? He maintains he committed no “criminal activity,” yet plagiarism is certainly considered theft in the academic world. Can anyone clarify whatever became of the plagiarism accusations against him?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Yes, and some alleged misappropriation of church funds for book promotion. So, even though he says there have been no “charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy,” perhaps he just means no formal criminal charges have been made? Because, there have certainly been charges of immorality leveled against him.

    Whatever spin he puts on it, I do pray he, his family and his now-former church have the peace and healing they need going forward.

  • Shiphrah99

    I’d like to see some evidence that he’s CHANGED his behavior. This letter and all the previous mouthings of contrition mean nothing until he actually changes. “Mistakes were made.” By whom, Mark, by whom??

  • Ron McPherson

    I hope this doesn’t come across judgmental because I only know what I’ve read about the Driscoll issues (not first-hand knowledge), but a pastor’s generalized apology from the pulpit, or from a letter, or prepared statement falls short of the biblical instructions (Matthew 5:23-26) for reconciling with those whom he has hurt through his personal interactions with them. Humbly going to the offended persons (on an individual basis) in order to restore the fellowship is the fruit of true repentance (pastor or otherwise). I’m not suggesting that Driscoll has failed to do this, only that I’m aware of churches that suffer when members or staff leave hurt and the offender in authority refuses to repair the damage, or even to seek fellowship, with the offended.

  • Shiphrah99

    How about acts of contrition to the people he’s hurt? Public humiliation and private apology don’t cut it. He needs to be specific, not this self-serving, general, bullshit.

  • SMH

    So you want your pound of flesh or are looking for cash?

  • I’m not entirely sure how to respond to this, because I don’t want to kick Pastor Driscoll while he’s down, but at the same time, this resignation letter can be instructive.

  • SMH

    While I agree he shouldn’t be cruel to anyone it seems like the definition of cruel has definitely been perverted. I really don’t know his practices, divisiveness, domination, etc. but it is quite evident now if you disagree with the gay lifestyle you’re automatically a hater, same with abortion, illegal immigration, the policies of the Obama administration. I don’t agree with gay marriage but I certainly don’t hate any person because they are gay. My sister lives in Seattle and I go once or twice a year, beautiful place but the judgment from the liberals there is stunning. So I’m just basing my “uninformed opinion” on that and am well ready to admit I could be totally wrong about the guy. It’s not my place to judge him (since I haven’t seen or personally heard any of these things he’s done) but I do tend to feel like I need to defend “Christians and/or conservatives a lot of the time because they just get bullied a lot of the time. So again, I’m definitely working with an uninformed opinion. Living there, I’m sure you have a better understanding of all of the allegations, so I’ll leave it to you. :)

  • gimpi1

    According to former members I know, he’s engaged in outright bullying, verbally attacking anyone who expresses any disagreement with his opinions or actions. He also appears to have plagiarized parts of his books and misused church funds raised for missionary work for his own gain, though that hasn’t been proved. He is certainly entitled to his views, but the way he expresses them, name-calling and insulting people, is over the top. However, for many people that was part of his attraction at first. What appears at first blush to be “refreshing honesty” often becomes “downright rude” with repetition.

    As to your views on “hatefulness” if you actively work to make the lives of gay people harder or more unpleasant, that is, frankly hateful. One can be uncomfortable with something without demanding that other people suffer for your beliefs. That is hateful. It’s hateful if someone tries to restrict your right to live according to your conservative beliefs, and its hateful if you try to restrict someone living according to their beliefs. Disagreement isn’t bullying, to my mind, and it doesn’t have to be disagreeable. We can disagree on things, and still discuss them in a polite, non-judgemental way.

    For instance, your feeling about being bullied for your beliefs, does it come up after expressing your “disapproval of the gay lifestyle?” If so, you might be using the wrong words. Few gay people regard their sexual identity as a “lifestyle” any more than being straight is a “lifestyle.” They and their allies find that phrase sort of a slur. It’s sort of like my 94-year-old mother-in-law. She uses racial slurs, and simply doesn’t understand how rude it is now considered. She always comes back with “In my day we said ——- all the time, and no one gave it a second thought.” She feels picked on and bullied when people expect her to change. Standards change. If you feel that you’re being bullied for your views, could it be how you are expressing things? Just a thought…

    I would also wonder why you feel the need to express your disapproval, unless someone specifically asked you. The need to judge – to condemn seems (to an outsider like myself) to be at the heart of conservative Christianity these days, and we don’t understand why. I read about conservative Christian families shunning and abandoning gay children, and it breaks my heart. To hear a mother who disowned her son say, “I had to do it. Otherwise, people might think I approved of gay people,” stuns me. Frankly, I think many Christians care way too much about the gossips in church and too little about expressing the love that is supposed to be at the heart of their beliefs. If that comes off as mean, I apologize, but that perception might explain some of the reactions you’ve experienced, and I assure you, I’m not alone in it.

  • sharon peters

    i cutta pasta from wiki;
    ‘There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip is an old English proverb. It implies that even when [I think] the outcome of an event [aught to go the way I think is right]… [unforeseen and inscrutable things prevent my choice outcome].

  • SMH

    Like I said, I don’t believe a person living as a gay person (is that better than lifestyle, I can’t keep up with all the terms people want to be called from one day to the next and I don’t care to either) is doing the right thing but it is not up to me to judge them. Love the sinner, hate the sin and I believe that’s a sin. But I mentioned gay people in one sentence and you went off on a diatribe about my actively working on making anybodies lie hard or more unpleasant…blah, blah, blah. You just made my point. I have an opinion, it is MINE and try and bully it away as you might, it’s not going to change. And I find it offensive that you assume that I demand someone suffer for my beliefs. Get a grip. I get up, I go to work, I come home, work in my flower garden, try to help my neighbors and others when I can and I MIND MY OWN BUSINESS! And as for your feeling so bad for someone disowning their kids or whatever, I feel bad for kids that are raised with no sense of right or wrong, no moral compass, whatever I want to do is okay. What I think is worse than a parent believing their kid is wrong in the way they live, is a parent who believes some behavior is wrong but when their kid decides that’s what they want to do then the parents becomes the biggest advocate there ever was because if my kid wants to do it it’s okay.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “Living as a gay person” isn’t really better, simply because for gay people whose sexuality cannot change, every day alive is living as a gay person. If you don’t think that living as a gay person is right, then the only other option implied is dying as one.

    As a gay person, my lifestyle is likely not that much different from yours, except I kill everything in my garden because I am no good with plants.

  • SMH

    That is exactly what I’m talking about, I would never wish anybody dead. I just believe the Bible says it’s wrong, it also says love the sinner, hate the sin.. You are a grown person, you can do what you want. I would rather not address the issue at all because this is what happens when you do, people get offended, when actually all I did was list homosexuality in a list of things that people get offended about and then attack mode kicks in.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Actually, nowhere does the Bible say “love the sinner, hate the sin.” :)

  • SMH

    Jude 23

    Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment.
    Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the
    sins that contaminate their lives. Loose translation I guess. Have a good weekend!

  • Jeff Preuss

    A very loose translation, indeed. You have a good weekend, too!

  • gimpi1

    If you are working to prevent gay people from living a full life, voting for candidates that want to make or keep it legal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, if you want to keep gay people from marrying who they love, you are working to make their lives more unpleasant. If you aren’t doing those things, you aren’t. Most people who believe as you do are. If you aren’t great. I think, however, you most likely are, and either don’t know or don’t care, just as you don’t care if you’re giving offense.

    You have a right to your opinion, but your statement “…it’s not going to change.” is odd to me. Don’t you change your opinions when new information comes out? I try to. A great deal of new information has come to the fore, as we’ve come to understand orientation better, and much of what most people believed in the past has proven to be mistaken. If you can’t change your opinion when new facts are available, you will make a great many mistakes. I think you’re making one now.

    I don’t think abandoning kids because of their sexual orientation is moral. I think it’s about as immoral as you can get. It causes needless suffering, and causing needless suffering is always wrong. On that, we most likely disagree. I think anyone with a good moral compass wouldn’t do such a thing. I think discovering that your child is gay might lead someone to re-examine their beliefs regarding sin, and I think that’s the right thing to do. On that we certainly disagree. It’s not a matter of deciding “my kid can do whatever they want,” It’s a matter of realizing you’ve been mistaken about your beliefs about sexual identity, sin and the nature of love.

  • SMH

    Oh yes it is deciding what you want. I know a family who has a daughter who was your typical giddy boy crazy teenager. Went to a new school that was a lot bigger than before and having a lower than normal self-esteem, the lesbians in the school pounced and before long she was born that way. A mother knows her child a hell of alot more than someone who’s looking to validate their own lifestyle by numbers. Everybody knew that after a while it was more because she had one upped her mother. She so much as said it herself. It has pretty much destroyed that family. So you see, the suffering goes both ways. So you go off into your self-absorbed world and don’t try to preach your self-righteous bs to me. By the way, I could care a less what you do in your own bedroom, people are just sick to death of having your lifestyle rammed down their throats when they know the devastation it causes. By the way, this little chick has a whole lot of trouble with the truth, she just got caught in another huge lie just a couple of weeks ago. And it always seems to be a lie that could cause problems within the family. There seems to be some mental illness that goes along with it.

  • gimpi1

    OK, A; I’m not gay; B, I don’t think I’m preaching “self-righteous bs,” C: all I care about is that all people are equal before the law and D; I’ll see your antidotal story and raise you with my own. I work with a lady who’s gay. She and her wife are quite happy, have adopted two special-needs kids and made a life for themselves. They’re doing great.

    The young lady you describe appears to have many problems, and may indeed suffer from mental illness. Rather than consider the family in question “destroyed,” have they considered getting her counseling? Her problems appear, at surface, to have nothing to do with her sexual orientation, and a great deal to do with family-dynamics.

    Lastly, for pity’s sake, calm down. Everyone on this thread has been pretty civil to you, you’re the one running off the rails, name-calling and ranting. If you don’t want to have a discussion, why are you posting? To vent? If so, consider it done.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Hi. So in your apparent understanding of our “lifestyles” and how they came to be, where do I fit?
    I realized I was gay at puberty, when other people were becoming interested in girls, I wasn’t. I didn’t pick it, I wasn’t acting out, I didn’t know any gay people that I was aware of, and nothing from my childhood “made” me this way (no abuse, no molestation, no major trauma of any sort). I just am gay.

    “I could care a less what you do in your own bedroom, people are just sick to death of having your lifestyle rammed down their throats when they know the devastation it causes.” Care to elaborate on the “devastation” we’re causing? That is an extremely hyperbolic statement that insists on being supported by something.

  • SMH

    1) What name calling, what ranting? I told a story about a family just like you told your work story. But I’ve got a work story, too. We had a lady start working at our company and almost immediately let it be known she lived with her female partner. Okay, nothing to us. The partner got sick of her and actually had her involuntarily committed to 48 hours or whatever the mandatory was at the time. She came back to work, we all helped her move into her new house, my family invited her to go to a baseball game with us, had a good time. The problem came when the office manager decided that this woman was “victim” and the lady took full advantage of it. By the time the owners figured out what was going on it took forever to fire her because they were afraid of being sued. Now, the manager is gone, too. Those two made several lives at this company miserable. She did next to nothing in terms of work and what work she did do usually had to be corrected but you’d better not say anything about it because you would be picking on her. She also got two other people fired by blaming her mistakes on them. She is now married to a man. She was also married to a man earlier in life and has two grown children, hence the “choice”. So, I’ve seen first hand two gay people that made a habit of making other people miserable and using their gayness to dodge personal responsibility. By the way, when the lady and her partner split, they got a lawyer and did pretty much the same as a divorce because in the eyes of the law they were married. So she got all the benefits that straight people are afforded, you know, keeping lawyers in business.

  • Noah

    It just sounded like he was forced out. Considering he resigned after the board came to a conclusion. Maybe he should have stepped down….a long time ago?

  • Noah

    The only fangs appear to be in Mark’s words in his letter. But some of the comments, sure.

    I’d argue Driscoll should have stepped down a long time ago. Not after the board concluded it’s investigation. Seems forced.

  • Nimblewill

    Oil doesn’t come from the olive until it is pressed.

  • MattB

    What do you think Jesus did then?

  • MattB

    Do you believe Jesus died for the sins of the world?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Interesting. You changed your comment. Jesus did a lot of things.

    Your previous comment: “Neither does it say “hate the sinner, love the sin”.”

    What exactly is your point?

  • MattB

    My point is that even though the Bible doesn’t say to “love the sinner, hate the sin”, the idea is in of itself through the person of Jesus Christ. That’s why I asked what do you think Jesus did? If he opened the Kingdom of God to the unclean and unrighteous, without condemning them, then isn’t that pretty much the same thing as “love the sinner, hate the sin”?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Okeydoke, I can see how you see that as a similar concept. My point in responding to SMH was that that particular phrase so often bandied about is nowhere in the Bible, and the verse he(?) provided doesn’t even come close to being a paraphrase of it. Too often in dealing with gay people, conservative Christians toss off they “love the sinner, hate the sin” when their very actions usually indicate they aren’t really doing the first.

    It’s a clichéd phrase (along with “the Bible is clear”) that is often used in place of actually interacting with living, breathing people whose sexual orientations may be intrinsically different, an easy way to shut down the conversation.

    Although Jesus clearly hated sin, He sure made it more of a point to actively love the sinners, and that’s a part of the equation that is sorely missing in most of this debate.

  • MattB

    Oh, my bad. I didn’t read SMH’s application of vague passages.

    Is it okay if I disagree with your views on homosexuality, without condemning you or anyone else?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Oh, I don’t have a problem if you disagree with it. I’ll naturally think you’re wrong ( :) ) but having grown up in the Southern Baptist Church, I totally understand that perspective and where it comes from. As long as we can both be respectful to each other, I’m fine disagreeing.

  • MattB

    Are you saying that my belief in homosexuality as a sin is false, based upon how it originated?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Am I saying it’s false? Nope. I’m saying since I disagree with the view, I’d naturally contend it’s incorrect, but that’s the point of disagreements – we both think we’re right. I grew up thinking the same thing about it, but my perspective on it changed along the way.

    I think there are many theological issues on which many Christians differ, and every side of every issue can pull up a million different sources, Scriptures, and studies to support their case. Each side thinking their position clear and true. Yet, we’re all still Christians at the end of the day. And there are few issues on which we could all agree.

    So, I’d only say you are “wrong” in the sense that I believe myself to be “right.” I think God allows us to hold a variety of views on things.

  • MattB

    OK. I think I would agree with some of your contentions. I believe that what makes someone a Christian is not so much what doctrines we believe in, but whether we believe in Jesus Lord and Savior and that God raised him from the dead.

  • Andy

    “Christian” is just a word. Who cares whether or not someone identifies as Christian, and whether or not anyone else accepts that label of him or her? I’m pretty sure God doesn’t.

  • gimpi1

    Not sure why that’s relevant to the discussion I was having, but no, right now I do not. I’m exploring faith, and learning about Christianity, but right now, from what I currently know, I don’t find some of its doctrines believable. I find much to admire in aspects of its philosophy, but I’m skeptical regarding many of the supernatural aspects. I’m also aware that much of the Bible isn’t literally true, and I can imagine no way I would accept as reasonable the condemnation of actions that do the world no harm, such as two gay people in love deciding to marry. Does that answer your question?

    (Edited for clarity.)

  • MattB

    1. What justification do you have for being skeptical of supernatural events?

    2. Do you believe evil exists? If so, then what Religious worldview do you think best explains the reason why evil exists and how to stop it?

  • gimpi1

    As to question one, I wasn’t aware I needed a justification. I don’t completely reject the idea of the supernatural, but I see less and less need for it as we come to understand natural processes. Perhaps being married to a geologist is part of this; we used to consider earthquakes, volcanoes and floods supernatural in origin, but as we have come to understand plate tectonics, we see the actual engines driving these forces, and they are natural and mindless. Is there an overlying supernatural force, watching events unfold? I can’t say for sure, but if so, that force doesn’t take much action, from where I sit.

    As to question two, human selfishness, ignorance and fearfulness are more than up to the task of creating the evil I see. In my opinion, much evil come from our evolutionary past, with things such as distrust of outsiders, selfish hoarding of resources and territorial conflict making perfect sense for wolves, antelope or baboons, but creating great suffering when combined with brains big enough to create edged weapons, guns and bombs.

    Does that answer your questions?

  • MattB

    It sounds to me that you take the sort of view that many philosophers and scientist had in the 19th century. The idea that Science has a natural explanation for everything and that any talk of God or miracles or the supernatural was somewhat “meaningless”, unless Science can prove it. However, this movement collapsed because it was self-defeating and untenable. Do you agree that the resurrection of Jesus would be an example of a miracle?

    As to your second point, I don’t think evolution has any say in terms of moral right and wrong. Now evolution may tell us about certain traits we as human beings may have, but animals are not moral creatures. So when someone says that we human beings are valuable and ought to do good, we are going above and beyond science and into philosophical arguments.

  • gimpi1

    Actually, I see it as more of a “Occam’s razor” issue: “We are to admit no more causes of things than as are both true (provable) and sufficient to explain their appearance,” as Newton paraphrased it. When we have a good understanding of a phenomena such as earthquakes, one that has both a testable base and predictive qualities, adding any supernatural “explanation” is both unnecessary and deceptive.

    As to the resurrection of Jesus, I’m a hard-sell on this, for personal reasons. You see, my father came back from the dead, literally. He was in a catastrophic industrial accident which involved a drill-bit splitting his brain. He was DOA, toe-tagged and in the morgue, when an attendant noticed him twitching more than you would expect. He eventually made, not a full recovery, but was able to return to work, raise my sister and myself, and live a pretty-full life. He passed away at 62, of complications from the original trauma, 40 years after the accident.

    This was a totally natural event. His doctors understand exactly what happened, how the damage to his brain suspended life-functions, and how they started up again, after some internal pressures were relieved on his brain. It’s rare, but not unknown. People can suffer traumatic injury, actually “shut down” and then recover. So any resurrection could, possibly, be a natural event.

    Your idea that science seeking natural explanations for events having collapsed is just not correct. That’s still the scientific stance – searching for those explanations and testing them through experimentation – and it’s going strong. It’s produced more advances for society than any other force. Where did you get that statement?

    As to your second point, I don’t feel we’re going beyond either science or philosophy when we talk about doing good or bad things. Science shows us that cooperative behavior is more successful than selfish behavior. Philosophy can discuss the positive and negative aspects of actions without invoking any supernatural forces. Religious people are every bit as capable of bad behavior as people who aren’t religious, in some cases, religion appears to be the motivating force in bad behavior.

    That said, I don’t reject the categorically reject the possibility of God’s existence any more than I categorically accept it. I’m still working this out, which is one reason I lurk here.

  • MattB

    “Actually, I see it as more of a “Occam’s razor” issue: “We are to admit no more causes of things than as are both true (provable) and sufficient to explain their appearance,” as Newton paraphrased it. When we have a good understanding of a phenomena such as earthquakes, one that has both a testable base and predictive qualities, adding any supernatural “explanation” is both unnecessary and deceptive.”

    Occam’s Razor can not be taken out of its purpose and used in place to a priori rule out the supernatural. While most events do have natural explanations, not all do. In a case where you have a supernatural theory and a natural theory and the natural theory has not been able to effectively explain all of the evidence but the supernatural theory does, then one must assume that the supernatural or a miracle has occurred(Resurrection of Jesus for example which I will explain below).

    “As to your second point, I don’t feel we’re going beyond either science or philosophy when we talk about doing good or bad things. Science shows us that cooperative behavior is more successful than selfish behavior. Philosophy can discuss the positive and negative aspects of actions without invoking any supernatural forces. Religious people are every bit as capable of bad behavior as people who aren’t religious, in some cases, religion appears to be the motivating force in bad behavior.”

    Of course Science can shows us how morals work and how certain societies and cultures can benefit from them. However, that’s not my point. Nor am I saying that skeptics like Atheists and Agnostics are incapable of performing good deeds. My point was that you can’t derive moral facts from scientific facts. Just because something is scientifically beneficial does not mean it is therefore moral. This would be committing the fallacy of is-ought. My second point was that on the atheist worldview, there would be no moral right or wrong because morals would simply just be these ingrained patterns into us by evolution(which I am a Theistic Evolutionist) and so there would be nothing objective about them apart from a moral-law giver. Any talk of value or good and evil goes way beyond scientific reasoning which is why I brought up philosophy. It’s also interesting to note that most philosophers of religion are theist.

    “Your idea that science seeking natural explanations for events having collapsed is just not correct. That’s still the scientific stance – searching for those explanations and testing them through experimentation – and it’s going strong. It’s produced more advances for society than any other force. Where did you get that statement?”

    Wait what? I never claimed that Science seeking natural explanations has collapsed. I said that scientism or verificationism, the idea that Science is the only measure of truth, collapsed. However, we know that Science can’t answer everything, which is why other fields of inquiry exist(philosophy, history, theology,etc.).

    “As to the resurrection of Jesus, I’m a hard-sell on this, for personal reasons. You see, my father came back from the dead, literally. He was in a catastrophic industrial accident which involved a drill-bit splitting his brain. He was DOA, toe-tagged and in the morgue, when an attendant noticed him twitching more than you would expect. He eventually made, not a full recovery, but was able to return to work, raise my sister and myself, and live a pretty-full life. He passed away at 62, of complications from the original trauma, 40 years after the accident.

    This was a totally natural event. His doctors understand exactly what happened, how the damage to his brain suspended life-functions, and how they started up again, after some internal pressures were relieved on his brain. It’s rare, but not unknown. People can suffer traumatic injury, actually “shut down” and then recover. So any resurrection could, possibly, be a natural event.”

    God bless your father. What your describing is not a resurrection but a resuscitation. A resurrection is understood as being raised from the dead and given a new body. Jesus’ resurrection was not portrayed as him being apparently dead on the cross and only to revive later on by someone trying to help revive him. Jesus was clinically dead. When the Roman centurion pierced his side-blood and water flowed out. Any doctor will tell you that this is a result of some sort of shock. Jesus would not have survived this kind of trauma. He was beaten whipped and then nailed to a cross. The historical evidence suggests that Jesus’ tomb was found empty by women. The disciples next had these appearances of Jesus over 40 days, in multiple locations, unexpectedly and to skeptics(Paul and James, Jesus’ brother). These apperances portray Jesus as having flesh and blood. Then the disciples belived Jesus was the risen Lord, which requires an explanation. The best explanation is that a miracle has occurred(God raised Jesus from the dead, which verifies his claims to divinity in the religious-historical context). No natural explanation has thoroughly or effectively explained away the evidence against the supernatural.

  • gimpi1

    Thanks for your detailed response. I think I don’t quite understand your definition of “supernatural.” Are you arguing for supernatural explanations for things like earthquakes? For a supernatural cause for the formation of the earth? For the diversity of life on earth? If so, that’s where I would apply Occam’s Razor. We have a good understanding of the geological, astronomical and biological processes involved that invoking divine intervention is unnecessary to explain the observable world. If you’re talking about the origins of life, that’s still up in the air.

    My mistake, I thought you were claiming that science itself was obsolete. In re-reading your statement, I misunderstood it. I do value philosophy and history.

    As to the difference between resurrection and resuscitation, I thought resuscitation involved outside aid – CPR, medical intervention, that sort of thing. In my father’s case that didn’t happen. He went into shock and shut down. He wasn’t noticeably breathing, he had no apparent heartbeat. It was truly an apparent death. Then, several hours later, he “started up” again. This was in the early 1950’s, and the ability to detect faint signs of life was less advanced than it is now

    I’ve done a bit of research on this, and it’s not unknown. It occurs most commonly in drowning cases, but has been observed in traumatic injuries of many kinds. These days we can detect the faint life-processes of someone in this sort of profound coma and provide life-support until they “turn on” again. In the past this wasn’t the case. The vast majority of people who entered this sort of deep coma simply died. But not all. some would spontaneously awaken.

    This phenomenon is responsible for some of the morbid Victorian “buried alive” stories. People would “turn on” after being buried, and suffocate in their coffins. That horror was in part responsible for research into finding ways to confirm death.

    As to the resurrection of Christ, Ben has recommended a book on the subject and I’m going to read it. After that, I may be able to discuss this with more understanding.

  • MattB

    “Thanks for your detailed response. I think I don’t quite understand your definition of “supernatural.” Are you arguing for supernatural explanations for things like earthquakes? For a supernatural cause for the formation of the earth? For the diversity of life on earth? If so, that’s where I would apply Occam’s Razor. We have a good understanding of the geological, astronomical and biological processes involved that invoking divine intervention is unnecessary to explain the observable world. If you’re talking about the origins of life, that’s still up in the air.”

    By supernatural, I mean something that goes above and beyond the laws of nature. Those things that you mentioned are part of nature, so they can’t be above it. Miracles, demons, God, angels,etc.

    “My mistake, I thought you were claiming that science itself was obsolete. In re-reading your statement, I misunderstood it. I do value philosophy and history.”

    No problem. My bad if I came off rude, because that wasn’t my intent.

    “As to the difference between resurrection and resuscitation, I thought resuscitation involved outside aid – CPR, medical intervention, that sort of thing. In my father’s case that didn’t happen. He went into shock and shut down. He wasn’t noticeably breathing, he had no apparent heartbeat. It was truly an apparent death. Then, several hours later, he “started up” again. This was in the early 1950’s, and the ability to detect faint signs of life was less advanced than it is now”

    People who experience apparent death aren’t clinically dead, but they enter into a sort of coma-state if you will(with respect to your father, this sounds like the case), and so thanks to modern scientific medical technology, we know that when someone is brain dead their vital organs shut down, and only later on is it possible to revive them again.

    “I’ve done a bit of research on this, and it’s not unknown. It occurs most commonly in drowning cases, but has been observed in traumatic injuries of many kinds. These days we can detect the faint life-processes of someone in this sort of profound coma and provide life-support until they “turn on” again. In the past this wasn’t the case. The vast majority of people who entered this sort of deep coma simply died. But not all. some would spontaneously awaken.”

    Right. This sounds like the case that happened to your father. He was in some sort of coma that caused him apparent death but he wasn’t clinically dead.

    “This phenomenon is responsible for some of the morbid Victorian “buried alive” stories. People would “turn on” after being buried, and suffocate in their coffins. That horror was in part responsible for research into finding ways to confirm death.”

    That sounds extremely scary and awful. I would never want to be buried alive.

    “As to the resurrection of Christ, Ben has recommended a book on the subject and I’m going to read it. After that, I may be able to discuss this with more understanding.”

    Excellent! Might I suggest a few others in the mainstream philosophy of religion and New Testament studies? NT Wright and William Lane Craig are a few examples.

  • gimpi1

    “By supernatural, I mean something that goes above and beyond the laws of nature. Those things that you mentioned are part of nature, so they can’t be above it. Miracles, demons, God, angels,etc.

    I’m undecided on much of this. Many things that would have been regarded as miracles in the past are now understandable, my dad as a case in point. Demons, pretty sure that most of what in the past was regarded as demonic activity was mental illness or natural phenomenon. Angels, God, my jury is still out on that.

    “… Might I suggest a few others in the mainstream philosophy of religion and New Testament studies? NT Wright and William Lane Craig are a few examples.”

    Suggest away! I read a great deal. I love reading and learning new things. I have several suggestions on this topic, but I’m willing to plug away. I’ll add them to the “future study” list.

  • MattB

    Andy,

    The point wasn’t to pigeonhole certain people into labels that they either are or aren’t. The point was to show what the core claims about Christianity, which is about being in a relationship with the One True God- something that all other religions fail to address. It is only the Judeo-Christian worldview that does this objectively. Jesus himself claimed and proved to be the One True God through his death and resurrection, and he claimed that we must believe in him and follow him to get to God.

  • Andy

    Ah, yes, you must be referring to the hidden addendum to John 3:16 that says “and he that does not shall burn in the lake of fire.” How could I forget?

  • MattB

    thats not what John 3:16 says

  • Andy

    Really. You don’t say?

  • MattB

    Where are you going with this?

  • Andy

    Apparently to some place where people don’t recognize Poe’s Law.

  • MattB

    Does everybody on the internet think they can be so condescending?

  • Andy

    Technically, if I find one person that does not, then the answer is “no”.

  • MattB

    I’m not being condescending.

  • Andy

    Well, then the answer is “no”. Not everybody on the internet is condescending.