UPDATE: The Christian Post has updated their article on Tyndale’s statement regarding Resurgence by adding my statement and Todd Starowitz’s email to me.
Editor’s Note: Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Warren Throckmorton, author of the cited Daily Beast article concerning Mark Driscoll’s business relationship with Tyndale House Publishers, provided the following statement via email to The Christian Post:
“My reporting regarding Tyndale House and Resurgence Publishing was based on information disclosed to me by Todd Starowitz, senior public relations manager at Tyndale. I reported it accurately as Mr. Starowitz now confirms. Tyndale House had ample opportunity to provide additional information last week in response to multiple questions from me but did not choose to do so. I hope Tyndale House will now fully accept the responsibility for providing incorrect information. …”
Throckmorton has published on his Patheos website reproductions of email exchanges between himself and Starowitz. In one email that Throckmorton said he received from Starowitz Tuesday afternoon, and which the Tyndale senior public relations manager confirmed as accurate with CP, he states: “Warren, your quotes of my emails were accurate. With that said my second email said that we did not have anything further scheduled AT THIS TIME. In no way was that to suggest that the relationship had ended. On the first item, I was simply wrong. I didn’t check with the appropriate people. I take full responsibility and the error was mine and mine alone. I also could not respond to your additional queries because I simply did not have the information I needed to respond.”
I am still waiting for the precise statement from Tyndale but according to this report in Christian Retailing, Tyndale is questioning the Daily Beast article. I will have more to say about this when I see the statement but I stand by my reporting. I have the emails from Tyndale House’s Todd Starowitz. Also, I asked at least twice for clarification about what the publication delay and lack of reprinting meant with no answer from Tyndale.
Here is the statement from Tyndale. However, note the emails from Todd Starowitz below.
From: Todd Starowitz <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM
Subject: Re: Mark Driscoll’s next book
To: Warren Throckmorton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Warren, we did not print a paperback version. I don’t expect that we will reprint the hardcover.
Senior Public Relations Manager
Tyndale House Publishers
I received this from Todd Starowitz this afternoon:
Warren, your quotes of my emails were accurate. With that said my second email said that we did not have anything further scheduled AT THIS TIME. In no way was that to suggest that the relationship had ended.
On the first item, I was simply wrong. I didn’t check with the appropriate people. I take full responsibility and the error was mine and mine alone.
I also could not respond to your additional queries because I simply did not have the information I needed to respond.
Senior Public Relations Manager
Tyndale House Publishers
I appreciate Todd Starowitz being a stand up guy and issuing this statement to me. Now I hope his employer will retract what they had to say about my reporting. There have been some reports from other news sources that did go too far and I can understand Tyndale wanting to make that right. However, I did not say the relationship had ended. I regret that people got the wrong idea from the article but I can only report what I am told. I think it is surprising that they were so cavalier about their relationship with Driscoll. I note that Tyndale did not apologize to him for giving a writer inaccurate information.
I have some other issues with their statement but I will take those up later.
I am getting word that Tyndale House may have something else to say about their relationship with Resurgence yet today. In the mean time, I want to post the screen cap of Tyndale’s promotional page for My Problem with Christianity before my recent contacts with Tyndale and what it is now.
Then (Google cache May 9):
And now (same URL):
If you go to any other links for My Problem with Christianity, the book is not listed on the Tyndale website.
If you are interested in a perspective on the inner workings of Mars Hill Church, you need to read this blog post by former Mars Hill Director of the Resurgence, Mike Anderson.
Titled “Hello, My Name is Mike and I’m a Recovering True Believer,” Anderson discusses his roles at Mars Hill and his regrets about them.
Speaking about his platform to speak out about Driscoll and Mars Hill, Anderson wrote:
I spent so much time with him because I was the guy who organized conferences, planned and promoted books, directed the online content, and later worked directly on all of Mark’s projects—I was at the center of all of this and I was proud of helping make it bigger.
I used to joke that my title should be “Minister of Propaganda”.
He wrote about the changes at Mars Hill that helped create what I call Mars Hill in Exile.
The entire previous executive elder board was broken up and a new executive elder board with massively different values, theology, and ecclesiology was brought in. Long-held beliefs about how a church should be run were secretly changed, fear and intimidation were constant, and power was consolidated even more than it had been. Because I was interested in “tower building,” this didn’t bother me. When I left, I was actually an advocate for many of the policies that consolidated power.
Why is he writing?
I’m writing this to clearly tell every one I ever interacted with that I was wrong to be a part of this. Religion and man-made movements are my crack. I want to burn to the ground any bridge that gives me a path back into it.
Anderson does not use the word cult to describe the culture set up by Mars Hill leaders but he does link to an article on how to identify if you are in a cult. He apologizes to women, and gays, and the residents of Seattle.
Warning to true believers: This post could be hazardous to your mindset. In other words, read it.
In the face of financial concerns, Seattle mega church Mars Hill Church has laid off staff and stepped up efforts to collect donations as the end of the fiscal year passed yesterday. According to ex-staff and sources inside Mars Hill church, on June 20, nine staff were let go amid concern about a sudden “budget crunch” from the church’s executive elders.
Mars Hill wrote about the action yesterday in their weekly communication to members:
Last week we had to make the very tough decision to transition a number of people off of staff from our ministry support departments, as well as some staff at a few of our local churches. These are all faithful people who served and worked hard for the church, and we regret that we had to make these changes. If you know any of them, please reach out to offer your prayers and support during this transition, and please continue to pray for the church as we navigate through a tough season.
At this week’s Staff Chapel, we had the opportunity to invite these friends back so that we could honor them and pray over them. It was a meaningful time of worship and reflection as a church family. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to show these staff members how deeply we care about them and appreciate the contribution they have made toward Jesus’ mission at Mars Hill. While they may no longer be on staff, we love them and they are still a part of our church family.
One staff who was laid off told me that the budget crunch caught the executive elders by surprise and was related to a dramatic decline in attendance and giving.
A current member told me that he received 5 solicitations within the space of three days requesting year end donations. Ex-members and those who have not attended in many years have also received multiple requests for gifts to assist the church raise giving levels. Internal documents supplied to me showed that per member giving was down at all but one of the 15 Mars Hill campus locations.
In one solicitation, executive pastor Sutton Turner said about the church’s situation, “We are ending our fiscal year at one of the most trying times for our church in recent memory.”
Meanwhile, Mars Hill leaders continue to be under pressure over their use of moneys designated the Global Fund over the last two years. A petition at change.org calling for Mars Hill to disclose how much of the Global Fund was spent on international missions has now reached 342 signatures.