Grading Pastor Dan Kellogg's Mark Driscoll Homework

In a blog post yesterday, Gold Creek Community Church pastor Dan Kellogg said he did his homework before asking Mark Driscoll to speak at his church on Sunday. According to that blog entry, Kellogg said he spoke with Driscoll’s “accountability board.”  The unnamed member or members of that board said: “There is nothing Mark has done that disqualifies him from ministry”.  
That was enough for Kellogg, but was it enough homework? Kellogg reminds me of the student who attacks a complex subject by looking it up on Wikipedia.
Kellogg’s reference to Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability brings to mind the unfinished business of Mars Hill. If Kellogg wanted to do some homework, he should have read what one former BoAA member, Paul Tripp told then current elders of Mars Hill Church: “This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.”
Kellogg could have read the letter from the 21 elders who brought charges and the letter from nine additional elders who wanted Driscoll to enter a restoration process. Then he could have heard from the elders who actually investigated the charges (the BoAA did not do the investigation but delegated it) who said Driscoll resigned instead of entering an elder directed restoration process.
Then he could have read the report from the elders who investigated the charges. Oh wait. No, he can’t because the members of that group never released the report. Although they publicly disagreed with the BoAA’s description of their investigation, they never released a report of their findings. However, those elders did agree about this:

The investigation of formal charges against Mark Driscoll has revealed patterns of persistent sin in the three areas disclosed in the previous letter by the Board of Overseers. In I Tim 5:20, it requires that an elder be rebuked for persistent sin. Our intention was to do this while providing a plan for his eventual restoration to leadership. The Board of Elders in agreement with the Board of Overseers are grieved, deeply grieved, that any process like that was lost to us when Mark Driscoll resigned in position and left the church.

Some of the investigation team are still around Seattle pastoring at various Mars Hill legacy churches. You can find a list of them here.
After reviewing the available primary sources, Kellogg could have looked at an analysis of the four narratives of Mark Driscoll’s resignation/release from ministry examined by Wenatchee the Hatchet. Perhaps he could have called up Paul Petry or read what Steve Tompkins wrote after he left Mars Hill.  Kellogg could have checked out the Repentant Pastor website where former Mars Hill pastors recount their experiences and remorse. He could have read an exit interview from a former staffer which likened Mars Hill to a place where Driscoll wielded total control.
Instead he used just one source.
There is little doubt that evangelicals in Seattle have been divided over Mars Hill’s demise and legacy. I suspect the situation is worse now than before Sunday.

Mark Driscoll Demonstration Taking Place at Gold Creek Community Church

DriscollGCCC
UPDATE: Gold Creek put the sermon up on their website.
Mark Driscoll is speaking at Gold Creek Community Church (the live feed freezes often but you can catch some of it here) while a demonstration is taking place outside.
He is speaking about Hebrews 11.
Outside former Mars Hill members are giving out a flyer about their actions (click the link to read it).
Incredibly, Dan Kellogg, the pastor at Gold Creek said Driscoll had been treated unfairly by his staff and that most what was said in the media was gossip. Watch:

You can listen to the entire message below:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/op-a6KGGjRo[/youtube]
Unbelievably, Rev. Kellogg interrupts his salvation call to speak down to those present who had reservations about Driscoll’s return to the pulpit in Seattle, saying:

If you are one of those people who is not excited about him being here and you want to tell him that, I encourage you to go across the street and join those folks over there. That’s their opportunity to do that and it’s awesome, it’s great, today we’re just going to be positive.

 
DemoGCCC
Kellogg’s stance is amazing. His ignorance or disregard of the what the Mars Hill elders did is a slap in their faces; I mean all of them, the ones who left and filed charges, as well as the one’s who stayed and investigated those charges.  He expands on his views in a blog post. Kellogg writes:

Very soon he will move and begin again in another city. He has learned some valuable lessons. He is a changed man.

According to my sources, Phoenix is the new city. According to Kellogg, it is all good. Seems to me one sign of change would be to go back to the people who have sought justice and reconciliation before you go. Kellogg also says he spoke to Mars Hill’s accountability board and they said he was fine.

Today we will have Mark Driscoll speak for us. I have done my homework. He is a controversial speaker but after talking with his accountability board they said: “There is nothing Mark has done that disqualifies him from ministry”.

One wonders if the report that recommended a restoration plan will now see the light of day. So far one prominent message of the Driscoll comeback is how his church wronged him. The former elders certainly told a different tale last year. This now places the unfinished business of last year back in the spotlight. The BoAA said Driscoll was not disqualified but the elders who actually investigated Driscoll said he needed restored.

Former Mars Hill Church Members Protest Mark Driscoll's Appearance at Gold Creek Community Church This Sunday

Thursday evening I posted a notice that Mark Driscoll is slated to be the mystery speaker tomorrow at Gold Creek Community Church in Mill Creek WA. Driscoll’s return to the Seattle preaching stage will not go unnoticed by some former members of his former church. See below:

For Immediate Release
Public Demonstration Protesting Mark Driscoll in the Pulpit
Mill Creek, Washington, May 17, 2015
Gold Creek Community Church in Mill Creek, Washington has invited Mark Driscoll to preach in all three services this Sunday. There will be a public demonstration to protest putting the unrepentant former pastor back in the pulpit.
If you want to support this protest, please join us in front of the church at 4326 148th St SE, Mill Creek, WA 98012 at 9:45am, on Sunday, May 17. This will enable the people leaving the 9:00 service and those arriving at the 10:30 service to see the protest. If you can stay until after 12:00, those arriving for the noon service will also see it. Some of us will arrive earlier and leave later if you are willing and able to extend your time there. (Note: Your GPS might think that address is in Bothell. That should still get you there.)
Feel free to bring your own signs. Please keep them simple and straightforward. Include statements that would be meaningful to that local congregation, such as “When will the abuse stop?” or “UNFIT FOR ANY PULPIT!”
Please park at the back of the small shopping area a couple of blocks west of the church. It is at the corner of Seattle Hill Road and 148th. During the demonstration, please remember to stay off of church property and off the street. Please don’t block traffic or pedestrians. We want to be pleasant while there and clean up after ourselves when we leave.

Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill Church in October 2014 rather than enter a process of restoration mandated by the then current elders of the church. Recently he has become more active, speaking recently at a church in California.
For related posts click here.

Was Tony Evans Right About the Stronger Slave Family?

On his Facebook page,* The King’s College professor Anthony Bradley, keeps this issue alive by asserting that Tony Evans was right to say that African-American families were “a lot stronger” during slavery than now. Although he didn’t break much new ground, Evans later clarified his remarks.
Bradley referred to an excellent book by Herbert Guzman and said:

Here’s the deal. Tony Evans was largely correct. The black family was stronger during slavery *and* Reconstruction. It’s simply not true that slavery was characterized by slave families being split up. While that did happen it was not the norm. To make Evans’ point stronger, the black family was also better off during Jim Crow. It was the 1970s, thanks to LBJ and Nixon, that the black family went South. The people up in arms about Evans must not know that much about the history of slavery in this country.

It is tempting to say to all concerned just read Gutman’s book and leave it at that. I believe Evans and others who take his position are incorrect and I recommend the same book touted by Bradley. Gutman’s interest in his book is responding to Daniel Moynihan’s book, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action. Gutman said this about Moynihan’s effort:

Although Moynihan emphasized the importance of unemployment as a cause of family disorganization among lower-class Afro-Americans, he confused the problems of poor blacks in the second half of the twentieth century with those of their great grand-parents in the first half of the nineteenth century. And he misperceived the history of both groups.

Moynihan argued among other things for what Gutman called “the slavery-specific hypothesis,” i.e., that slavery bred a culture of poverty among African-Americans. Critics of the hypothesis responded that if one controlled for income levels the racial differences in families diminished substantially. According to Gutman, critics of the slavery-specific hypothesis did not minimize the harshness and inhumanity of slavery but countered that problems in the African-American family were more related to “massive structural unemployment.” From my reading of the evidence, “massive structural unemployment” can’t be separated from white privilege and structural racism which can’t be separated from the reality of slavery.
In my reading of Gutman, he doesn’t make a case for a stronger African-American family during slavery. He addresses different concerns than which generation was stronger. He makes a case that African-Americans adapted as well as could be expected under the oppression of slavery. He demonstrated that African-Americans worked to maintain marriages and ties to children. However, he also told the truth about the horrors of slavery for slave families. No need to confuse the problems of slave families and modern African-American families with comparisons that do not illuminate the situation of either group.
 
* A commenter brought this to my attention.
 

This Sunday Gold Creek Community Church Plans to Host Guest Speaker Mark Driscoll

Repurpose Gold CreekAccording to sources in the know, this Sunday Mark Driscoll will speak at all three services at the Mill Creek campus of Gold Creek Community Church on RePurpose.
Last Sunday, a public announcement was made about a guest speaker who has been called one of the top 25 most popular preachers. The pastor also negatively referred to “sour milk” Christians as those who might not want to see Mr. Popular in the pulpit.
I called the church to ask for confirmation and was told the church is not revealing who the guest speaker is.
Then pastor Larry Ehoff told me in an email:

We are having a guest speaker at all of our services. That is as much as I can say at this point. We would love to have you join us.

 

Money Travels With the Passengers on Gospel for Asia Mission Trips to India

Cash
Image courtesy of sheelamohan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Gospel for Asia sponsors frequent “vision trips” to India. These trips help inspire donors and prospective ministry workers to give time and money to the work of GFA. In Texas, GFA runs a School of Discipleship and the students at the school often go as a group to India as a part of their work. According to some former GFA travelers, they pack more than cameras and a toothbrush.
For over two years, some GFA travelers to India have been packing envelopes of cash designed to be taken into India and given unopened to GFA headquarters in Kerala, India.  According to my sources, GFA staff in Texas have on multiple occasions given GFA travelers sealed envelopes filled with cash and said that the envelope contained $4500. The travelers — who were traveling together in groups of various sizes — were told the figure of $4500 was designed to avoid the need to declare the cash in India. Amounts of $5000 or more must be declared upon arrival. According to federal law, any amount of cash may be taken out of the country, but amounts of $10,000 or more must be declared when leaving or entering the U.S. According to my sources, the GFA groups were carrying far more than $10,000 per trip.
Over the last several days, I have spoken to five GFA travelers* who carried money to India in this manner and have examined GFA source information which described the practice.  The sources said that most if not all members of their groups carried the envelopes filled with $4500. For instance, a group of ten people carried $45,000. I asked GFA COO David Carroll for comment but he has not replied.
Pushing the Envelope
One individual told me that a GFA leader told a group of travelers that taxes were high in India and by taking undeclared cash, the ministry would benefit. According to all sources, each individual in the GFA groups received a sealed envelope from GFA leaders in Texas. I was told that one group had ten people carrying cash ($45,000 at one time) and another source said there were 30 travelers in a group (a maximum of $135,000). The travelers were told that each package contained $4500 and that each member of the group would turn in the envelope to a GFA leader in Kerala, India. The money did not belong to the travelers and was not to be used for expenses. The envelopes were to remain sealed and turned over to a GFA leader at headquarters or a Synod office for the Believers Church. Some specifically named Siny Punnose, who works in finance for GFA in India. Some groups consisted of students, some of ministry partners, and at times, pastors have been asked to carry funds.
All sources felt odd about taking the money. One person said fear of losing it or having it stolen was a constant preoccupation. They worried they were doing something that didn’t sound right. Even though the leaders assured them that the practice was fine, it still didn’t seem right.
And, in fact, the travelers may have been right to worry.
Currency Structuring
One may leave or enter the United States with any amount of cash. However, a person who has $10,000 or more must declare it on a form designed by Customs and Border Protection when leaving or entering the U.S. As a recent CBP press release says, one may not split it up and have others carry it for you. In this case, GFA asked the travelers to carry much more than the $10,000 limit in total.

If travelers have someone else carry the currency or monetary instrument for them, they must file a currency report for the entire amount with CBP.  Failure to report may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest.

Another CBP press release tells of an Italian man who attempted to come into the country with more than $10k along with “co-travelers.”

During a secondary inspection, the man, who arrived from Italy, reported possessing $11,700. It was later discovered that the man had given money to two co-travelers in order to evade currency reporting requirements, an illegal practice known as currency structuring. In total the cash added up to $24,644. CBP officers seized the money, issued the man a $1,000 penalty, and then returned the remaining cash back to the man.

The reporting requirements apply to travelers leaving and entering the country.

International travelers who arrive or depart the United States in possession of more than $10,000 or equivalent foreign currency are required to report all currency to CBP officers and complete a Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) form. (emphasis added)

Federal law appears to forbid such undeclared money moves without declaration. None of my sources report any forms filed. Note that the relevant federal law forbids aiding, commanding, or requesting such moves in the aggregate:

§ 103.23 Reports of transportation of currency or monetary instruments.

(a) Each person who physically transports, mails, or ships, or causes to be physically transported, mailed, or shipped, or attempts to physically transport, mail or ship, or attempts to cause to be physically transported, mailed or shipped, currency or other monetary instruments in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000 at one time from the United States to any place outside the United States, or into the United States from any place outside the United States, shall make a report thereof. A person is deemed to have caused such transportation, mailing or shipping when he aids, abets, counsels, commands, procures, or requests it to be done by a financial institution or any other person. (emphasis added)
(b) Each person who receives in the U.S. currency or other monetary instruments in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000 at one time which have been transported, mailed, or shipped to such person from any place outside the United States with respect to which a report has not been filed under paragraph (a) of this section, whether or not required to be filed thereunder, shall make a report thereof, stating the amount, the date of receipt, the form of monetary instruments, and the person from whom received.

I am not an attorney and realize that there may be some unknown facts which make this all fine. However, it seems strange to me. GFA can wire money to India and does so frequently. There are many other ways to get money to the field which can be verified transparently. If these travelers are accurate in their reports, GFA is causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to be transported without declaration. This practice seems risky and fraught with many negatives and potentials for abuse.
I want to repeat that on Tuesday I asked GFA’s David Carroll for comment and explanation.
*All sources spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from GFA. None of the people I spoke with are affiliated with the GFA Diaspora.

German Office of Gospel for Asia Closes

I learned this morning that the German office of the Gospel for Asia has closed. The letter below announcing the change went out to ministry partners.

Dear mission partner,
24 years ago we founded the German branch of the international mission movement Gospel for Asia with the primary objective to encourage Christians in the German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) to actively take part in the Great Commission through supporting native GFA missionaries in South Asia by our sponsorship programme. Many Christians from different denominations made use of our offer and innumerable people were allowed to get to know Jesus on our mission fields before it is too late.
I was the leader of the German branch of Gospel for Asia for the last 24 years. I am almost 84 years old by now.Because of my age and since no suitable, competent successor could be found, we will stop the work and shut down the German branch of Gospel for Asia.
Many blessed but also intense years lay behind us which we as a team will never forget. The generosity of our sponsors and friends is big to this day and so we are a little sad to announce that the time has come to ask you to stop sending any further donations to our German GFA office.
Would you please inform your bank to cancel existing standing orders. Furthermore please don’t transfer any more donations to our bank accounts:
Germany:   Deutsche Bank     Switzerland:   Aargauische Kantonalbank     Austria:   Raiffeisenlandesbank
You are welcome to continue to support Gospel for Asia in the future. We invite you to get to know our GFA office in Great Britain and we encourage you to visit its internet page: www.gfauk.org
!! The sponsorship programme for our missionaries stops at once !! For logistical reasons our complete missionary database has been already divided up directly by our GFA head office in South India to all other international GFA offices. Through this the monthly support of all GFA missionaries who were supported by our German office is secured! Please do not return the documents of the missionaries to us.
For all donations in 2015 the tax deductible receipts will be sent out without demand of the donator (for the tax office in Germany) at the beginning of the New Year 2016.
As a team we would like to say goodbye to you and on behalf of Gospel for Asia we want to thank you that you have so faithfully stayed with us, so that innumerable people could be saved in South Asia for ever.
May the Lord continue to bless you.
In Christ,
Pastor Wolfgang Müller
_______________________________________________
GOSPEL FOR ASIA – Deutschland
Email: infogermany@gfa.org
Internet: http://www.gfa.org/germany
P.S.: GFA, USA would like to receive our addresses. If you DON’T want us to forward your address, please inform our office latest until 31.05.2015. Thank you!
 

Transcript of Mark Driscoll's Speech at the Thrive Leadership Conference 2015

Many have asked if a transcript exists of Mark Driscoll’s remarks at the Thrive Leadership Conference on May 1. It does now and is available here. The audio is below.
[youtube]https://youtu.be/ySL5k5G9_6Y[/youtube]
The conference appearance triggered a petition directed at Bayside Church and pastor Ray Johnson. To my knowledge, there has been no response from Bayside to former Mars Hill members.
 

Robert Morris Speaks Conception in Mother's Day Sermon

This weekend, Robert Morris dropped his new book Truly Free at all Gateway Church locations. My understanding is that the book is on “deliverance” or healing illnesses, including mental illness. I intend to scrutinize those sections. This is the book where he claimed to have a “doctorate of literature.”
This is also Mother’s Day weekend. Morris preached a sermon about mothers and ended it with a prayer for women who want a child but have not been able to have one. There are many men and women who loath these days for various reasons and one thing I have learned is that there is almost nothing that makes any of that better other than the next day coming. Because of the sorrow involved, I understand the impulse of a pastor is to do something to demonstrate compassion.
Having said that, I question whether today, or any day, is a good day for this “name it, claim it” intervention.
Morris here (at 1:45) says, “I speak conception”

If you’re desiring, maybe you’re a mother desiring to have another child, that’s fine too.  Or you don’t have a child but if you’re married and you’re desiring to have a child whether it’s another child or a child now would you just stand up.  And ’d like to pray for you.  Would you stand up, just stand up right now at all the campuses.  I know it takes some courage.  I know that and I’m not trying to embarrass you, you know that.  I’m just asking you to respond in faith.  Could we just stretch our hands towards you – if you just look around, again at every campus if you see one of these ladies standing if you’ll just stretch your hands toward them.  Let’s agree in prayer right now.  Hallelujah father, thank you Lord. Lord thank you for these ladies and thank you for the miracles you’ve already performed.  And Lord we know that this desire is not a bad desire, it’s a desire that came from you.  And so Lord I’m asking you right now if there’s anything medically that needs to be healed will you heal it in Jesus’ name.  Lord will you bring healing right now.  And lord I ask you, as scripture says, you opened her womb and she conceived. I’m asking you Lord to open the wombs of these ladies. And I’m asking you Lord to bless them with a full and healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  Lord I ask you in Jesus’ name.  And in Jesus’name, I speak conception, and Lord we thank you and we receive Lord the children are a blessing from the Lord, we receive these as blessings and I bless my sister’s in Christ right now, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

On one level, I enjoy listening to Morris. There usually isn’t much substance, but he is often an entertaining speaker and in this one, he had some good laugh lines. However, I offer this post to get us thinking about offers of healing in the church. In this case, what if a woman didn’t want to stand up? Morris called standing a response “in faith.” Will some women chastise themselves for a lack of faith? What if the reason for infertility is with the woman’s husband? Will Morris save that prayer for Father’s Day? If Morris’ spoken conception doesn’t work for those women standing, then what are we to conclude?
Very interested in reader feedback on this one. Discuss.

Common Sense on Treatment of Gender Dysphoria

Given the controversial nature of the subject matter, I think this Globe and Mail article does a good job of representing the type of treatment offered at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.
According to this article, gender identity clinic director Ken Zucker is not allowed to speak to the media. However, clinic founder Susan Bradley gave her views along with parents of children treated by the clinic. Quite appropriately, the clinic evaluates each situation and creates an individualized treatment plan. Some kids later transition and some don’t.
The writer, Margaret Wente, provides several illustrative cases. Here’s one:

“They never tried to force my son into something he wasn’t,” one mother told me. Her son had been a hyper-anxious child since birth. In kindergarten he became obsessed with dressing like a girl. The CAMH therapists determined that anxiety, not gender, was the key issue, and advised the parents to discourage their son’s obsession with girls’ clothing. Today, he is a well-adjusted young adult with a girlfriend and no interest in women’s clothes. The mother, who describes herself as “quite liberal” says she would have supported gender change if that had been the right thing to do.

This fits my experience working with such children. In some cases, it is very clear that gender is not the primary issue. Clinical response should not be “one size fits all.”
I hope the legislative effort to stop the work of the clinic is not successful.
For prior posts on Zucker and gender issues in children, see:
Gender identity disorder research: Q & A with Kenneth Zucker
Two families, two approaches to gender identity
60 Minutes Science of Sexual Orientation: An Update from a Mother of Twins
60 Minutes Science of Sexual Orientation: An Update from a Mother of Twins, Part 2