About That Resurgence Auction Mark Driscoll Won

Earlier this week, Mark Driscoll sent an email to a mailing list that he won at a Mars Hill Church auction. He said it this way:

The Mars Hill Church board also very recently approved the sale of the assets of The Resurgence ministries through an independent auction conducted by a law firm. Having now gained first access to these resources, it will be some time before we catalogue and decide what will happen with the content.

However, if you are newly receiving this email it is likely because you were part of The Resurgence mailing list.

These assets were valued at $100,000 last year and were being offered to the public for sale via attorney Steven Goodspeed, the same attorney who registered Mark Driscoll’s short-lived Learning for Living non-profit trademark. The pitch ran like this:

You are being contacted because it is my understanding you have inquired about purchasing select assets related to the resurgence.com website and domain name.  We appreciate your expression of interest and are reaching out to interested parties and soliciting offers for this website content, technology, accounts, etc.
The asking price is $100,000 and the Resurgence content will be sold to the best offer subject to an undisclosed reserve.  Your offer may be more or less than the asking price.
  • We will be taking offers until 1/05/2015
  • We will choose an offer on or before 01/15/2015
  • Please direct any questions and offers to me, Steven Goodspeed
This could be the auction Driscoll is referring to. Emails to Mars Hill and Steven Goodspeed attempting to verify it were not returned.
Mars Hill did get some offers but turned them down. In March, the Resurgence mailing list resurfaced as the main product offered by an anonymous entity called “Church Leaders List.” Actually, former Mars Hill Church spokesperson Justin Dean illegally sold the list to Craig Gross. Dean later apologized to Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church and everybody else. I confirmed with sources that the list was still owned by Mars Hill as of late March.
Sometime between April and this month, Driscoll apparently purchased The Resurgence assets from what he says was the “Mars Hill Church board” (who is still on that board?). I cannot verify if there was a renewed push to offer the assets on the market as Driscoll’s description implies. I am aware of individuals who expressed interest or made offers who were not contacted to offer a bid or make a counteroffer. This may have been a backroom deal or it may all be fine. I am skeptical that anyone who knows will ever say.

Gospel for Asia Still Suing Google and Facebook Even Though K.P. Yohannan Claimed Victory in 2012

A comment at the Phoenix Preacher blog tipped me off to the following story.
In December 2012, Gospel for Asia CEO, K.P. Yohannan, wrote an article trumpeting what Yohannan said was a positive verdict in a lawsuit filed in the Delhi High Court.* Here is how Yohannan described the case and circumstances leading up to it.

A Verdict that Vindicated

Although we never discussed this publicly until now, I have wondered if some of our friends like you might have become confused by this negative media. But what could we do? The Lord knew our hearts, and it would be up to Him to defend us. So we sought Him. We prayed. We fasted. And slowly, step by step the Lord went before us.

At first, we had no idea that all the false information out there was originating from one source or what we could do about it. Gradually, we were able to understand what was happening, and last year, we learned that we could appeal to the government of India and to the High Court in Delhi to look into these cyber attacks on us—which we did. Then, during this last year, various governmental departments investigated Gospel for Asia’s activity in detail to see if any of these accusations were true.

I am grateful to the Lord that what was meant for evil, God used for good. After studying us, these departments determined that we were one of the most upright groups in the country, truly improving the nation. The High Court thus issued a verdict, directing networking sites to remove and stop uploading any false information about Gospel for Asia and our various ministries. In addition, the High Court also had those who posted this misinformation arrested and the material they uploaded removed.

God Came to Our Rescue

I thank God for His grace, mercy and answer to our prayers. He came to our rescue and defended us.
Because you have been with us on this journey, I wanted to let you know what has transpired and give you the opportunity to hear the truth from us, especially if any of this misinformation ever caused doubt in your mind. Below are some links to articles about the verdict from the Indian High Court in Delhi.
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hc-notice-to-google-facebook-on-churchs-plea/1037044/
http://www.business-standard.com/generalnews/news/hc-notice-to-google-facebookchurchs-plea/84729/

That’s Not What the Articles Say
Yohannan’s description makes it appear that the Delhi High Court issued a verdict in 2012 which led to removal of articles from the Internet and the arrest of perpetrators of defamation. However, the articles Yohannan provided contradict his story. Both links lead to stories which describe a lawsuit filed by GFA and Believers’ Church against Google, Facebook and some unnamed other defendants. The first one is dated November 27, 2012 and says:

The Delhi High Court today sought the replies of various social networking sites including Google and Facebook to a plea for removal of “defamatory and derogatory” articles against a church and an NGO from their sites.

Issuing notice to M/s Google India Pvt Ltd, its subsidiaries – You Tube, Blogger, Blogspot.in and also to Facebook, Justice Valmiki Mehta sought their replies by January 7, next year.

The court issued the notice on a joint plea of Gospel for Asia (a city-based NGO) and Believers Church, which alleged that “there are several malicious contents with intent to defame and destroy the reputation of entire organisation (church) including it founder Metropolitan Bishop Dr K P Yohannan and Rev Fr Daniel Varghese, Diocesan Secretary of the church.”

“Certain persons with vested interest are continuously trying to malign the reputation of the organisation by uploading defamatory contents on internet.

“The Google and other intermediaries are liable to restrict these contents as per Section 79 (3)(a) of the Information Technology Act since,” said the complaint filed through counsel Deepak Prakash.

The civil suit also cited the statements of former presidents A P J Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Devi Singh Patil appreciating the work of the organisation and claimed that “different government agencies verified and appreciated the work of the organisation on different occasions and stated that there is no negative remark about them from any corner.”

The plea claimed that the organisation is serving in more than 13 countries with its charity missions reaching lakhs of poor and downtrodden people and improving their standard of living which also means to earn a good life.

“It is carrying out welfare and development activities all over India. It implements projects especially in remote and rural areas and city slums, by its nation building project and providing adequate possibilities to down-trodden and needy to become healthy, productive and functional citizen of this country irrespective of caste, creed and gender,” the plea said.

GFA lauded themselves in their plea to the court, but there was no verdict given in the case. Instead, the judge gave Google, Facebook and others until January, 2013 to answer the suit: “Justice Valmiki Mehta sought their replies by January 7, next year.” According to this article, there was no verdict. The defendants were given a chance to answer, and initially those responses were due after Yohannan wrote his article.  The second article provides the same information and nothing about a verdict. 
This case was also covered at the time by Christian Today in an article published November 30, 2012. In all three articles, it is very clear that no verdict had been given by the court. In fact, the first action by GFA and BC against Google and Facebook was filed on November 21, 2012 in the Delhi High Court.
The Case is Still Active
The most recent development in the case was filed today.  In other words, this case that K.P. Yohannan said was God rescuing GFA with a “verdict that vindicated” has not been settled as of today. The next action in the case is slated for December 7, 2015.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI +
CS(OS) 3297/2012
GOSPEL FOR ASIA & OTHERS
….. Plaintiffs Through Mr. Deepak Prakash, Advocate
versus GOOGLE INC & OTHERS
….. Defendant Through Mr. Angad Singh Dugal, Advocate for defendant no.1 Mr. Akhil Anand and Ms. Richa Srivastava, Advocates for defendant no.4
CORAM:
SH. ANIL KUMAR SISODIA (DHJS), JOINT REGISTRAR (JUDICIAL) O R D E R
30.07.2015
IA No. 22211/2014
Defendants have not filed reply to the application, except defendant no.4, despite last and final opportunity given on the last date of hearing. In these facts and circumstances, the opportunity to file by other defendants stands closed.
Put up for arguments on the application on 7th December, 2015.
ANIL KUMAR SISODIA (DHJS) JOINT REGISTRAR (JUDICIAL)
JULY 30, 2015 savita

It appears that Google did not file a reply to the plaintiffs. Facebook did file one.  I have contacted GFA’s lawyer, Google’s and Facebook’s lawyer and Google’s and Facebook’s press contacts about the case with no answers as yet. UPDATE 7/31 – I reached Angad Singh Dugal, advocate for Google in the case. He confirmed that the case is still active and added that Google has filed a reply in defense.
What is clear is from the court record (you can see everything available on the Delhi High Court website) is that this case has been continued, dragging on for nearly three years, and no verdict has been rendered.
Is K.P. Yohannan unaware of these facts? Or is this story like his denial of followers kissing his ring?
In any case, Yohannan’s faulty narrative about this case provides another reason why GFA should become more transparent and address pastors’ and donors’ questions about cash smuggling, unaccounted for funds, and numerous others concerns.
 
 
 
*High Courts in India appear to be like our federal District Courts. This case was filed in the Delhi High Court.

Jerusalem Post Chides Mike Huckabee for Holocaust Analogy

Adding to the fallout over Mike Huckabee’s ill-advised comparison of the Iran nuclear treaty to the Holocaust, the Jerusalem Post rebuked the GOP presidential hopeful earlier today.
Certainly, the Israelis oppose the Iran deal but lament that Huckabee’s comment make it harder to secure the opposition necessary to derail it. The Post says:

As for sense, Huckabee’s comment just made it tougher for Israel and its allies in Washington to round up Democratic votes needed to override a presidential veto.

Huckabee made the remarks last Saturday:

Speaking with Breitbart News Saturday, the former Arkansas governor called Barack Obama “feckless” and “naive,” adding that by signing the deal the President “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”

Huckabee hasn’t backed away except to claim he wasn’t comparing President Obama to Hitler.
The JPost disagrees:

But in Netanyahu’s analogy, the Obama administration and the West are playing the role of Neville Chamberlain. Huckabee, on the other hand, cast President Barack Obama as Hitler when the Republican presidential hopeful declared that the Iran deal “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” 

Huckabee’s rhetoric doesn’t appear to be helping him with evangelicals. In a survey of evangelical leaders from World magazine, only 4% of participants favored Huckabee as their first choice.
 

Who Do Evangelical Leaders Prefer for President in 2016: Good News for Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and Carly Fiorina

This just in today from World  magazine:

WASHINGTON—Good news for Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, and Carly Fiorina. Mixed news for Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz. Bad news for Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson. And if anyone thought Donald Trump or Chris Christie were picking up support from evangelical leaders, pop that bubble.

Those are the findings from a survey of nearly 100 evangelical leaders and insiders. Numerous 2016 GOP candidates have identified evangelicals as a key part of their road to the White House, so WORLD, the leading evangelical news magazine, recently asked 103 evangelical leaders and insiders to see whom they prefer. Ninety-four responded.

Most respondents said they wouldn’t vote for Trump. On the heels of Thomas Kidd’s WaPo op-ed yesterday, the survey confirmed that Mike Huckabee isn’t setting any fires among evangelicals.

Religious liberty is right now the big issue for these participants. Go on over and read the rest at World.

Headline a Year Ago: Paul Tripp Has Resigned from the Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability

A year ago today, I reported that Paul Tripp resigned from the Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability.
I was told the news by Steve Sarkisian, Vice President of Paul Tripp Ministries. Statements followed from Tripp and the Mars Hill BoAA.
That resignation raised many questions which persist. Tripp answered some of them in an interview with Mars Hill Church elders where he explained his resignation.  Jointly with Religion News Service, I published the results of that interview on August 28.
Tripp told the nine then-current Mars Hill Church elders that Mars Hill was “without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.” Tripp spoke by phone to the elders who called for Mark Driscoll to step away from the pulpit and enter a restoration plan.

All nine elders who were on the phone call were floored by the depth and clarity of the understanding that Paul had of the culture of Mars Hill and its leadership from his short time on the board.
Below are some samples from our conversation:
—– When asked about speculations that he might have resigned to protect the reputation of his ministry, Paul said this: “I am not worried at all at burning my integrity for the real deal, but I won’t burn it for something that’s not the real deal. I don’t think even now that there is the recognition of the depth of what Mars Hill Church and Mark is actually dealing with. This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.” He continued on to communicate that Mars Hill’s leadership culture was not shaped by the same grace that it says it believes.
—– Paul informed us that at one point that during the time when he was setting up the reconciliation process, the EE, without asking the BOAA, met with their lawyers and added a slew of legal constraints to the process. Paul was emphatic in telling the EE that this was unacceptable, but they did not listen, and consequently hindered the process. Paul was disturbed that anything would be seen as more important in this process than being made right with man and with God. “If your response to reconciliation is ‘I want to cover my butt legally, then you’re not interested in reconciliation.’”
—– Contrary to what we have been told, Paul not only expressed his opinion that the BOAA structure was flawed, he attempted to present a 9 point plan on how to help it and was shut down before he finished point 2. He also said that “One of the problems with the BOAA is that they are getting their information from the people they are supposed to be holding accountable.” (emphasis in the original)

Driscoll did not follow his elders’ advice. Eventually, all those elders were either fired or resigned without seeing any change. However, they were vindicated in that the investigation of Driscoll recommended essentially the same plan as the August 22 letter: Driscoll should step out of the pulpit and enter an elder-directed restoration plan. Rather than enter that plan, Driscoll resigned. At the time, the elders lamented that Driscoll declined to follow their guidance; now Driscoll is saying God told him to resign.
I still don’t understand how God could lead the elders to advise Driscoll to enter a restoration plan and then audibly tell Driscoll not to do it.  In hindsight, even former executive elder Dave Bruskas said about the resignation: “I don’t think that was the most redemptive outcome.”
Bruskas also counseled his Albuquerque flock to move forward. In one sense, I agree; in another, I think it is good to learn from the past to avoid making the same mistakes.
A year later Mark Driscoll is back in the news and on the comeback trail aided mightily by an assist from Hillsong’s pastor Brian Houston. Driscoll is in Phoenix with rumblings of a church plant in the works. In what ways will the Seattle past be prologue to the Phoenix future?

Historian Thomas Kidd on Why Mike Huckabee Won't Be the Evangelical Darling in 2016

Thomas Kidd nails it at the Washington Post.
Kidd finds several reasons why Huckabee isn’t catching fire among evangelicals. One reason Kidd identifies is Huckabee’s status as a former Fox News host. As an example, Kidd correctly points out Huckabee’s attachment to David Barton.

Fox’s cozy confines allow candidates to get into an insulated mindset, in which they are not used to having to face critical reporters or be accountable for outlandish statements. You knew something was going wrong with Huckabee in 2011 when, at a “Rediscover God in America” conference, he sang the praises of the widely discredited Christian history writer and Republican Party activist David Barton. Huckabee said that he “almost wished” that “all Americans would be forced — forced at gunpoint no less — to listen to every David Barton message.” A year later, a massive outcry led by evangelical and Catholic scholars forced an embarrassed Thomas Nelson Publishers to pull Barton’s book “The Jefferson Lies” from circulation.

Well said.
Note Kidd’s observation that “a massive outcry led by evangelical and Catholic scholars” led to Thomas Nelson’s actions. Barton claimed only four college professors had a problem with it. Hardly. Kidd is correct, Barton is not.
I wasn’t aware of Huckabee’s outrageous statement about Obama leading Jews to the oven door. That alone should end his campaign. Understandably, Jewish groups condemned it.
Go over and read Kidd’s article at the Post.
 

Brian Houston Publishes Interview with Mark and Grace Driscoll

Apparently, the interview was placed on Houston’s website on July 28.


It has been posted at Vimeo (see the end of the post)
This is old news to those who followed the story when the video was shown at the Sydney conference. I have good audio for the interview, but the video has more people paying attention.
A transcript of the interview is here (not flawless but a good effort).
At the same time as the video has been posted, Driscoll announced that he has moved to Phoenix.
Houston has done Driscoll a huge favor with this interview. It will be interesting to see if Driscoll plants a church in a city where Hillsong has a significant presence. In fact, Hillsong purchased a building Mars Hill once considered for the Phoenix expansion. Mars Hill launched Mars Hill Phoenix in 2014 which later became Phoenix Bible Church later that year.
[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/134722998[/vimeo]

David Barton: Treasury Department Will Be Denigrated by Addition of Woman to $10 Bill

The boys at Wallbuilders (David Barton and Rick Green) are all in a tizzy over the replacement of Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill by a woman (unnamed as yet). Right Wing Watch was listening in to the Wallbuilders Live show yesterday and heard the guys lamenting the travesty it will be. From RWW:

Last month, the Treasury Department announced that a woman would be featured on the $10 bill when it is redesigned in 2020 and David Barton was so outraged that he brought the National Review’s Quin Hillyer onto his “WallBuilders Live” radio program today to explain why this decision is so “outrageous and ignorant.”

The audio is at RWW so go on over and listen to the good ol’ boys talk about the denigration of our nation’s history and economic system.
Probably Barton and the fellas don’t know that the women folk like economic systems too. In fact, there have been quite a few women at the Treasury Department over the years.

Earlier this month, Treasury Notes highlighted the start of Women’s History Month with a blog post on the 2013 Girl Scouts of the USA Centennial Silver Dollar. As we near the end of the month, Treasury Notes is proud to feature photographs displayed in a gallery on the second-floor hallway of the Treasury building showcasing women in Treasury history. The historical photographs date between 1874 and 1926, honoring the role and contributions that women have made to the Department. Today Treasury has the most women in senior positions ever including Treasurer Rosie Rios, Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard, Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Mary Miller, Assistant Secretary for Management Nani Coloretti, Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Janice Eberly, Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis S. Leslie Ireland, and Assistant Secretary for International Markets, Development Marisa Lago, and Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs​ Natalie Wyeth Earnest.

The gents shouldn’t be too upset since Hamilton will most likely still be on the $10 bill but a woman will be added to the new design. I doubt that Maria Reynolds will be chosen to share the bill with Alexander.

Donald Trump Shall Become the Trumpet: My Entry for Best Article in the "Wait, This Isn't Parody?" Category

If I was of a mind to write a parody of a Charismatic minister writing about Donald Trump, an article like this would have been a good result.
Writing for Charisma Magazine’s Prophetic Insight section, “prophetic minister” Jeremiah Johnson compared Donald Trump to Cyrus in the Bible. Referring to Trump or someone like him, Johnson says:

Could God not use the wicked and ungodly to bring about His plans and purposes thousands of years ago and can He not still do the same thing again, especially in the midst of the crisis that we find America in today?

Then Johnson writes that the Holy Spirit told him Trump would become…. (wait for it)…. His “trumpet to the American people.”  According to Johnson, the Holy Spirit sounds a lot like a Trump spokesman:

Trump shall become My trumpet to the American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth. Just as I raised up Cyrus to fulfill My purposes and plans, so have I raised up Trump to fulfill my purposes and plans prior to the 2016 election. You must listen to the trumpet very closely for he will sound the alarm and many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy. Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger.

PresidentBizIn a strange way, Trump isn’t allowing deception and lies to go unnoticed. Just look at his attack on John McCain. Trump deceived all over the place and didn’t let it go unnoticed.
I think the next prophecy should be about President Business from the LEGO movie. He has all those tough guy qualities too.
Hat tip to Alan Noble.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mark Driscoll Confirms Move to Phoenix

In an email to supporters earlier today:

The Resurgence and our Move to Phoenix
The Mars Hill Church board also very recently approved the sale of the assets of The Resurgence ministries through an independent auction conducted by a law firm. Having now gained first access to these resources, it will be some time before we catalogue and decide what will happen with the content.
However, if you are newly receiving this email it is likely because you were part of The Resurgence mailing list. If you would like to receive ongoing updates from me, as well as free Bible teaching, you need to do nothing. If you would like to be removed from the mailing list you can do so by clicking the link at the bottom of this email and following the automated process.
After meeting with many former church leaders for reconciliation and closure in Seattle, our family is in the midst of a new adventure as we have moved to the Phoenix area.
There are no concrete plans for ongoing local church ministry as of yet. This remains a calling and desire, but my plan is not to rush into anything. Instead, caring for each member of our family, seeking the wise counsel of pastors we are walking with, and building local relationships with Christian leaders to help build churches locally and globally is our focus. Beyond that, we will see how the Lord leads. If anything more develops we will let you know via this newsletter.
A guiding Scripture in the past year that has helped us has been Philippians 4:5-7:
“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Looks like a sweet deal on the mailing list. I wonder if this is the mailing list which caused Justin Dean so much trouble (link, link). In any case, I wonder where the independent auction was advertised. Who knew about it and participated? And what does “first access” mean?
The Resurgence domain and other assets were being sold for $100,000 at one point.  And recall that the Resurgence mailing list was offered for sale by something called ChurchLeadersList.com with less than happy results.
Awhile back, I asked twenty-plus former Mars Hill Church elders if there had been a time of reconciliation with Mark Driscoll and over half said there had been no contact, the rest did not answer.
Phoenix it is. I called it in May. Some in Seattle are saying that at least one family has moved from Seattle to Phoenix to help the Driscoll’s plant a new church. Several sources in Phoenix have contacted me to say that Driscoll has discussed planting a church there and may even have a building.
At least one church has the welcome mat out: