Who Said This About Vaccine Mandates?

Who said this?

The claim I am making here is very limited. If a person has decided personal convictions about the contagious disease he is carrying, the society in which he lives has an equal right to have decided and contrary convictions about that same contagious disease he has. And if there is an outbreak of such a disease, and the government quarantines everyone who is not vaccinated, requiring them to stay at home, the name for this is prudence, not tyranny.

Prudence, not tyranny.

Let’s see. COVID is a contagious disease. Correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard that there is an outbreak in the land of that contagious disease. Although government has not quarantined everyone who is not vaccinated, it sounds like this person would support such a dramatic move.

This view is quite bold and controversial. This person would likely be quite unwelcome at a MAGA rally. I know people who would be moved to red faced indignation at the mention of a government requirement for the unvaccinated to stay home.

Who is this bold contrarian? This defender of the greater and common good? This public health warrior?

I hope you are sitting down.

Doug Wilson.

Yes, that Doug Wilson. The 2015 Doug Wilson here.

Now in 2021 Wilson cracks on about fake vaccine identification cards, as in how and why to make them. Why would anyone do that? The 2015 Wilson said the government would be prudent to quaratine the vaccine refusers. Now, he advises people to “non-compliance with a clean conscious.” More directly, regarding the vaccine, he tells his readers: “First, if you are in a position to resist openly, do that.”

The 2015 Wilson told us that the government would be prudent to mandate a vaccine. The 2015 Wilson said:

Now I do have views on the efficacy of vaccines, but I want to address another element of this — the idea that even if they were effective, a requirement that everyone get vaccinated is necessarily statist and tyrannical. Why isn’t this a matter of personal choice and conviction? The answer is that it is not a matter of personal choice because everyone else is involved.

Now, Wilson counsels open resistance to what he calls a Biden power play.

But overarching everything was the obvious and naked nature of the power play that is being run. The Biden regime has already floated the idea of restricting interstate travel for the unvaccinated, and how would you do that without “papers please” checkpoints? Checkpoints everywhere a road passes from North Dakota into South Dakota. Don’t tell me I have a feverish imagination—I wasn’t the one who brought it up. Bans on interstate travel for the unvaccinated wasn’t my idea.

But something like it was his idea just six years ago. He said it would be prudent for the government to require the unvaccinated to stay at home. It seems to me that such a policy would prevent interstate travel. So about that feverish imagination…

Cynical me thinks that Rev. Wilson found himself an issue of real passion to conservative followers on the right and he is riding it. Maybe I didn’t read long enough to find out why he changed his mind, but the difference is striking. While we may not need a comprehensive quarantine, I think he may have been closer to correct the first time. Certainly, vaccine mandates for certain activities (work, school) have precedent and should not arouse the feverish response ginned up by the 2021 Wilson.

 

 

David Barton in the News: Remember His Earned Doctorate and Division One Basketball Stardom?

Self-styled historian David Barton is in the news calling State Department officials “clowns” while he and Glenn Beck claim to rescue people in Afghanistan. Ministry Watch issued an appropriate “close look” at Beck and Barton’s charity — the Nazarene Fund — since it is unclear what they are doing in the midst of this disaster.

I am not an apologist for the Biden Administration’s handling of the end of the American military presence in Afghanistan. However, if David Barton makes a claim, my experience is that it should be checked out. Here are at least two reasons why.

Unearned Doctorate

Almost 5 years ago now, David Barton released the following video on his Facebook and Youtube accounts:

In this video, Barton very clearly claims to have an earned doctorate while, at the same time, he covers it up and fails to say where he got it. THe day after I saw the video, I discovered the “degree” came from church based LIfe Christian University. The school doesn’t offer history or education degrees and isn’t accredited by any recognized agency. It is registered with the IRS as a church and has no campus. Furthermore, Barton never attended any classes nor did he do any specific work for the so-called “earned” degree.” The president of the school just gave him a degree, perhaps for a fee, although that much was not revealed.

When I posted this information, Barton removed the video from his websites and stopped referring to himself as “doctor.” He never mentioned it again and has refused to ever explain or apologize for the deception. To their discredit, no Christian news outlet has ever pursued him and demanded answers about why he castigated progressives for making up stories, when he spun the yarn.

There are so many more reasons to be skeptical but here is just one more.

David Barton’s Division One Airball

IN 2015, David Barton told a seminar audience that he played basketball with the Oral Robert University Division One basketball squad when he attended the school as a student:

The main claim was:

I remember when I was playing basketball, the college stuff that we did. We started every day with a five mile run, then we lifted weights, then we had an hour of racquetball, then we had two hours of full-court basketball, then we came back for another run. It wasn’t particularly enjoyable, but in those years, our college team set the NCAA record for two years in a row for most points scored. We averaged 105, 104, 103 points a game, I forget what it was. But you had to run a lot, it wasn’t a lot of fun, but you get the results.

As it turns out, Barton did not play for the D-1 team at Oral Roberts.

This was confirmed by the NCAA and school records, calls to the university, and the testimonies of the head trainer and a sports reporter for the school paper at the time. He simply didn’t play on the team but told a story that made it sound like he did.

If a man can weave together those kind of stories about himself, shouldn’t we demand a much higher level of verification before we accept what he says about other things?

Did Mark Driscoll Get Me Kicked Off Patheos? (UPDATED)

On May 21 2018, I received an email from COO of Patheos Jeremy McGee that I no longer met the “strategic objectives” of Patheos and therefore would be removed as a blogger from the site. Recently I learned from more than one former staff member of The Trinity Church  about a possible reason why I was evicted without a reason given.  If Mark Driscoll’s bragging is correct, Patheos management decided they would rather have Mark Driscoll’s traffic over mine.  According to the story that I have been told from two sources independently, Mark Driscoll told Patheos that he would not bring his substantial social media traffic to Patheos if I was allowed to stay on the site. In effect, he bragged, he got me kicked off the site.

At the time, the “favored advertiser theory” was one which made some sense. Obviously publishing is a business and if an advertiser/blogger promised to bring in lots of ad money and traffic (more than I was bringing in), then a management mainly in it for the profit would have to consider that. I could never get confirmation of the theory or prove who would be vindictive enough to actually pursue that gangster move.

As far as who might consider such a move, I thought of several candidates. Driscoll’s name did come up. After all, he told Tim Gaydos if Tim moved away from Mars Hill and planted his own church, Driscoll would tear it down brick by brick. You can hear that quote from Gaydos in the opener of every Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast episode. However, at the time, I could only speculate. Now, I have more than one reliable source with the same story of Driscoll bragging about getting me kicked of the site.

Not only was I told I had to stop blogging, my blog  was taken down so that all links throughout the web which pointed to my Patheos address no longer work. In effect, there was an effort to silence the writing.

Let it sink in a minute: Mark Driscoll met Patheos’ “strategic objectives” while I did not.

At the time, no reason was given beyond my blog no longer met their “strategic objectives.” I was given my blog content and allowed to host it on a friend’s server. That is the arrangement to this day. There are still numerous weblinks pointing to Patheos.com/wthrockmorton which are dead and lead to “410 Gone” on their site. I don’t get any reporting of the page views, but I would sure like to know how many views they have forfeited.

The irony is that Driscoll hasn’t posted on Patheos since July 2020. Forgive me for laughng about that.

I contacted Phil Fox Rose who was one of the Patheos editors at the time and who communicated to other Patheos bloggers about the decision. He is no longer with Patheos, however he wouldn’t tell me anything except he didn’t talk to Driscoll personally. That doesn’t mean much since he wasn’t a decision maker. He must have signed a non-disclosure agreement since he said he can’t talk about anything else at Patheos.

I also wrote the former COO of Patheos McGee to see if he could confirm or deny Driscoll’s bragg. I waited several days but haven’t heard anything.

So I am just putting this out there. I don’t know if it is true or not but this is the story Driscoll has told according to some of his former staff.

PS – If anybody else knows anything about any of this, my DMs are open so to speak.

UPDATE: Just talked to someone today who spoke to Grace Driscoll as The Trinity Church was opening during the summer of 2016. According to my source, Driscoll said her husband was trying to get Patheos to kick me off the platform back then. It took him a year but he made it on the site by late 2017. I was gone by May 2018.

 

Fall of Mars Hill Church: August 2014 Timeline (with a Bonus Section on Dealing with Bloggers)

August 2014 was a critical month in the demise of Mars Hill Church. Seven years ago this month, the church experienced multiple blows from which it never recovered. For those reliving that year via the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast, this post provides some context for what may have been the most consequential month of the year. The links take you to my blog posts in 2014.

August 1 – A former colleague and co-founder of one of the first Acts 29 churches, Ron Wheeler, accused Mark Driscoll of plagiarizing material from his work.

August 2 – The church announced that James MacDonald stepped down from the Board of Advisors and Accountability. The BOAA was basically a group of Driscoll’s friends who by bylaw had oversight of the church, but they did not attend Mars Hill. MacDonald has been a long time supporter of Driscoll and this was seen as a move that made Driscoll vulnerable.

August 2Christianity Today published an apology from Driscoll about comments he made on a Mars Hill Church message board calling the U.S. “a pussified nation.” This brought the mysoginistic William Wallace comments into public scrutiny again.

August 3 – A group of former members held a demonstration in front of the church with picket signs and media converage. Previously, Driscoll had told the church he couldn’t respond to many of the charges against him because they were made by anonymous people. This set off a wave of angry public responses from former members on Facebook culminating in this August 3 protest and a Facebook group that exists to this day.

August 7 – Planter of the first Acts 29 church, Ron Wheeler, penned an open letter to his former colleague Mark Driscoll and asked him to resign.

August 8 – Acts 29 Network evicted Mars Hill Church and former network co-founder and president Mark Driscoll from membership. I broke this story with the correspondence from Acts 29. Just prior to announcing their decision to remove the church and pastor from the network, the Acts 29 board said this: “Based on the totality of the circumstances, we are now asking you to please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help.”

August 9 – Lifeway Christian Bookstores confirmed to me that Mark Driscoll’s books would no longer be available via their bookstores.

August 12 – Popular biblical counselor Paul David Tripp broke his silence about why he resigned from Mars Hill’s Board of Advisors and Accountability. He claimed having outside advisors doesn’t work. Local elders are needed for accountability.

August 12 – Mark Driscoll was canceled from an Act Like Men conference.

August 14 – Mars Hill canceled their annual Resurgence Conference.

August 15 – Mark Driscoll was withdrawn as the closing speaker at the Gateway Church Conference.

August 18 – Public questions were raised about the cancellation of a promised Jesus Festival at the church since the church had raised millions of dollars via year end giving appeals. One major reason given for the appeal was to fund the festival.

August 21 – I published the charges brought against Mark Driscoll by 21 formal elders. These charges formed the basis for a later investigation by a group of current elders. They found him guilty and declared him to be disqualified as an elder. They offered him a plan of restoration. While Mars Hill’s two board haggled over the matter, Driscoll resigned without accepting the verdict of the investigating board.

August 22 – The New York Times covered the formal charges story.

August 24 – Mark Driscoll announced that he will take at least six weeks off while the charges against him are investigated.

August 28 – Nine current Mars Hill elders wrote a lengthy letter to the rest of the elders, executive elders, and Board of Advisors and Accountability with recommendations that Driscoll enter a plan of restoration (instead of just take time off), the communication from the BOAA become more honest, and the church to change their governance avay from non-local governance. The document laying out these demands was leaked to me and published on this date.

August 29 – A petition started by former member Dave Lester called on the Mars Hill leadership to follow the recommendations of the nine current elders regarding a Driscoll restoration plan, governance change, and more clear communication from leadership of the church.

August 30 – The Mars Hill Executive Elders released a statement saying that donations were down due to an “increase in negative media attention.”

As a bonus, I will add the advice I gave Mars Hill then to decrease negative media attention. They didn’t follow it and The Trinity Church isn’t following it now. But I think it is still pretty good advice. What do you think?

To decrease negative media attention, follow these tips:

1. Don’t use church funds to manipulate literary best seller lists to make your pastor appear to be a best selling author.  In a related tip, don’t cover it up and threaten staff not to disclose this fact. Furthermore, when it is revealed, reduce the number of explanations from three to one that is accurate.

2. Advise the lead pastor to avoid offending people with vulgarities, name-calling and bullying.

3. Don’t spend dedicated funds meant for ministers in third world nations on nice facilities to expand the Mars Hill brand.

4. If you say you are raising money for a Jesus Festival, you should have a pretty big party.

5. Don’t ignore requests for information from media and members. When members want to see the bylaws or know where their money was spent, comply. When media ask for an accounting of how you spend money, disclose that information. Remember, it wasn’t your money and the information is in the public interest. Refusing to disclose looks like you are hiding something. It is not too late to follow this tip.

6. Don’t make technically correct, but misleading statements to the public and press. The press and the public are smart enough to see through that. Eventually even people who want to give you the benefit of the doubt will see through it.

7. Going forward, revamp the whole Board of Elders/BOAA thing. Most of the people who have been appointed to these positions are known vocal and financial supporters of Mark Driscoll. This will all come out soon. The verdict, if favorable to Driscoll, will invite another “increase in negative media attention.” For the sake of balance and fairness, you should appoint some of the nine elders who wrote you a letter to the group who will examine the charges against Rev. Driscoll. Another possibility is that everyone who has presided over the church during the season of increased negative media attention should step aside. The BOAA should change the bylaws to allow the current elders to elect new executives and get a fresh start. I suspect that would lead to a decrease in negative media attention.

I may think of some additional tips. I imagine that people who comment on this post will add some as well.

In short, be more transparent about what you are doing in the name of God. Mars Hill Church has become known for the mysteries it hides more so than for the mysteries of the Gospel it proclaims. This, brothers and sisters, should not be so.

Sound familiar?

 

Postcards from Phoenix: Friends May Not Be Friends Forever at The Trinity Church

This postcard from Phoenix highlights the role of distrust in bringing people into the orbit of the church. Kim Thompson had a preexisting distrust of media and the leaders of The Trinity Church used that to reduce her critical thinking about the promises made by the church leaders.

This story also revisits the recurring theme of friendship as a weapon. Apparently, Michael W. Smith would not be at home at Mark Driscoll’s church. When people leave The Trinity Church, friends are not friends forever.

Kim summarized her thoughts about the church by describing common themes of “control, manipulation, and fear mongering.”

She closes her message by challenging those who feel the stories of those who are leaving The Trinity Church are irrelevant to them. Those hurt by The Trinity Church didn’t want to leave. Everyone felt distant from the problems until they came home to them. She appeals to those who remain to consider the common good.

Dear Warren:

Our story at The Trinity Church began in December of 2019. We were attending another church in the valley at the time. We had been there for nearly 5 years. While we liked the church and tried hard, we didn’t feel we could get fully plugged in. We are not people who normally sit on the sidelines at churches. When the head pastor left to go to another job, some friends of ours mentioned that they were going to The Trinity Church, so we decided to visit. We knew Mark from the past but had not heard that he had another church in Phoenix. After one visit, we were hooked. The preaching was dynamic, and we loved the people. We went to the “Team Trinity” meeting and were so impressed with how eager everyone was to get us involved and serving. Since this was what we had been longing for at our old church, it was almost too good to be true….

We had been involved in a small Acts29 church plant here in the valley previously and have followed Mark since the 90’s, listening to his sermons online. We knew a lot of what had happened at Mars Hill, but honestly he seemed repentant and we had high hopes that he had healed from all of it. We even bought in when he said from the pulpit, “don’t believe everything you read online” and how evil the media can be, which we all have seen to be true, especially this year.

I began attending the Flourish women’s groups at night, my husband and I began leading a life group, our son began serving in the children’s ministry and even was able to join the flagship “Jr. Intern” program that began last summer. “The Backyard” was such a welcoming place where we visited after church with the pastors and staff and on Wednesday nights ate hamburgers together before the groups that night. It truly felt like a family. When the pandemic hit and church was cancelled, we were so sad because this church had truly become home to us and we couldn’t wait to attend every Sunday. When the church reopened, it was such a sanctuary for our family; the only place we could go each week that was “normal.” Our kids and our family were truly thriving here. Our 15 year old son became best friends with Mark’s son. It was such a gift. They got baptized together along with many others on the Jr. Intern team. Our married daughter and her husband starting attending as well when they moved back here from Colorado and our older college age sons attended as well when they were home. What a sweet time for our family, we filled an entire row each Sunday at the 11 am service.

Everything seemed perfect…until December of this past year. We had the interns at our home for a sleepover when I got the call from Pastor Mark. He was concerned that we had left the interns alone for 30 min with some other teenage girls at our home. I was arriving home from an event and got back a little later than I had planned. I basically got reprimanded from him. His first question was “Is your husband home?” (not gonna lie I was a bit taken aback that he didn’t even seem to know my husband’s name when his son spent so much time at our house) Bruce was on a hunting trip so he was not there. Then the interrogation began. I felt like I was talking to the principal after getting in trouble at school. The conversation ended with him saying “We are coming to get (Driscoll’s minor son).”* Grace came to get the interns and ended up taking them to his house for a sleepover (which I was confused about because of his daughter dating one of the interns, it seemed strange that they could sleep in the same house yet his son couldn’t be alone with girls for an hour at my house….) When Grace came in my house I told her how the conversation made me feel. I even began to cry because I was so upset and felt so vulnerable due to his tone with me and the lack of grace shown in the situation. She was very apologetic and said that I would not have known their family rules, etc. and that they were “under attack” due to baptisms taking place that weekend so they were kind of on edge. (I now see that this is the tactic used when they sin against someone, it is all “spiritual attack”. Convenient way to not deal with their bad behavior) I’m not going to lie though I kind of expected an email maybe from him at least apologizing for how it was handled. I now see why that was a ridiculous expectation.

We then heard murmurings from people about Dustin’s [Blatnik – former woship pastor] mysterious disappearance from leading worship. We heard that “he wasn’t leading his family well.” We found it interesting that he just disappeared with no explanation from the pulpit. I have never experienced that before. Normally even when a pastor is dismissed there is something said, wishing him well or explaining if there truly was sin involved.

In the fall a guy that had been in our life group was asked to leave the church over an incident that happened with him and another life group. I only heard the story second hand and actually at the time thought “wow, I’ve never been at a church where they actually practice church discipline” and was kind of impressed. Little did I know this would become a common practice……Fast forward to March when the Manuele’s situation happened. Katherine and I were friends and I realized I hadn’t seen her for several weeks at church which was unusual because they were normally there every week. I reached out to her via text to check in and that was when I heard about what happened with the intern (Katherine’s son) and Mark’s daughter. I was shocked. I literally could not believe something like that could happen at a church?! (See these links for this story – here, here and here).

A few weeks later we had made dinner plans with another couple. The wife cancelled at the last minute and just told me that “something unexpected had come up and they could use some prayer.” I figured maybe someone was sick or something. After a few weeks went by of not seeing them at church, I reached out to her. You can imagine my shock when I heard their story that they were also asked to leave the church! Now this was getting weirder by the day…

I began noticing security following Grace on Wednesday nights. She seemed to have her own bodyguard watching her every move. It seemed oddly paranoid to me. My daughter and I didn’t like the way Caleb (Grace’s security guard) stared at the women from the side of the room while we were worshipping on Wednesday nights. One night my daughter and I arrived early and tried to go into the meeting room..we were stopped and questions by security. We noticed more and more security present on Sundays, including the ushers following people to the bathroom and then back to their seats! This seemed very paranoid to us. There were the security guys poised in the front near the stage just staring out into the crowd. It felt like we were at a rally for the president or something…

I also never liked the “resource list” that was on the website that we were directed to use as table leaders so as not to recommend any books that may not be “sound.” One time Grace forwarded me an email from someone at my table who was looking for help in reading her Bible I was called out on a separate email because I gave her a blog that was for scripture writing that was not “approved.” I understood the idea behind this but it always gave me pause…I now see it was just another form of control.

We began noticing more and more people disappearing from church. Then we heard the stories about how people were told who they should and shouldn’t be friends with. We heard about the Manuele’s being surveilled. Could this actually be true that a church would involve their pastors in following a family?? Bruce called Carl (a staff pastor) at this time to ask him what the heck was going on. He was told that all these people were just out to get Mark. He stated that “they knew they would lose about 1000 people over this.” He seemed unbothered by the amount of people leaving. We began to feel more and more unease about attending the church any longer. We were heartbroken to even have to think about leaving as our family had grown so much and our son was so involved with the Jr. Interns, serving 3 days a week and loving it.

We have now heard about the families of his married kids who are being shunned. This is totally unacceptable and straight out of Scientology and what they call “Disconnection” which is “the severance of all ties between a Scientologist and a friend, colleague, or family member deemed to be antagonistic towards Scientology.”

I decided to make my exit from Flourish on the second to last week as we were leaving for our son’s wedding and would miss the last week. I had heard how people were shunned once they gave notice that they were leaving the church and did not want to not be able to say goodbye to my group of ladies at my table whom I loved so very much. I waited until the end of Bible study to tell them. I simply told them that my husband and I had prayed and decided that we were leaving Trinity and if anyone wanted to talk about it I was not going to talk there but could be reached outside of church. I had planned to send my resignation email that night after I got home. God had other plans….one of the ladies at my table ran to Grace after the meeting and told her I was leaving. Grace literally chased me down asking to talk to me. She brought me into the main area where women were leaving Bible Study. She asked me what was going on. I told her we were leaving the church and proceeded to tell her every single concern we had. All she could say was “they are all lies” and that she couldn’t believe I was buying into all the lies. When I brought up the December incident about the interns and how shocked I was that Mark never apologized, she had the audacity to say “I apologized for him.” I told her that my husband doesn’t make me do his dirty work. 🙂 When I asked her who we could contact with our concerns about how Mark and his staff were treating people, she told me “the overseers” and “the pastors.” I told her I had heard that people were contacting the overseers and no one was responding. I told her about Bruce’s conversations with Carl and that all he could say was the same thing, “they are all lies.” I finally had to walk away from the conversation as I had to pick up my kids.

Later that night, my son, _____ received the sweetest text from ________ (Driscoll’s son)*. I was heartbroken knowing that most likely their friendship was over. But that did not seem to be the case at the time. Driscoll’s son affirmed their friendship and even told my son that he hoped they could remain friends and still get together. We cried that night tears of joy for this small miracle as their friendship had been so sweet. Fast forward two weeks when my son realized that both Driscoll kids had “unfriended” him on social media. When my son questioned this saying, “I thought you said we could still be friends?” Driscoll’s son replied with “I am getting rid of all the people I follow that don’t go to the church.” Wow. Can’t say this was unexpected, but it was painful. Seems that they are teaching their kids to treat people the same way they treat them. So sad.

Leaving was certainly not easy. Looking back, I see how the cultish aspects of Trinity really took a hold on me. I have left churches in the past (never for these reasons) and it was never this difficult or emotional. Now that we are “out,” I have spoken to so many more who all have very similar stories. They are unique but have  common themes to them – control, manipulation, and fear mongering. There is no way that these are all a coincidence or lies. None of these people were “out to get Mark.” They all loved the church as much as we did and did not want to leave. Many that I speak to who have remained at the church say things like “none of these situations affected me or my family personally”, or “he is just such a good teacher” or “look how much fruit there is at the church” or “these people just don’t like Mark.” These are all things coming from leadership and used to get into people’s heads so they don’t leave.

We are still heartbroken that this happened. We were so hopeful that this time around Mark was going to be able to handle the fame and attention of being a pastor of a large church but it is clear that is not the case. We pray that he steps down before he does any more damage to his followers.

Before I close, let me add some words to Trinity attenders who think none of these situations directly impact you. I don’t know how this can’t impact you knowing that your pastor, who is supposed to be your shepherd and actually protect his sheep is in actuality harming many of the sheep in his care. It may not be you, your family or anyone you know but how can you ignore the stories of those who have experienced abuse? I know the answer everyone is being told to give is “It’s all lies” but what would be their motivation for lying? Everyone I know who has left did not wish to leave, they were either forced to or were like us and just couldn’t continue to attend a church that has no elders or accountability for the man that is in charge, especially when he has shown in the past to be dangerous to those under him. The heart of those of us who have left is for open eyes and to put Jesus back on the throne that Mark is currently sitting on. Mark frequently says “It’s all about Jesus” but how can that be when so many are getting hurt and no one seems to care? Just some thoughts for you to ponder on as you sit under his elderless leadership.

Kim Thompson

*I decided to remove the names of minor childen (Throckmorton)

To read all of the Postcards from Phoenix, click here.