Mark Driscoll Announces Launch of The Trinity Church (UPDATED)

In an email to supporters and a You Tube video, Mark and Grace Driscoll have announced the formation of The Trinity Church. I reported late last year that Driscoll had formed the legal corporation along with Jimmy Evans and Randall Taylor.  At the time, I asked rhetorically if the launch would be in January. I was close.
Watch:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53ta7rOJmgU[/youtube]
The website is TheTrinityChurch.com. The church is named after Grace Driscoll’s home church in the Seattle area. So far, the church is a P.O. Box (see some pics here).
In what appears to be comparable to Mars Hill Church’s Board of Advisors and Accountability, Driscoll lists four pastors as providing “wise counsel”: Larry Osbourne, Randal Taylor, Jimmy Evans, and Robert Morris. These pastors have “apostolic gifting.”

Mark and Grace Driscoll have pastors with apostolic gifting who love them, know them, and are invested in them.
We learn from, respect, honor and seek wise counsel from the following leaders, their families, churches and ministries. We also appreciate those ministry leaders praying for and supporting our church plant.

Josh McDowell and Wayne Grudem are on the prayer team. UPDATE: Without note, Wayne Grudem’s name has been removed from the list of prayer supporters.
Andy Girton and Brandon Andersen are listed as associate pastors. Apparently, it is forbidden to mention Mars Hill Church.
Although the incorporation papers say the church won’t have members, The Trinity Church website says the following about membership:

Once the church is established, a class and process for spiritual church membership will be offered.

Sounds similar to Mars Hill in that spiritual members didn’t vote. Legally, they weren’t members for the purpose of being involved in the business of the church.
The board of directors from the Arizona state corporation website is below:
The Trinity Church Directors
 
Click the following links for the posts covering The Trinity Church, Mars Hill Church, and Mark Driscoll.
UPDATE: After the post was published, I noticed another video on Driscoll’s You Tube page, published today. Watch:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWI06YsSa3s[/youtube]
Here he describes the church plant again, but dressed in different clothing. I think the first video about the church plant was shot back in early December based on the clothing and scenery in this December 7 video.
MGDriscoll12072015
 
 

Top Ten Posts in 2015

The ten top posts during 2015 are as follows with the most popular first:
1. Open Letter to Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris from a Former Member of Mars Hill Church – This was posted on November 2, 2014 but remained popular throughout 2015. Driscoll recently joined Jimmy Evans as a director to form The Trinity Church in Phoenix.
2. Former Chief Financial Officer at Turning Point Claims David Jeremiah Used Questionable Methods to Secure a Spot on Best Seller Lists – This story about David Jeremiah’s questionable tactics from a former insider was a scoop but not one which stuck to Jeremiah like  a similar scandal did to Mark Driscoll.
3. Hillsong’s Brian Houston Interviewed Mark and Grace Driscoll After All (VIDEO) (AUDIO) – First, he said he would interview Driscoll, then he said he wouldn’t, then Brian Houston aired an interview with Mark and Grace Driscoll. It was great theatre but didn’t draw good reviews from former Mars Hill leavers.
4. A major study of child abuse and homosexuality revisited – This post from 2009 is one of the most popular articles in the history of the blog. In it, I demonstrate a key mistake in a journal article often used to link homosexuality and child abuse.
5. Southern Baptists Say Enough to Perry Noble and NewSpring Church – I am surprised that this post got so much attention.
6. Gospel for Asia Faces Allegations of Misconduct; GFA Board Investigation Found No Wrongdoing – The GFA story received the most attention from me this year.
7. Pastor of Willow Creek Presbyterian Says Church Reaction to Hiring Tullian Tchividjian is “Overwhelmingly Positive” – I briefly covered Tullian Tchividjian’s comeback as a development minister at a PCA church in FL.
8. A Few Thoughts on The Village Church Controversy – Village Church’s leadership apologized for their response to a young woman who sought a divorce from her husband who had admitted having child porn.
9. Hillsong Founder Brian Houston Issues Statement On Mark Driscoll at the Hillsong 2015 Conference – Mark Driscoll’s return to the spotlight garnered much reader attention.
10. Gospel for Asia’s K.P. Yohannan and the Ring Kissing Ritual – While the financial scandals were of interest to readers, this article ranked higher than the money problems.
To fully capture activity on the blog, one should consider the Gospel for Asia scandals (Patheos considered my coverage as a part of one of their top ten Evangelical stories of 2015).
It has been a good year and I thank my readers and those who support the blog with their comments and regular visits.

Just a Few More Hours to Give to Mark Driscoll Ministries

If you can handle it, you can view Mark Driscoll and his dog asking for money here.
And then if you are lucky enough to be on the mailing list, you have this reminder:
DriscollGift2015
 
A reminder for all the folks at MDM, you have to file a 990 form. Mars Hill didn’t have to do this, but non-church nonprofits do.
 

Seattle's Music Scene and the Ghosts of Mars Hill Church

Today, Kathleen Tarrant in the Stranger brings us a beautifully written tour of the Seattle Indie music during and post the Mars Hill Church years. She makes the case that the early Mars Hill era had an influence on Seattle rock which endures today. Some of that persistence isn’t necessarily to be celebrated as many Christian artists were disillusioned by Mars Hill. For those, who want to understand the bigger themes of the Mars Hill story, I highly recommend this article.
A couple of short segment will give a taste:

The expansion continued in the years that followed. Mars Hill would nearly triple in size between 2006 and 2014, with 15 satellite franchise churches in five states. Driscoll’s fame and influence were expanding, too, and the cracks began to show. He doubled down on his anti-feminist, anti-gay agenda and was soon called out for spiritual abuse, bullying, plagiarism, and generally being a fraud. He was caught leaving abusive comments on internet message boards under a pseudonym. Church funds that had been designated for global outreach and a music festival disappeared. In 2012, a company called ResultSource was paid a reported $200,000 to bulk-buy copies of Driscoll’s book Real Marriage in 2012 to send it to the top of the best-seller list. Acts 29, the “church planting” network that Driscoll cofounded, removed his name from their materials. Members left in droves. A group of 21 former Mars Hill pastors filed formal charges of workplace abuse against Driscoll with the church’s elders.

The rise and fall of MHC has left a, um, mark.

Butcher, a former member of Mars Hill, plays drums in the band Copeland. While a member of the church, he was the drummer for the local Christian indie folk band Ivan & Alyosha, and worked as a designer at Tooth & Nail (his design of the band Underoath’s box set was nominated for a Grammy in 2010). His exit from the church lined up with his exit from the band, and he remembers the stigma of association with the church that followed. People rescinded offers for drumming gigs and cast uncomfortable glances at each other when they found out about his former membership.
“I get it,” he says now. “What happened at Mars Hill hurt so many people, including me. There’s a lot of healing to do, and the more transparent I can be and the more I can listen to people who have concerns about the church and what it did—the same concerns that I have—the better it will turn out.”

I doubt Driscoll will try to reprise the edgy young prophet role he played in Seattle. He seems headed for more of a father figure profit role in Phoenix.
 

Remembering the Prophecy About Mark Driscoll's New Church and Daddy Issues

In late October 2014, just after Mark Driscoll resigned at Mars Hill Church, he showed up at Robert Morris’ Gateway Church pastors conference. He was originally scheduled to speak at the conference but stepped away from the program as the troubles at Mars Hill became more difficult.
In one of the sessions, conference speaker (and apparent co-director of the new The Trinity Church in Phoenix) Jimmy Evans gave a prophecy about Driscoll. According a witness who wrote down the prophecy on an Instagram account, Evans told Driscoll:

You led a great movement as a brother, you will lead a greater one as a father, your later years will surpass your younger.

In a September 3 Q & A session at the Living Springs Grace Association conference in Phoenix, Driscoll provided more detail about the “word from the Lord.” Listen to Driscoll’s description in the first two minutes of this segment of the Q&A (Listen to the entire sermon by going to this amazing website).

Transcript of the first 1:35:

I was trying to make sense of everything that was going on and what I was to learn from it and I was sitting in a pastors conference with a bunch of charismatics and pentecostals because they tend to be the most encouraging and loving I’ve found. And so they invited me just to come and observe and learn and not teach but just to learn and so I was there at this large pastors conference and I’m sitting, you know, near the front row, and I’m just kinda on the verge of losing it all the time, emotional still, and this pastor gets up and says, well before I speak, I have a word for Mark Driscoll, and I was like, aw man, I do not want a word. I just want to sit here and be anonymous and not get the prophetic word. And so, he got up and gave a word that was a word from the Lord and it just cut me to the heart. And what he, the basic gist of what he said was, you left ministry as an angry older brother and you’ll return as a loving father.
And then he pulled me aside afterword in his Ford truck cause that’s where the Shekinah Glory dwells and the good stuff goes down. So we sat in his truck and he said, you started off as a guy who was angry with some bitterness and you attracted a lot of angry bitter young men with father wounds and they picked up on your tone of anger and bitterness.

The prophecy is different in this telling, no doubt influenced by the conversation with Evans in the Ford truck. If this is indeed the Gateway conference word from God, then Evans is helping to bring about his prophecy by partnering with Driscoll with this new venture in Phoenix.
The word of prophecy last October is important now that Driscoll has incorporated a new church apparently with the author of the prophecy. The tone and character of this church will probably be more charismatic and apostolic than Mars Hill. The fulfilling of this “prophetic word” appears to be on the horizon with Driscoll set to return as a spiritual father figure.
In fact, the narrative Driscoll has cultivated is that God has spoken specially to him to get him to this place. Just over a year ago, he was prepared to enter into his elders’ plan for restoration but left that behind because he said God spoke to him and released him from Mars Hill. Now, he returns to ministry as the fulfillment of additional revelation given to Jimmy Evans.
The rest of this audio provides some eyebrow raising commentary by Driscoll on what he perceives to be a massive father wound among young men in America. Driscoll refers to himself as a spiritual father and his wife Grace as a spiritual mother. At 45, he seems to view himself as old.
At 6:21, Driscoll said that he believes

…part of the gifting of apostolic ministry is spiritual parenting. It’s younger leaders looking up and saying that’s like a mom and a dad that I look to and learn from, and I find health and comfort and love under their leadership and in this family of people and churches we look to them in a parental way.

He added that such language can sound cultic if imposed on people. However, because of what he believes is a “massive father wound” in the culture, people learn to look to the pastor and his wife and as parental figures. The rest of his speech dwells on why young men follow “dead guys” like Wesley and Spurgeon. They want distant father figures who do not hold them accountable.
I think some Mars Hill elders might wonder if Driscoll is preaching to himself in the remaining minutes of that speech.
My reaction is that reparenting one’s congregation seems like a prescription for disaster. We have just about put behind us the notion that counselors should reparent clients, I don’t think such a stance should be encouraged among ministers.
In any case, this appeal in September to how he sees his return to ministry might give some clues about the tone and ministry of The Trinity Church. Perhaps, it should have been called My Father’s House or something like that.