Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris Claims to Hold a Doctorate of Literature

Robert Morris has built a megachurch in Southlake Texas which has been rated as the third largest church in America.  Given that significant accomplishment, it seems that self-inflation would be unnecessary. However, in his upcoming book published by the Thomas Nelson imprint of HarperCollins Christian, Morris includes a version of his bio which includes a description of a “doctorate of literature” he claims he holds.  See below from the upcoming book, Truly Free:
MorrisDoctorateLiterature
I wrote the church and Thomas Nelson to ask if this “doctorate of literature” was an earned doctorate. Repeated requests were not answered. This “doctorate” is most likely to be an honorary doctorate of letters given to Morris by the small Bible school housed in his church — The King’s University. Morris is currently the chair of the board of the school.
An earlier 2011 bio described Morris’ doctorate as a “doctor of letters” awarded by TKU. This would have been about a year after TKU’s board awarded it to him.
morrisdoctorateletters
This description of the doctor of letters is closer to the reasons why such honorary degrees are given. However, this bio is still misleading. According to Morris, his main work, The Blessed Life, was ghostwritten. He told his Gateway audience in January of this year that a member of Gateway (David Holland), wrote the book based on on recordings which Morris made in a hotel room.  He said the ghostwriter helped him with several books. As it turns out, Morris was given an honorary doctorate for writing books he didn’t actually write.
I understand that many celebrities don’t write their own books, but it is misleading to consider those celebrities to be accomplished writers. They may have good ideas and have enough money to afford to pay a good writer but those books aren’t representative of the author’s writing ability when the listed author didn’t write them.
So in his new book published by Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian (as well as the bio on the church website), Morris claims to hold a doctorate of literature when in fact, he was given an honorary doctorate from his own school for books he didn’t write.
When it was discovered that Mark Driscoll’s book Real Marriage achieved New York Times best seller status via a marketing scheme, Driscoll stopped using “NYTs best selling author” as a description. That was a commendable move. Of course, the proper thing to do for both publisher and author is to present an accurate description to the public.
The ongoing story of Christian authors embellishing their reputations demonstrates the importance Christian leaders place on peripheral persuasion. Perceived expertise is one of several powerful factors operating via the peripheral route to persuasion. Persuasion theory posits two primary routes to persuasion — central and peripheral. In central route strategies, the persuader offers facts and figures with accuracy being important. An assumption is made that the audience is motivated to carefully consider arguments for and against a proposition.
However, in peripheral route strategies, the assumption is that the audience isn’t highly invested in the process but will nonetheless make a decision or render an opinion. Peripheral route tactics influence people to say yes or make a decision for reasons other than the merits of the case. In the situation above, the publisher and author have embellished credentials to communicate expertise in the service of selling books. There may be more personal motives but the effect is that audience members who are motivated by perceived expertise will attribute expertise to Morris due to the embellishments.
Unfortunately, it appears these kind of tactics are embedded features of evangelical and conservative expressions of Christianity.
UPDATE: Just found this article by Phil Cooke on honorary degrees. Bottom line: One should not refer to the degree as if it was earned, or use Dr. in reference to oneself unless one has an earned doctorate.

Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris: Jesus is God's Tithe and You Might Need to Downsize to Tithe

The man God asks ‘would that be all right with you?’ (according to Jack Hayford), Robert Morris, is teaching on tithing right now at Gateway Church. In the most important message of The Blessed Life series (his words), Morris says Jesus is God’s tithe and invites his congregation to sell stuff to give to the church.
First Jesus is God’s Tithe.

Jesus gets demoted in this teaching. Instead of Jesus being the “fullness of the Godhead bodily,” (Col. 2:9), He is God’s ten percent offering. A question I have is: To whom is God giving His tithe?
Near the end of the sermon, Morris tells his flock that they may need to sell some things to get things right.
[dailymotion]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2fkftz_gateway-church-robert-morris-sell-assets-downsize-your-lifestyle-give-me-the-money_fun[/dailymotion]
“Maybe you need to make some lifestyle changes to do it, maybe you need to sell something to do it, or downsize to do it,” Morris pleads, “Bring it to the house of God.”
I don’t believe we are under the Old Testament law as Christians so I reject teaching on tithing as a legalistic commitment. Morris’ teaching elevates tithing to a requirement which triggers God’s hand. Tithe and you have the Blessed Life. According to Morris, tithing is so important that God used the atonement to teach that God wants your money.
I suspect it does cost a lot to keep up the Retreat Center at Possum Kingdom maintained by the Robert Morris Evangelistic Association.
RMEA 2013 Retreat Use
 

Robert Morris Enlisted Help of a Ghostwriter for His Book on Tithing

Robert Morris, the man who Jack Hayford jokingly said was the “4th member of the trinity,” acknowledged last Sunday morning that he used a ghostwriter to help him write his book on tithing. Watch:

Hayford also said God asked Morris if it would be all right for Hayford to move The King’s University to Gateway Church.
The book is The Blessed Life: The Simple Secret of Achieving Guaranteed Financial Results. According to the book description, this book is life changing.

This book will transform your life for the better, bringing you guaranteed financial results. But it will do more that that. It will change every area of your life: marriage, family, health and relationships. For when God changes your heart from selfishness to generosity, every part of your life-journey is affected. If all believers followed the practical guidance of this book, every church could be built, every nation would have an abundance of missionaries–and all would reap the benefits of having a generous heart. With humor, passion and charity, Robert Morris presents the secrets of living a blessed life both financially and spiritually.

I wonder how the guarantee can be triggered. If I do what it says (Give to the church), and I don’t get rich like Morris, will I get a refund?
BlessedLifeGuaranteed Perhaps, the guarantee was problematic in some way because the subtitle was changed to “Unlocking the Rewards of Generous Giving” in a subsequent edition. The book’s message is that God will bless you if you give to Him (meaning the church). Morris said in the video, he doesn’t teach “give to get” but rather “give to give.” This seems like a distinction without a difference to me. The bottom line, even if he doesn’t guarantee it, is that one is to give to the church with the expectation that you will get something from God in exchange.
Morris is certainly correct when he says he has been blessed financially. He has at least two homes, one in a resort are (Possum Kingdom Lake), and a slew of other blessings, according to those who are close to the church.
 
In 2011, he was offering money back guarantees. Watch:
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/24666845[/vimeo]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

God Consults Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris on Future of King's University

I have heard many things from megachurch pastors that made me do a double-take. The subject of this post ranks up near the top of the list. According to Apostolic elder Jack Hayford, God asked Morris if it would be all right for The King’s University to move to Gateway Church.  At Gateway’s First Conference going on now, Hayford made this claim. Watch:
[dailymotion]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2dz0jn_full-story-hayford-calls-morris-4th-member-of-trinity[/dailymotion]
According to Hayford (who Morris had just compared to the Apostle Paul), Morris wanted Hayford to relate the story:

Three weeks ago I was with the Lord in my morning time with Him and He said ‘Robert, if Pastor Jack asks you to have Gateway be the host site for the King’s University, would that be all right with you? And Robert said to me, ‘And I said to the Lord, yes.’

Hayford then called attention to the incredible claim that God asked Morris if the move would be all right by saying God had never asked Hayford for permission. He then joked that Morris was the 4th person of the Trinity.
Do you suppose the Lord called Jack Hayford, Pastor Jack? I wonder if He had a back up plan in case Morris said no. Apparently, Gateway is such a big deal that even God addresses the Apostolic elders as “pastor” and asks permission.
 

The David Barton Cover Up: More on Gregg Frazer’s Critique of David Barton’s America’s Godly Heritage

On Monday, I wrote about a time in 2012 when David Barton was confronted by evangelical historians. I linked to a devastating critique of Barton’s America’s Godly Heritage by Gregg Frazer, professor of history at The Master’s College.  Much of the critique is helpful even if one has not seen Barton’s DVD because Frazer includes enough of the context to make the critiques clear. However, there is one section which might not be as clear as the others. To help readers use the critique well, I want to provide some additional context.

Specifically, I refer to this section of Frazer’s critique:

Barton’s claims about the percentage of quotes directly from the Bible or based on the Bible or from “men who used the Bible to write their conclusions” are gross misrepresentations that are too confusing and complex to explain briefly here. A few comments will have to suffice. First, his percentages are blown out of proportion. He notes that a study found the Bible to have the highest percentage of citations (34%) and he claims that another 60% came from “men who used the Bible to write their conclusions”; consequently, he claims that “94% of the quotes of the Founders were based on the Bible.” First, neither the 60% number nor the 94% number come from the study – Barton made those up. Second, the study is careful to note that “reprinted sermons accounted for almost three-fourths of the biblical citations, making this nonsermon source of biblical citations roughly as important as the Classical or Common Law categories [10%].” Most importantly, while Barton appeals to this study during his discussion of the framing of the Constitution, the study says that during the debate on the U.S. Constitution, “the Bible’s prominence disappears” and “(t)he debate surrounding the adoption of the Constitution was fought out mainly in the context of Montesquieu, Blackstone, the English Whigs, and major writers of the Enlightenment.” Even at that, the percentages are misleading in and of themselves, as misapplication and misinterpretations of passages (abuse of the Bible) are counted the same as proper use. Satan quotes the Bible (e.g. Luke 3:10-11) too, but that does not indicate any righteousness or interest in promoting Christianity on his part.

The study in question was conducted by Donald Lutz and Charles Hyneman, both then at the University of Houston. Frazer is correct in his criticisms but there is more that can be said about Barton’s misuse of the study. For that additional information, please see my prior post on how the Institute on the Constitution mimics Barton’s errors and then this post by Jim Allison and Tom Peters.

This is a case where Barton cites the study improperly, and then fails to cite all of the relevant sections of the study. Barton’s main argument is that the founders used the Bible as a foundation for our form of government. However, Lutz and Hyneman demonstrate that the Federalist defenders of the Constitution did not refer to the Bible once in their writings.  On page 194 of the study, Lutz charts the analysis of the citations in the Federalist and Antifederalist papers.

LutzHyneman

Note that the Bible was not cited at all by the Federalists. It was those who opposed various aspects of the Constitution, the Antifederalists, who cited the Bible.  While Lutz and Hyneman are fair in their research, Barton spins and omits relevant information to twist their argument beyond recognition.

The title of this post begins by calling attention to what I call “the David Barton cover up.” Religious right leaders know about the many critiques from Christian academics but those leaders choose to ignore them. David Barton’s fractured history is apparently too important to challenge. Major organizations (e.g., Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Liberty University, Gateway Church) and individuals (e.g., David Lane, Glenn Beck, Sen. Ted Cruz) are aware of the findings of numerous conservative Christian historians. However, the work of these scholars does not matter. Countless state and federal legislators have been led astray which has consequences for the state of our political process.

These organizations and leaders are responsible as are Christian media sources who fail to ask these leaders hard questions; it remains to be seen if they will ever do the right thing.

 

Robert Morris at Gateway Church: I Know How to Build a Healthy Church

Since Robert Morris snubbed his nose at the elders of Mars Hill Church, I have been curious about the third largest church in the nation. As noted earlier today, sources within Gateway and Mars Hill have indicated that Driscoll may be on the way back. If he does make a come back, Driscoll might credit Morris. Morris told his pastors’ conference that he has been advising Driscoll and he has an obvious track record. In fact, Morris boasted about this ability last night to his church. Watch:
[youtube]http://youtu.be/nTf17lw7_8o[/youtube]
Morris claims divine revelation to make a point that the Bible already makes. Why should we believe him? Not because of the teaching of the faith but because he has built a big church. I suspect former Mars Hill folks will hear something familiar in this. The leaders hear from God and the proof is in the success of the church.
 

Sources: Mark Driscoll Considering a Return to Ministry

According to reliable sources within Gateway Church and Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll is exploring a return to ministry in either Texas or California. I have been hearing this since Driscoll appeared on stage during the Gateway pastor’s conference in October, but only recently have sources within both Gateway and Mars Hill confirmed it.
According to sources who want to remain unnamed due to fears of retaliation, Driscoll has been offered assistance from Robert Morris to help set up a church plant in Southern California. Somewhere in Texas could be targeted if Southern CA does not work out.
Driscoll has long wanted to be in Southern California.
 

Open Letter to Gateway Pastor Robert Morris From a Former Member of Mars Hill Church

I have a few comments at the end…
……………………………………………
Dear Robert Morris, Senior Pastor at Gateway Church in Dallas,
I believe you owe the folks who have ever loved Mars Hill Church an apology.  Or two.
I watched a Youtube clip of the Gateway Conference in Dallas from a couple weeks ago where you made a little speech about how we ought to think about and behave towards Mark Driscoll.  That clip is here.
Robert, I would give you a pass if you were a young pastor.  But you’re not.  You lead the 3rd largest church in the U.S. it appears.  And to make matters worse, your comment was in front of leaders at the Gateway Conference, who came to you looking for teaching (and modeling) on how to lead.  Plus, it was posted to the internet, where 100,000 folks have viewed it so far.
My honest reaction?  The whole clip made me throw up in my mouth a little.
So what is my beef with what you said?  I have two main issues:

  • You implied that Mark’s troubles primarily stem from bad media and mistakes, not sin.

Your statements on the video were (and I quote):
“I want you to know that everything you read on the internet is not true.”
“most of what you read is not true.  some of it is, he did make some mistakes”
“When I say he made some mistakes, he preached for 10-12 years, 50 weeks a year, sometimes 6 services a weekend.  Its just not healthy.  I’m glad that he’s saying ‘help me, help me learn to do it differently.”
“here’s what i figure:  we’ve got two choices. one is we could crucify him, but since someones already been crucified for him (big applause).  the other choice is we could restore him with a spirit of gentleness, considering ourselves lest we are also tempted.”
“its very sad, that in the church, we’re the only army that shoots at our wounded.  and i want you to stop it.”
“we invited Mark and Steve (Furtick) and they both got bad media this year (camera shot of the two shaking hands while you laugh).  it is surprising that we believe so quickly what we read about a brother in Christ whom we’ve never even met.”
What is wrong with this?
Let me lead with a bible verse on this:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.  James 3:1
Robert, you are an experienced Bible teacher, holding the office of pastor and therefore held to a higher standard than the average person yammering on Facebook.   Where are you getting your information about what is and isn’t true about Mark’s tenure at Mars Hill?   His own board of elders and the pastors at his church presented him with a restoration plan after an exhaustive investigation.   You can read about it here.   In fact, the logical conclusion of these findings is that Mark has disqualified himself as an elder once he walked away from Mars Hill,  until he comes back and goes through a process of repentance and restoration.  You can read more about that here, from a current Mars Hill pastor.
Robert, the first thing I suggest you need to publicly apologize for is being reckless in how you handled the truth in your teaching on the topic of Mark Driscoll.  Yes, I agree you can’t believe everything you read on the internet or hear from the media.  But sometimes a person gets bad media because they deserve it, yes?   Before you spoke to thousands of leaders about the Mark Driscoll situation publicly (and tens of thousands more on the internet) the office you hold should have compelled you to personally talk to the Mars Hill elders and see why Mark was being asked to engage in a restoration plan.
When you labeled Mark’s behaviors as “mistakes’ you undermined the literally hundreds of hours work of the leaders chosen by God to oversee Mark’s behavior in Seattle and in my view, put yourself on the opposite side of the issue from God.  That is correct, I am saying that God was clearly speaking through Mark’s elders at Mars Hill when they presented him with a restoration plan…and when you ignored that with your comments, you opposed God.
You made it sound as if Mark was in a job interview and was asked “so what’s your biggest weakness?” (best answer? “oh, i care too much and work too hard”).  In other words, Mark made the mistake of working too hard and you are going to help him with that.  Did you think we in Seattle hadn’t noticed Marks preaching frequency? (by the way, its been a long time since Mark has been preaching that much.  We’ve heard the adrenal fatigue story for many years now.  Marks ‘mistakes’ are much, much more recent than that).
Those of us at Mark Driscoll Ground Zero are sensing a general pattern.  Marks behavior catches up with him; Mark blames others.  I have often said to my wife after listening to Marks’ explanations of what is wrong, that if our kids came to us when they were little with the tales he tells I would ask them to go back to their rooms and think about it until they were really ready to take responsibility.  Your comments disrespect the years of love and work and prayer that others have put into trying to make things right at Mars Hill.  You in short said, “Hey Mars Hill, don’t you know that Mark is being unfairly persecuted by the media, by internet trolls, by judgmental Christians?  Here, let me set you straight.”   Can you see how that sounds presumptuous?
Mark is in trouble because Mark sinned.  Not because he just made mistakes (though he made those too).  If you want to know how he sinned, ask the elders who investigated.  Ask the 21 former Mars Hill pastors who he has still not reconciled with. Ask the 9 pastors/elders who spoke out (and most of whom lost their jobs).  Ask Matt Chandler and those at Acts 29.  Ask about the Real Marriage book debacle.   Ask about the the poor in Ethiopia who got a small fraction of what they were due from the Global Fund money that donors thought was going direct to them,  while the rest went to other Mars Hill enterprises (though the money was restricted funds and could not legitimately be used that way) including to Mark’s apparent $500K-$600K+ annual salary (plus of course a $200K housing allowance on top of that for total compensation of $700-800K per year).  Do you think God likes people living on dollars a day in Ethiopia to be shortchanged so Mark can get a raise? (let me be clear; I am not saying that stealing from Ethiopian’s was Mark’s motive.  I am saying that was the consequence of a series of events that occurred under his watch, for which he is ultimately accountable as the leader).
When we at Mars Hill church were asked to dig deep and give in 2012, and were told by Executive Elder Sutton Turner that Mars Hill was financially in a ‘big mess’, Mark Driscoll that same year received a raise from $365K to $503K.  Does something not seem ‘off’ to you about that series of events?
How does it happen to be that when the dust settles from this Epic Fail, Mark is a millionaire with an estate in Woodway from his time at Mars Hill while the others that are left to clean up the mess are without jobs or churches?   What is wrong with that picture?
You are not disqualified as an elder for ‘making a mistake’ or being vilified by the media.  S-I-N is the problem.  And Robert I believe you have unknowingly poured more gas on that fire by saying what you did and giving Mark a platform and a mic to continue on with his stories.  I will use your own words from the video:  “Please stop.”
Robert, you presume when you imply that those of us at Mars Hill have quickly judged (or are ‘crucifying’ him in your words) Mark in these matters based on a  few internet blog posts or media reports.  Many people have given the best years of their lives at Mars Hill.  Most everyone who has ever been involved with Mars Hill is accustomed to taking heat, defending the church in small ways with friends, family, outsiders. For YEARS we have  patiently defended Mark’s behavior.
We have not been blind to Marks tendencies, but we have extended him charity (rope?) as we should have, trusting Jesus to work with his willing heart in transformation, a path we all travel.  Instead it appears he, with his stubborn refusal to accept a restoration plan from God, has  hung himself with that rope we intended as a lifeline and trampled on that charity.  Even when Marks behavior has been challenged (and there are many examples, many, including those noted in this letter) Mars Hill top leaders (modeled by Mark) were expert in dismissing those who challenged them; Steve Tompkins, Mars Hill pastor, bravely names this sin now as “ad hominem’ in his open letter .
Mark is making more than just ‘mistakes’, and its not just from working too hard.  I agree with you that Jesus is the answer. I thank God that He was crucified for us and all our sins.  Mine, yours, Marks.  Jesus wants the Kingdom of God to reign, here in this situation and in every situation.   Jesus says:  “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15.   Jesus marries repentance with the Kingdom coming.  This is all we are asking of Mark: repent, so he and those he has harmed can experience the fullness of the Kingdom.  And now I ask it of you as well since you have injected yourself into the situation.

  • You provided cover for Mark to run from his God appointed accountability.

You said in your video:
“there are some pastors in his life, myself included, who are speaking into his life, and he’s listening.”
Here is what Mark said after you gave him the mic:
“I’m in a season of ‘healin’ up, praying, asking the Lord Jesus through wise counsel to show me any blind spots where i can grow.”
“Every pastor needs a pastor.”
Robert, the steam was not even done rising off the dead body that was Mark’s ‘lifetime commitment’ turned resignation at Mars Hill when we find him in Texas with a microphone you put into his hand.  Telling us that he’s there looking for ‘blind spots’.  ‘Repenting’.  Apparently looking for a pastor to pastor him. You tell us he’s ‘listening’.
Now the cynic in me says that Mark was down in Texas beginning a public image rehab campaign that will eventually lead to him being offered a position to head another church, in another state, after sufficient time has passed.
But I’ll try to be charitable here.  Let’s take him at his word.  He’s out hunting for blind spots, ways to repent, looking for pastoral mentorship.
We from Mars Hill have a suggestion for him:  he could start with the restoration plan from his own God appointed elders at the church he just ran away from   You want blind spots?  Ask Dave Kraft and the other former pastors.  I bet they have a couple of ideas for him.
Mark needs a pastor?  How about Paul Tripp, who knows him well and already offered to help.  Mark respected him enough to have him on his ‘Board of Non Accountability’ at one time.  Paul in fact pastors pastors for a living it seems (Paul by the way said our situation at Mars Hill was the most messed up he’d ever seen, so we’re still #1 in something).
Robert, I don’t fault you for being a friend to Mark; we all need friends.  I do however think you have sinned by undermining the God given accountability structure that Mark himself help create and then escaped from.  Wisdom would have been to march Mark right back to the crime scene and force him to face the music.  This you did not do.   Instead you provided cover for his sin with your comments and a microphone to allow him to Continue The Story.   I think you owe the elders and pastors and those whom Mark has truly harmed, a big public apology. I will assume you did what you did for compassionate reasons Robert, but a sin is a sin; man up and acknowledge it publicly.
Let me finish by addressing a few other reasonable questions or objections about what I’m saying here.
First who am I and what gives me the right to say these things?  My name is Mike O’Neil and my biggest claim to fame is staying married to my wife for nearly 29 years and raising two kids that I’m proud are mine.  I attended Mars Hill for roughly 8 years and was a member at two campuses at different times:  Shoreline and University District.  I was a deacon and led a community group, among other volunteer activities.  I was never on staff, or on the “inside.”  I was just your “pretty involved” Mars Hill member like so many.  Nothing special, Joe Average.
What gives me the right to say these things?  I would not call it a right.  I’ll call it a responsibility.  I actually have been sitting on these thoughts for almost two weeks.  I really didn’t want to say anything.  I thought, surely someone else would say what I think needs saying.  After all, who am I anyway?  And what’s the point, it will likely have no impact.  And I’ve got better things to do.  What’s my upside in this?  I see only downside. And folks will criticize me (you know that whole friendly fire analogy you used; I’m familiar with that experience).
But I’ve been a follower of Jesus now for going on 35 years.  And after that length of time, you know when the Holy Spirit is not letting you off the hook on something.  No matter how much I tried to ignore this whole thing, I couldn’t.  I waited for others to challenge your comments publicly, and I saw nothing.  And as I went through my objections, I realized they didn’t hold water.  Who am I? No one.  But Moses thought that same thing (Please know that I am not generally comparing myself to Moses btw, just his hesitation to obey).  What’s the point of me writing a letter like this?  Obedience.  I’ve got better things to do?  Better things to do than obeying the Holy Spirit? What’s my personal upside? None, but since when does that matter? Folks will criticize me?  Well, I won’t bore you with the many verses on the topic, but I’m pretty sure being afraid of the criticism of others is not a way to lead a Kingdom life.
I am fairly sure that someone is going to say “he who is without sin, let them cast the first stone” or “judge not lest ye be judged”.   My response is simple:   I’m obviously not without sin; a quick call to my wife or kids will give you the 411 on my sin report for this day or week.  Judging?  Everyone does it.  You did it when you told us to stop criticizing Mark (Your command to ‘stop it’ sounds kind of judgmental, don’t you think?).  If you read the passages on judgment taught by Jesus the idea is not that we never judge (that’s impossible and ludicrous) but to not judge unfairly or without the charity and mercy that comes when we look to our own sin first.  And God only knows if I have appropriately examined my own heart as I write these things to you and Mark.  I surely hope so (but could be wrong of course and trust I will be corrected if true).
To those who ask “why didn’t I go to Robert Morris personally?”   I say that comments made publicly by a public figure are fair game to be evaluated publicly.   I’m sure I’ll have plenty who disagree with me on that point.
Let me close with some words from God.  Those who read can judge for themselves if they think this is the word of the Lord to Mark and his Mars Hill legacy or not.  I don’t presume to know, but as the saying goes, if the shoe fits, wear it.   I have edited a very long section to make it easier for those reading.
Amos 5
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Israel:
“Your city that marches out a thousand strong
   will have only a hundred left;
With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold
   and brings the fortified city to ruin.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
   you will not live in them;
For I know how many are your offenses
   and how great your sins.
There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
   and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
Seek good, not evil,
   that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
   just as you say he is.
Hate evil, love good;
   maintain justice in the courts.
Woe to you who long
   for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
   That day will be darkness, not light.
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
   your assemblies are a stench to me.
Away with the noise of your songs!
   I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
   righteousness like a never-failing stream!
God loves us and extends mercy to us all. This includes me, you and Mark. That said, He appears to also care a great deal about us being just and righteous.  And when He doesn’t see justice and righteousness at the levels He expects, He appears to be willing to take action.
In less than a year’s time from the first ‘scandal’, a church of 14,000 has come to ruin, with former Mars Hill members blown like dust in the wind to new churches (a recent email from Mars Hill Pastor Dave Bruskas confirms that Mars Hill will end operations as a centralized entity in approx. 90 days or less).  18 years of Marks sermons, vaporized from the internet. Years of work by thousands, obliterated.  Sounds alot like the blinding flash Amos 5 talks about to me.  If it could happen to Israel and their millions, it can happen to us and our thousands.  At Mars Hill in Seattle, in Dallas, anywhere. A warning to us all.
With the respect such passages like Amos 5 deserve from us all, Robert I ask you to publicly repent so that justice and righteousness can be done to those whom (I will assume) you inadvertently sinned against at Mars Hill.  I also request that you to implore Mark, since he is now someone you are mentoring, to publicly repent (I would also hope you would plead with him to return and apologize personally to all those he harmed during his tenure at Mars Hill).
I would like to offer you an example of what this type of repentance looks like.  Consider  Mars Hill pastor Steve Tompkins.  Steve deserves to be famous for his contrite spirit.  How he took responsibility for his sin.  His efforts to reconcile with those he has offended as a Mars Hill leader.  The student has become the teacher.   Please go here to see his beautiful example of repentance worthy of emulation.  
I ask both you and Mark to follow Steve’s Kingdom example.
Mike O’Neil, former deacon, Mars Hill Church
………………………………
I wonder if Mark Driscoll might end up partnering with Morris on something.
Could it happen in Dallas? I wonder if Mike’s note will turn out to be prophetic regarding Morris’ empire.