Bullies and Blindness: an analysis of the interview between Justin Blaney and Justin Dean

I took the hour required to watch this video. It wasn’t long into it when I realized I needed to be taking notes. This is important! It became obvious that, for many, Mars Hill is still a lesson waiting to be learned.

Dr. Paul Tripp, who headed up the Board of Advisors and Accountability, summarized his findings, that Mars Hill Church was:

”without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.”

Listening to Blaney and Dean, one wouldn’t have a clue this was the case. In fact, in typical fashion of not understanding abuse and bullying, they not only draw on the usual excuses, alibis, and justifications for Mars Hill Church, but also employ the usual defenses against those who criticized it. I’m sure they don’t mean to, but in brief, they defend the abuse and dismiss its victims and their supporters. This interview inadvertently illustrates why phenomena like Driscoll and Mars Hill happen and will continue to happen.

I want to show how they did it.

  1. MINIMIZE THE DAMAGE: Dean says Mars Hill made some mistakes. He wonders why people were coming after them. Driscoll hadn’t slept with another woman, and he didn’t embezzle money. There’s no one event that you can point to. They didn’t mean to hurt anybody. They had good intentions. They tried. They were doing good things. Nobody’s perfect. There’s a lot of room for error. Sure, there were a lot of little things, little mistakes or oversights, but nothing big enough to cause the destruction of such a successful ministry. On the one hand, they acknowledge some people were hurt, but the overwhelming success of the ministry should somehow excuse it. They seem to be completely unaware that peoples’ lives, ministries, vocations, and even families were destroyed, that people suffered unbelievable abuse and bullying, and that many people are in therapy recovering from an extremely abusive and coercive ministry. Never mind what this did to the church’s reputation. That people were severely hurt and that the church itself suffered incredible disrepute seems to be completely off the radar for them. No one was strangled to death in public by a leader, but the toxic environment slowly cut off the air supply to all of its members. This is what we cannot or are not willing to see.
  2. REINFORCE THE GOOD: Over and over, Dean and Blaney praise the ministry of Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll. They were doing good things. People were getting saved. The church was growing. More people were being reached. Lots of people were meeting Jesus. The gospel was being spread. Their campaigns enjoyed incredible success, such as quickly gaining 3,000 members. They were just starting to come into a season of learning how to be a community church rather than just a teaching one. But, they are perplexed by the backlash of criticism. Abusers and bullies always seem to think there is good reason to hurt people. The mission is so important and the results are so fantastic that human sacrifice is not only a necessary ingredient to its success, but a desirable and inescapable one. The mission is so noble that if people get hurt in the process, so be it. It seems that the positive outweighs the negative and therefore justifies the negative.
  3. CONTROL THE NARRATIVE: One of the severest criticisms Mars Hill received was its lack of transparency. Dean somewhat agrees that they made mistakes in that area, and that more transparency would have been helpful and important to prevent Mars Hill’s downfall. However, Dean has an interesting slant on what transparency looks like. It’s not about being more forthcoming with information, but being more selective with the information. In fact, concerning the issues that needed more transparency, Dean says that he would give the reasons why he is not being more transparent. What goes on inside the church is nobody else’s business. But instead of making no comment, they should have said why they were making no comment. Dean also goes into quite a bit of detail on how to control the narrative, correcting or silencing misinformation or criticism in its earliest stages, both inside and outside of the church, leaking information on a need to know basis only, and controlling the media as much as possible.

This leads me to the most interesting aspect of the interview, and that’s the attitudes about the critics of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, and by implication any other leader or group that resembles them. At around the 20 minute mark, Blaney and Dean have an exchange about the media. I’ll quote them in full because it is so important to me, to other bloggers, and to their readers:

Blaney says:

”Sometimes it’s hard to win when you have a lot of people looking for traffic… they’re looking for eyeballs on their blogs, on their newspapers, on their websites… that’s why people, any famous person has a difficult relationship with the media… Because it’s that love hate… sure we’ll promote you here, but as soon as we get a chance we’re gonna put a knife in your back because it’s going to help me get me a few more readers. I think that was definitely… I think there were so many people that were hoping to get a little bit of traffic, get a little bit of attention, to their blogs, to their newspapers, and, you know, Mark was a great target for that.”

A little later, Dean responds:

”I would talk to these bloggers, I would talk to these journalists, who were kind of coming after us… it would seem sometimes that they were just trying to build their own platform, trying to, you know, make ad revenue, whatever… They’re going after something that’s intriguing and they know that they’re going to get a lot of hits for it. But I think for a lot of them it was something more. I think they believed that they were trying to do good. They really thought that we were wolves and that (announce) that to the world and protect Christians.”

This is what I think they mean:

  1. SHAME THE OPPOSITION: They suggest that the only reason bloggers were critiquing Driscoll and Mars Hill were for selfish, ambitious, or financial reasons. Even those who thought they were doing good were misinformed, mislead, or ignorant of the facts, deluded into imagining they were protecting other Christians from wolves in sheep’s clothing. In their minds, it really had nothing to do with what was happening. A couple of times Blaney asked Dean whether the downfall had to do with what actually happened or with the failure of good PR. No answer was forthcoming because we can’t point to any one event terrible enough to bring it all down, but just a series of small annoyances. The fact that there were reports of abuse, bullying, sexism, and other questionable practices, seem beside the point. For Dean, criticism was never justified, but always self-serving and needlessly destructive of a good ministry. He calls Driscoll’s and Mars Hill’s critics, “a lot of evil people out there” who were probably more interested in building their own fan base than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. SILENCE DISSENT: It becomes apparent through the interview that bloggers were a nuisance to Driscoll and Mars Hill. Not only were they just critiquing for selfish reasons, but because they weren’t a part of that church, it was none of their business anyway. Like many leaders and their businesses, or pastors and their churches, they want total unaccountability free from dissent. Everyone knows that dissent within Mars Hill was never welcomed but in fact was silenced. Of course, they would spread this attitude to those who were outside the family and who therefore have no right to criticize something they’re not a part of. Silencing dissent is a popular and sometimes successful strategy for today’s Christian leaders. Much to these leaders’ frustration, bloggers are hard to control, and it should stay that way.
  3. INTIMIDATE CRITICS: At one point (30:20), Dean says, “Nobody wants to write something that’s not true, except for bloggers.” I’m not sure who he’s talking about. I’m a blogger. I know a lot of bloggers. Not one of us is making a living from blogging. In fact, the bloggers I know who critique the abuses of spiritual power are not in it for money or fame, but because they care about truth and people. They are passionate about justice and equality. They courageously call out abuse and bullying even when others are praising and protecting it. It is interesting to me that these so-called leaders who seem to value their reputation and revenue over all impute the same values onto others… that we care about our reputation and revenue in the same way. The fact is, most of us have nothing to lose… no reputation and no revenue. This is what gives bloggers like me the willingness to take the risk and speak up about the abuses of power. This post, for example, is written without any revenue. I have no idea who’s going to read it. I’m writing this for myself mainly, to articulate to myself what I found so disturbing about this video, and hopefully for others because I think that what is being said and not being said is harmful for people and destructive to our communities. To these leaders, it no longer matters how small the blogger is. Next time Dean would go after them because it could escalate if it gets shared by a larger blogger or newspaper. As a blogger, I can’t tell you how chilling these words sound. It is a veiled but very real threat to the freedom of speech of bloggers and journalists who’s mission is to expose the privileges and abuses of power.

I found this interview to be one of the most discouraging things I’ve ever listened to. As the interview dragged on, I became painfully aware that we still don’t get it! We’re not seeing the forest for the trees. As long as this attitude persists, the church will continue to be a place where bullies can run free and abuse can run rampant, all in the name of Jesus. As long as the gospel is being spread, people are getting saved, and the church is growing, then abusers and bullies can not only have a seat, but they can run the whole show.

So this is also a call out to you brave bloggers! Keep writing your truth. Keep challenging the principalities and powers that would dehumanize us and destroy the communities we create.

SHOP

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52 Responses

  1. David Waters says:

    It was just a matter of time and the Koresch-like leadership sex with the minors would lead to the Sacrament Service of Jim Jones Juice!

  2. Bill Kinnon says:

    Justin Dean has become Mars Hill & Mark Driscoll’s Baghdad Bob. Both sad and pathetic.

  3. katewillette says:

    The shocking thing about Justin Dean is how stupid he is. I don’t say that to be mean, but just because it’s my strongest reaction, listening to this know-it-all young man who seems to be one of the most un-self-aware people I’ve ever had the misfortune to come across.

    He’s a fool. And he doesn’t even know it. He seems to think that because an organization once paid him a handsome salary, he must be worthy of respect. He’s not. That he and his peers at MHC were ever seen as successful is shameful to me as a citizen of the Seattle metro area; it always was incomprehensible, but now it’s just cringe-worthy. There’s nothing there.

  4. “Driscoll hadn’t slept with another woman, and he didn’t embezzle money.”

    That’s exactly the same thing I got when I complained about the bullying and abuse I’d suffered at the hands of my fellow elder. I was told, “If there’d been some sort of impropriety, it would be different.” As it was, I was told that I should submit myself to this man’s ‘godly leadership’ or resign!!!

  5. Baghdad Bob says:

    Wow katewillette, I’d hate to hear what you have to say when you *are* trying to be mean.

  6. lydia says:

    There must be a playbook. This is the same thinking/words I heard from mega church leaders for years. There is an inherent sort of narcissistic entitlement mentality involved. Too much power, too young, perhaps?

  7. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “Abusers and bullies always seem to think there is good reason to hurt people. The mission is so important and the results are so fantastic that human sacrifice is not only a necessary ingredient to its success, but a desirable and inescapable one. The mission is so noble that if people get hurt in the process, so be it. “

    “You can’t make an omelet without cracking a few eggs.”
    — Comrade Stalin (who cracked about 30 million of them)

    Or his predecessor Citizen Robespierre and the Republique of Perfect Virtue, that Perfect Utopia always beckoning from the other side of the “Regrettable but Necessary” Reign of Terror.

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “Driscoll hadn’t slept with another woman, and he didn’t embezzle money.”

    Because Real True Christians KNOW the only REAL sins are SEXUAL(TM).

    And there are loopholes around that — remember Doug Phillips ESQUIRE and “I did not know her in the Biblical sense”? Because as long as you don’t stick Tab A into the specific Slot B, it isn’t REALLY sex. Hmmm… Didn’t Driscoll seem to have a THING about both ends of the alimentary canal?

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “Justin Dean has become Mars Hill & Mark Driscoll’s Baghdad Bob. Both sad and pathetic.”

    “The wildest fantasy fiction ever written appears in the official media of a wartime country the day before that country surrenders.” — James Dunnigan, military analyst/wargame designer

  10. Patrice says:

    Bagdad Bob (10, 10:43AM), it doesn’t make sense to frame life as war and to believe that good PR is one big step in winning the war.

    It is only from such a framework that one could call “evil” and “enemies” those fellow Christians who were deeply concerned about the huge amount of damage that your church leadership was causing. It is only from such a framework that virtue is found in keeping secrets and encouragin’ the soldier with positive flap.

    “We did some things wrong. We made some mistakes” doesn’t begin to address the rampant abuse that occurred in your circles. You then follow it up with “We learned from them because we tried. We were trying really hard to share the gospel…Thousands of people were being saved.”

    But “trying” doesn’t erase wrongs. Those two things are actually unrelated. And that people were saved in spite of the wrongs (if more than a flash in the pan) is because of God, nothing to do with you. That people were hurt is because of you, nothing to do with God.

    Whatever you did learn from your mistakes, you didn’t learn the fundamentals, which is to make clear and open apologies for what you’ve done wrong, and to follow it up with restitution. That would be good and honest PR. That you could not do this somewhere in a full hour’s conversation on the subject is very sad.

    And I do not understand what the big difficulty is. You are merely human, you will make mistakes. Facing your wrongs does not demean you but brings meaning back to you. The only thing to lose is pride. What’s so great about pride? It only makes us act stupidly.

  11. Baghdad Bob says:

    Patrice, point out one legitimate wrong or sin I’ve committed and if true I’ll apologize and repent.

  12. Patrice says:

    I can’t be your conscience for you, BB.

  13. Baghdad Bob says:

    Patrice, then quit trying to be. You can’t call me to apologize for false rumors and speculation that you’ve heard from critics. I am accountable to God and my conscience is clear. Thanks for your concern.

  14. Patrice says:

    I’m trying to be your conscience? Lol

    It’s a pity that you’d rather be aggressive than open. Simply on the face of it, on this page, it is no false rumor or speculation that you feel contempt for many fellow believers, and that see them as enemies. Not only is that deeply wrong, it’s pragmatically foolish.

    Unfortunately, because of your attitude, Mars Hill won’t be the last time you’ll be bitten in the ass. May you learn sooner rather than later.

  15. Baghdad Bob says:

    Not sure how much more open I can be. Unless in your mind the only way I can be open is if I apologize for things I’m not guilty of.

  16. Patrice says:

    At first I felt tentative about putting on you much responsibility for the failures at Mars Hill, recognizing that some people are merely ignorant or insensitive, and that others are too afraid to confront what they know to be wrong. If either was so for you, I wanted to respect your a lighter responsibility, although of course, not altogether gone.

    But after our little conversation, I withdraw reservation and declare with confidence that you are, my dear young man, a complete ass.

    Fortunately, it’s not a genetic condition.

  17. Reuben says:

    Hey there “Baghdad Bob”!

    You really are trying to make yourself famous now…

    Hey, even bad press is press, right?

  18. This all just proves my point from my opening paragraph: “Mars Hill is still a lesson waiting to be learned.”

  19. Susan says:

    I felt like Justin Dean’s primary focus was putting the right spin on things so people would see what he wanted them to see. That’s not the same thing as being transparent and candid.

  20. Jill says:

    It seems to me there’s simply a larger dose of delusion here, which is how a ministry built in part on subjugating women could even exist. It’s delusion to hierarchically arrange human decency. So of course those who played active roles in such duplicity aren’t going to see this forest of trees. They’d need a conversion from their conversion imo.

  21. Caryn LeMur says:

    Well… a long time ago, there was this guy taken to court. Part of his defense statement was this statement, “I have spoken openly to the world,” he replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

    Gosh… I think it was Jesus that said it. And we can read it in John 18.

    Nothing in secret. That statement is the first part of Christ-like Public Relations.

    Let’s move to the second part of Christ-like PR. “Carry one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the Law of Christ.” [Gal 6]

    From what I have read of the evidences that were released, the woman-hating, soul crushing, abuse-upholding style of Mark Driscoll destroyed people. Mark stole from them the joy of walking with Christ. Mark even stole words to create a book; then paid a company to manipulate the numbers on a best seller list.

    It is the deep duty of any Christ-like PR person to apologize on behalf of the corporate harm done by the corporation that he/she represented.

    A PR person is a corporate representative. So therefore, the PR person must bear the burden of the apology needed for healing the many that were wounded, offended, and now doubt that a walk with any church institution can be trusted.

    Again, Christ is our example – this is not the world-system PR, this is where we bear the burden that others created.

    Mark damaged people by his words. Mark damaged their faith in Christ and in the greater association of church institutions. Mark demonstrated a form of non-love, and then called it ‘love’ – thus damaging the integrity of Jesus’ own words – because ‘love is gentle, kind, not easily angered, patient, does not rejoice in evil, and never fails.’ [I Cor 13]

    So, what is worldly PR? It is everything that Justin described. If he is of the world, then Justin is correct.

    What is Christ-like PR? It is ‘Transparency and Accountability. That is, doing Nothing In Secret and Apologizing on behalf of the corporate ‘burden’ that wounded and damaged, and continues to damage, the people and the fellow church institutions.

    In Christ-like PR, the healing of the people is our mission.

    The question here is NOT ‘what is good PR’; but rather this: “What is Christ-like PR?”

    The two Justin’s have time to repent. We should give them room to repent. They can still become like the Jesus they profess.

    My prayer is that the two Justin’s will realize the high calling Jesus gave them, and engage in Christ-like PR for the sake of the wounded.

    Sincerely; Caryn

  22. John says:

    Baghdad Bob: considering that your involvement with PR at Mars Hill was a factor in the shit show and implosion and death the church experienced, I’m wondering why any church would want advice from you, let alone pay you for it.

  23. AnnieBanannie says:

    Oh hey Baghdad Bob! I have one! Ready?

    Re ResultSource: In the interview with Other Justin you made it sound like by the time the blogging media got wind of the Result Source thing you/MH had already “learned from that experience” and decided not to do it again. You made it sound like that’s what you/MH told people when the bloggers started asking about it (6 books later, man were those bloggers slow or what? Losers!). Except that when it first came out you/MH totally did not explain the “lesson learned” perspective at all. Not at first. At first you/MH defended it as a reasonable decision that was totes not unethical.

    So I mean, you either were full of shit back then or you lied in that video Hayward linked to above.

    You could apologize for that. Start there maybe, see what else comes up.

  24. Your entire interview is comprised of condescension, insults, misrepresentations, and half-truths.

    When I first heard it I wanted to characterize you as a lying liar.

    However, by the end I think I would not say that about you. In the end you came across more as someone who doesn’t really believe in/understand the concept of truth. Someone who, lacking a clear concept of truth, concocts a good argument in defense of whatever he thinks should happen, calls that truth (even when it changes every 5 minutes) and full speed ahead.

    I think I will pull out my favorite Chesterton quote now: Get a new soul! That thing’s not fit for a dog! Get a new soul!

  25. Baghdad Bob says:

    Annie, regarding Result Source we did think it had a lot of fruit and made the decision to do it in the first place because it had great potential to put us in a position to reach a lot more people. When it was done it definitely went into a lessons learned pile and we decided not to do it again going forward. All in all it only cost $20k or so with huge benefits so it ended up being an inexpensive marketing plan. When asked about it the first time that’s what I said and I wasn’t lying. When we were pressed in about it they made it sound like we should have apologized for it and revealed it long ago when it happened. We don’t put out case studies or lessons learned with every marketing decision we made, nor does any organization. When we commented further we simply went into more detail about how it was a bad plan and not one we’d do again. Our mistake was when we were first asked about it we should have went into more detail and explained clearly what happened and how much it had really cost and that we already decided not to do it again. We didn’t want to set a precedent for explaining and justifying every little purchase we’ve ever made, especially with the public. So that’s why we didn’t get into the details. But I certainly didn’t lie and we didn’t change our stance. We tried to do our best to steward money well and reach lots of people, and we learned a lot along the way. I don’t regret it. From a stewardship of money perspective it was one of the cheapest marketing plans ever with the biggest impact so that’s why we tried it. We weren’t trying to be wasteful or deceitful or trying to build up marks image or profile or paycheck.

  26. Baghdad Bob says:

    What in my interview with I4J was half truth and how are you knowledgeable enough to even know?

  27. Baghdad Bob says:

    John, I’m just trying to apply what I’ve experienced and learned so I can help other churches. Not claiming to be the best but hoping God can use me to help other churches, and he’s been faithful to give me that opportunity.

  28. Baghdad Bob says:

    Caryn, your whole argument breaks down the second you start labeling us as women hating, soul crushing, abusive, etc. Come on! Mars Hill was one of the safest and most loving places for women. So we stood our ground on the Biblical fact that men are to lead the church and the home, and bloggers and media twist that into making us sound like we hate women, and you believe it. Had you ever actually experienced what it was like at Mars Hill you’d know the honor and love that women felt there. It was at Mars Hill that I learned to lead my family, love and respect my wife and and to treat other women with love and respect. I worked alongside many talented and wonderful women on staff and female deacons who were every bit as important a part of our church as any of the men.

  29. AnnieBanannie says:

    Justin-
    First of all, you spent the entire interview explaining how you control the information to present it in a light that serves your purpose. Now you say no one can be knowledgable enough to know if you’re telling the truth or not. Literally what you’re saying is that you like to set things up so that it is impossible to ever tell if you are telling the truth.

    Second – those of us who actually believe in the concept of truth have zero difficulty being able to tell when someone is shining us on and spinning things. Spin is lying. What you describe about how you like to control the information? That is lying.

    Third- In the first 10 minutes you and Other Justin have a good condescending chuckle at the naïveté of pastors who think they can just tell the truth, and have no need for PR. Literally you guys are Pontius Pilate declaring “what is truth” and washing your hands of Jesus.

  30. AnnieBanannie says:

    My husband thinks you’re just young, and that you might still be able to turn your life around.

    It seems unlikely to me, but as he’s a very Eeyore-ish person, I try not to stomp on any hopeful thoughts he has.

    For that to happen though, I think you would have to abandon your PR career. PR and marketing are not safe professions for the souls of people with such a casual connection to the idea of truth as you seem to have. Maybe it’s a kind of brain wiring issue, like being colorblind, and you literally can’t see what truth is. Who knows? Seriously though, that is the most charitable explanation I can come up with for your chatter.

  31. Patrice says:

    David wrote, “…just proves my point…’Mars Hill is still a lesson waiting to be learned’.” Yah.

    I am fellow companion of those who occasionally make roaring mistakes as well as many smaller mistakes, who admit it and work at becoming better. I’ve made whopping mistakes in my life, a few that still embarrass me decades later. Our awful rowing toward God requires vast amounts of mutual patience and mercy.

    But patience and mercy are destructive to those who view life as a war to win and who are too deluded to admit to wrongs, much less learn from them. Such people simply step on those who offer these qualities in an attempt to raise themselves closer to success (whatever that happens to be for them).

    David, you wrote in an earlier post that we need to proactively defeat institutional abuse upstream, to counter the epidemic numbers of injured people downstream.

    In a fundamental way, this young man and his interviewer (to a lesser degree) represent what needs defeating. There is ignorance, but that’s repairable. More intractible are the arrogance, foolishness and aggression.

    Unfortunately, rather than refusing to give such qualities time/space, many of us admire them and label them gifts of leadership. “They get things done!”

  32. Patrice says:

    (2nd part of comment)

    US culture at large has indulged these wretched qualities-in-leadership for several decades now, and it has wreaked havoc on our social/civic institutions.

    But the travesty here is that Christians, who say they know truth and have more love than does “the world”, instead exhibit the worst of secular thought/behavior. Christian culture is corrupted at the same depth/proportion as is larger culture. It carries the same attitudes, gets the same results, and insists on the same denial of the destruction they’re causing. As Justin wrote, “…in your mind the only way I can be open is if I apologize for things I’m not guilty of.”

    The epidemic of damage will continue until we (collectively) stop it. Obviously, those with these attitudes/beliefs won’t go gently, simply because we tell them they are hurting others. They are in a war, not against “the world” but against those who don’t go along with their program/vision. That is why Justin calls us his enemies and treats us with contempt. He has chosen the paradigm and he works it hard.

    Sure, we can say we don’t “do” war but these types of leaders think destruction is good; they call it creative. “Mistakes were made”, they say coolly. If we want to stop them, we must not only accurately diagnose/name what is happening, but eject them from their positions. (Changing their hearts/minds is a forlorn hope, and certainly won’t happen while they get kudos from power.)

    The required steps will be messy and raw, just like the personal path to healing taken by victims. It won’t be pretty or suave or elegant. Ach!

  33. It is human sacrifice for a greater good.

  34. Patrice says:

    Justin (re your BagdadBob’s comment at 12, 12:42am), your explanation about Result Source skips the profound ethical error of suborning the NYT book list for Driscoll’s aggrandizement. That list is intended as a measurement of what the public is reading. You excuse your corruption of it by saying it’s for the gospel. “We tried to do our best to steward money well and reach lots of people.” It’s worth it for Christ! Oy!!

    It doesn’t even occur to you that the pragmatism inherent in “the ends justifying means” would be ungodly. Nor do you recognize that Driscoll’s name/personality is what gets out there, not Christ’s.

    This is why you need to step out of the system and do some serious review of your ethical foundations.

  35. JoelM says:

    Justin, I’m curious about your reaction to Paul Tripp’s comment David opened this post with. What was it, do you think, that Paul Tripp saw which led him to make such a damning statement about the ministry of Mars Hill? How did Mars Hill’s PR play into the coercive, abuse nature Paul Tripp noted?

  36. Susan says:

    “So we stood our ground on the Biblical fact that men are to lead the church and the home…”

    It would be good to approach this with the idea that that is your interpretation of the Bible, which doesn’t make it a fact.

  37. Baghdad Bob says:

    I have no idea why Paul made those comments privately to a group of other pastors. He certainly wasn’t around Mars Hill to experience that. He never came to board meetings. Never met with the executives one on one. Such a dramatic statement to make for a guy who wasn’t involved. I’d love to hear from him how he feels qualified to say that, privately or not, but he’s not commenting on it. That’s certainly not the experience I and many others had at Mars Hill.

  38. Ahem says:

    Did you write this, Justin? If Paul Tripp was so useless, why the spin?

    “Upcoming Changes to the BOAA

    Dr. Paul Tripp joined our Board of Advisors and Accountability in November 2013 and has been an immense help to our leaders over the past year. Dr. Tripp has extensive experience in discipleship and Biblical counseling. Earlier this month, we made the decision together to open the opportunity for him to work with greater focus on issues directly related to his expertise, namely the continued development of our community and redemption ministries.

    Because simultaneously being a board member and a consultant does not allow for the required definition of “independence,” Dr. Tripp graciously submitted his resignation from the BOAA in early June, so that he can more extensively serve our church as a consultant. We are excited to continue this work with him, and are thankful for his continued support of Mars Hill Church.

    Similarly, Pastor James MacDonald informed the board at the July meeting of his decision to transition from his current role on the board pending his replacement. Pastor James has been a great help in forming the current board’s direction, and we are very grateful for his time and wisdom over the last several years. About this transition he commented, “I have great love and affection for Mars Hill Church and I want to make clear this change is not because I am unhappy with Mark’s response to board accountability. On the contrary, I have found him to be exemplary in his current readiness to live under the BOAA oversight. I am not resigning because I doubt Mark’s sincerity in any way. I believe in Mark Driscoll and his heart to leverage difficult lessons in service to Christ and his church in the years ahead. I am excited to continue to support that trajectory as Mark’s friend, as I focus my efforts on Harvest Bible Fellowship.”

    About these transitions, Pastor Mark shared, “I am thankful for the service of both Paul and James, two men I admire and respect. Their service on our board has been a blessing to me and Mars Hill Church in countless ways. The amount of hours they have given as volunteers is extraordinary, especially in light of their other ministry demands.”

    Candidates are currently being interviewed to replace these open board positions. They will be submitted before the Full Council of Elders for their approval as soon as possible.”

  39. Chris Rose says:

    Wait, @Baghdad Bob, you’re telling me that the guy still stroking Mark Driscolls ego and toeing the party line even after all the evidence has come out and been reviewed and the church responded by completely dissolving, didn’t ever get yelled at or feel threatened? Golly gee, how could that ever be the case. Why would Mark never treat the guy in charge of making him look good like he (documentedly and admittedly) treated everyone else.

    Gosh, I’m really just struggling to figure that one out. It’s probably because he was such a nice person… Nevermind the literally HUNDREDS of people saying things to the contrary, and YEARS of published documented systematic abuse and manipulation. Forget all of that. Forget the people that YOU hired saying the exact opposite of what you’re trying to spin. Forget your own pastors signing on to a letter denouncing the abuse. Forget all the people fired to cover up the scandal.

    Seriously, how stupid do you think we all are, and how stupid do you have to be to think that any of this sells? Nobody with even half a moment of research into your church is buying this.

    You’re complicit, and you’re a piece of shit for propping up the abuse of others. Have a nice day

  40. Ahem says:

    Then there is this too…
    “Dear Mars Hill Leaders,
    I wanted to take the opportunity to give you, the current leaders of Mars Hill Church, an update as to the status of some of what we’ve been working on as a board over the course of the past year. Thank you for all that you do. We know it is extra difficult right now, but good fruit is coming out of these trials!
    On May 10, 2013, a now former elder filed formal charges against Pastor Mark Driscoll and other leaders at Mars Hill. While stating that he had not personally been sinned against by Pastor Mark, he had at least seven unnamed witnesses who would testify to the offenses and hurts he claimed, which if found to be substantiated, could result in disqualification. We requested the names of the witnesses to exercise Matthew 5:23-25, but he refused to disclose them. While the issues cited as evidence from these charges came from anonymous sources, the issues all revolved around the theme of mistreatment of fellow leaders and staff. As the governing body responsible for the accountability of Mars Hill’s senior leaders, the Board took these charges extremely seriously.
    In an effort to substantiate the validity of the anonymous charges, we immediately sent out over one hundred letters to former elders and staff at Mars Hill Church from the previous two years, inviting their feedback and perspectives regarding their time on staff at the church, particularly their interactions with Pastor Mark and the Executive Elders. We received eighteen responses. While some were very positive, every response was read and reread, looking for anything that would disqualify Pastor Mark and any other Mars Hill leaders from serving, or that would require further investigation. Additionally, the Board looked for repetitive patterns that may also lead to potential disqualification. After a thorough review, the charges were determined to be non-disqualifying. However, the Executive Elders were individually and corporately given corrective direction by the Board. Those corrective actions have been followed and have been bearing fruit over the last seven months. We have been very encouraged to see the Executive Elders learn, grow, and repent where needed.
    However, we are hungry for reconciliation and are continually grieved that many offenses and hurts are still unresolved. We want to seek out and hear the hurts in a biblical manner. A Board-approved reconciliation process is currently underway and is being overseen by Dr. Paul Tripp who flew to Seattle and recently spent a day with the Executive Elders. He has also been in conversation with a person who is very capable of facilitating these reconciliations. Additionally, each of the Executive Elders has taken the initiative to reach out to people with whom they may need to reconcile. Our prayer is that as a church we can learn from this experience as we continue to grow in love and grace.
    You need to know that I and the other Board members have witnessed the Holy Spirit’s work in Pastors Mark, Dave and Sutton as they’ve grieved deeply over the hurts and sorrows that they’ve been the source of. Their hearts yearn for repentance and reconciliation with those that have been hurt and offended.
    By God’s grace, the reconciliation process will continue to move forward one person at a time.
    Michael Van Skaik
    Chairman,
    Board of Advisors and Accountability”

  41. Caryn LeMur says:

    Dear Baghdad Bob:

    You dismissed my use of the scriptures, due to lack of evidence being supplied. I had assumed you were aware of the eyewitness reports.

    I therefore invite you to review the evidences offered by Warren Throckmorton, which allegedly are eye-witness accounts.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/08/21/former-mars-hill-church-pastors-bring-formal-charges-against-mark-driscoll/

    Are you saying that you find no truth in those eyewitness accounts?

    And therefore, the Biblical call to Transparency and Accountability, that is ‘nothing in secret’ and ‘bearing one another’s burdens’, are null and non-applicable to this case?

    Sincerely; Caryn

  42. Patrice says:

    Justin says: “I have no idea why people were/are so critical. We experienced how good it all was. Only the unqualified would say differently….Women were treated with respect and were happy. The membership grew spiritually by leaps and bounds. Gays repented and were no longer gay. Thousands came to Christ because of the work done by my buddies and me! Heathen Seattle finally had testimonial light….And then, just as we were turning our focus onto community, we were destroyed by our enemies. They are evil! That is why I’m now committed to help other churches become better prepared against persecution.”

    Translation: “Facing reality would mean that I got some things profoundly wrong. I refuse to go there.”

    But Justin, the universe won’t explode just because you got things wrong. And you personally won’t be annihilated by it, either. You’ll feel crappy and confused for a while, but afterwards you’ll be wiser. The courage required to do this is what Mars Hill called “being a man”, but it is not about being a male but being a human in pursuit of God. I guarantee that it is worth taking this path.

  43. Patrice says:

    One last thing, Justin. I hear you saying, “I have no idea why people were/are so critical. It was all good; that was my experience; only the unqualified could say otherwise. Women were treated with respect and value. Members grew spiritually by leaps and bounds. Gays repented and were no longer gay. Thousands came to Christ because of the work done by my buddies and me! Heathen Seattle finally had a testimonial light….And then, just as we were turning our focus onto community, we were destroyed by our enemies. They are evil! That is why I’m now committed to help other churches become better prepared for persecution.”

    Translation: “Facing reality would mean that I got some things profoundly wrong. I refuse to go there.”

    But Justin, the universe won’t explode just because you got things wrong. And you personally won’t be annihilated by it, either. You’ll feel crappy and confused for a while, but afterwards you’ll be wiser. The courage required to do this is what Mars Hill called “being a man”, but it is not about being a male but being a human in pursuit of God. I guarantee that it is worth taking this path.

  44. Patrice says:

    If three of my comments posted in a row, I apologize, David, and ask that you delete the extras. Something is wrong with my computer. Thx

  45. AnnieBanannie says:

    @Baghdad Bob- I also gotta laugh because I said your interview was full of condescension, insults, misrepresentations, and half-truths. But you only took issue with the half-truth accusation. Apparently you’re totally cool with being seen as a condescending jerk who misrepresents crap?

  46. Caryn LeMur says:

    Justin:

    Adding on for the moment: the unethical actions of Driscoll in manipulating the NY Times Best Seller List in his favor, may also be good grounds for you to consider an apology on behalf of the greater church of Christ, or on behalf of those that still try to believe there is a Jesus that matters:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/16/how-the-religious-right-scams-its-way-onto-the-ny-times-bestseller-list.html?via=desktop&source=facebook

    Scams. Manipulation. Fraud. Lack of ethics by Christian Leaders. Why not speak out against those things, Justin?

    Why not remarket yourself as an ethical PR man that will no longer work as a disposable shield for an unethical corporate director?

  47. Kaelee says:

    I am dying at his Mars Hill was a great place for women comment. So glad I got out of that church and so glad it is gone. If only Mark Driscoll would disappear with it.

  48. I feel that this reference may be lost on those who haven’t watched the Avatar series, but Justin’s comments seriously read like “there is no war in Ba Sing Se” (the actual story about this quote is way too long for me to paraphrase, so I suggest looking up the Conspiracy of Ba Sing Se).
    It’s a goddam power play on “Bob’s” part to make sure that the status quo remains.

  49. MC says:

    One thing I found interesting about the pull out quote from Dean about how all this criticism was from outside bloggers, when the things that were getting the most traction were direct quotes from Mark himself. Other popular topics were memos released and personal stories from members who had left. Dean still doesn’t recognize that. Honestly if that many people are calling wolf, you should maybe take a second look.

  50. Justin Dean – You said Result Source only cost $20k. For you to have any credibility, you should advance some proof. Everyone can read the contract and see how much the fee was and how many books needed to be purchased. The burden of proof is on you now that you have made that claim.

  51. Baghdad Bob says:

    The rest of the money was spent to buy books which we later sold to people who purchased them, at a profit to the church. Only about 1000 or so we’re given out to community group leaders and such.

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