Monday, August 04, 2014

Bad blood

I notice every so often that Dan Phillips and Fred Butler like to take all the credit for warning the evangelical community about Mark Driscoll. If only we had heeded their prescient admonitions, we would not have been snookered by Driscoll's snake oil. 

Now I even see them touting articles from The Stranger. There is, however, a reason why evangelicals might regard The Stranger as a suspect source. For instance:

It's precisely biased sources like that which cause people like me to take what they say with a grain of salt. It's like CNN covering the Israel/Gaza conflict. 

Before the MacArthurites and Pyromaniacs completely rewrite history, Soviet style, let's set the record straight.

i) Driscoll has had a bevy of critics for a long time now. It's not as if MacArthurites and Pyromanics were in the vanguard of the movement. So their back-patting conceit is misplaced.

ii) One reason the MacArthurites and Pyromanics haven't gotten their due, as they see it, is because their criticisms are motivated by barely-concealed partisanship. This isn't disinterested criticism. Rather, this is, in part, sour grapes between two rival megachurch pastors, with competing visions, and their respective supporters. Likewise, it's part and parcel of a running vendetta against The Gospel Coalition. From what I can tell, the MacArthurites and Pyromaniacs harbor an implacable animosity towards TGC because it's not consistently cessationist and premillennial. 

iii) This isn't to deny that the MacArthurites and Pyromanics raise some valid criticisms. For instance, a few years ago, Phil Johnson did a post on Driscoll's "pornographic divination." It was written in a somewhat sensationalistic style, but then, it was an expose of Driscoll's sensationalistic antics. I thought Johnson provided some useful documentation. 

iv) Long-standing critics of Driscoll include ex-church members, former associate pastors, &c. They were also in the lead. That, however, reveals a certain irony in MacArthurite indictment of Driscoll. For Fred Butler is a critic of survivor blogs. Therefore, a major source of information about Mars HIll Church comes from a source that Fred preemptively discredits.

v) Just as Driscoll has critics on the right, he has critics on the left. That's one reason some objections were discounted. Consider the source. They had their own agenda. The Rachel Held Evans wing of the party. Offended feminists and "Gay christians."

vi) Speaking for myself, I was never a fan of Driscoll. I rarely read anything by him. I did think he occasionally said something useful. 

vii) In addition, I happen to be personal friend's with one of Driscoll's leading critics. I've known this critic for over 20 years. He's very well connected. Has lots of inside information. So it's not as if I needed the Pyromaniacs to give me the dish on Driscoll. In fact, I have it on good authority that there's much worse stuff on Driscoll that's yet to hit the fan. 

I for one can do without self-serving, self-congratulatory comments by Dan Phillips about how Pyromanics was a voice in the wilderness, about how the evangelical community failed to heed his sagacious foresight on the impending downfall of Driscoll. Has Dan always suffered from this inflated pride? Does he like to cast himself in the role of Jeremiah? The underappreciated prophet? Driscoll has a big enough ego without Dan adding to the net egotism. 


  1. Pyro was onto Driscoll early, however there were a number of lesser known watchbloggers and at least a couple of credible Mars Hill spiritual abuse victim sites that were chronicling his various and multifaceted problems.

    One of the recurring themes among Team Pyro, and generally among many of those surrounding JMac is the gift of "discernment". I'm all for discernment, and it's probably among the greatest needs in the church today, but it can be elevated to the point where it's no less a source of spiritual pride and division than the abuse of tongues.

  2. I've appreciated quite a few blog posts from the guys at Pyro, and still occasionally check it out (even though only Dan is blogging, and less often it seems), but Dan Phillips has a chip on his shoulder, not only about Driscoll, but if you follow him on twitter it's obvious that he's is very proud of books and feels like they are neglected by the reformed side of the evangelical community.