TLC Cancels the Duggars, while Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney Continue Preaching; Why Does the World Have More Ethics than Some Evangelical Christians?

TLC canceled “19 Kids and Counting” yet Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney have new speaking gigs. Why can the world show more integrity than parts of evangelical Christianity? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Why can the world at times be more sensitive to pain than the evangelical church? Is this an example of God’s growing grace in the secular world in response to the “dones” and “dechurched?”

“Great is the issue at stake, greater than appears, whether a man is to be good or bad. And what will any one be profited if, under the influence of money or power, he neglect justice and virtue?”


“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”

Norman Schwarzkopf

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:14 NIV  

I had planned to write about Ken Ham’s latest comments about homosexuality and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks however that will come next week. I have several posts on atheism in the works, plus The Gospel Coalition and 9 Marks has some stuff I would like to dissect. I need a staff! So in the near future you are going to be seeing Cartman saying, “Respect my authoritah!!” I heard the news about the Duggars and I wanted to compare and contrast the Duggars being canceled with Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney continuing to preach. I find this to be very interesting and its something that I think shows how parts of evangelicalism is a circus of incredible proportions. Plus its also damning when the world has higher ethical standards than evangelical Christianity. But before I continue let me explain what happened. On July 16, 2015 TLC canceled “19 Kids and Counting.” It came forward that Josh Duggar had sexually abused 5 under age females including his 4 sisters a couple of months back. The Duggars have been embraced by many sides of evangelicalism. Josh Duggar resigned from the Family Research Council when it was revealed that he had sexually abused several under age girls. Josh Duggar had been known for speaking out against gay marriage and being front and center in the culture wars. In this post I am not going to get too deep in the story of the Duggars for a couple of reasons. One I am not familiar with the patriarchy movement and I will defer to the gracious and kind Julie Anne Smith who knows all things about the patriarchy and homeschooling movement inside and out,  backwards and forwards! 🙂 Its with that said I want to focus and discuss why the world can practice greater discernment than many evangelical Christians amidst scandal and corruption. But before I get into that I need to discuss some news about Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney. Mark Driscoll has some more speaking gigs that been rolled out for him. Warren Throckmorton who broke a lot of the news on Mars Hill Seattle wrote about this the other day. In September 2015 Mark Driscoll has 3 speaking engagements. This includes Muldoon Community Assembly Church in Anchorage, Alaska; Men Coaching Men Discipleship Ministry Leadership Conference in Carefree, Arizona; and Trinity Church in Lubbock, Texas. As he resumes speaking he continues to leave a mess in Seattle without owning, or repenting, or approaching Rob Smith, Paul Petry, Bent Meyer or other former members from Mars Hill and seeking forgiveness. Haven’t you heard a real man doesn’t repent or own his mistakes! Despite that there are some evangelicals who are ignoring the pain of many and giving him a platform to speak. Meanwhile CJ Mahaney recently spoke at Sovereign Grace Clarksburg (Grace Church of Clarksburg technically) and is the headline speaker at the Sovereign Grace Worship God conference at the end of July 2015. So with all the pain and unresolved issues in Sovereign Grace Ministries the man who wrote Humility after allegedly blackmailing his ministry partner and allegedly covering up child sex abuse continues on like nothing is amiss. Remember the blackmail was “Gospel Centered”

Why TLC Canceled the Duggars

There are a couple of reasons I propose why TLC canceled the Duggars. One is that many corporations responded to the news of the Josh Duggars child sexual abuse with deep concern. One thing that helped cancel the show is the exodus of sponsors from TLC. A list of those sponsors who stopped advertising is here. There was outrage over what happened and companies responded to that outrage. For example Crayola on Twitter said in response to a Tweet about child sex abuse, “we share your concern for the safety of children and have no plans to air Crayola commercials during future episodes.” For the record here are all the companies that I am aware of which withdrew sponsorship from “19 Kids and Counting.”

  • Ace Hardware
  • Allstate Insurance
  • Behr Paint
  • Choice Hotels
  • ConAgra Foods
  • Crayola
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • David’s Bridal
  • Firehouse Subs
  • H & R Block
  • Jimmy Dean
  • Keurig
  • King’s Hawaiian
  • Kohls
  • Kraft Food Corporation
  • Party City
  • Payless Shoe Source
  • Pizza Hut
  • Pure Leaf Iced Tea
  • Ricola
  • Sherwin Williams
  • Walgreens

TLC issued a statement that can be read here. In the statement TLC says, “The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection.” Also TLC agreed to consult and listen to organizations involved with the issue of rape, incest, and child sex abuse. TLC in the same statement said:

Over these past weeks, TLC has consulted regularly with leading victims’ rights and advocacy organizations in the U.S., including RAINN and Darkness to Light, to discuss how to use this moment to address the issue and make a positive impact. Unfortunately, child sexual abuse is not an isolated issue; it affects many children and families around the world. To that end, we are partnering with both organizations on a multi-platform campaign to raise awareness and educate parents and families about the issue. In the first phase of this initiative, TLC will work closely with both groups and with the Duggar family on a one-hour documentary that will include Jill and Jessa and other survivors and families that have been affected by abuse. 

So I would suggest that it was both the financial pressure combined with open and receptive TLC leadership which investigated the facts of the situation and listened to individuals in the know. They probably realized the influence the show had, and the message that would be communicated if the show continued in light  of what transpired. If the show continued wouldn’t that communicate that child sex abuse or incest is okay and fine? After all communication comes in many forms and its doesn’t have to be verbal. Communication can also come in choosing to be silent and to conveniently ignore the issue because its an affront to your beliefs, money, or business. That didn’t happen here and TLC made what I would consider to be a very wise decision. In light of the scandals with Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahnaey this decision is very refreshing. Another thing that impressed me is that TLC didn’t toy with people in their decision. For example Brian Houston of Hillsong said he disinvited Mark Driscoll from participating in a Hillsong conference and then reneged on his promise by showing a video of the interview instead. That was outrageous and disingenuous.

Why Can’t Evangelicals Cease Supporting CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll?

Here’s the question I have…if the TLC which is of the world can do the right thing and cancel support for the Duggars…why can’t evangelicals cancel their support for Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney? What does that show the world when a secular organization does the proper thing whereas a minister, or pastor goes on and continues about his way with little to no concern about the harm he is doing? Another way to say this is why is the world setting an example for people who claim to be born again and new creations? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t it be CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll who stop their activities, repent, back away and refrain from acting like its business as normal? Where is the outrage in this story…why aren’t evangelical Christians ashamed that the world is setting the example and doing the right thing. Honestly its backwards….I don’t know how else to say it. Is the problem in evangelical Christianity the fact that there are too many professional Christians who are making a living on what they do? Is the problem that since they draw a paycheck from ministry they view ministry as an entitlement and a way of life, and a way to make a living? You may go work in a bank. You may be a physician’s assistant and you leave your home in the morning and go to a doctor’s office. Is it that individuals like CJ Mahaney or Mark Driscoll feel a sense of entitlement to continue doing what they are doing? Or is it much more disturbing….are Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney narcissists or a sociopath? They feel no collective guilt about what they are doing, people are a mean’s to an end, and people stand between them and publishing or their bank account. In the end its all an act, a show and many evangelicals are gullible and can’t see through the façade? Or has evangelical Christianity been corrupted by money? Or is it all of the above? I am writing all this because I hope evangelical Christianity can at least have a discussion about how the church should behave in front of a watching world especially when the world is acting better than the church.

One other thing that baffles me is the following. If TLC is going to consult and reach out to organizations like RAINN and Darkness to Light why can’t organizations like Sovereign Grace or Mark Driscoll do the same thing in their respect situations? Why couldn’t CJ Mahaney have reached out to organizations like RAINN or Darkness to Light and brought them in and have them handle the child sex abuse situation in Sovereign Grace? One impressive thing about RAINN is that it also runs the Department of Defense Safe Helpline which deals with the issue of rape in the US military.

Before I move onto the next part I have to say the following. Recently I learned that when the Duggars visit Washington, D.C. their church of choice is none other than Mark Dever’s Capital Hill Baptist Church. I was surprised to hear this because I thought the Duggars are IFB in their theology. For the record I really don’t know much of anything about IFB, as I was historically involved in more mainstream evangelicalism. Upon hearing about the Duggars worship at Capital Hill Baptist Church the only thing I can think of is that what it also says about Mark Dever’s church. What it means is that Capital Hill Baptist has a form of patriarchy that is more in line with the IFB than the SBC. What is also reveals is how far CHBC has veered off to the right. In the future one of the issues I want to tackle is how heresy also comes from the right. Many evangelicals are so focused on the threat of emergent theology they have opened themselves up to patriarchy and extreme views from the right in the process. But that is an essay for another day.

Are Evangelicals Right to Criticize the World?

In the past few weeks I have to say its been a little embarrassing. I have been watching my Twitter feed as well as my personal Facebook feed. In light of the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage you would think the world has come to an end. Plus you would also think that is the case in reading The Gospel Coalition and observing their reaction. The decision by TLC has made me wonder….are evangelicals always right when they demonize and go after the world? In light of the growing case of the dones and the dechurched is this an example of God’s grace being more abundant outside the church than within? If you can find examples like TLC in the court of public opinion while many evangelicals march on not wanting to face the facts about child sex abuse issues in their local church, does this mean that evangelicals have the credibility to criticize the world? When the TLC has a higher standard of how to deal with child sex abuse than Sovereign Grace Ministries, how can SGM roll out a blog post like this in response to the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage? Do we evangelicals have a right to criticize the world in light of such behavior? Or should this provoke us in thought, for us to respond with love and grace to the world? If evangelicals can’t love should they preach a message at all? I’m juts thinking out loud here and journaling. What do you think? Feel free to push back, differing views are always welcome here. In closing I would like to leave you with The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

18 thoughts on “TLC Cancels the Duggars, while Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney Continue Preaching; Why Does the World Have More Ethics than Some Evangelical Christians?

  1. A lot of food for thought there Eagle.

    “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    I think the bottom line reason why Mark Driscoll can’t walk away from ministry is that he is trapped – there is no other job he could take at his age, with his skill set that would support a family of five on one salary. That’s it. Any claim that he has a sense of calling, that God is telling him to plant another church, that he is becoming a charismatic comes from that place – food on the table and a (large) roof over their heads…

    The snare was money and power. But he and many others are now in that trap.

    I used to attend Hillsong, and if I am honest I used to put aside reservations I had about certain aspects to one side. I think I can offer an insight into why mega-churches behave like they do and why its at odd with the seemingly more ethical approach in the secular world.

    Firstly there is a sense of misguided grace in the way they act. They think they are being gracious. I think that this is probably a minor motive, maybe an after thought to square what they have already decided upon.

    The main one is that they have an inflated view of leadership. They view leaders, ‘successful’ leaders as being God’s anointed. Successful of course means size, wealth, power and influence. Criticism of the leaders thus becomes criticism of God’s anointing – of God’s very plan to save the world through this ministry or that ministry. Not through Jesus.

    There is also another aspect to this – that criticism of Christians by non-Christians is seen as an attack on ‘our team’ from outside and is motivated by a hatred of Christianity, God, Jesus & the Church. Criticism on the inside is seen as disloyalty to the team. In its extreme form you get people being shunned and exiled. But even in its milder form you get a culture of silence where people don’t want to break ranks about a leader or message because they don’t want to be ‘judgemental’.

    These three strands come together into a toxic reluctance to apply the same ethical standards as the world applies, meaning that organisations that should be operating at a higher ethical standard than the world aren’t. And further perpetuates a distance from the world and a bunker mentality – ‘the secular world always hates the church’ when we should be trying to understand why they see our hypocrisy better than we do.

    Then again for the unscrupulous leader deliberately fomenting a bunker mentality is great for ensuring that once folks are in the sheep pen they ain’t leaving.

    Final word – you may have seen the “Benedict Option” being touted. Rod Dreher has been banging on about this for ages. Its an ideal of living separately in society as ‘orthodox’ Christians. Largely motivated by fear of changes in sexual morality to me it seems to be the creation of a fearful super bunker… with all that entails.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You might be giving TLC too much credit. Call me a cynic, but I bet it’s just about the money. OTOH, someone in this foodchain does care about the ethics of the thing–maybe TLC is just afraid of losing the sponsors, and the sponsors are just afraid of losing the customers, but apparently a critical mass of Kohls, Pizza Hut, Walgreens customers care about sexual abuse. Maybe, to be consistently cynical, the pastors at Muldoon Community Assembly Church etc. only care about money too, but they evidently aren’t scared of losing their customers the way Kohls and Pizza Hut are.

    American evangelicalism has always been an unstable compound of pietism and Protestant orthodoxy, but correct doctrine always matters more than actions. Do you think these guys would be getting invited to churches if they had committed theological instead of moral sins, like changing their minds on marriage equality or going all Rob Bell? (Maybe, but not the same churches.) But if your doctrine is right it doesn’t really matter how you treat people. The only exception seems to be if you personally commit sexual sin, then you have a cry a lot and take some time off before returning to the pulpit.

    Grace and non-judgementalism are selectively applied in these circles as weapons. You are obligated as a good Christian to extend grace to them, because we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, who are you to judge? On the other hand, judging and condemning outsiders is called standing up for God’s Word. Even within their own congregations these guys apparently don’t extend a lot of grace. So, some people are entitled to forgiveness and other people aren’t. I guess it’s just part of being the elect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree with a lot of what you say Luke. We’re on the same side of thought in so many ways. The only sin many evangelicals care about is sexual, yet you can lie, cheat, steal and that’s fine. If many evangelicals cared then CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll would be a non-issue and I would have more free time!


      • No, the only sin many evangelicals care about is HOMOsexual. As was overheard on the 480 bus last month:

        “bla bla bla Duggars bla bla bla They’re CHRISTIAN bla bla bla Guess it’s okay to bang your sisters as long as you’re not GAY.”


  3. TLC makes their money from advertisers.
    CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll makes their money from preaching.
    When advertisers withdraw because of “19 Kids & Counting”, there is one sensible thing to do: Keep doing what brings advertisers. (Their other shows) Stop doing what drives them away. (19KaC) When advertisers witdraw because of one show, they have other shows to draw them, and concentrate on those.
    When congregants withdraw from CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll, they still know only one way to make money: Get it from the congregants who are not leaving (yet), get it from new congregants.
    TLC, as far as I can guess, does not care if they promote negative messages and are no more ethical. They and Mahaney and Driscoll care about money. This does not make either the secular company or the preachers more ethical.


    • There are problems in the corporate world to as that is driven by money. One of the companies I worked for was Washington Mutual which became the largest bank failure in US history. They pursued a reckless financial policy motivated by money. So in many ways the world can be just as bad. I found my lending manual when I was cleaning my condo a few years back and trashed it. Instead I should have given it to the Smithsonian where it could have been displayed next to the Ethics manual for Enron.


      • “One of the companies I worked for was Washington Mutual which became the largest bank failure in US history. They pursued a reckless financial policy motivated by money.”

        Let me guess. The leaders did not walk away broke?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lydia in regards to Washington Mutual I even heard stories of some employees who liquidated their savings and retirement and invested it in WAMU stock as the bank was failing. They thought it would be the next Microsoft and bounce back. Some people lost everything. Very sad…


  4. Great article Eagle! What I see continually from the church at large is denial. Denial to own up to ones sin and be accountable. David was a man after Gods own heart- why? Because his heart was one to acknowledge sin in his OWN life and deal with it. The church today has a hard time looking within and dealing with their own hearts. With God it is all about the heart. David in Psalms stated “Search in me Holy Spirit for sin and cleanse me, whether unintentional or intentional”.
    One reason I had and still have a hard time going back to church is because of this. I heard all the time about the great things God was doing through their church or through them, as far as, big things: church is growing, how many were baptized, we have this many programs, I have this ministry, I have brought this many to the Lord; my pastor is anointed or I am anointed; our church has done these great outreaches; Me, me, me, I, I,I. Now don’t get me wrong doing these things in itself are not wrong, but when these things take precedence over the heart you have got a problem. One way many get away with dealing with specific sin is to use the common ‘get out of jail free card’ : “we are all just sinners, saved by grace” or “the church is messy and not perfect” or “you won’t find a perfect church”. Yeah, yeah, yeah- how about saying “I have sinned, deal with it, suffer the consequences, ask for forgiveness, and start changing your perspective on that sin”- allow the Holy Spirit to deal with the heart! This is what God wants- He is not as interested in the outwards as much as He wants the heart. Many even bring up the fact that David or Jonah sinned and try to excuse their own, but what they don’t get in their heads is that Yeah, David sinned and also suffered great consequences for it too, EVEN when his heart changed. Being sorry for sin won’t get you free from the consequences- one must OWN IT and then move on to changing to a better heart. It does not mean that God does not forgive (His arms are always open to a true repented heart), but God never stated you would be free from consequences from Him or from the world.
    What God is more interested in is the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The church today looks at the externals and gauges their success from it, the follower of Jesus looks at their hearts and wants Him to make it more like Christ.


  5. “Before I move onto the next part I have to say the following. Recently I learned that when the Duggars visit Washington, D.C. their church of choice is none other than Mark Dever’s Capital Hill Baptist Church. I was surprised to hear this because I thought the Duggars are IFB in their theology. For the record I really don’t know much of anything about IFB, as I was historically involved in more mainstream evangelicalism. Upon hearing about the Duggars worship at Capital Hill Baptist Church the only thing I can think of is that what it also says about Mark Dever’s church. What it means is that Capital Hill Baptist has a form of patriarchy that is more in line with the IFB than the SBC.”

    This one is very interesting to me, too. Like you, I have little knowledge of the IFB except for all the scandals and through them, Gothard and others I can see the same sort of problems have been imported into places like the SBC. I had no idea! But in the end, It is all based upon power. We tend to ignore or explain away power dynamics when it comes to spiritual things but that is a huge mistake. It is the same stuff we see in the world although perhaps for different reasons. I see little difference between Enron and Mark Driscoll, as one example.

    Keep in mind when the Duggars visit Dallas their church of choice is FBC Dallas and Robert Jeffries as we heard about during his interview. I admit I have not been around FBC Dallas in decades but it certainly did not have a draught of influential wealthy people back then. So how does Patriarchy fit there? I think it is more about money/opportunity/celebrity than anything else. Patriarchy is the shtick they sell under the guise of puritanical living to bring in the dollars.

    Personally, I think TLC made a financial decision. There will also be money in telling the Duggars nasty story, too, for others. I am very out of it culturally because I am amazed they even had a show to begin with. I have never actually seen it so not sure what the big attraction was for people? A carnival freak show?

    I think a bigger question for us culturally is how come they became popular at all? It says something rather creepy about our culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TLC show reveals how far to the right parts of evangelicalism has drifted. I never watched 19 kids but I find it puzzling that people do like it. Its kind of like CJ Mahaney why do people read and watch a man who practiced “Gospel Centered Blackmail?” I don’t get that either


    • I think a bigger question for us culturally is how come they became popular at all? It says something rather creepy about our culture.

      Anyone remember the “Nuts & Sluts” talk shows of the Nineties? Geraldo, Morton Downey Jr, and especially Jerry Springer?

      How else can the Al Bundys in their trailer parks find somebody they can look down upon?


  6. Good article Eagle. You ask why Evangelicals don’t practice basic ethics with cleaning up their institutional failures, I wonder if they even wanted to (doubt it, but hey weird things happen every day) if they’d even be able to. The American Christian church seems to be an entertainment business where the worker drones/marks think they’re a part of the org, however they have no actual influence or power. And it seems to me most American Christians like it that way, c’est la vie. Changes will happen though, maybe the Evangelical church population in America will move more towards the LDS church or maybe the neopagan movement will catch on beyond niche worshipers. Or maybe Americans will go apatheist/atheist/deist and just not care anymore. Should be interesting to see how Xians in America evolve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Blue the evangelical Christian church has some deep, deep issues that are affecting it and it reveals the problems it has. I for one think the evangelical movement needs to focus on problems internally before speaking or witnessing externally. BTW..ever read Godless in Dixie? I’m working on a post based off something I read there recently.


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