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.”
“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
- CVS Pharmacy
- David’s Bridal
- Firehouse Subs
- H & R Block
- Jimmy Dean
- King’s Hawaiian
- Kraft Food Corporation
- Party City
- Payless Shoe Source
- Pizza Hut
- Pure Leaf Iced Tea
- Sherwin Williams
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.”