There is one aspect to Neo-Calvinists that I have noticed. You can see this in the behavior of Mark Driscoll, C.J. Mahaney and an Air Force Captain from Jordan Kauflin’s Redeemer Arlington. All of them fled when they should have worked out their problems. All of them fled while believing in Biblical Manhood and in church discipline. All they left in their wake was pain, trauma and fractured lives. For the Neo-Calvinist this is also “sound doctrine.”
“Running away from your problems is a race you will never win, so just face them head on, and overcome them.”
“Running away will never make you free.”
3 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
Jonah 1:3 NLT
This is another post that has been on my mind for the past couple of years. There is a trait in Neo-Calvinism that I see, and much of the world sees. The question is do the Neo-Calvinists see it? Let me start with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Seattle.
Issues in Mars Hill Seattle and Mark Driscoll Flees…
Mars Hill in Seattle was one of the fastest growing churches in the United States. The original location was at Ballard and in time it grew to 15 locations with a presence in New Mexico, Oregon and California. In all 13,000 people were involved. Mark Driscoll was the man in charge. He published frequently and even got his book “Real Marriage” on the New York Times best seller list.
In the course of time there was disturbing scandal. There was the tales of abuse and bullying by Mark Driscoll. There were stories of plagiarism, questionable behavior and more. Some of that included Mars Hill using money to bribe its way onto the New York Times bestseller. There was the issue of the Global Fund. There was also the outrageous claims. From the statement that Ted Haggard’s wife let herself go, to the talk of a pussified nation. Women are penis homes after all. Then there was the stories by people such as Karen Schaeffer, Dave Kraft and Paul Petry. Ron Wheeler who was close to Mark Driscoll wrote an open letter as well. Attendance at Mars Hill went from 14,000 in January of 2014 until almost 6,000 by the fall. Mark Driscoll took a leave of absence in August of 2014, then shortly thereafter he resigned. Mars Hill had its last service which was led by Rick Warren and dissolved by January 1, 2015. Despite the fact that many people wanted Mark Driscoll to stay and work things out, Mark Driscoll fled. He took his family and fled the Seattle area where he eventually showed up in Arizona. You can read more in, “A Wolf Rises in Phoenix: Mark Driscoll and The Trinity Church.” In his wake Mark Driscoll left a trail of destroyed lives, pain, damage, and more. And this pastor who was all about “sound doctrine” and the Gospel fled. In many ways he acted like Jonah.
Issues in Sovereign Grace and C.J. Mahaney Flees…
Sovereign Grace was a theological empire. It grew out of a revival in the Washington, D.C. area in the 1970’s It was known as Take and Give. In time it eventually settled down in Gaithersburg, Maryland and built a church called Covenant Life Church. The two key individuals were Larry Tomczek and C.J. Mahaney. In the late 90’s Tomczak disappeared and suddenly left. Mahaney plowed ahead and converted the organization into reformed doctrine. At its peak Sovereign Grace had over 100 churches inside the United States, in 26 states and 21 countries. Sovereign Grace had Bob Kauflin’s music and Josh Harris’s “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” which became a cult classic. A crisis started to grow in Sovereign Grace in 2011. Brent Detwiler had accused Mahaney of being deceitful, not submitting to the rules, pride and more. The author of “Humility” couldn’t even practice being humble. In July of 2011 it came out that Mahaney had blackmailed Larry Tomczak. Tomczak’s son confessed an alleged sex crime and Mahaney used it to drive him from the organization. Another situation that also happened is that allegations of child sex abuse that were covered up started to spill out on the internet. On July 6, 2011 Mahaney announced that he is stepping down from the ministry. Shortly thereafter thousands upon thousands of documents spilled out onto the internet in what became known as SGM Wikileaks. Mahaney took back his confession and fled to Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and then to Solid Rock in Maryland before fleeing to Louisville, Kentucky. There are many people who wanted Mahaney to stay and work out his problems. But he fled and first hid behind Mark Dever’s rear end and then went off to Kentucky. Mahaney also acted like Jonah in how he fled.
An Air Force Captain at Jordan Kauflin’s Redeemer Arlington and then in Time Fleeing Washington, D.C.
There was another situation that hit home. I had a co-worker who opened up to me. I was in the midst of a faith crisis and walked away. I adored Christopher Hitchens which you can read about in, “A Personal Reflection on the Late Christopher Hitchens.” This Air Force Captain who at this blog is named Andrew White proceeded to evangelize me. Andrew who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2005, was married by Academy’s Navigators director to his wife Jillian. Andrew told me that he was involved in a “health church” and had “sound doctrine.” He was into Mark Driscoll, Mark Dever, Matt Chandler and more. Andrew had a lot of lunches a few dinners and wanted to have lots of coffee. He pleaded with me not to reject Christianity and encouraged me to keep talking. We clashed and fought over Sovereign Grace and then Acts 29. Then this person who asked me to change his internet password for spiritual purity from porn and lust on the internet turned around and gave birth to a false accusation. I was told I would be reported to the police for stalking. And this by the same guy who shortly beforehand asked me to change his computer password so he couldn’t access pornography. After May 8, 2013 for the next 13 months I lived under the threat of being reported to law enforcement for a crime I never committed. Meanwhile Andrew focused on recruiting another co-worker to Redeemer Arlington. I learned why rape and sexual assault is a problem in the military when I saw how an Air Force officer can abuse his power. When he learned about the pain that it caused he continued to run – even when my career was threatened. It just dragged on, and in time it popped up in my Mom’s hospital room two months before her death. I was livid that this mess from Redeemer Arlington popped up in a hospital room in Fresno, California. If you want to read more you can do so in, “How I Managed a False Accusation Given Birth to by a USAF Captain and Care Group Leader from Redeemer Arlington for 408 Days” , “Was Redeemer Arlington Removed From McLean Bible’s New City Network? The Wondering Eagle Asks Why? Plus how Spiritual Abuse from Redeemer Affected My Mother and Popped up in Her Hospital Room When She was Ill.” Just like Mark Driscoll and C.H. Mahaney, Andrew White ran and fled to Colorado Springs. In the process he tainted everything that the United States Air Force stood for. But he to ran just like Jonah.
Is it “The Gospel” for Neo-Calvinists to Flee? Are they Modern Day Jonah’s?
Now here is what unites or links Mark Driscoll, C.J. Mahaney and Andrew White. They all believed that they were in healthy churches. Mark Driscoll talked down on other churches in Seattle. Mahaney was controlling and believed that Sovereign Grace had perfected the idea of church. Wayne Grudam thought SGM was the way churches should be modeled after. Andrew spent a year and a half saying that Redeemer Arlington, Sovereign Grace and more were “healthy.” In his 32 or so years he thought Redeemer was the healthiest church that he had known. Another point is that all three believed that they were “Gospel Centered” and that they had the Gospel understood. They all talked about having “sound doctrine.” Andrew was frequently commenting to me as to how he was studying doctrine.
It should also be pointed out that all three individuals talked about what it means to be a man. Mark Driscoll was all about being a man. He preached, lectured and taught on what it means to be a man. A man should not be a panzy. A man should not be effeminate, otherwise he could be a male lesbian. Jesus had to beat the crap out of people. C.J. Mahaney spoke about being a jock. The importance of being in sports and what it means to be a man. Because of this there were people who tried to emulate and model him. Everything from copying hand gestures to even shaving their head to look like Mahaney. Then there was Andrew. He spoke about how his family rested entirely on him and as a man he was fully responsible for it. He also spoke about complementarian theology. The concept of Biblical manhood which was re-enforced by his listening to John Piper. All three people were into church discipline. Mark Driscoll went overkill on and used it on people who challenged his authority. Mahaney was a theological dictator whose cruelty rivaled any dictator of the Warsaw Pact. Andrew was very much into church discipline and believed the 9 Marks Kool Aid.
So here is the irony of all this that I find to be troubling. All of the people above were into what it means to be a man, church discipline and more, and what happened when it came to them? They fled? They went and either hid behind someone’s ass or ran and avoided what they believed and fled to another part of the country. Mark Driscoll fled Seattle and ended up outside Phoenix with a new church. He has Paul Petry, Ron Wheeler and so many other people stuck broken and hurt. Many of them want to hear Mark Driscoll say he screwed up and to come back to Seattle and work things out. C.J. Mahaney fled Gaithersburg for Washington, D.C. Then he fled for Louisville, Kentucky where he set up Sovereign Grace Louisville. There are people from Covenant Life and elsewhere that want to see Mahaney practice what he preached for decades. They want to see him come back to Covenant Life and submit to what he forced others to? Then there is an Air Force Captain who was inspired by some of those people and discipled by Jordan Kauflin. He fled Washington, D.C. and then when we started to talk about what happened broke off the discussions and fled. He’s out in Colorado Springs most likely in another Acts 29 church talking about how solid his faith is and all he leaves his hubris and pain. His behavior threatened my job and even invaded a hospital room which had my Mom concerned and worried. A hospital room in a major medical illness was entirely inappropriate. It was two months before my Mom died but it was entirely out of bounds.
All three individuals are more like Jonah in that all they do is run, run, run and flee. I am sure you know the story of Jonah in the Old Testament. God wanted him to go to Nineveh and he fled. Its one of the shortest books in the Old Testament. That is all they do. Is that what it means to be a Neo-Calvinist? “Sound doctrine” means you flee and run? Is that what a healthy faith is? Jordan Kauflin and Eric Simmons can you explain this post to me? That is it for the day guys. Tale care of yourself.