Oct 222014

images““If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.””

(Matthew 18:15–20 ESV)

The elders of Mars Hill have followed (to a degree) the prescriptions of Holy Scripture as it relates to the sins of Mark Driscoll.

The evidence of multiple witnesses has been weighed and in the face of continued rebellion, the church has been told.

Now, in light of his refusal to submit to the discipline of the church he must be officially and clearly excommunicated.

This means that Driscoll is to be considered out of fellowship with the entire church and he is refused access to both the  community and the sacraments.

The passage above promises that if this judgment is reached righteously it is affirmed by Christ Himself.

The purpose is true repentance and restoration.

“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13–15 ESV)

This must be done for three reasons.

One, to save Driscoll from himself. His soul is sick and until he acknowledges this he will not seek the remedy.

Two, to save Driscoll from his famous friends. They will become enablers of his rebellion against Christ and His church by allowing him to evade the process that the local body established. If they participate in such they will find themselves in opposition not only to the local church that sanctioned him, but to God who has affirmed their actions.

Three, it’s the biblical mandate laid out in the Scriptures. To stop short of excommunication at this stage is to make a mockery of the process already completed.

What does it mean to treat someone as a Gentile and a tax collector?

It means that while they are clearly placed outside the church, the church continues to love them and present them with the Gospel.

It means that the “two or more that are gathered ” in prayer are praying for the one under discipline to be reconciled with the church.

God promises that in this context, if these steps have been followed…that He will hear and answer.

This is the loving, forgiving, biblical method of church discipline.

The purpose is always repentance and restoration…God’s discipline of His children is always about rehabilitation and not retribution.

To settle for anything less doesn’t show “love” at all…it shows that Driscoll is not loved enough to care for his soul as the Bible instructs.

For once, the corporation that passes for the church in this country needs to remember it’s in the soul business…

Wenatchee the Hatchet: Now is not the time for self congratulation

Oct 222014

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

Oct 212014

timthumb.phpReligious composition by country…

The worlds greatest fears, mapped by country…

Is America uniquely under God?

How does the Bible define a Christian?

Are church boards biblical?

The power of God in pain…

Seven good things about the Houston subpoena situation…

Five takeaways about religion and politics…

A tale of targeting…

How well do we know our Bibles?

The beautification of violence in films…

Wenatchee the Hatchet has the scoop on Driscoll’s salaries…

The evangelical political strategy for 2016…

Rethinking youth ministry…

The first church of authenticity and trends…

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of using the media to control the narrative…the story that is being presented for public consumption.

I noted that Mark Driscoll had lost control of the media, thus he was unable to frame a favorable narrative about his situation.

In this video from his “surprise” appearance, he takes the opportunity to immediately “reframe” the narrative.

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Driscoll reframes the narrative from being the victimizer to being the victim.

If his stories are true it is shameful that some would react in that manner…we do live in an angry age.

The point is that he chose to tell those stories and they were told with a purpose in mind…to reframe the narrative.

Expect more to come…

Oct 202014

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. Now that we know that the Mars Hill elders found Mark Driscoll “guilty of persistent sin “and had created a biblical process of discipline and restoration, we need to exhort them to finish the process biblically. Because Driscoll chose to resign instead of following the process, the only option left is to excommunicate him. He should be put outside the fellowship of the church and barred from the Lords table until such time as he repents and submits to church discipline. This should be made public…”told to the church” so that all are aware and other churches can honor the actions of the elders. This is what Driscoll and his lieutenants preached and did to many attendees in the name of love…so let it be done to him. Let church discipline do it’s intended work…which is not to punish, but to bring an unrepentant sinner to repentance and restoration.

2. The funniest thing I heard all weekend was Paul Smith saying he was starting a blog…because I’ve heard what he has said about bloggers in the past.

3. It falls to my sorry lot to identify all the players in the Chuck Smith family scandal so that you, the reader, can wade through the cesspool with some measure of understanding.

The first set of players are Brian and Cheryl Brodersen.

Cheryl was Chuck Smith’s youngest child and according to many, his favorite.

This did not sit well with her siblings and has been a bone of contention for decades.

She has a very successful women’s ministry at CCCM.

Brian was an associate with CCCM for many years before taking over the senior pastors position and has been a target for those who expected his ascension for almost as many.

The second set of players are Janette Smith Manderson and her brother Jeff.

Manderson brought the lawsuit, but most insiders believe Jeff is the person driving the bus.

This is a financial and family matter, not a theological or ecclesiastical one, in my opinion.

The third set of players are those who want Brodersen deposed for theological and ecclesiastical reasons.

They want things to remain as they were circa 1980 or so and see themselves as the true disciples of Chuck Smith.

They loathe the changes Brodersen has made at CCCM and the direction that he’s driving the Calvary Chapel brand.

Some in this camp also lust for the power, resources, and influence that comes with Costa Mesa.

Therefore, sets two and three have become strange bedfellows with one common goal…to evict the Brodersens from Calvary Chapel.

Now, I have no little experience in reporting on issues with the second and third groups.

It’s never been easy and it was often downright dirty.

So… when you see anonymous people posting dirt about the Brodersens without any evidence being presented, take it with a whole bag of salt.

When you see posters like “victorious” being accused of being on Brodersens payroll, understand that such lies are the tactics often employed to discredit any opposition.

Here’s one fact you can bank on…no one involved with escape this mess whole…and the most damage will be to the legacy of Chuck Smith.

4. Make an note…the people in charge of the media are the people with the power. Driscoll lost access to all of Mars Hills social media and lost control of the narrative. The Brodersen opponents have no access to CC media and are left with making Youtube videos on an iPhone and Facebook. Advantage, Brodersen.

5. The victims in these situations are the people who are fed conflicting narratives full of half truths and speculation who are left not knowing what or who to believe. Many will be led into sin and confusion by people fighting over an earthly kingdom.

6. I am not unaware that most who click here today will not be looking for edification, but for dirt. This weighs heavily on my soul.

7. I’ve been asked what I think about the Ebola crisis. I’d like to answer intelligently, but almost all the information was politicized so fast that separating fact from fiction is almost impossible.

8. The absolutely tragic fact about both the Driscoll and Smith family stories is that everybody involved claims Christ and this is the best they can come up with…

9. The rains have come to Oregon and I’m grateful for God’s provision while missing the sunshine.

10. I’m more grateful for the few true friends I have in my life daily than the hundreds of cyber ones I have on Facebook… I’m not sure some folks know the difference.

I’m offline more than on these days, but I can be contacted at phoenixpreacher@gmail.com 

Oct 182014

thumbnail.aspxGiver of all our years, ruler of all our times, for this beginning – and all beginnings, we give you thanks.

We pray for energy and freedom and courage proper to a beginning, and ask for your gifts.

While we begin, we acknowledge that we are not, here, not ever, at a beginning.

Before us were our mothers and fathers;

before us were our teachers and pastors;


before us were many scholars who worked hard and saw much,

before us were fanatics who have run great risks, and have kept the text for us.

And before all of them, you you in your wisdom and your glory,

you in your power and your mercy.

We make our beginning in the presence of all these witnesses,

we make our beginning from you and toward you and in you,

that our work and study should be as praise for you,

You who give all our years,

You who rule all our times.

Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 66). Kindle Edition.

Oct 172014

IMG_0027Lord, this cat you gave me… she just doesn’t listen.

I told her the rains were coming…she goes out anyway and comes back soaked.

I told her not to lay in weeds…yet everyday she comes in and expects me to pull all the stickers out of her fur….from laying in the weeds.

I told her that as much as it’s up to her to be at peace with all cats…yet she expects me to tend to her wounds from the fights she is always in.

She embarrasses me in front of the neighbors by instigating disputes with their cats…she thinks she owns the whole block.

She is constantly doing what she ought not to do and suffering the consequences.

Worse, she seems to blame all her misfortunes on me…at least she expects me to deal with all the results of her disobedience.

I always do, but she never seems to learn.

Furthermore, Lord…she has never missed a meal, but when she’s hungry she yowls as if she hasn’t had a meal in weeks.

She makes it sound as if I’m a negligent and cruel father.

The truth is that I always feed her and even give her treats.

Just wanted you to know…

To top it all off, she is often distant and ignores me until she wants attention or me to provide something.

This cat makes me feel used.

Sometimes I wonder if she loves me, or just loves what I can give her.

It’s a pretty one sided relationship.

Despite all of this, I love the cat and I’ve chosen to keep her.

Lord, that makes no sense, but I know you’ll understand…


Make your own application…



Oct 162014

imagesMark Driscoll’s resignation is both a victory and a loss.

The tyrant has been felled, but the truth and the larger Body of Christ have not been served.

The choice Driscoll faced was between acting as a corporate leader or the leader of a church.

In the corporate world, you cut your losses, protect your resume, and move on to the next opportunity.

In the church, there is supposed to be repentance, restitution, and restoration.

This was a corporate resignation.

The wounded and abused have not been validated, the wrongs have not been confessed or addressed, and there was no opportunity to forgive and restore.

If Mark Driscoll really wanted to “make Jesus famous” he had a golden opportunity to do so.

Jesus is famous for forgiving sins and restoring broken people…the only requirements are confession and repentance.

Driscoll could have modeled how that works.

He could have lived the Gospel in front of his people.

Had he chosen to do so…to honestly and humbly deal with his sin and work through a biblical process with his church…I believe grace would have flowed like a river.

The world that has watched this debacle unfold could have seen how Christ makes a difference in the lives of His people.

Those who have suffered at his hand could have been comforted and restored.

The financial and ethical issues could have been addressed and resolved.

The local Body could have been healed.

People could have seen the grace and mercy of Jesus at work in a leader and believed they could receive it too…it would have empowered the Gospel to thousands.

That… would have been a true biblical “victory” that honored Christ.

Instead the Body is split, the wounded must heal on their own, and others will clean up the mess.

Driscoll remains in his sins and the corporate model of “church” has survived another scandal.

Jesus wept.

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