In the 80’s, misappropriation of funds, and sexual misconduct brought down the Jimmies (Bakker and Swaggert). In the 2010’s, Mark Driscoll has become the latest falling star of Evangelical Christianity. Like his predecessors before him, he has made the secular as well as the religious news. So a few short hours ago the Wall Street Journal Opinion Blog posted the story of Mark Driscoll’s resignation, and the demise of Mars Hill Church. Read this quote below.
“The Seattle pastor’s resignation from his megachurch on Oct. 14 and the subsequent dissolution of the church he built had nothing to do with the sort of sordid scandals that in the past brought down preachers such as Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. Mr. Driscoll’s downfall had a great deal to do with the online world that he had seemed to master, a world that made him famous but also exposed what he called in his resignation letter his “pride, anger and a domineering spirit.”
In the 80’s sexual scandals were sordid. Are the sexual harassment claims currently chasing Mark Driscoll not sordid in 2014? Are the standards for a Christian minister different today? Is the evidence of misappropriation of funds not sordid anymore? Is this okay now, when it was criminal in the 80’s? Is plagiarism not dishonest in 2014? Is buying your way into the NYT bestseller list with a Christian book highlighting anal sex, and sexually submissive wives not sordid in 2014? Is silencing abused former employees with legal and financial pressure not sordid in the 21st century? I realize that social standards have changed in the almost 30 years since the 80’s scandals, but I think the WSJ opinion simply furthers the spin doctoring coming from the Mars Hill holdouts.
I might have to call it the BSJ from now on. They certainly fell for the BS here. (Okay, I know this is just the opinion section, but I couldn’t resist the pun above.) This is the way the story is being spun to us: that this was simply an issue of him being a bit of a bully and his internet presence finally caught up with him. That is patently false. It was much more corrupt than that. I think its time to call a spade a spade. The Christian Church’s reputation is burning down under the fires of its own falsehoods. Outsiders know how to read this story. Isn’t it time we told it like it was?
Susan Sataline – where are are you? We miss your reporting in the WSJ.