Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A small observation about the Mark Driscoll thing

The Mark Driscoll train-wreck has highlighted a problematic aspect of American Evangelism, that hasn't been much commented on. So in some of the reporting, for example this article from Christianity Today, you'll read about the "Accountability Board" who are a group of people, generally far from Seattle who are meant oversee Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. Many of Mark's current difficulties were sown when he became part of the Christian celebrity industrial-complex and it was all about promoting and protecting the "brand". In a sense he became the bishop of his new denomination and this Accountability Board was a type of un-elected Synod, but not a terribly effective one. Weirdly, they were meant to oversee all sorts of important stuff from a distance with little actual on the ground contact. Not only is this model of creating a new denomination with a business like "Accountability Board" ineffective, it's also ungodly. Being the leader of a congregation is like being a shepherd (1 Peter 5:1-4).  This isn't a nebulous metaphor, being a shepherd requires gritty regular attention, not fly-in-fly-out oversight. This type of structure also ignores the ancient and limited geographical structure of God's gathered people. Someone on the other side of the country simply has less power and responsibility than someone close by. This is why the Anglican and Presbyterian models of power concentrated within certain geographical areas will survive deep into the future.