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A Sound Analysis of Mark Driscoll’s Boorish Behavior and the Problem with Celebrity Pastors

March 6, 2014

Photo courtesy of Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

I know that I’m about 4 months late in commenting on Driscoll’s plagiarism, but hey, I was sick most of the winter.  If Driscoll can use sickness as an excuse during an interview, I can use it as an excuse for being a little behind the times.  What’s more interesting is that the the follow up documents after the interview proved unequivocally that Mark Driscoll committed overt plagiarism of D. A. Carson.  If a pastor/elder is to be above reproach, and blatant lying, or in this case, plagiarism, would disqualify that pastor/elder, shouldn’t Mark step down?  D. A. Carson has said as much about pastors who plagiarize ([5 Pt. Salt: Pulpit Plagiarism…] as noted by the folks at The Wartburg Watch).  Well, Mark?  I think it’s telling that half of Driscoll’s time seems to be performing damage control because of his actions and yet, as in this case, no appropriate action is ever taken to solve this embarrassment to Reformed theology and the church as a whole.  I never knew that “worm” theology referred to the spineless nature of many of my fellow Calvinists when one of their own needs discipline.

Carl Trueman get’s it right in the article published in Reformation 21:

If the Top Men take over, who will ask the hard questions?


The controversy surrounding Janet Mefferd’s interview of Mark Driscoll is interesting for a variety of reasons.  There is one aspect of it which has yet to attract comment as far as I can tell.  That is the way it brings out another aspect of the celebrity culture which has so corrupted the young, restless and reformed movement.

My interest here is not who was right and who was wrong.  That will no doubt be fairly easy to establish as the claims which Janet Mefferd made should be empirically verifiable.    I would only comment that, in my own interactions with Janet Mefferd, I have always found her forthright but fair.  I am concerned in this post only with what the reactions to the interview tell us about the culture of celebrity in the subculture that is evangelicalism.

I have tried a number of times to make the point that being a celebrity is not the same as being a public figure.   Anyone who acts in public is, to a greater or lesser degree, a public figure.  Celebrity brings with it such matters as a culture of false intimacy with complete strangers and a charismatic authority rooted in the person not in an institution.  Thus, influence is often predicated on personality, not on the intrinsic merits of arguments etc.

The Mefferd-Driscoll controversy points to another aspect of celebrity culture: celebrities are routinely allowed to behave in ways which would not be tolerated in ordinary mortals. (read the rest of this post here)

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