A workman not approved by God
Pastor Mark Driscoll, who has referred to himself as an angry young prophet, has made another embarrassing mistake. He has been caught out spending over $200,000 of ‘church’ money to get his disgraceful book, Real Marriage, onto the New York Times list of best sellers. An article posted on WORLD magazine, entitled, Unreal sales for Driscoll’s Real Marriage, written by Warren Cole Smith and posted 5 March, 2014, reveals that Mars Hill Church bought its pastor’s spot on the New York Times best-seller list.
Warren Cole Smith reports the facts:
‘According to a document obtained by WORLD, ResultSource Inc. (RSI) contracted with Mars Hill “ to conduct a bestseller campaign for your book, Real Marriage on the week of January 2, 2012. The bestseller campaign is intended to place Real Marriage on The New York Times bestseller list for the Advice How-To list.” The marketing company also promised to help place Real Marriage on the Wall Street Journal Business, USA Today Money, BN.com (Barnes & Noble), and Amazon.com best-seller lists.
Mat Miller of ResultSource and John Sutton Turner of Mars Hill signed the letter of agreement, dated Oct. 13, 2011. Turner was then and remains today the church’s executive pastor and an executive elder.
The details of the agreement between Mars Hill and ResultSource are complicated. ResultSource received a fee of $25,000 to coordinate a nationwide network of book buyers who would purchase Real Marriage at locations likely to generate reportable sales for various best-seller lists, including the New York Times list. Mars Hill also paid for the purchase of at least 11,000 books ranging in price from $18.62 to $20.70, depending on whether the books were purchased individually or in bulk. The contract called for 6,000 of the books to be bought by individuals, whose names were supplied by the church. Another 5,000 books were bought in bulk. Mars Hill would not say whether the funds for the purchase of these books, which would total approximately $123,600 for the individual sales and $93,100 for the bulk sales, came from church funds.
According to the terms of the contract RSI agreed to purchase at least 11,000 books in one week, while the book’s author undertook to provide 6,000 names and addresses for individual orders, and 90 names and addresses for the remaining 5,000 bulk orders.
A question of integrity
This episode raises many serious issues about the integrity of Pastor Mark Driscoll’s ministry, for it shows how he spent church money to successfully manipulate the New York Times bestseller list. He used deception to create the false impression that he had written a bestseller. Elsewhere on this website we have seen that the book in question, Real Marriage, misuses Scripture in claiming that a catalogue of unnatural sexual acts, such as anal sex, cyber sex and sex role play in marriage, are biblically permissible. Would a true man of God conduct himself in such a shameless way?
The apostle Paul provides the answer when he exhorts the young Pastor of the Church in Ephesus, Timothy, to conduct himself as a workman approved by God. Pastor Timothy is instructed to ‘set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity’ (1 Timothy 4.12). He must strive to show himself as one approved by God, ‘a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth’ (2 Timothy 2.15). The New American Standard Bible renders the verse, ‘Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.’
A question of conduct
Other disturbing facts about Driscoll’s unethical conduct come to mind. In October 2013 he gate-crashed the Strange Fire Conference of Pastor John MacArthur in order to promote one of his books; in November 2013 he was accused of serial plagiarism. Again, the Apostle Paul is clear that true ministers of God ‘have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God’ (2 Corinthians 4.1-2). A true minister of God does not employ disgraceful, underhanded ways to gain access to the New York Times bestseller list. Pastor Mark Driscoll’s careless lack of integrity reveals him as a workman who has much of which he should be ashamed. Such a workman is not approved by God.
You can learn more about Mark Driscoll’s ministry in the book, The New Calvinists (2014), published by The Wakeman Trust and Belmont House Publishing. The book is available from belmonthousebooks.com/