Spock on Implication

Someone left a comment on my post about Brian Houston’s interview of Mark Driscoll. Most people seemed to think the interview wouldn’t go forward. About 47 seconds into this clip, there is a debatable distinction discussed by the Spocks. Watch
Spock: You lied.
Spock: Awww, I implied.

Something I Don't Understand About Mark Driscoll's Resignation

In his interview with Brian Houston, Mark Driscoll said he had decided to go along with the restoration plan that the Mars Hill elders wanted to implement. He told Houston that he had given the go ahead for the plan which would have him returning to the pulpit on January 4, 2015.  However, then on the Monday night after he said he would follow the elders’ plan, God told him and his wife that they were released from ministry. Then he resigned.
First of all, no one at the time said anything about special revelation being given to Mark Driscoll. Driscoll didn’t include that seemingly important detail in his resignation letter. The governing board of Mars Hill Church did not disclose this. The elders who explained the situation to the remaining Mars Hill members didn’t mention it either. When Driscoll showed up at Gateway Church just a few days later, Gateway pastor Robert Morris told the congregation that he and Driscoll together decided that Driscoll should step out of ministry for a season to get some healing. Watch at 25 seconds into this clip:
Now, the revelation from God is the core of their resignation narrative.
So as the situation has been described at the time by his elders and by Driscoll now, we have the elders exercising biblical oversight and God telling Driscoll not to follow it.
I don’t understand that.

Asia Bibi Near Death

FreeAsiaBibiI have written about Asia Bibi on several occasions. Bibi is a Pakistani Christian mother of five who was convicted of blasphemy against Mohammad and sentenced to death. She has been dying a slow death in a Pakistani prison while Pakistan’s government has turned a deaf ear to many calls for her release.
News reports suggest she is very ill and will die if she does not receive medical care.
There have been multiple petition drives (I count eight on Change.org) and calls from political (e.g., mayor of Paris) and religious leaders (e.g., the Pope) to free Bibi.
It is galling to know that the U.S. gives billions of tax payer dollars to Pakistan while that nation regularly violates human rights.
If ever the State Department was ever going to make an another effort to pressure Pakistan, now would be the time.

More Questions for Gospel for Asia About 2013 Spending and Funds Unaccounted For

It has been nearly a week since I posted auditor Jason Watkins analysis of publicly available records of Gospel for Asia’s spending in 2012.  I sent the information to Gospel for Asia’s CEO, K.P. Yohannan, and COO, David Carroll as well as the president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Dan Busby. I asked them to provide information which would contradict Watkins’ findings. No reply.
Today, I want to post Watkins’ analysis of the spending in 2013. Over just these two years, if Watkins is correct, $90 million that GFA affiliates report as contributions to GFA in India do not show up in Indian reports (see both posts).
GFA Pie Chart 2013 F2
This is a similar break down as the 2012 chart.
I want to add that GFA may have some explanation for where the $47 million is. It may be that they give it away to other organizations in India (which might be a problem, see this report). If GFA ever responds with additional information, Watkins and I will adjust the analysis and other posts.
For those who are disturbed by these reports, I want to say that this analysis was done with publicly available records. These records are required by various governments and watchdog groups to keep organizations accountable. An examination of those records has led to this analysis and others I have previously published. I have in good faith asked GFA for explanation or additional information. However, COO David Carroll told me in May he would no longer answer my questions.
GFA stopped responding to my requests on May 7. For nearly eight weeks, GFA has remained silent as report after report has been published. To staff, leaders admitted requiring students to carrying cash to India, and told them it wasn’t illegal. GFA said their audit firm, Bland Garvey, said what they did was fine and legal. Then, they acknowledged that they have retained lawyers. However, at no time has GFA commented about why they violated their own financial integrity promises and possibly U.S. law to get hundreds of thousands of undeclared U.S. dollars to India.
My sources inside GFA tell me that some students have left the School of Discipleship over these issues and others including the conflicting stories over Believers’ Church bishops kissing His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan K.P. Yohannan’s ring at ordination.
On the GFA website, CEO Yohannan promises*:

And if you hear something about Gospel for Asia that doesn’t sound right, would you please contact us—via email or phone—and let us know? Whenever there are accusations, we seek to immediately respond. We don’t walk away or cover it up. Most often, these are simply rumors or misunderstandings. And if we are wrong, we are happy for the opportunity to repent and make things right. We desire to walk in the light with the Lord and with our brothers and sisters.

I have been contacting you since May with no answers. Rev. Yohannan, you walked away 55 days ago.
*This was written before the recent controversies. There have been other issues over the years I haven’t begun to examine.

Hillsong Church Campaigners Feel Betrayed by Brian Houston's Interview with Mark & Grace Driscoll; London Protest Planned

Earlier this month, Brian Houston, pastor of Hillsong Church, appeared to respond to the protests and petitions about Mark Driscoll’s appearance at the church’s 2015 conferences.  He issued a statement which sounded like Driscoll would not have a presence at the Hillsong conference, underway now in Sydney Australia. Houston said (full statement here):

After personal interaction with Mark Driscoll today, we have agreed that he will no longer be coming to Australia or the UK to attend Hillsong Conference. It is my hope that Mark and I will be able to speak in person in the coming weeks to discuss some of the issues that have been raised, what – if anything – he has learned, and for me to understand better how he is progressing in both his personal and professional life.

The teachings of Christ are based on love and forgiveness, and I will not write off Mark as a person simply because of the things that people have said about him, a small minority of people signing a petition or statements he has made many years ago for which he has since repeatedly apologised.

However, I do not want unnecessary distractions during our conference, particularly as this 30 minute interview was only a small part of this five day event. It was clear to me that Mark’s attendance had the potential to divert attention from the real purpose of Hillsong Conference, which is to see people leave encouraged in their own spiritual journey.

However, as I reported last night, Driscoll and his wife did appear via a pre-recorded video interview with Brian Houston. Video and audio are available in that prior post. The controversy surrounding Driscoll was big news in Australia prior to the conference. A protest at the church and a petition against the appearance seemed to trigger interest among Australian media. The people behind the protest and petition now feel betrayed by Houston’s decision and reached out with the following statements.
The leader of the Hillsong protest, Benjamin Wheeler issued this statement:

Today Brian Houston made Christianity look really bad. After having very much led everyone to believe he was cancelling Mr. Driscoll’s appearance at Hillsong Conference, and thereby escaping the gigantic pressure and negative repercussions and protests at the conference, Mr. Houston went ahead with a videotaped interview anyway, thereby in some weasely, conniving way sticking to the letter of what he’d said although clearly intentionally he blatantly lied. This is one if the more outrageous things I’ve seen from a very powerful Christian pastor. It leads me to disbelieve anything he might ever say in the future, and more generally to more thoroughly than ever find Christianity unattractive. How are we to believe anything Brian has said with regards his own supposed innocence and integrity with regards his own paedophile father and Hillsong founding pastor Frank Houston, if this is how he operates? My experience with so many Hillsong parishioners at Hillsong Church while protesting Driscoll over these last months has been that one after another they have said to me “Well, I trust Brian Houston to do the right thing.” Today Mr. Houston has clearly betrayed the trust of both church insiders and outsiders, and if Christians both inside and outside Hillsong don’t publicly call him to a higher standard than this, then they are absolutely complicit in his outrageous deception.

The organizer of the Change.org petition, Natalie Collins is now planning a protest at the London conference. She stated:

It is deeply disappointing, but perhaps not particularly surprising that Brian Houston used semantics rather than honesty to calm protestors and critics of Mark Driscoll’s involvement with the Hillsong Conference.  As a result of Mark Driscoll’s pre-recorded interview with Brian Houston yesterday, I have begun organising a protest which will take place at the Hillsong Europe Conference in London.  The petition and all the work being done to challenge Mark Driscoll’s ongoing lack of repentance comes from a place of wanting to stand in solidarity and unity with the many people whose lives he ruined. A protest will be organised and delivered to stand with those Driscoll (and now by extension, Hillsong also) has hurt and continues to hurt.

At the Change.org petition, Collins provides more details about the planned protest.

Please feel free to continue to share and sign this petition. Over the next couple of weeks I will be planning a protest at the Hillsong Europe Conference in London. It takes place on 22nd – 24th July at the O2. If you would like to join me, please email: [email protected]