Mars Hill Church is trying to scrub six minutes of video from a Mark Driscoll sermon about mistakes from the internet. They recently had the video pulled from YouTube, but Friday the video was published in a LiveLeak embed at Opposing Views. (If you don't have video on your computer, you can read a transcript of the six minutes over at Warren Throckmorton's blog at Patheos. It frankly seems fairly innocuous to me, but the fact that Mars Hill doesn't want me to watch this video really makes me want to watch it.) Mars Hill and Driscoll have been under fire lately, and Driscoll has kept a fairly low profile since his plagiarism scandal erupted earlier this year.
But today Throckmorton reports on a small but important piece of a Driscoll sermon from June 8, in which he advises Mars Hill churchgoers to "love Jesus, read your Bible, stay off the Internet. It’s all shenanigans anyways." If you take this comment on its own, it sounds like an arrogant man trying to diminish his online critics. But Throckmorton points out that this little digression in a sermon may be indicative of a larger push within Mars Hill Church:
Over the weekend, and then again today, I have heard from sources near Mars Hill that some in the congregation are being warned to avoid blogs and media that have carried articles deemed to be critical of Mars Hill. One source told me that the accuracy of information is being questioned and false information is being told about me and others.
One hallmark of a controlling organization is the attempt to construct social reality for members. If these sources are accurate, such an effort is troubling.
Throckmorton in particular has taken the brunt of Mars Hill's ire. One of his recent requests for comment garnered the following response from the church: "We have received your requests, and will not be responding with any comments now or in the future." Hmmm. Sounds like Throckmorton's really onto something, doesn't it?