John Piper and Mark Driscoll: lessons not learned?

John Piper and Mark Driscoll: lessons not learned?

"... when Piper extended his embrace to Mark Driscoll, all that gravitas and bona fides was added to Driscoll's resume."

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Mark_Smith's picture

Does anyone at TeamPyro know what John MacArthur's salary is given the author's point #5 (in the first set of points).

 

If you are interested this link says in 2011 John MacArthur made $402,000 from Grace to You, and a little over $100,000 from The Master's College and Seminary. His church salary is not public information.

* I don't agree with everything on the linked page, but it does have a link to the 990 form of Grace to You, so that info is correct.

Darrell Post's picture

I was glad they linked to this in the article...

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2011/08/pornographic-divination.html

...to remind us the sort of claims that Driscoll made about himself. When I posted this link several months back, someone here said I needed to apologize for exposing how Driscoll claims he gets these videos put into his head by Jesus.

Jay's picture

I listened to this today on my way to work.  While I'm not really surprised that Piper took the route he did, I was surprised that he chose to address the issue on the podcast, and I'm glad he did because I don't think there was any way to avoid the issue.   It is notable that he didn't run away and hide on this matter like some (and I'm looking at you, TGC and Justin Taylor) did.

That being said, my takeaway from this is that Piper's friendship with Driscoll blinds him (unintentionally) to the truth of the matter and alters the way he views things because they are friends.  That's to be expected, since the two are close, and we've certainly seen plenty of that in the traditional BJU-type Fundamentalist orbit.  I was very glad that Piper came out and said that Driscoll was wrong on several specific things, including the foul language, exegetical issues fron Song of Solomon, and something else which I can't remember now.  Good for Piper on that.

I also caught the rephrasing of the question to a more...charitable...form, and was very disappointed there.  It would have been better if he just responded to the question as it was and let the chips fall where they will.  I also think that he was overly charitable to Driscoll on the books being pulled from the bookstores.  Plagiarism is a pretty serious thing, and to blow it off as an "error" or "mistake" softens it into something that it never was to make it less significant.

Going forward, I think Piper may want to reassess his view of Driscoll (if he hasn't already) and realize that perhaps Mark isn't as much of a friend as someone who used DG and Piper to promote his 'brand'.  Proverbs has a lot to say about people who refuse instruction and rebuke, and Driscoll has a plethora of examples and therefore seems to fall firmly in that camp.  I also think it's fair to be concerned (again) about the kinds of people that Piper chooses to affiliate with, but I haven't read or listened to anything of Piper's that made me sit up and say "Wait a minute there, pal."

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jonathan Charles's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Does anyone at TeamPyro know what John MacArthur's salary is given the author's point #5 (in the first set of points).

 

If you are interested this link says in 2011 John MacArthur made $402,000 from Grace to You, and a little over $100,000 from The Master's College and Seminary. His church salary is not public information.

* I don't agree with everything on the linked page, but it does have a link to the 990 form of Grace to You, so that info is correct.

No more donations to Grace to You, they seem to be doing fine.

Shaynus's picture

I listened to Piper's talk before reading the article. My impression is that Piper is genuinely humble enough to not take his influence as seriously as others do. I kept waiting for him to address how his on influence lent credence to Driscoll, but that never happened. As Piper said himself, we're often blind to our own failures. I bet if a few of us were in a room with Piper, lovingly talking to him, he would understand where his "friendship" actually may have been an enablement of a lot of harm. 

I say that as someone who has personally benefited from Driscoll's teaching over the years, but over time his personality and handling of the Word coupled with his entirely unbiblical polity turned me away from even listening to anything he had to say. 

Wayne Wilson's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Does anyone at TeamPyro know what John MacArthur's salary is given the author's point #5 (in the first set of points).

 

If you are interested this link says in 2011 John MacArthur made $402,000 from Grace to You, and a little over $100,000 from The Master's College and Seminary. His church salary is not public information.

* I don't agree with everything on the linked page, but it does have a link to the 990 form of Grace to You, so that info is correct.

 

I don't think anyone should go to a church or support a ministry where salaries and compensation from other related ministries are kept hidden.  For me, that's basic.  I also agree with Piper and appreciate his understanding of pastoral salaries not being determined in a corporate manner --- big ministry means huge salary and perks like a CEO gets.  He's been a model here. We shouldn't live way above our people.  I would say, however, in MacArthur's case, as far as I know, he has not been corrupted by this in the same way others have.  

Ron Bean's picture

Should we crank up the "Way Back Machine" and ask fundamentalist leaders if they regretted partnering with other fallen fundamentalist leaders?

And no, I'm certainly not defending Driscoll or Piper.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jim's picture

Briefly on pastors' salaries:

My view is as follows:

  • Pastors should be sufficiently paid - no doubt about that
  • On a multi-pastor staff, not all pastors should be automatically paid the same. Those with greater responsibility should be paid more.
  • The pastors' salaries should be public to the congregation (but not to those outside). Why? ! Tim 5:17, "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine." It strikes me that if a church member is responsible for "counting the man worthy of double honor", that he has to know how much he is paid - and the context of this verse is about $$.
  • My personal view is that all US non-profits should be required to submit 990's to the IRS and that these should be public. 
  • As to how much a pastor makes outside of the church (whether it be as an electrician or an author), he should be able to make as much as he wants and can

 

Jonathan Charles's picture

When ministries like that solicit donations, and then you find out that it's leader makes a huge salary from it, and that all it does is to rebroadcast his messages, I will not give to it.  I think Piper's practice is to not profit from what his church has already paid him to do.  If he has been paid to preach, or to take a sabbatical to write, he will not receive any money for the publication or broadcast of his sermons or writings.  If I am not mistaken, all his royalties while he was pastor went to the church or to Desiring God.

 

Greg Long's picture

Shaynus wrote:

I listened to Piper's talk before reading the article. My impression is that Piper is genuinely humble enough to not take his influence as seriously as others do. I kept waiting for him to address how his on influence lent credence to Driscoll, but that never happened. As Piper said himself, we're often blind to our own failures. I bet if a few of us were in a room with Piper, lovingly talking to him, he would understand where his "friendship" actually may have been an enablement of a lot of harm. 

I say that as someone who has personally benefited from Driscoll's teaching over the years, but over time his personality and handling of the Word coupled with his entirely unbiblical polity turned me away from even listening to anything he had to say. 

Great post Shaynus. And your second paragraph describes perfectly where I was and where I am with Driscoll.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Dave Doran's picture

No desire to get deeply into this, but I think it may be important to recognize the distinction between "reportable income" and salary, especially in a situation like Grace to You. That number, for instance, might reflect royalties from GTY publications in addition to normal pay. While the numbers in that report are very large, they may be distorted by a significant publishing push and we don't know what was done with that money once received (was it rolled back into GTY? used to fund some of the other initiatives?). FWIW, I saw a GuideStar for GTY a few years ago that contained a much, much lower number for MacArthur's compensation.

I bring this out for consideration only because this seems like a significantly different scenario that a pastor's salary. Driscoll, for instance, making $500K as the pastor of Mars Hill was not tied to royalties since those were directed to  his LLC.  I think, therefore, it is not proper to swing the discussion from Driscoll's salary to the GTY scenario unless someone can show the internal composition of the GTY figure. I know the question focused on MacArthur's church salary, but the link sure seems to hint that the Team Pyro guys need to throw stones somewhere else. 

DMD

DLCreed's picture

Jim wrote:

Briefly on pastors' salaries:

  • My personal view is that all US non-profits should be required to submit 990's to the IRS and that these should be public. 

You apparently don't understand the principle of Separation of Church and State.  This means the government has no right to the internal workings of a religious organization.  If they must submit 990's, then why stop there?  I'm sure there's a whole lot of other information that the Government would like to have from the church.  Membership roles? Contribution amounts?  Budget expenditures?  Sermon content?  Polity form?

Nope. Nope. Nope.  People who want to know what churches pay their pastors can demand it of their leadership through their local church governance or they can go to a more transparent place or even start their own church and publicize their income.  But GovCo has NO BUSINESS getting involved in the internal affairs of the church.  Keep that camel nose in the taxpayers pockets, not the church's business.

 

Phil Johnson's picture

The $400k “salary and benefits” figure for John MacArthur reported in the Grace to You 2011 Form 990 reflects the fact that the GTY Board gave him a rare 1st-edition KJV Bible to honor the completion of his verse-by-verse exposition of the whole NT. It was a one-time gift capping 40 years of faithful ministry. John in turn gave the Bible to the seminary’s collection of rare manuscripts and early Bible editions.

John is paid a modest but reasonable salary by Grace Church. The lay elders review and approve his salary annually, using information gleaned from independent surveys. The elders take great pains to insure that all church employees' salaries are well within the upper-medium range for California church employees’ salaries. The same process is followed with equal care by the board of directors at Grace to You. (Board members with blood relationships or employment connections to John MacArthur recuse themselves from salary decisions, to make sure there are no conflicts of interest.) Qualified auditors from a large accounting firm and an impartial audit review committee reviews all such decisions to add two extra layers of accountability. John is not paid an exorbitant salary by either organization.

Grace to You paid John MacArthur zero salary or benefits for the first 30+ years of our ministry’s existence. The board mandated a change to that policy shortly after the start of the new millennium. Since they know John’s personal giving is unstinted, and considering the principle of 1 Timothy 5:17-18, they made a deliberate decision to pay him a full salary rather than a diminished wage that was arbitrarily curtailed based on the fact that he has other income. For the record, his lifestyle now is as modest as it was before the board voted him that benefit.

Grace to You gives away freely several hundred thousand copies of John’s books each year. He waives his royalty on all the books we give away, and he gets no royalty payments from Grace to You on any tapes or recordings or anything else we produce. Whatever royalties he is paid by his publishers all come from books sold by booksellers; not the books purchased for distribution through Grace to You.

All of that aside, the best gauge of John’s stewardship is his actual lifestyle. Here are the facts: he has lived in the same house for the past 35+ years. He and Patricia own just one car. And I know for a fact that he quietly supports more missionaries and missions projects than most mid-sized churches. I also know of several cases where he has discreetly and generously met the needs of individuals and families in the church and community. (Such gifts given by him to private individuals carry no tax benefits for him.) And I’m certain he does this far more often than anyone knows - Matthew 6:2-4). It would, of course, be utterly inappropriate for me to broadcast the facts I do know about his personal giving. But it should be sufficient that no one who actually sees how John lives has ever accused him of self-indulgence or even thought in their wildest dreams to describe him as a lover of money. His lifestyle, not his income, is what biblically-minded people should look at if they want to evaluate his character.

What Spurgeon said about his personal finances could likewise be said about John MacArthur: 

I will only add that I serve a good Master, and am so sure that He will provide for me that I never thought it worth my while to be scraping and hoarding for myself. When I gave myself up at first to be His minister, I never expected anything beyond food and raiment; and when my income was £45 a year, I was heartily content, and never thought of a need without having it supplied. It is with me much the same now: ‘I have all, and abound.’ I have only one grievance, and that is, being asked for loans and gifts of money when I have none to spare. Under the impression that I am a very rich man, many hunt me perpetually; but I wish these borrowers and beggars to know that I am not rich. They argue that a man must be rich if he gives away large sums; but, in my case, this is just the reason why I am not rich. When I have a spare, £5, the College, or Orphanage, or Colportage, or something else, requires it, and away it goes. I could very comfortably do with much more. Oh, that I could do more for Christ, and more for the poor! For these, I have turned beggar before now, and shall not be ashamed to beg again. The outside world cannot understand that a man should be moved by any motive except that of personal gain; but, if they knew the power of love to Jesus, they would understand that, to the lover of the Saviour, greed of wealth is vile as the dust beneath his feet. [Spurgeon, C. H. (1899). C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from his diary, letters, and records, by his wife and his private secretary, 1854­1860 (Vol. 2, p. 128). Chicago; New York; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.]

 

Wayne Wilson's picture

Thank you, Phil. Most helpful.  It is consistent with everything I know about the man. 

Ron Bean's picture

Where is the curiosity about the salaries of leaders of fundamentalist groups that we financially support?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Darrell Post's picture

Somehow a filing that was posted to discuss Piper's role in the life of Driscoll got turned into discussion about John MacArthur. I have seen this before, where the best defense of Driscoll some give is to attack John MacArthur and Phil Johnson.

Mark_Smith's picture

Let me be clear, since I am the person who raised the question about Team Pyro and John MacArthur.

IN NO WAY WAS I DEFENDING MARK DRISCOLL!!!!!!!!!!

Clear?

I think I own almost every John Macarthur book on the market, and NONE by Driscoll. Got it?

I simply see Pyromaniacs throwing a lot of arrows around, some for good reasons, others I disagree with. I was reading this post, and saw the mention of salaries, and I remembered a time I saw Phil Johnson asked about John MacArthur's salary and he ignored the question. So, I posted the thought. In fact, if MacArthur did take home $400,000/year I would have no problem with that given the amount of work he has done, does, and continues to do. For your information, I posted the first paragraph of the first post I made, then went and did research, and posted edited the post to include the second paragraph with MacArthur's 2011 salary. It was posted for your information.

I appreciate Phil Johnson posting here, though I do wonder how he found out about it? Methinks I know.

Finally, I NEVER CRITICIZED John MacArthur or accused him of exorbitant salaries. I merely asked if Team Pyro KNOW WHAT HIS SALARY WAS.

Mark_Smith's picture

Thanks for asking. Here was my train of thought:

1-TeamPyro attacked Driscoll (yes, Piper also, but I assume they aren't criticizing Piper's compensation, just Driscoll's). Fair enough.

2-TeamPyro consists of many people associated with John MacArthur.

3-I have seen Phil Johnson in particular asked about John MacArthur's compensation. I personally have never seen him (in person or video) respond to that question.

4-So I wondered if TeamPyro was aware of "their guy's" compensation since they attacked Mark Driscoll about his.

 

Was that reasonable? Was that a conspiracy to shield Mark Driscoll?

I in no way support Mark Driscoll. I can honestly say I have never listened to more than about 10 minutes of a Driscoll sermon. I have never read one of his books. I have however listened to hundreds of MacArthur's messages, and read dozens of books.

Mark_Smith's picture

that one humble man in fly over country asking a question on a minor blog awakened the giant Phil Johnson. That was kind of fun!

Aren't you glad I asked. Smile

Darrell Post's picture

Mark Smith, I wasn't singling you out or anything. I was thinking more of the whole thread which reminded me of a personal conversation I had about a year ago with someone. We were discussing Driscoll's claims about himself, and suddenly the person I was chatting with made Phil Johnson out to be the bad guy. Driscoll made outlandish claims, Johnson accurately quoted Driscoll's words on the pyro blog, and so somehow Johnson was the villain instead of Driscoll. I still haven't figured that one out.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I assume Phil checks in here at SI from time to time since this isn't the first time he has posted here (his post is tagged as his 12th since joining in '09). I am sure many readers frequent both sites as well.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Mark_Smith's picture

I bet Phil read all of my posts about creationism as well Smile

Jay's picture

"Ol' Wild Eyes" probably just popped in to see the Fundamentalist reaction to the Piper podcast.  I think he largely lurks in the shadows of SI - he's been a member a VERY long time and had chipped in on his "Dead Right" message from 2009ish, but I'm sure he felt the need to interject on this matter since it's so close to his heart.

In any case, he's always welcome here in my book!

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

Please return to the apparent original purpose of the thread the criticize John Piper.

Phil Johnson's picture

No one at TeamPyro has any relationship with John MacArthur. I was the only contributor there who even knew Dr. MacArthur personally, and I have not been affiliated with TeamPyro for 2 1/2 years. 

Phil Johnson's picture

I've been reading and posting comments at SI since the beginning, in 2005. 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

Can we move on? I didn't realize you weren't a part of it anymore Phil (though your post header still has the blog address for example, so you can see why someone still thinks you are connected with it). I never read the blog other than links here at SI, so that is my fault.

John MacArthur, who no one at Team Pyro knows, is a wonderful Bible teacher. I asked a question, I wasn't insinuating anything. 

Mark_Smith's picture

I was at Sharper Iron in 2005-6 as well, as Physicsfaith.

Jim's picture

There is (or was) a secret Sharper Iron / John MacArthur quick response unit. 

If anyone is critical of John MacArthur, this formerly unknown unit springs into action to suppress and mitigate any potential damage to MacArthur's reputation. 

The identities of this secret team have never hitherto been revealed. Below: Susan R and a a yet to be identified male:

 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

I knew it was you all along!

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