Early today my mate Simeon drew my attention to an article on “The Gates are Open” where the author reveals the plight of a friend of his, who’s church has received a “cease and desist” order from Mark Driscoll’s church over their church sharing the name “Mars Hill”.
I can understand his consternation. Could you imagine the flap if an Anglican church tried to copyright the name “St Paul’s”. There’d be an uproar! Here’s the most pertinent bits:
“Several weeks ago, Scott and his Sacramento congregation received a “Cease and Desist” letter which came from attorneys representing the Seattle Mars Hill Church. They were told that the Seattle Mars Hill had copyrighted the name “Mars Hill” and they demanded that the California Mars Hill churches stop using the name and any logos with similar lettering.”
“I was flabbergasted. First, I could not believe that a church would try and copyright the name of their church. I suppose if you wanted to make some money on the side, you could lease the name out to others. (My friend Ken thought it would be smart to copyright the name “First Baptist” and stick franchise stickers on the name and concept…I applaud his entrepreneurial spirit). But to outright disallow others from using a name that is found in the Bible because you want a monicker and label that only recognises YOU seems the very epitome of pride and arrogance.”
“Second, that a church would take legal action to require other churches to comply violates both the letter and the spirit of the Word of God. The Bible is explicit when we are told not to take other believers to court when the issues regard spiritual matters. The naming of a church is certainly a spiritual matter and it is hard to see how someone could theologically skirt around this.”
What’s your view? Is this corporatization gone mad?