Ministry Development Review is now part of the terms and conditions of service of the clergy of the Church of England. Through the legislative process much trouble was taken to demonstrate its scriptural and doctrinal authenticity. However, less attention was paid to the secular critics of MDR's antecedents, of whom there are many. The most trenchant criticism is directed at a myth of ‘objectivity’, part of a ‘cult of data deluge’, in which the gathering and collation of empirical data is misguidedly thought to validate a process. Three aspects of MDR, as implemented nationally and in two English dioceses, are examined: its ‘episcopally-centred’ nature, power and language, and the nature of peer review. The implicit assumptions behind these aspects are interrogated, and the unavoidable connection between MDR and capability procedures is identified.