Controversial Seattle megachurch founder Mark Driscoll will step down for at least six weeks while church leaders review formal charges lodged by a group of pastors that he abused his power. Photo courtesy of Mars Hill Church

Controversial Seattle megachurch founder Mark Driscoll will step down for at least six weeks while church leaders review formal charges lodged by a group of pastors that he abused his power. Photo courtesy of Mars Hill Church


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) A letter from nine Mars Hill Church pastors to their fellow elders offers the most trenchant criticism yet of controversial megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll, who recently stepped down for at least six weeks amid a series of accusations.

The pastors did not mince words in their lengthy Aug. 22 letter [full text] concerning Driscoll, who has been caught up in allegations that include plagiarism, inappropriate use of church funds and abuse of power:

  • [W]e direct that he steps down from ministry, submitting himself under the authority of the elders of the church, who will oversee the details of his restoration plan.
  • He must step down not only from the pulpit, but from all aspects of ministry and leadership.
  • He will continue to receive his salary so long as he continues to cooperate with the restoration plan set before him by the elders of Mars Hill Church.

The letter was posted within a Mars Hill online network and provided to Warren Throckmorton, a Grove City College psychology professor who has been blogging updates about Mars Hill.

The 4,000-word letter suggests there were insufficient layers of accountability at Mars Hill, a congregation of an estimated 14,000 people at 15 locations in five states, and that power was consolidated at the top with Driscoll given free rein to do what he wanted.

Paul Tripp, a widely respected evangelical pastor who is seen as a "pastor to pastors" and was on the Mars Hill's Board of Advisors and Accountability before he resigned in June.

Paul Tripp, a widely respected evangelical pastor who is seen as a “pastor to pastors” and was on the Mars Hill’s Board of Advisors and Accountability before he resigned in June. Photo courtesy of www.paultripp.com


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The pastors included quotes from conversations with Paul Tripp, a widely respected evangelical pastor who is seen as a “pastor to pastors” and was on the Mars Hill’s Board of Advisors and Accountability before he resigned in June.

“This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with,” Tripp is quoted saying in the letter.

One of Tripp’s concerns was the way the church governance was set up.

“You can’t have a church culture where you essentially have a very tight circle and everyone else is your enemy,” he said.

Tripp declined to an interview request.

“This letter, as with past letters voicing accusations toward Mark Driscoll will be processed in accordance with Article 12 of the church’s bylaws,” a statement provided by public relations firm head Mark DeMoss said. “This means the accusations will be thoroughly examined and a report issued when the review is complete. In the meantime, it does not seem appropriate to comment on specific accusations before/while they are being formally reviewed as we don’t want to circumvent the process prescribed by the governing body of Mars Hill.”

The church’s bylaws, which spell out how the church is governed, are not public. It’s also unclear what the governing body entails, as DeMoss was unavailable to respond to more questions. The pastors in the letter suggest that the bylaws do not offer church elders much authority.

“While the current bylaws greatly restrict our authority, we believe we must act like elders none-the-less,” they write. “It is time to take responsibility for our church, regardless of how much our current bylaws prevent us from exercising that authority.”

The pastors suggest that there has been a lack of transparency from the leadership, especially surrounding Driscoll’s ouster from the Acts 29 Network, a church-planting coalition of more than 500 congregations that he helped found.

“We have been repeatedly told that no one from the A29 board talked to Mark or to our board prior to removing Mark from the network,” the pastors wrote. “The truth is that multiple members of both boards had been in direct contact with each other, and with Mark, exhorting and rebuking him over the course of months and years, and to say or imply otherwise is deeply misleading.”

The pastors also cited issues of “questionable transparency and truth-telling” surrounding church finances and the Mars Hill Global Fund, along with a controversy last year involving a conference on charismatic theology called Strange Fire. In addition, they cite charges that Driscoll plagiarized, inflated his book sales, and confusion around transitions and resignations from its board, including Tripp and pastor James MacDonald.

The letter cited another recent letter, from Mike Wilkerson, who, along with other former Mars Hill pastors, sent a list of allegations to church elders regarding Driscoll. The pastors suggested that the statement put out from the church at the time was misleading.

“Even this Thursday we put out a statement claiming that Wilkerson’s formal charges were being ‘reviewed by the board and the elders,'” the letter from the current pastors stated. “This is misleading as it gives people the impression that the elders as a whole are able to take part in reviewing and adjudicating the case.”

As of Thursday (Aug. 28), Mars Hill would not provide information about who will oversee Driscoll during his time off from the pulpit; neither did it provide a copy of the church bylaws requested by Religion News Service.

The pastors’ letter ends by quoting a sermon from Driscoll from 2006.

“I just shudder to say this, but if I should ever say or do anything that the elders would need to fire me, do not be loyal to me,” Driscoll said. “Be loyal to Jesus; be loyal to your elders. Be loyal to the pastors in your church.”

YS MG END BAILEY

77 Comments

    • David Lloyd-Jones

      Graham,

      The note under this (rather odd, out-of-focus) video was posted back in March. It makes the excellent point that has seemed to me under-examined in recent press coverage of this story: Driscoll some time ago carried out a sweeping re-write of the by-laws he now so loudly and widely talks of obeying.

      The fact that this re-worked set of regulations apparently gives him lucrative employment for life is but one aspect of the central fact of this whole sordid story: Driscoll did not act alone. He supplied a popular product, which his various Boards, Elders, Faithful and so on and so forth were happy to push out to a gullible public. These enablers, bosses, and promoters voted for his protective array of by-laws.

      Amusingly this makes for a dire shortage of people fit to cast the first stone. This is as it should be: Driscoll may be the delinquent. Then again, he may simply be the public face of a much broader racket.

      -dlj.

  1. Praying for these men who are seeking the best for Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll. May God provide continued grace, peace, courage and wisdom for all involved. Praying as well for Mark and his family … may they each experience the Holy Spirit’s leading and support as they “walk in the light”. Jesus cares for His church and the gates of hell shall not prevail. So thankful that these elders and pastors are taking seriously their shepherds’ role.

    • Everyone who dies, whether a good or bad person, goes to the common grave of man, referred to as Sheol in the
      Old Testament, Hades in the New Testament, and sometimes referred to as hell (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10). Even Jesus was sleeping in death in the common grave for 3 days (Acts 2:31).

      It is so comforting to know there is no place of fiery torment forever, which confirms God’s qualities of love (1 John 4:8) and justice (Psalm 37:28).

      • False comfort I’m afraid, Fran. The Lord Jesus warned about Hell and eternal torment more than ever He spoke about Heaven. And He didn’t suffer all that on the cross just to save His people from some sort of pink tea (as G B Hardy so graphically put it). God’s quality of justice DEMANDS Hell, an infinite punishment for infinite sin (born for His own in a finite time by the infinite Saviour).

        • No John, the Bible equally alludes to Universalism, Annihilation and Hell for unbelievers. Heaven is a later concept, originally, it was a new earth concept with Christ returning to sit on the throne of all nations, but anyways… Hell isn’t essential to Christian theology, because Hell isn’t even in the Nicene Creed. Many early church fathers supported either Universalism or Annihilation and were never considered heretics for it. You have a weak understand of the basics of Christianity, although that is not surprising, most American evangelicals are woefully ignorant of such things and seem to think preaching Hell, Fire and Brimstone will have an effect (well, other than driving people to atheism), but no one is scared into following Jesus or avoiding sin. Problems, like Mars Hill are not solved or helped by passing on weak evangelical theology and largely stem from the incredibly weak understanding of scriptures most Evangelical Americans suffer from. Sure, you can quote Bible passages to me, but you can’t figure out their context. When Jesus says “that none shall Perish” he is referring to the Hebrew Concept of Annihilation, not Hell.

          • Val- You are way off base! Hell is talked about all in the Bible and
            you are very arrogant to think that you can twist the Bible/create
            a god/idol to suit yourself and go to heaven. You are a liar/idolater
            and no idolater will enter heaven…Period! Jesus warned us about
            hell so you are calling God a liar which is not a very smart thing
            to do! Jesus is part of the Trinity and is not an angel/or a created
            being! If there is no hell why would Jesus go to the Cross and
            warn us about hell? The Bible says not to subtract from it or you
            go to hell so people who teach there is no hell go to hell because
            of that teaching! Ironic. You really need to read the whole Bible
            because it’s very convenient for you and these other false witness
            people to take out parts of the Bible that your false teaching doesn’t
            agree with. Just because you don’t agree with certain parts of the
            Bible doesn’t mean that they aren’t true! Hell is Biblical and a Bible
            teaching and it always has been and for true believers it always will
            be…Period! People today seem to forget that Jesus said many
            will say to Me Lord,Lord and not enter heaven! We must Repent!

      • Fran- There is no such thing as a “good person” because the Bible says
        there are none good…not even one! Bible says only God is good and
        that’s why the Bible says good works don’t get us into heaven because
        many non-believers do good works. That’s why we need to Repent and
        trust Jesus to save us! The fruit of Repentance is how we know that we
        are one of His! Only if we Repent and then trust in Christ can we be saved!
        Bible says Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved! We must Repent!

        • Karla, using LOGIC and God’s own “balanced” laws of punishment which required “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, soul for soul”, God would be going against his own principles. If a person has an average lifespan of 80 or so years and was the worst sinner EVER born, his punishment, according to God’s own laws would be 80 or so years of “hellfire torment”. But you and many others say that God’s word says unrepentant sinners go to hell for eternity. That’s not JUSTICE and the scriptures tell us God is a lover of justice. Also, God never mentions the creation of “hell” in the whole Genesis account nor does God say to Adam that the punishment for “eating the fruit” which He said not to eat, would be burning eternally in hell. Wouldn’t a loving God at least tell Adam about “hell” and the eternal torment he faced if he ate the fruit? Did God say anything at all about hellfire to Adam? NO, God said, “you will positively DIE”. So, Adam began to die from the day he ate the fruit…. Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is DEATH (not hellfire) but the GIFT God gives is everlasting life”. So you would have to believe that God would GIFT the sinner with everlasting life and then use that “gift” to burn him/her eternally in fire…. Can’t you see it’s NOT TRUE, this belief in hellfire? Read this info then tell us what is true….
          http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/wp20131101/lie-made-god-cruel-hell/

          • Fmr Cath- Read the Bible/do some more research. I know what you
            believe/what your belief system teaches/preaches because I have
            witnessed to many from your faith so we are not going to agree.
            Hell is real. In the Old Testament the Earth opened up and people
            that were disobedient to God fell into the heart of the Earth/Hell.
            God created us as eternal beings so we go to eternal heaven or we
            go to eternal hell and don’t you think if God could’ve destroyed the
            devil that He would have? We are eternal beings/so the soul will go
            to eternal heaven or hell. You need to read the whole Bible and
            do some more research! Jesus spoke more on hell than heaven
            and why did He do that? He did that to warn all of us because He
            doesn’t want anyone to go there/to hell because hell is very real!

      • Fran-Hell is real! Jesus warned us about hell. There is no such thing as a
        “good person” cause the Bible says there are none good…not even one!
        Only God is good and good works don’t get us into heaven because many
        non-believers do good works. We are known by our fruit means the fruit
        of Repentance. If people say they love Jesus then still don’t Repent and
        follow Jesus/the Bible no Truth is in them no matter how many good works
        they do/how good they seem! That’s why the Bible says we must Repent!
        Jesus said many will say to Me Lord,Lord and not enter heaven so you
        need to Repent/return to the God of the Bible and stop following your
        false teachings! Bible says Repent or perish! We all must Repent!

        • Hi! The Bible says many things about existence after death. Many Hebrews believed that Sheol was the end or close to the Greek idea of Hades – dull, boring, worse than life for everybody. The NT does speak about separation from God in very negative terms, but one must remember that sometimes what has been translated as “hell” was “Hades”, “Gahenna”, etc. In OT, we were not created as eternal beings. In Eden, Adam and Eve were kicked out so that they could not eat of the Tree of Life and live forever. By NT times, resurrection was the return to life yet it was a bit unclear as to what the “intermediate” state would be – asleep, conscious, something in between. It’s sorry to see the glee that many have about the fiery pits of Hell. One, fire in Judaism and Early Christianity often meant “being cleansed or purged” – the straw and stubble being burnt off but going to Heaven. As CS Lewis wrote (about Hell lovers): People who cannot understand symbolism should not read adult books. Believe what you will but don’t say the Bible only says one thing. What about Abraham’s Bosom? Peace

          • Gary Thomas-What are you talking about? Do you not read the
            Bible? Adam and Even were kicked out of the Garden of Eden
            because they sinned and so they wouldn’t stay in there because
            God wanted to be with them/had a plan to redeem man/so they
            wouldn’t live forever in their sinful state on Earth so you twisted
            Scripture. The Bible says we go to heaven or hell. Bible says to
            Repent or perish! Perish where? In hell. Bible is clear hell is real.
            Hell is real and talked about time and time again all through the
            Bible and Abrahams bosom was the place the Old Testament
            saints went before Jesus Christ went to the Cross then after
            that they were set free and that is where many people twist the
            Bible on purgatory. Nobody in any of these posts that I have
            been reading take any joy in Hell/a fiery pit so I don’t know where
            you get that from but you are way off base! Read the Bible and
            do some more research/read other posts on here that back up
            what they say with Scripture!

          • Purgatory is not real! It’s either you go to heaven or you go to hell.
            Abrahams bosom was the place where people went in the Old
            Testament before Jesus came. Bible says that the rich man died
            then went to hell and Lazuras went to Abrahams bosom and the
            rich man wanted to go warn his brothers about hell but was told
            he couldn’t cross over so anyone who says hell is not real has
            to be really blind to the facts and the Truth of what the Bible says.
            After Jesus went to the Cross He set the Old Testament saints
            free when He went to the heart of the Earth/hell. Abrahams bosom
            is where people get confused on the myth of purgatory. Once you
            go to hell the judgment is final and there is no getting out of hell.

          • David Lloyd-Jones

            Gary,

            “Sheol” was the name of the garbage dump of Jerusalem in old Jerusalem of Solomonic times.

            “You’re going to end up in Sheol” is a figurative threat comparable to a parent telling a naughty child they’re going to get a lump of coal in their stocking on December 25. This is the date which has been assigned in Euro-American folklore to the birth of Jesus.

            -dlj.

          • David, Hi! Gehenna is the trash pit from Solomonic times. Considered the worst example of punishment because it was supposedly used in Canaanite days to sacrifice children to Moloch. It might have been used to scare kids, but NT Wright says it also means very heavy consequences, maybe more than Hades. Sheol is the underworld Pit and is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greeks’ early Hades: no Elysian Fields, just dust and loneliness. Have a good day!

          • Tim-Bible says hell is real! Christ went to the Cross so if we Repent
            and trust in Him we won’t perish in hell. God said have no other gods
            before Me now look at the world because we didn’t listen. People
            always want to bring their opinion into what they think God should be
            like and that is idolatry. It goes back to the Garden of Eden when the
            devil got Eve to doubt what God said and the same thing is going on
            today. Hell is very,very real so people can have all of the different perspectives/opinions they want but that doesn’t change the facts
            or the reality of hell. Read the whole Bible/do some research for
            yourself. Bible prophecy accuracy is why the Bible holds up and
            why we can trust Jesus/the Bible. Hell is real/Bible says it’s real.

          • HI Karla! here’s the Bible version of the Adam/Eve story: Genesis 3:22-24: The Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to… take also and eat of the tree of life, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden … He placed on the east side … a cherubim to guard the way to the tree of life…. I think the point about OT and man’s immortal soul not being natural is shown here.

      • It seems more and more people these days seem to enjoy the thought of there being “no fiery place of torment” This gives them the freedom to live a complete life of sin, devoid of restraint and/or correction, with the (false) understanding that they will go to Heaven anyhow. It is true that God is a god of love, not willing that any should perish, but, He is also a God of judgment. In Luke 13, Jesus refers to those to whom he will say, “depart from me” as ‘workers of iniquity’. What do you suppose will happen to those to whom this sentence is given? Will they just go to Heaven despite God’s judgment? I think not! In Luke 16, the rich man found himself in hell citing, “I am tormented in this flame.” And what do you suppose Jesus meant when He said, “…he that believes not, shall be damned?” (Mark 16:16)

        • @Gil brown,

          There is no evidence for Hell. And it is not logical that it would exist.

          A god of infinite mercy cannot also be the god who creates infinite Hell for finite crimes.
          It is not only unwise to believe in Hell – it is immoral to preach it.
          You have not considered the likelihood that you are wrong about Hell.

          “I was going to send all of humanity to eternal torture after they left the Garden of Eden, but later, I came up with a brilliant plan to save them which involved coming to earth as my own son, arranging for his elaborate torture and killing so as to spill his blood which satisfied my blood payback (even though it was my own blood). As long as people believe this human blood sacrifice story there is a slim chance I won’t send them to eternal hell anyway.” – Yahweh God

          • Hi Atheist Max! There is no proof that Hell exists in any measurable scientific way. It is also true that Hell might not exist anyway. However, “Hell” as you are talking about it is the “Hell” of the fire-breathing early Middle Ages up thru now. Much of the NT talk about Hades, Hell, etc. is also known as “story hyperbole” where the description is made so dramatically as to force the point. Jesus even does this in parables not about Hell – the story of tearing out an eye if it offends you. Only the mentally unstable have literally followed that idea! The idea of a Hell does not stem from the concept of a mean king on a throne who craps on people. In NT it is often seen as causal – those who love the dark are attracted to the shadowy places. There are many theories about the Atonement. Let’s take yours. Even if God the Father did “crush” Jesus, the pain is put on God the Son, so the Divine Godhead completes the circle, not an average man. I commend you for having strong moral vision which sees the parts of the story that are offensive to modern people. But you miss the point a tad: God suffers with us in our pain. Do I like a painful reality? No. But I must deal with Existence as it is. Mystery is another word for As It Is. Not logical but paradoxical and troubling and strange. Such is the Atonement – paradoxical, troubling, and strange. But true. Bye

    • I know nothing regarding the nature of the Mars Hill leadership structure, but if, as gv suggests, it is “men” and men only who are responsible for leading this ministry thru a crucial period, may I respectfully suggest that therein lies part of the explanation for the problems that have developed. A man’s ego will not be effectively corralled by the efforts of his own gender alone! I hope to God that qualified women are EQUALLY involved with attempting to resolve this complex matter.

      • Thank you Tim. Glad to see someone has the respect for women. I really believe God created women for more than to keep men happy, God created the dog for that. I don’t think Mars Hill realizes that it takes men and women to keep things in balance.

        Shary

  2. 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

    I found my home at Mars Hill Church as a member of the media. I prayed to God that when I left my job in media that I be replaced with someone who would carry the torch for Christ. Jesus was every faithful and replaced me with a man who not only believes in his word, but attends Mars Hill. To this day I often get the call to answer for Mars Hill Church, because the church won’t answer for itself. It’s been a huge burden, but for the grace of God go before me. I guess you could say I’ve always been the Pistol in Dustin’s Kensrue’s song which spoke to me long before I even knew he was a Christian artist. “And Jesus answered them…” Our Savior answer even the most asinine of questions thrown at him on earth to the Glory of God. When we share the love of Christ with people, he is faithful to do the rest. I’ve seen it time and time again. I truly believe Mars Hill will be healed when the door is always open to everyone (even those who’ve been shunned in the past), the ability to ask anything at anytime and receive a biblical answer is there whether you are visitor or the media, when it is ok to question, and when Mark can walk down the isle and hug and be hugged because that’s what Pastors do. I long for that day and have been praying for it for some time.

  3. Pray for Pastor Mark, Grace and family.

    Pastor Mark indeed is a man, since I have known and have had the honor under God to be his doctor, to live these two strong purposes of loving his wife and family and teaching God’s Word! The Perfect Gentleman, Jesus Christ, is refining His gentleman, Pastor Mark. This is the corner stone of the next season of ministry! I love you Pastor Mark, Grace and kids!

    • You obviously don’t have access to the internet. If you did, you could read “sermons” by your friend, and also his words, very few of which promote the gospel of Jesus Christ, but instead promote the gospel of Mark Driscoll.
      Praying the scales come off of your eyes. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    • Thx for making some sense out of this messy situación. Our God is in the business of restoration, and he is definetely not done witt Pastor Mark. I truly believe that he is man accoding to God’s heart. Why make a circus out of this situation? Because it help us not to look at ourselves and our lives. It”s more fun and less painful to just criticize the “mega” pastor who went wrong.

  4. And stay down, Mark Driscoll! You are not fit for ministry now, and your past means you will never be fit or a leadership position again. You have too much to possibly learn. It will take at least a lifetime.

    • David Lloyd-Jones

      gilhcan,

      And what has suddenly come out about Mark Driscoll that he wasn’t boasting of from the first day of his “ministry”?

      It seems to me that the only thing that has changed is fashions within his “church.” Maybe they pulled their heads out long enough to see what other people thought of them; this is a group, not just the miserable Driscoll, who have woken up not to their own consciences or religious teachings but to the fact that they have been identified as fools.

      Oops. Time to find a scape-goat.

      -dlj.

  5. JESUS APPROVES OF SHAMING:

    “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed!”
    (1 Corinthians 16:22)

    JESUS : JUDGE THEM HARSHLY
    “deem them unworthy…remove your blessings of peace.” – JESUS (Matthew 10:3)
    “Don’t waste….on the people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!” – JESUS (Matthew 7:6)
    “shake the dust off…FOR A TESTIMONY AGAINST THEM.”
    – JESUS (MARK 6:11)

    Yet, it seems to me that Mark Driscoll got into trouble
    for thinking he was above people and worthy of looking down on others
    in the first place.
    Where might Mark Driscoll have caught that notion?

    “Behold, I give unto you power TO TREAD ON SERPENTS…and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” – JESUS (Luke 10:19-20)

    Such self-righteousness!
    SO MUCH FOR THAT BIT ABOUT THE MEEK
    INHERITING THE EARTH ?!! (Christianity is a parlor trick; everybody loses)

    • Max- since it is clear you have very little knowledge of the Bible or any understanding of biblical context as it relates to proper interpretation, it would be in your best interests to refrain from quoting the Bible at all. All it does is further confirm your ignorance and anti-God bias which serves as your own religion. Christianity has done more good for this world than you can ever imagine. Christ has changed millions of lives. He offers the same to you if you repent of being “turned in on yourself” (as Augustine said) and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

      • @Glen,

        “Max- since it is clear you have very little knowledge of the Bible or any understanding of biblical context..”

        I didn’t realize the bible came with instructions.
        Where are the instructions?

        Perhaps you could explain this to me.

        GOD COMMANDS IT: FATHERS MUST BURN DAUGHTERS TO DEATH
        AS HONOR KILLINGS.

        “And the daughter…if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” (Leviticus 21:9)

        If such lack of mercy is commanded by Yahweh
        How can the same God be ‘loved’?

        “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed!”
        (1 Corinthians 16:22)

        Please explain.
        And please explain where you found the instructions regarding interpretation.

        • The ‘instructions’ of understanding context aren’t isolated to the Bible. ANY text must be understood in a historical-critical context, taking into account the original language and the audience to which it was written.

          Although you cite some of the more challenging texts, Glen’s point remains – cutting and pasting partial sentences demonstrates a failure to even desire a full understanding of a text, much less the possession of such understanding.

          The Hebrew and Greek languages, in and of themselves, are much more intricate than English, and even in English the tiniest mark is the difference between “he’ll” and “hell.” While removing the word “not” may actually shorten a sentence, one cannot use brevity as an excuse for changing meaning and intent.

          If the sport of baseball were to be wiped off the face of earth tomorrow, readers in a thousand years would have to take the time to understand our culture before being able to ascribe any meaning to the phrase “way out in left field.” Why approach words written 2,3 or 4 thousand years ago with any less gravity?

          • @Pastor Kale,

            “cutting and pasting partial sentences demonstrates a failure to even desire a full understanding of a text, much less the possession of such understanding.”

            RIDICULOUS!
            I taught Sunday School. I raised my children on the Bible.
            I was a Catholic for 44 years of my life. “Understanding” is not the problem.

            It is claimed that this Bible is the Word of a God who was foolish enough to use paper as his method of communicating – so ‘cutting and pasting’ was YOUR GOD’S idea in the first place.

            Jesus routinely did cut and paste:

            “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? …. ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’(Matthew 15:3).

            THAT IS ‘CUT AND PASTE’ BY JESUS!

            JESUS DID CUT AND PASTE EVERY TIME HE SPOKE TO THE PHARISEES OR HIS FOLLOWERS.

            What is a CHRISTIAN holiday but a Cut and Paste? on STEROIDS:

            “he is risen”
            “The three wise men”
            “born of a virgin”
            “eat of my body”

            Religion was ‘Cut and Paste’ long before THE ATHEIST
            BILL GATES INVENTED IT!

            Where would religion be without it?

            CUT AND PASTE FOR THE BRAIN:

            Jesus says “eat of my body” and “Be baptized and believe”
            or “Be condemned to Hell” (John 6:53-54)(Mark 16:16).

            Unthinking, primitive gibberish.

    • Hi Atheist Max! You’re right some Christians are creepy power-freaks but I don’t think you can blame it on a poor itinerant rabbi who was executed on a cross without a single dime in his pocket. Jesus’ own life is the full message – humility. As he washed the Apostles’ feet – he who is a leader must be more humble or he will fall into error. “Don’t throw your pearls before swine” – don’t keep trying to change people with good counsel who don’t want to change, move on. “Shake off the dust from your sandals” – if they don’t want to hear you, move on. “Tread on serpents” – don’t fear evil, I’ll help you to overcome it. Good psychological concepts. Bye.

  6. FellowChristian

    As a Christian, I find the publicity of this entire situation sickening. We live in a world that criticizes Christians for their hypocrisy, small mindedness, and inability to love people despite their imperfections. I am not here to defend Pastor Mark nor condemn him. But I am disgusted that this has become such a media spotlight. Why this has become a public issue is beyond my understanding, and the fact that it has been made public completely erodes the position of Christians in a non-Christian world.

    Truly, I ask you to think about this. For the unsaved world to see this unfold, Christians writing open letters for the world to see and condemnation of a pastor by other pastors publicly, what testimony does that give to the unsaved?

    I find the entire situation sickening, disgusting and disheartening. Shame on everyone (including the writer of this article) who took what should have remained a private matter and made it public for the very world to see that we are to be a witness to. Its for this reason that I believe Christians are so grossly ineffective today. Shame on every single one of you.

    • @FellowChristian,

      “Shame on everyone (including the writer of this article) who took what should have remained a private matter…”

      Nonsense.
      Have you learned nothing?

      Church crimes were private for years and it led to thousands of victims – a network of Pedophile Priests and the rape of 30,000 children in the United States in that one example alone.

      “ABUSE OF POWER”
      This is a public matter because it appears Mark Driscoll broke laws.
      Misappropriation of funds is a pandora’s box of possible problems – there may be many victims of many crimes.

      Religious Hypocrisy may be a *news flash* to you.
      But rather than being angry at the messenger, you should examine the corruption in the message. And the primitive nonsense which supports it.

      That is where the shame is.

      • Hi Atheist Max! You’re right, a crime is a crime and if so, the law must step in. I think some people mean that the “prosecution’s case” has not yet been fully made so let’s see what the whole case looks like. You’re also right about church secrecy all the time – it is often used as a shield to protect leaders from evil they have done. However, I do think that privacy (as in our legal system – only bringing to light that which is to be prosecuted) is a good thing in general. It’s like the leak of what President Clinton’s penis looked like – not needed, only used to trash him in the public eye. Bye.

    • You may very well find all of this sickening and disheartening, but you cannot unring the bell of instant media. Mark Driscoll promulgates his untruths and filth online and has saturated every area of the media, it is only appropriate that the rebuttal of same be carried out in the same way.

    • Well, Christianity isn’t supposed to be a secret society. And the secrecy thing hasn’t worked very well for the Catholic church vis a vis child abuse, has it?

      I am familiar with the scriptural evidence for dealing with these sorts of things in private. But, I don’t know. I think it throws the Body of Christ into a bad public light when It isn’t to be seen dealing with problems.

      I don’t know if Islam has a similar teaching. I can say I am disappointed when I don’t hear very much from the voices of Islamic moderation condemning the theology and practices of, for example, the Islamic State.

    • Hi Fellow Christian! Sometimes when the Church cleans up its act, a lot of unchurched folks think “Hey, maybe they are working on getting this Jesus thing right!” Look at Pope Francis. He fired big men in the Vatican Bank, the Curia, hard things to do as a pope. Most people are saying, “It’s about time. God bless him.” Maybe the MD thing will do the same for many outside of the church: “Hey, just because he’s a big celebrity doesn’t mean he can get away with anything.” Who knows? But this thing looks to have started with MD and some “friends”, not the people who have read about it. Christianity is not a cult. Bye

  7. One of the biggest issues the protestant church faces is authority, most pastors are either self proclaimed pastors or approved by their group.

    I left Acts29 because of similar reasons stated above and converted to Orthodoxy, where the church has been the Church and authority is passed down from the Apostles, its time to come home for the rest of the restless reformed.

    May God grant mercy in this situation.

    Peace,

    Travis
    orthodoxbridge.com

  8. I don’t think MD will be taken back to be Senior Pastor after the ‘restoration plan’. It will be a shame if he is cut-off (without even a salary) and left to dry outside. It’s not easy building a successful church from scratch, by Gods grace he did. I think people should not forget this. I hope the Elders of the church will keep their word and have MD back in to serve, I have my doubts.

  9. Any mega church starts to lose its way at some point. Money and power can turn people away from the real purpose of church. To bring people to know god. I go to a small bible church and have never learned more. If people would please just read their bibles. And spend time in prayer.

  10. Leaders are not perfect and cannot excuse themselves when in the wrong. But leaders are often misunderstood, misrepresented and even maligned. It simply goes with the territory. Godly leaders don’t look for or enjoy such treatment but they learn to bear misunderstanding with grace and wisdom.

    But it’s especially difficult when those you have faithfully served question your care and slander your character. More than a few leaders have thought about changing life direction when faced with this kind of unjust scrutiny and attack. I learned this lesson in the earliest days of training for ministry. I am convinced it was a God-ordained experience for my ministry training.

    Consider Seven time-tested principles for leadership when facing criticism. http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2007/12/26/help-i-am-being-misrepresented-how-should-i-respond/

    • Hi Steve! Yes, many high profile leaders are attacked because they are in the world of celebrity. There’s a saying in Washington DC: If you need a friend, buy a dog. It’s also true that no one forced MD into celebrity status and that a part of him really likes it. He has used this status to make himself happier. If you go into the ring, you’re gonna get hit. He has slammed many – women, gays, “sensitive” men, unsexy wives – and so, if you live by the slam, you’re gonna die by the slam. He’s helped many. he’s hurt some. I think it’s time to drop the curtain on the “American Celebrity Preacher” culture. It’s shallow, not built to last and feeds on people who love to “idolize” their hero. Yet, these same preachers and followers still claim that they are “Biblical” folks. Where exactly? Bye.

  11. We said it seven years ago already: this foul mouthed, sex-on-the-brain, man’s “man,” rude “dominator” showman is not fit at all to serve anywhere in a decent church.

  12. Driscoll is obviously a talented man.
    I visited Mars Hill a few years ago as he had just started climbing the evangelical ladder on his way to being a rock star in the minds of “American Christians.”

    He preached for an hour. It was engaging, entertaining, compelling, and straight from the bible, but laced with pride and arrogance, plus HIS THEOLOGY AND HERMENEUTICS were TERRIBLE. It came from a place within him.

    He does have gifts, but he has DEEP INNER WORK to do, and it’s not going to happen in six weeks or with a couple “elders”.

    If addressed properly and he gets real with himself, stops hiding behind religiosity, seeks professional help, he may find the healing he needs.

  13. While I can’t claim to have followed this controversy all that closely, and thus I haven’t come to firm personal conclusions about Pastor Driscoll’s guilt or innocence, I do think this controversy illustrates at least two things:

    (1) The dangers and temptations posed by the American evangelical “celebrity pastor” culture and its inevitable cults of personality: We American Christians are far too enamored with flashy, brash, “hip,” charismatic celebrity pastors whose behavior and style tend to attract more attention to themselves than to Jesus Christ. The church (and the world!) would be much better served by humble servants of the Word willing to serve in relative obscurity than flashy showmen who constantly attract the media spotlight.

    (2) Church government matters: What could be more “boring” to the American evangelical church culture than “church polity”? But the Bible does address such matters of church government (read Acts 15 and the Pastoral Epistles). American megachurches built on the personalities of celebrity pastors tend to treat their pastors as Archbishops who rule like kings over their personal ecclesiastical empires; but Scripture reveals a connectional church government with local churches governed by a plurality of elders who share equal authority and accountability. Not too much room in such a scriptural scheme for a celebrity pastor being tempted to let his power get to his head. (Full disclosure: Yes, I am a biblical Presbyterian.)

  14. Truth in inner parts

    Fellow Christian,
    It seems you proud heart is wounded more than you care about character in men who lead. This type of reaction is what turn people off from Christianity. It seems you will be sickened by Jesus berating the Pharisees? Even Paul berated the Corinthians. There are several examples in the Old Testament where prophets berates even the kings. I am sick of Christians berating the democratic president but fall over themselves to pray for republican president no matter what their character faults. This is nothing but Christian sanctioned thuggery. This is despicable as is any thuggery. More so if it is a Christian because he represents Christ.
    Bible requires these men to have and maintain certain character and integrity because they represent Christ. So, instead of being ashamed, please go and ask these men to live as examples to Christians and nonchristians alike so that no one will find fault. Unless you are one of them, I hope this helps you to get to right living. We have more trash hidden in our closet that is destroying the name of Christ.

  15. Yes. I agree. No sin is greater than another. Mark Driscoll is the pastor of a mega church. Being a pastor & leading God’s people has great accountability and unfortunately if there is sin, God will expose it, if no one else does it. God corrects the ones that He loves and He loves Mark. Like any sin, if Mark sees the err of his ways, the restoration plan will have affect.

    My only concern with the restorative plan is that it is with the same church that allowed this to happen. My question would be to the elders. Are “you” on the right track? Are “you” equipped to bring Mark through restorative plan that will heal and restore? What was the root cause of Mark falling off the straight and narrow path? Is there any accountability between the leadership?

    Elders who pray and seek God’s face would have seen this before it got to this point. In 2 Samuel 12 the Lord spoke to Nathan to rebuke David for his sin. If the elders heard from the Lord, you could have kept this out of the public and rebuked him in private. My question here to the elders would be: are you operating based on a title or a relationship with God? I visited Mars Hill once and I knew something wasn’t right. What happened to discernment?

    I read a comment recently from Mark supporters to stop judging him, think about his children, etc. Well, people need to realize that the church is constantly condemning the unsaved and judging the unsaved, which the bible tells us not to do. If you are dishing out judgement, you better be ready to take it (sow/reap). Unfortunately Mark is getting everything he deserves for sinning. It’s called consequence of sin. Again, the leaders also need to take accountability for his behavior and dig deep to see what went wrong- not only with Mark but with themselves also.

  16. 1 Corinthians 5 the whole chapter is how the church is supposed to deal
    with people who don’t want to Repent/change. What happened with the
    church today is they got so focused on gay marriage and abortion they
    forgot that drunkards,gossips,mean people,coveters/the greedy,gamblers,
    fornicaters in any form,the proud all go to hell if they don’t Repent. People
    today seem to forget that Jesus said many will say to Me Lord,Lord and
    not enter heaven! If people say they love Jesus and then don’t follow the
    Bible/religion no Truth is in them! It doesn’t matter how spiritual people
    are if they aren’t Biblical they are still lost/headed for hell. All sin needs to
    be confronted! Ephesians 5:18 says don’t get drunk and 1 Corinthians 6:10
    says that all drunkards go to hell. The wine that Jesus made was from the
    fruit of the vine/new wine/diluted and plus the Bible also says don’t get drunk on strong wine so the people who still get drunk with wine are also wrong!
    Bible says Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved! We must Repent!

  1. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  2. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  3. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  4. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  5. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  6. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  7. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  8. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  9. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment

    […] Mas Hill Pastors’ Letter on Mark Driscoll – Things are falling apart in Seattle. I have been deeply saddened by Mark Driscoll’s fall and I pray for repentance and restoration. But as for now, Paul Tripp admits something (as quoted in the letter) startling and frightening: “This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.” […]

  10. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  11. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  12. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  13. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.