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Posts Tagged ‘Bent Meyer’

To get the full scope of this post, please read or peruse Post #42  Is Driscoll Really Qualified to Pastor? wherein I compare Driscoll’s words and apparent characteristics to Pastor/Elder qualifications in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1.

Now, let’s look at some things MD has recently said… I found this at kateschosen:

http://kateschosen.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/what-do-you-think-about-mark-driscolls-preaching-on-the-eternal-subordination-of-jesus-the-son-to-the-father/

Kateschosen wrote that she found the following from a link to a conference that Mark Driscoll spoke at recently (June 2009). She said the speakers were John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, and Ed Stetzer, and that the audio link of Mark Driscoll’s teaching was “ provided by Desiring God Ministries (Piper’s ministry) is here. ”

The following is quoted directly from Driscoll with my comments in [brackets ] :

“Qualified leadership: All right … There are leaders here even in the early chapters of Acts. The Apostles and who stands up? Peter. And why? Because he’s first among equals. His name is always listed first in the list of Apostles.

[But MD and others like him forget that in the case of Priscilla & Aquilla, Priscilla the wife of Aquilla is always mentioned FIRST and they are saluted for the work they are doing and the church in THEIR house. Is she then the FIRST AMONG EQUALS in that partnership, since her name is always mentioned first in the pair, first among equals as MD says males are?]

MD goes into detail about his theory that since Jesus, God the Son, submitted to God, the Father, there’s “equality and there’s functional subordination.”

[He uses this idea to further his favorite theme, SUBMISSION TO ONE’S LEADERS, MEANING HIM if one attends MH. He states this, while having first thrown the doggy bone to we little people, that we are, after all, equals, there are just those other “equals” who are in authority over the rest. Now I know the Bible teaches on submitting to authority, but not in what I perceive as this skewed way in which MD teaches on it.]

“… There are those who have greater responsibility for the oversight. 1 Peter 5 says, “of the flock, the shepherding of God’s people”. Our “day” hates that. “We’re all the same”, well in one sense, because of God’s grace, we are all equally saved. But in another sense, dad’s need to take responsibility

[What about mom’s responsibility?]

“for their families and pastors have to take responsibility for their flocks and leaders have to give an account for those who are in their oversight. That’s what the Bible says.

[Mhm. Yes. MD and others like him, will “give an account,” all pastors, good and bad, obedient to and in love with Jesus, and those who are disobedient to and not really in love with Jesus]

“Some of you, particularly those of you who are young, either because of worldliness from the culture, or cowardice, will not want to be in authority.

[So now it’s “cowardly” to “not want to be in authority”? Perhaps. It really depends upon what kind of authority we’re talking about: true, God given authority (where others recognize the qualities of Christ in the person and also that God has placed upon her or him HIS own authority) versus that which is grasped for by human beings, wherein the person becomes a little despot over his/her own little human-made kingdom… It can also be an act of great courage to withstand false “authority” which is oppressive and selfish.]

“ Or you’ll want to diminish and not USE your authority.

[Oh yes, MD encourages “his men” to USE their authority, because that’s what the Christian life is all about, right? …exercising your authority over others and getting others to submit to you. Yeah, that’s what Jesus taught… I don’t think so. Quite the opposite.]

“Some of you will wrongly use your authority; you’ll become dictatorial and you’ll become autocratic. 1st Peter 5 says to use your authority but not lording it over people; not being harsh, mean-spirited and a dictator. And so qualified leadership is ultimately humble leadership.

[I can hardly believe these words are coming out of Driscoll’s mouth. But I’ve seen it too many times to be completely shocked. Those who are abusive, those who are controllers, those who manipulate, those who have Narcissist tendencies (and I’m not saying MD is or has all of these… but he might), ubiquitously uphold the opposite of what they are doing, they claim to have ethics while they are violating them, they claim to qualify as biblical leaders while their own words condemn them as absolutely UN qualified, and they teach on that which they disobey… God have mercy!

[The examples provided in this blog– these alone reveal that MD “wrongly uses his authority” in “dictatorial and autocratic” fashion, and that he “lords it over people,” much of the time. We have seen in his sermons and in his written words characteristics which appear to align with a “harsh and mean spirited… dictator.” And as to humility… Oh my! He has even admitted, in a proud way, that he is not humble… but then unlike a truly repentant humble person, he turns it around as an opportunity for launching into his church for not being humble! “Humble leadership–” I don’t think MD knows what that means; he certainly seems largely to be incapable of living it. I wouldn’t normally be this sharp, I mean, how many of us can claim humility, right? But as a leader, and one who is teaching on this as if he qualifies, one who has made false public confessions of his lack of humility, he is under greater scrutiny and stricter judgment. Plus, it’s a bit much to stomach his words here. I am really, really getting sick of BS from those in power, especially those proclaiming themselves to be Christians.]

“Qualified leadership is male elders: 1 Timothy, Titus 1, as well as deacons.

[This whole “male” only leadership is based on mistranslating the original Greek texts, misinterpreting and misapplying Scripture. It is predicated on the refusal of taking ALL of Scripture into consideration as well as millennia of male dominance and abuse of women. See CBE, Christians for Biblical Equality http://www.cbeinternational.org/ ]

“Some of you will have woman deacons; some of you will have men and women deacons. We have men and women deacons; some of you will fight on that point. Qualified leadership 1 timothy, titus 1 — meeting certain criteria of character and competency and courage and Christlikeness.

[This really makes me wonder if Driscoll is incapable of self-reflection and applying Scripture to himself and his own life. Does he ever ask himself, “Do I meet some, most or all, or any of this criteria? Am I living as an example of good character? Do I manifest Christ-likeness (as in the fruit of the Spirit for example): Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self Control”]

“Let me say this: the big problems that you’re having in your church probably start with the fact that you may not have qualified leadership and regenerated members. If the people don’t know Jesus and the leaders are not qualified, you have to start there. You have to evangelize your people and get rid of those leaders who are not qualified. Not qualified.

[Wow. Again, I want to laugh at the absurdity but it’s so sad. First of all, is there anyone in power who would a) discern that Driscoll does not measure up to most of the biblical criteria for pastor, and b) confront him with the truth? And then secondly, if confronted, even by a powerful mega church pastor or famous “theologian” (I don’t know to whom else Driscoll would give audience) would Driscoll even be willing to be “got rid of” for his failure to measure up to 1 Tim 3 and Tit 1? I rather doubt it. In fact, when he has been questioned by his “equal fellow elders” to whom he was supposedly “accountable,” he fired their butts, according to the testimony of many who were in the know and personally acquainted with the unfortunate Petry and Meyer. See the By-Laws here in #13 post and Nielson’s notes regarding them.]

“…Unified by the Spirit … this means that we agree to disagree agreeably.

[I’m sorry, but this is a joke… Again, how can he say this?! MD notoriously allows for no dissent, and that has been repeatedly testified to by those who’ve had the “pleasure” of serving under MD’s rule and reign, and by those who DARED to question him, of whom MD said, “their hearts are not right. It’s the sin of questioning.” Hahahaha. This would really be funny if it wasn’t so tragic because of the enormous impact he has on thousands of lives, and young lives at that. Lord have mercy!]

“cause your unity is around the person of Jesus and the proclamation of the gospel.”

[The Jesus of Scripture is very different from the Jesus MD seems to have created: a macho, tough, un-sissified, jock Jesus. I would not and could not fellowship with MD around HIS Jesus, and a Jesus who would purportedly encourage the permanent subjugation of the female gender, because THAT Jesus would be contradicting Gen 1-3 and the rest of the Bible taken as a whole. Jesus warned there would be many “false Christs” and “false teachers.” If we as Christians do not utilize critical thinking skills and if we are not serious students of God’s Word, we are doomed to follow the voices of misguided oppressors or worse, “hirelings” who care not for the sheep but only care for their own agenda and profit, rather than heeding the voice of the one True Shepherd (John 10).]

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The following in its entirety is taken from Praying Heart:

prayingheart.wordpress.com

Seeking Justice & Reconciliation at Mars Hill Church

March 2, 2008

Or those in church leadership simply wondering if THEY are crazy.  Trust PH…if you are wondering this, you probably are not.

PH has received excellent  feedback from those who have read book by Dr. John K. Setser:  “Broken Hearts, Shattered Trust/Workplace Abuse of Staff in the Church”.  If any are interested in receiving their  own copy, Dr. Setser is  happy to send on at no charge (at this point).  Just email him at johnsetser@hotmail.com and ask.

Dr. Setser is the founder of Baranbas Ministries: http://www.shatteredtrust.com .

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Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Elders: Betrayers of a Trust

February 29, 2008

And then, there is the environment that has been fostered in Mars Hill.

Shut Up & Do What You’re Told

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yM7dCj7QWKs&NR=1

Drink the Kool Aid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dSA5Vs9huc

PH knows many (mostly former) members who were leveled for respectfully, but vigorously expressing either doubt or dissent with the way that the firing of two beloved pastors was handled. These members were betrayed by the leadership that they had previously chosen to trust. Many of these members were previously not even on MH radar, as their many years of membership history had demonstrated them to be what would be considered “model members.” The members that reaped the devastation during these times were not “immature Christians” as the Elders of MH have tried to portray. Many were, in fact, mature Christians with proven track records in ministry leadership that surpass Mark Driscoll in time and quality. (Despite their never having fostered a “mega-church.) PH would think that an outcry from this demographic would be taken very seriously by leadership within a church body.

Are the men who perpetrated or ignored such betrayal qualified to be Elders?

4 Comments |  Elder (Dis)Qualifications, Pastoral Firings, church discipline, mark driscoll | Tagged: mars hill church, mark driscoll, firing, elders, church discipline, Firings, mars hill, resurgence, Paul Petry, Bent Meyer, members, membership, controversy, Marshill Church, John Piper, Mahaney, Gerry Breshears |  Permalink

Posted by prayingheart

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Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Elders: In “Major” or “Minor” Sin?

February 28, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zm1vzM2FAc

Wow…in less than 2 minutes, this video says more about the injustices instigated by and under Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church than PH could write in 2 pages! Video: Major vs Minor Sins

The topic question can be read one of two ways: Are these guys in sin – OR – is the sin that they are in Major or Minor. PH will let you choose how to read it.

PH raises two follow-up questions, regardless of your read on the topic question.

Are the men who participated in the firings and trial qualified to be elders? And,

Are a) knowing and active disobedience of biblical principles, followed by b) false representations perpetrated to cover up the disobedience MAJOR or MINOR sins, by Driscoll’s definitions?

8 Comments |  Elder (Dis)Qualifications, Elders Response Document, Mars Hill Bylaws, Pastoral Firings, church discipline, mark driscoll | Tagged: mars hill church, mark driscoll, firing, elders, church discipline, Firings, mars hill, resurgence, Paul Petry, Bent Meyer, members, membership, controversy, Marshill Church, John Piper, Mahaney, Gerry Breshears |  Permalink

Posted by prayingheart

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Is Mark Driscoll’s Behavior Authoritarian and Abusive?

February 26, 2008

Controlling Personalities in the Church: The Warning Signs

The second in a series of articles on the Wittenberg Gate website

Authoritarian Leadership and Lack of Accountability

God, knowing our weak frame, has given us a structure for church authority. He tells us to have a multitude of counselors, all under the authority of King Jesus. Abusers, however, wish to operate on their own. They want to be king of the congregation Elders/Deacons. Their approach to this may be very subtle. A church council may be in place, but each elder is hand-picked and known to be cooperative. (goodbye and good riddance to the problematic pastors, AND any outspoken members!) They may be inexperienced churchmen who got their elder training only from this pastor,

(Does this sound familiar? Perhaps Jamie Munson? Anybody else? PH needs both hands and a couple of toes to count them!) or overworked businessmen who are relieved to let the pastor make all the decisions. The elders themselves may be manipulated and lied to and have information kept away from them” (not to mention the membership!)

If you need more information to decide the answer to the topic question, check out the articles starting at:

http://dory.typepad.com/wittenberg_gate/2005/05/controlling_per.html

11 Comments |  Elder (Dis)Qualifications, Elders Response Document, Pastoral Firings, church discipline, mark driscoll | Tagged: Bent Meyer, church discipline, controversy, elders, firing, Firings, Gerry Breshears, John Piper, Mahaney, mark driscoll, mars hill, mars hill church, Marshill Church, members, membership, Paul Petry, resurge |  Permalink

Posted by prayingheart

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Is Mars Hill Church “Toxic” or “Healthy” Under Mark Driscoll’s Leadership?

February 20, 2008

Toxic Churches

A toxic church exists when “doing” becomes more important than “being.” In a toxic church, service to God is viewed as keeping church systems functioning, God’s blessing is seen as bigger budgets for bigger buildings to accommodate more people, and looking successful replaces love as the key ingredient.  Read the rest of this entry »

6 Comments |  Elder (Dis)Qualifications, Elders Response Document, Mars Hill Bylaws, Pastoral Firings, church discipline, mark driscoll | Tagged: Bent Meyer, church discipline, controversy, elders, firing, Firings, Gerry Breshears, John Piper, Mahaney, mark driscoll, mars hill, mars hill church, Marshill Church, members, membership, Paul Petry, resurgence |  Permalink

Posted by prayingheart

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Elders and Deacons at Mars Hill Church

February 16, 2008

Elder

el•der (el’der) n. 1. Elected or appointed governing officer within a church. See 1 Timothy 3: 1-7, Titus 1: 6-9 Under the new bylaws, most of the men that Mars Hill Church refers to as “elders”

Deacons

dea•con (de’ken) n. 1. Attendant or assistant to church leaders. See 1 Timothy 3: 8

(The above definitions are found on the Mars Hill Church website.)

Under the new bylaws, most of the men that Mars Hill Church refers to as “elders” are more accurately referred to as “executive deacons.” With the exception of the Executive 5 (Mark Driscoll, Scott Thomas, Jamie Munson, Tim Belz and Bubba Jennings) no elder has any power of governance. Maybe this isn’t such a big deal…except for the 2000 or so members who signed up for a plurality of elders, in which many men had governing power, and held each other accountable. Of course, it could be said that arrangement didn’t help…after all, these 18+ men voted to give up their power to govern.

In case any folks out there are interested in contacting the Mars Hill leadership and are brave enough to actually do so, their contact information is found HERE:

http://www.marshillchurch.org/about

1 Comment |  Elder (Dis)Qualifications, Elders Response Document, Mars Hill Bylaws, Pastoral Firings, church discipline, mark driscoll | Tagged: Bent Meyer, church discipline, controversy, elders, firing, Firings, Gerry Breshears, John Piper, Mahaney, mark driscoll, mars hill, mars hill church, Marshill Church, members, membership, Paul Petry, resurgence |  Permalink

Posted by prayingheart

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Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church: Member Abuse on Parade (Preface)

February 15, 2008

On November 4  & 11, 2007, Mark Driscoll delivered sermons loaded with classic examples of authoritarian abuse. The topic was “Humility” : and they were preached about 5 weeks after Paul Petry and Bent Meyer were fired, shortly after the Starchamber/Kangaroo Court that tried Paul Petry, and 2 days after the 145 page Elders Response Document was published. A number of Mars Hill Members had recently been suspended for questioning the firings and trial procedures. Many of those who remained remember walking out of this one mid-sermon, or not participating in communion because this sermon was so out of line that their attitudes were out of joint. Some guy/gal on youtube called ReallySad1 (again, not PH!) has pulled out some of the more priceless sections, which merit exposure and discussion. Stay tuned for the upcoming series: Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church: Member Abuse on Parade.

1 Comment |  Elder (Dis)Qualifications, Elders Response Document, Pastoral Firings, church discipline, mark driscoll | Tagged: Bent Meyer, church discipline, controversy, elders, firing, Firings, Gerry Breshears, John Piper, Mahaney, mark driscoll, mars hill, mars hill church, Marshill Church, members, membership, Paul Petry, resurgence |  Permalink

Posted by prayingheart

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Did Mark Driscoll Lie to Mars Hill Members?

February 15, 2008

Originally posted on Jan 22, 2008 and back by popular request…

In the fall of 2007 the Mars Hill Elders sent out their infamous gazillion-page document that partly responded to many question raised by Mars Hill Members (Prayingheart is trusting that the gazillion pages was an attempt at disclosure and not the classic strategy of dumping so much information at once that few will bother to read it.) On page 24 of the document, when Mark Driscoll responded to questions as to whether this portion of his September 30, 2007 sermon referenced Pastors’ Paul Petry and Bent Meyer:

Read the rest of this entry »

2 Comments |  Elder (Dis)Qualifications, Elders Response Document, Mars Hill Bylaws, Pastoral Firings, church discipline, mark driscoll | Tagged: Bent Meyer, church discipline, controversy, elders, firing, Firings, Gerry Breshears, John Piper, Mahaney, mark driscoll, mars hill, mars hill church, Marshill Church, members, membership, Paul Petry, resurgence |  Permalink

Posted by prayingheart

http://prayingheart.wordpress.com/

pulled 2/7/09

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The following is taken from prayingheart.wordpress.com .  PH (Praying Heart) seems to have checked out the allegations. Several members of MH (Mars Hill) have reportedly attempted to discuss their concerns with Mark, and it would appear that often times they then get banned from the MH forum, and some find themselves disfellowshipped. It seems to be a system where any questions are lumped under “the sin of questioning,” and those who question are labelled “rebellious” and “in sin” because they are not “submitting to their elders.” Therefore, the members are oppressed and silenced, and truth is shut up.

Where does one possibly go for any kind of healing, justice and/or reconciliation in such a place? One has no other option but to leave or to continue to be abused and stand by helplessly as others are treated as egregiously as Peter and Bent (the two elders who were fired under questionable determinations by MH leadership in 2007) and others who are apparently unfairly disfellowshipped. And if one desires to expose what is hidden in darkness (as we are actually commanded to do, see below), it would appear that one cannot effectively or safely do that within the MH system.

So one creates blogs in hopes of helping those wounded by an oppressive system, and perhaps effecting some change for the good in the controlling system (this is very, very rare though, especially if the same leadership remains in place). Probably, more realistically, what we can hope for is to validate the pain and abuse former and current MH members have suffered and perhaps empower enough people to challenge the MH leadership in a manner in which they might be heard.

Eph 5:8-14

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible.

Does Mark Driscoll Continue to Lie to Mars Hill Members?

The below was submitted to PH via email. Since each fact checks out and the points are extremely relevant and important, PH is posting the article.

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Mark Driscoll keeps changing the story.

Just as a suspected adulterer lies to cover his sin to appear innocent, Mark Driscoll and the elders are changing the story as they defend their actions.

This is illuminating. It shows that after 5 months there is still pressure to explain their actions. It also shows that Mark Driscoll and the elders are ashamed of the original story they put out and have to come up with better reasons why they fired Pastor Paul and Pastor Bent.

And… story is changing…again. Mark Driscoll now states publicly that the two pastors were fired for poor job performance. Why did we not hear this when they were fired 5 months ago? Because Mark Driscoll did not think of saying it 5 months ago – it was not even on his mind at that point. Furthermore, it never would have passed the laugh test then. They had both received good job performance reviews just a couple of months before their firings. We members have watched these men work harder than any two Elders we know.

So why this new lie from Mark Driscoll?

The new lie is being presented because the truth shows the actions taken to be sinful and wrong. He cannot stick to that story because it is shameful, and he therefore is still looking for the story that the hearers will believe, so that folks will just let this go. Now, he teaches young Acts 29 pastors that “just as he had to recently do, sometimes you have to remove elders even though there is no charge against them – they are simply not doing their job.”

Below is the evolution of what we have been told. Read it, and grieve for the sin of our leaders.

  1. September 2007:The men were “fired for sin” Not moral sin but sin that serious enough to fire them. We members were not told what the sin was so as to protect the two elders and to avoid fueling gossip. (Munson letter on members site)
  2. October 2007: It was all about the bylaws. In the resulting confusion and consternation from the membership, a long time member known for her respectful manner asked to see a copy of the bylaws under which she was governed and these men were fired, she was denied the opportunity. Instead, Mark Driscoll told her in an extremely patronizing tone on the members’ site that she had unintentionally stumbled on the root problem of the matter, the by-laws. (Driscoll post on members site)
  3. October 2007: Violating Elder Protocol. Members were told that these men violated elder protocol by discussing the proposed by-laws with the church lawyer without the required permission. Additionally, these men did not have and that have a proper respect (an “unhealthy distrust”) for their leaders. Elder protocol was also violated when one of these men allowed one member to see the confidential proposed new bylaws so as to ask for his insight on the proposed changes. (Conversations with various elders, the 145 page document)
  4. November 2, 2007: “Posturing and Grabbing at Power and Money.” The Elders presented the infamous 145 page document in which they endeavored to explain their actions. A thorough reading of this document does not imply or even hint that the men had inadequate job performance. Instead, the newest allegation was that the men were posturing for and attempting to grab power and money. This latest allegation had never been mentioned prior to this. A review of the facts shows that that there is absolutely no evidence that this accusation from Mark Driscoll is anything but a lie.* It was just another desperate attempt to pacify the members and put out the fire that they had started.

*PH: A review of the facts shows clearly that if anyone can be accused of grabbing power and money it is Mark Driscoll and the other 4 executive elders. The very men that fired the two pastors and then proceeded to level charges against them are the same men that gained extraordinary power and additional money under the new by-laws. Under the existing bylaws, the executive 5 had only one vote of twenty four. The Executive 5 would have 1 vote of 5 under the new by-laws. The new by-laws stripped all the other elders of any real power. Pastor Paul and Pastor Bent would gain no power or money were the existing bylaws kept in place.*

  1. November/December 2007: “Paul Petry refuses to be reconciled.” This lie has been fairly effective, therefore the elders have kept saying it. James Harleman has said that Pastor Paul has refused to be reconciled despite the elders seeking reconciliation innumerable times. Tim Quiring states that Pastor Paul is divisive, angry, vindictive and “not responded to the grace being offered to him by the Mars Hill leadership.” (the 145 page document, the Shunning letter.) In fact neither of these men have made any contact with Pastor Paul at all in the 5 months since the firings. This is true of almost all the elders. Contrary to Mr. Harleman’s allegation, the number of attempts on the part of Mars Hill have been been pathetically few and usually adversarial in nature. When Pastor Paul did agree to meet with Elder “x”, this elder changed the terms of the meeting and refused to meet with Pastor Paul under the originally agreed upon terms. The Elders have refused to meet with Pastor Paul. While Elder x was trying to arrange this meeting with Pastor Paul, the Elders simultaneously were issuing a public announcement calling for Pastor Paul to be shunned by the members of Mars Hill. This is the grace referred to by Tim Quiring?

The “refusal to be reconciled” line has run its course and is becoming weak and non-credible.

  1. February 2007: “Inadequate Job Performance” (Mark Driscoll – Acts 29 conference)

And the story gets spun and respun.

These various evolutions of history were occurring as the Elders were being challenged that the charges were silly, the trial not fair and just by any reasonable person’s standards, and that the process was simply a mistake by naïve elders at best or blatantly sinful and cruel at worst. Each new lie has confirmed that the trial had merely demonstrated the sin resident in the heart.

Of course these stories will eventually cease to work because no member would expect a party so badly treated to willingly subject himself to further abuse. Many of us members have inquired of both fired pastors and heard that the Elders are stubborn and refusing to meet or yield. The story told by these men give a totally different perspective of the events. Both men have called for elders to cease their lies and repent of their actions.

The original charges and the ensuing actions taken by the elders cannot stand the test of biblical scrutiny.

We now hear that Mark Driscoll, who clearly and publically voiced to the church his anger towards the two elders in his Sept 30th sermon before he even fired telling us that in fact the men were actually fired for poor job performance.

Well. This latest lie will not stick either.

What will the next lie be?

*PH: Are these the actions of men qualified to be Elders?*

http://prayingheart.wordpress.com/2008/03/01/mark-driscoll-continues-to-lie-to-mars-hill-members/

2/7/09

I encourage those interested to go to PH’s site and review the comments in response to PH’s posting (I’ve included a handful below). Also from PH’s site:

March 2, 2008  Great Book For Abused or Mistreated Elders…

Or those in church leadership simply wondering if THEY are crazy. … PH has received excellent feedback from those who have read book by Dr. John K. Setser: “Broken Hearts, Shattered Trust/Workplace Abuse of Staff in the Church”. If any are interested in receiving their own copy, Dr. Setser is happy to send on at no charge (at this point). Just email him at johnsetser@hotmail.com and ask. Dr. Setser is the founder of Baranbas Ministries: http://www.shatteredtrust.com

http://prayingheart.wordpress.com/

The following responses are taken from the comments to PH’s post:

  1. dfndr.faith Says:
    March 2, 2008 at 10:25 am

I also spoke recently with one of the two fired pastors. He shared the same story that Ph did….about a recent private meeting between Mark Driscoll and a church pastor of a large congregation in the Puget Sound area. The minister was accompanied by one of the fired MH pastors. In the meeting the minister shared with Mark how wrong the shunning document was and that this was giving the church (all churches) a black eye, especially here in Seattle. Mark was also asked if he was referring to Paul and Bent in the famous Nehemiah sermon last fall and he said he no….that he was only referring to some church members. He was also asked why he fired Paul and Bent and he answered by saying that he didn’t fire them….that Jaime fired them because “they were doing a poor job.” What primarily stood out to me from what I heard was that Mark’s tone either vague, evasive, or that he couldn’t remember details when he was asked specific questions.

  1. prayingheart Says:
    March 6, 2008 at 7:28 am

Outsider, as a frequent attender who has chosen to be involved within Mars Hill, and as one who has chosen to research the matters discussed here, PH DOES understand the injustice of it all. Feel free to do any or all of the above and come back with any specific questions you may have regarding the facts or conclusions presented here.

  1. jennifer Says:
    May 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm

PH – I was disturbed in reading the letter you have posted as the preface to the document to the church in the way that the letter of Philippians was cited and “applied” to the situation. I have myself been a long-time member of a church which used Scipture to control members – and this is the same sort of thing I came across there. I have also listened to a couple of the Philippian sermons from the series where he says very similar things to what is written in the letter.

I am surprised since he has many friends among sound pastors if no-one is picking up on this use of scripture which is manifestly massaged to fit the situation. I do hope that some in the church have challenged on this at some stage.

  1. musicman Says:
    December 2, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Claiming all the “good” Mark is doing as an excuse for other “questionable” actions is a slippery slope that you do not want to follow.

http://prayingheart.wordpress.com/

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The following was pulled from several websites I found in which people seem to have felt safe enough to write from their hearts regarding the abuse they suffered and/or witnessed at MHC.

. Jennifer // Jan 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm
I am a former member of Mars Hill church. My opinion is that if you stay on the outer edges, it’s not a terrible place. You’ll meet some very nice people. But, once you get in a bit further, it gets VERY controlling. Women are expected to stay home and not work; women in college are told they are “stealing from their future husband” if they take out student loans, since the future husband is just going to have to pay the loan back when she’s staying home pushing out babies.


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17 SeattleSpy // Jan 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm
Women are NOT chastised for going to school. Many of the pastors of MH including Mark have college funds set away for their daughters.


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18 Jennifer // Jan 10, 2009 at 3:21 pm
Seattle Spy,
Correct. They are not chastised for going to school if their parents will pay for it, or if they pay for it themselves. But, they are told they are “in sin” if they take out a loan that their future husband will just have to pay back.


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82 Bella // Jan 13, 2009 at 11:56 am
Wow….I don’t even know where to start.


First off, that’s a great article by the NYT [
New York Times, Molly Worthen’s, Who Would Jesus Slap Down?]. Calm down, as an organized group, you’re going to get criticized. You say yourselves that you are humble, why do you cringe when people don’t completely agree with you? Come on now. Open your eyes for a half a second and realize that no institution is going to be 100% perfect. We won’t know all the answers till we die – and I say this to everyone.

In transition, I was a member at MH for a long 4 years. At first I was on board because I was new to
Seattle, could meet some nice people. Whatever.


I got deeper and very involved. (I swear I’m trying to keep it short) I met a man there, wanted to get married, but my past is messy. My “community group” – that’s what they call their Bible studies- forced me to go to counseling for the things I did in the past because I didn’t believe what I did was sinful. I didn’t feel bad enough for the “sins” of my past and God/Jesus wouldn’t be able to forgive me…..because I wasn’t repentant. Follow?

I didn’t agree, but I went in “obedience.” Maybe they were right? So I genuinely tried. I passed although still didn’t agree, then married. He’s a good man, but with principles like that to build a marriage on (a woman is to stop and drop everything once she meets her husband, then join him on his path…. closely paraphrased from an actual sermon, and that’s just scratching the surface), it was simply not working.

Not surprisingly, he was too dominating, and I’m just not submissive. That doesn’t fly at alllllll at the church, and you Mars Hillians know that.

After agonizing efforts by both of us to make it work, I knew I had to leave my husband, or at least separate….I discussed at length with my girlfriends, pastors, anyone, to convince them that I was miserable and that it wasn’t healthy to be in such a relationship. Time after time, they told me if I had enough faith God would save it. I wasn’t allowed to leave under any circumstances, and my protests for my own life were just plain wrong and sinful. Obviously, I got very depressed and alone.

So in an effort to protect any sanity that remained, I left anyway. I DO have a mind, I knew that the teachings were wrong, and the church’s response became a nightmare from hell. When I left, the church issued an email to everyone that I knew, urging them never to speak with me because I was living in sin. Being in contact with me would be disobedient to God.

Well, they followed without question, and with the exception of one person, no one I had met over half a decade would speak with me.

My point is that the author of the article is entirely correct – submit, or be excommunicated. That’s a cult.

Mars Hill is a very dangerous place, especially for women…

This post has gotten way to long, but what I want everyone to know is that the rumors are true – I repeat, MH is very dangerous if you get involved. In example, read their posts! They speak the same….just rattle off what they heard in church and cling to it in fear. If we disagree with them, they have their cult to run back to who will back them up and fire them up. And like any massive organization, nothing is going to change the mind of a mob.

MH operates on fear and bullying. Jesus’ entire life was to teach us about love. Unconditional, accepting, tolerant, faithful, LOVE.

· Tess // Jan 23, 2009 at 10:33 am
I went to Mars Hill for a year, then a Mars Hill plant for another year.
I thought it was great at first…but then I started to LISTEN. Yep. Women really need to keep their eyes on the ball and not waste time at college…after all babies are the goal. I believe I heard Driscoll say once that all a man needs is Forty in one hand and a naked woman in the other. Nice. Plus, I don’t even want to get started on the comments about Catholics I heard at the plant. This is absolutely a misogynistic personality cult. STAY AWAY LADIES. WE HAVEN’T FOUGHT THIS HARD TO GO BACK IN TIME.

· Bdouble // Jan 23, 2009 at 1:06 pm
Hey Tess,I’m not a woman, but I know exactly what you mean: It seems nice at first, then once you start to get past the superficial stuff (lights, music, laid back attire, etc) and start to LISTEN, it is actually scary that people eat this stuff up, especially women. I’m sorry to the ladies that actually still go to church here, but no matter how many ways you slice it, this belief system at Mars Hill is set up to keep the women as inferior to men. To deny this, is ignorance.
http://www.myballard.com/2009/01/10/mars-hill-church-featured-in-ny-times-magazine/
pulled 2/10/09

Being a member of Mars Hill and attending about 2 years I can’t say the main “serious” thing I notice is the ‘feminist issues’. It did rub me the wrong way when I first attended if you listen just once or twice but when you get the full text of what he meant to say, it’s really not the issue … he’s talking about the nature of women and how God design it to be ideally and giving grace to women to be themselves.

To know the real issues at hand I think you’d have to be a member for some time. I think the church in general has good intentions but things get a little out of hand and become cult like behaviors. I’m not saying the doctrine is cult like but the actions they portray.

Examples: unwritten rules of dating that are highly suggested to follow and getting extreme isolation if you don’t, over possesses elders in several areas to monitor you and inappropriate questions during church discipline, idolizing the Pastor, shallow relationships among peers, men seriously thinking if you drink it makes you a man because the Pastor talks about it a lot, pressures couples to marry quickly in about 3 months of ‘courting’ (and that topic goes on and on), poor leadership ratio to those extremely in need and depressed with thoughts of suicide (on a several occasion of people I know of personally who tried reaching out to leadership), excessive drinking at most gatherings, “being one of US” treatment and exclusion of those who are not members or disagree, controlling or stopping your freedom of speech about concerns on member blogging forms, letting predators of women be ushers and teachers, friends will shun you if you don’t follow the ‘rules’ and worship although very trendy the only time I experienced real worship (where you felt Gods presence ) was at a pastors conference they held.

http://seattlest.com/2006/11/17/mars_hill_protest_organizers_respond.php
pulled 2/20/09

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church: Member Abuse on Parade (Preface)
On November 4 & 11, 2007, Mark Driscoll delivered sermons loaded with classic examples of authoritarian abuse. The topic was “Humility” : and they were preached about 5 weeks after Paul Petry and Bent Meyer were fired, shortly after the Starchamber/Kangaroo Court that tried Paul Petry, and 2 days after the 145 page Elders Response Document was published. A number of Mars Hill Members had recently been suspended for questioning the firings and trial procedures. Many of those who remained remember walking out of this one mid-sermon, or not participating in communion because this sermon was so out of line that their attitudes were out of joint. Some guy/gal on youtube called ReallySad1 (again, not PH!) has pulled out some of the more priceless sections, which merit exposure and discussion. Stay tuned for the upcoming series: Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church: Member Abuse on Parade.

http://prayingheart.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/mark-driscoll-and-mars-hill-church-member-abuse-on-parade/
pulled 2/18/09

Judy’s Book:

“kindness that brings repentance”
Bad: This place is a cult and I am saying this from years of experience with Mars Hill as a member who used to love this place, follow them blindly and function as a “serving member” if you are a baby C.
pulled March ’09

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The following was written by Gregg Neilson, with an intro from “Phoenix Preacher” (from his blog, see below):

Let’s Discuss the New By-Laws of MHC

Pastor Mark told a member that she had unintentionally stumbled on the problem he had with the fired pastors by asking for a copy of the by-laws. It is clear that the fired respected pastors had concerns about the proposed by-laws.

Here is an excellent look at the problems the new by-laws contain. Let this be the beginning of a healthy discussion of the new by-laws.

Neilson:
The original preface to my annotations follows for those who did not catch it earlier………..
I have been a reader of this blog [Phoenix Preacher’s] since its first week. However, I have noted that there is a glaring omission in the posts here.


We have been much distracted by the great effrontery and injustice meeted on Paul Petry and Bent Meyers. This distraction stems quite naturally from either not being acquainted with them, or from being their advocates. In all of this we have concentrated on the process of these proceedings at Mars Hill but not upon the substance, i.e. the by-laws themselves. It is in fact the by-laws which have been at the heart of the disagreement. Paul and Bent were the only elders at the time who had the courage to express concerns with them.

Toward this end, I am posting the annotated by-laws which I shared with two serving elders in early November. As I shared, I checked with them at regular intervals throughout the proceeding, they neither chastised me for my attitude, nor did they dispute my close reading.

Unfortunately, I have not heard from anyone in leadership since. Though I would have preferred to have my concerns handled within the leadership of Mars Hill, I think it will now be most fruitful to bring my conclusions to the larger forum so that they may be discussed in the light of day.

Here is an “executive summary” of the document that follows:

The full council of elders has been reduced to only 5 ruling elders.

These Ruling 5 are self-appointed and serve for life without effective accountability.

There is no effective oversight of Mark since he serves as his own supervisor on the Ruling 5.

These by-laws were voted in by the former full council of elders thus revealing the inability of these men to critically read, voice any comments, or express any substantive opinion.

Since a quorum is only 50%, effectively only 3 Ruling elders govern the church..

These Ruling 5 may only be supervised by those whom they hand pick, as they also control the slate of those who may be appointed.

No scriptural basis is necessary to discipline any member of the Mars Hill body.

There remains no protection and no recourse for any member so disciplined, as has already been demonstrated when our very leaders have been subjected to having their character inpugned in public.

Following are the annotated By- Laws of Mars Hill Church. They are meant to focus discussion on the substantive matters of church government which have proven so disruptive to the body of late, and which have been largely ingored by the leadership.

I trust this will stimulate vigorous discussion and result in substantive changes in a very inadequate church government structure.

The by-laws are those originally published by Jamie Munson. The annotations in [italic] are my own.

Annotated update 11/07 (by Gregg Neilson)
Bylaws of Mars Hill Church
Executive Summary
Last updated – 10-29-07

[Freedom4Captives Note: Only a sample of these will be posted in this blog in #12 post, but first, a bit about Neilson as he tells it on Phoenix’s blog]

Gregg Neilson
Feb 10th, 2008 at 2:10 am
I too, just discovered this blog this evening, and I must admit that I have stayed up far too long reading every post on this thread.

I wondered why this church [Phoenix Preacher’s] has any interest in our troubles, but my reading between the lines at the beginning gave way to some specific answers due to some posts at the end, telling me that several of you have been terribly hurt by many of the same issues we are facing.

These pastors [Paul Petry & Bent Meyers] are terribly hurt, their families traumatized, their wives grieving, their livlihood suddenly up in the air. And for what? Godly, humble, disagreement with they way the church would deal with discipline. How utterly and terribly ironic.

To make full disclosure, our family has been close friends for nearly twenty years with one of the fired pastors. What Mark has done in a fit of anger was wrong. It was immoral and it was ungodly. Mostly it was bizzare. Why would he fire and seek to humiliate and ultimately cause an entire congregation to shun the man he considered a friend just a couple of months before. Over by-laws? Yet this is apparently so, since no other offense was on the table.

For all of us who have been affected, no traumatized, by these events, it has been deeply troubling, and we do not want to see this quick tempered pique of anger visited on anyone else. That is why we have spoken up on our blog in the only venue open to us since we have been shut out of the member’s site.

I echo Sad’s heart ( http://prayingheart.wordpress.com/ )
in this matter and would like to see the following:


1) A repentant heart from a pastor whom we love. Exoneration of the two elders and some restitution for the harm they have suffered.

2) A fair and open discussion among the elders about the by-laws. They were passed without discussion and coercively.


3) A clear method of holding all of the pastors accountable to each other and to the flock that they are called to serve.


4) An open and heartfelt look into how many members have been treated in the same abusive manner and a decent attempt to properly disciple these harmed ex-members.

I can tell you this with all hearfelt sorrow. By-laws, church governance, or shared values – no matter what we call them – must result in mutually accountable relationships amongst the leadership, not corrosive power. Only in this way will MH leaders ever construct a healthy model of community for the people of God to follow.

http://phoenixpreacher.com/cms/?p=2545
2/12/09

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