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Posts Tagged ‘Driscoll Accountability’

Hmmm… Well, well, well…. Perhaps, just perhaps this is the beginning of what many of us have been praying for over the years re: Mr. Mark Driscoll… God did it with Paul, once Saul… My prayer is that God would thoroughly break Mark in order to thoroughly use him.

http://www.vox.com/2014/8/24/6050155/megachurch-pastor-mark-driscoll-was-an-evangelical-rock-star-heres?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_name=share-button&utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=article-share-bottom

Interesting article (note: contains profanity, language…) with some interesting video clips, especially of Mark’s very recent announcement regarding his stepping down for a “minimum of 6 weeks”  in which time a thorough investigation will be made of various charges against him over the years and more recently. My concern is it sounds like this investigation will be conducted by his elders… sigh. But at least with it being so public and with so many former pastors and elders of Mars Hill coming forward and with so many former members speaking up, maybe, just maybe that reality will keep the process a little more honest than would otherwise be the case, so I would hope.

Lord, I fervently ask that you bring all the truth to the surface. You are the One who brings to light that which is hidden in darkness and you will expose the motives of people’s hearts. I pray that Mark will receive counsel from those outside his circle, from those outside his think tank. In Jesus’ name, Amen, and I thank You!

 

Freedom!

 

 

 

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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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I’ve been wanting to post on this for quite some time… I can no longer put it off.

Is Driscoll Really Qualified to Pastor?

In order to ascertain the answer to this question, I encourage you to read some of the posts on this blog, read the testimonies of the many who have been seriously wounded, and I would say spiritually and psychologically abused, in his church (Mars Hill, Seattle) and by Driscoll, do your own research, listen to Driscoll’s sermons, read some of his books… After you have done that, read the following Scriptures and check off the characteristics that do NOT fit Driscoll… let’s see how many biblically mandated qualifications remain and whether or not Driscoll truly qualifies, biblically, to be a pastor… And then, for what may feel like torture (as it was to me), read some quotes from his recent teaching (June ’09) about the necessity of having qualified leaders who are humble and do not lord it over the flock… The irony… That will be in the next post.

1 Tim 3:1-10

1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, [pastor][a] he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be:

–above reproach, [MD has said many things which have caused legitimate reproach from other believers, and from the world alike]

–the husband of but one wife, [here’s one that appears to apply]

–temperate (pleasant, mild, moderate), [I don’t think this fits Driscoll either, based on my research and how he carries himself and communicates; he seems to be rather extreme, not moderate, I mean, biblically moderate, not liberally “moderate”]

–self-controlled, [Driscoll has lost control of his anger on many occasion, and he seems to have very little control over his tongue once he gets going—the somewhat amusing thing here is that MH has recently changed the way and the timing in which they broadcast and post his sermons: they are now postponing MD’s sermon broadcasts and posts ONE WEEK LATER after they select which service to use and after it’s been EDITED. This is true even of what the other MH church campuses have access to and watch on their mammoth video screens for their Sunday morning services—they see Driscoll preaching what he had preached in Ballard the week prior. So if you really want the scoop on EVERYTHING MD said, you’d have to go live, to Ballard… Of course when MD announced this at a church service a few months ago, every reason but the obvious was stated. The obvious being the embarrassing habit of MD spouting off something that truly comes from his heart (“Out of the heart the mouth speaks”), but which does not reflect well on him and MH. Now MD and MH can “FIX” that. More on “self-control:” MD has also described himself HITTING a congregant and/or counselee, a male who was really ticking MD off. Driscoll said he lost it so badly he couldn’t even remember the scene very well! Nice! The reference is somewhere in this blog—I’ll dig it up. He really said that!]

–respectable, [Is Driscoll respectable in the way he speaks about women? NO (just see my post #8 Christian Taliban…Spiritual Warfare Series). In the way he talks about men who are not –blue collar over-sexed, macho must drive a big truck to compensate– men? NO. Is he respectable when he tells his female congregants to give blow jobs to their husbands as a way of “serving them well”? Hell no! Is he respectable in his subjugation of women? NO. Is he respectable in his language? No. Is he respectable in his obsession with sex and crass way of “teaching” about it from the pulpit? Hell no! Is he respectable when he talks about the mother of Jesus being found pregnant outside of marriage and that the villagers probably thought she was [loosely paraphrased but close] ‘banging boots in the back of a car on prom night?’ Not even remotely!! Is he respectable when he infers that if Song of Solomon is allegorical about the Body of Christ as the Bride of Christ, and that –rough paraphrase—if tasting of ‘his fruit’ is going down when I get there, it’s like, I don’t think so. MD said, “I love you, Lord, but not in THAT way.” No! May it never be that this is considered respectable!]

–hospitable, [I don’t know regarding his home, but at his church, he doesn’t seem to be from his pulpit]

–able to teach, [There has been much discussion about the carelessness with which Driscoll plays at “exegesis.” I read one, whom I think is a theologian, state that Driscoll massacred Song of Solomon. Many very knowledgeable, biblical Christians are scratching their heads at Piper’s and Mohler’s support of such a one as MD].

3–not given to drunkenness, [MD frequently extols his “freedom” to drink his beers… Personally, I am not opposed to a Christian having a glass of wine or a beer, or Cosmo, we are simply told in Scripture to “be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” MD, however, makes a frequent and inflated issue about his freedom to drink, just as he does from the pulpit about his freedom to have sex and “lots of it” within marriage… one wonders what is behind such an emphasis and focus…]

–not violent but gentle, [Well, just watch some of his video clips… just listen to his voice when he lashes out at his congregation… violent, not gentle]

–not quarrelsome, [he argues from the pulpit with those who do not have a similar platform from which to defend their point. He’s been called the “bully from the pulpit,” and I think there is ample evidence of the truth in that.]

–not a lover of money. [I wonder what he earns?]

4–He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) [I can imagine he does this with an iron fist]

6–He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. [I believe this is part of the crux of the matter: MD was a relatively new Christian when he became a pastor at age 25. That’s awfully young developmentally, AND he apparently was not mentored, he wasn’t under the leadership of an older, wiser man or woman of God. MD, per his own admission, was never even a parishioner. He never had to submit to any leadership. In my opinion, he still doens’t. He was top dog from the beginning and so he apparently remains, unhindered, unchecked, unaccountable (carefully read the 2007 By-Laws, they too are included in this blog). And yet despite all this MD sure hammers home teachings on congregant and female submission. Submission in general, and I would say by way of inference submission to HIM as male leader/authority/pastor/elder, is one of his pet doctrines… it keeps others under his “biblical” control.]

7–He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. [MD has been incredibly and needlessly offensive, and no, not merely about preaching the truth of Jesus and the gospel, but offensive in his mannerisms and extreme, non-biblical views and the way he bandies these about. He seems to have a very BAD reputation with many in the non-believing community in Seattle, among the “outsiders,” as well as with many across the nation and even in other nations, based on discussions across the internet. There are many very biblical Christians who just cannot believe MD seems to be such a “darling” parts of the Christian community! I am one of them. The Bible says we are to season our communication with salt, to give grace to the hearers. We are not to become obnoxious to others for obnoxiousness’ sake, nor are we to use any kind of authority over anyone, Christian or not, as a means of beating them down into subservience and compliance to our wishes and our way of seeing things. Did Jesus ever do this? He did not blast people to obey Him. The only ones we see him blasting were the false teachers, the legalists, the Pharisees and Sadducees. Those who dared to misrepresent his character—these he blasted. Follow the example of Acts and what and how Paul and Peter preached… they were firm about the need to repent and believe on Jesus. They called sin, sin. But they were not obnoxious. And yes, for the gospel, offense was given, but it wasn’t Paul’s or Peter’s offensiveness, it was the “offense of the cross.” The Bible says that, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone,” and we are to “Speak the truth in love…”]

8–Deacons, likewise…10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. [From what I can tell, MD was never really tested, and no one seems to be testing him now, not according to these Scriptural criteria, except perhaps bloggers… If anything he is “tested” by his effectiveness in holding an audience’s attention, entertaining them, preaching the Gospel, and by the numbers of people coming into his church. None of these are the criteria we are given in Scripture by which to measure a pastor’s qualifications, no, not even his success. These are humankind’s methods of measuring “success,” (other than preaching the Gospel) but not God’s. “My ways are not your ways…”]

And finally, another Scripture (which I will not be breaking down to analyze MD in comparison; this Scripture just reinforces the prior one).

Titus 1:7-9 7Since an overseer[b] is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Please see: 43. Driscoll Teaches on Qualified Leadership (Did I Hear Laughter?)

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The following is from lollytruly’s blogspot. It highlights some of the specifics regarding Driscoll’s behavior and words which many, like myself, take to be abusive and non-representative of the character and heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The following also fleshes out the sad reality that those who point out abuse in an abusive system become THE problem, while the issue of the abuse and the abuser are swept under the carpet.

http://lollytruly.blogspot.com/search?q=mark+driscoll

Friday, February 20, 2009

…My head is beginning to feel peaceful again after the Mark Driscoll stuff a couple days ago. Crying painfully helps you heal if you process everything while you’re doing it. That’s another fun fact I’ve learned in therapy, that weeping mends you and you have to go there if you’re going to heal from it. I don’t mean for that to be TMI but I think being open can be really good. Makes me think of this quote – “It is important to tell our secrets too because … it makes it easier for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own, and exchanges like that have a lot to do with what being a family is all about and what being human is all about.” — Frederick Buechner
http://lollytruly.blogspot.com/2009/02/dave-eggers-karl-rove-together-again.html

5/30/09

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

it’s not a dead horse and it’s worth beating. let’s not lose hope

Here is a letter from a little over two years ago, written by Shari MacDonald Strong whom I subsequently made friends with because of her character, insight and gentleness. In this she writes about the protest of Mars Hill in Seattle on Dec 3.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why On Earth Would I Want to Picket a Church? More on the Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill Seattle Action

To: Mark Driscoll
Mars Hill Elders and Deacons
Acts 29 Church Planting Network
Seattle Times

As a Christian woman who is planning to participate in the planned December 3 protest at Mars Hill, I wanted to write to explain my reasons for wanting to do so and to share my concerns about some of Mr. Driscoll’s recent teachings and writings.

Let me start by saying, I appreciate Mr. Driscoll’s recent blog post, in which he amends his previous blog entry about the Ted Haggard affair and about the dangers of pastor’s wives “letting themselves go.” In particular, I am grateful for the gentle tone of the post. I believe that if this were the tone that he was known for, there would not be this current firestorm of emotion around his teachings.

It was the Ted Haggard post that brought Mr. Driscoll’s teachings most recently to my attention. However, I live on the West coast and have heard of him before. I know both that Mark Driscoll is a very powerful man and that many, many people – a large percentage of which are women – have left Mars Hill Church and sometimes the larger church as a result of Mr. Driscoll’s teachings. I also have heard that many people have sought therapy after leaving Mars Hill, as a result of the damage done by his teachings. That last statement, of course, is based on hearsay, so I went online to read some of Mr. Driscoll’s writings and to listen to some sermons. In addition to the comments about women “letting themselves go,” here is some of what I encountered (in random order):

• Derogatory comments made regularly and consistently about people who disagree with Mr. Driscoll’s theology, labeling them not only wrong or liberal, but “wussified,” “#######,” “chickified,” and “effeminate” (e.g., “if the Christ you serve is just a really nice guy – I hate to tell you, but you serve a weak, effeminate, ####### Christ”).

• Stating/implying that men are the only demographic that matters:
The question is: “If you want to be innovative, how do you get young men?” All this nonsense about how to grow the church – one issue: young men. That’s it – that’s the whole thing. They’re going to get married, make money, make babies, build companies, buy real estate; they’re going to make the culture of the future. If you get the young men you win the war – you get everything; you get the families, the women, the children, the money the business: you get everything. If you don’t get the young men you get nothing.

• Calling strong women who disagree with his interpretation of Scripture “godless” and saying the Bible has “a low opinion” of them:
If it’s a godly woman who has a godly agenda who has something godly to say, then she can speak. If she’s an ungodly woman with a godless feminist agenda that she borrowed from the serpent, like her mother Eve in Genesis 3, and she’s on some tirade mission to represent all women, which is what sometimes happens, women nominate themselves to represent all women…But there are women who will rise up like that, saying “I speak for all women. I champion women’s rights. I champion women’s causes” (sarcastically). We say, that’s not a problem if it’s in accordance with the rights and liberties and dignities that are afforded to a woman in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t have a low view of women. It just has a low view of some women.”

• “…women who don’t respect godly authority are demonic.”

• Rather than Mr. Driscoll simply saying that he disagrees with the lifestyles of young men who work in coffee shops and suggesting an alternative or challenging them, he makes fun of them. He uses shame to get men to do what he wants, calling them “chickified,” “limp-wristed,” “#####,” “#######.”

• More mocking of women who disagree with him, painting women who have opinions as “hot-headed” and “emotional,” and more implications that God doesn’t like these women:
“some women think they can do everything on their own” and that if men sit by idly like cowards because they don’t want to get into with with their hot-headed, emotional, wives, eventually the women will take over the church, and then the church will go to hell.”

• Undermining women’s efforts to hold him accountable for his words, implying that the raising of theological questions by a woman is the same thing as them calling the Bible “ridiculous,” and calling the squelching of a woman’s intellect and voice “sexy”:“Does it say, “Ladies, don’t have any questions”? Does it say that? No. Does it say, “Ladies, don’t disagree.” No. Does it say, “Ladies, don’t think for yourself.” When you disagree, when you’re super-theological, when you’re all fired up, the first thing you don’t do is start yellin’ at the pastor and yellin’ at the church, firin’ nasty e-mails, and declarin’ war and puttin’ together a, a, little group of, you know, feminist women with guns who are gonna make a difference.”
If you’re married, you go talk to who? Your husband. You say, “Sweetheart, I was readin’ The Bible, I think it’s ridiculous.” And he would say, “We should probably talk.” “Honey I was readin’ the Bible, I don’t understand.” He should say, “Let’s, let’s study that together. Let’s take some time, and study — together. Now some of you will protest and say, “THAT is SEXIST!” As a married man, I will tell you, it is sexy. That’s what it is. There is nothin’ hotter than a wife with a great new testament, commentaries, concordances, and questions. That is theological foreplay. It’s awesome. Because now you’re connecting at the level of then heart and the soul and god is honoring of that.”

There is more, but I believe I’ve more than made my point. Frankly, I am upset, I am concerned, I am angry, and I am embarrassed to belong to the same religion as Mark Driscoll. I am deeply offended – not by God, but by Mark Driscoll. If I believed that Mr. Driscoll’s words and attitude were reflective of the God of Christianity, I would walk away from Christianity altogether. I read at least one report of a former Mars Hill member who has. Unfortunately, as the Christian religion writer for the Seattle Times, in addition to his other roles, Mark does for many represent the face of Christianity. As that representative, he is showing the world a religion that is mean-spirited and unkind, one that depends upon mockery and shame, ######### and disrespect, smugness and name-calling to make its points.

…Again, I appreciate Mr. Driscoll’s clarifying blog post about the Haggard situation, although I wish he had said “I’m sorry, I was wrong” instead of simply saying he’d been “misconstrued.” Mr. Driscoll should apologize publicly for all the things referenced above, for the mean, flippant attitude with which he is attempting to deliver the gospel.

In the original, offending blog post, Mr. Driscoll wrote: “At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness…” If he realized that the post would make him “more despised,” then why say something he already has recognized as being despicable? …
Yet Mark Driscoll continues to deliver messages filled with meanness and sarcasm and mockery of those who have different opinions or theological positions, and the congregation laughs whenever he does this. Who is holding him accountable? Who, among the Acts 29 community and/or Mars Hill, is talking with him about this, saying: “Mark, you can’t be this mean. This has to stop”?

I realize that I am exactly the type of strong-willed, opinionated woman that Mark Driscoll believes to be “an ungodly woman with a godless feminist agenda that she borrowed from the serpent, like her mother Eve in Genesis 3.” I do have an opinion about this matter (though I don’t have that pushup bra he accused all feminists of having), and I feel it is my responsibility to stand up and say something. Mr. Driscoll will likely see this letter as fitting his example of those “super-theological,” “fired up” “feminist women with guns who are gonna make a difference.” I admit, I do hope to make some difference in this situation (no gun, though); unfortunately, I don’t really expect this letter to change his heart.

I am, however, appealing to those surrounding him: Please listen. Please understand that Mark Driscoll’s teachings and his harsh, unkind, mocking words are hurting women and hurting the church. Please set up some form of accountability (or, if one exists, a stronger form of accountability). Ask him to get some therapy. … Listen to his sermons with a discerning ear and hold him accountable for what he’s teaching; if the tone of the above comments continues, remove him from leadership. Ask him to apologize, publicly. Most importantly of all, please set up some kind of information-seeking group within the church to hear the stories of people who have been hurt by Mr. Driscoll and his teachings – and be willing to act upon what you learn.

You have the power to do something about this. All I have is the power to write this letter. And to stand outside the church, holding a sign. Which is why I still plan to attend the protest on December 3. This isn’t an attempt to be divisive and it isn’t an attempt to persecute anyone, as some Mars Hill members have claimed. It’s simply an attempt to say: “Somebody please do something. Please stop this.” The question is: Are you listening?

Sincerely,

Shari MacDonald Strong

Posted by stephy at 9:03 AM 44 comments

Comments to Shari’s letter:

February 17, 2009 1:05 PM

A. [to another commenter] This is not a matter of scriptural interpretation. It’s a matter of your fellow sister in Christ feeling spiritually abused. We can be skeptical and hard-headed (i.e. “Let’s not fight and argue about who killed who”–monty python), or we can honor the fact that Shari spoke passionately into the chaos while others sat idly by and accepted Marks words at face value because he has a degree and a pulpit.

February 17, 2009 1:31 PM

Shari

B. How sad that so few people feel safe enough within the evangelical church to stand up and say that something abusive or unkind is transpiring, and how sad that this is the nearly universal response when they do.

Powerful men never fail to have their defenders. Let me tell you how many Acts 29 folks, Driscoll fans, Christian leaders, or others contacted me after this letter was posted widely on the internet, to find out more about how Mark Driscoll was hurting women and whether or not something should be done about it: zero.

If Mark Driscoll (and pastors like him, and I’ve known many) hadn’t driven me away from the evangelical church, responses like this (and a widespread lack of caring about fair/respectful treatment of women within the church) would have.

The evangelical church is perfectly capable of greater kindness and understanding. But until people actually give a crap about the people who get hurt (women, in particular) and want to know more about how and why they’re hurting, it will remain the same sort of self-satisfied, lifeless social club that Jesus had hoped to transform.

February 17, 2009 6:25 PM

Shari

…C. Thanks so much for your words, L. The fact that anyone would read Driscoll’s words and would not only not renounce them, but would instead point the finger at someone who is raising a red flag of warning, utterly dumbfounds me. The fact that an entire city, and the larger evangelical community, has little concern about the damage Driscoll is doing in the name of Jesus, breaks my heart.

February 17, 2009 7:03 PM

D.  Dear Shari MacD,

…I like what you said about addressing abusive behavior, and how so many people are afraid to stand up and fight against it. I believe that this because it’s been masked as being OK, simply because it’s being delivered by a man who’s been “called” to preach. (Or have been given a pulpit, like David said.)

We (read: women) are not brought up in our society to question men. I spent a lot of years letting male pastors tell me how to live, and it hasn’t done me much good.

If the percentages are anywhere near accurate, there are a shit ton of women who are living in abusive marriages, and sitting in his congregation every week, slowly going crazier and crazier, with no one to call out to that is stronger than the sadistic, mysogynistic God that Driscoll idealizes. The tragedy in all of this is that, while “young men” are given priority and cuts in line, women continue to live in the belief that what Driscoll says, goes.

But Driscoll’s god is a flimsy imitation of the one who honors the woman, the mother, the sister, as much as he wants to [supposedly] bestow all the power and glory upon the heads of young, middle class men.

February 17, 2009 9:45 PM

Shari

E. Thank you, M. I don’t think you wish me ill, and I appreciate you saying so. It just makes me incredibly sad and discouraged that the most common response in the church (in my experience, and in many others’) to those of us who point out areas or patterns of unhealthy/abusive/hurtful behavior, is to place the blame on us for speaking up.

The fact is, Mark Driscoll has harmed a lot of people, and he is delivering hate speech from one of the biggest and most influential pulpits on the west coast. (If you simply go online and listen to his podcasts, you’ll find evidence of this in abundance.) The reality is, a lot of people have gone to Mark Driscoll in exactly the scriptural manner you describe, and it hasn’t helped a bit, because he doesn’t listen, and he just keeps getting nastier. (I know one woman who went with her husband to talk with Mark Driscoll about some of his teachings. When she gently but firmly challenged him on a point, Mark Driscoll refused to speak with her, turned to her husband and said something to the effect of, “If you don’t shut your wife up, I will.” This is typical behavior for him.)

My letter was from two years ago. I believed then that a protest (which I wasn’t organizing, but did support) was the right thing to do because something needed to be done, and the Christians around Mark Driscoll weren’t doing anything to support those who had been hurt, to deal with Driscoll’s behavior, or even to find out more about what was happening and whether action of any kind needed to be taken. My letter was, as I explained at the time, not a personal attack; it was simply an attempt to get people to notice what has been happening at Mars Hill, to look into things more closely, and to hold Mark Driscoll accountable for his words and actions. Why did I think it was the Christian thing to do? Because Jesus was a defender of the harmed, the persecuted, the weak, the maligned, the attacked. Who has been more harmed, persecuted, weakened, maligned, or attacked in the church than women — and especially women who have tried to have a voice?

I honestly don’t care what Mark Driscoll believes, except to the degree that he thinks those beliefs give him the right to mock, disparage, shame, and humiliate people — including, but not limited to, people like me. Ideally, it would be the people around him who would be gently challenging him to be a loving person, and to be his best self. Sadly, I stopped holding my breath for that to happen a long time ago.

Again, I appreciate the clarification. And I just want you to please consider that, when someone stands up to authority — in the church, and elsewhere — it may just be for a good reason. And it is certainly fine to question that person’s position — but I would hope that you would question the other side just as much. As you said, you don’t know me and you don’t know Mark Driscoll. The question then is, why (of the two of us) is he the one who got the benefit of the doubt? I don’t suggest that you answer that question here, or for me. But it is a question that I wish all the people who’ve defended Mark Driscoll, and/or have turned a deaf ear to those of us who are concerned, would ask themselves.

February 18, 2009 9:44 AM

…F. Why can’t we just take a sermon at face value and agree to disagree? Is this Driscoll guy being any more chauvinistic than the apostle Paul? And who cares? Why can’t we just disagree and be independent thinkers? Why do we have to call it abuse and check ourselves into therapy? Maybe because we’re making our pastors out to be gods.

If you think Driscoll is a douche, than stop giving him your money and leave!!!

Self-victimization is a children’s tool. We need to grow up.

February 18, 2009 10:08 AM

Shari

G. P.S. Why can’t we take a sermon at face value and agree to disagree? Spoken like a middle-class privileged white man in a society ruled by middle-class privileged white men who never get made fun of from the pulpit by middle-class privileged white men in power. If you were the one being mocked, shamed, and disparaged by “spiritual authority” on a regular basis — or if you actually cared for a moment about someone who was — you might just feel differently.

February 18, 2009 11:15 AM

H. You’re far more brave than I am on confronting spiritual abuse. I don’t know what I told you about the church I grew up in, but there was a HUGE divide created by our (then) Pastor, Richard Frazier, similar to this Driscoll kerfuffle. My father was one of the first to speak out against Richard Frazier and because of that was alienated for a long time in the church community and even had his life threatened at gunpoint (true story) by one of Frazier’s supporters. God-like? No. Thug-like? Yes.

The long and the short of it was many people (including my family) believed Frazier was spiritually abusing the congregation, which, I think goes without saying, involved a lot of emotional abuse. And as emotional abuse goes, some yearn for it because it is all they know while others want better. (Plato’s allegory of The Cave?) My father is a very calm man and was wanting so much to ignite discussion and not the screaming mess that came about prior to Frazier finally being run out of town. We’re still healing as a spiritual family… I think it’s commendable that Shari speak up about Mars Hill. There’s a lot of abusive leaders in the church that need to be called out.

February 18, 2009 5:34 PM

Shari

…I. …All you did was position chauvinism as biblical and defend people who hurt others and who refuse to acknowledge that pain or change their behavior — yet you were more than happy to rail at me for raising a red flag and to, essentially, call me a childish whiner. You can’t bait people with comments like yours and then shame them for getting pissed off.

For the record, getting angry about people mistreating other people isn’t throwing a tantrum. It’s just being a decent human being.

May 30, 2009

I don’t know that anyone will follow a comment here this late in the game, but I just came upon this…

In abusive systems, or in the minds of those who are threatened by even acknowledging the reality of the abuse and thus the moral responsibility to actually DO something about it, the one who points out the red flag, the one who, like Shari, says, “Hey, the emperor has no clothes,” becomes THE problem, THE enemy, THE issue.

And Shari, you are so right, you, or anyone else who dares to speak out, becomes the target at a carnival (and it is a madhouse– like a carnival’s house of mirrors, that which is reflected back at you, that which comes at you–when you do speak out).

So, for what it’s worth, I have a site about Mars Hill and what I consider to be church/spiritual abuse coming from that system and from Driscoll.

freedom4captives.wordpress.com

I am copying part of Shari’s letter and some of the comments here to my blog, not using the commenter’s names. But since Shari’s letter is public, I am using her name.

For freedom, truth and love!

Freedom

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8092454655191120011&postID=7836966978931762613&page=1

5/30/09

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The following in its entirety is from Praying Heart, dated Feb 15, 2008:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6mmTXVTil8&feature=related

This clip displays one of the areas where Mark Driscoll is especially strong: using displays of so-called humility to further his agenda from the pulpit. Was Mark truly repentant for his pride when this was delivered? It is possible – unlike the Mars Hill Elders, PH does not have the gift of “immaculate perception” (Immaculate Perception: The opinion that the way the one sees things is obviously the way God sees things.) Still, ReallySad1 makes some excellent points in the “about this video” section of the clip:

Mark Driscoll got accolades for his statement regarding his lack of humility.
But if you listen carefully, this set up the church to hear that in fact his followers, especially those that were questioning the recent firings of two beloved pastors, should be ignored because of their lack of humility.

He is saying “I have not been humble, I am proud. Therefore because I have been proud many of you members are also proud. So we will not listen to you and your concerns, even if valid, because of your pride. I repent of my pride and will now teach you to be humble.” In fact, he talks about how the church will humble you or exalt you. In fact that is not the church’s role at all.

This sermon set up members to hear: You are saying good things, your concerns may be valid, BUT!!! You are not humble therefore what you say will be disregarded.

This may be the height of arrogance. Mark Driscoll (as Pastor) can just deem you to be proud. He can therefore disregard what you say. What arrogance!

True humility assumes the best of your brother. Mark Driscoll and his elders have disregarded the concerns and council of many members by accusing of them not having a humble spirit. Sadly, this is in the context of preaching from a text in which we see Jesus taking on the form a servant and demonstrating the humility that pastors ought to have.

http://prayingheart.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/mark-driscoll-and-mars-hill-church-member-abuse-on-parade-1/

pulled Feb ‘09

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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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This is something I posted on another blog. It captures what I consider to be some of the MHC problems of cult-like spiritual abuse and issues of the By-Laws in a nutshell:

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Having been trained in the mental health field and as a survivor of spiritual abuse, I perceive many signs of cult like control and spiritual abuse:

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Controlling Pastor with “Yes Men” Elders;

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No Talk Rule;

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No Dissent;

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Emphasis on Submission and Obedience;

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Shunning of “Unrepentant” Former Members;

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Dis-fellowshipping “Questioners” and Critical Thinkers;

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By-Laws Removing Accountability of Pastor/Elders;

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Mind and Thought Control; Membership Covenant and Financial Giving Pledge Required;

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“Biblical” Counseling Only, if Referred Out, Must Sign Release Form (no confidentiality allowed);

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Kangaroo Court Firing of Two Elders Who Dared to Question;

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Extreme Gender Role Enforcement;

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Members Must Attend Accountability/”Community” Groups

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… Scary!

I have been surprised at the responses to Mars Hill by Christian critics who ONLY point out that he cusses or wears “offensive” t-shirts, or because he encourages wine/beer drinking. These seem like minor points compared to the extreme control and abuse symptoms I see in that system. I have found places on the web where former members have explained what really happened in the apparent bogus firing of two elders, the bi-laws scandal (which appear to give Driscoll all the power, as he is now surrounded by 4 ‘Yes Men’ on the board, and Driscoll has tenure), their suffering serious oppression as females, about other members being ousted for “the sin of questioning” as Driscoll called it, etc…

The new Bi-Laws also list member requirements:

.

they must agree to ALL the church doctrine (obedience and submission to the Elders is emphasized repeatedly, as is absolute wifely submission to husbands, as well as ultra Calvinism);

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they must not discuss concerns about MHC and its leadership w/ other members (let alone outsiders!) as that is “divisiveness” [this is actually in the membership “covenant/agreement”];

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they must sign away their rights to legal counsel in regards to the church (that is if they are abused by the church and/or by leadership they cannot retain a lawyer!);

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they must sign over all rights to confidentiality in counseling should they seek not only Mars Hill “counseling,” but psychological therapy by a professional (and I truly hope ALL therapists would decline such an intrusive, abusive agreement)–and why does Driscoll insist on this stripping of all members of their mental health privacy? “Because,” he explains in Vintage Church, “We want to be able to find out what’s going on,” translated: they want to CONTROL their members in all aspects of their lives;

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the members sign an agreement to financially support Mars Hill regularly and sacrificially, and they are sent quarterly reminders (they will be “disciplined” for not keeping up with their “commitment”);

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they must donate time to serve regularly;

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they must participate in a small “community group” where they must confess their sins to be “held accountable.”

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Frankly I am appalled the more I learn about MHC, and I am deeply concerned by Driscoll’s seemingly controlling/abusive tendencies and by the fact that the Christian community has by and large failed to call him out on any of this… instead they get all caught up in his t-shirts and a little cussing here and there… This is why I’ve made such a strong stand on my blog spot—to protect the public from that which gives the impression of an abusive system and to help members get free and to support those who are trying to recover.

Two very helpful books on the topic of spiritual/church abuse: Dr. Enroth’s book, Churches That Abuse; and VanVonderen’s book, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.


One former MHC member posted this elsewhere: “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 Christian.”

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