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Posts Tagged ‘Mars Hill By-Laws’

I received the following comment under #43. My response became quite involved so I wanted to create a new post covering some of “Mr Nater’s” challenges and opinions. His comment is in italics. My response follows.

A lot of beef seems to be over Marks complimentarianism and your (apparent) egalitarianism…

Isn’t there room for humility over such a difficult issue? Do we really need to fight dirty over the complimentarian vs. egalitarian debate?…Reality is that each side is deeply emotionally intrenched on the issue. And so are you.

I say this because this article is very much antithesis. You do a thoughogh job at Marks statements but you do not substantiate your own perspective. Your perspective is only painfully obvious to people to those who already believe what you do. In this case you are not changing anyones mind, you are just flaming the fires of hate between disciples of Jesus .

Sure i understand criticism is ok, but when it is everything then its slavery. Why don’t you build a case for egalitarianism. Why not treat the discussion fairly and intelligently. Why don’t you build a case for your view instead of polarizing, bullying and fear mongering… ironically becoming what you accuse Mark of being right?

Sure you can get a lot of web traffic by tearing down a popular church… but its no better than those awful youtube conspiracy video’s.

God has used both egalitarian and complimentarian churches to advance his kingdom. By all means we have a right to this important internal debate. But if it consumes us, and consumes this website, what do you have? Disciples fighting disciples.

Mr. Nater,

If I understand you correctly, you seem to be suggesting that I, and others like me, need to have “Humility over a difficult issue.” By “humility,” in this context, I am wondering if you might mean something like being quiet and gentle, non-assertive, non-challenging, non-confronting…This, along with other things you have written, informs me that you are perhaps a bit confused as to the “issue” here. We are talking about what looks like very serious abuse at Mars Hill Church, abuse of God’s people (see Post #14 Cult-Like Spiritual Abuse Issues & By Laws In a Nutshell, and #30 Driscoll’s Questionable Words & Behaviors, and #34 Is Mark Driscoll Verbally and Emotionally Abusive?)

…and abuse of God’s precious daughters especially… Have you not read, Mr. Nater, the crude, derogatory and disdainful things Driscoll has said about women which I’ve posted here on this blog? See post #8 Christian Taliban & Christian Women Donning Berkas: Spiritual Warfare Series, wherein Driscoll states that “women are the weaker vessel” and are therefore “the more easily deceived” that women are “busybodies and gossipers,” that ministry goal-oriented women are “manipulators” “controlling” and “drama queens” and that they are influenced by Satan if they want to marry a pastor and that women’s ministries are “cesspools” of gossip. Also, see Post #37 Mark Driscoll: Is He Qualified to Lead? Wherein he is quoted, “Most people thought [Mary, mother of Jesus] concocted the crazy story [of her pregnancy] to cover the fact she was knocking boots with some guy in the back seat of a car at the prom,” and “…a naked lady is good to look at, so get a job, get a wife, ask her to get naked, and look at her instead,” and Driscoll described a young man in his church as “a chronic masturbator, a porn addict, banging weak-willed girls like a screen door in a stiff breeze.”

Am I to have “humility” about this while thousands of young twenties are being deceived, demeaned, and held in bondage? Driscoll does not keep his apparent abuse directed at the women in his congregation only, he lashes out at the men “under his care” as well (see # 33. Driscoll Rants at Abusers… Abusively?) In my opinion Driscoll is behaving like an immature dictator. The more I learn of what he is up to, the more disgusted I become. There is no other word for it. Disgusted. Well, and deeply grieved. Driscoll has taken on a role never assigned to anyone in the New Testament, and he is abusing God’s children in that man-made role.

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt 20:25-28). Even Paul said he only wanted Christ’s disciples to follow him AS he followed and modeled Christ. Where Christian leaders fail to model Christ, we are under absolutely no obligation to follow their lead.

But it appears to me that Driscoll on the other hand, and contrary to this passage, has become a ruler of his own little kingdom, a despot with dangerous levels of power… and no one in a power position is confronting him on his abuse… go figure. They’re in those same high-powered man-designed, pride-catering positions themselves. If they rock Mark’s world, they have to rock their own little worlds. It’s the good ol’ boys club on a grand scale, and pathetically, supposedly in the Christian world.

This blog is not about gender per se, but about spiritual/church abuse. It might be helpful for you to read testimonies of those who allege abuse by Driscoll through his teaching and by his MH system. See posts #17, #20, #24, #25. Read Molly Warthen’s New York Times article, posted here in #21. To the extent that Driscoll’s prescribed treatment and beliefs about women are abusive and within the context of his being their “spiritual authority,” that too comprises spiritual/church abuse. Since there is so much of what appears to be abuse of women at MH as seen in their oppressing, demeaning, domineering over, and placing legalistic constraints upon women, gender inequality will continue to be a major issue I have with MH and will continue to be a major aspect of that system’s abusive tendencies and/or characteristics.

You write that I have not substantiated my opinions in post #43. You might want to look at #42 and other posts for the vast amount of substantiation I have provided. Based on Scriptural qualifications (1 Tim 3, Tit 1, see #42 Is Driscoll Really Qualified to Pastor?) Driscoll does NOT qualify to be a pastor nor even any kind of church leader when one carefully weighs his character, his actions, and his words. Also see #15 The Characteristics of a Controlling Personality—in my opinion heaps more of these descriptors fit Driscoll than the character qualities of a leader listed in Scripture! It appears, Mr. Nater, that you have misunderstood “the issue” on freedom4captives to be solely about Driscoll’s oppression of women. This is a weighty and grave part of the issue, but not all of it. Apparently you have missed much of what has been written here. I repeat, this is about spiritual abuse. This is about church abuse. This is about gross power abuse in the role of “Elder” in Scripture (which we now call pastor). Driscoll has apparently repeatedly lied to his congregation, he robs them of the freedom Christ died to give them, and he seeks to rule over them autocratically. See #13 Shocking Sections of MHC By-Laws, with Neilson’s Notes and #41 Should A Pastor Rule Over You?

Matt 23 comes to mind:

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2″The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. …they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them…8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ [my Great One, Teacher] for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 13″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to…16″Woe to you, blind guides! … 23″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness… 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel… 29″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! … 33″You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

As to the effects my blog might have on others, I  do not think that you, Mr. Nater, are in a position to read every reader’s mind and to prognosticate what conclusions they will or will not come to having read parts of this blog.

If any “fires of hate” are being flamed about on this end, it is the fire of hate we as Christians are called to: namely, we are called to hate oppression and injustice, to hate hypocrisy, to hate false authority and those who in the name of God seek to “lord it over” GOD’s flock… We are told to “HATE evil, love good” (Amos 5:15) and to “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good,” (Ro 12:9) and that “To fear the LORD is to hate evil,” (Pr 8:13)… Also, See #9. Christians Criticizing Christians Can It Be Biblical?

By stating facts and quoting Driscoll and comparing that to Scripture, how is this “polarizing, bullying and fear mongering” on my part? This seems to me that you have resorted to a pseudo polite form of name calling, rather than dealing with the issues at hand. You are not dealing with any of the issues I call Driscoll on in post #42 or #43, or anywhere else in this blog actually. You are participating in the logical fallacy ad hominem (“argument against the person”– an argument which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of a person advocating the premise.” Wikepedia.).

You charge me with “ironically becoming what you accuse Mark of being.” I find this rather amusing (and disturbing at the same time) in that I am not in a position of abusing thousands of people by laying down legalistic rules and “laws” which Scripture never even commands–in fact, laying down “laws” which Scripture commands against. I am not blaspheming my Lord by inferring that I love him but not in a way that I would want to perform oral sex on him when I get to heaven! Yes! Driscoll said this, see # 35 Driscoll: “Your husbands appreciate oral sex…So serve them well…” I am not claiming the first seat for myself as the Pharisees loved to do, etc.

If you think “web traffic” is what I’m after, you have 1) not read much of anything in this blog, and 2) know nothing of what it means to be abused by those in power, especially those claiming “God’s authority” as their right to having power over you. These types of abusers are usually men, and they are those who have not the heart of God and therefore abuse any authority he may have given. I think it comes down to your throwing accusations without anything to substantiate them.

The primary issue here is not gender equality, however I freely admit that gender equality has become a passion of mine, more so now than ever since running into Driscoll’s cult-like system (yes, in my opinion cult-LIKE). Gal 3:28 states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Certain men–who seem to me to be quite insecure in themselves–are the only people so desperately concerned with coercing women to “obey” the few Scriptures which seem to imply total subjection to husbands (which contradicts 1 Cor 7 and Eph 5:21) and seem to imply women can never teach men or speak in church (which contradicts the Holy Spirit’s giving all gifts to all people, male and female, in the body of Christ, such as speaking words of knowledge and wisdom, speaking in tongues, and prophesying IN CHURCH among men! There are also the gifts of preaching and teaching, given by the Holy Spirit, to all who call on the name of the Lord, male or female, it does not matter to God… Acts 2, 1 Cor 12; 1 Cor 14).

I was reading several of the articles on cultwatch.com , such as, Church Authoritarianism; Church Leadership; and How Do Cults Work. This material contained some very helpful analysis of the original Greek word meanings and usage in the NT. Of interest is that the Greek words used for “submission” between husbands and wives and between elders and Christians are words indicating the choice of the one who might do the submitting. It is never about the other forcing the one into submission and condemning her to hell if she does not submit. This would be tantamount to women making a big hoopla about men not obeying a certain aspect of Scripture.

When Peter became overly concerned with John’s walk with Jesus and whether or not he would remain alive until the Lord’s return, Jesus told Peter to never mind about John, “you follow me.” Why is it that certain anxious men must so vehemently demand that women submit to them? Why don’t they leave that “command,” if it is such, up to the women to fulfill or not, just as we are all called to choose whether or not to obey the Lord on many various issues. This is harmful enough when male laity behave in such a manner, but it is exceptionally abusive when men use their church positions (and usually false authority) to coerce women into obedience to their desire to rule and reign (all in the guise of obeying Scripture, of course).

I find it awfully suspicious that some “Christian” men are so extremely invested in ensuring that women “obey” a few cherry picked Scriptures! This is very cult like. This is what cults do. That is why MH’s stance on women and the testimonies of those harmed by this caught my attention, along with other aspects which match up with VanVonderen’s and Dr. Enroths descriptions of church abuse. Cults use various Scriptures out of context also in order to control the cult members. Driscoll, and others like him, use Scripture passages which are difficult to translate, to understand and to apply correctly partly due to one glaring reason: they seem to contradict the gender equality Jesus teaches, Paul teaches and Gen 1-3 teaches and which many other Bible passages exemplify. Conversely, you do not find women in an uproar about husbands not loving their wives properly and not giving their lives up for them, now do you? You don’t find women teaching on this and making bogus principals out of this (like the men’s “headship principle” and “prophet, priest & king of the home principle”) and hounding the men with this every chance they get, now do you?

If you would like or need more scholarly information about Christian Biblical Equality see my posts #29 and #28 and/or go directly to Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) at  http://www.cbeinternational.org/  .

As much of  a passion as gender equality in the Body of Christ has now become to me, still that is not primarily what this site is about, although at times it will take the pre-eminence because of the spiritually violent aspects of Driscoll’s false theology and spiritual abuse which violates women.

Freedom4Captives is about analyzing and highlighting what appears to be CHURCH ABUSE at Mars Hill. The more I read of mind control, aberrational “Christian” churches and of cults, the more I see similarities in Driscoll’s style of “leadership” (control) and the Mars Hill system. I urge you, Mr. Nater, to go do some research on the issues at hand, to spend some time studying what Driscoll is actually preaching, writing and how he is behaving, and then feel free to come back and address the complexity of the issues here if you’d like.

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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 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

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http://prayingheart.wordpress.com/

pulled 2/7/09

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Today I was feeling a bit down having had an email interaction with a self-proclaimed “theologian” regarding a completely different issue than MH and MD. Despite the bit of research I had done, he kept stating I couldn’t trust any of the sources I had cited and instead I needed to read the pastor in question for myself. Okay, I understand about going to the source and all that, but how much poison does one need to ingest before one realizes, “Yeah, it’s making me ill”? And why would one want to go back and purposefully imbibe more? This “theologian” would also not dialogue with me re: the points of challenge I had brought up, but rather seemed to speak down to me, making moral judgments about me and insinuating I was part of the those haters who just sit around on the internet criticizing everyone who doesn’t think just like them. Ugh!

But I try to take all critiques seriously and to see what I can glean from them. So I thought long and hard about what he said, and I applied that to this blog on MH and MD… I began to ask myself a series of questions: Am I just “out to get Mark?” Are my motives to tear down MH for the sake of mean spirited vengeance (although I really didn’t get hurt at MH, just alarmed and I got out rather quickly, so not much to take vengeance on)? What if I’ve made Driscoll to be worse than he is? What if what I’m reporting on can’t hold water? Am I being destructive rather than helpful for God’s people?

While all of that was rumbling around within my mind, I did my weekly “practice run” search in Google to see what is currently showing up when I type in “Mars Hill Church Abuse.” In my present frame of mind you can imagine my sense of validation when I found the following. I’ve cut and pasted some of the forum’s comments, anonymously (but you can visit their site as a visitor, so their forum names/aliases are not top secret or anything)… This thread in their forum was posted at the beginning of April when I was at my old blog site (marshillchurchabuse.blogspot.com), and had recently posted about the Firing of the Elders and the By-Laws.

Anyway, I’m feeling pretty vindicated right about now… and I think I’ve got my vision/mission firmly back in place! 🙂

The following is found at:

http://equalitycentral.com/forum/index.php?topic=936.0

New Blog: Mars Hill Church, Driscoll & Spiritual Abuse

A

This situation happend a few years ago and it is all true. For a while, the two fired elders, who I think were paid, spoke out and then abruptly stopped. All the info about the by laws, etc are true. Driscoll took over completely and has some hand picked yes men. It was a planned coup. There are a few youtube videos where Mark is speaking about this and he is downright mean. You can tell where he is daring anyone to question him.

Actually, this is happening in many SBC churches, too. It is especially prevelant in mega churches. The sin of lording it over is alive and well in our churches. A sign of the times, I think…this almost lazerlike sole focus on hierarchies. It is everywhere.

B.

[Re: Post #8. Christian Taliban & Christian Women Donning Berkas]

“He even warns women not to rely on or trust in older women [contrary to Scripture] because they are likely to be busybodies and gossips, unless they are especially spiritual and very submissive.

“Fifty three minutes: Driscoll describes how he protects his wife from other women who want to go have coffee with her and get to know her, because, guess what, “that is Satanic,” and he says he knows what they’re really up to.”

Wonder what he’s afraid of?  This sounds extremely insecure and controlling to me.
Reminds me of the times my husband used to mock my fellowship with women “are you going to go and play with Chrissie today?” (in a voice dripping with contempt)
Chris (not “Chrissie”) is my 68 yr old female mentor.  If he could have got away with it, I’m sure he would have forbid me seeing her, but I had come out of the fog enough not to allow myself to be controlled like that.

C.

After reading that article, if only half of it is true, it confirms everything I *knew* in my spirit when listening to Driscoll before.  You know, once you’ve lived with one of these types and made it long enough to recognize them for what they are, you can smell them a mile away.  He just has it all over him.  I used to feel kind of guilty for not liking him, back in the day…I just couldn’t stand him, but couldn’t put my finger on it…just the arrogance…and yet all these other people just LOVED him…  I thought, huh, must just be a personality style thing, I guess.  Later I would come to realize what it was that I found so disturbing.

What is shocking on that blog is how many many many commenters are furious at the blog linked to above and others like them for existing and for reporting on such things.  Driscoll is so effective at presenting the Gospel, they say, so leave him alone and stop airing this “in-house” fight.  Driscoll is leading people to Christ, which means he’s above criticism.  Driscoll is an “untouchable,” above the masses.  I mean, people practically worship this guy!

I hate that kind of thinking.  He’s got truth and poison in the same breath, but because there’s truth in there, we’re just supposed to cover our eyes at the poison?  What kills me is how these are the VERY SAME PEOPLE who get angry about books like The Shack, etc, because they say that the poison they feel is in the book is dangerous, so don’t read it even though there is also truth in it and many people who would not otherwise consider Christ are now becoming followers.  *shakes head*  I hate the double standards.

D.

I  KWYM.  It was not apparent that he was that controlling just by listening to one or two or his video’s.  The more we hear , the worse it gets.  And to think that young men and women are listening to this.  The young men grab at it, because it is close to the sin nature to elevate self.  The young women feel obligated because it is close to their sin nature to adulate men, but also cringe because the degree is worse than their sinful inclinations.  Such bondage.  How horrible.

E.

Thank you for listening to and making an excellent summary of Driscoll’s message.  I have to say as one who does ministry in deliverance from your notes I believe Pastor Driscoll is in need of deliverance from the unclean spirit of “the hatred of women”.   His actions he expressed concerning his wife and how he sees women are certainly operations I’ve come to know as coming from the influence of this unclean spirit.

BTW – in deliverance ministry my husband and I have NOT found that we deal with “mostly” women – it is definitely 50/50.  I will also add the hardest person we’ve every had to deal with was a man who saw himself as the “head and priest” of his family.  He wanted to control every issue concerning prayer for his family.  He would “demand” we take authority over the unclean spirits he had decided they needed deliverance from — and would get terribly upset when we refused because we did not discern that these were the issue with his family members.

If Pastor Driscoll ever came for deliverance counseling with my husband and myself I do believe from what you summarized, Lin, that we would be addressing the unclean spirit of “hatred of women”.

F.

I took the excerpts of his teaching from the blog linked to in the first comment. However, I did listen to the peasant princess when it first came out. I could hardly get through it. It made me sick.

I agree with W that he has a deep seated hatred of women. But I think this is because Mark has to have an enemy. Probably always has as that is the only way he could make a living. I am starting to believe that emergent was not profitable enough for him in terms of influence. Too much competition. But not a lot of competition for a counterculture reformed guy.

Women are the perfect target as enemies becasue he can mask it as ‘doctrine’ and it is acceptable. For example: Why do so few people get offended when he alludes that all women are gossips? How can the men and women in that audience not see through such comments from him? Because he has made this primary salvic doctrine and turned it all into a work of salvation. I think men like this are worse than Rome for works salvation. They deny it but it is right there!

He markets his schitk as ‘counterculture’. All he does is slap a tatoo on a fish add works that are feminine and masculine and call it Christianity. It is a business. And he gets paid a lot for his speaking gigs.

G.

I also suspect Driscoll may be a Narcissist and whatever goes along with that.

H.

Where is the outspoken concern for his behavior from other well known pastors?  A few do but not many.

I.

I also wonder if any one else from among us who suffered spousal abuse had their teeth set on edge as they recognized the pattern of cutting the victim off from all sources of help in his disguise “I do this for her protection”.  I know from my own past and counseling that this is a common action of abusers with control issues.  This IS NOT Godly counsel coming from his mouth.   It is a form of abuse.

It makes me so angry to hear him present this form of abuse as Godly counsel.  (I find it to be much the same abuse done in the name of God that the women of the “no longer quiverful” blog are addressing.)

It makes me so very sad to know that many in the church have become so deceived they have become unable to discern the abuse of women in his message.

I am also left wondering who God sent in to be a help to his wife and was cut off by him in the name of “protection”.  My heart breaks for her and cries out for her liberty and freedom.  I pray she breaks out of her cage as Clay and many other women have done and walk in her God given freedom as a woman of God.

J.

When they have been outspoken in an area for a long time and made it part of their entire persona, made a living from it, it is almost impossible to see another interpretation or even admit there is another interpretation to even be considered. It has defined who they are

I wrote this and can see how come could say this would be naive. I want to clarify that the anger we see coming from those who tout these doctrines is taught to them. They see it as righteous anger.

The thing with Piper [& Driscoll], etc, is that they allow no disagreement. You are labeled, perhaps prayed for and put in a category as rebellious, not believing the Word, etc. That is not naive at all. That is protecting your turf. You learn real quick not to question or disagree in those circles. Because there is no real civil discussion of differences in interpretations. Yours is simply wrong and that is that.

K.

(NASB) Proverbs 28:10 He who leads the upright astray in an evil way Will himself fall into his own pit,…

(NASB) Proverbs 28:16 A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding,…

L.

I had a pastor like Driscoll once.

…The big issue is control… He didn’t put women down, but he sure did make Jesus out to be a tough guy. It’s the same spirit. Control can show up anywhere. It’s just if you add a hatred towards women to it, it makes it worse.

http://equalitycentral.com/forum/index.php?topic=936.0

5/4/09

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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:

.

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;

.

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

.

… 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);

.

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”];

.

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;

.

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.”

.

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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Again, a reminder: the funky formatting is because I’m transferring info from my previous blogspot, and it randomly applies the colored text and blocks…

Shocking Sections of By Laws with Neilson’s Notes (not mine):

SECTION B – All persons desiring to unite with this Church shall sign an application to become a part of the fellowship, complete the required member process, sign the member covenant, and shall appear before at least one church member making a confession or reaffirmation of their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Candidates coming in by transfer of letter from another church will follow the same procedure. Candidates having been approved by at least one church member must affirm by signature their agreement with the Doctrinal Statement and the Bylaws of Mars Hill Church. They must also agree to support in worship, giving, and service, and satisfy other conditions of fellowship defined by the Council of Elders.

Note: There is no scriptural basis for such a covenant. The church is the collective members of the body of Christ. Assembling together for worship, for teaching, for prayer and for fellowship demands no formal legally binding covenant. Any such covenant as this serves as primarily as a basis for coming under church discipline if such covenant is deemed by the executive eldership to have been broken by the member. See below.
p.23

SECTION C – Church Discipline. The threefold purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church, to edify believers by deterring sin, and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct.

1. Members of Mars Hill Church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church who err in doctrine, or who engage in conduct that violates Scripture as determined by any two or more elders, shall be subject to church discipline. Each potential case of discipline will be weighed on its own merits and dealt with according to Scripture.

Note: Matthew 18 was decidedly not followed in the present proceedings against two church elders. Since they were not protected scripturally, there is no assurance that members would be treated any differently. These by-laws then serve as the basis for church abuse, not church discipline.

1. Members of Mars Hill Church are not guaranteed confidentiality regarding issues of church discipline, and understand that in submitting themselves to the authority of the church, issues of a sensitive or personal nature may become known to others. This includes, but is not limited to, notification of the authorities if a crime has been committed or if a real threat of someone being endangered exists, as well as other violations of scripture that may not result in physical danger.

Note: These unspecified violations have recently resulted in public disclosure of characterizations of elders which included; “mistrust, divisiveness, power-hungry and sinful.” These accusations are matters of opinion, however being leveled by executive elders, take on the weight of truth and serve more to assassinate character than uphold the purity of Christ’s body. This then becomes the basis for church abuse, not church discipline.

1. Those who are members of the church or who regularly participate in church activities may be dismissed from the church by the agreement of at least two elders. The dismissal of a church member may be made known to all church members.

Note: There is no mention here of what violations may result in such dis-fellowshipping. There may be a scriptural basis or there may not be. It may be for reasons that are mere opinions, false accusation, general violations, sinfulness, divisiveness, disagreement, or other unspecified conduct. There is no mention of the biblical procedure according to Matthew 18, and there is no recourse by the member to have his name cleared or his fellowship reinstated. All of which is decidedly unscriptural.

1. A person dismissed from Mars Hill Church for disciplinary reasons may be reinstated to full membership if the person’s repentance is accepted as genuine by the elders that oversaw the person’s discipline.

Note: A brother offended is harder to win than an enemy. If the elders who dismissed the member are to judge the sincerity of the repentance, there may well be personal affront to overcome. Thus these same elder’s opinions of true repentance may in fact be biased, and they should rather recuse themselves. Repentance is a change of mind, heart and direction. These are verifiable and observable, and may be determined by any of the elders in church leadership.

1. Each member of this church, and every other professing Christian who regularly attends or fellowships with this church, agrees that there shall be no appeal to any court because of a discipline process or dismissal. A member who is under discipline by the church, as defined in the previous paragraphs, forfeits and waives the right to resign from Mars Hill Church. Resignation is possible only by a member who is in good standing and who is not under any disciplinary action.

Note: It is decidedly unwise for any person to give up his legal rights in a free society to a heirarchal structure which affords no real accountability. You must ask yourselves why there is no possible appeal to any court? Why? Not even for criminal behavior? Why? No right to resign? Who would relinquish this right? To what other organization do you belong which demands this?

6. Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but subject to the discretion and approval of any two or more elders, a member, non-member regular participant in church activities, or other individual, may be notified that he or she is not to be present upon church premises or at church activities for such a period of time as is deemed necessary for the safety and well-being of others. Such required absence may, but need not, be concurrent with church discipline of that person.

1. Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but
subject to the discretion and approval of any two or more elders, members who have not met all of the criteria of church membership for a period of six months or longer may be removed as a member of Mars Hill Church and may be asked to no longer attend Mars Hill Church.

Note: Though Christ is initially mentioned as the head of this church, it is readily apparent that the real headship of this body resides with only three men without oversight

p.24-26

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

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO DIVE INTO THE BY-LAWS, I FOUND A SITE THAT SEEMS TO HAVE THEM ALL AND WITH EDITORIAL NOTES; IT LOOKS LIKE NEILSON HELPED WITH THE NOTES AS THEY ARE SIMILAR, BUT THIS IS MORE COMPREHENSIVE IN ITS SCOPE… HAVE AT IT!

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/3188518/The-Bylaws-of-Mars-Hill-Church-_2007_

pulled 4/23/09

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