“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” CS Lewis
Today Mars Hill posted a Scripturally accurate, reasoned account of their disciplinary procedures. Here is the beginning and you can see the rest here.
“In recent days, there has been some discussion surrounding Mars Hill Church and our process of church discipline. We do not wish to comment on the specific scenario in question, as this is a private matter between church leadership and members, all of whom have voluntarily agreed to this prior to becoming members. We do want to be as clear and forthright as possible in presenting our theology of repentance, forgiveness, and church discipline and make clear that our convictions on this come from our study of Scripture and our deep love for our members and a desire for them to enjoy the freedom that comes from walking by the Spirit in response to Christ’s work on the Cross on our behalf. At the heart of the process is our deep belief that church discipline is about the grace of God, not penance." Update 10/14/13–
Pastor Justin Holcomb” Former Mars Hill pastor, Justin Holcomb, contacted us and said that he was not the author of the statement. It apparently was a general Mars Hill statement and not attributed to one person.
A lesson in church tap dancing.
Before I present the next Mars Hill horror story, I want to quickly assess the above response on Church Discipline and Mars Hill.
After stating “We do not wish to comment on the specific scenario in question, the pastor presents another story of the need for church discipline. In a nutshell A man has left his wife and kids and is now coming back to the same church, necking with his new honey during church in full view of his wife and kids. He uses this story to outline the need for “Biblical” discipline.
He is either being deceptive, trying to obfuscate the current situation which is going viral all over the blogosphere, or he is really, really stupid. I am hoping it is stupidity because the former is far too upsetting to contemplate.
He is equating this situation to the one involving Andrew. They are not the same thing. Andrew was repentant, he was not bringing his new honey to church and making out with her in the service in front of his fiancée, there were no kids in involved, and on and on.
They are obviously concerned about the increasing publicity centered on both Driscoll and the ministry. They may also be concerned that there are legalities involved. Why? Note this statement. Regarding church discipline “as this is a private matter between church leadership and members, all of whom have voluntarily agreed to this prior to becoming members.”
Mars HIll Slip of the TongueLanguage Bias against Women (add at 10:41PM)!!!!
This is a very important observation which Deb discovered in the Mars HIll document.
The pastor said the following : “On the other hand, the man and his whorish girlfriend would be welcome in the church only if they repented of their sin and lived as Christians. If they did not, they should be the ones to leave.” here is a simple observation. Why is the woman "whoreish" and the philandering, adulterous husband just "the man." This is a revealing and damaging slip of the tongue.
Questions about the membership "agreement"
I have some serious questions for Andrew and others who have “voluntarily” signed such an agreement. Were you informed that you should seek private counsel, legal and otherwise, before signing such a statement? Did you know that most churches have lawyers carefully review these documents in order to avoid the possibility of lawsuits if the church decides to step over the line and impose harsh punishment?
That is why both Deb and I advise most people not to sign any church covenant or membership agreement before spending a significant amount of time attending church. In fact there is little reason, in this current climate, to join a church unless you want to be an elder or deacon. Do you really want it that bad?
TWW has written several post surrounding this issue that might be of help:
The first one, “Hurt? Wary? Afraid? Do Not Join a Local Church” link received some of the highest number of hits that we have ever received. In it, we give you reasons for staying unaffiliated while still attending church. We emphasize that you can have a rich, vibrant experience without signing some document.
The second one is : Spiritual Abuse Final Exam: Analyze a Membership Covenant. Link.This post presents an actual covenant that was sent to us by a man who quite his church after 15 years. We spotted a number of “red flags” in the document.
This thirdl post, Membership Red Flags Link analyzes, in depth, the previous covenant.
Today, TWW received this sad email.
“I just found on Facebook my grandson was born yesterday…..Not one person called me or my husband….
Frankie recently starting commenting on our blog. She tells a story that will break the hearts of most parents and their children. In the few years that we have been writing this blog, we have both read, and confirmed, a number of instances in which authoritarian and abusive churches have attempted to isolate young people from their parents. We have also read of extreme complementarian or patriarchal churches that instruct husbands to monitor all phone conversations or emails between their wives and concerned parents.
In another blog post, we documented Mark Driscoll saying that he monitors his wife’s emails in order to “protect” her. So, it is not inconceivable to us that the following scenario could occur. Frankie is willing to go on record that this sad event happened to her family. It is important to realize that this involves two daughters who joined Mars Hill, one married a young man in Mars Hill. The other daughter actually married the brother of her sister’s husband….So it is sisters that married brothers!
(I am beginning to hate that word) to the “ways” of Mars Hill. It is also important to understand that these daughters are quite young. What did we say yesterday about the ease of controlling the young and idealistic?
I have changed very little of Frankie’s comments. So, you will read the raw emotion of a mother who has been deeply wounded. Those of you, who have young children, beware. How would you react if those children who you have loved and nurtured, suddenly become immersed in a subculture and no longer believe that it is in their best interests to speak to you?
I thought only cults did things like this. Hmmmm….
Read this with an understanding of the pain of rejection. The emotion is raw and unpolished. In fact, it is like listening to a friend who has just received some very bad news.
I have bolded some phrases that I found significant.
“This “church” is ruining families by spiritual and emotional abuse. Mars Hill Church led by Driscoll have taken my two beautiful and educated daughters (along with many other young ladies) and convinced them that to get to Heaven they must marry, submit, and become baby makers. That is only the tip of the iceberg in the brainwashing.
I have been shunned and emotional abused while my girls are held “hostage”. They are being told this is what Jesus wants and because I refused to submit to the rules and boundaries that my daughter’s 22 year old husband would “allow” for me to have a relationship with her! I told him I would speak with my daughter not him.
He said he was speaking for the both of them! He reads, answers, or deletes all texts, emails, voicemails, etc. from me, along with any of my family and friends! He (with the help of other Mars Hill “family”) is isolating her from all of us. I am completely heartbroken.
My 22 year-old daughter is about to give birth and I can’t get near her. ”They” have convinced her to have a home birth because “you only have pain in the stressful atmosphere of the hospital setting” I am terrified! Her fellow young female Mars Hill members are on their second and third babies.
Trust me when I say it is a slow and methodical grooming. When I realized what had happened to my girls, it was too late! It is cult…calling itself a church. The members are required to sign contracts.
Driscoll is a bully, no doubt. The young married men are taken out to bars to “tip one back” by the Elders “schooling” them. The young brides are given “instruction” on how to satisfy their husbands by the married Mars Hill ladies before their wedding! I guess that is one way of keeping the members from having affairs in the church, since apparently they all have been taught the same tricks!
I have attended Mars Hill many times, to several of the campuses to see for myself It is very seductive and hip! Wolf in sheep’s clothing! Just like Driscoll and his yes men (two of the pastors are involved with the “families” that my daughters married into) Sucks them right in.
Anyone that has any advice who or how I could report this abuse to I really would appreciate more than you could know, I am going to be a grandma any minute. (Editor’s note-her daughter had a baby boy yesterday. The grandmother was not notified).
Below was taken from a comment on FB page “Mark Driscoll is an *******:
“I think women hear the line that if they are submissive, God will reward them by turning their husbands into the attentive, responsible men of their dreams. They take that in faster than you can imagine. It’s like a gift with purchase deal-hand over your freedom and I’ll give you prince charming. They even tell fairy tale stories about other women in the church who have experienced it to prove it is true. Men get a whole different ‘schooling’ that is equally destructive. They are encouraged to enter this absurdly competitive almost adolescent world.”
Let me address this to Mars Hill. There seem to be an awful lot of uncomfortable stories about your church and your lead pastor. It is beginning to be impossible for some of us to believe that this is all some big “misunderstanding.” If even half of these stories are true, your church, and pastor, are in deep trouble. Think it's time to regroup yet? While you're at it, think you could tell a couple of your members to give their mama a call? You guys are good at Bible verses. Try "Honor your father and mother."
Finally, here is one more performance by the gifted Prince Poppycock. This is dedicated to our British friends who had to put up with a “Yankee Doodle Bully.” Poppycock reminds me of a certain pastor. There are so many parallels. The performance starts at 1:00.
Lydia's Corner: Isaiah 22:1-24:23 Galatians 2:17-3:9 Psalm 60:1-12 Proverbs 23:15-16