Why Did Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll Recently Fire Paid Staff?

"Martin Luther, in his commentary on Galatians, says that to add any religious work to the gospel of grace seems to be a trivial matter, but “it does more damage than human reason can imagine. Not only does it mar and obscure the knowledge of grace but it also removes Christ and all of his blessings and it completely overthrows the gospel.” Kangas Commune

US Sheepherding Experiment- US Gov.

 

TWW would like to thank the Gospel Coalition for posting a link to “A Response Regarding Church Discipline" here. We almost overlooked it. We will include some excerpts from this response in case it disappears like a few other things in the past.

Today we were going to discuss a new post over at 9 Marks dealing with church authority titled “What Are the Keys to the Kingdom?here.  This post makes the following provocative comment “The local church has heaven’s authority for declaring who on earth is a kingdom citizen and therefore represents heaven.”

As you can well imagine, we are not necessarily enthralled with such a statement. However, we draw your attention to this statement because, for the two of us, this defines the problem with today’s hyper-authoritarian churches. They get to declare who is saved. By default, this means that, if they do not do so, said individual is outside of the kingdom. This is a statement that could be interpreted as hubris in the extreme. We will look at it more in-depth next week.

However, such declared authority is becoming more and more the norm in Calvinista circles. We believe that adherence to such convictions can be misused by pastors who believe that they, as a group, have some special authority to “do” whatever. How they get around their own personal sin problem is left unspoken.

With this in mind, we head over to Mars Hill whose head pastor, Mark Driscoll, has a tendency to be perceived by many as an intemperate bully. We will look at several sections of this “explanation” which we believe raise some interesting issues. You may read the entire response at the previously provided link.

Mark Driscoll, as the face and founder of Mars Hill, is problematic.
Driscoll has lurched from controversy to controversy, acting more like a monster truck whose steering wheel has broken, crushing everything in its path. TWW has extensively listed the problems, with corroborating evidence over the past years.

  • Pornovisions
  • Song of Solomon
  • The firing of pastors who disagreed with him
  • Consolidation of power with him as authority
  • Threatening to punch out some pastors who disagreed with him
  • Foul language
  • An overemphasis on sex
  • Cruel jokes-(vote for the most effeminate worship leader)
  • Insulting the entire Christian community of the British Isles (as an aside we have received permission to reprint a fascinating post by a Scottish pastor who looks at the Driscoll mess).

In fact, we do not have enough time to go into a litany of his pronouncements that many find offensive and concerning. We have a question for the Gospel Coalition leaders who posted this response. When will the Christian leaders in this group admit that Driscoll is a problem? Why the silence?

In the meantime, Mars Hill pastors should be aware that Driscoll has made so many gaffes in his ministry that the entire organization is colored by his personality of arrogance and immoderate speech. So don’t be surprised that we find your explanation less than satisfactory.

Mark Driscoll is hiding behind the proverbial clerical gowns of his underlings.

This “response” states:
“Our central leadership, which includes Pastor Mark Driscoll, is not involved in the discipline process, as it is handled at a local level.”

This, more than anything else, demonstrates that Driscoll is not a real man (something he prides himself on). Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said “The Buck Stops Here.” A real leader would have stood up and taken the hit for the embarrassing revelations. Not Driscoll, he is protected by his pastors, as well as his security guards. Mark Driscoll put this church together and put the procedures in place. He needs to man up and stop getting others to clean up his messes.

Why didn't we contact Mars Hill?

Here is what the pastors said.
“ With the exception of the recent Slate article, we were not contacted by the authors to verify the facts or seek explanation regarding those cases prior publishing their articles.”

However, they then said the following.
 “Out of sensitivity for all involved, and a biblical mandate to handle such matters within the church, we do not wish to comment publicly on those specific cases and drag into public what should be private.”

They said it themselves. This is a “confidential" issue and they would not comment. Are they trying to have it both ways? Call, but we won’t answer? Would they really spill their guts to two women? Baloney. It was, and is, a useless proposition. They know it and so do we, so we need to stop playing games.

How much “discipline” is applied at Mars Hill?

Here is their statement.

“It is also rare. Out of 5,417 members, we currently have nine church discipline cases in process, which represents 0.17% of our members.”

One must raise the question about what constitutes formal discipline versus informal discipline. From Andrew’s account (and we will get to why we still support him in a minute), he underwent a number of meetings, confessions, and so forth over a period of time BEFORE he was put under formal discipline. It was after all this that he was presented with the discipline contract that he was to sign. So, there seems to be a fair amount of confession, etc. prior to getting down to the official stuff.

From Sophia’s story (the founder of MarsHillRefuge) we learned that emotionally abusive tactics appear to be used on people who have been at the church for a short time, even if they are not members.

So, only a few people are being disciplined severely? Jesus said that He would go after one sheep that went astray. If even one person is wounded by a discipline process, that is one person too many.

Mars Hill appears to have a confusing view of sin.

Here is what they say. Read the first sentence very carefully.

“The goal of the process is to not just to address a sin issue but to explore the roots of sin in our lives and to discover why the sin is present in a believer’s life. Part of being repentant is being willing to explore the depths of our past behavior to discover why we struggle with certain sins today. The goal is not to get past the sin as quickly as possible through confession but to explore past patterns of behavior and find healing through Jesus from our past as well as our present sins.”

TWW has news for everyone at Mars Hill. All of you, including your pastors, have chronic sin in your lives. Everyone who is reading this should stop and contemplate this next question. Let’s say that we are able to attach a video screen to your brain. We could then broadcast your thoughts to the entire congregation. Which of you would not need Mars Hill discipline??? I am including your pastors and, especially,  Mark Driscoll.

Here is the problem. The pastors, along with everybody else,  are sinning just as much as Andrew. But, he had the guts to confess his sins. The rest of us (I include myself) all cleverly hide them under a pious exterior. Who’s the real man here? I say Andrew.

Why is sin present in a believer’s life? It’s really quite simple. We are positionally holy but functionally struggling with sin. This is why we need grace. Martin Luther said to “Go and sin boldly.” He understood this reality. When we set up punitive measures for dealing with sin, we cause people to “fake it.” Frankly, I wouldn’t say one word about my struggles to a church like this. Imagine getting served with a paper that would make you list every sinful thought and deed you have done? And then you get to have that list judged by someone who is “faking it” himself?

Now here are two statements that we find very interesting. It does appear that Andrew’s story is being partially corroborated.

1. What appears to be the discipline/shun letter did appear on a message board, albeit not the entire Mars Hill board.

“In one of the cases, regrettably, a letter that was meant to be privately read aloud to a small group of about 15 people in close community and friendship with Andrew was instead posted to that group’s private online community page. There was never a letter sent to the church as a whole.”

What goes onto the internet, stays on the internet, forever. This form of communication for such intensely personal issues is unwise. Also, why should we trust that his “close community” would keep this private? It is very easy to cut and paste this to an “accountability” partner, isn’t it?

I believe that all churches dealing with people must take steps to protect personal information. I am a nurse and am familiar with federal regulations designed to protect the identity and diagnosis of patients. Things like this should NEVER be posted on the Internet, code or no code.

2. Why did Mars Hill FIRE some paid staff?

Here is the statement.

“before they were ever written about in a public setting by bloggers and journalists, Mars Hill leadership stepped in to investigate. As a result of those investigations, it was determined that the leaders involved had a pattern of overstepping their authority. As such, they were released and are no longer on paid staff or in formal leadership in any capacity at Mars Hill Church. Again, these actions were taken months ago, prior to any public exposure.”

Is this an admission that something very, very wrong happened in Andrew’s case? Even worse, could it be that this sort of thing has happened on a frequent basis (“pattern of overstepping their authority”)? Why would people have been canned or removed from leadership? This statement alone says there is something amiss in this situation and gives credence to Andrew's concerns.

TWW has a different spin on this whole situation.

Recently, a blogger wrote that he was contacted by a “friend who is a pastor” at Mars Hill who said that there was more to this story and alluding to problems on behalf on Andrew and, perhaps, Bent Myer.

Suddenly, many bloggers backed away from the story, automatically assuming that the “pastor” is telling the truth. Yet, let me repeat this, people were fired from the staff! Why???

Even more importantly, and this gets to the crux of this issue, why would anyone assume the pastor is telling the truth and Andrew is not telling the truth? Let me share a story of pastors gone rogue. This is not an uncommon occurrence as we have learned in our years of blogging.

There is a young man who, along with his parents, reported an incident of abuse to a group of pastors who are very much a part of this current Neo-Calvinist crowd. Their concerns were ignored and there were insinuations made that the young man was either lying, exaggerating or, even worse, may have had a mental problem.

A year later, his concern was brought to light when the abuser was discovered in another situation.. The family asked why they weren’t listened to the previous year. Now get ready for this. The pastors denied the meeting ever took place! This denial continued even after one of the pastors confessed (it was recorded) to remembering the meeting. Everyone, including that pastor, backed off the confession, saying “no comment.”

That young man told the truth. His assessment was spot on and subsequent events proved his veracity. To this day, the pastors deny the meeting and confession occurred.

Folks, pastors are as prone to sin as anyone. We must ask ourselves if we show preference to a pastor’s word over that over that of a “lowly” church member. Do we understand that all men have fallen short of the glory of God? Why do people in the church act shocked when a pastors is caught in some sin?

Why would one assume that a young person has less character than a pastor? Deep down inside, do we rate people based on their position in society or a church? Did Jesus do this? It seems to me that he was far more concerned about the little guy who was consistently disenfranchised from the church by the leaders. The Pharisees liked to hang around with each other. Jesus preferred the company of the tax collectors and prostitutes.

In the movie, Ghostbusters, one of the characters (somewhat untrustworthy) kept repeating, “Trust me, I’m a doctor.” Who do we trust? I say that we trust Jesus and then we are very, very cautious about trusting people just because they spent some time learning Hebrew. As we look at the history of Mark Driscoll, we raise the question “Why should we trust him or his pastors?”

Of course, many will jump to Driscoll’s defense. He is a celebrity pastor, after all. How many will speak on behalf of the “no account sinner” who is getting hammered by well placed innuendos on the part of those who have something to lose?

Well, we stand for, and with, Andrew. No matter how this situation turns out, Andrew was brave enough to confess some embarrassing sins. In fact, we would wager he is braver than many people at Mars Hill who are sitting back and saying “I hope they never find out about me.” Even more, he is braver than Mark Driscoll who is the king of excuses when it comes to his flippant mouth.

We believe that everyone attending Mars Hill, along with the pastors should read The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse The: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen link  Be careful. You might see some things in this book that remind you of church.

 

Lydia's Corner: Isaiah 57:15-59:21 Philippians 1:1-26 Psalm 71:1-24 Proverbs 24:9-10

Comments

Why Did Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll Recently Fire Paid Staff? — 144 Comments

  1. “The local church has heaven’s authority for declaring who on earth is a kingdom citizen and therefore represents heaven.”

    I saw this when I left the Neo-Calvinist Baptist world a few years ago. In the 1970’s, a church leader who said this would have been widely ridiculed as setting up the local church leader as “Pope” of the local church. Now, it seems common place.

  2. ““friend who is a pastor” at Mars Hill ” …so many problems with this
    – either the pastor is telling the truth and is violating private confession or he is lying. Nothing is good about this statement.
    – I was accused of some things years ago but no one would tell me what the accusation was, only that it “was shared in confidence”. This is an absolutely horrible position to be in.

    Why don’t all these bloggers who are retracting their entries realize how horrible this statement is.

  3. “Is this an admission that something very, very wrong happened in Andrew’s case? Even worse, could it be that this sort of thing has happened on a frequent basis (“pattern of overstepping their authority”)? Why would people have been canned or removed from leadership? This statement alone says there is something amiss in this situation and gives credence to Andrew’s concerns.”

    My hubby and I were talking about this last night and we don’t necessarily believe anyone was fired. As soon as Andrew’s story came out, they scrubbed the website, and there is no longer any staff info on the site. There is no way to tell who might have been involved. And, if the pastors were fired, we find it troubling that they are taught this kind of top down authoritarian leadership, how to use it, but then when they do, they take the fall while PR makes sure to state that MD had NOTHING to do with the situation.

    Our situation was handled by our Community Group Leader, the bottom of the “chain of command”. Where do we think he learned this behavior? He had only been a CG leader for 2 months, so we know for sure that he was assisted in the handling of our situation by at least a deacon if not the “King” and the “Priest” of our campus themselves.

  4. The “we” is not actually the we when it comes to saving face. I’m sure there’s no need to examine the process that got them this result either. It was all one leader’s issues.

  5. Allen Krell,

    Welcome to TWW! Excellent point about pastoral confidentiality. Perhaps we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg at Mars Hill. Only time will tell…

    In the meantime, Mark and Grace Driscoll are traveling around the country peddling their wares (I mean, “Real Marriage” book).

    I checked out your website and appreciated what you wrote, which I will include here for the benefit of our readers:

    Allen Krell’s Admonition

    “If you are in any church that is following the path of the “New-Calvinist/Neo-Calvinist” (Driscoll, Al Mohler, John Piper), please run (do not walk) away. Get out of there.

    They call themselves Calvinist, but they have separated themselves from the wonderful history and tradition of Calvinism and merged with old fashioned independent legalistic fundamentalism. They scare me, and in my part of the Southern United States they are gaining traction in large numbers of Southern Baptist churches.”

    Thanks for adding TWW to your “religion” bundle!

  6. Allen

    “I was accused of some things years ago but no one would tell me what the accusation was, only that it “was shared in confidence”

    Been there as well. Pastors are just as prone to sin as everyone else. Trust is earned by a pastor who is sacrificial. Why is it that I don’t see Driscoll in this light?

  7. Sophia
    This is important information — “As soon as Andrew’s story came out, they scrubbed the website, and there is no longer any staff info on the site. There is no way to tell who might have been involved. And, if the pastors were fired, we find it troubling that they are taught this kind of top down authoritarian leadership, how to use it, but then when they do, they take the fall while PR makes sure to state that MD had NOTHING to do with the situation.”

  8. Guys, I just went over and read the thread at InternetMonk and now comments are closed. Something scary took place over there that chills me to the bone. Here is the comment by Patrick Kyle whom I have to assume is the guy who wrote the retraction on the spiritual abuse discipline at MH based upon a member of Mars Hill telling him he did not have the whole story. And what prompted Chaplain Mike to also apologize for his post on the subject.

    Here is an exchange between a guy named Matt and Patrick Kyle

    Matt says:
    February 14, 2012 at 11:46 pm
    “Pat felt it right to post a retraction because a personal friend (not a MHC PR person) talked to him and helped him understand there was more involved than what he (Pat) had criticized.”

    I am not missing the point at all. Pat chose to believe someone who follows a wolf instead of Andrew.

    Patrick Kyle says:
    February 15, 2012 at 2:29 am
    Matt,

    Let’s play some Biblical hardball here. The standard in both the Old and the New Testaments is to not entertain an accusation unless corroborated by two or three witnesses. Especially in the case of charges against elder and Pastors. Proverbs warns us that one seems right until another examines him. . Have you heard the other side?

    A brother in the Lord reached out to me and basically pulled me back from a very public sin. I am thankful. If he lied to me, (which Id am convinced he did NOT do) then it is on him. My conscience is clear.

    The Lord judge between you and me.

    To the rest of you, I say read my post carefully, and read between the lines. You might be able to envision situations in which my retraction makes sense.”

    Anyone see the problems here? Patrick invokes the 3 witnesses rule. The same one invoked by Paige Patterson with Darryl Gilyard. So this means there must be 3 witnesses to a pastor/elder fondling a child.

    But what does scripture mean by 3 witnesses? Could a witness be the document that MH is using for discipline? Could a witness be the other stories coming out of MH that show a patter? Could another witness by Driscoll himself and his pattern of behavior and errant teaching on sex and masculinity? after all, MH was designed and built with Driscoll DNA.

    Patrick believed someone who follows a wolf. Matt is right. That person should have NO credibility. But Chaplain Mike seems to think so. It is a sad day in Christendom.

    As Turner said so well: Andrew IS the “other side”. Besides, what makes Patrick think he can believe anything that comes out of MH based upon what we have known about it for many years now? His friend is deceived because he follows Driscoll.

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/grace-means-saying-im-sorry

  9. Anon 1
    Well this is how churches play the game now. I say that the documents themselves bear witness to the hardball tactics going on in Seattle. Driscoll’s life is witness to serious issues. I am so sorry for those caught up in this mess.

  10. “The goal of the [discipline] process is to not just to address a sin issue but to explore the roots of sin in our [ha] lives and to discover why the sin is present in a believer’s life. Part of being repentant is being willing to explore the depths of our past behavior to discover why we struggle with certain sins today. The goal is not to get past the sin as quickly as possible through confession but to explore past patterns of behavior and find healing through Jesus from our past as well as our present sins.

    At Mars Hill, the discipline process is a private one and decentralized, generally involving a Community Group (small group of Christians who gather regularly for prayer and study), its leader, and a local pastor from one of our 14 churches.”

    Private and decentralized? When did the discipline process become one in which the “disciplinee” must spill his/her guts to, not merely a pastor, but to a group of people – most, if not all, of them, people he/she doesn’t even know? This is what is supposed to be done with a trained counselor, not a group of untrained people dispensing judgment and probably getting off on the whole thing. The only thing the pastor and elders should be concerned with is the specific sin (assuming it is genuine), not depth psychology, particularly with a group of amateurs.

    If the “sinner” wants to speak with a pastor or elder, or with a counselor, or even within a home group he feels comfortable with, fine. Anything else is sinful exploitation. Which is what Driscoll specializes in.

  11. William
    I did not see it. Thanks for letting me know. Once again, TWW stands by our different spin. The problem I have with some of these folks is that they want to take each incident in isolation. In my opinion, the firing of the staff is significant.

  12. You know… it’s possible to take screen captures of web pages so that material that might be deleted can be preserved in a photo file to show that “they” (whoever “they” are) really did say that.

    In the case of the MH site + disappearing comments on many other web sites, I’d suggest that commenters take a screen cap of things that might later be deleted. It’s pretty easy to do, and there are browser extensions tailor-made for it. (Free at Mozilla’s Firefox Extensions site, the Google Chrome web store, etc.)

  13. “Part of being repentant is being willing to explore the depths of our past behavior to discover why we struggle with certain sins today. The goal is not to get past the sin as quickly as possible through confession but to explore past patterns of behavior and find healing through Jesus from our past as well as our present sins.”

    If the above stated is the case, wouldn’t we be under church discipline the rest of our lives? I don’t think they must understand how sinful we really are! Also, could a Lutheran voice explain the difference between the Lutheran churches office of the keys and what 9Marks is saying?

  14. William
    Herei s the comment that I left.
    “Bobby
    You said “What reason does the reporter have to believe that the source will be any more truthful in an interview than he was in his personal actions.” Hmm, Andrew confessed his sins. How many posting here (including myself) have been so honest? Perhaps Andrew is more truthful than many.”

  15. Jeff B
    Something is seriously wrong with this process. With Driscoll at the helm, things will continue to be dicey. I predict more and more problems because this is a strange system headed by a strange man.

  16. My comment to Pat:

    Dear Pat,

    I appreciate your willingness to apologize, and I know as a human and a blogger it is very difficult to not screw up. I hope you take this comment with the intent I am making it.

    I am very troubled by this statement:

    “I have elected to keep an edited version of my original post up on the blog. My point remains valid, and I personally know of a number of instances of abuse of church discipline. However, I no longer feel it applies to Mars Hill or their handling of this case.”

    I do not think, even if there are extentuating circumstances in the Andrew case, that it clears Mars Hill from all of the allegations of abuse of church discipline. Call it what you want, but Mars Hill has numerous people who have detailed stories of spiritual abuse at the hands of church leadership. Come on over to my blog and read some of the unsolicited stories posted there. And the Yelp comments. These do not include stories that have been shared privately with me, by people who are fearful of what repercussions they will endure if they are identified. An explanation from a friend in one instance cannot clear this church of all the allegations. Did your friend speak to Lance’s situation? How about my family’s experience? Kaelee? Kevin Potts? Most of us did not get to the level of actual shun documents (that we know of, as most of us, upon disagreement, were immediately locked out of The City) and discipline contracts that Andrew did. I know for our situation, it was because we refused to be subjected to meetings with our community group to justify our desire to worship elsewhere.
    I appreciate that you have a friend at Mars Hill, I am sure he is a good man. I met many good people while I was there. Your friend also receives a paycheck from Mars Hill. I am sure he is not lying, but I see no biblical basis for requiring a person to document what was asked of Andrew. However, we are entitled to our opinions.
    What I find most curious, is that Mars Hill will only speak about the two cases that were covered in the Stranger and MPT. Why will they not address the stories at my blog? A personal apology, at least for me, would go a long way. It seems that they are mostly concerned with the reputation of the church and saving face. They are not concerned with me, my husband, or any of the people on my blog. I know they have seen it as it was referenced in both the Stranger and the Slate article.

    Reading both your retraction and back-peddling on Mars Hill and Chaplain Mike’s subsequent apology to his readers actually hurts those who have been hurt by this church all over again. It invalidates our pain and the damage that was done, and feels like people we respect very much are saying, “Actually, we don’t believe you, because so-and-so said such-and-such.” And so the cycle continues. If you talk to your friend, will you ask him why the church will not address the rest of us?

    Thanks & God Bless

    Sophia

  17. Robin
    You said “f the above stated is the case, wouldn’t we be under church discipline the rest of our lives? I don’t think they must understand how sinful we really are!” Spot on.

  18. Sophia

    Well written. TWW is still hanging in there. We are sorry for your experience along with many others. How quickly people forget Bent’s testimony. Mars Hill is not interested in you or anyone else who have been hurt. You play ball by their rules and their rules are tough and very difficult to figure out. Stand firm.

  19. “Bobby
    You said “What reason does the reporter have to believe that the source will be any more truthful in an interview than he was in his personal actions.” Hmm, Andrew confessed his sins. How many posting here (including myself) have been so honest? Perhaps Andrew is more truthful than many.”

    Dee,That is the key factiod…the most important ingredient to this that so many are ignoring. HE CONFESSED HIS SIN, FIRST. THEN the abuse started. Instead of rejoicing with him that he confessed and we have an “advocate” (1 John) they go after him with a life history and they get to decide when his confession is real repentance or not. Never mind that pesky Holy Spirit that always gets in the way of man’s authority.

    There would be no Andrew story if he had just kept his mouth shut. That is the moral of this story.

    Patrick, Bob Ross and many others are missing the whole point. Not a lot of deep thinkers out there anymore.

    You watch, now they are going to spin it that he really did not confess. They are already calling him a liar. I could write this stuff from memory I have seen the church response so many times. They are in damage control mode big time and people are allowing themselves to be used to cover up evil spiritual abuse.

  20. Anon1
    We stand firm with the victims against the nonsense of hyper-authoritarians who believe that they, and they alone, hold the keys to authority. They will spin the story to make Andrew look bad and for them to look good. It is boringly predictable. Wade Burleson talks about the problems with theology when it trumps love. We are seeing arrogance and authority trump love in this situation. Well, after everyone apologizes, MHC will still have TWW to fuss about. (Those dadblasted and easily deceived women, once again.)

  21. While I’m certainly not about to go to bat for MH or the situation that happened over there (about which too many details are obscured), I will always insist that a church without discipline is not discipling anyone. The question is not whether or not a church should practice discipline, but HOW it is to be done. And I insist, that with a right understanding, the quote from 9Marks still has much merit:

    “The local church has heaven’s authority for declaring who on earth is a kingdom citizen and therefore represents heaven.”

    Ok. Everybody believes in the distinction between the visible and invisible church, right? We’re all Protestants? Ok then. There are those who are truly saved, and there are those who have their name on the church’s membership list. Those are two distinctly different lists. I propose to you that it is the responsibility of church leaders, whatever the structure, to reconcile the lists to the (very limited) extent that they are able. Somebody decided that Jesus was just a man? Sorry, you’re not a Christian. You’re welcome to attend, but you’re not a member. Somebody decides to leave his wife for his secretary? He needs his feet held to the fire. Church leadership that does not put their foot down against these things is cowardly. It’s not about becoming the “sin cops.” It’s about making sure that nobody who attends their church thinks they are going to heaven and then dies to realize they have been mistaken. “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” This is not to say we will all be perfect. But the person who defends and insists on their right to continue sinning is not a believer. Period. Church leadership owes it to them, for the sake of their soul, to make sure they understand this clearly.

    Again, nothing to do with MH or MD. Just the concept of discipline generally. And though you may not like him because he’s ACTS29, I agree 100% with Chandler when he says, “Either you will protect the sheep and discipline the wolves, or you will protect the wolves and punish the sheep.” I’ve seen it first hand, as have most of you, I gather.

  22. Hey you guys have been mentioned on SBC Voices by one of the YRR Calvinistas:

    23 Ryan Abernathy February 15, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I would be careful giving credence to ANYTHING on the Wartburg blog. Those ladies keep their axes sharp and lash out at anything that doesn’t agree with their limited worldview. The article calling Mars Hill a cult for practicing church discipline was the worst piece of yellow “journalism” I have read in my life.”

    http://sbcvoices.com/maybe-we-hate-calvinism-because-we-dont-understand-it/#comment-75744

    You have arrived.

  23. ” I agree 100% with Chandler when he says, “Either you will protect the sheep and discipline the wolves, or you will protect the wolves and punish the sheep.” I’ve seen it first hand, as have most of you, I gather:

    That is sort of ironic considering Chandler spends a lot of time with wolves, promoting them and agreeing with them.

  24. They deleted my comment at getreligion.org

    A reminder to newcomers that GetReligion is a place to discuss the journalism and media coverage. Off-topic comments and statements from advocates will be spiked.

  25. This is what I said to warrant that response:

    I invite you to read other stories at my blog. Obviously, when reporting on people’s experiences, people will always question .
    IF Mars Hill would actually address each of the situations, a more “fair and balanced” article could be published. But they are only producing face-saving PR statements, and not contacting concerned parties or directly dealing with anything. If they really wanted to talk, my email is available, I could contact any of the people with stories on my site, and they could then respond to the church’s request. You need to do more research as well. You can’t get blood (info) out of a turnip that won’t talk other than to protect Mark Driscoll & Mars Hill’s reputation.

  26. From Jeff B
    “At Mars Hill, the discipline process is a private one and decentralized, generally involving a Community Group (small group of Christians who gather regularly for prayer and study), its leader, and a local pastor from one of our 14 churches.”

    Private and decentralized? When did the discipline process become one in which the “disciplinee” must spill his/her guts to, not merely a pastor, but to a group of people – most, if not all, of them, people he/she doesn’t even know? This is what is supposed to be done with a trained counselor, not a group of untrained people dispensing judgment and probably getting off on the whole thing. The only thing the pastor and elders should be concerned with is the specific sin (assuming it is genuine), not depth psychology, particularly with a group of amateurs.”

    My husband and I just spent 5 minutes discussing how horrible this would have been had we allowed ourselves to be fooled into going to community group to be “sent out joyfully”. It makes my stomach sick. Our CG leader would have humiliated and shamed us and done it in front of all of our friends, with our kids hanging out in the other room. How awkward and terrible for our kids. It is doubtful that anyone would have come to our defense as everyone had ministry ambitions and/or would have been intimidated.

  27. Anybody watch Nightline last night?

    The Youngs and the Driscolls with their sexpertise. The or*l and *n*l sex question was asked and answered.

  28. Eagle,

    I saw MPT say in comments that he and Andrew have proof that the letter was sent to more than 15 people as MH claims in their response, and that he stands by it. Read the comments on A Response from Mars Hill on MPT’s site.

  29. Miguel,
    Thanks for the comments. I think you answered my questions. You are a Lutheran right? How would a Lutheran exercise church discipline? Would a LCMS pastor use it upon a rare occasion or would they agree with some of the tactics we read about on TWW? I believe in church discipline. I am not trying to bait you, I am only trying to get a grasp on this and better understand the proper use of such discipline.

    I listen to lots of LCMS pastors and I don’t think that they would handle situations of discipline in the exact way in which we some of the Calvinistas enacting it. Your thoughts?

  30. About that letter – MH claims that it was supposed to be read alound in front of no more than 15 people.

    Read aloud – what the frack?!!!

    Since when do things like that document need to be publicized in any way at all within a church?

    If the guy repented, he repented. NO need to make all of this public, even to a small group of people.

    As for the commenter who asked about confession in various Lutheran traditions, the Wiki article is an OK place to start, but it doesn’t state something important:

    – Many Lutherans do not practice confession in this way. In the synod I grew up in (ELCA), the only confession of sins occurs in public services where a general order of confession is recited during services. There’s no confessional (or private confession) with ministers, let alone public confession of specific sin.

    I have this sneaking feeling that most high church traditions are very wise in restricting confession (personal) to private situations where forgiveness is pronounced and there are no public repercussions (because confession is between you and God, and what’s said in confession is confidential) and general public prayers.

    That way people cannot be subject to the kind of ordeal Andrew and others have experienced.

  31. I have been reeling for the last few hours from reading the quote “The local church has heaven’s authority for declaring who on earth is a kingdom citizen and therefore represents heaven.”

    In other words, these guys (and in this crowd it is always guys) think they can assume the prerogatives of God Himself and decide who is saved and who is not. The weird thing is that authoritarians in different traditions end up excommunicating each other — look at history, the Catholics, the Calvinists, the Anabaptists etc all declaring each others salvation to be null and void — simple logic demands that some (or all) of them had to be wrong — so why should we take these guys any more seriously?

    Sure, we have to draw the line somewhere. People who are living lives of flagrant unrepentant sin have to be held accountable — it may be that they have to be told in some instances that they are not welcome. We had a case a couple of years ago of a man who turned up to church with a decidedly predatory approach to young women (and not just the singles) He was told that he would only be welcome under certain conditions, e.g. that he only approached women when another man was present. he found those conditions unacceptable, and did not return. End of story. However, no one would ever have presumed to know anything about his salvation! how could they? Only a gracious and forgiving God knows the truth about each person’s struggles. May He have mercy on all His broken children, and may everyone, from the pastor down to the least of these. remember what Jesus said, “If you were blind you would not be guilty of sin, but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

  32. People who are living lives of flagrant unrepentant sin have to be held accountable …

    It always seems to come down to sexual sin, doesn’t it, in these circles?

    Where are the folks being called on flagrant, unrepentant greed, refusal to care for the sick and poor or orphaned children?

    The argument made by so many over here that the government shouldn’t take over works of charity (welfare, child welfare system etc.) rings very, very hollow when looking at how many churches seem to turn their backs on the poor, homeless and needy – yet are more than willing to make a mess of a person’s life over (as in Andrew’s case) supposed sexual sin.

  33. Totally agree. It’s as if sexual sin is the only type that’s on these guys’ radar (oh, and asking too many questions). What about cruelty? what about dishonesty? (years ago, in another church, I was teaching a teenage Sunday School class. One of the boys (an elder’s son and attending a Christian school) was flabbergasted when I said that it was wrong to cheat on your taxes. “No it’s not, it’s what everyone does!” he spluttered. Where did he learn that?) What about underpaying your employees, or not giving your boss a fair day’s work? What about exasperating your children, or showing favouritism to the rich and prominent?

    Better not start on social welfare — we’ve had universal health care here since the mid 70’s, a capped pharmaceutical scheme, a reasonable minimum wage etc. Sure it isn’t perfect, but it’s a heap better than nothing, and I would dare to say that most Australians find the furore over these issues in America very hard to understand

  34. Thomas Nelson, “Get Real, …Simply Permissible?”

    HowDee YaAll,
       
    Nelson, a premier publisher of Bibles and Christian Books has recently published a pastoral marriage book, “Real Marriage” (ISBN: 140020383X) by Mars Hill and Act29 pastor Mark Driscoll, which appears to be advocating anal and menstrual cycle sex in the christian bedroom?

    What?!?

    This christian book, “Real Marriage” *, by Acts29 pastor Mark Driscoll, (the book being rated high on the New York Times Bestseller list) in chapter ten, speaks of anal and menstrual cycle sex in the christian bedroom as being biblical permissible, and therefore acceptable?

    Huh?

    Excuse me, but hasn’t Thomas Nelson, publisher extraordinar, just tarnished  itz ‘famous’ 200 year old reputation?

    Hmmm?

    Who, in their right mindz is going to purchase bibles or religious material from them in the future?

    Oh! e Oh! oh oh… 

    “…From humble beginnings in a village in Scotland 200 years ago to our modern-day publishing enterprise employing over 600 people, Thomas Nelson’s goal has been to Honor God and Serve People.” -Thomas Nelson

    http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/dept.asp?dept_id=1118910&TopLevel_id=100000&category=About-Thomas-Nelson

    Come on?, you gotz ta be kidding?…rightz? 

    Has Thomas Nelson just filed for Chapter 11 , moral bankruptcy ?!? without speaking to their lawyers?

    Way ta go fellas!

    -grin- 

    hahahahahahaha ;~)

    Sopy ♥,†  
    ___
    * ‘Real Marriage’ is Driscoll’s first book published through Christian publisher Thomas Nelson. The Driscolls also have plans to travel to 10 different U.S. cities this year as part of ‘The Real Marriage Tour’, in which they will lead marriage conferences based off of the book. (In addition to the 10-city tour, he is also supplementing the content of the book with an 11-week sermon series at his church, Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and is offering free resources at his website, PastorMark.tv.)

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/06/pastors-detailed-book-on-sex-divides-reviewers-sparks-controversy/

    http://global.christianpost.com/news/mark-driscolls-real-marriage-draws-controversy-for-invasive-sex-talk-66609/

    http://global.christianpost.com/news/mark-driscolls-real-marriage-book-sees-early-success-66316/

    *
    “Simply Permissible?”

    ♪♪♪…How can it be permissible?
    Mark Driscoll wanna compromise our principle, yeah yeah?
    That kind of love is acceptable?
    Chapter 10 is anything but typical…
    (She’s crazy to endorse, but Mark Driscoll is  a powerful force, She’s obliged to conform when there’s no other course?)
    What used to be taboo, Mark Driscoll declares
    Simply permissible?!?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT8w5UEYLOI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    “His (Driscoll’s) …if it isn’t specifically prohibited in Scripture it must be lawful, is a prescription for disaster?!?”

  35. i’m still waiting to hear whether the girlfriend (a pastor’s daughter) also recieved the same discipline and humiliation and public shaming that Andrew recieved. could it be that Andrew recieved such a harsh treatment because the pastor’s buddies wanted to teach him a lesson while covering up for his fornicating daughter?

    michael in chandler

  36. Anon1 said,

    “Hey you guys have been mentioned on SBC Voices by one of the YRR Calvinistas…You have arrived”.

    Thanks for letting us know. What an exciting piece of news!

    Dee,

    Please file this under “What the world is saying about TWW”

    “23 Ryan Abernathy February 15, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I would be careful giving credence to ANYTHING on the Wartburg blog. Those ladies keep their axes sharp and lash out at anything that doesn’t agree with their limited worldview. The article calling Mars Hill a cult for practicing church discipline was the worst piece of yellow “journalism” I have read in my life.”

    http://sbcvoices.com/maybe-we-hate-calvinism-because-we-dont-understand-it/#comment-75744

    Congrats!!!

  37. You do know that Thomas Nelson is now under “new ownership”, right?

    Hmmm?

    Thomas Nelson is a publishing firm that began in Scotland in 1798 as the namesake of its founder. Its former US division is currently the sixth largest American trade publisher and the world’s largest Christian publisher. It is owned by the private equity firm Kohlberg & Company. HarperCollins announced its acquisition of Thomas Nelson in 2011.The deal between Harper and Thomas Nelson came after Kohlberg & Co., a private equity firm, bought the majority of Thomas Nelson’s stock. It’s been a long road for Thomas Nelson, which was founded in Edinburgh in 1798 and gained religious prominence in the U.S. through the publication of the American Standard Version and Revised Standard Version of the Bible. In 1960, it merged with The Thomson Organization (which later merged with Reuters), but was bought out by Bible publisher Sam Moore in 1969. Moore ran the company until Hyatt succeeded him in 2004. By then Thomas Nelson had gotten into and out of the music business, swallowing Christian publishing powerhouse Word, Inc. in the early 1990s. In 2006, the company, which had been publicly traded since Moore’s Royal Publishers was first listed on the exchange in 1961, was bought for $473 million and began operating as a private company. Private equity firm Kohlberg and Company acquired a majority ownership last year, and put former HarperCollins Worldwide CEO Jane Friedman on its board.

    http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2011/10/harpercollins_b.html

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203707504577010283227448426.html

    http://www.christianretailing.com/index.php/newsletter/latest-etailing/21559-new-owners-for-thomas-nelson

    http://www.kohlberg.com/Investments/Default.aspx

  38. Miguel
    i agree with much of what you say. In fact, I have written about a successful and well handled church discipline case at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship under the bale leadership of Pete Briscoe. We have also been adamant regarding the essentials of the faith. I do agree that the church must deal with blatant and unrepentant sin. That is not what happened here and that is often not what happens elsewhere.

    Many of these church pick and choose which sins they will address. So, I see a man who weighs almost 400 pounds in a position of leadership and, in the same church, see a woman who asks a question about the pastor’s salary get disciplined for having an unteachable heart.

    What concerns me, and it does so with groups affiliated with some of these NeoCalvinists, whom we refer to as Calvinista, is the authority nut jobs who discipline for questioning the pastor or the leadership. In fact, in many of these churches you cannot raised a question about sexual abuse, etc. It is hidden and you are expected to hide along with it.

    Then, I hear the likes of Ken Ham, backed up by church leaders declaring that people who do not read Genesis in their proscribed was “in danger of denying the doctrine of the atonement.” That means you are not saved. Just two days ago, my husband received, after years of leaving such a church, a link from a rabid young earther trying to get him to change the error of his ways (he is OE and tends toward TE).

    My guess, Miguel is this. I bet you are in a healthier church than most. I used to believe the same as you. I had great pastors, great church leadership and great teaching. Then, I saw some things that I thought only existed in the IFB. This was in a church affiliated with the Gospel Coalition. Since that time, I am far more concerned when I see some folks, who I believe tip[ towards hyper-authoritarian behavior declare that they had the keys to heaven.

    On this blog, I see far too many people deeply wounded by egotistical maniacs and that is why we raise a warning about groups like 9 marks who are not without their share of problems.

  39. Anon1
    I consider that a compliment. I shall add the phrase “yellow journalism” to the list of what the world is saying about TWW.

  40. Anon1/Matt
    I agree with Anon1 about Chandler. Don’t forget what he called a guy who dared question him “a narcissistic zero.”

  41. Sophia
    Great comment. You are getting a lesson in the world of Calvinistas. They only want to hear from you if you agree with them. They don’t want to hear about the pain. It might convict them and then they would have to address their paradigms. If you read most of their blogs you will see few comments. They will not post anything negative. So, the supposed “big” bloggers have few comments that ranges from “I looooved your post” to “I am so looking forward to T4G.”

  42. Eagle
    I think Chaplin Mike does not want to address individual churches but, instead, look at the postevangelical mess as a whole. We, on the other hand, want to address those that are hurt. They are our number one priority. However, this whole incident brings Mark Driscoll and his church into a bright light. There are serious issues and everybody knows it. As time goes on, we will see more and more difficulties associated with his ideas and actions.

  43. It is amazing to me how quickly the process in these hyper-Authoritarian churches move along. In SGM, in well under a year, the process has sped along its logical path:

    Criticisms of the leadership – Leadership pretends to be sympathetic, explaining that they take the concerns seriously – engage in damage control/spin/bias/favoritism – critics do not buy it, engage their minds and reason and ask more questions – leadership digs in and declares their ultimate spiritual superiority and authority; that they are the only arbiters of truth and that to question is sin, to not blindly accept the conclusions of the self-appointed/paid leaders is categorical gossip and slander; some are excommunicated to set an example – critics explain logically that if that’s the case the leadership is biblically held to a higher standard and should humble themselves and answer the questions honestly and conduct unbaised and objective evaluations of their sin – leadership declares further questioning to be satanic in nature and an assault on the Gospel.

    Scary.

  44. Sophia
    You refusal to go to the “send our joyfully” meeting earned you the name Sophia. Many people need to hear your story which is being overlooked in the rush to defend “discipline.” This isn’t discipline, it is coercion. It reminds me of the Pharisees, revving up to cast the stones when they were totally messed up themselves. You did nothing wrong except to leave the kingdom and they believe they hold t he exit visa.

  45. Sophia
    The fact that people were fired means something bad went down. We stand by those deeply hurt by Mars HIll weirdness. Did you see, we got accused of yellow journalism. I love yellow-just painted several rooms that color. It offsets some black furniture nicely. And that is an analogy.

  46. Numo
    I believe they read the shunning letter to all of these people. Most of them knew about Andrew’s sins and confessions. BTW-Andrew confessed. i would not be surprised if many of these people are concealing their sins and are just relieved that they were not so foolish as to confess it to these sorry excuses for a church.

  47. Sopy
    I just wish Driscoll would keep his mouth shut. Whenever we write about him, i inevitable get some idiot wanting to post comments on oral and anal sex. Whenever he goes anywhere, these are the question that come up in Q+A. Does he really think that marriages will be saved by his “ideas?” I guess so. I fear we have turned the essential faith around and are now going for shock value.

    As I said once before The Sermon on the Mount is not a treatise on sexual positions. Where are those who fit “Blessed are the meek?”

  48. Michael

    I am so glad you brought this up because I think it reflects on Andrew’s character.You said I’m still waiting to hear whether the girlfriend (a pastor’s daughter) also recieved the same discipline and humiliation and public shaming that Andrew recieved. could it be that Andrew recieved such a harsh treatment because the pastor’s buddies wanted to teach him a lesson while covering up for his fornicating daughter?”
    Andrew has refused to discuss her situation which shows that he is a gentleman. Has anyone thought to congratulate him in this regard? No, he is consistently portrayed as the bad guy by MH.

  49. Deb
    I have updated our list per your request. Here it is.

    What the world is saying about The Wartburg Watch:

    Wartburg witches
    Obscure
    Wenches
    O glorious wenches
    Minions of Satan
    Hatemongers
    x#&**#xx!@
    Narcissistic zeroes
    Morons
    Warthogs
    Quite a gossip column
    How did we ever get along without you?
    Assyrians
    Philistines
    Full of ****
    Bored housewives
    Yellow journalism

    My personal favorite is “Assyrians.” Weren’t they great warriors?

  50. Argo
    You said “leadership declares further questioning to be satanic in nature and an assault on the Gospel.”

    The gospel word is the word d jour. It means that they are Christians and anyone who doesn’t buy their teaching are not Christians.
    If you note: we have been called “minions of Satan” once or twice so we are in good company. Thankfully, we find it amusing because it points out their terrible deficient education on the faith.

  51. Argo,

    These aren’t the hyper-Authoritarian churches you are looking for…move along!

    …joy to pastor, huh?

    -grin-

    hahahahahahaha

    Sopy ;~)

  52. Eagle

    I think the bottom line is this. If one is sorry for their sin, and repents of it, then it is forgiven. Unfortunately, the church will pay lip service to an issue like greed but will fall all over itself to build fancy churches and pay the pastor to live a rich lifestyle. They do so to justify, in their own lives, the lifestyle that they are living. Churches are often created in the image of the founders. Look at First Baptist in Dallas. They have this 100 million addition to “save people.” Their pastor likes to hobnob with famous conservative political leaders and he loves to dress very well. The Dallasites got what they wanted. A man and church just like them. So, they can go and build huge houses, buy expensive clothes and cars and drool over celebrities because their church does it and their church is a godly church, isn’t it?

    To them, Jesus is a guy with cowboy hat and boots. living very, very well. Somehow, I can’t see Pastor Jeffress living in the inner city and hanging around prostitutes and poor people and snubbing his rich donors. Ah, American Christianity…

  53. Eagle, I’m glad you’re giving the Chap a little slack here. Consider that maybe he actually know more information than he is letting on. What if he actually knows some of the confidential information, but because of his integrity, cannot post it to his blog? Perhaps what he discovered actually made him feel bad about jumping to Andrews side 100% so quickly. Just a thought. Overall, I don’t think he unfairly bashed MH in any way. But you may be right too.

  54. “The goal of the process is to not just to address a sin issue but to explore the roots of sin in our lives and to discover why the sin is present in a believer’s life. Part of being repentant is being willing to explore the depths of our past behavior to discover why we struggle with certain sins today. The goal is not to get past the sin as quickly as possible through confession but to explore past patterns of behavior and find healing through Jesus from our past as well as our present sins.”

    Are they saying this is part of the goal of church discipline?

    Seems to me that discipline has to do with bringing someone to recognize sin and repent from it. The actual process of digging into your life to discover the roots of sin….that is not part of the discipline process. That is part of a believer’s ongoing struggle to follow Jesus. It seems to me, based on the very scriptures they’re using to defend church discipline, that discipline does indeed stop when the person becomes repentant of the sin. So anything that happens after that should not be considered part of the discipline.

    Perfect example. I have a lot of issues with anxiety, and this often causes me to be sinfully selfish in my desire to self-protect from the things I’m afraid of. A dear Christian friend of mine, who is also a counselor, is helping me work through my anxiety issues.

    It’s a two-fold process. First, of course, I have to recognize my selfishness as sin, confess it, and repent from it. THEN, I have to, as MH says, look at the root causes–my fears, my thought patterns, my reluctance to trust the promises of scripture, and so on. If I don’t do this, the sin still has a hold on me.

    But looking at the root causes of my sin is never presented as being part of the “discipline” process. My friend encourages me to do it because it’s important to my walk with Jesus and my victory over sin, not because it’s a vital part of the actual discipline itself.

    That is why I find MH’s statement so troubling. It takes the (legitimate) idea of discipline and extends it to cover a whole range of things it shouldn’t.

    I wonder how things would have been different if Andrew’s community group leader had met with him regularly as an act of brotherly love, to help him get through his issues, rather than presenting it as an act of discipline every time. Would Andrew still be at MH? Would he have worked through the issues unscathed? Would MH be a less abusive place?

    By the way, the people who criticized TWW as being an axe-grinding place against anyone who disagrees with their limited worldview………they DO realize that they just described Mark Driscoll, right?

    In the words of Hitler, “he called the Anglicans dress-wearing cowards preaching to old grandmas!” If that’s not grinding an axe against a tradition you foolishly disagree with, I’m not sure what is!

  55. Robin, I am a Lutheran. I still haven’t figured out how we’re “supposed” to exercise discipline, and I would imagine that like most groups consistency isn’t our greatest strength. In any church, you are gonna have cowards at one end of the spectrum who are too afraid to stand up to anyone, and tyrants at the other end who trample at will. I’m pretty sure someone in the second category wouldn’t waste their time being a Lutheran, but there’s always an exception. In my congregation, discipline has been used once or twice in its 50 years of existence. Basically, a member was denied communion and had their name removed from the roster until the decided to repent, but they were welcome to continue attending. They chose not to.

    No, Lutherans generally approach discipline in a vastly different way from Reformed Baptists. Calvinistas are too quick to resort to manipulation, it would seem. They don’t hesitate to use guilt in order to induce compliance. Lutherans can’t deny that contrived obedience is not the fruit of faith, and therefore a waste of time anyways. Believe me, any Lutheran minister reading the tactics that reach TWW would be thinking, “Those crazy fundagelicals!” We are called to disciple, or discipline people, not enslave them. Discipling is “teaching to obey”, not “forcing to obey.” We always leave people the option to say “no” to Jesus, especially since if they’re thinking it anyways, the most healthy thing is to admit it. And due to our doctrine of Christian liberty, we’re not about to be as constricting in our demands as Calvinistas: We let women have careers. We’re just not as loose as Episcopalians, since many of them don’t believe in sin at all.

  56. Dee, like I said to Robin, every church can have either cowards or tyrants. The ones “led” by cowards usually have tyrants behind them pulling the strings. I’ve experienced both extremes. I’d like to believe the church I’m at is healthier than most, but the two SBC churches I spent my last 5 years at were hell. It was one big trample fest at the first one, with cowardly leadership doing nothing but protecting their own necks. The second one had a leader with an agenda, a quite heretical one at that. One of those situations where questioning made you part of the problem.

    I hear you on the YEC thing. My denomination and my pastor both endorse it pretty strongly. I really believe that conservative protestants need to learn to agree to disagree on that one, and I hold my pastor as a good example of this. He is by no means subtle in his conviction, but I’ve had open and honest dialogue with him on it and he heard out my points without trying to convert me. Let’s just say, he believes in grace too.

    Yes, there are too may people wounded by egotistical maniacs. But the key to escaping them, I believe, is balance. When cowards lead, tyrants will pull their strings. We need bold, sensitive, courageous and compassionate shepherds to lead the church in standing for truth with grace. Either/or will always self-destruct. And they need to have the authority to shut down bullies. “Hey, that’s not nice!” is not enough, they need to hear, “There’s the door.”

  57. sad observer

    Thank you for your transparency. As an old nurse, may I add that some of your anxiety may be due to a genetic cause which causes you to surge various hormones that exacerbate your fear beyond what others may experience? As for the root cause of your anxiety, what happens if you never get to the bottom of it? Even Paul struggled with issues that he, great apostle that he was, could not fully overcome.We lean always on the grace of a forgiving Savior.

    Sin is often used by abusive churches to keep the ‘little guy” in line. If you, the little guy, raise an issue, they can come back at you and say “you are sinning in your questioning and in your life.” Well, of course we are all sinning in our lives. So, the little guy is always at the disadvantage in this area. The pastors deflect critique back at them by claiming to be “the worst sinner in the world.” This shuts up the criticizer because, after all, the pastor has confessed to every sin imaginable by calling himself the worst sinner in the world. In fact, by such a confession on the part of these pastors, they deflect any possibility of critique. I have often joked that i am going to do an American Idol for the Worst Sinner in the World and decide, once and for all, who the worst winner really is so we can get back to business.

    All of us will sin until the day we die. When we do better in one area, we find another. That is why we need grace. Andrew would never have healed in the MH system. No matter how much he confessed there would always be more and more.He should have given up and gotten out of there. I consider him brave. He did confess to sin, he allowed it to be posted to the watching world, he even protected his ex fiance by not discussing her complicity. I believe that Andrew serves, for me, more of an example of dealing with sin very quickly and doing so openly.

    How many of us hide these things? Everyone. When one places a punitive system in place, everyone will keep there mouths shut. I can well assure you that few people will ever confess to a sexual sin at Mars Hill form this point forward.

    I don’t care if people think we are axe-grinding. Many people forget those who have been hurt by the church. We care and are content in that alone.

  58. Miguel
    It is my hope that highlighting people’s stories of pain will cause others to more quickly identify an abusive situation. We need more people like Sophia and her husband that quickly saw through the ruse at their Mars HIll church and got out of there. They prevented much pain in their lives.

  59. Sophia
    Never be afraid to post links. We love your blog!!! Plus we often tell our readers that, even if we disagree, they can share links since more info is better than no info.

  60. At the church we are “dating” right now, the pastor spoke on worship and Revelation 4…good reminder that God is still on the throne :)

    I really liked his post too, but then, I am biased :)

  61. Dee said: “As for the root cause of your anxiety, what happens if you never get to the bottom of it?”

    Exactly! :) You bring up a great point. While I would be the first to say that “digging for the roots” is indeed a necessary process, we have to keep in mind that we will never find the bottom of, and root out, all our sin. I don’t know if that’s what MH was suggesting, but I hope not, because that would be a futile endeavor.

    This comment has been made multiple times by others, and I”m going to make it again. If searching for the root of sin is part of the discipline process, we will all be under church discipline. Forever. The step-by-step church discipline process that is mentioned a couple places in scripture does NOT cover the ongoing work of dealing with sin, it covers people who are not repentant and need to be asked to repent.

    I have a hard time believing that a guy who willingly confessed his sin was not ready to repent. Whether he was ready to do ALL the work that it takes to root out sexual sin–well, that is a whole other issue that doesn’t fall under the category of church discipline. So implying that he wasn’t fully ready to deal with it, does not convince me that he should have been excommunicated.

  62. Sophia,

    I’m glad you brought up “dating the church”. Of course, that’s the title of Joshua Harris’ popular book. For those who have been following the SGM debacle, I find it so ironic that Josh Harris dedicated his Stop Dating the Church book to C.J. Mahaney!!!

    I didn’t know that until I watched the C.J. Love Fest, specifically Josh’s remarks for his mentor.

    My, my how things change…

  63. I love it!
    “Nobody called us to verify the facts!”
    “It’s private and we won’t comment publicly!”

    So, if someone with a journalistic bend would have called them they would freely give them details that are supposed to be “private?”

    I think we learned all we needed to learn from those who went public with their discipline process.

    Sounds like they treat Mars Hill members like some ultra-conservative college campus who runs every aspect of their lives. They treat them like 18-22 year-olds.

  64. Preach it, Mark! I’m very proud of Dee for seeing through the Mars Hill smoke and mirrors. And Mark Driscoll thinks women are “gullible and easily deceived”?

    Dee has an extremely sensitive B.S. (aka Baloney) detector…

    My prayer is that the young people who are enamored and/or enslaved by Driscoll and his disciples will have discernment regarding what is really happening in their church.

  65. sad observer
    I am sure anxiety can be rooted in a lack of trust. But, perhaps some of it may be genetic. We would not say that a person who has cancer in in sin. The same can be true for some emotional illnesses which may have biological roots. Take bipolar disease, for example. There is definitely a chemical imbalance there.

    You said “Whether he was ready to do ALL the work that it takes to root out sexual sin.” None of us are ready to do all the work to root all of our sin. It’s impossible. Mark Driscoll is the best example of a guy who still has much to deal with in his own life but he apparently doesn’t see it.
    We should want to try to deal with what we do know, but there is so much that we cannot know or fully deal with in this life. Life is a balancing act. We want to live lives for Christ and we want to proceed in the work of sanctification. But, we won’t fully get there in this life. That is why we needed Jesus. Life is a battlefield and we win a few skirmishes but the enemy keeps on coming. But there is freedom coming one day.

  66. Mark
    There is someone leading the organization who appears to be still stuck in a frat boy image.

  67. About “getting to the roots of our sin”: where in the NT does anyone say we are to do that?!

    Seriously. I used to believe it was something I had to do, but… either Christ died that our sins might be forgiven, or he didn’t.

    If he did, then that is all we need. He will take care of the rest. The Puritans took “self-examination” to an excruciating plane – one that I do not believe is a good thing at all. (You can see it in action in many of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s stories and novels – keep in mind that he was a descendant of one of the judges at the Salem witch trials and very conscious of the evils that were inflicted on many in the name of God.)

    As for anxiety – sad observer, join the club! There’s such a thing as “free-floating anxiety,” for one – a biological baseline that’s intense in some and no so intense in others. (Think of prey animals like rabbits and how easily they are startled – they definitely have a very high level of “natural” anxiety, because if they didn’t, they would not be able to detect and flee predators that want them for dinner.)

    It took me many years to come to the realization that the anxiety I face isn’t sin or a character flaw – it just is. Moderate levels of medications help me a lot, but I’ve also had to learn to think differently. Cognitive therapy can be a great help for anyone who suffers from generalized anxiety, panic attacks, etc.

    I really get upset when I see people in churches telling others that anxiety and depression are evidence of their sins and/or are essentially sinful things that need to be uprooted.

    I’ve been subject to those kinds of rants, all for things I could not change because they are (largely) biologically based.

    I don’t really want to be sitting her giving out advice, but you know… a good medical evaluation could be helpful. (There are medical conditions that can cause or increase the symptoms of anxiety and depression.)

    And medications, when prescribed by a doc who knows what they’re doing, can be a gateway to a full and healthy life – just like insulin for diabetics.

    Please don’t let the church people get you down or try to tell you that “anxiety is sin” – so often, they are speaking out of ignorance rather than real knowledge. (Yours truly bears some scars from that…)

  68. Sad Observer –

    I have had severe anxiety at times in my life. There were MANY things going on that were all contributing to the symptom. Going to the doctor can be helpful and I would highly recommend going as part of the solution. But, you need to be wise with what the doctor might suggest. When I went, the first response from the doc was to put me on meds. I was not happy with that. I wanted tests to find out the “cause.” I didn’t want to medicate the symptom. Now if we could find the cause, and something that will help the actual problem without creating new symptoms, then I was all for that. My problem turned out to be a variety of issues that were addressed over time and with care. None of the issues were “sin” at all. For me, what was happening was so out of the ordinary “for me” that you couldn’t look at it and say she’s in sin, though some may have tried to do that. I do realize that some people struggle with anxiety and selfishness though. All this to say, many things can cause anxiety and it’s good to cover all the bases; physical, emotional, and spiritual. A counselor should make sure that you are looking at all these areas.

  69. numo & Lynne Tait,

    No argument here. Infractions of a sekshull nature are always the most egregious in most circles of evangelical land. There can be no gray, only a moonscape of black & white. They focus in on this stuff like a mean kid with a magnifying glass, sun, and an ant farm.

    And Lynne, your comment about about us Yanks is crack on. We have allowed a tiny percentage of moneyed plutocrats to dictate domestic and international policy. They own our government lock-stock-and-barrel, and it dances to the tune they pipe.

  70. Life’s a long song…

    “Life is a balancing act. We want to live lives for Christ and we want to proceed in the work of sanctification. But, we won’t fully get there in this life.”

    “That is why we needed Jesus.”

    “Life is a battlefield and we win a few skirmishes but the enemy keeps on coming. But there is freedom coming one day.”

    So we never ‘arrive’ in this life…?!?

    hmmm?

    “His truth keeps march’in on!” (you betcha!)

    Glory!

    Thanks Dee,

    Sopy ;~)
    __
    “Give Me Jesus!”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE-10IKfMxQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  71. Hey guys,

    I think some of you may have gotten the wrong idea from my post. My counselor is definitely NOT telling me that anxiety is a sin or a sign of sin, or something to feel guilty over. I have considered medication before, but luckily cognitive therapy has been enough so far that I haven’t needed it. I wouldn’t necessarily refuse medication if it ever became necessary, but cognitive therapy has gotten me a lot farther than I thought it could.

    My point is that sometimes, when I am anxious about something, I would rather self-protect by being selfish than actually do the hard work of sorting out my anxieties and working through them. Does that make sense? And the refusal to work through my anxieties, the choosing of other paths even when it hurts people, that is indeed something that I consider sin. Selfishness is something that I am tempted towards, whereas someone else’s big temptation might be greed or lust. Etc. Your personality often determines what sort of sin you’ll have a bend towards, but that doesn’t mean your personality itself is sinful, or that you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Maybe this wasn’t such a good example because, as numo pointed out, the Bible doesn’t talk a whole lot about getting to the root of sin. So using the analogy of working through anxiety may not actually be the best analogy.

    My point is that no matter how you slice it, working out the roots and the background of sin is NOT PART OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE, MARK DRISCOLL ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME???? ;)

    Thanks all!

  72. sad observer – I think I understand what your’e saying about how we can all react to certain kinds of stresses. That’s something I have to fight through, too, but I have found (through counseling as well as experience) that if I start mulling over the “why,” I then miss the chance to do something. (Being an introspective type and all.)

    Analyzing things can be a good thing, and also a not-so-good thing, in my case.

    Bridget2, I totally agree that all bases need to be covered, and that meds aren’t THE answer. but for many, they can bring enough clarity and peace to help people begin living their lives again.

  73. Numo –

    Totally agree with you as I said. The doc I saw didn’t offer any diagnostic testing. She just thought I needed sleeping pills which wouldn’t help me figure out what was causing the problems. They would just fix one of the symptom – and possibly cause additional issues.

  74. Sopy,

    Thanks for sharing those songs. Here is my favorite version of “Give Me Jesus”.

    Give Me Jesus – Fernando Ortega

    I heard him sing this live at Anne Graham Lotz’s Just Give Me Jesus event here in Raleigh. Dee – Jill Briscoe came and spoke. It was such a great event! Women can actually teach!

  75. ‘As a result of those investigations, it was determined that the leaders involved had a pattern of overstepping their authority. As such, they were released and are no longer on paid staff or in formal leadership in any capacity at Mars Hill Church’

    Reminds me of Gordon Brown the ex UK prime minister who once said ‘I take full responsibility for what happened – we sacked the person involved immediately’.

  76. Guy
    Now that is a great quote. Wish I had known of it. I will save it for the next time…there will be a next time with the way things are going.

  77. Guy Bernhardt,

    Thanks for sharing that Gordon Brown quote. I would imagine that the paid staff at Mars Hill marches in lock step behind their ‘manly’ leader for fear of suffering the same fate as these canned leaders, not to mention the first two who were fired.

    Have you seen Driscoll’s callous remarks about the two elders/pastors he fired?

    Mark Driscoll – Beating Your Own Leaders

    Starting at the 1:33 mark…

    “He fires some spiritual leaders. Certain guys lose jobs. You’re not a pastor here anymore. You’re outta work.”

  78. Dee,

    Off topic.

    Someone using the moniker “Deb” is commenting under Danny Akin’s post about why he endorsed Driscoll’s book.

    Why I Endorsed Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll and What I Disagree With

    For anyone who might care, I have NEVER posted a comment on the Between The Times blog. Just thought I would clarify that for anyone who might think I was responsible for those remarks.

    If I ever comment on other blogs (which is rare) I have started using “Wanda (Deb) Martin”. That’s how I identify myself on Wade’s blog, for example. Not only that, I link to this blog with my name.

  79. Deb
    Did she leave a good comment? There is a Bill Parsons PhD who often writers letters to the editor. Thankfully his views mirror Bill’s A number of patients have commented that the see his letters. He is constantly explaining it is not him but he is glad that the guy thinks along the same lines!

  80. Dee,

    She left some pretty strong comments, which resulted in her being labeled as a troll. I don’t want it to reflect on our blog. That “Deb” has nothing to do with The Wartburg Watch because it’s not me.

  81. I’m just shaking with upsetness right now. I haven’t read all the responses from everyone yet, but I started reading the church discipline response…and argh! How can the pastors keep saying it’s loving reconciliation when all hear is shaming from the pulpit??? And I know what my old pastor’s response to me would be: I just say the words; that’s the conviction of the Holy Spirit – you deal with it. Blah!

  82. Queen
    Feel sorry for such men. They have never experienced loving grace in their lives. Instead they are led by a schoolyard bully who threatens to punch them out if they don’t do it his way.

  83. I’ve listened halfway through Mark Driscoll’s Acts 29 training sermon on “church discipline.” Anyone that annoys a pastor or may have some psychological issue…watch out.

  84. This site raises legitimate concerns regarding Driscoll and Mars Hill. I just hope that followers of Jesus are praying for healing and a righting of the ship for MH. I have a sneaking feeling that some are eagerly awaiting for MH to go down in some kind of flameball scandal.

    We must examine ourselves, brothers and sisters. I have been disappointed by some things Driscoll has said. But I do not wish Mars Hill or its congregants ill.

  85. Sophia,

    Yes, I got your email and just downloaded the attachment. Oh my!!! Thanks for sending it. I’d love to read the article. Maybe I can find it online. What an appropriate title! Dee and I had already talked about ‘sinning through questioning’ yesterday, and I plan to address it on Monday when I talk about membership covenants and discipline policies. We’re just getting started on exposing these hyper-authoritarian practices.

  86. Dave,

    I 100% concur with your comment, and I trust that quite a few of our readers here do, too. We have been down this road before with Sovereign Grace Ministries.

    I pray that Mark Driscoll will have a heart for those who have been harmed by Mars Hill’s authoritarian practices, apolologize for any unbiblical tactics, and make the necessary changes to MH polity.

  87. Dee,

    I know you’re having a very busy day, but I didn’t want you to miss an internet story that caught my attention. A college professor tackled a teen who robbed a Best Buy store in Virginia Beach, according to police. The teen pulled out a foot-long sword.

    Doug Kennedy Captures Sword Wielding Robber, Cops Say

    I’m sure you know why I’m bringing this to your attention. Where is the proof that someone threatened Driscoll with a machete? Seriously, why is there no evidence that this incident occurred?

    Are there any Martians out there who can enlighten us about this event, which is Driscoll’s reason/excuse for having security guards at Mars Hill?

    For those who are unfamiiar with Driscoll’s claim, here is an excerpt from a Church Executive interview conducted in 2008:

    “You’ve even had death threats as a result of your ministry?”

    “At the church services we’ve had occasions where guys wanted to give death threats, we’ve have people try to get up on the stage to fight me, we had one guy pull out a machete and try to kill me while I was preaching. So now I’ve got security around the building and security off the stage.”

  88. Deb
    Bizarre. But maybe all of the Mars HIll attendees will corroborate what happened with this attempted killing by machete during a church service. This is a story that needs to be told.

  89. I concur with you Deb and Dave. In the process of suffering and healing, I hope it brings compassion and some understanding to how trapped others are in the tangle and mire of brokenness. Jesus can work miracles, and regardless, God will transform these situations to bring Him glory.

  90. Wow. First time on your sight, nothing encouraging, nothing edifying, just straight gossip, slander, and assumptions about churches and people you don’t even know. Whether you like Driscoll or not, whether what you say is true or not, articles like this are just as evil and damaging as the very things you criticize.

  91. Jeremy,

    I’m assuming you meant “site”, not “sight”.

    I guess you missed our EChurch@Wartburg post since you purport that there is nothing encouraging or edifying on our web”site”. Get it?

    We value your opinion, although we strongly disagree. Could I pose a question to you? Does Mark Driscoll allow critical comments on his website? Just curious…

  92. “Wow. First time on your sight, nothing encouraging, nothing edifying, just straight gossip, slander, and assumptions about churches and people you don’t even know. Whether you like Driscoll or not, whether what you say is true or not, articles like this are just as evil and damaging as the very things you criticize.”

    Wow Jeremy, Your first comment to this “site” was nothing encouraging, nothing edifying, just straight meanness and assumptions about the people here. Whether you like us or not, whether what you say is true or not, comments like yours are just evil and damaging as the very things you criticize. (Funny how this works–wink)

  93. True, my bad. Just like all of us I become angry in the face of sin, including my own, and my response was unfair. I hope you have a good afternoon and may God bless.

  94. Jeremy: “Whether you like Driscoll or not, whether what you say is true or not, articles like this are just as evil and damaging as the very things you criticize.”

    Hhmmm. I wonder if the money changers, scribes, and pharisees thought what Jesus did in the temple was evil and damaging.

    Just saying…

  95. Jeremy: “Whether you like Driscoll or not, whether what you say is true or not, articles like this are just as evil and damaging as the very things you criticize.”

    Gee. I wonder if the money changers, scribes, lawyers, and pharisees thought that Jesus turning over the money tables and driving out the money changers the temple and calling the place a ‘den of thieves’ was evil and damaging.

    Just saying.

  96. Jeremy:

    Thank you for admitting that your response was unfair.

    Hopefully, you will rethink your statement, “articles like this are just as…damaging as the very things you criticize.”

    There are so many who have been crushed by the abusive acts of an unaccountable pastor who enjoys the adulation of those who have not been personally damaged by his actions. There are many wounded who continue continue to suffer in silence. Hope it never happens to you.

    This website, TWW, despite its admitted flaws, at least gives some comfort to those who are still hurting that they are not alone – that someone sees what has happened and cares enough to at least call this stuff out publically, in what may seem like a Quixotic quest. Meanwhile, the so-called Christian leaders of the evangelical, reformed, and SBC mainstream all remain silent, and by their silence give consent – and in some cases appear to be outright wannabees of the macho-man celebrity.

    I am glad you have ventured here. And I am well aware of the price you will pay if you dare speak out publically. Few men have the courage of a Bonhoeffer. But I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to open your eyes and give you supernatural courage and boldness to speak out for those whose voices have been squelched, and their faith almost torn asunder by wolves.

    PS:

    WW meet DW: http://driscollwatch.wordpress.com

  97. Why do we believe a pastor over a congregant? we are men pleasers. We want to seat the rich at the best seat and the poor don’t matter. We are impressed by earthly influence.

    Thanks for asking the same questions I did. :)

  98. I stumbled onto this site. Has everyone here forgotten that we are one body and should build one another up? What is the purpose of disseminating and commenting on rumors and gossip? It’s not good – neither if it is your church or not. This website makes me weep over Christianity. Driscoll is not perfect, no. He is like all of us, deeply fallen and dependent on Jesus, yet redeemed. Is not the message we heard from the beginning that we should love one another?

    Guard your heart, it’s easy to justify gossip.

    Don’t feel obligated to justify this to me, I don’t plan on being back.

  99. Deb-

    You seem to have a lowly view of pastors and especially Pastor Mark Driscoll. It’s too bad this whole blog started after being upset at one conference where Pastor Mark spoke to your daughter. Sounds like you have a ax to grind & it’s very squarely focused on Pastor Mark.

    I wonder if you would be so defensive of Andrew if he had been engaged to your daughter and then committed adultery with another woman. Would you then derail the pastors trying to hold accountable the young man who claims to love Christ while fooling around with multiple women in the church?

    Perspective matters. I just think yours is still skewed by your self-identified frustration with Pastor Mark.

  100. Joe
    It is obvious that you have not read all of our posts of Driscoll. There was a beginning warning here in NC. It has escalated to pornovisions, the Song of Solomon/Scotland debacle, the Brits are cowards debacle, the women are gullible and easily deceived situation, the women are letting themselves go silliness, the “punch them” episode, need I go on and on? Have you actually read all this stuff or are you just enjoying the “you. too can brew and drink beer” legalist.

    As for Andrew-the last time I checked adultery involves a marriage and intercourse with another woman. This particular situation did not include either.

    Next time, read before you comment.Your conclusions are clearly based on ignorance of this entire blog, as well as DRiscoll/

  101. Joe said,

    “Sounds like you have a ax to grind & it’s very squarely focused on Pastor Mark.”

    An axe to grind? Joe, I’m sharpening my axe!

    Mark Driscoll is out of control, and I am astounded that guys like you defend him. I believe we have just seen the tip of the iceberg regarding Driscoll’s abusive ministry.

    Now let me address your opening comment – “You seem to have a lowly view of pastors.”

    Oh really? I have a lowly view of pastors who misuse their power and abuse their flocks. I have had it with their ungodly behavior, and we are calling them out in this public forum. If Driscoll sycophants don’t like it, tough!

    I have tremendous respect for pastors who emulate Jesus Christ. We feature one of them on our blog in case you haven’t noticed.

  102. Dee,

    I’m glad that technology affords us the opportunity to demonstrate to our readers what a GODLY PASTOR LOOKS LIKE.

  103. Dee-

    I live in Seattle, but don’t attend Mars Hill and have followed the church since before this blog was even around so I am well aware of Mars Hill & Mark Driscoll.

    I am new to this blog, but happened to stumble upon Deb’s post speaking of the origin of the blog because she was upset Driscoll spoke about sex at a conference her daughter attended. I did a quick search of the blog & read most of the articles posted on Driscoll, so I have a good feel for your published thoughts on the matter.

    Excuse me Andrew was engaged and fornicating with multiple women. My question still stands, would you or Deb defend the young man if it was your daughter he cheated on? Would you derail the pastors (by the way if you think Driscoll was directly involved in this, you don’t understand how large churches are pastored) if it was at your church, following the same protocol of Matthew 18?

  104. Deb-

    Sorry you are offended, but are you really surprised after reading multiple blog posts by you in one sitting that it sounds to me like you have an axe to grind with Driscoll? You do seem to have a lowly view of other MH Pastors who step in to stop a young engaged man who was fornicating with multiple women in the church. Seems like those men were doing their job to protect women from one abusive man in particular and his name is Andrew.

  105. Joe,

    It is my understanding that Andrew was repentant, confessed his sin, and asked for forgiveness. Are you saying that he did not?

    Let’s not forget that the Mars Hill debacle doesn’t rest solely on the back of Andrew. There is a growing list of former Martians coming forward and sharing their testimonies. Bent Meyer is the MH survivor whom I keep foremost in my mind. Dee and I are grateful that he broke his silence on our “obscure” blog and not in the news media.

    God bless you, Bent! I don’t know you, but I hope you will be able to use your counseling skills to help those who have been spiritually abused.

    Joe, I hope I have addressed your concerns, and I do appreciate your comment.

  106. Joe
    No, Driscoll was not the origin of this blog. Why is it that people think the world revolves around Driscoll? We planned this blog for several years prior to its inception. Driscoll made a local “appearance” a little over a month before this blog started, and we were shocked by the discussions that seem to follow this man. So, we decided to do some investigation. You will see that we always post videos or links to our suppositions. Those things you will find very hard to deny. Let me tell you, his pornovision video is damning.

    Now, the church was supposedly “protecting” women from Andrew? Hmmm, now that is an interesting perspective. i would not need you or Mars Hill to “protect” me from a multiple “fornicator.” I would have popped him one and started screaming bloody murder. Are you saying women cannot say “no” to this guy? Was he forcing these women against their will? Then why weren’t the police called? Poor little elder’s daughter, trapped by a wolf and forced to have sex against her will? Oh come on. Is this the latest deflection by a church that has a leader whose mouth is continuously getting him into trouble?

    As for big churches, I have been a member of one. If Driscoll is the man that he likes to pretend he is, he would take responsibility for anything that happens under his watch. But, Driscoll is not that sort of a man, is he? He has security to guards to protect him from men with “machetes” and he loves to mouth off at entire countries of Christians, blaming them when he gets into trouble. Mark Driscoll is one of those school yard bullies that runs when the weaker guy finally pops him one.

    I have been blogging for three years. I am consistently flummoxed by those who are Driscollites who visit this blog and ask questions about our views on things like oral sex. I don’t know what is going on over there in Seattleville, but that sort of stuff is looked at as very weird by many. My message: This is not a sex blog. Go to Mars Hill for that.

    Also, Mars Hill and its loudmouthed, crude pastor has plenty of advocates. There are very few out there who care about what happened to Andrew. This blog cares about the little guy, even if he did do something wrong. Jesus spent a heckuva lot more time with the prostitutes and the shunned than he did hobnobbing with the au courant Pharisee of the Month.Jesus loves Andrew very, very much.

    Finally, my main problem with the Andrew debacle is that bizarre contract and the posting of the “shunning” order online. I am a nurse, my husband is a cardiologist. If we ever did something that stupid, we could be prosecuted and lose licenses. It is strange that the secular world cares more about privacy than the church. This should not be done and I don’t care how “bad” someone is. Frankly, Mars Hill got caught with their proverbial pants down and it doesn’t look good. Maybe instead of railing against us, you could spend sometime helping your church and it’s lead pastor to get back on track. I leave you with this thought. The Sermon on the Mount was not a discourse on sexual positions.

    Oh, and if Andrew was running around “forcing himself” on women, call the police. (But he wasn’t , was he?)

  107. Joe:
    The “protecting women” from consensual fornication by focusing church discipline primarily on young men involved in sexual sin is really big with Acts 29 churches as well. A young man I know was put into the discipline process, IMHO, because he disagreed with the pastors’ counsel on how to AVOID fornicating with his girlfriend. I’m pretty sure nothing happened, but the elders were “protecting” the woman based on the young man’s previously confessed lifestyle. Really, the couple needed professional counsel beyond the abilities of the pastors. Instead, they got broken up, and, sad to say, I played a role. Then I helped enforce the discipline, in the misguided attempt to “honor” my pastor friends. The young man (a big fan of Driscoll) went through the process and stayed in church, but relationships are strained. The protected woman, still in love with him, had to leave the church and is just now venturing to shop for a new one. Hope this helps show there’s a bigger issue than Andrew.

  108. MH has never discredited the actual claims made by Andrew himself. They have made statements that indicate some things Andrew shared may have been inaccurate but those things were details about which Andrew’s account has shown us information was gained second hand. Take that the letter was posted to The City. He found that out through others because he was blocked from The City himself, right? So if someone was giving him inaccurate information about how broadly his case was posted to The City that deceit or misinformation lays with the Mars Hill members or attendees with good standing and access to The City who told him these things.

    Whether or not people trust Andrew’s account here is something else to keep in mind, whatever factual inaccuracies exist in the account his account has not actually changed. At one point MH PR assured us the staff involved in the publicized disciplinary cases were let go months ago before anything broke to the press. Then we got a PR statement saying that those let-go staff were not connected to the cases that made the news. There was also a statement that the let-go staff had been found to have patterns of overstepping spiritual authority.

    Okay, what does overstepping spiritual authority actually mean in a MH context? We don’t know and sometimes I wonder if MH knows. That some staff were let go months ago is factually true. I’ve kept track of this sort of thing for months, but it’s not clear why MH had any reason to mention that months ago pastors or staff who had nothing to do with the cases of Andrew or Lance were let go, is it?

    That MH has publicly stated they’re reviewing the disciplinary process is practically a concession that they don’t have a competent, concise or clear set of precedents and procedures for handling church discipline. I warned that this was a problem back in 2008 when I stopped renewing my membership and that Andrew’s situation came to light at all suggests that my warnings were justified and were not seriously considered (because I wasn’t the only person who shared similar concerns on the way out).

    The courtship craze circa 2002-2007 was a long case of saying modern dating was basically sinful and courtship was the better model. Bent Meyer and I ended up discussing that fad a year or so after it blew over. It was pretty much all hat and no cattle. Men and women were dating but calling it courtship because it was the fad thing to do. Some of the most ardent advocates for courtship in public had situations where there were relationships they were surprised came up and couldn’t quite control. In one case the dad was the absolute last person to figure out what was going on that the rest of us knew about. He was very lucky the young guy was as good a guy as he was. But there was a lot of talk years ago about dads getting pre-emptive veto power. Reality is different and reality was different but it was vital for people to keep up appearances or else have to eat a lot of crow. A lot of the stuff connected to courtship seemed like a campaign on the part of leaders (formal and informal) within the church to retain control on the one hand and to advocate a methodology to help members avoid the sins they had committed on the other. I didn’t have to question the sincerity of the motives to question the wisdom of the espoused methodology. IN other words, this stuff isn’t new within the culture.

  109. Dave AA
    I wonder how Acts 29 would have protected the men from Mary Magdalene? Seems she was hanging around with the disciples. Why didn’t Jesus make her post her sexual history and sign a discipline contract? Whatever did they do without all the things churches say we must do today? How backwards of all of them.

  110. WTH
    This is an excellent assessment of the Mars Hill debacle. I should expect none less from you! The whole thing about the pastors being canned was fascinating. Boy oh boy, is that Pastor of PR guy having to sling it. How did Jesus make it without PR or legal?

  111. Deb-

    Whether Andrew was repentant or not depends on who you believe. Andrew says he was, his CG leader and MH church says he was not. Oh good ol Bent Meyer. Their is a lot more to his story than he is telling, but then that depends on whose side of the story you believe. BTW, you still never addressed my question.

  112. Dee-

    I will say it again, I do not attend Mars Hill. I know it may surprise you but their are other Christians in the city not associated with Mars Hill or Acts 29 who actually appreciate Mars Hill Church. No offense, but your perspective on this situation sounds a whole lot like 2 women from North Carolina writing about a church and pastor in Seattle that they know nothing about, except for what they read from gossip style blogs. I have followed the church for 7+ years, so I know about all the controversies.

    If you don’t think the church was protecting women from Andrew, then why don’t we bring in some smooth frat boys to your church & encourage the pastors to turn a blind eye to them. The role of a pastor to protect their flock is not a gender issue, so don’t make it one by your suggestions. Any pastor should protect members of their flock from individuals that are hurtful. Do you disagree? Jesus did not go around wrapping his arms around those abusing others, which in this case is Andrew.

    You are asking Driscoll to be God if you expect him to take responsibility for every action of a 10,000+ member church. One man cannot do that, which is why their is a group of elders & other pastors to care for the flock. If you empower other leaders with responsibility, you also allow them to clean up their own messes. Driscoll has nothing directly to do with this, except that he leads Mars Hill, along with the other elders. Then again if you mention Driscoll you get more blog traffic, plus you dislike him, so might as well find another thing to throw him under the bus.

    By the way you are the only one in this conversation throwing in sex, not me. Guess that’s one thing you and Driscoll have in common.

  113. Joe, expecting an answer to a deliberately leading question which presumes Andrew’s guilt and describes him as a predator is one of those rhetorical questions on the order of “how often do you beat your wife?” It’s not necessary to assume Andrew is telling the whole story to observe that even if he’s as guilty as MH says he is then MH has some competence issues in organizational communication and PR. Andrew should not have been in a position to find out that things had been escalated if people within MH had handled things more carefully.

    Flip around the rhetorical flourish and someone could ask you how you help MH by publicly denouncing the character of a man whose disciplinary case the elders at MH have said they don’t want getting discussed in public further. Paradoxically defending MH’s actions toward Andrew has made you do the thing MH leaders don’t want you doing, bringing up yet more details about the case in question. Is defending MH by embodying the opposite of how they want this case discussed helping your case?

  114. Dave-

    Thanks for the comment. How would you advise pastors to deal with these types of situations since you disagree with MH or A29 process? Should they encourage sin among the people in the congregation as long as it’s consensual? Interested in hearing your thoughts.

  115. Joe, you have said you don’t attend MH. Have you ever attended MH or been a member? If you’ve never been a member how would you be in a position to know what you imply you know about Bent, for instance? You assure us Andrew is an abuser without actually backing up the basis for the claim. I don’t see that we should automatically assume either Andrew or MH is telling the truth. They may both be certain they are right without actually being right.

  116. Wenatchee-

    Thanks for the comment. Good thing I don’t report to MH. I am just trying to push back against the assertions of these two women which I see as off base. I am not dragging any new information into the public forum, only discussing what is already there. Andrew has already admitted to being a fornicator of multiple women as told in his story, so I do not find my questions leading. They are just the facts. Others have assumed things from my writings that I did not claim such as rape.

    I’m not saying Mars Hill dealt with the situation correctly as there are clear issues that need to be resolved. I do think the reasons for their actions are right-spirited in protecting those who need help. I don’t appreciate people faulting fireman for making mistakes in the line of fire, which is how I see the attacks on MH pastors who were trying to do their job to the best of their ability and made some serious mistakes. Give them grace for being in the fire.

  117. Wenatchee-

    I’m not a member of Mars Hill, nor have I ever been. I personally know Bent, although not thru MH, so I know much of his story, as well as opposing perspectives. I am only claiming things about Andrew that are already out in the public forum, both from his own mouth & Mars Hill.

  118. Helpful to know, Joe, thanks for the background.

    I don’t recall Andrew saying he was an abuser, though, and I’m not sure what source you cite from MH that would say he’s an abuser, either. “Abuse” could mean a whole lot of things, like assault and battery or rape or emotional abuse. A serial fornicator may or may not be an abuser and if a serial fornicator “is” an abuser then wouldn’t that have made Driscoll an abuser? I’m just wondering about how careful you’re being in your use of words, Joe.

    I attended from about 1999 to 2008 and know a lot of people who have come and gone and stayed at MH. The whole thing is vastly more complex than outside defenders and detractors have often made it out to be. It’s also changed a LOT within the last ten years. In my 20s things that seemed exciting and wonderful in my 30s began to seem tiresome or troublesome so now I’m Presbyterian but I’ve seen enough myself to know that things are pretty much never as simple as the fans and detractors want it to be.

  119. Joe,

    Please help me reconcile these statements you made.

    March 3, 9:22 a.m.

    “You do seem to have a lowly view of other MH Pastors who step in to stop a young engaged man who was fornicating with multiple women in the church. Seems like those men were doing their job to protect women from one abusive man in particular and his name is Andrew.”

    March 6, 2:58 a.m.

    “Andrew has already admitted to being a fornicator of multiple women as told in his story, so I do not find my questions leading. They are just the facts. Others have assumed things from my writings that I did not claim such as rape.”

    You labeled Andrew as an “abusive man.” It would be helpful if you could define what you meant by abusive.

  120. In the end, I feel sorry for Mark Driscoll because he appears to have a lot of problems and seems to need help. More and more I see him described as a “bull in a china shop.” He just seems like he’s spinning out of control. I think it would be wise for him to step down from ministry and leadership for a while and get his act together. We’ve seen what happened to Ted Haggard and it just seems as though Mark Driscoll is going down a similar road. Why not take a break and get right with God and then come back renewed, rather than careening on in the way he has been and allowing everything to fall apart?

  121. I came across this from the LA Times, published after Ted Haggard resigned. Take out the name “Ted Haggard” and put in “Mark Driscoll” and the situations are eerily alike:

    ‘They have had four months to reflect, and the senior staff of New Life Church can now look back and see the warning signs.

    Not one suspected that their high-profile pastor, the Rev. Ted Haggard, had been secretly visiting a male prostitute. But they see now what they should have seen then: that Haggard talked too much about sex; that he could be crudely suggestive; that he seemed to have a need to push boundaries.

    And that no one ever called him on any of it.

    “His loose discussions about sexuality might have seemed refreshingly raw and real, especially since church had always been so stuffy and prudish in the past,” said Rob Brendle, associate pastor of the megachurch in Colorado Springs, Colo. “In retrospect, some of his comments and interactions that at the time seemed edgy, but innocent enough, now seem questionable.”‘

    Is history repeating itself? I just feel like we’re going down the same road with Mark Driscoll that we went down with Haggard. Mark Driscoll’s obsession with identifying “sissies,” his obsession with things that are “effeminate,” his compulsion to discuss homosexuality/”real men”/graphic sexual topics over and over. (For example, he covered the odd topic of whether it’s okay for a man to masturbate in front of a mirror in his latest book.) And this raises NO red flags for anyone at his church? For anyone in leadership at his church?

    My opinion is that this man needs help and he needs it fast.