Bent Meyer Speaks Out About Redemption Groups at Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill

The law detects, grace alone conquers sin. – Saint Augustine of Hippo


The following is an email that I received from Bent Meyer, the well-known, fired ex-pastor of Mars Hill. Bent told his story on TWW here which resulted in the largest number of one-day hits in the history of our blog.

Bent is now a highly respected counselor in the Seattle area who specializes in helping those who are abused by churches. TWW encourages all those, who have been hurt by a church and are in need of counseling, to avail themselves of his services link. He has walked that difficult path and is in a unique position to be of assistance.

Bent was responding to our post AoR Letdown, SBC Putdown and Redemption Group Rundown link. He will refer to the third part of that post in his email so it might be helpful to quickly read it. In the following, when I say refer to TWW post, it is this post to which I am referring.

Bent carefully explains the difference between the Grace Groups that he formed while he was at Mars Hill and the current Redemption Groups which were formed after he left. There is a startling contrast. Please, please, please, if any of your churches form such groups, carefully assess them. You could end up in far worse shape if they are based on the current Redemption Groups.

Bent gave us permission to reprint this email. At the end, he requests that Mars Hill refute his perspective if he is wrong. We end this post with another regrettable audio clip of Mark Driscoll, which was made about the same time that Myer was fired.

Next week we will recount another horrifying story of pedophilia which involves international intrigue and one of Greg Harris’ family of churches. We also hope to do a story on one groups of people who molested as children on the missionary field.


“I have been very busy helping people who have experienced church abuse. It is painful to hear the many stories and experiences, and the agony some of these folks report. The loses to them is more than an affiliation, it is a community of friends. It is often a damaged reputation. It is confusion, anger, shame, guilty that have to be understood and processed. It is sorting out betrayal of leadership who spoke loyalty, but meant unidirectional obedience. It is working through the experience of being silenced, having no advocacy, no appeal process.

A few times I hear folk say they will not attend a church again, fearing future betrayals, confining policies and harsh treatment for non conformity. The consequence has been not keeping up on your interesting posts.

Joanne (my wife) and I started Grace Groups at Mars Hill Church in 2003. The groups were designed to address a specific population of people in the church who had experienced childhood sexual abuse. We had done this because sexual abuse had invaded our family. We discovered when my son was 15 years old that he also had been sexually abused by a family friend, in a local church we had attended years before. We had assumed like so many, the church was a safe place. NOT SO!

The issue of sexual abuse was very real to us and we wanted to address it. I had come to learn that even conservative estimates report that 25% of women and 15% of men have been sexually abuse as a child. That’s 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men that we all meet every day. This statistic was staggering for Joanne and me.

At first we did not know where to go for help. The church community did not know what to do. I had gone to the University of Washington book store to see what I could find on the topic. I discovered Dan Allender’s book The Wounded Heart (I would highly recommend it). Dan Allender has focused on the issue of sexual abuse recovery for many years and I have sat under his teaching or the issues and therapeutic approach.

Subsequently, after talking to a friend some years later, we discovered Open Hearts Ministry link. We went to Michigan and experienced a method of helping wounded survivors of sexual abuse grow to experience life and relationships with increasing fullness. The Michigan groups are called Journey Groups, rather than Grace Groups today.

Joanne had already taken a group of women through “The Wounded Heart“workbook, when she asked them if they would like to experience what we had learned and experienced at OHM. They did. They became the first leaders of groups called Grace Groups at MHC.

Word of mouth spread interest in attending future groups. Quickly we had to put together a waiting list, since we didn’t have enough trained leaders to facilitate groups properly. We also began to get inquires from men. My son and I lead the first men’s groups. It wasn’t long until we had a long waiting list. By the time I was fired for MHC for objecting to the change in the Bylaws, we had over 130 people experience the groups and another 130 on a waiting list.

Grace Groups were shut down abruptly and Redemption Group material was invented to take its place shortly thereafter.Now, here is the clarification distinctive between Grace Groups and Redemption Groups.

Note from Dee: My email system screwed up the chart Bent sent us so I am going to address this in categories.

Grace Groups:
We (Joanne and I) made clear participants needed to honor the stories disclosed within each group. To give an example. Joanne would never discuss stories she heard in her groups with me, nor would I with her.This was a standard we promoted and held as example to the others.We also told the participants, since they are in a group, there is no guarantee confidentiality would be honored by everyone, so they would need to share their childhood stories with discretion.
Redemption Groups:
Within MHC there is no confidentiality. Information disclosed is often discussed freely, particularly among leaders.

Grace Groups:
Though this is related to confidentiality we regarded safety as paramount. Wounded people are not to be revictimized in the context of getting help.
Redemption Groups:
The description you provided for participants in Redemption Groups demonstrates revictimizing is not a caution prized at MHC.

Grace Groups:
Caution was exercised to insure pressure was not put on a person to disclose more than they felt safe doing.
Redemption Groups
Please refer to the aforementioned TWW post.

Grace Groups:
Empathy is essential in the group process, since victims of abuse have often received contrary messages from parents or others they have attempted to tell their stories to. Survivors experience a safe group of people who understand and can affirm the damage done to them, which was not their fault.
Redemption Groups:
Please refer to the aforementioned TWW post.

Grace Groups:
We regarded the sin issue to be discovered by the participant as they examined the consequence of their adaptive relational style. It was not something any one of us could declare. We could mirror back to the person, how we experienced them, but that was only for them to consider the effect they were having on others. It was also important to clarify their adaptive relational styles was in place for a reason that at one time possibly protected them from even greater harm. Paul speaks to the sin issue in Roman 13:8-10: do no harm, which translates into being responsible to love efficaciously.
Redemption groups:
Please refer to the aforementioned TWW post.

Adaptive Relational Style
Grace Groups:
An abused child creates adaptive processes to navigate their environment and relationships. These adaptations are created within the developmental capacities of the child at the age they were in crisis.The adaptations are comprised of images, narratives, highly charged emotions and processes to avoid harms and in some case endure harm they cannot escape (like dissociative processes).Many of these adaptations are retained into adult life, marriages and relationships.
After a participant knows they have been heard and the harm done to them has been validated, then is the time to examine processes that are likely no longer useful and likely harming relationships and themselves.
Redemption Groups:
These groups have no concept of this.

Adaptations as Defenses
Grace Groups:
We all employ defensive processes in our daily lives. For instance, when we go to a car dealership, likely our defenses are employed. In abusive relationships, defenses are employed by children with immature emotional regulation processes. The defenses and emotions are employed at a high pitch, without adequate processes to reduce the intensity, so the defenses and emotions become normalized. As a consequence a survivor often reports not knowing what is normal. As a survivor matures those processes are modified, while also maintain an adaptive profile that might be characterized as normally distancing, aggressive, emotionally flat, dissociative, agitated, depressed, nice, highly vigilant, or quickly shifting between idealizing to villainizing others and back.
Redemption Groups:
They have no concept of this.

Grace Groups:
These focus on the heart and try to help a person, within a safe environment, experience validation of their life experience.To have safe people mirror back to them the way their adaptive processes operate.This provides the opportunity for the survivor to understand the harm they might be doing to others by their relational style.
Goal 1.To provide a means to adjust their defensive structures to be kinder (Gal 2:20).
Goal 2. To provide a means to engage existing relationships realistically.
Redemption Groups:
These seem to focus on behavior management.They center on sin and eradicating it from the sinner with little
consideration for illegitimate shame, which is a shame imposed by others which the victim owns as their own. Illegitimate shame is like telling a child they are a sinful brat, when in fact they might have ADHD as a treatable condition.

Originating Influence
Grace Groups:
OHM has been in ministry for over 25 years. It was started by Sandy Burdick in her local church. Sandy developed the content and process with Dan Allender over years of experienced and evaluation.One of the vexing issues for the folks at MHC, is how prominent women are as developers, leaders and presenters of content at OHM. (They are brilliant, extraordinary women.)
Redemption Groups:
Mark Driscoll has militantly opposed women in ministry leadership. His rhetoric about respect for women, doesn’t match what is actually happening in the church.

Closing Comment
There is much more to say about this work, but it will have to wait for another time. I hope this helps make a distinction between Grace Groups and Redemption Groups. They are distinctly different in purpose and process. Joanne and I still offer Grace Groups (now called JourneyGroups) in the Seattle area. Grace Groups (Journey Groups) are also offered in Olympia, Spokane, Yakima, and Bellingham, Washington. Other locations in other states can be found at Open Hearts Ministry link

Bent addresses Mars Hill’s Mike Wilkerson:
I would welcome clarification from Mike Wilkerson, the author of Redemption Groups to correct any misrepresentation I have given to Redemption Groups. What I have said above is my opinion and not a technical psychological presentation.”


Finally, TWW leaves you with this delightful little audio of Mark Driscoll merrily “throwing people under the bus.”

Chris Rosebrough at Fighting for the Faith, Christian Pirate Radio link has found some audio of Driscoll exposing his version of “blessed subtraction.” Bent Meyer and Paul Petry were a two of these bodies. The lives of these two men speak for themselves. As time goes on, so does the life of Driscoll.

(Driscoll speaking as transcribed by the Sola Sisters)
“Here’s what I’ve learned. You cast vision for your mission, and if people don’t sign up, you move on. You move on. There are people that are gonna die in the wilderness, and there are people that are gonna take the hill. That’s just how it is. Too many guys waste too much time trying to move stiff necked, stubborn, obstinate people. I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus (chuckle), and by God’s grace, it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done…. ‎You either get on the bus, or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options.”

Addendum 6/23
Yesterday, I read about 30 blogs and found a quote which I attributed to Timmy Brister. However, I linked to the last article read and cannot find the original quote. His comment in the link also brings up the same issues. So using that link we find he says the following.

“As for Mark Driscoll, I would put him up to any Southern Baptist preacher today who preaches Christ and Him crucified (and how many SBC churches can you find Jesus preached on any given Sunday?). Baptist Press’ efforts would serve the cause of Southern Baptist life much more in the future should they highlight such preachers who are planting gospel-centered churches and reaching this younger generation whom we have all but written off. Southern Baptists can learn from Mark Driscoll, but that can only begin when we lay down the knives.”

In this same article he also got upset that Driscoll’s vulgarity was the subject of a Baptist press article, claiming that Driscoll had repented (5 years previously) and why was the Baptist Press raising this issue. So, since 2004 until 2009, Brister felt all was well with his language. So well, in fact, that he wrote the preceding paragraph. During that time, Driscoll caused much pain in his church, including the firing of Bent Meyer and Paul Petry. There was pornovision, throwing people under the bus and many other issues. But, I guess, so long as Driscoll “repented” for cussing, 5 years previously, all is well. That comes as a surprise to me. He gave Driscoll a pass and even declared the SBC could learn from him. Yeah, right. If he is the example, God have mercy on the SBC.

PS:The title of this post was “My Take on Baptist Press Throwing Mark Driscoll Under the Bus.”

Lydia’s Corner:Hosea 10:1-14:9 Jude 1:1-25 Psalm 127:1-5 Proverbs 29:15-17


Bent Meyer Speaks Out About Redemption Groups at Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill — 67 Comments

  1. That quote by Mark Driscoll is too disturbing for words. And that he thinks it is an appropriate and even funny analogy… Wow.

  2. Dee, These Redemption Groups sound an awful lot like the groups at Sovereign Grace Ministries churches. CJ Mahaney authored this book
    Why Small Groups? Together toward Maturity” about small groups. Reading, you can see how abusive pastors used small groups in abusive and controlling ways. I have received countless e-mails from people who came out of that kind of church setting and who are afraid to go back. uses the word “sin-sniffing” a lot. There seems to be a preoccupation with indwelling sin and a lack of balance on the necessary grace shown in real forgiveness to move on.

    After our very bad church experience with a pastor who is currently suing me, we tried a new church for a few weeks. As soon as I heard they were adapting SGM’s small group model, I ran from that church. No way, Jose’.

  3. “You either get on the bus, or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options.”

    And sometimes the bus driver is a crazy person who takes it right off the cliff. So I’m thinking I’ll just stay away from the bus stop altogether.

  4. How in the world can anyone listen to that and stay in that church? Can someone please explain that to me? It boggles my mind.

  5. I have another alternative, Mark Driscoll, don’t go anywhere near your bus.
    It’s sad because it is Mark’s skewed understanding of masculinity which almost kept him from bowing his knee. What he did though was much worse- he made Christ fit what he wanted Him to be. The question is, did Mark make a figurative graven image for him to worship and teach others to worship. Is this idolatry.

  6. @ dee:
    We have seen CJ practice this belief. It seems that those practicing “true humility” never need to apologize and their “true friends” believe that their love for these humble men “covers a multitude of sin,” which is a sad misuse of scripture as we hear of people being thrown under the bus while the leaders who do the throwing get a “love” pass.

    BTW – when I sent you that link I had not yet seen this new post with the link to the same audio. I was busy listening to the “vision casting” nonesense.

  7. dee wrote:

    If you say it, and hurt others, and 5 years passes, it is no longer a sin.

    Statute of Limitations? Or is it more like the “five-second rule,” which allows you to eat something that has been dropped on the floor, so long as you retrieve it in less than five seconds?


  8. Interesting to hear Bent explain the differences. I am a former MH member whose spouse went through Grace Groups. Couple of thoughts/questions:
    1) As Bent said, the original focus of Grace Groups was upon victims of sexual abuse. I would be interested in his take on how that focus changed and how the program changed as groups were expanded to deal with issues of drug abuse/pornography/other “maladaptive” and sinful responses. It seemed like the program was being stretched to deal with these other issues and that Redemption Groups were partially an attempt to recreate the program to deal with sin being committed by the participants rather than the sins against them. When everything happened at MH, were Grace Groups also acting as support groups for various “addictions” or were the groups integrated?
    2) The background of the individuals leading the respective groups seemed to have a huge influence on the approach to the groups. The Meyers’ experience with abuse in their family seemed to lead to a gentle hand to help guide and comfort those who had suffered similarly (even if those people responded to the sins against them with further sin). Some of the initial leaders/designers of Redemption groups came out of backgrounds of drug abuse and addiction. The apparent tone of Redemption Groups was must harsher than that of Grace Groups.
    3) A discussion of Redemption Groups at MH also needs to discuss the book “How People Change” by Timothy Land and Paul Tripp. This was a hugely popular book at the church (post Bent). At one point it was required reading for all community groups at some campuses.

  9. Timmy Brister who works with Founders, Tom Ascol, is one to watch. A very good friend of mine had an accidental run in with him about 6 or so years ago and it was brutal. My friend was reading Founders blog and there was a link to her blog on her name. Timmy comes back on the blog thread and accuses her of stealing his blog post in front of everyone even when there was an email he could have used.

    Now keep in mind the blog posts were about something affiliated somehow with SBTS and both were living in that town at the time. My friend has a lot of connection to SBTS. When she put the post up she did google to see if anyone else mentioned it and was delighted to see others had. She said she was not even paying attention to the blog names that also mentioned it.

    Timmy attacked her and accused of her theft publicly on the blog. He then accused her of lying when she patiently explained how she came across it. He was relentless and even had Founders get her IP off their blog and compare it to his blog so he could say he caught her lying. She was blown away! Could this really be happening in a blog thread she just happened to be reading? She told him she had googled it and was delighted others were posting it. (it was some missionary thing if I recall….not late breaking news)

    Finally, to make peace she said she would take it down. Was he nice about that? No, he continued to abuse her publicly. Let me tell you that was her last time to have anything to do with Founders SBC.

    These guys are some of the nastiest people in the world. SBTS is producing them in record numbers. My only advice is to stay as far away from them as possible.

  10. Your Timmy Brister link is 3 years old and goes to a blog. Did you mean to link to a recent tweet or something?

  11. “There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus (chuckle), and by God’s grace, it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done…. ‎You either get on the bus, or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options.”

    Having been in sales, this sounds like a comment that a very poor sales manager would say to motivate their sales force. Think “GlenGary,GlenRoss” the movie.

    Any pastor said that while I was at church,I’d be leaving very quickly.

  12. Anon1
    Darn it! I linked to the wrong post. Now i have to find the one in which he mentioned the “bus” comment. Too many links, too little brain. If I can’t find it, I may have to delete my comment until I can. Thanks for pointing this out.

  13. I had first hand, direct experience with a “redemption group” and it was just AWFUL! I feel that’s the place where one can get abused in the form of taunting, bullying, humiliating, gang attack, foul language and condemnation by the leaders of the group and/or other members of the same group. This led me to believe redemption group might just be an instrument of the devil to damage and injure God’s children. This is the worst kind of group I have ever experienced and after this, I shy away from any kind of “group” in the church setting. The church is NOT a safe place as one might presume.

    Who helped me and healed my wounds? The Lord Jesus who is forever faithful and kind to me and He set me free from a very unhealthy church. I now have no use for the so-called leaders, elders who victimize the flock under the name of “redemption groups.” A good lesson learned.

  14. @ Steve D:

    “Any pastor said that while I was at church,I’d be leaving very quickly.”

    It is WORSE. He was saying it to church planters. Young pastors who cannot wait to get their hands on power and be like Mark. Coming to a church near you soon….paid for by the SBC?

  15. So, Redemption Groups are anti-healing and anti-wellness. Seems like they are anti-Christian. Anyone here suggesting that the organization that sets up groups to abuse Christians like that is or includes the Anti-Christ?

  16. Beloved
    I am so sorry for your experience in a redemption group. Unfortunately it mirrors the experience of others. To any Mars Hill boys who are reading this, cut the nonsense and try a little love.

  17. Anon1
    Today’s young pastors are not taught to think. They are taught to idolize current, successful leaders. “Successful” for this group often means mean, controlling and arrogant.

  18. That is a horrible horrible quote from MD. Vile. Where is the treating others as you’d like to get treated? MD is in a very privileged position as a healthy white male & he doesn’t know how easy he has it. As soon as he gets old or infirm, or goes out of fashion, he’ll be in for a shock at the non-compassionate acolytes he’s producing who will prune him as dead wood & not look back.

    This kind of thing is also written all over that stupid resolution thing – weak men can’t handle this etc…what if you are a ‘weak’ man, if you have metal illness, or addiction or disability that means just making it through the day is done a minute at a time with God’s grace? I’m sick of the weak, the suffering, the bent reeds & the smouldering wicks being ‘thrown under the bus’ by the bully in the pulpit. Where, exactly, is the character of Jesus here?

  19. Beloved,

    I am so sorry that you were hurt through your participation in a redemption group. I believe God will use your testimony to warn others about their harmfulness. Thank you for having the courage to speak out.

  20. Reminds me of a guy I know who amended his “press release” without letting anyone know. haha . . . . until a smart watchdawg caught him 🙂 woof woof

  21. Well, I am tracking with all of the above as I have a history with MH and have many friends presently in Redemption Groups and a couple are even leaders. So I am presently observing first hand the effects. Our family has had to seek counseling to work through many of the same things that have been shared here at TWW.

    I believe underneath it all it is the control that pastors think they have and we have given to them to “save us from God.” They after all tell us the “way of salvation” (their version) and make their pronouncements over our souls of whether we have believed enough, are repentant enough, have the fruit of repentance, etc., How do we rid ourselves of this vulnerability?

    I believe that until we return the Gospel to objective NEWS that is truly GOOD people will continue to get “crushed under the bus” of institutional religion. I know that this idea of “ultimate reconciliation” is pushing the paradigm too far for some but this is the only way I see that we will be free of all this horrific religious abuse, solve the irreconcilable theological impasse between the Calvinists and Arminians etc., and still remain Christian. (I will even say that it can make you a very, very hopeful and joyous one!)

    We believe the doctrine of “eternal conscious torment” is often at the root of religious abuse and is what has given many religious leaders their power and leverage.

    To quote Peter Hiett: “Fear of eternal hell is a good way to get people to do what you want them to do. But not a good way to help them trust God. It’s a good way to get them to trust YOU to save them …from God, but not a good way to get them to trust God …for salvation.”

    Some may want to consider the Biblical, philosophical, rational, and moral reasons for believing that God really meant: “It is finished” and that “the last enemy to be destroyed is Death.”

    grace and peace…

  22. “the well-known, fired ex-pastor of Mars Hill”

    Dee, I only had time to read the first sentence of this post. Uhh, how does one “fire” a pastor? What kind of ecclesiology allows that? I’ll read the rest later. 🙂

  23. pre@ Steve Scott:
    Traditional congregational ecclesiology based on the concept of the priesthood of all believers, coupled with Jesus admonition to his disciples that they must be servants of all to be a shepherd to the flock and not “lord” it over other of his followers.

    The laity, the people of God, are the church, corporately and spiritually, and they should govern the church as a body. This becomes a democratic process, whereby the membership, in prayer and guided by the Holy Spirit, makes the important decisions about the church, including who the pastor will be and will not be. It is a common structure in smaller Baptist churches and historically was the structure in most Baptist churches. It is also why the word “Congregational” appears in many church names.

    The Pastor is to be the spiritual leader of the church and not the dictator or business leader of the church.

    In my theology and ecclesiology, no one is more powerful than any other in the church. All are there by the grace of God, all are called to some role in His kingdom, and all have a voice. Any other model is against the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel, regardless of what some of the epistles may be mistranslated and misinterpreted to say.

  24. Scott
    Go to the link in the post and read Bent’s story. You will also see links in that story to Driscoll’s threats to “go Old Testament on them” and “punch them in the nose.” This is wuite a famous story up in the Seattle area. Both Bent and Paul Petry, the other pastor, have told their stories here. If you wondered about Driscoll before you knew these stories, the stories will clarify your thinking…

  25. @ Arce:
    Acre, I am somewhat familiar with the congregational system of ecclesiology. I am far more familiar with the “elder rule” system as espoused by neo-Calvinists and even that system as I know it has no basis for firing a pastor.

  26. And no where is this more apparent than in new workers to the fields abroad. It’s a sad, sad situation, on so many levels. Fast track to a CPM, confront people with the gospel, force a response so you “…don’t waste valuable time…”, if the HS is working, they’ll respond positively, if not, “you’re free to move on…shake the dust off your feet…”! @ dee:

  27. Dee, my last comment was in reference to your response to Anon1. I hope it’ll get kicked back up there as a part of that discussion. Otherwise, it’s not going to make much sense! Of course, perhaps many of my posts don’t!? 🙂@ jack:

  28. Steven Scott
    Who needs a church polity to abide by when you are Mark Driscoll. Isn’t that enough???

  29. jack
    I am hopelessly behind. Could you show me which comment or tell me the time I posted it. And you ALWAYS make sense to me.

  30. I have helped both congregational and elder-led churches terminate a pastor. Not easy, usually results in a fight, typically involves getting or threatening to get the media, etc., involved; may require a threat by the victim to sue the pastor and the church to refuse to defend him. Sometimes the churches insurer with also intervene b/c they wish to avoid liability for an abusive pastor. I have said: “Pastor, do you want to destroy the church you have built up and your reputation, or do you want to go away, get a severance package, keep your medical for a while and go to counseling, with a prospect of being back in the pulpit in the future, and let this church heal and grow again?” Because all of those things were clearly on the table and dependent on whether the pastor wanted to fight the church board, the deacons, the elders, the personnel committee or whoever or whatever the entity was in the church with oversight responsibility. In one case with which I am familiar, it was the highly empowered church treasurer and finance committee (senior business people in the community) that cut off all payments to him until he agreed to settle and leave.

    There is always some means. And it is biblical to oust a pastor who has abused, especially with a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

    BTW, when we find sexual shenanigans, we usually also find financial ones, like an unapproved retirement plan funded from church funds or the church paying a housing allowance and the mortgage too. And vice versa, investigation of financial improprieties often reveal sexual ones. And the financial ones can result in loss of 501(c)(3) status if a complaint is filed with the IRS, and can be investigated as well by civil authorities (police, DA) for fraud, postal authorities if the mail (or electronic means) were used, state attorney general, and federal investigative bodies. All have happened in the past; most are settled quietly or with only local notice.

  31. IMPORTANT NOTE: Someone made false reports to Symantec that Julie Anne’s and the site and the FBC JAX Watchdog site are malicious phishing sites. These sites were briefly on their list of such sites prior to a fuller investigation, which apparently cleared the sites. However, if you use Symantec and happened to update the list in your system during the time those sites were on the list, you may get a warning. You can do a manual update of the lists easily, just by clicking on the icon for your security system.

    If you use some other security provider and find yourself blocked for one of the sites you regularly use, please notify the operator of the blocked site and your security provider.

  32. I was very moved by this ex-Amish “grace” group on —-reality TV: Amish Out of Order- the Healing of Mose (from anger over abuses he’d sufferd as a child). . Before the laying on of hands we see, the group had listened to him, and then, when he appeared to have something like a “slain in the Spirit” event, they patiently waited for a full hour before going any further.
    No Oral Roberts or Benny Hinn stuff from these “charismatic faith healers”, as Mose described them. Anyhow, one reality show seems to actualy deal with reality.

  33. @ Dave A A:

    Dave –

    I watched quite a bit of that show last week . . . didn’t know that the Amish believed in the gifts of the Spirit. I was impressed with how the men ministered (in the true sense) to Mose.

  34. Bridget wrote:

    didn’t know that the Amish believed in the gifts of the Spirit.

    They don’t – in fact, they do not believe that anyone can have assurance of salvation. A “rebellious” thing that many Amish kids indulge in is secretly studying passages like John 3:16.

    There was a big church crisis among the Amish in my geographical area a few decades back over assurance of salvation – it even made the local newspaper, which is *rare,* as the Amish don’t normally talk to the press in this locale.

    If you want to learn more about the Amish from good, reliable sources, i would suggest hunting down a copy of John Hostetler’s book “The Amish” and pretty much anything by Donald Kraybill. Kraybill is not Amish, but is trusted by many and has had an unusual amount of involvement with them (for an outsider) for many decades. Hostetler was born and raised Amish but chose to be baptized in a Mennonite church, as he wanted to finish school and go to college 9which he did). To have been baptized Amish would have meant that he’d have had to renounce the Amish community and church in order to pursue his education, and he didn’t want to split his family over that issue.

  35. GBTC – I wonder if you could change the automatic link setting for biblical passages?

    The site in question (believersresource) isn’t the one I would choose…

  36. “Change” as in “disable.”

    If I had the choice, I would link directly to Bible Gateway, but that’s just me…

  37. @ Bridget:
    they don’t, really. these folks must be from either a non-amish church or one of the “new Amish” churches that has come about as a result of church splits over things like whether a person can have assurance of salvation. (The old-line Amish do not believe that one can.)

  38. Deb & Dee-

    Is it just me or did all Bent Meyer do was point out how wonderful the Grace Groups he started at MH and currently leads are? There was no comparison to Redemption Groups, because Bent has no idea how Redemption Groups function other than reading your blog. He pats your back, you pat his back and the circle of hand holding continues. Glad you took the chance to promote his counseling ministry too. No wonder Bent shares at TWW.

    Thoughts from a guy in Seattle, so take them or leave them.

  39. @ numo:
    My understanding is that the folks helping Mose were raised Amish and left, though they still look the part. Talk about no assurance of salvation– some Amish apparently teach that you go to hell if you ever leave and become “English”.

  40. Joe
    Back again, huh? YOu always show up when it has something to do with Driscoll and them claim you have no connection to Driscoll.

    Bent was merely commenting that the Grace Groups, with which he was involved, did not include abusing people like those who have come to this blog and told us about their experience in Redemption Groups. Read the comments, man, and go over to Mars Hill Refuge, Matthew Paul Turner, etc.. There is more to this blog than posts and you need to see what people are writ in about their time in those groups.

    Let me say this loud and clear. I wouldn’t step foot into one of those groups that are currently vogue.

    And yes, I am glad Bent posts here. Unlike his previous boss, he gets a fair hearing here and no one will threaten to punch him.Mars Hill is a place for boys to pretend they are men. Hey dude, catch you at the next cage match.

  41. @ dee:
    Dee said “read the comments”. For those interested, “Redeemed” posted an illuminating comment about being a RG apprentice last Sat. on the prior Redemption Groups Rundown thread.

  42. Numo and Dave A A – 
    Thanks for the clarification on the Amish.  I got the impression from the documentary that the group helping Mose had left the "norm" as well. They looked like they still dressed and lived the lifestyle but, hey, God doesn't get hung up on style.  I still like the way they cared for Mose 🙂

  43. Bridget – I think there are more than a few "new Amish" groups that dress in the traditional clothing. Others just wear civvies like most of the rest of us. 🙂

  44. Hi All,

    I know I haven't been around much.  Super glad to see Bent describing the differences and problems with Redemption Groups.  I wanted to let anyone interested know that Mars Hill Refuge is teaming with Kathy Escobar and Phyllis Mathis to offer Walking Wounded: Help for Those Hurt by Church as a special session for those who were formerly involved in Mars Hill/Acts 29.

    There are some scholarships available.  I make $0 off of this, the cost goes toward the web-hosting and the therapist's time.

  45. doubtful/anon1

    i have seen that story and have a bit of background on it. We knew of the story and decided not to run with it.  There were some extenuating circumstances that made us hesitant.

  46. The Redemption Groups ruin lives. I have had a friend who for many years was sensitive, caring and loving. In about 2005, he and his wife were in a Sovereign Grace church and leading a group similar to RG. We visited them that summer and the minute he and I were alone he started pressing me to confess to hidden sin. he started naming particular sins and using leading language, in a way indicating that he had confessed to something similar, but nothing definite. I told him the truth. There was no hidden sin. I was in a small group and confessed anything that needed to be confessed. he pressed me and came at me over and over from different angles. Fianlly it got so uncomfortable that I had to end the conversation. We have not spoken in 6 years. Now I look back on it and he was doing exactly what they taught him, “Sin-sniffing.” It destroyed our friendship.

  47. Bob M,

    I’m wondering whether this sin-sniffing drifted from SGM over to Mars Hill.  Is that how Mahaney was mentoring Driscoll?

    Thanks for your candidness in revisiting a painful experience.

  48. I wonder too. The more I look at Sovereign Grace and MH, and read my friend’s wife’s blog, the more I see the absolute control they have over their church member’s lives. My friend used to be so loving and grace filled and kind and was constantly having new people come to his small group in his home. There are dozens of people I know who he led to Christ by just being friendly and opening his home. Now, everything they do is controlled by the elders. Much of their small group work is just shuffling church members from one group to another. It is a shame.