Mark Driscoll: Sadist Pastor on the (Mars) Hill

I grew up in the Baptist Church as many of you already know. While there was a lot of positive that came from it – largely in direct relationship with other church members – there was always an undercurrent of fear and guilt that I found oppressive. Beyond that, I actually found the message often alienated me from the community and even from God.

I’d come to worship, youth group or go to church camp feeling pretty good and excited to see my friends. I loved the singing and the fellowship, even if I didn’t agree with a lot of the theology. I could live with that discrepancy.

But more often than not, I left feeling worse than when I got there. I was told sternly that I was sinning, even if I didn’t realize it. And rest assured God was watching. Summer camp was the worst. It seemed a gathering was incomplete until several children were crying, prostrating themselves and begging for forgiveness – for what, they weren’t always sure, but they knew they needed it.

I felt dirty. Unworthy. Lower than low. And of course, the only prescription for such a spiritual malady was contrition and confession, as the church leaders saw fit to dispense. So when I read a two-piece blog post by my friend and colleague, Matthew Paul Turner, about a member of Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill church in Seattle and what he went through there, it dredged up any number of emotions and memories from the past.

Not pleasant ones, mind you.

I’ll abstain from retelling the whole story since Turner told it so well to begin with, but I’ll try to summarize. Basically, a young man named Andrew was engaged to a woman in the church. He was an active participant on many levels in the church, and she was the daughter of a deacon. However, one night he succumbed to temptation and got physically involved with a woman he knew from the past. They didn’t have sex, Turner reports, but they “came close.”

Andrew confessed soon after to his fiancée, and then to his small group leader within the church. On further inquiry, he confessed to having been physically intimate with his fiancée prior to marriage as well, which is (understandably) counter to the teachings and values confessed at Mars Hill. Andrew was required to attend numerous meetings with different leaders within the church, in which he was castigated for his sins, and even called a “wolf.”

Here’s the first big red light. Though the physical encounters with both women were consensual, within the community of Mars Hill, Andrew and all other men are considered to be sexual predators when engaging in any sexual contact outside the bonds of marriage.

Why? Because, as senior pastor Mark Driscoll often proclaims from the pulpit, women are “inferior weaker vessels.” Women, in their inferior state, can’t be expected to be held accountable in the same way as men, who always bear the burden of forced aggression. Period.

If this was all there was, it would be enough, if not new information. Driscoll’s legacy of misogyny is well chronicled. However it gets worse. A lot worse.

Church leaders at Mars Hill decide Andrew will sign and adhere to the demands of a behavioral contract they drew up. It outlines not only how he should go about seeking forgiveness for his sin, but also how he is expected to behave both within the church and elsewhere, including having no personal association with women anywhere.

Mars Hill Church “Church Discipline Contract”

Andrew was hesitant to sign the agreement, and subsequently submitted a letter ending his membership with the church. In response, a church leader wrote him the following:

If this is your decision, you need to know you are leaving as a member under discipline not as a member in good standing. What this means is Matthew 18 discipline we discussed in our last meeting will be escalated, as there has not been enough time to determine if in fact you are walking in repentance. It is communicating to [name of community group leader] and me that you are unwilling to follow the leaders of your church who have determined you have been in sin and that time will be needed to determine if you are in fact walking in repentance.

[Paragraph mentioning Andrew's ex-fiancee edited out by Matthew Paul Turner]

If this is your final decision, you will also need to know this will not be our final communication as this is not an instance where you can walk away from the mess you have helped create and leave many issues unaddressed.

Please let me know if this is in fact your final decision as we will need to know how to best remain in follow up communication.

And then the church leadership posted the following letter to all members of Mars Hill on their own internal social networking site:

File Attachments 341254 Letter to Members

There’s so much to respond to here, but I’ll try to be brief. First, for pastors of a church to tell members who they can or can’t associate with outside of church smacks of cult-like behavior, as do the codes of conduct and public shaming of congregants. Had Andrew not confessed remorsefully to his fiancée and even his small group leader, there might be more grounds for calling him to account. But he readily admitted his wrongs and seemed to be seeking counsel and forgiveness.

But it wasn’t in the way the church wanted it. He had to be punished in their way.

To claim another has committed “Gospel shame” is damaging and judgmental enough. But to do so in an open letter to the entire church about someone who is no longer a member at Mars Hill seems to me to border on slander.

What’s more disturbing to me than all of the bullying, name-calling and shaming, sadistic tactics employed by the church leadership is that so many seem to accept this as a proper way to act as church to one another. Where is the grace? Where is the offer to help the couple reconcile or part peacefully? There’s not even a hint of the old draconian “love the sinner, hate the sin” ethos. It’s more like “hate the sin, abuse the sinner and shame him back into conformity.”

Meanwhile the world watches, with many assuming this is typical, acceptable Christian behavior. It’s not. There’s nothing Christ-like about calling women “inferior weaker vessels.” Or in shaming a person publicly for their transgressions. Or in prohibiting them from engaging in relationship with others outside of the church.

And especially in ordering your entire congregation to effectively ostracize another person until and unless they will toe the line drawn by church leaders.

Our church in Pueblo, Colorado is made up in large part of people whose spirits have been damaged in other church settings in the past. what we have tried to present is a space of unconditional love, forgiveness and grace. We’re not perfect, and we’re not averse to calling people to account for their actions. But we try our best to love people through their struggles. We trust that, given the proper care and support, people will open up to the possibility that God’s grace – not our discipline or judgment – will offer the healing they seek.

I’m embarrassed to call myself a Christian when I read heartbreaking stories like these. My only consolation is in claiming publicly to Andrew and others that this is not my understanding of the Way of Christ. This sadistic, hateful behavior is not what we’re called to as church. It can be different; in some cases it is. But obviously it’s not common enough.

I’m sorry for Andrew. I’m embarrassed by the actions of Driscoll and Mars Hill. In a perfect world, we who serve the damaged, alienated and outcast would have no job left to do. Until then, the best the rest of us can do is say, on behalf of Christians who equate faith with sadism, “I’m sorry. There is another way. You are loved.”

(See an addendum to – and further thoughts on – this issue in a second post HERE.)

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • Guido

    I was at the 1997 Leadership Network event for Gen X ministry.  There were things I remember from that event, Bill Mallonee, David Crowder, and Mark Driscoll.  Driscoll was awesome in his exegeting of culture and telling the story of starting Mars Hill.  I have been a fan of his.

    I have been to ACTS 29 training and I just nodded (OK, yeah right) when he talked about women could not be in leadership.  I got real uncomfortable as he talked to wives of pastors that they needed to put out because their husbands were going to be tempted.  Like, sex solved promiscuity.  I moved from ignoring his theological claims to saying, “What crap.”

    More and more, I see this arc of travel of Driscoll’s career, I get concerned for him and the church. He is brilliant and passionate, but he is pushing a legalism that would make a Pharisee blush.  There is not much grace.  ACTS 29 is a movement, a pomo denomination.  Willow Creek Assoc with more teeth.  I pray for him.  I pray God uses him well. 

  • http://www.sacredmisfit.com/ Sarah

    I read the blog post from Turner – just disheartening.  I just am thankful that people are out like you are that are saying this is not of Christ.

  • Mindi

    Christian, just as a point of clarification, when you say you grew up Baptist, remember that there are over 44 Baptist denominations in the US alone, and as an American Baptist, a more progressive mainline tradition (usually), I worry all Baptists get a bad name when one uses the term generically, just as all Christians may get a bad name from the negative experiences of those in Driscoll’s church and others. Just needed to point that out, as a progressive Baptist.

    Mindi

    • Christian Piatt

      A good and important point. I love my American Baptist sisters and brothers!

  • Michael

    God ordained the institutions of home/family, local church and civil government.  The last 50 years of modern culture have witnessed the attempts to undermine authority and weaken any sense of consequence of sin/wrong-doing in each sphere of authority.  Corporal punishment has been essentially removed from homes and schools.  Any significant punitive consequences have been severely lessened in the governmental sphere with diminishing of sentences for crimes – including capital punishment.  One rarely hears of a church practicing “excommunication” (unless it is Roman Catholic) or even making an attempt to include any kind of process for correction/instruction/restoration of fallen saints.  

    I’m curious as to how you would “practice” Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5:9-13.  While I’m not defending the method of application that Mars Hill chose to employ, it seems they have this Biblical ground upon which to solidly stand.  

    • Sara

      So does God’s abundant grace and steadfast love.  The solid Biblical ground on which this stands is called proof-texting.  It is not faithful, even if it intends to be, and I imagine Jesus would be mortified to see that the church that bears his name spends time on this when people are starving physically, emotionally and spiritually in our culture. 

      • Anonymous

        I hope this is the same Sara that is my friend. :) I think the question is valid. How does one deal with Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, and avoid going down this road. I am honestly asking this because my wife and I have been abused by eerily the same kind of circumstance, except that the “sin” was made up, and actually being practiced by the guy making the accusation.  God has completely restored us (with the help of spiritual family, not the local assembly). Obviously I have compassion for Andrew. Here is where Mars Hill missed the boat.

        Confession to sin/exposing of sin was supposed to happen in the confidence of the person being confessed to. At Mars Hill, those leaders then sharing that sin up the food chain is completely unbiblical. It’s gossip, and just as sinful as what Andrew was confessing. If the person responds to restoration at that point, then you need not “bring another brother” into the equation. Andrew certainly made a mistake by not confiding and confessing publicly, one which he certainly isn’t at fault. I am sure that he was experiencing such guilt and shame that he needed as much absolution as possible.  But let’s say Andrew did confide in a “brother,” (which I use loosely, because a small group does not denote spiritual family and IS NOT a safe environment), and that brother attempted to lead him on a path of reconciliation? What if Andrew refused? Biblical mandate says to bring someone else into the equation.  If he still refuses, to bring him before the assembly (which is very much a physical gathering/fellowship, not the Church as a whole.) What does that look like in the modern Church?

        I ask that because we have all seen the negative effects of when sin is allowed to fester inside of a local fellowship and was not dealt with in a gracious, biblical manner. I’ll give one more scenario.  What if the sin was Mark Driscoll himself? Would he be given the same grace and confidence? Or would we, who oppose his work, want him to be fed to the wolves? And please, let’s not give the higher standard arguement. We are all priest called to lead that higher standard and will all fall short. Rather, how would that reveal our own penchant to punish wrong doers?

    • Nathan

      Please read Matthew 18 – it is only applied if the person in question does not agree with the need to confess.  It is a horrible misuse of Scripture – and completely misapplied. The man in question did his own confessing whereas Matt. 18 is about a person needing to be confronted who won’t confess – TOTALLY DIFFERENT!!!!

      • Supplicate

        Doesn’t surprise me many of you feel this way. if you were truly saved you would understand That once saved you’re not running around fornicating and going against Gods will. It would be unresponsible for the pastor to keep a spiritually dead male freely moving in the congregation to influence true female Christians. It is the responsibility of the shepherd to protect his flock and that is what he’s doing. If the man is spiritually alive and is repentant you should see the fruits of that and things will be fine for him. If he can’t stand, he can’t stand and needs to take a closer look and see if he is even saved. The pastor acted as a true shepherd protecting his flock had every right to do what he did. He stands approved amen!

        • Lee

          And you are ironically defending someone who says that a wife not giving oral sex to her husband is sinning. So I guess oral sodomy does not go against your values and rape as well? Who is protecting the flock from Mark Driscoll????

    • Evangelical

      There is nothing in Matthew 18 that requires the level of detail that Mars Hill demands. Matthew 18 does not say, “So you committed sexual sin? Give me details! Lots of details!” This seems to be the voyeuristic demands of the discipline contract. This seems very, very sick to me.

  • Chrissyp28

    Sarah thanks for posting this…I have been to the Ballard church…never again now!! I will not support a church body that allows a human being in such a horrible way! I hope there is some backlash actually for their actions and they realize this is not appropriate behavior for any person or gathering of people to behave let alone Christians…they “figuratively” stoned this poor man…Jesus died on the cross and forgives us of all transgressions…I do not know version of the bible mark Driscoll uses to preach from but it seems like its his own version…not the word of God! 

  • Julie

    I am sick to my stomach, as this hits super close to our family. About 5 years ago my husband and I went through a very similar situation (though it wasn’t about sex and we were being falsely accused). Things played out in almost the exact same way, except at the end, after we’d been excommunicated for a year, word got out about what the leader of the fellowship was doing behind closed doors, which was really to blame for what we had been accused of. 

    • Christian Piatt

      similar stories occur all too often, Julie. i have one friend who is predicting such revelations will emerge about Driscoll himself. Though I don’t with that on him or his church, I’d have to say it wouldn’t shock me to learn some time in the future that his hard-line approach was compensatory in some way for personal issues.

      • Anonymous

        Couldn’t agree more. Same thing happened to us (Julie and I). The sin was at the top, and that guilt is typically projected on those the leader claims to “pastor”/rule over.

        • Verity3

          A common example of this is female study group leaders who claim, “We women tend to be controlling.” Their proscriptions to surrender control not only do not help those women who do not tend to be controlling — they also tend to make things worse.

          Sometimes it helps to point out, “SOME women are controlling. And some men are.” But sometimes it feels like I’m beating my head against a brick wall.

  • ShardinNieri

    It seems that those leaders who draw the circles of grace smaller and smaller and who create a culture of fear may find themselves someday outside the circles they have drawn. I believe I read a similar idea from Mark Yaconelli to give some credit. Humility compassion and grace in community seems to be essential for followers of Jesus. Thanks Christian for sharing this.

    • Carney

       I thoroughly enjoyed Yaconelli’s writing. He was so on target. RIP.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.ramsey13 Eric Ramsey

    This is why I will never step foot into another congregation again.  The wolves wear sheep’s clothing and they devour the weak instead of support those who need consolation.  This situation really disturbs me and I am happy that Andrew had the strength to stand up as if to say “NO.  I am not a servant and you are not my master.  I have been set free!”  We all err and to sit in judgement of another, whether justified by scripture or not, Is not demonstrated in the behavior of Christ.  The only chastisement from him came to those who would demonize those they thought unworthy.  Sadly I think Mr. Driscol and his followers will not see the disservice and loss of blessings that they bring upon themselves.  If they show no mercy and only live by word of the law then no mercy shall be given to them when it is needed!

  • http://twitter.com/OklahomaBrkdwn Ryan C.

    Someone near to this guy needs to let him know about Guinn v. The Church of Christ of Collinsville. It’s a case very similar to what’s happening to Andrew, and the church was in the wrong for violating the plaintiff’s privacy. If they keep it up he should let them know they can’t just do this and get away with it. 

  • Kevin B.

    This feels eerily similar to Mormon / Jehovah’s Witness doctrine. The details of how to engage someone outside of a church setting who is under “church discipline” is very disturbing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501915913 Roger Wolsey

    Excellent post! Here’s how I put it in my article on Patheos, “Why Mark Driscoll needs an Elephant” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2012/01/why-mark-driscoll-needs-an-elephant/

  • Aspiechristian

    Thanks for this post, Christian. I’m sad to see this kind of thing still plaguing the church, and I don’t think you can give this problem too much attention.

    This is a large part of the reason I left Conservative Evangelicalism: The Leadership was bent on control of people’s personal lives. These guys – not always so well-intended, sought power over everything in my pocket, my social life, and my bedroom. I can’t believe how many years I let this go on. Whatever their intentions, the result is often hurt – sometimes lifelong hurt, because The Leadership tends to confuse itself with God. As a result, the good Christian takes a similar view – he simply doesn’t realize that he’s giving himself over to the control of man, rather than to the gentle yoke of Christ.

    “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you
    don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you
    everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true–it is not a
    lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.” 1Jn 2:27 (NLT) How easily this verse is dismissed by both Christians and The Leadership. Their argument: These folks didn’t have the Bible. When the Bible came along, the Word became the Printed Word, more or less. They make the Bible – and themselves as “ministers of the Word” to be more authoritative than the Holy Spirit, who lives inside each of us.

    Since I joined a different church, and discarded my view of The Leadership, my whole spiritual experience, my entire life with Christ has changed for the better. For all who wish to escape, there is a way out from under the rule of this false authority – an authority The Leadership have, not necessarily because it was given by God, but because well-intended Christians, who seek to please God, have handed themselves over to this authority. In my current setting, our minister will gladly provide me with any guidance I ask for – and I trust him with that. But he has never expressed an intent to rule over anyone – that we should all be giving that power to Christ Himself, and in this environment I see much more progress in the way of spiritual maturity among all our congregants. Blessings and peace to all.

     

  • Anonymous

    Driscoll is just another mega-church pastor who has created a cult of personality. It’s just the old legalism repackaged in a hip container.

    His “sermons” bore me to tears.

    Dreadful stuff.

  • Danzab22

    Dear Christian Piatt,

    I say this to you as a Christian brother in admittance that I don’t know everything about God and don’t follow his will.  I believe no man can know Jesus completely or we wouldn’t be God.  However he left us the scriptures, you either think they’re 100% correct or you don’t.  If you don’t it raises the fact that God left his word in man’s hands for him to alter as he sees fit.  If you do then you have to wrestle with the passages you don’t understand.  

    I personally believe that the bible is God-Ordained and his word.  I am not a huge fan of Mark Driscoll but I also don’t believe he is always deserving of the muck that comes his way.  If you’re calling out a christian pastor because what he says is unbiblical or against the word of God then good on you.  If you are just criticising him because you sometimes don’t like what he says and his methods, that is also fair, but you must tread carefully.  I don’t believe he’s a bad man he can be a bit too much like the star footballer in high school but I believe he is a humble and does preach theologically well.  I think too many people just want to criticise him because it’s easy and people are intimidated by his style.

    But what you’ve failed to note is that Andrew betrayed not only his fiancee (which is a private matter) but also in a position of leadership meant to be a good example, the ones he mentors, leads and the whole church he’s part of.  He must be disciplined for this.  God is Love but he is also perfectly judging.  All of us feel short but if someone cannot repent from their sin and come in complete humility to the church he betrayed then he should be let go.  Don’t feel sorry for Andrew feel sorry for all the people he betrayed, some wounds that will never heal.  I will pray for him but he did wrong from a position of power and influence.  Jesus never accepted that with the religious leaders of the day.  And neither should we.

    Thanks for your time

    ps-I don’t see hate, I see love like a Father over a son.  The kid might see it as hate but it is discipline.

    • Danzab22

      *don’t always follow his will

    • Evangelical

      Are you sure you are not simply a co-dependent enabler of Mark Driscoll’s voyeurism which is all too evident in the terms of the “discipline contract?”

      • Danzab22

        no, I have no relation to him and have never stepped foot in a Mars Hill Church. I think it’s slightly show-offy that they preach over 100 sermons on Luke, but… just ’cause he says something that you don’t like doesn’t mean he’s a bad person.  He says he’s accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour and believes in his death and resurrection and if he has then he’ll be joining you and me in heaven, simple as that

    • Verity3

      Danzab22, I hear what you’re saying. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11 NIV 1984). But just as it is wrong to claim, “all discipline is bad,” it is wrong to claim, “all discipline is good.” Only our heavenly Father is able to discipline perfectly.

      Believers may reasonably disagree as to what constitutes “love.” But it is possible for an earthly father to love his child and at the same time abuse his child. When an earthly leader confuses his role with godlike authority compared to his subordinate, he begins to lose his ability to evaluate whether his preferred style of showing “love” approaches, and crosses over into, abuse.

      And MANY Christian leaders behave in ways that show they confuse their role with godlike authority compared to their subordinates. The attitude seems to be, “Because of my God-given position, I am right, and even if I’m wrong, you can’t say anything about it without being guilty of rebellion.” This attitude can quickly deteriorate into a leader’s giving himself license to teach falsehood, bully, and slander at will. This happens all too often in churches which are operating under the fiction that in relation to a subordinate, falsehood/bullying/slander is IMPOSSIBLE for the leader to commit.

      Those of us who see that obsession with hierarchy leads to favoritism, false teaching, slander, abuse, and idolatry must continue to speak out.

    • Carney

      Read up a little on the Sherpherding movement, and you’ll better understand what people are concerned with. From my point of view, having goals, agreements and accountability are all splendid, at the beginning, but leadership can go awry with their power, and it can lead to abuses of that power. If the person’s sin involves a crime, then it’s a matter of the state. If it is a sin against God, then it’s a matter for God. We can inform and protect those being abused, but ultimately God’s correction is far superior to any of the letters of discipline and nastygrams we concoct. We succeed in making ourselves judgmental asses to a public all to ready to confirm it’s gut instinct: That there really isn’t such a thing as Christ-like followers. Who cares about our reputations anyway? The problem is when they jump to the conclusion that Christ does not transform lives because they see the same condemning nature in us that they see in the world, only the world condemns based on a different set of rules. It’s our behavior that cause nonbelievers to mock and blaspheme God.

  • Guest

    Andrew lamb was not only terrible to his fiance, but also ran away after volunteering to be put under church discipline. Now he’s running to every blog he can find to share his ‘story’, while his ex-fiance suffers the consequences of their personal life being broadcast across the internet. Do I agree with the doctrine at Mars Hill? No. That doesn’t excuse his behavior, and you should be ashamed of yourself for using someone else’s pain to further your personal agenda.

    • Alan

      And you should be ashamed of using his full name after all the effort everyone involved, Mars Hill included, has gone to only refer to him by his first name and his ex-fiance not at all.  Congratulations.  You just hit a new low.  

  • Anonymous

    Frustrating. Troubling. Disconcerting.
    Sad. Frightening. I will freely admit that I underwent my own church
    discipline in 2000 at Overlake Christian Church and this story
    horrifyingly reminds me my own account, with much pain and trembling,
    even 12 years later. My heart BREAKS for Andrew. My flesh CRAWLS at
    reading this article. We are to be Jesus with skin on. We are to
    faithfully administer God’s GRACE in its various forms. Legalistic
    tarring and feathering of God’s chosen people, His royal priesthood, His
    holy nation, does NOT result in better community or better growth. It
    results in an impoverished church, a beleaguered sense of trust in God
    and the body of Christ, and cultivates a climate of fear-based worship
    where God’s children are walking on eggshells. I can only imagine what
    Andrew must feel right now. Andrew, I love you in Jesus’ Name. You are
    repentant, you have repented, and you are forgiven. I do not know you,
    I have never met you, but you are LOVED IN JESUS’ NAME. I am deeply
    proud of you for bringing your sin into the light, and for bringing Mars
    Hill’s leadership’s sin into the light as well. Knowing church
    discipline all too well, I can freely also admit that one sin that cost
    me my position of leadership, my community at the church, my connection
    to the body of Christ there, etc., also eventually lead to an even
    greater sin which cost me my freedom and sent me to prison. I do not
    blame my actions on the church or the leadership, but I will
    indefatigably say that there is an inexorable tie between the church
    discipline / excommunication I received from Overlake Christian Church,
    and my eventual crime. Do I wish I could take back my crime? Yes. But
    I also wish with all my heart that I could take back the church
    discipline I received, and replace it with something restorative like a
    warm hug. Alas, warm hugs are not mentioned in Scripture for those
    undergoing church discipline. And such a legalistic, grace-lacking
    approaches only send us further down the drain, with no hope of
    compassionate restoration. Wash your hands of us if you will, you
    beloved megachurches, and in the process so subsequently condemn
    yourselves as unloving, uncompassionate, and unbiblical. Jesus loves me
    the same that he does me, and that is my Amen, because truthfully I’d
    rather ALWAYS be the guy beating his chest, saying “God be merciful to
    me, a sinner” than be you.

    • truth

      First of all sin must be repented of by all of us without exception.
      Secondly if anyone in your life is so squishy soft as to ignore the
      mandate to “expose the deeds of darkness” than they are in league with
      satan not with the truth of the word of God and they are helping you
      damn your own soul…should you really be seeking to be hugged when your
      sin has so greatly offended God who is perfectly Holy and that you have
      so obviously offended and hurt the one(s) for whom you were forced into a
      prison sentence over??? It would be like saying…”I can’t follow Christ
      and His truth because people are being mean to me and asking me to tell
      the truth about my sin (confess) and further abandon my lies (turn and
      repent) which I have loved with all my life!” It reminds me of a story
      that a man who said he was seeking to get out of a homosexual lifestyle
      and the pastor said “We don’t accept fags at our church!” and so this
      man leaves and says he couldn’t possibly follow Christ because of this
      offensive pastor and what he had said to him in his greatest time of
      need. So I make this argument – Has God’s absolute truth changed in
      this circumstance? No-He and His truth are “the same yesterday, today
      and forever.” So then this man who is seeking to “escape the
      condemnation” of his own sin is not really interested in following
      Christ as Savior and His complete exposure of this man’s sin but rather
      have someone console him in his sin rather than call him out of it by
      the truth of the Word of God….You will indeed perish if you do not
      acknowledge your sin and repent of it and it will continue to destroy
      your soul and sear your conscience until you are unable to acknowledge
      your sin…Repent and be saved…if you don’t think your sin is sin then you
      don’t need a Savior and you have made Christ into nothing and He won’t
      be made into nothing even in your eyes…

      • Anonymous

        You obviously have zero understanding of what “mercy triumphs over judgment” means.  Get off your moral high-horse and down low with sinners as Jesus did.  You’re so righteous.

      • Carney

        Yes, right, right, narrow is the way. You’re making such a giant ass of yourself, do you think your junk can make it through the narrow way? Judge not … you get the point.

  • proverbs 18

    Hey Christian, there’s another blogger who, while he dislikes Mark Driscoll, has changed his views on this particular instance once he got more of the story. You can see how his views changed once he realized more details, in particular Andrew’s special position of leadership. Mars Hill has messed up in the past, but Andrew’s situation doesn’t appear to be one of them. You can read the thread here. http://santitafarella.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/shunned-andrew-watch-mars-hill-cult-excommunicates-member-who-wouldnt-write-out-his-sexual-history/

  • Carney

    Whenever I listen to my pastor’s sermons, I feel rotten. He’s overwhelmingly negative and arrogant. He will take the “downer” part of a message and expand it to fill 99% of the sermon. And just when you’re feeling lousy, and you can’t put your finger on it (because it couldn’t possibly be the man of God who’s parading on the stage … no, it must be the rushed breakfast I downed to make it to church on time), just when you’re starting to grip your stomach and wince, he tacks on “but nobody’s perfect … I mean, I’m certainly not!”  I guess that’s the salve he applies after the wound.
    Anyway, I love my sunday school class (a lovely group of people), so I just prefer to attend that and skip the sermon altogether, which always comes across like a major ego stroke for the pastor (he gets a case of the shaking Elvis leg sometimes when he gets really wound up.)

  • AWD

    Why is it that this blog seems to target pastors and churches rather than make disciples and lead by biblical principle? Because, Is church discipline evil? Are we not bound one to another as one body of believers, bound to seek what’s best according to our God? Does premarital sex, sexual pervertion of any kind or any other “head-first, boldly defying our Lord” sin constitute:
    1) A call to repentance
    2) Church discipline that appropriately deals with those who are unrepentant.
    If scripture says something is evil and purge it from the church (Matthew 18), do we do so? Do we not warn the flock? Or, do we allow the wolves to prey?
    Was this overly harsh? Maybe… but what’s better? To brush aside His law in favor a very ungodly “love” (which this blog is full of) or to repent and then forgive the Mars Hill staff for their brashness?

    • Lee

      “Does premarital sex, sexual pervertion of any kind or any other “head-first, boldly defying our Lord” sin constitute:
      1) A call to repentance
      2) Church discipline that appropriately deals with those who are unrepentant

      Except he DID REPENT. That is the whole point of the article. Here is what Matthew says:

      “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between YOU and HIM ALONE. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. ”

      First of all it is talking about the person who was sinned against (in this case his fiancee). Since he apologized to her then it should not have gone further.

      “16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. ”

      Notice this IS NOT about shaming it is about establishing the evidence (which may or may not be true) of the sin.

      “17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.”

      But ONLY when steps one and two failed.

      No church should ever tell someone who to date, or to not date altogether. That is NOT BIBLICAL. Furthermore continuing to shame someone when they HAVE REPENTED is not biblical either. A reasonable approach would have been non-shaming counseling IF the church member wants it.

      To tell the whole congregation about this is a serious violation of this man’s privacy and no the “flock” did not need to be warned. Unless he is a murderer or rapist then there is no reason that anyone needs to know what happened.

  • amber

    I am happy to have read this article. I have never attended church. I was not brought up religious and I have been interested in finding my spirituality. There is a Mars Hill church by my house and I have been contemplating whether or not I would like to drop by on a Sunday to see what its like. I have read a lot of alarming things said by Mark Driscoll and I was beginning to think that all Christians think the way he does. Your words made me feel better about my explorations. I wont be going to that church ever. I have however found a new blog to read.

  • johnzo

    Thank God I left all your foul religions behind. The shocking abuse, ruined lives, and glorification of egos that I have seen could fill a book, and is even obvious in posts, on this thread. You are all brainwashed, and have been scared into burying your own talents so deeply that you will never have the frightening ‘responsibility’ of using them.


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