Mark Driscoll: say it isn’t so

I just read a blog post saying that Mark Driscoll’s church “Mars Hill,” has legally protected the rights of their church name & is seeking legal action to force other churches to stop using that name. I really hope it isn’t true, but it sort of sounds like Driscoll. Hopefully the pastor of the other Mars Hill will scan the cease & desist letter to confirm. Here’s part of the story from the blog:

The third Mars Hill I know seems caught in the middle. It is pastored in Sacramento, California by a friend of mine, Scott Hagan. Scott planted another church years ago in the Sacramento area, then moved to pastor a mega-church in Michigan and is now back leading at Mars Hill in Sactown. I have Pastor Scott’s permission to share what I am going to write next. Several weeks ago, Scott and his Sacramento congregation received a “Cease and Desist” order which came from the Seattle Mars Hill Church. They were told that the Seattle Mars Hill had copyrighted the name “Mars Hill” and they demanded that the California Mars Hill churches stop using the name and any logos with similar lettering.

I was flabbergasted. First, I could not believe that a church would try and copyright the name of their church. I suppose if you wanted to make some money on the side, you could lease the name out to others. (My friend Ken thought it would be smart to copyright the name “First Baptist” and stick franchise stickers on the name and concept…I applaud his entrepreneurial spirit). But to outright disallow others from using a name that is found in the Bible because you want a monicker and label that only recognizes YOU seems the very epitome of pride and arrogance.

Second, that a church would take legal action to require other churches to comply violates both the letter and the spirit of the Word of God. The Bible is explicit when we are told not to take other believers to court when the issues regard spiritual matters. The naming of a church is certainly a spiritual matter and it is hard to see how someone could theologically skirt around this.

This issue should have been placed before the Body of Christ. Since it wasn’t, I decided to do that here. I am hoping word of this spreads quickly across the country. Why should we allow Mars Hill Seattle to do this without the rest of us voicing our opinion? If you are as outraged by this as I am, then I ask you to let friends on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus know about it. Reprint this openly on your blogs. Call Mars Hill Seattle and let them know how you feel about this. Perhaps if we try this case in the court of public opinion we can prevent this from making evangelicals a further laughing stock in the media.

Please hear my heart Pastor Driscoll….Mars Hill was a place where anyone could freely come and present their ideas. You called your church Mars Hill with at least some of that in mind. I call you back to that principle now and publicly call you to renounce this silly and ill-advised cease and desist order.

read the full article here

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