UPDATE: Mark Driscoll to Step Down While Elders Review

It has been confirmed that Pastor Mark Driscoll, senior pastor of the Mars Hill Church network in Seattle, Washington will be stepping down from his role in pastoral ministry while the elders and an outside agency review a plethora of accusations that have been made against Driscoll in the past few months.

Driscoll was to return from his annual summer sabbatical today and begin a series on 1 John. However, in light of the recent wave of accusations from some of Driscoll’s and Mars Hill’s closest allies in ministry, Driscoll will be stepping down until all of the charges against him are formally reviewed.

This announcement is an encouragement for many in Evangelicalism who have been watching the situation with Driscoll over the past few years. For far too long we have seen Mars Hill covering and protecting Driscoll from accusations that have been coming from within the community for a number of years. However, with the massive amount of attention and awareness that has been raised on social media, it seems that the church was finally forced to respond to the validity of the many accusations.

I am no expert and am not personally involved in Mars Hill Church (other than being a “Global Partner” for the past 5 years). But from my understanding of the situation and from similar cases in the past, it seems to me that Driscoll will likely stay out of the ministry and public eye for the next 6 months to a year. But it is my prediction that he will reinstated to ministry soon after a short-term disciplinary period.

Whatever the future may hold, it is my prayer that during this time, Driscoll would truly be humbled and brought near to God. It is my prayer that his family would continue to receive love and grace from the Mars Hill Community as well as the rest of the Evangelical Church. And ultimately, it is my prayer that Driscoll will find healing, redemption, and grace in his life so that he will one day be able to return to the ministry that he is so very evidently wired for.

But until that time, it seems that the cries of those who have been long silenced by Driscoll and Mars Hill have finally been heard. It seems that justice is finally beginning to be done in what once seemed to be a very bleak situation. Today we have seen the impact of the global Church joining together to speak up against injustice within her ranks. We have seen the power of social media to unite Christians from all stripes and backgrounds to work to reveal truth and call for change. We have seen the power of the Church to be the Church.

Though there is definitely a sense in which this news is heartbreaking, today is a day where many may rejoice that their voice has finally been heard and a very broken man has finally been stopped from continuing to misuse his ministry to harm instead of to build up. Today, a glimmer of hope has been seen for many who have been hurt by Driscoll and Mars Hill. Today is a good day indeed.

May God have mercy and grace on us all.


FYI: My source is an anonymous Mars Hill Church member.

"Your ethical analysis is right on target, but your political nous is lacking. Omitting a ..."

“Reclaiming Jesus” Must Be Intersectional Or ..."
"Doesn't look like the sin problem has been dealt with. Our world is ravaged by ..."

Rethinking Sin
"Reading this brought me back to the sermon I heard in church last Sunday. It ..."

Rethinking Sin
"I agree, Charlotte. It's a powerful message but it is hard to overlook the typos. ..."

Rethinking Sin

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • One of the demands of being in public ministry, as a pastor, evangelist, missionary, even a Christian blogger, is that over time one gives and gives and gives and gives. Sooner or later, even the most dedicated minister will come up empty. As Jesus himself demonstrated for us on more than one occasion, it is good to draw aside alone with God for refreshing at those times of stress. And, if Jesus needed such respite from the pressures of ministry, we can be doubly certain that all of us will need to do so as well. I wish Mark Driscoll the best as he takes time to be alone with God and refresh.

    • alice

      Would not say Mark is empty…..His preaching is amazing!!!! One of the best preachers I have ever listened to!!!

      • Brandan Robertson

        Gifts of communication are not an indicator of ones spiritual health.

  • Warren Throckmorton
    • Brandan Robertson

      Right! I should have clarified. I was suggesting that it would actually be longer (based on my own personal assessment of the situation)

  • alice

    I have been attending the church for 5 months……One of the best pastora, humble, real and doctrinally on the Mark. I place him with Spurgeon. I do not know how he was in the past, but I love the man God has shaped him into at present. Cant wait till he is back preaching His “meat and potatoes” sermons!!!

    • Brandan Robertson


      I appreciate your opinion. However, I would suggest that if you knew Mark on a personal level and not as your preacher whom you don’t know and only listen to, I think you would feel differently.

      I have interacted with Mark personally on just a couple of occassions, and while I actually do like him, and loved his style of preaching for a long time, he didn’t come off as humble or pastoral in any sense of the word.

      As for Doctrinally on the mark, well, I think most evangelicals will disagree with that.

      But I do hope for the best for you, Mars Hill, and Mark. I pray you grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      Peace to you.

  • Brandon Roberts

    i don’t agree with everything he said…but i think he should be allowed to say it

    • Brandan Robertson


      I don’t think anyone is saying that he shouldn’t be allowed to say what he said from a legal standpoint. He can say whatever he wants about whoever he wants.

      The question is whether what he said is in line with Biblical standards for a preacher and for a Christian- the answer is clearly, unequivocally “No”. That is why he is currently being disciplined- among the other allegations of spiritual abuse etc.

      • Brandon Roberts


  • This thing can happen you place preachers on a pedestal.
    Keeping the gospel message (not politics, or sex, or ‘what we do’) front and center, at all times, goes a long way to prevent these things.

    • Brandan Robertson

      Amen and amen.

  • If we are to be able to believe that Mark Driscoll has been reined in, and truly interested in changing his ways…. Perhaps we should add Rachel Held Evans, Chuck Currie, and Nadia Bolz-Weber to his Board of Accountability.

    • Brandan Robertson


      Slim chance! haha

      I don’t think that’d help anyways. Mark doesn’t need to become progessive to change his ways. He simply needs to change his tone and his demenor. We should be careful of thinking the progressive way is the “Right” way.

      I know you were speaking in jest, so I don’t mean to be overly serious. Just a point I thought would be good to make!

      • Thin-ice

        Last time I checked, “progressive” was not an evil word. Except in mainstream evangelicalism.

  • I’m with ya. Here’s a piece I just posted: “When a Pastor Falls from Grace” – http://wp.me/p4SYKL-1i

    • Brandan Robertson

      Great perspective Alberto.

  • Thin-ice

    Of course, you’re not exactly going out on a limb when you say Driscoll will be restored to ministry within 6 months to a year. It’s pretty much de rigueur for famous evangelicals to return to ministry, no matter how depraved their behavior: Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and a hundred others like them. One of the many reasons why I gave my evangelical beliefs the boot 5 years ago.

    • Brandan Robertson

      So sorry to hear that you gave your beliefs the boot because of the witness of evangelical leaders. Not everyone is like that. But I totally understand and empathise. I’ve been there as well.

      Let’s hope for a different course of action here. Change is possible. I hope.

      • Thin-ice

        I said “ONE of the many reasons”. The main reason was the concept of hell: evangelical theology teaches that Ted Bundy, who brutally murdered 30 women, will enjoy heaven because he has “accepted Jesus” in his jail cell, while Bill Gates, who has given $27 BILLION to alleviating suffering and promoting education in the third world, will go straight to hell for eternity when he dies, because he doesn’t believe in God. The irrationality of this boggles my mind now (earlier in my life I ignored the cognitive dissonance pretty well). IF such an irrational God existed, I still would not worship him. But alas, he is more than likely a figment of human imagination.

        • I won’t argue with you about believing in God, but I will offer a comment about God’s omnipotence to consider. IF the God of the Bible is omnipotent (would any other definition of God make any sense?), then is not his power to forgive unlimited as well? As the Bible tells us, our salvation (a promised life in eternity with God) is not because of what we do on our own, but results from having faith and belief in the way he has directed us. God sets the rules. An omnipotent God cannot exist in eternity with anything or anyone that opposes his unlimited power, otherwise it would not be unlimited. Whether Bundy had genuine repentance and asked for forgiveness of his sin, based on the atonement made for us by Jesus, is known only to God and is a separate matter. If he did, though, God has promised to forgive any such sin, large or small in our eyes, and he by definition cannot contradict himself.

          • Thin-ice

            Your christianese “logic” is so funny I had to laugh out loud. Your comment would ONLY make sense to someone who has already bought into Christian theology, but NOT to anyone outside of it. But, alas, I don’t expect you to understand that. I myself used to say exactly the same things as you did in your comment.

    • If you put your faith in man, you will eventually be disappointed, sometimes to the point of being disillusioned. If your faith is anchored in Christ Jesus as revealed in the Scriptures, you will never be disappointed to the point of being disillusioned. It’s a matter of keeping focused.

      • Thin-ice

        Dan, doesn’t it bother you that so many evangelical leaders get caught with their hand in the cookie jar? Isn’t there something wrong with a religion in which the practical outworking demonstrates so much hypocrisy? The “proof is in the pudding” as the saying goes. If the divorce rate, pre-marital pregnancy rate, etc, is the same or higher in the evangelical community than in the non-religious population, why should anyone rate that belief as credible???

        • Non-biblical conduct by Christians, and especially by Christian leaders, is admitedly a bad witness to the world, but it does not affect my belief in Jesus. He did not do any of the things you mention. The things you mention as being “proof” that the Christian faith is no more viable than any other belief system with respect to how to live life are, to me, proof instead that we in the church are doing a poor job of teaching what the Christian life is all about. The Bible tells us what we need to know about living the life God wants us to live here on this earth. If some Christians fail to heed what it says (and we all have failed in one way or another at some time), that does not mean the Bible and the faith it proclaims are faulty. It simply means that we are all sinners saved by grace and still able to exercise our free will to obey or disobey God, at least between birth and death. As we mature in Christ, our will becomes more and more the same as God’s will, and our daily life begins to increasingly reflect that more perfect union.