Believe it or not, I take no pleasure in the flailings and failings of Christian leaders who hold dissimilar views to me. I’ve had my own failings, including divorce and foreclosure. And these failings have humbled me. I’m regularly told by friends and acquaintances, especially those who’ve not seen me for a few years, that I now seem more gentle, more humane. I attribute much of that to the love I’ve experienced, most notably from Courtney, Doug, and my family.
Mark Driscoll and I were never close. In the early days of proto-emergent, I was on the fringes and he was an intimidating figure in the inner circle. He made it abundantly clear that he had no respect for a youth pastor like me. By the time I made the inner circle, he’d left. I’ve attempted to correspond with him since — even to get together with him when I was in Seattle — with no success.
I say all that as prelude to the buzz that’s been making the rounds this week. A pastor who was fired by Mark a few years ago, and the pastor’s spouse, have gone public with their story. It is, I think you will agree, a chilling story. It’s full of intrigue, and could easily devolve into a gossipy sin feast.
But that’s not why I’m posting it.
I am posting it because I think it’s a cautionary tale. I think, as my headline indicates, that the particular theology that Mark Driscoll has embraced since he left the emergent posse (n.b., he was not a Calvinist when I met him in 1998) is untenable. John Piper excommunicates his son, C.J. Mahaney is removed from leadership because he is jerk to his colleagues, and now it turns out that Mark Driscoll has fired pastors and elders who had the gall to question his leadership.
When you read this story, make note of this: Paul and Jonna Petry are not liberals. They didn’t go off-message. That’s not why they were fired, excommunicated, and shunned. Their website is rife with the theological language of Calvinism, language that I and some readers won’t find compelling (e.g., spiritual warfare, “biblical eldership”). Paul Petry was not only a pastor, but also a practicing attorney. Petry expressed concern that Driscoll was having the by-laws rewritten to consolidate his power. Petry was fired, and shunned.
Our theologies have consequences. My hope is that Paul and Jonna Petry — and others like them — will reconsider their theological predispositions in light of what’s happened to them at Mars Hill. I hope that they will seek a theology that is more loving, open, and progressive.
Fired Mars Hill Church Pastor Releases History
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Those who do not remember the past will have it rewritten for them.
Well, not in this case. Not anymore. Four and half years ago, I was fired from Mars Hill Church because I refused to resign under pressure. I was a pastor on staff, an elder, and an officer of the corporation along with a group of other men. I spent months seeking formal reconciliation and years hoping for a better course. I have not spoken about these matters publicly until now. With the mounting stories and “histories” coming out regarding Mars Hill Church, it no longer seems right or beneficial to remain silent.
This website serves as a depository, a historical record of the events I and others experienced at that time – including documents, written correspondence, and personal narrative – with the hope that greater love and reformation will emerge and transcend our weaknesses and failures.
READ MORE AT JOYFUL EXILES