The Mars Hill Church Mailing List Was Being Distributed By…John Doe?

Not really, but that was the name given to register You’ll remember that was the website used to offer Mars Hill Church’s The Resurgence mailing list to the public. was pulled from the web and from twitter after it was learned that the list still belonged to Mars Hill Church. Craig Gross who purchased and used the list told Christianity Today that former Mars Hill Church spokesperson Justin Dean had sold him the list and then refunded the money after it became public knowledge that the list was still the property of Mars Hill Church.

After being offline for about a week, Justin Dean resurfaced and issued a vague apology about the mailing list. In his apology, he did not take or say that he was responsible for offering the list to the public. I asked Dean several times if he was behind from the beginning without any answer.

The identity of the registrant of was hidden via privacy shield supplied by a Ltd. This is a common manner of shielding addresses and phone numbers from the public. However, such shielding is not supposed to be done for unethical or illegal purposes. Last week, I wrote the privacy company about the matter. I was informed that the privacy shield would be removed which it was earlier today. Here is the registration information now:

Domain Name:
Registry Domain ID: 1906809784_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server:
Registrar URL:
Updated Date: 2015-03-24T03:11:45.0Z
Creation Date: 2015-03-03T17:54:03.0Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2016-03-03T17:54:03.0Z
Registrar: Google Inc.
Registrar IANA ID: 895
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: registrar-abuse[at]
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.877-237-6466
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID: 
Registrant Name: John Doe
Registrant Organization: Doe
Registrant Street: 1234 Doe
Registrant City: Beverly Hills
Registrant State/Province: CA
Registrant Postal Code: 90210
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.7145551212
Registrant Phone Ext: 
Registrant Fax: 
Registrant Fax Ext: 
Registrant Email:

John Doe? By law, information provided in the registration of a domain is supposed to be factual. However, I doubt John Doe residing at 1234 Doe in Beverly Hills is the real owner. According to a contact at Google, there is no additional underlying information available. A search of the domain history turns up nothing more of interest. From the beginning of March, when the domain was registered, the owner was protecting the identity of John Doe.

As it turns out, may actually be a working email. A search for this email on Google reveals the email attached to a domain owned by Justin Dean since 2013 — If you place this address in the address line of your browser, you will be redirected to the website of Ministry Communicators Association, a non-profit founded by Dean. Dean has apparently changed the registration information since March 28 because one needs to go to the Google cache to find the address.

Whois Record:

Registry Domain ID: 1824012583_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server:
Registrar URL:
Updated Date: 2014-07-30T00:16:13.00Z
Creation Date: 2013-08-28T15:39:00.00Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2015-08-28T15:39:47.00Z
Registrar: ENOM, INC.
Registrar IANA ID: 48
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.4252982646
Domain Status: ok
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: DOMAIN GUY
Registrant Organization: DOMAIN GUY
Registrant Street: 123 DOMAIN WAY
Registrant City: DOMAIN
Registrant State/Province: IA
Registrant Postal Code: 50126
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.1234567
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: DOMAINGUY99@GMAIL.COM

Since Dean is also registrant for several Mars Hill Church websites (including, this information does not prove that Dean operated on his own or that Mars Hill or former officer of Mars Hill wasn’t involved. According to the Church Leaders List website, several Christian leaders helped maintain the list. It is plausible to wonder about the possibility that others (either at the church or formerly with the church) were also involved in order to derive some benefit from the mailing list.

The practical significance of this is that Mars Hill continues to operate as a non-profit entity with even less transparency than before the church stopped having public services. Millions of dollars of assets are in play paid for by former members, some of whom were forced out because they asked too many questions. I asked the current president of Mars Hill Church, Kerry Dodd, for comment but have received no reply.

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