On Tuesday (one day after I posted the news that Mark Driscoll had publicly announced formation of The Trinity Church in Phoenix), Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church, spoke about Mark Driscoll’s return to ministry. (I am embedding it because the Facebook feature isn’t working currently. The link to watch it on Noble’s page is here)
On Noble’s Facebook page, former Mars Hill Church elder Dave Kraft left the following message:
Perry, I appreciate your heart in all of this, but do wish you had done your homework and exercised due diligence by finding out what really happened at MHC! I’m afraid you are in the dark about the truth of what transpired and why The Acts 29 network, Paul Tripp and 30 former elders believe that Mark Driscoll disqualified himself and needs to make some things right before stepping back into pastoral ministry! I appreciate your ministry, read your books and value your leadership wisdom.
I expected mixed reactions to Driscoll’s announcement. My guess is that the same polarization will pick up about where it left off.
Who Matters in Perry Noble’s Christian Army?
I doubt many would deny that there is a trail of loose Mars Hill ends from Seattle to Phoenix.
Mars Hill Church had millions in assets. Much of that money was given by people who are now disillusioned and skeptical about organized church. They deserve an accounting of their funds. They have reason to believe Mark Driscoll could secure that for them. I believe they are correct and will believe that unless Mark Driscoll provides evidence to the contrary.
More important than the money is the damage done to the trust of former members. To them, Driscoll’s assurance that he is healing up seems self-absorbed. It seems as though Perry Noble cares more about Driscoll’s return to ministry than the people who lost their confidence in church. Noble’s concern is clearly for Driscoll but I hear nothing about the people in Seattle who have desired all along to hear from Driscoll and makes things right.
At 4:00 into the clip, Noble mentions the former members:
Some people have said, Perry, he hurt people. So have you. So have you. Do we want to talk about the people he’s hurt, or do we want to talk about the people maybe you’ve hurt. Cause did he hurt people, did he misuse his power? Did he abuse people? I don’t know. But I think he’s got ministry left in him, I think Jesus still loves him, I don’t think God removed his calling from Mark’s life and um, he may have hurt people but you know what, he’s learned from it and he’s going to step into this season of ministry with a brand new focus and I praise God for that.
Noble’s concern is about how Driscoll is doing: since Driscoll allegedly has learned from his experience, all is well. He’s got a new focus and that’s what matters. Why don’t the former members matter? Why doesn’t Perry Noble try to find out if Driscoll abused his power? He speaks about the hurt ones without knowledge of them.
This cavalier attitude toward the wounded in Seattle comes across as insensitive. Noble says Christians are the only army who shoot their wounded. In Noble’s version of Christianity it is also fine to leave the wounded bleeding on the battle field. His Christianity rehabs the generals and leaves the foot soldiers to fend for themselves.
What is amazing about real Christianity is that reconciliation is still possible. Based on my conversations with former Mars Hill Church members and leaders, it isn’t too late for everyone to heal up together.