My Neighbor Mark Driscoll to Take a 6-Week Leave of Absence

My Neighbor Mark Driscoll to Take a 6-Week Leave of Absence August 24, 2014

What a whirlwind it has been for those following the Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill situation. For a summary, see the New York Times. All I want to say, before giving the following report is that I pray for Mark Driscoll and all who have been hurt by him directly or indirectly. As a newish resident church planter in Ballard (the site of the first permanent “main campus” as I understand it) I simply want to love my neighbors affected by all of this. I pray for ALL involved, including the Driscolls. Yes, I disagree with most of what Mark teaches. But yes… he is still an image-bearer of God. One whom I’m invited to love via the Great Commandment.

When Jesus said to “love our neighbors,” he meant even those we sometimes strongly disagree with. In love, let’s all PRAY for Mark Driscoll, the Driscoll family, Mars Hill Church and ALL who have been hurt over the years. Accountability and LOVE are both part of following Jesus.

After some conversation online about “praying for Driscoll” I want to add that I realize many have been hurt directly because of his flawed theology, worldview, and actions. I have friends that think I’m a heretic and that MD walks on water… I really get it. For some it may take time to be ready to pray for this man. Then… pour extra prayers into those who have been spiritually abused as an extension of his ministry! But, my hope for anyone in that situation is that they would eventually move forward in their own healing and begin wishing MD well. This doesn’t mean we want him to “get some help so he can get his pulpit back”–far from it! It means we recognize that Christ is for everyone: even those we may strongly disagree with on various issues.

From Warren Throckmorton:

Reading a prepared statement, Mark Driscoll told the Bellevue campus of the Mars Hill Church congregation this morning that he will take at least six weeks off as lead pastor of Mars Hill Church while charges against him are investigated. Driscoll preached at Bellevue at 8:30 am to a packed house. According to sources in church this morning, Driscoll said he is meeting with mature Christian men unrelated to the church. The message is being played at other locations this morning….. According to those at Bellevue this morning, Driscoll also addressed some of the controversies swirling around him.  He said the charges against him would be handled in accord with the by-laws and that a report would be created from this investigation.  He said he would do no outside speaking or speak from the pulpit while he was away. Fellow executive elder Dave Bruskas will handle the First John series.

From Revangelical:

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.

My Previous Response to this Whole Scenario:

“I’ve intentionally stayed out of this publicly as I live in some odd tension as a church planter in Mars Hill’s founding neighborhood. One of the challenges for folks like us is that we want to create a church (Pangea) that is “for” something and Someone, and not to be positioned as “against” something or someone as we shape our young identity. I’ve met several wonderful and godly people who attend Mars Hill Church. They find community in relationships there. They appreciate hearing from the Scriptures, albeit a vastly different theology than Pangea represents, but from the Scriptures nonetheless. I count several of them as friends and family members in Christ. There is no doubt that God has done some great things through many of the people at that church, even with some very clear pastoral and theological missteps. I hurt with those who have been hurt by a leadership and a system like this one (having experienced the pain church can cause people on a personal level in the past). Excessive power in the church when coupled with certain theological assumptions can be quite abusive. So to all of those who are hurting right now for whatever reason because of what is happening at Mars Hill Church, I want you to know that we are praying with you and for you. God is with you, the Lord Jesus is for you, and the Holy Spirit will be there to comfort you. And I also pray for Mark Driscoll and the entire Driscoll family. May he take steps forward that demonstrate that he truly loves his spiritual family and physical family. I pray that he gets whatever help he may need. And at the end of the day, I want to reemphasize that I pray for all of you who have been hurt or spiritually abused because of Mars Hill and its leader–whether as a regular attendee or by extension through Mark’s influence in the broader church. May our tone about this matter be full of both grace and truth.”

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