Thanks for posting (re-posting) this. It is important even for people coming out of other abusive situations to see that it is not just their church or denomination that suffers at the hands of ungodly leaders.
What must be taken into account is the size and demographic of Mars Hill. I do not attend Mars Hill but do have family who does. Church discipline is a common practice in all churches. You don't become a member of a church without knowing where the church stands on biblical issues, doctorine, beliefs, etc. There is usually a class and signing of papers involed. However, not many chuches have the population, reach, or demographic that Mars Hill does. Mars Hill naturally stands out as peculiar in one of the least chuched cities in the nation. When you have thousands members across 11 campuses, there will be more cases of church discipline, more scorned people with a chip on their shoulder, and because of the size of the chuch, more media attention. Washington state is now one of 8 states to legalize gay marriage. Mars Hill (and the Bible) defines marriage as between a man and a woman. In Seattle, Mars Hill represents the minority on this issue and anything the media can grab hold of in an attepmt to discredit the church, they do. The fact of the matter is, the church is made up of...wait for it...sinners. No one in the chuch is perfect. Not the pastors, the elders, the members, the attendees. People who attend Mars Hill, or any chuch, need to realize this. Feeling will get hurt by other sinners in the chuch. You will hurt other peoples feelings. Grace is an amazing thing and we all need to exhibit more.
If you want to be a leader, you will be judged by a different standard. You're talking about ruling in the greatest enterprise in the history of the world. That's just the way it is. This 'nobody's perfect' special pleading has no place in the church. Elders are to be of a very well defined character, which they're expected to maintain. They must be first tested. Every Christian is commanded to test everything. Paul and the apostles are clear, there are men who seem genuine and of integrity at first, then they abandon the gospel or the work or demonstrate some fatal character flaw. If the church fails to discipline its own, God will do so. That is clear everywhere and especially in the letters to the seven churches of Asia. There are consequences. It is true that there are standards that apply if an Elder comes under accusation. Those criteria clearly have been greatly exceeded in this case.As for the media; don't make me laugh. Driscoll lives for media; he's got more platforms than the Star Wars Death Star with accompanying multiplied thousands of cyberbytes. Don't say he didn't welcome attention. Time for a review of what God says about the true shepherds of the sheep. Sex addicts have abounded in church history. Popes. Baptists. Cultists. Thomas Muntzer, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Muslim polygamists. Ministers in unwise pastoral counselling relationships. Conference delegates taking the edge off with a little late night adult entertainment.How many more of these sordid affairs do you want in order to make lame excuses for these wolves? How many more youth pastors defiling young girls or young boys? How many wealthy televangelists caught with prostitutes and call girls and pornography? How many Ted Haggards and all the rest of it.As well as redeemed sinners the church is also full of... wait for it... savage wolves who will not spare the flock; satan's servants appearing as angels of light; men creeping in unawares; blemishes at your love feasts; men who serve their own interests and not those of Jesus Christ. Men who lie, cheat, swindle, philander... and even worse than all of these they do not shepherd the sheep and they peddle a foolish, self-serving narcissistic message that saves neither themselves nor their hearers. But hey, if he combines all the best masculine traits of Clint Eastwood, Steven Seagal, that guy in 'Gladiator', with a little James Bond thrown in... well what's not to like about that eh?Then there are the naive simpletons who simply cannot abide sound teaching and prefer to be deceived, slapped around, mocked and robbed than to stand up like men and contend for the truth.
"This 'nobody's perfect' special pleading has no place in the church"...so elders are to be perfect?
Grace is a gift, and we can love people where they are at, but that also includes not allowing to be abused by them no matter their size and demographic. Church is reconciliation through Jesus and relationship with Him, not an empire. The church has the awesome gift of not having to live under bitterness and anger; there is reconciliation! And the leaders have an awesome responsibility to be the first to serve, the first to ask for forgiveness, and the first to take the time to know their people, earn their respect, and not just solve their problems.
This story is a journalism atrocity. I have written a blog post about the ridiculous tactics KOMO 4 News used to manipulate their audience. http://thethinkeasy.info/2012/03/09/mars-hill-church-christianity-attacked-komo-4-news/I have read some stories on this site. It is a shame when memebers who have committed to supporting their church family come with a mentality of "ask not what you can do for your church, but what your church can do for you".
Yeah Jordan I read your blog post and would dare say it reads a bit like a conspiracy theorist. I don't see KOMO news as some honorable news source either so don't have anything to argue with you on there. But I would say that the sloppy and poorly done factor falls in Mars Hill's favor.... She left dozens of stones untouched and by my count there are now 20 to 30 stories of abuse by leadership that have surfaced. KOMO missed most of them so Mars Hill should view this as having dodged a bullet.But you gotta be careful about slinging mud at people who were attending and start making accusations about the condition of their hearts. First and foremost because Mars Hill has made overtures to, although has not outright acknowledged that they have acted poorly.... So you have a church raising its hand albeit timidly and ambiguously saying "yeah we may have messed up in a few places" and a chorus of people that seems to be growing louder by the day saying they were treated poorly by men who are supposed to exhibit Christ like character to a far greater degree than anyone else... they are to be held to a higher standard, not just get laurels and power of the position.I get if you like Mars Hill, attend there or download the podcasts I get that your emotions are all tied up in it, but it doesn't make this chorus of people who seem to have suffered at their hands "consumers" because you don't like what they are saying...... Remember, when the adulteress sinful woman was laying on the ground, the woman that Jesus himself said her husband was allowed to divorce, the religious pillars of the day were standing with rocks in hand disgusted with her sin and were about to issue discipline medieval style and Jesus stepped in and said whoever has not sinned, can cast the first stone.... that has ALOT of weight when you consider the disciplinary proceedings that Mars Hill is under the microscope for, the excoriation that leaders subject members and attendees to because they won't "SUBMIT", the attacks on their faith, their character, their motive and the CONDITION OF THEIR HEARTS.I get it if you feel tribal loyalty to Mars Hill, but by their own standards Mars Hill would call that loyalty to an organization over believers idolatry.... Instead of forsaking the believers for the organization maybe we believers should be doing the opposite... I imagine it would have far more power and would honor Jesus far more, that simply circling the wagons and taking shots at supposed enemies.Accountability is a son of a gun, especially when it's the mothership that being held accountable... but painful and difficult though it may be, it is that much more necessary.
1 Cor 5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.So exactly what did Mars Hill do different from what Paul commanded is to be done to the unrepentant sexually immoral man?