On the day before the trial of Paul Petry I learned a few startling facts about how the elders were planning to conduct the trial. I was concerned so I thought I would reach out to the elders and appeal to them.
Here is the email I sent them: http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/mars-hill-rob-smith-email-to-elders-10-14-2007.pdf
The subject line was : Please hold a fair and impartial trial – from Rob Smith
I included my name as most of the elders knew me, or at least knew who I was. I was not a stranger, and although I had several minor skirmishes with both Mark Driscoll and some of the other elders my reputation at Mars Hill was decent. Decent enough to be on the elder track – something that I did not actively seek out.
My skirmishes were almost always over how the elders treated members that they were trying to correct. I will review on or two of those on a future post. They were warning signs of Mars Hill Church moving in a bad direction. The reason for the skirmish would consistently be the elders or Mark Driscoll kicking back against my concerns. Usually the reaction was not kind.
But we always landed on our feet as brothers and I certainly did not feel rejected or humiliated. A part of that was probably my temperament, and a part was me realizing that the men I were interacting with were young at the post of being an elder and needed time to mature.
So I added my name to the title page in the hopes that they would at least read the email before the trial.
It did have some positive effect. Mark Driscoll told me that while they could not accept what appeared to be good counsel because the email was sent in arrogance, they did change their minds with regard to allowing Paul Petry to attend his own trial.
The trial was on October 15th, 2007. Note that my email appeal was sent on October 14th, one day before. Up until the evening of October 14th, Paul Petry was not invited to his own trial.
On the evening of October 14th, with the schedule of the trial less than 24 hours away, Paul was called by Scott Thomas who informed him that they had changed their minds and he was expected at his own trial.
In other words, Paul Petry, who had hardly slept for several days, was given less than 24 hours to prepare for his own trial.
While the right to a fair trial is embedded in our constitution as a part of a just and fair society, the right to prepare for a defense is also just as fair and just.
Paul Petry did not know what the charges were, and was given less than 24 hours to prepare to defend himself.
That is the first reason that the verdict should be discarded and subsequent shunning ended. We will look at more on the next post.
END THE SHUNNING!