MHC Pastors to hurting members – “quit social media and agree to be defrauded and abused.”

Agree to your suffering - says MHC

If you have been abused by Mars Hill Church leadership, one of the key pastors is suggesting that it is biblical to agree to be “defrauded” than to take public action to prevent such abuse.

Pastor David Fairchild, lead pastor of Mars Hill Church’s west Seattle campus, uses Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 6 about Christians settling disputes through secular lawsuits as the basis for his argument that “Paul would rather have us suffer wrong and be defrauded than air our grievances before a technological tribunal. I’m sure this teaching was most difficult to receive by those who felt they were wronged.” (From Fairchild’s facebook page)

So even though your life may in turmoil as a result of being abused by the leadership, one of the lead pastors of the abusive church is saying that although it is tough to accept, it is better to suffer this wrong than to air the grievance on social media (of course, he airs his view about this on social media!)

In a similar way, churches will thwart and hide sexual abuse by arguing that it should be handled in a quiet manner more akin to Matthew 18 versus taking the matter to law enforcement. Some churches (Mars Hill Church included at times) have encouraged abused wives to stay in the marriage despite the abuse – claiming that such is the bible’s teaching on the matter.

Pastor Brad House, after Paul Petry had been ruthlessly fired, unfairly tried, and badly mistreated (as has been clearly documented in many places), argued that it was Petry’s duty to respond in a godly way and in so doing “pour coals on our heads” and that “mistreatment” by himself and the other elders was no justification for Petry acting in a defensive way (link).

So both pastors David Fairchild and Brad House are arguing that people who have suffered abuse at the hands of the leadership of Mars Hill Church, where they both have or had a key role, should act in such a way as to pour coals on “our” heads. They should simply agree to the abuse.

I cannot imagine that the Apostle Paul was teaching that an abusive pastor should reach out to the members of his own church and suggest that to defend oneself from the abuse is ungodly and that the abused member should “pour coals on the abusive pastor’s head” by being quiet and kind.

What a distortion of the teaching.

Romans 12: 19 & 20: Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD”

Those of us who are arguing that Mars Hill Church leadership is corrupt, dishonest, deceptive and abusive do not view Mars Hill Church or its leaders as enemies. We view them as sinful brothers who have refused to allow anything resembling a Matthew 18 form of dealing with sin and dispute to occur.

Were Brad House and David Fairchild, in suggesting verses referring to lawsuits and enemies, representing the position of the Mars Hill Church leadership?

We prefer a different verse.

Proverbs  27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”

From a personal point of view, if I were the only member thrown under the bus, I would consider simply being defrauded and seek specific opportunities to be kind to my abusers, and in so doing pour coals on their heads. But what kind of man would I be to stand by and watch others get systematically abused?

I am saddened that pastors like David Fairchild and Brad House are willing to allow the abuse to go on and then tell the abused member to be defrauded and act in a way that pours coal on their own heads.

Their perspective is callous and abusive. It protects the abusers and not the sheep that these pastors are supposed to care for and protect.

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8 thoughts on “MHC Pastors to hurting members – “quit social media and agree to be defrauded and abused.”

  1. What kind of shepherd tells the sheep to say and do nothing if they are dragged away and kicked off a cliff? Or if they see it happening to other sheep?

  2. 1 Corinthians 6 is saying that when one sheep hurts another, the hurt sheep should seek out help from the other sheep to sort out who did what and who should make things right. The flock itself should be able to handle a true pursuit of justice.

    This passage is not saying that no one should say or do anything if shepherds abuse sheep and cut them out of the flock.

    And it is certainly not saying that scattered and abused sheep cannot call out to one another from across the canyons, even though their cries will echo and might be heard by those outside the flock.

  3. A first time commenter here, altho I’ve been reading for a while –

    “Pastor Brad House … argued that it was Petry’s duty to respond in a godly way and in so doing “pour coals on our heads” and that “mistreatment” by himself and the other elders was no justification for Petry acting in a defensive way”.

    As I understand it, in the first century it was common to ask a neighbor for burning coals. If your coals went cold, you had nothing to cook with or stoke up to keep the house warm. You asked someone for a few of theirs, and it was carried home in a clay pot on top of the head. Therefore, responding to someone’s need of food and drink was simply conveying the same neighborly response as giving them coals to keep their homefire going. It is NOT a vengeance moment that because we fed an enemy God will somehow join in the avenging. Since all of Romans 12 is about acting out the grace shown to us by God, vengeance certainly cannot fit in the picture.

    A lot of the social media postings would calm down if they (MHC leadership for the purpose of this posting) spent as much time getting Scriptural references correct as they do in plotting the discipline of someone’s sin.

  4. You do realize that to “heap burning coals onto his head” is akin to saving or extending that person’s life, right? I didn’t know this until a bible scholar explained this verse at a weekend retreat that I attended.

    Shepherds had to keep the fire going all night in order to stay warm (and alive). If one fell asleep and woke up with the fire having gone out, one would take a pottery dish or jar and hoof it for the next closest fire, where a person there would heap some burning coals into the ceramic vessel, carried on your head back to your own campsite.

  5. Pingback: Did a Mars Hill Pastor Attempt to Enforce the “Can’t Talk Rule” on Social Media? | The Wartburg Watch 2014

  6. Pingback: PART XIX-A: Christian Reconstruction, ATI, Abuse & Submission – Controlling Member’s Lives | The Pink Flamingo

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