By: Rob Smith
August 8, 2014
Seattle, WA – In the light of the announcement today by the Acts 29 Board removing Mars Hill Church and Pastor Mark Driscoll from its membership, and calling for his removal as pastor, a group of over 75 members and ex-members have chosen to delay the filing of 53 new charges against the pastor and his Executive Elders.
Spokesman for the group of 75 members and ex-members bringing formal charges, Rob Smith, said, “It is with a mix of sadness and relief to see that Acts 29 has taken these actions. We hope and pray that the call for Mark Driscoll to step down from ministry is heeded. We would therefore rather wait and withdraw our plans to file new charges if he steps down, or file them in due course if he chooses to ignore the call of the Acts 29 board. We are in prayer for Mark and his family. We pray that he will find comfort, restoration, and hope in the Christ that he loves. We are committed to love him well and stand ready to support him and his family through these difficult days. We echo the call of the Acts 29 board.”
One of the charges that was to be filed today is that the current bylaws were passed in a sinful and unlawful manner that violated both the text and spirit of the 2006 bylaws under which the new bylaws were passed. If found to be true, the church’s current bylaws may be deemed invalid and repealed.
Smith called on the church’s current leadership to examine the manner in which the current bylaws were passed, and to take the bold move to declare them invalid and reinstate the 2006 bylaws that govern the church by “a plurality of equal elders. A return to a classically Reformed church governance model, preached and taught so well by Pastor Mark Driscoll, will serve the future of Mars Hill Church well.”
Smith also called for “an end to the order given to the Mars Hill Church members to shun Pastor Paul Petry, and for a complete exoneration of both Pastor Paul Petry and Pastor Bent Meyer for their valiant attempts to protect the church in 2007.”
The church has frequently been in the news lately, rocked by various scandals involving its coarse-tongued, “tough-guy” persona pastor, including allegations of plagiarism, libel, using church funds to manipulate sales of his sex book onto the New York Times bestseller list, posting vulgar online rants demeaning to women under an assumed name, and most recently the revelation that solicited donations to the church’s global fund for missions to Africa and India were misappropriated and spent on acquisitions of real estate in Spokane and Everett, Washington.
Last week, church members, ex-members, and members of the community showed up for a protest in front of the church’s main campus after Driscoll declared in a video to church members that he wanted to “reconcile” with people he has “hurt” but was unable to do so because “they remain anonymous.” The video sparked the startup of a Facebook group called “Dear Pastor Mark: We Are Not Anonymous” and large signs carried by protesters at last week’s demonstration repeated the theme.
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Should Mark actually step down, it will be even more important that charges proceed against the BOAA who have been equally complicit in the culture of abuse at Mars Hill Church. God forbid they exercise their power to fill the vacuum of Mark’s departure.