Try to understand things from Sutton Turner’s point of view.
He was hired from out of the blue after years of listening to Mark Driscoll online. Turner had a reasonable resume’ from a business standpoint, and is a young Christian. He is in a setting where “church planting” is the ultimate stated purpose of the organization. (If anyone actually makes a biblical case for that – I would be interested in seeing such.)
In that setting (I am sure many of you recall such a setting), there is such a tension between doing what God wired you to do versus doing what you are hearing from the pulpit. In this tension, Turner gets invited to use his executive skills which are very effective in a business in Texas. That business was a church.
So a bigger business, also a church, recruits and hires him (I would put money down that a head hunter “found” him) and a young Christian, skilled in business, gets that call.
In amazement, a young Christian man gets a call to hold a senior position in a church business called Mars Hill Church. What a call from God! (cough) It is not unlike the call that Paul Tripp received inviting him onto the board of one of the most exciting churches in America.
We have a glimpse of how Mark Driscoll treated Paul Tripp. Even when Tripp brought seven helpful suggestions to the Board, Mark Driscoll cut him off at two and refused to hear the rest. I have had that experience with Mark Driscoll. That is a story yet to be told.
While Sutton Turner has an enormous amount of responsibility for the climate he created, he did so at the bidding of a man who would turn on you in a heartbeat, then verbally beat the living daylights out of you – not to mention the behind-the scenes character assassination and slander.
So have a smidgen of empathy for Sutton Turner. A smidgen means a small amount. I actually have a smidgen of a smidgen, but still more than zero.
The real test is whether Turner signed an non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and slinks off somewhere like most of the other elders have. When Turner does talk, will he add his name to those that are accusing Mark Driscoll, like the twenty one elders have? Or will he have the courage of the Noble Nine? Or will he be like the ex-elders of character, Dave Kraft, Jesse Winkler, Lief Moi, Jeff Bettger, Kyle Firstenberg and Scott Mitchell who have added their public repentance to their words of accusation?
Will we see Turner’s confession at repentantpastor.com, or will he remain silent and be numbered among those who brought disgrace upon the church?
The jury is out.
Let us look forward to see what God can do with a smidgen of empathy. By His grace, it will be a mountain of empathy as we embrace a brother, deeply shamed by his actions, and offer him total forgiveness and in so doing, enable him to walk in newness of life without having to scrub Mars Hill from his resume while rebuilding his life in the shadows. Pray that Sutton Turner will have the courage to stand up, speak up, and have his place in history besides men like Paul Tripp, Lief Moi, Dustin Kensrue, and others – who after realizing their own errors, did the right thing and spoke up.
We will now see if Sutton Turner truly loves the gospel. My bet is that we will hear from him, and when we do he will need our love, forgiveness, and practical brotherly gospel-driven help.