There are few more destructive and simply “mean” sins than that of slandering another person. Slander is a violation of the eighth commandment. Slander is lying in order to damage the good name of another person.
In the current Mars Hill Church debacle, the term has been used frequently to silence critics and those who ask questions. Do those who use the term realize the seriousness of the sin?
One can be sued in civil court for defamation: which may be slander, and if the slander is put in writing, it is called libel. Of course, making a false statement about a person while under oath can land you in jail for perjury. It is a serious sin.
Recently, Matt Rogers, the man who is heading up the “investigation” of the charges against Mark Driscoll, has accused unnamed persons of slandering good men’s names. Rogers neither named the alleged slanderers nor did he say who was slandered or what the slander was. Nevertheless he made the accusation against either all or some of the protesters at the August 1 silent protest, and against protesters using social media.
Fortunately for Matt Rogers, he neither named who he leveled his accusation against, nor identified what the slander was. So Roger’s accusations are meaningless as their truth cannot be verified. Without naming anyone, if his accusation is false, no one specific can say they have been slandered. There were estimates of between 60 to 100 people at the protest. Very few of us spoke out as it was a silent protest. So Rogers was probably stating that the few (perhaps three or four) of us that spoke to reporters were slanderers. I wonder who he was referring to and what slander occurred? Telling the truth is by definition not slander.
Mark Driscoll has been accused of slander by various individuals and groups, including Dave Kraft, the 21 elders who left Mars Hill Church, and the “Noble Nine” elders from within the church. Last Wednesday, I added myself to the list when I met with four members of the investigation team and in accordance with 1 Timothy 5:19 brought four specific charges of slander against Mark Driscoll dating from 18 years ago to as recently as six months ago. My desire was not to merely add more accusations to the mountain of charges already leveled against Mark Driscoll, but to demonstrate that the sin has repeatedly occurred for years, has not been repented of, and is still occurring.
There has been no repentance by “the young angry prophet” nor by “the older fatherly” Mark Driscoll.
There has been no change. It appears that both the admittedly angry young prophet and the newly posturing fatherly Mark Driscoll is a serial slanderer.
In the last several months it appears that Mark Driscoll slandered a former elder who was cleared of misusing church resources. Even after the former elder was cleared of the charge, Driscoll repeated the accusation that the former elder had embezzled from the church. This would be slander of the worst kind. At the trial of Paul Petry, it has been reported that Mark Driscoll slandered several people, including me. 18 years ago, some of us have recently discovered, Mark Driscoll is accused of slandering an ex-employee. All of these acts of slander can be verified by witnesses in accordance with 1 Timothy 5:19.
Slander is often done behind the scenes. It is malicious. The one being slandered has no idea of it occuring or the damage inflicted to his or her name. It is devastating to the innocent party.
In Mark Driscoll’s case, he most often seems to slander men with whom he has worked, and in some cases, as in my case and other former elders’ cases, he threatened to harm the reputation of men with whom he became angry. In my case, he threatened to end my ministry and make sure I would never be in ministry again. He appears to have attempted to do this by slandering my name and my ministry behind my back.
Reports are that he has also done this to other men with whom he has worked. He appears to have slandered them and harmed their good names.
Consider that the process for becoming a deacon or elder at Mars Hill Church has always been touted as rigorous. The men whom Mark Driscoll has slandered were men who passed the test of character that is required by the Mars Hill process and promulgated by Mark Driscoll over and over again.
Slander is despicable.
It harms a man’s name and can destroy his reputation, sometimes permanently. It can harm the person who is slandered significanltly, including the loss of income, as the harm causes people to mistrust the victim. Many of the men leaving Mars hill Church are trying to find jobs or rebuild their source of income. Slander can be devasting to these men.
To slander men in this position is literally attempting to rob them of their ability to rebuild their lives and their ability to provide for their families.
Mark Driscoll’s slander of me and of Agathos, the ministry he said he would destroy, brought great harm to me and to Agathos. The Agathos staff and I simply chose to be defrauded and not pursue a lawsuit (I Corinthians 6), but as I have discovered allegations of slander from 18 years ago, and which have continued to occur even within in the last six months despite the heightened scrutiny of the church and the public, I can no longer avoid drawing attention to this disqualifying sin.
2 thoughts on “Bearing false witness: Does repeated slander disqualify an elder?”
Another instance was at the Strange Fire conference at Grace Community Church: Mark Driscoll accused security of confiscating his books. There is a short and a long version of the video from the incident on youtube and various blogsites that indicate otherwise.
Slander is one of those sins that make you understand when Yeshua says if you broke one of his commandments, you have broken them all. It is thief of reputation. It is a murderer. It is connected to coveting either as a reason (or tool) or you take on a covetous nature because you start to hold your life so precious above your brothers’ life or the life of Christ given at the cross. And that always leads to the breaking of the first 4 commandments. We are to die each day to ourselves. Slander is always used to protect sin or to create sin. It heaps sin on top of sin.
Slander also takes on a life of its own if not stopped. It is a sin that is renewed each morning by the seeds that were planted. So if a brother says he has repented of that sin of slander and has done nothing to correct it, he has repented not. He has committed the sin of slander again that following morning without saying a word. If a church leadership does not take immediate steps to stop it, they become enablers and supporters of sin. They are just as guilty for that sin, they are held at a level higher than the slanderer.
Romans 1:32 is clear about that:
and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
That would be the enablers in leadership of that sin, or the ones who knew and did nothing about it. That is the protector of sin. Sounds likes Mark Driscoll’s mouth piece. Sounds like protectors of slander in my changing church.
To see what the writer of Romans was talking about let us see what precedes it in Romans 1:28-32
28 And just as they did not see fit [a]to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, [b]haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
Hmmm, sounds (looks) eerily like what shows to be a leader that is being protected. Mark Driscoll call your office.
Note aside: Any “correction of slander” should be held to a reasonable accountability to the victim , not the leadership. Leadership who does not allow the victims participation is usually covering up for the offender.
But that is not the tenor of your question. You ask if he could hold the office of Elder (Pastor). No. That is obvious. According to scripture in 1 Corinthians Chapter 5, he doesn’t have a place in the congregation.
But it gets worse for those who continually and willfully slander. Let us see what Hebrews 5:26-27 states:
26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.
That should make any real believer tremble. That is of course if he is a believer. I leave you with that note. And that may be the real question you should ask.
God bless you.
Sheep and recovering Pentecostal