Mars Hill Elders (and ex-Elders) REPEAL THE BYLAWS – For the Gospel’s sake!

Reagan 1


The survival of Mars Hill Church needs a clear declaration by the elders at Mars Hill Church that the 2007 bylaws are invalid. They were coerced into existence by and for a man has now left Mars Hill Church, and the current bylaws, crafted to allow that man to run amuck without accountability, are not only meaningless without that man, but are confusing, inappropriate and harmful to the church.

Join me and sign this petition to the elders of Mars Hill Church.

With regard to my involvement in the saga of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church I was once called a “one-trick pony”. If it because of my incessant call to repeal the 2007 bylaws then that characterization is totally accurate.

The 2007 bylaws are like the Berlin Wall. The bylaws led to the collapse of Mark Driscoll’s ministry and the crippling of Mars Hill Church.

“Elders of Mars Hill Church: TEAR DOWN THE 2007 AND SUBSEQUENT BYLAWS!”

The 2007 bylaws are meaningless. We have seen behind the curtain and all that is left are the tatters of the so-called Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA) under whose watch this calamity has occurred.

By rising up and exercising their biblical role, the elders must simply tear up the ever-changing and useless bylaws that the beleaguered BOAA has to now interpret to figure out a way forward, and revert to the 2006 bylaws, which although might need adjustment, are sound and give the elders equal authority to rule the church.

For months, Mike Wilkerson and Scott Thomas have been telling me that they are working on a document signed by a majority of the elders who were coerced under duress into unlawfully changing the bylaws in 2007. They intend to acknowledge that they were coerced and that they wish to exonerate Pastor Paul Petry and Bent Meyer, whose ruthless and firings and subsequent trial were the tools used to carry out that coercion.

I am not sure why we have not seen that statement, but I can tell you that a vast majority of the elders at that time attest to the grave mistake of not following their conscience during those events.  We know, from none other than former BOAA member Paul Tripp, that Mark Driscoll led and created a church that was “the most abusive and coercive” church that Tripp had ever worked with.

Not only are the current bylaws rather useless now, as they were designed to prop up, protect, and reward Mark Driscoll, but they are invalid because they were abusively coerced into existence.

Nothing will help create the governance required and action needed to save Mars Hill Church from total collapse more than the elders rising up and reinstating the rightful bylaws of the church.

By declaring the 2007 and subsequent bylaws as invalid the following benefits can occur:

  1. The actions of the BOAA and the reigning Executive elders can be immediately stopped.
  2. Six-figure severance packages for men who are millionaires can be stopped – at least until a full analysis of the finances can be assessed and members and donors be assured that no personal inurement has taken place. (This would prevent a court injunction to that end which is quite probable at this stage. It might also placate a growing crowd that is calling for the Attorney General of the State of Washington from starting its own investigation).
  3. The elders can not only exonerate Paul Petry and Bent Meyer, but all shunned elders and members. These men got it right, and need to be exonerated.
  4. All previous elders ought to be implored to return and be immediately reinstated to help Mars Hill Church recover. Some will be willing and they are sorely needed.
  5. The Noble Nine should be asked to be the Executive Elders (under the 2006 bylaws).
  6. An advisory council should be put together of local pastors to provide counsel and their protective hearts as Mars Hill Church rises from the ashes. I am sure there are many more, but these are some that would I would invite onto that council.
    1. Bill van der Merwe (Pastor – WestGate Chapel, Edmonds)
      Pastor Bill knows how to minister to the shunned and hurting.
    2. Rose Madrid-Swetman (Pastor – Vineyard Community Church, Shoreline
      Pastor Rose has actively cared about the crisis at Mars Hill Church.
      (don’t get your knickers in a knot.. even complimentarians recognize that Israel needed Debra at a time of crisis.)
    3. Dean Hellekson (Pastor – Redeemer Church, Lynnwood)
      Pastor Dean has had a lot of bruised ex-members come to his church and he knows how to minister to them.
    4. Pastor Dave Kraft
    5. Pastor Mike Howerton (Pastor – OverLake Christian Church)
      Pastor Mike knows the journey of a church from the ashes.
    6. Pastor Sam Ford (Pastor – Restoration Road, Sonohomish)
      Pastor Sam knows the details well, and deeply cares to see restoration.
    7. Pastor Alec Rowlands (Pastor – WestGate Chapel, Edmonds)
      Pastor Alec preaches Jesus and has led a mega-church for enough years to offer solid help and guidance.
    8. Pastor Wes Johnson (Pastor – Bethel Baptist Church, Everett)
      Pastor Wes loves the ordinary person and faithfully served in a downtown Everett church for decades.

Join me and call for the 2007 bylaws to be repealed (link to petition).


6 thoughts on “ Mars Hill Elders (and ex-Elders) REPEAL THE BYLAWS – For the Gospel’s sake!

  1. I am sorry, but if you take over the church and add an advisory board including a female pastor, my husband and I will be looking for a new church. Part of the reason we have stayed at MHC is because we are theologically conservative. If we wanted a church where women are pastors over men there are many other choices. And by including a female pastor on an advisory board you are opening the door to the idea that MHC should have women pastors over men.

    • Suzanne, I am complimentarian. I have no desire to take over the church. Having said that, I will tell you that had 22 elders listened to their wives 7 years ago, they might have led like true elders. In terms of character (the overriding proof that a man qualifies for eldership) give me Debra over ten Saul’s any day. The church is going through a difficult season, so we have been repeatedly told. I would not sacrifice the church so that your fear that getting the advice of godly women is carefully avoided in an attempt to avoid a slide into liberalism. If male elders are not man enough to trust advice from their wives, why are they elders? “To obey is better then sacrifice”.

    • If you cannot have a woman as an advisor, lest that opens a theologically liberal door, perhaps Mars Hill Church should avoid having women deacons for the same reason. Perhaps if you truly believed women should not give men advice, you would not recommend women give advice to male bloggers. I am happy, as a man who is theologically conservative, to hear your advice. I presume you got permission from your husband to do so… (I do not mean that at all…. hopefully just making a point).

      • There is a huge difference in authority between some insignificant woman posting a comment to a blog and a woman who is lead pastor of a church. I would not (and did not) expect you to give credence to my question. I am actually pleasantly surprised that you did.

        I have no problem with women expressing opinions publicly or privately, where I draw the line is where Scripture does when it says women are not to be in authority over men. That is why I expressed concern over Pastor Rose Madrid-Swetman’s inclusion on the list. And having just gone to her blog to get a feel for her likely influence, I can see why you included her, but I still would question the wisdom. Any advice she would give will be from her point of view as a woman who believes women should be in authority over men. Mars Hill Church has many problems – most of which my husband and I were unaware of when we started attending (we were just thankful to have finally found a church that actually preached from the Bible), and adding a voice which is non-complementarian to the mix of counsel doesn’t seem helpful.

        There are already many voices calling for MHC to scrap complementarianism as I am sure you are aware. Holding on to what was/is good about MHC while at the same time allowing God to deal with the things that were/are sinful is going to require a leadership and a congregation who are united in the basics of what they believe God has called the church to look like. Keeping what is left of the current membership while integrating new/old members, would seem to require holding fast to the reformed nature of the basic beliefs.

        PS Could you please explain the use of 1 Sam 15:22 above? Since the passage is talking about obeying the Lord being better than offering sacrifices to the Lord, I am not sure how that relates to the elders listening to their wives.

  2. Suzanne, I am complementarian. Mark Driscoll objectified women in a way that most of us men who attended were blind and failed to pick up as soon as we could. Merle, my lovely wife, and I have seen its effect on young married couples. It would be most wise to have women giving advice as Mark Driscoll’s DNA is purged from the church. Perhaps one woman’s perspective is not enough, we might need two or more. I have not called for an end to Mars Hill Church’s complimentarian position. I have called for the bylaws to be changed to pre 2007. In terms of restoring a healthy view of women and men, Rose Swetman Madrid would me most helpful. She is a friend and reflects an understanding of the gospel that Mark Driscoll and the existing leadership at Mars Hill Church could learn from. It is better to obey (live out the gospel) than sacrifice (reject good counsel because it could be the beginning of a slippery slope to a liberal ecclesiology). The point of that saying was that Israel was going through theologically correct rote with disobedient hearts.

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