The log in the Mars Hill Church defender’s eye!

 

 

 

Mark Driscoll log in the eye

I received this comment after the Hyenas and Lions post from a few days ago. This is the type of accusation that one gets when one stands up for justice. I have had many caring people who have written similar appeals to me. What they do not realise that their appeals contain deep accusations and implications that probably has not occurred to these writers.

So for those of you who have been the target of such, I will post my thoughts. Here is the comment from Diane:

Just get over it, already!

It seems no matter what is said, or done, it’s never enough for those of you who feel either yourself or others have been hurt and/or mistreated. Guess what? Welcome to living in a fallen world. Move on. Do something positive for the Kingdom. God sees and knows all, he is big enough to bring about His plan, His discipline. He can and will make all things right, in HIS time.

You are tearing down and prejudging the pastors who will be leading these churches before they’ve even begun. It will never be enough for the likes of you who seek the destruction of those who have been affiliated with Mars Hill. You set yourself up as judge and jury and seem to think only you know what should be done to bring all to account. As John Piper has said, (paraphrased) God is doing a thousand things in situations where you can only see, maybe three. I find the whole anti-Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill movement to be hypocritical and self-serving. You are acting no better than what you accuse them of.

These pastors have wives and families you are affecting. They love Jesus, they are pursuing what God has placed on their hearts to do; to love their flock and lead them. Your words are caustic and judgmental and you set yourself up as God. You will be held accountable for your words and actions as much as Mark Driscoll, his.

You are so deep into trying to get even, you can’t see anything good coming from all this. God is able to bring good from all things.

Let God do his work, in his time and in his way.

Find something productive, God-honoring, loving and kind to do and be a part of.

You will never find the satisfaction you are looking for concerning this. No matter what transpires, it will never be enough or what you deem right.

Bitterness will/does rule in your heart. And, the world will see, and think there is no difference.
Is there?

Philippians 4:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Here is my response to Diane:

Diane, lets start with the verse you quoted.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

So we are encouraged to 1) seek truth, 2) be honorable, 3) seek justice, 4) pursue that which is lovely, 5) do that which is commendable, 6) seek excellence, and finally 7) think about that which is worthy of praise.

You quoted this verse after making the following accusations and assumptions:

Accusation #1: Regardless of what is said or done, it is never going to be enough for those of us who feel mistreated or hurt.

This is an assumption that you cannot prove. If you had been paying attention, when Mark Driscoll resigned I called for us all to return to Mars Hill Church and participate in bringing healing. This was highly criticized by many (on both sides) and shortly thereafter we were told that the church would dissolve. There is much that needs to said and done that has not been said and done. For a church that has been identified as the most abusive and coercive in recent history, very little has been said by the leaders (including the pastors of each campus) and almost nothing to identify the abuse and to address it with repentance and restitution.

Accusation #2: I am tearing down and prejudging the pastors who will be leading these churches before they have even begun.

I am certainly not prejudging these men, and they are not leading churches that are “yet to begin.” They are churches that are currently a part of Mars Hill Church and the pastors are the very men who participated in creating the most abusive of churches in recent history. I am able to judge their past actions and call them to account. I have known several of the men for years. At what point am I able to judge their character and call them to action? You are judging mine and you do not know me from a bar of soap. If in fact they are about to attempt to bury the sins that they were complicit in and “move on,” and God withhold His blessing for such, then it is an act of kindness to call them to a different path. Don’t forget that “faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kiss of an enemy is death.”

Accusation #3: I seek the destruction of those affiliated with Mars Hill Church

Wow, that is quite a strong accusation. For it to be true I would be seeking my own destruction, because I am affiliated with Mars Hill Church, as are many of my friends. Some who have left and have been destroyed are people whom I am assisting in one way or another, including financial or emotional support. Some of those participated in the slander and abuse of me and my ministry. I harbor no bitterness toward these men, and have withheld stories of their abuse because it would further harm them. In more than one case I have chosen to not pursue them as they are vulnerable, weak, and struggling in the aftermath of their abuse (both given and received). Some of the details of abuse would add credibility to a lawsuit, yet I choose not to use the details as they would harm people, even though they would make a civil case more solid. I am not a heartless man. I am a man who seeks justice, mercy, and humility.

Accusation #4: I set myself up as judge and jury and seem to think that only I know what should be done to bring all to account.

First, you have no way of knowing what I think. I am wired in a certain way, and would have likely made a very good attorney for either the prosecution or defense as I do have a strong sense of what is right or wrong. That does motivate my thinking, and it may be because I was raised in a home where Philippians 4:8 was frequently meditated upon. I think the more one lives in God’s word, the better sense of knowing what is right is likely. However, If you read the email that I sent the elders calling for a fair trial for Paul Petry in 2007, you will see that I do not set myself up as judge and jury. It is probably more fair to say that I set myself up as an advocate – seeking to present my case to a judge and jury. In the current matters, seeing that dialog with the leadership has been vigorously opposed by Mars Hill’s leadership (including the pastors that are currently pastoring the eleven campuses) the judge and jury has become the larger church through social media. You are a part of that process in your engagement here. In fact, you are acting more of either a judge or a juror in your comments than I have, which is a reaction to my advocacy. Since I and others have been calling for an redress of the many grievances that have become apparent, thousands have become judge and jurors, with many voting with their feet and leaving Mars Hill Church.

Accusation #5: I am a part of an ‘anti-Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll” movement.

Calling out for a just response to the abuse emanating from Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll is exactly the opposite of being anti the church or the man. I am absolutely for Mars Hill Church and for Mark Driscoll. The leaders of Mars Hill Church have decimated their own church rather than deal with the abuse. Mark Driscoll, rather than put things right and take responsibility for his actions, abandoned Mars Hill Church like an abusive father does his children. These men are anti-Mars Hill. And some of these men are continuing to “pastor” the same church with new names. They are not for Mars Hill Church. They want nothing to do with Mars Hill Church.

Accusation #6: Such a movement is hypocritical and self-serving.

If seeking justice for those who have been shunned and falsely accused through slander and libel is hypocritical, then so be it. If asking for transparency from a church that has received millions of dollars of my and other members’ and former members’ donations is hypocritical, then so be it. Sadly, you just made the accusation without saying how those of us who you are accusing are being hypocritical.

Accusation #7: I am acting no better than what I accuse them (the lead pastors) of.

My post was one of questions, not accusations. Will they act like hyenas and stay quiet about the questions of abuse and fraud, or will they stand up like lions and insist on closure for the members and former members of the church? I think I am acting better than these men, as I am willing to risk my comfort and reputation to stand up for what I believe to be honorable, truthful, just, and worthy of our attention. These men do not seem to be willing, thus my post which was written in an attempt to prick their conscience.

Accusation #8: I have set myself up as God and my words are caustic and judgmental.

One of the things that has been characteristic of this struggle has been that those of us advocating for justice have been truthful and clear. Mars Hill leadership, including the men you say are pursuing what God has put on their hearts, have been either silent or non-truthful when they speak. Many have pointed out the spin and the lack of information that we have received. Often the words are by people who do not even identify themselves (as in your case). Those of us that are advocating are doing so with clarity and in the open. We can stand behind everything we say and are willing to be corrected. When truth hurts, as it sometimes does, I can understand that truth may seem to be caustic to those who do not want to hear truth.

Accusation #9: I am trying to get even.

This a repeated accusation, even from the 21 elders that brought charges against Mark Driscoll. What an unfair accusation as you have no way to prove it even if it were true. If I were trying to get even I would have done so years ago. The abuse I and my dear wife and family suffered occurred years ago. I had moved on until I heard about the repeated abuse of many members and ex-elders last December. To stand up to stop abuse and to call for accountability has nothing to do with getting even.

Accusation #10: I cannot see anything good coming from all this.

How do you know what I see? I see an immense amount of good coming from all of this. God is good and I truly believe that “all things work together for good those that are in Christ Jesus”. Much good will occur as the evangelical church begins to fully process how a leading mega-church can say in January that 2014 will be “our best year ever,” and then the entire church is gone in disgrace less than twelve months later. It is most heartening to see James MacDonald quit the Mars Hill BOAA and hastily run back to his own church and very publicly put matters right with the elders he threw under the bus a year earlier. The days of domineering leadership are over. We have only just begun to see the good that will come from all of this. The various campus pastors are all promising their members better accountability. That is good. If they have the courage to call for full transparency before December 31, that will also be good.

Accusation #11: I will never find the satisfaction I am looking for in this matter.

As an advocate, the satisfaction that I am looking for may allude me. I seek justice and transparency. As long as the existing elders are prepared to continue to bury the truth the odds of justice occurring is diminished. However, I must say that there has been a lot of satisfaction already. 15 of the 22 elders who treated Paul Petry and Bent Meyer with such disdain seven years ago have confessed their sin and sought forgiveness. I believe we will see most of the remaining men do the same. It will be a moment of deep satisfaction when I hear that Bubba Jennings (lead pastor of MHC Tacoma), Tim Smith (lead pastor of MHC Portland), A.J. Hamilton, Jamie Munson, Tim Belz, Tim Quiring, and Bill Clem see the depth of their sin against Mars Hill Church and the men they placed on trial and finally confess their sin.

Accusation #12: Bitterness rules in my heart.

I certainly do not feel bitter. This is something that totally unprovable and a frequently used “sin” to throw at people when you do not have an actual sin in mind. It is even more frequently used against people who are seeking for a wrong to be made right. Seeking justice for another does not make the advocate bitter. What a pathetic accusation to use when someone is seeking to defend those that have been hurt.

I am sure I could analyze more – but the main point here is that your call to me is full of accusations, most unfounded and impossible to even defend. The abuse and sin within the Mars Hill camp is clear. Have you written a single word calling for their sin to be dealt with as you are doing with me?

Please do not feel like I am condemning you. I am not. You have taken the time to reach out and I do appreciate you doing so.

You have said God will make all things right in His time. I totally agree. I also am aware that God will frequently use His servants to accomplish making things right. I hope to be one of those servants.

Satan is known as an accuser. He also uses people to carry out his ends.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Rob Smith

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