Thank you Wartburg Watch! You nailed it!

It takes a village 1

Wartburg Watch is spot on!

If you have an interest in seeing the damaging “shepherding” movement within the neo-Reformed groups like Acts 29 get the whipping it deserves, you must read this excellent piece: Lessons Learned From The Village Church and Matt Chandler on Membership, Abuse and Repentance – by Wartburg Watch.

Rather than write a blog saying essentially the same thing, let me highlight a few of the many excellent observations and lessons pointed out by Dee Parsons.

  • The threat of a lawsuit should not interfere with an apology; in fact, it could stop a lawsuit in its tracks. If I were the leadership of Mars Hill Church I would be taking copious notes! (link…. at 32 second mark)
  • Matt Chandler’s apology meant the world to victims of church abuse. He did not apologize to anonymous victims. He apologized specifically. Take note, Mars Hill leadership.
  • Victims should not have to seek out media and lawyers to be heard. To this day, despite trying since early 2013, senior Mars Hill leaders have refused to speak to me and many other victims, members and donors. Arrogant leaders staunchly refuse to engage their victims, then they criticize them when they eventually turn to media and lawyers.
  • Matt Chandler provides a template for other pastors and churches to follow. Perhaps that fact that Matt Chandler is being honored for reflecting a repentant heart, as is, to a lesser degree, Sutton Turner, the only talking ex-Executive Elder or member of the Mars Hill Board, will encourage other leaders to follow Matt Chandler’s example.
  • A failure for the plurality of elders concept. As one who has always respected the “plurality of elders” form of church governance, I am equally convinced that it should be the sheep that pick the elders and affirm them with regularity, and not the elders themselves. Self-appointed (often young) so-called “elders” who then appoint the rest of the elder team ultimately view the sheep as irrelevant. Eventually the sheep speak with their pocket books and feet.
  • Reports of Acts 29 churches promoting harsh discipline. As my part in the Mars Hill Church abuse story became more visible, I have had members of Acts 29 churches across the country send in stories of abuse. It is sad, and there is no doubt that there needs to be a frank discussion and understanding of the reality that Mark Driscoll’s form of leadership is deeply ingrained within the thinking of many Acts 29 churches. It is critical for the sake of avoiding abuse as well as the sake of the gospel that Acts 29 discuss this openly and honestly. The younger the “assessed” church planter, the deeper I would look. 1 Timothy 5:22 should not be disregarded because a talented youngster passed a Myers-Briggs test.
  • Since when is it biblical to not do the right thing because an attorney says a lawsuit is possible? This is the mother of all questions of these so-called Pastors who refuse to the right thing. Perhaps this has been the biggest obstacle that led to Mars Hill Church leadership allowing the church to collapse rather than to do the right thing. It is not only sad, but it is a reflection of the character of the players. Simply, we are being told that repentance cannot take place because lawyers are being obeyed rather than the Word of God.

Thank you Wartburg Watch. Thank you for caring for those that you do not know. Thank you for listening to me in 2012 and caring. I remember sitting with Dee eating Cheetos outside Cracker Barrel in rural North Carolina and being amazed to see you tear up as a total stranger told you of what his family went through at the hands of Mark Driscoll and his leadership. You have acted like true shepherds. Thank you.

You have been giants in drawing attention to the abuse that is rampant within so many neo-Reformed churches. I had to think of you and chuckle when I saw this cartoon.

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Giving Mark Driscoll a platform props up his abuse.

DRISCOLL Cartoon 6-5-2015

Pastors who give Mark Driscoll a platform are adding to the abuse of those of us who were abusively treated by Mars Hill Church.

Dan Kellogg, from Gold Creek Community Church, said that he had done his homework on Driscoll before he invited him to speak at his church recently. I am not sure what homework he did, but Dan Kellogg contacted none of the abused ex-members or pastors. Driscoll spoke of how he is learning to forgive those who hurt him. He did not speak of the hundreds of families hurt by his abuse.

Robert Morris, who gave Driscoll his first public appearance where Driscoll skillfully made the audience feel sorry for him, said that he knows the “behind the scenes story“, yet failed to speak to any of his accusers or those shunned by Driscoll’s abusive church.

Ray Johnston, of Bayside Church, gave Driscoll a platform where he was able to again repeat the lie that he moved from one house to another because of fear – the second to the last move being simply across the street from his previous home.

Now we see Driscoll about to be hosted by John and Debbie Lindell from James River Church. The church was informed that Mark Driscoll would be preaching this Sunday as if the collapse of the most abusive church in recent history had not occurred.

Brian Houston of Hillsong also is giving Mark Driscoll a platform. He plans to interview both Mark and Grace Driscoll to “learn from their mistakes.” Never mind that Driscoll has yet to confess his sins to hundreds of members that he abused, including Paul Petry and Bent Meyer.

Sadly, these men are simply adding to the abuse that so many Mars Hill members endured. I am sure they mean well. But every time Mark Driscoll is given a platform while he is still non-repentant and not reconciled, these church leaders are acting without any regard to the reality that Mark Driscoll resigned without repentance and left a trail of brokenness in his path. Mark Driscoll boasted that before he was done, he would leave a “mountain” of dead bodies behind his Mars Hill bus. He made good on that boast and has never repented or shown the least bit of contrition or remorse – at least not to those who were ruthlessly dealt with by him.

Most of us ex-members would delight to see true repentance from Mark Driscoll. This would surely begin by joining the vast majority of the elders who have repented of their ruthless treatment of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer in 2007. They have repented from subjecting Paul Petry and his family to an unfair trial and public shunning. That shunning was never lifted, and none of the leaders of the Mars Hill Church-spawned church “plants” have repudiated such horrendous treatment of the beloved former elders.

I implore pastors who are keen to see Mark Driscoll return to the ministry. Until he deals with his abusive past, you are simply propping up an abusive man, and in so doing you add to the abuse.

The Gospel is about reconciliation. It ought to be that only after Mark Driscoll has genuinely reconciled with those that he has abused, that pastors who claim to love the Gospel begin to allow him a voice.

Otherwise those that give him a voice are pretending that there are no bodies under the Mars Hill bus and risk harming already bruised and shattered people.

Brian Houston, interview those under the bus, not the abusive bus driver!

Crashed Bus

Dear Brian Houston,

To interview Mark Driscoll, the man who led “the most abusive and coercive church” that Mars Hill Board member Paul Tripp has ever worked with, while ignoring those that Driscoll abused, is to minimize the abuse and re-victimise those who were viciously and deliberately harmed by him.

Seven years before Mark Driscoll resigned his position without repentance, Paul Petry and Bent Meyer were treated shamefully and abusively.

As we look back, the evidence is clear that these two elders, along with a host of other abused voices, were voices of clarion warning. They predicted the eventual collapse of the church if the folly of avoiding accountability were to be allowed to run to its course.

Mark Driscoll has never reconciled with these men. The so-called “pastors” who took over the remaining 11 congregations have never reconciled with these men. Acts 29 leadership has never reconciled with these men.

Basically, the shunning is still continuing while these many men leading congregations bearing both Driscoll’s and Acts 29’s DNA, and still in an insidious way led by Mark Driscoll, claim that it is “all about Jesus.”

Jesus is all about reconciliation. Yet these men, including Mark Driscoll, simply will not reconcile and name the abuse that was meted out to hundreds of families that went to Mars Hill Church and was personified in how Paul Petry and Bent Meyer were treated.

Brian Houston, please interview Paul Petry and Bent Meyer.

Do not interview the bus driver who boasted about the bodies under the bus. Interview those under the bus.

From under the bus,

Rob Smith

Do not interview the bus driver 1

Marching in step with their abusive leadership, the pastors of the 11 Mars Hill Church campus replants remain silent.

marching in step

Jon Krombein, who was an elder at Mars Hill Church for almost eight years, made an impassioned appeal to the remaining lead pastors of the eleven campuses to speak out and call for the release of information that so many ex-members and donors want to see.

These pastors simply refuse to walk in the light.

We need mediation to get the truth. An anonymous donor will match your contribution to help pay for mediation.

Jon Krombein’s challenge went out to Pastors Dave Bruskas, David Fairchild, Ed Choi, Tim Smith, Ryan Williams, Matthias Heusel, Aaron Gray, Bubba Jennings, AJ Hamilton, Matt Rogers, Jason Skelton, Scott Harris, and Seth Winterhalter.

He said that these men know more than they are saying, and that they knew Mars Hill Church had “cooked the books,” yet they remained silent. He implored them to speak openly to avoid their culpability in these matters from hanging over their future ministries.

Jon Krombein’s call was simply ignored.

These pastors are telling their “new” churches, made up of the same members of Mars Hill Church, meeting in the same buildings with the same donor money “seeding” each location for the next three months, and the same leadership (except for Bellevue), that they will not reflect the same bad DNA that brought Mars Hill Church to its knees.

But sadly these men are behaving in the same way that the Executive Elders of Mars Hill Church have behaved. They simply will not answer the questions that us former members and donors have asked. They will not meet. They will not walk in the light.

This behavior was a part of what led to Mars Hill Church being recognized as the most abusive church in recent church history. Yet despite witnessing the results of such behavior, these pastors seem to acting the same way. They have disregarded Jon Krombein’s appeal, just as they refuse to speak to those of us seeking to have our grievances mitigated.

One of those pastors, while completely ignoring Jon Krombein’s appeal, said this last Sunday that he is struggling to see how he and his fellow elders have been complicit in the pattern of sin in the leadership at Mars Hill Church. He seems to not be able to connect the dots, or he is not being honest.

Former donors and members are calling Mars Hill Church executives to come to the table of mediation. This is the Matthew 18 mandate. I urge each reader to consider supporting the costs of such mediation.

If the executives will not come to the table, it would seem to serve the cause of justice and truth to pursue the matter in civil court. If indeed they have “cooked the books” the donors and members have a right to know.

Please support the effort to get these answers. After all, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with on another.” — 1 John 1:7

Mediation will cost us at least $20,000. If mediation is refused, a civil RICO lawsuit that will expose the “cooking of the books” will cost a lot more. Your help will enable these costs to be covered.

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Sermons from Nehemiah, and one worth listening to!

Prosper

In the last sermon at Mars Hill Church–West Seattle, which has now been renamed “Trinity West Seattle” and is off to a new start, Pastor David Fairchild preached from the book of Nehemiah.

The sermon is worth listening to.

Fairchild

It was seven years ago that Mark Driscoll preached from the book of Nehemiah. When he began the series of sermons in 2007, the church was governed by a plurality of elders. On September 30, 2007, Driscoll preached the notorious “I break their noses” sermon, then walked off the podium and within minutes fired Paul Petry and Bent Meyer. Within a month, the remaining 22 elders gave up their fiduciary duties as overseers and voted in bylaws that neutered themselves.

Break Their Noses

It was at that time that the walls began to crumble.

The clear contrast between Fairchild’s sermon this last Sunday and Driscoll’s sermon seven years ago, was that unlike Driscoll, who presented himself as Nehemiah, Fairchild does not weave his own image into the story, except for seeking out ways that he and his fellow elders could see their own sin of complicity, and having done so, repent. He promised his members more of this. This is very encouraging.

There are parallels in the story that might be of note.

  • Complicity means that it was not the exiles that brought the walls down, but the very elders themselves. As readers have noted in my writings (to some of their frustrations) I hold the elders responsible for the abusive side of Mars Hill Church more than I hold Mark Driscoll responsible. The elders willingly gave him what he wanted.
  • It was the exiles that, in coming back to Jerusalem, brought hope and effective rebuilding back to Jerusalem. Could it be that there are many “Jeremiahs” that God will use to rebuild the broken church, and they have last names like Petry, Meyer, Krombein, Smidt, Kraft, or Bettger, to suggest just a few?
  • The city that needed rebuilding housed a few remaining and broken Israelites. The vast majority had been scattered as a result of the exile. When God warned Israel of the coming destruction he called Nebuchadnezzar his “servant.” It was God’s plan to scatter Israel, and then rebuild Jerusalem with the hands of both exiled Jews as well as those that never left Jerusalem. What rejoicing there will be when the 11 churches that represent the broken walls of Mars Hill Church, will welcome with joyful arms those who have been shunned, and those who have been calling for the abuse – which crumbled the walls in the first place – to be addressed.

So, dear reader, pray for the rebuilding of Trinity West Seattle, and for the leaders of the other 10 churches that now exist. Pray that they call for and welcome the exiles that could help them rebuild.

So help us God.

In a classic showdown, Mars Hill Church leaders want to see lawsuit first, then may allow Matthew 18

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Mars Hill Church leaders are forcing aggrieved members to spend the money to prepare a lawsuit, and then want to see the lawsuit before deciding if they will meet in a biblical way.

When Dave Kraft, while still a Mars Hill Church elder in 2013, filed charges against Mark Driscoll, I was contacted by one of the aggrieved elders who appealed to me to reach out and speak with Michael van Skaik, the chairman of the Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA).

Michael van Skaik refused to see me. That was in June 2013.

Since that time, I and others have attempted repeatedly to engage the leadership of Mars Hill Church. They simply refuse to talk. The only time I have pulled off a meeting was with the BOE where the focus of the meeting was largely instruction to me that both I and the aggrieved members, ex-members and donors of Mars Hill Church should simply agree to be defrauded in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6. The abusers were telling the abused to suck it in and walk away.

I have recently appealed to Executive Elder Dave Bruskas several times that we meet face-to-face and talk. I have repeatedly appealed to the lead pastor of MH- West Seattle, David Fairchild, who tells me he cannot meet because he is working “70 to 80 hours a week” preparing for the new church to open. I have reached out to the lead pastor of MH–Everett. All are “too busy” to sit down as brothers in Christ.

Despite the call in 1 Corinthians 6 for brothers to avoid legal action against one another, Mars Hill Church Leadership, led by Executive Elder Dave Bruskas and Chairman of the Board Matt Rogers, is insisting that we prepare a legal action before they will consider talking to their aggrieved brothers.

So while their Pastors Ed Choi and David Fairchild are instructing us that rather than take legal action the aggrieved should agree to be defrauded, the leadership of Mars Hill Church is demanding that we prepare a legal action in order to sit down as brothers and work out our grievances.

It would appear as if we are not dealing with brothers in Christ. It appears that we are dealing with corporate executives who are being governed by their lawyers.

So the leadership is forcing aggrieved brothers and sisters in Christ to prepare a legal action. They block all attempts to sit and talk, refuse to be defrauded themselves by seeking the protection of their lawyers while expecting the aggrieved members they have abused to just walk away being defrauded, and now make the aggrieved spend legal fees in order to prepare for legal action.

The aggrieved do not want to file a lawsuit, but the leadership of Mars Hill Church is insisting that we move forward to do so in order to work out our grievances.

At this stage, days from the dissolution of the church, these men are still not willing to come to the table and be transparent about the use of millions of dollars of donors’ money, as well as identify the widespread abuse that has been alleged.

Surely a Matthew 18 mediated airing of grievances, something that Mars Hill Church preaches while refusing to practice, is the right thing to do. It seems only two scenarios will hold these men accountable for their actions. Either a civil lawsuit is filed – which Mars Hill leadership requires before they will take the time to sit down and try to resolve grievances, or Attorney General Ferguson steps in.

 [I edited the 5th paragraph – it was pointed out to me that Dave Fairchild works 70 to 80 hours per week, not 80 to 90 hours per week. My apologies/]

Are the Lead Pastors of Mars Hill Campuses Lions or Hyenas?

Lion surrounded by Spotted Hyenas

Being from Africa, I know a little about lions and hyenas.

Hyenas eat what the lions leave behind. The lions feed until they are satisfied, and the hyenas will wait patiently until the lions are done, and then they eat the leftovers.

The current lead pastors of Mars Hill Church campuses are all standing by quietly while waiting for the spoils from the upcoming dissolution of the church. Rumors abound that they have been told that they will not get any spoils if they do not fall into line. That means they must wait patiently and quietly like hyenas and not rock the boat.

The pastors that have spoken to me or others are posturing as being “very busy” tending to “their” flock. They are too busy to talk. They claim to not really know what is going on behind the scenes and act somewhat confused. These are men who are poised to become the leaders of their new “replant” in a few weeks time. They are about to transition from being quiet followers into pastoral leaders. They are currently ineffective leaders who are somehow going to transform into true shepherds that effectively care for their sheep.

Do these men not currently care for the many sheep that have been forced out of their campuses and hurt under their watch?

I personally know members who have left the Everett, West Seattle, Downtown and Bellevue campuses. I have also spoken to some of the pastors. They insist they are caring for “their” sheep. They act as if the widespread problems of abuse and coercion were mainly at the other campuses.

And so they currently demonstrate no regard for the members under their care who have left – many hurting deeply and with unanswered questions.

Why do these men not rise and demand closure for their members? Why are these so-called shepherds not rising up and insisting on full transparency from the remaining leaders of Mars Hill Church? Why are they not insisting that Paul Petry and others who have been unjustly shunned be fully restored and the public shunning order lifted immediately?

Is it because they think that by acting like hyenas for the rest of this month it will allow them to enjoy the spoils of the carcass of the dissolved Mars Hill Church? Do they think that after they have received their portion they can finally roar like lions in their “replanted” status?

I implore the lead pastors to stand up and protect the sheep that have been harmed. If the dissolution takes place under your watch and you remain silent, you will be participating in allowing wounds inflicted by the “most abusive and coercive” church, to use Paul Tripp’s words, to never be fully healed.

It is time to speak up.

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“Triperspectival Leadership” – the insidious spark that is burning down Mars Hill Church!

raging fire

Before 2007, no one had heard about this twisting of Reformed ecclesiology. It seems to have begun at David Fairchild’s and Drew Goodmanson’s Kaleo church in San Diego, and, like a grassfire, quickly spread to Acts 29, fueled by the convenient gas thrown upon the fire by Mark Driscoll, who used the teaching to consolidate power into the hands of a few handpicked “kings.”

I cannot describe the teaching in a nutshell better than my learned and wise friend Paul Petry, who, as everyone knows, ended up being the brunt of this perverted teaching when he opposed it and was duly expunged from Mars Hill Church in what has become the most documented ecclesiastical trial of the decade:

It is a mutation of a theological theory promulgated by John Frame in his analysis of Jesus being Prophet, Priest, King, and then applied to analysis of church ministries. If a ministry has a preponderance of one type of function, rather than a balance of all three – it is dysfunctional/imbalanced. That is an EXTREMELY condensed version. Frame’s theoretical analysis is really very intriguing. The problem is when megalomaniacal leaders get ahold of it and apply their own perverted version of the theory and make it a practical reality to strengthen their abusive hierarchical control and authority over the flock of God’s sheep entrusted to their care.

If the Reformed resurgence of the last decade is going to avoid imploding, it will need to fully understand why Mars Hill Church is smoldering in the aftermath of Mark Driscoll. Rather than throw him out and pretend like he never existed, groups like Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition need to dig deep into what they have embraced and identify, extract, and destroy the little Driscoll DNA foxes that have been destroying the vineyard.

These men would be wise to seek outside help in this, as they have tended to be “the blind leading the blind.” There are young restless men all over the world embracing “Triperspectival Leadership” after attending an Acts 29 boot camp or downloading such from the lofty websites of these and other groups in the neo-reformed camp.

If they do not expunge this unbiblical and certainly unreformed view of leadership, we will see ten thousand abusive Mark Driscoll clones follow in his wake. Sadly, rather than bad ecclesiology getting the blame, the blows will land on those beloved and time-tested doctrines that define the great gospel and the abundant life that it promises.

Jesus left the 99 sheep and pursued the one – while Mars Hill Church assures the 99 and ignores the one.

lost sheep 1

With both Mars Hill Church and Acts 29, the terms “shepherd”, “chief shepherd”, “pastor” and “elder” are spoken of with frequency. Within the strong DNA of both organizations is the prevalent expectation that the members submit to the shepherds or elders. The last line of the Mars Hill Church membership covenant states:

I understand that this covenant obligates me to the members of Mars Hill and is an acknowledgment of my submission to the elders of the church. I accept the responsibility to notify Mars Hill leadership if at any time I can no longer commit to this covenant, or if I have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding Mars Hill Church.    (link1) [emphasis added]

This is not just a Mars Hill Church requirement, but also is characteristic of Acts 29 churches. The Village Church (Matt Chandler’s church – President of Acts 29) states it this way:

I covenant…to submit to the elders and other appointed leaders of the church and diligently strive for unity and peace within the church.   (link2)  [emphasis added]

These shepherds desire submission from the flock, but when they are questioned by a sheep, they frequently react in such a way that the sheep is then forced out of the flock. When this causes the flock to be flustered, all the attention then is focused on making the flock comfortable, while the lone sheep that has left the flock is abandoned, or worse, slandered and isolated.

This isolation comes in the form of shunning, whether formal (as in Mars Hill Church’s call to shun Paul Petry – now concluding its seventh year) – or informal, as many members of both Mars Hill Church and many Acts 29 former church members have experienced.

This is in stark contrast to what Jesus taught.

 If any of you has a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, what will you do? Won’t you leave the ninety-nine in the field and go look for the lost sheep until you find it? And when you find it, you will be so glad that you will put it on your shoulder and carry it home. Then you will call in your friends and neighbors and say, “Let’s celebrate! I’ve found my lost sheep.” — Luke 15:4-6

While hundreds of abused ex-members are crying out, Mars Hill Church leaders are doing all they can to assure the members of the church that this “season” will pass, while ignoring the sheep that have left, injured, strayed, or been abandoned. They are ignoring the lost sheep.

Mark Driscoll, who is claiming that his “angry young prophet” days are over and now his “older spiritual father” days lie ahead, has said that he is reaching out to the sheep he has hurt. There is no evidence that he has or is doing this. In my personal case, my requests to speak with Mark Driscoll get nowhere, and BOAA chairman Michael van Skaik has refused to talk to me, despite my willingness to drive from Seattle to Bend, Oregon to see him.

Countless other hurt sheep have had the same experience.

Elders who knew me well, despite the evidence that I and my family were harmed and slandered, have simply ignored our pain, and in some cases actively spurned us. I say this not to draw attention to Merle’s and my pain, but to point out that this is the experience of most families who have been harmed through the shunning and “discipline” process at Mars Hill and other Acts 29 churches.

Rather than pursue the lost sheep and genuinely try to find reconciliation, the individual sheep is isolated through shunning, slandered through one-sided half-truths, while the perpetrators of the abuse are surrounded with love and affirmation. The remaining sheep are called to submit to these “shepherds” or face similar discipline. They are told to “trust” the shepherds and not the stories that come from the lost sheep via social media – the only means the shepherds have left the lost sheep in their effort to cry out.

There has been no reasonable attempt by Mark Driscoll to reconcile with Bent Meyer, Lief Moi or Paul Petry, not to mention many equally hurt ex-members, staff and leaders from Mars Hill Church. Michael van Skaik has been charged by his own elders of not being truthful about reaching out to victims of abuse. Sadly, the DNA of Mars Hill Church is to keep the hurting bodies “under the bus” and refuse to seek them out as Jesus sought out the one sheep that was missing.

Perhaps the shepherds at Mars Hill Church, and those at churches that carry the Acts 29 DNA, should stop emphasizing submission to the elders, and start emphasizing the true role of a shepherd – a good shepherd. That role is not to lord over the sheep, but to tend to the sheep.

Especially the one sheep who has left the flock in pain.

baby lamb

MHC Pastors to hurting members – “quit social media and agree to be defrauded and abused.”

Agree to your suffering - says MHC

If you have been abused by Mars Hill Church leadership, one of the key pastors is suggesting that it is biblical to agree to be “defrauded” than to take public action to prevent such abuse.

Pastor David Fairchild, lead pastor of Mars Hill Church’s west Seattle campus, uses Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 6 about Christians settling disputes through secular lawsuits as the basis for his argument that “Paul would rather have us suffer wrong and be defrauded than air our grievances before a technological tribunal. I’m sure this teaching was most difficult to receive by those who felt they were wronged.” (From Fairchild’s facebook page)

So even though your life may in turmoil as a result of being abused by the leadership, one of the lead pastors of the abusive church is saying that although it is tough to accept, it is better to suffer this wrong than to air the grievance on social media (of course, he airs his view about this on social media!)

In a similar way, churches will thwart and hide sexual abuse by arguing that it should be handled in a quiet manner more akin to Matthew 18 versus taking the matter to law enforcement. Some churches (Mars Hill Church included at times) have encouraged abused wives to stay in the marriage despite the abuse – claiming that such is the bible’s teaching on the matter.

Pastor Brad House, after Paul Petry had been ruthlessly fired, unfairly tried, and badly mistreated (as has been clearly documented in many places), argued that it was Petry’s duty to respond in a godly way and in so doing “pour coals on our heads” and that “mistreatment” by himself and the other elders was no justification for Petry acting in a defensive way (link).

So both pastors David Fairchild and Brad House are arguing that people who have suffered abuse at the hands of the leadership of Mars Hill Church, where they both have or had a key role, should act in such a way as to pour coals on “our” heads. They should simply agree to the abuse.

I cannot imagine that the Apostle Paul was teaching that an abusive pastor should reach out to the members of his own church and suggest that to defend oneself from the abuse is ungodly and that the abused member should “pour coals on the abusive pastor’s head” by being quiet and kind.

What a distortion of the teaching.

Romans 12: 19 & 20: Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD”

Those of us who are arguing that Mars Hill Church leadership is corrupt, dishonest, deceptive and abusive do not view Mars Hill Church or its leaders as enemies. We view them as sinful brothers who have refused to allow anything resembling a Matthew 18 form of dealing with sin and dispute to occur.

Were Brad House and David Fairchild, in suggesting verses referring to lawsuits and enemies, representing the position of the Mars Hill Church leadership?

We prefer a different verse.

Proverbs  27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”

From a personal point of view, if I were the only member thrown under the bus, I would consider simply being defrauded and seek specific opportunities to be kind to my abusers, and in so doing pour coals on their heads. But what kind of man would I be to stand by and watch others get systematically abused?

I am saddened that pastors like David Fairchild and Brad House are willing to allow the abuse to go on and then tell the abused member to be defrauded and act in a way that pours coal on their own heads.

Their perspective is callous and abusive. It protects the abusers and not the sheep that these pastors are supposed to care for and protect.