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.

it takes a village 2

Advertisements

Mars Hill Church thanks Rob Smith for partnering with them in the gospel in 2014

working together

Mars Hill Church just said “Thank You” for all that I had done for the kingdom of God during the year. This at the same time that they refuse to meet with me.

The letter thanking me was accompanied by my giving receipt for the year. I faithfully gave to Mars Hill Church every week that I attended between Mark Driscoll’s resignation and the decision to dissolve the church (two weeks).

In the letter, which suggests that we can “celebrate 2014 as an incredible year” and says that my gift has helped “sown a great harvest.”

The letter outlines some of what I and other donors paid for in 2014. Here are some of the items:

5 Mars Hill Churches were launched/planted in January of 2104.

5 sermon series were taught from the Bible.

67 evangelists were supported in Ethiopia.

33 church planters were supported in India.

11 independent churches planted in January 2015 (the remaining campuses).

Looking at that summary, the largest number is those who received the least amount of money: the Ethiopian evangelists and Indian church planters. The costs of supporting these 100 evangelists and church planters was about 5% of the deceptively promoted Global Fund, and far less than one half of 1% of the budget of the church.

Missing from the cheerfully worded letter was what happened to the $3 million raised for the Jesus Festival, and answers to questions that I and others have asked about the amount of our donations that paid for massive severance packages for the three Executive Elders, and, who now owns all the intellectual property paid for by my and other donors’ money.

Also glaringly missing was any attempt to take responsibility for the deep systemic abuse that led Paul Tripp to resign his position as Board Director and refer to Mars Hill Church as the most abusive that he had ever worked with.

Also missing was any attempt to reach out to those who were abused, including any comment regarding the still-in-effect shunning order against Paul Petry. To their shame, the leaders of Mars Hill Church want to shut down all operations while still leaving the Paul Petry shunning orders in place, and not retracting their official defamatory statements about him and Bent Meyer.

We may never get answers to our questions regarding the finances, and we may never see justice done for Paul Petry, but seeing that my questions throughout 2014 have been so warmly recognized as being a part of building Christ’s kingdom, I shall keep asking that we see full transparency and a redress of the grievances of so many of us donors and members.

Mars Hill Thanks Rob

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.

1426582_10152683588271827_6525110038922371221_n

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.

Tim Quiring, Tim Belz, Tim Smith, Bubba Jennings and Bill Clem – 18 witnesses reveal your sins against Paul Petry.

5 Unrepentant Pastors

After seven years, an innocent man, Paul Petry, is still being shunned by Mars Hill Church. This the second to last day of its existence as an organization and its leaders still refuse do the right thing.

Shame on the pastors that are still at Mars Hill Church or that are about to pastor in the “new” church plants. What heartless men that they have not demanded the removal of the shunning edict and called for repentance and restitution!

How can it be “All about Jesus” when this glaring travesty, which has brought dishonor to the gospel and to Mars Hill Church, still stands uncorrected?

18 men bore witness to the enormity of their own sin of participating in the firing, trial, disqualifying as elder, and the shunning of Pastor Paul Petry, and the firing and trial of Pastor Bent Meyer. These 18 witnesses have publicly acknowledged their participation in false accusations and slander against these two innocent men. These sins were as serious as the 18 witnesses describe. The sins were devastating not only to the Petry and Meyer families, but the to the church as a whole.

These 18 men bear witness to the sins of the five pastors mentioned above, who, by the very testimony of their colleagues, participated in these sinful acts.

The following men participated in the sinful and harmful acts of 2007, and had the opportunity to share in repenting, yet turned it down. Yet they continue to be considered qualified to be pastors!

Pastor Tim Quiring.  Tim Quiring has returned to be a pastor of Mars Hill Church Everett, which, starting January 1st will be called Foundation Church. Of all of the elders that voted such harsh treatment for Paul Petry and voted in the bylaw change, Quiring had a solid Reformed background. He was one of the older men and his voice would have been heeded. Yet to this day, even in the face of 18 of his fellow elders repenting of the sins against Paul Petry and Bent Meyer, he still remains unrepentant.

Pastor Bubba Jennings.  Bubba Jennings is the pastor of Mars Hill Church Tacoma, which, starting January 1st will be called Resurrection Church.

Pastor Tim Smith. Tim Smith is the pastor of Mars Hill Church Portland, which, starting January 1st will be called Redeemer Church.

Pastor Bill Clem. Bill Clem is a pastor at Rick McKinley’s Imago Dei Church in Portland. Clem does not reference his tenure at either Doxa (now Mars Hill Church West Seattle) or Mars Hill Church itself. Bill Clem was one of the older men in 2007, who was complicit in and participated in the sinful actions perpetrated against innocent men, and has gone on with ministry without addressing his actions of 2007.

Pastor Tim Belz. Tim Belz is the executive pastor of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY. Belz does reflect his time at Mars Hill Church, and was in active executive leadership when Paul Petry was fired, tried and the new by-laws passed. Like Clem and Quiring, Belz was one of the older men in 2007 whose voice would have had some sway with the numerous young men who have since repented.

I mention these men because they are all continuing to pastor churches as if they had no responsibility for the sins that 18 witnesses attest to.

These men ought to step down from ministry and face just and reasonable church discipline over their well-witnessed sins.

Rick Warren, while encouraging the attendees of the 11 remaining Mars Hill Church locations, referred to them as “new trees” growing from the broken tree. Well, a good tree bears good fruit, and a bad tree bears bad fruit. So if the pastors of these “new” churches are the same men that threw Mars Hill Church under the bus seven years ago without a shadow of repentance, how will we see anything but the same fruit in their future ministries?

God is not mocked, you reap that which is sown.

Without repentance, Foundation Church in Everett, Redeemer Church in Portland, and Resurrection Church in Tacoma will find that the new tree will be led by the same poor leadership which planted the seeds of destruction that brought the broken tree, Mars Hill Church, to its knees.

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

showdown 1

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/]

While Mars Hill Church shepherds fleeced their flocks by night….

 

shepherds

A blessed Christmas to all!

Two thousand years ago, shepherds were tending to their sheep on a winter’s night. Today the world celebrates that night – the night when the God of glory descended to earth as a baby. What a glorious night it was!

Some two thousand years later, the shepherds of Mars Hill Church appear to have been fleecing their flocks by night.

Over the years members and donors of Mars Hill Church have put tens of thousands of dollars into a lot of valuable assets. Some of the money bought tangible assets, like buildings. The rest of the money was largely put into the development of intangible assets like websites, branding, sermon videos and related paraphernalia, and related ministries like Resurgence, re-Train, re-Lit, etc.

All in all, the total value is substantial. It is valuable to own, and valuable to sell.

Let us take just one example.  Resurgence and everything related to it is in and of itself an asset. It has some 60,000 subscribers, all of whom could be potential customers for the products and message of Resurgence. It owns a twitter account with over 90,000 followers and a FaceBook page with 77,000 likes. It also owns about 80 website names, multiple trademarks, and a lot of content.

All paid for by Mars Hill Church donors.

So to whom do all the assets relating to Resurgence belong? While the Mars Hill shepherds have been tending their sheep, it seems they may have quietly stood by while the BOAA and the Executive Elders appears to have fleeced their sheep. Mars Hill Church was a church that existed largely because of its robust internet and technology based infra-structure.

So who owns that infra-structure?

Someone from Texas is selling Resurgence and all its parts. It has an asking price of $100,000. Was giving that intangible asset a part of a severance settlement? Or was there self-dealing during the time period that the Executive Elders had no one holding them to account?

Did the massive volume of all the intangible assets that Mars Hill Church members paid for with their tithes all get negotiated away?

Who owns the donor list of donors that gave to the Global Fund? That list alone may be worth millions. That property was paid for by the members and donors of Mars Hill Church.

Dave Bruskas, your sheep, the Mars Hill Church members, ex-members, and donors need and want transparency.

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

So did Mars Hill Church resign from Mark Driscoll?

Who resigned

After Mark Driscoll resigned, we were all surprised that the church announced it was closing its doors, and that the surviving campuses would either close or continue as new independent churches. The one stipulation was that they could not be called “Mars Hill Church.”

It now appears that the brand “Mars Hill Church” and the intangible assets went with Mark Driscoll. After the rewriting of the bylaws, when the 22 elders voted away their ability to hold the senior leadership accountable, all the intangible assets of Mars Hill Church appear to have gradually ended up in Mark Driscoll’s hands.

So who resigned from what? We all thought that Mark Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill Church. It now appears that the Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability resigned from Mark Driscoll.

Will the Mars Hill Church donors, members, and ex-members ever get the transparent truth? Please support the Mediation Fund that has been set up to this end.

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.

lions and hyenas 2