Mars Hill Church – What would Nelson Mandela do?


mandela - forgiveness

I had strong reactions from both “camps” after my post calling for everyone to rise up and support our wounded brothers and sisters from Mars Hill Church – a church “reeling” in crisis and pain.

Those calling for Mark’s resignation and an end to the shunning of Paul Petry and his family were stunned by my call. There are still so many unanswered questions and such a distrust for the remaining leadership, which I share. Most spent a large part of the day yesterday making their case for continued resistance.

Then there are the members who are staunch Mark Driscoll supporters who are equally stunned. “How dare I you even think of showing up to gloat – do you not even have a heart?” Within 20 minutes of posting a call for a massive show of support on the FaceBook site, Let us Encourage one another – Mark Driscoll, I was removed and banned. I have been a member of that group since the day it started.

It seems that if we cannot learn lessons from what Jesus would have done, perhaps we can learn lessons by asking, “What would Nelson Mandela do?”

Nelson Mandela forgave his prison guards. I forgive the elders of Mars Hill Church, who have ignored and rebuffed me for seven years, and who watched Mark Driscoll withdraw the support of Mars Hill Church to the orphans and widows that they had committed to in 2007.

Nelson Mandela forgave his enemies. I forgive Mark Driscoll, who slandered my name and who slandered my organization’s care of orphans in such a way that the support from both Mars Hill Church and the broader community of my orphan care vanished, leaving me with debt and a struggle to care for our orphans, orphans who loved and looked up to Mars Hill Church.

Nelson Mandela went back into a white dominated economy and society that had harshly discriminated against minorities, and said to both blacks and whites in South Africa “We need each other. It is time to forgive and create a new South Africa.” I am willing to go back to Mars Hill Church and encourage a thousand hurt ex-members to join me.

Mars Hill Church, we need each other and I am willing to put the past behind me and put my effort and influence toward seeing Mars Hill Church rise up and become a healthy and safe church, where sinners like me, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore, can see Jesus ready to save me, full of pity, love and power.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

Yes, Seattle, it is all about Jesus.

Mars Hill Church…. What would Jesus do?

Jericho 1

Jesus left the ninety nine sheep to seek and find the lost sheep.

I believe that in the aftermath of the news of the departure of Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church, and in the light of the crippling condition of the church he has walked away from, that Jesus would encourage true shepherds and caring people to leave the one and return to tend to the ninety nine sheep that are scattered and bleeding in the fold.

It is time to rebuild the crumbling walls.

It has been seven years.

Today is the anniversary of the trial of Paul Petry. The decay that we see today began when the men and women of Mars Hill Church failed to do the right thing.

I am calling the thousands of Mars Hill members who left bleeding and hurting to set aside your pain and rise up to rebuild the crumbling walls of Mars Hill Church.

I am calling on current members who have been waiting for the BOAA to do the right thing NOT to leave in disgust, but to stay to rebuild the walls of the broken church.

I am calling to every man and woman who has heart for the hurting, to pray and support the changes needed to see Mars Hill Church rise up and demonstrate the true power of being all about Jesus.

If is all about Jesus, we need to show up on Sunday.

If it all about Jesus, we need to cry to the Lord to lift up our hurting brothers and sisters reeling from the tragic events of the last several months.

If it all about Jesus, we need to be like Nehemiah. He left the comforts of his home and position, and returned to the mess of broken Jerusalem, and with brave men and women he worked to rebuild the city.

If you have ever loved Mars Hill Church, as I have, I would urge that you join me to support a hurting church.

I urge every elder that was fired or who has resigned to show up on Sunday.  I urge every member that left wounded, or left in disgust, or just left out of sheer weariness, to set aside your deep wounds and hurting heart, and reach out to those who may even still despise you.

I beg you to leave the comforts of your new church and rush back into the ruins. People are hurting. Even people who may despise you are hurting.

Set aside your pain, your anger, your theological differences, and your comfort.

Mars Hill Church needs you. Mars Hill Church needs me.

This Sunday we can be like the Pharisees and avoid tending to the wounded man who had been beaten on the road to Jericho. Or we can see the wounded and beaten Mars Hill members and leaders and roll up our sleeves and tend to their wounds, risking the blood and gore of their torn bodies, and bind their wounds with care.

I will be attending Mars Hill Church on Sunday.

It is my prayer that I am not the only bruised and wounded soldier limping back to be an encouragement to a church filled with stunned and hurting members.

And remember, the good Samaritan paid the innkeeper to tend to the wounded man, and left extra money in case more was needed. So on Sunday, I will bring my checkbook with me.


Seven years ago the Seattle Times headline was “Firing of pastors roils Mars Hill Church”, yesterday it was “Mars Hill Church reeling as Pastor Mark Driscoll quits”

It is my hope and prayer that the next headline will be “Mars Hill Church rises as its walls are rebuilt.”

An open letter to Mark Driscoll re: understanding repentance – from Gus


Dear Mark Driscoll,

You don’t seem to understand repentance.

1. Repentance is not “I’m sorry that some of the things I said led people to attack me and that now I have to eat crow.” Repentance is being sorry for your actions, not for those actions’ consequences that now come back to bite you.

2. Repentance is also specific: you don’t repent of “some of the things that I may have said or done”. If you maligned someone in a public setting (like Meyer and Petry), it could mean using the same setting and declaring: “In 2007, I said such and such. I now understand this was wrong. I retract those words and want to ask the people concerned for forgiveness. Also, we excommunicated this person and shunned that family. That was wrong.” It would also mean asking the victims for forgiveness – which they would be free to grant or not – by acknowledging the wrongness of your actions and their hurt in direct communication.

3. Forgiveness can only be asked for, but never demanded. It’s the essence of forgiveness that it can only be voluntary, not coerced. The victims don’t HAVE to forgive when you ask them for forgiveness, even if I am sure most would forgive if they had the impression that repentance was genuine.

4. You can never ask all the people you hurt for forgiveness – there are just too many of them, many have never spoken up in public, and in some cases maybe did not even realise at the time just how badly you were treating someone. But you can at least try to reach the people hurt the worst and most publicly in person. That would still be quite a number.

5. Repentance is hard work – six weeks just will not be enough time..

6. It’s also not about “vengeance”, about your enemies forcing you to step down. But if you are really sorry for what you DID, and not only for the fact that your actions have come back to haunt you, you may come to the conclusion that in the light of your past behaviour and actions stepping down remains the only alternative to continuing a highly damaged “career” and – let’s for now call it that – “ministry”.

7. In all of the present situation, I feel really sorry for your family, your wife and his kids. It’s no fun for kids to discover that their parent is not only not perfect, but a lot less than very good.

8. I feel a lot less sorry for you than for your family. As the saying goes, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!””, and while you were under the illusion that you were the chef in that kitchen, you stoked the fire and turned up the heat quite a lot.

9. You should really seek professional – not nouthetic – help for your anger issues

(Thanks for Gus who posted this on Wartburg Watch  Link )