By their leaders’ own words, Bellevue Church is simply Mars Hill Church continued…

Lipstick on a pig

In announcing the formation of Bellevue Church, Matt Rogers (who sat on the board that did not want Mark Driscoll to resign and deems him to be qualified for ministry) said the following:

“This Bellevue church is known around the world for the way you have served and loved one another and the broader church of Jesus Christ.”

So, world, this is the same church.

Other than the fact that Mark Driscoll has resigned, what has changed?

We will know what will change by what has been confessed and corrected. Other than an “unhealthy culture” there has been almost nothing confessed and no transparency forthcoming.

The dissolution of Mars Hill Church means that Bellevue Church has no need to answer questions that its own members and donors have. As Matt Rogers said, “We are establishing a new 501c3 corporate entity, creating new bylaws, selecting a new name, establishing a new structure and setting up new financial accounts.”

Bellevue Church is moving forward with the only two active members of the Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability (Matt Rogers and Dave Bruskas) and the only remaining Executive Elder (Dave Bruskas). These men are the only elders who have the answers to the many questions being asked by us donors or members.

Rather than answer the demand for transparency, their choice is to dissolve Mars Hill Church in an apparent attempt to permanently bury the truth, and then merely continue the same church with a different name.

So the many questions that still trouble donors or members are not likely to come from these leaders of Mars Hill Church/Bellevue Church. These questions are well articulated by the best source of telling the truth emerging from the dark bowels of the Mars Hill Church inner leadership sanctum, Dr. Warren Throckmorton. He has outlined the questions that hound Mars Hill Church and will hound Bellevue Church and its leadership as they continue to fail to provide transparent answers.

  • Question: How exactly was the Global Fund money spent? Over $10 million was raised. Where is that money?
  • Question: What were the salaries, compensation and severance package deals made for Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner?
  • Request for transparency: Release the Driscoll Investigation Report.
  • Request for transparency: Release the many ex-elders and ex-employees that signed onerous NDAs.
  • Questions about Paul Petry and Bent Meyer: Now that 18 witnesses to the firings and trial of Bent Meyer and Paul Petry, and the removal of eldership and shunning of Paul Petry, have profoundly born testimony and established the violent sins of the church against these men:
    —–        When will they be exonerated and restitution be made?
    —–        How will this testimony impact the sinful actions of A.J. Hamilton, Tim Smith and Bubba Jennings, all elders in good standing at Mars Hill Church?
  • Question: How will either Mars Hill Church or Bellevue Church process the charges of deception leveled by Mars Hill Church elders against Michael van Skaik and the other members of the Board of Advisors and Accountability?
  • Question: What charges will be brought against Dave Bruskas for his role in the various scandals that have humiliated Mars Hill Church?
  • Question: Matt Rogers has said that those who have accused Mark Driscoll (such as those that participated in the August 3rd protest) were slanderers. Will Mars Hill Church or Bellevue Church call for Matt Rogers to clearly explain his accusation of slander? Who were the slanderers, and what was the nature of their slander?

Or are the new leaders of Bellevue Church, who are the current leaders of Mars Hill Church, hope that all these questions disappear with the so-called dissolution of Mars Hill Church?

Bearing false witness: Does repeated slander disqualify an elder?

Does Lying Disquilify and Elder

There are few more destructive and simply “mean” sins than that of slandering another person. Slander is a violation of the eighth commandment. Slander is lying in order to damage the good name of another person.

In the current Mars Hill Church debacle, the term has been used frequently to silence critics and those who ask questions. Do those who use the term realize the seriousness of the sin?

One can be sued in civil court for defamation: which may be slander, and if the slander is put in writing, it is called libel. Of course, making a false statement about a person while under oath can land you in jail for perjury. It is a serious sin.

Recently, Matt Rogers, the man who is heading up the “investigation” of the charges against Mark Driscoll, has accused unnamed persons of slandering good men’s names. Rogers neither named the alleged slanderers nor did he say who was slandered or what the slander was. Nevertheless he made the accusation against either all or some of the protesters at the August 1 silent protest, and against protesters using social media.

Fortunately for Matt Rogers, he neither named who he leveled his accusation against, nor identified what the slander was. So Roger’s accusations are meaningless as their truth cannot be verified. Without naming anyone, if his accusation is false, no one specific can say they have been slandered. There were estimates of between 60 to 100 people at the protest. Very few of us spoke out as it was a silent protest. So Rogers was probably stating that the few (perhaps three or four) of us that spoke to reporters were slanderers. I wonder who he was referring to and what slander occurred? Telling the truth is by definition not slander.

Mark Driscoll has been accused of slander by various individuals and groups, including Dave Kraft, the 21 elders who left Mars Hill Church, and the “Noble Nine” elders from within the church. Last Wednesday, I added myself to the list when I met with four members of the investigation team and in accordance with 1 Timothy 5:19 brought four specific charges of slander against Mark Driscoll dating from 18 years ago to as recently as six months ago. My desire was not to merely add more accusations to the mountain of charges already leveled against Mark Driscoll, but to demonstrate that the sin has repeatedly occurred for years, has not been repented of, and is still occurring.

There has been no repentance by “the young angry prophet” nor by “the older fatherly” Mark Driscoll.

There has been no change. It appears that both the admittedly angry young prophet and the newly posturing fatherly Mark Driscoll is a serial slanderer.

In the last several months it appears that Mark Driscoll slandered a former elder who was cleared of misusing church resources. Even after the former elder was cleared of the charge, Driscoll repeated the accusation that the former elder had embezzled from the church. This would be slander of the worst kind. At the trial of Paul Petry, it has been reported that Mark Driscoll slandered several people, including me. 18 years ago, some of us have recently discovered, Mark Driscoll is accused of slandering an ex-employee. All of these acts of slander can be verified by witnesses in accordance with 1 Timothy 5:19.

Slander is often done behind the scenes. It is malicious. The one being slandered has no idea of it occuring or the damage inflicted to his or her name. It is devastating to the innocent party.

In Mark Driscoll’s case, he most often seems to slander men with whom he has worked, and in some cases, as in my case and other former elders’ cases, he threatened to harm the reputation of men with whom he became angry. In my case, he threatened to end my ministry and make sure I would never be in ministry again. He appears to have attempted to do this by slandering my name and my ministry behind my back.

Reports are that he has also done this to other men with whom he has worked. He appears to have slandered them and harmed their good names.

Consider that the process for becoming a deacon or elder at Mars Hill Church has always been touted as rigorous. The men whom Mark Driscoll has slandered were men who passed the test of character that is required by the Mars Hill process and promulgated by Mark Driscoll over and over again.

Slander is despicable.

It harms a man’s name and can destroy his reputation, sometimes permanently. It can harm the person who is slandered significanltly, including the loss of income, as the harm causes people to mistrust the victim. Many of the men leaving Mars hill Church are trying to find jobs or rebuild their source of income. Slander can be devasting to these men.

To slander men in this position is literally attempting to rob them of their ability to rebuild their lives and their ability to provide for their families.

Mark Driscoll’s slander of me and of Agathos, the ministry he said he would destroy, brought great harm to me and to Agathos.  The Agathos staff and I simply chose to be defrauded and not pursue a lawsuit (I Corinthians 6), but as I have discovered allegations of slander from 18 years ago, and which have continued to occur even within in the last six months despite the heightened scrutiny of the church and the public, I can no longer avoid drawing attention to this disqualifying sin.