“A CONFLUENCE OF SITUATIONS”—NEW REFORMATION PRESS
On February 4, 2012 New Reformation Press published a clarification/retraction to an earlier statement about Mars Hill’s discipline of Andrew.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
I recently put up a post contrasting the supposed mishandling of church discipline at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and my own experience in a Lutheran congregation in Southern California. You can read that post here.
A friend on staff at Mars Hill read that post and reached out to me earlier this week. After a fairly lengthy discussion, I have decided to post this retraction and clarification. There is much more to the story than initial reports, including the ones I linked to, than it first appears. It is a classic case of Proverbs 18:17 in action.
The first to plead his case seems right,
Until another comes and examines him. Prov.18:17
While being discreet to protect the identities of those involved, and avoiding many of the gory details, my friend laid out enough evidence to satisfy me that the initial accounts given by Andrew and those promoting his story are at best incomplete, and most likely deliberately misleading. Large parts are left out, including the majority of action taken by the church to reconcile him. Also, Andrew’s case involves a confluence of several situations that it appears Mars Hill has properly and thoroughly dealt with. [emphasis added] Because the details involve the sin of others that are not publicly known, the church has decided the best course of action is to remain silent to protect those people’s reputation and privacy. They did not divulge the identities of the people involved, or the specific details of each situation to me, but they gave me a rough overview of the pieces missing in various accounts of the incident now in circulation. In light of these facts it is only right that I publicly retract my former comments directed at Mars Hill.
The crucial phrase here is “confluence of several situations”. The phrase evokes in four words what soldiers might express in a single compound word. There’s no indication as to the number, type, or severity of the situations the anonymous friend of Patrick Kyle on staff at Mars Hill reached out to him about. Andrew’s case was, apparently, intertwined with a number of other situations.
While I grant Andrew may have had plenty of biases and reasons to present a particular narrative it has not here been established how his story is incomplete at best or probably deliberately misleading. The most common (and generally anonymous) way this has been done is to state or imply Andrew was sexually profligate as well as deceptive, and was/is a “wolf”. But what the confluence of situations involved was merely asserted without any expansion or verification. Obviously no one at New Reformation Press was in a good position to verify anything and they understandably backed down from what they published earlier. But the story of Andrew’s discipline case was still picking up steam.