Monday, November 03, 2014

Letter of confession to Bent Meyer and Paul Petry from men who were pastors at MH in 2007

http://joyfulexiles.com/2014/11/03/seven-years-later-18-mars-hill-elders-issue-letter-of-confession-to-bent-meyer-paul-petry-and-the-church/

http://repentantpastor.com/confessions/letter-confession-bent-meyer-paul-petry/

First, go read the whole thing and since it's not an unusually long letter it won't take long to read.

In summary, the letter publicly expresses remorse for doing the sinful, wrong, cowardly thing in letting an unfair and prejudiced trial take place that condemned Petry and Meyer and supported the shunning of Petry.  The signers of the letter explicitly state that Petry was not wrong or out of line to contact the church attorney and that this was due diligence on Petry's part.  Let's remember that the person who decided it was out of line and grounds for immediate termination was, at least via message, Jamie Munson.  So, in short, the following men who were pastors at Mars Hill have retracted and repudiated the trials themselves and the subsequent shunning of Petry.

Now, with that synopsis established (and the assumption you've read the full body of the letter) let's look at the list of men who signed.

Signed,
Mars Hill Elders as of October, 2007
—Scott Thomas
—Dave Kraft
—Gary Shavey
—Steve Tompkins
—Brad House
—Phil Smidt
—Mike Wilkerson
—James Harleman
—Lief Moi
—Adam Sinnett
—Jesse Winkler
—Zack Hubert
—Tim Reber
—James Dahlman
—Dick McKinley
Additional Mars Hill Elders as of December 5th, 2007
—Jon Krombein
—Matt Johnson
—Joe Day
 
What is remarkable about this letter is who shows up first.  Scott Thomas, Dave Kraft, Gary Shavey and Steve Tompkins were all the men Jamie Munson said were appointed as the EIT.  This November 2, 2014 letter tells us that the entirety of the EIT has publicly stated the way it conducted the 2007 trial process was sinful and harmful.  The majority of men who were elders at the time have signed off on the letter.  There are a handful of names that are missing but the absences that are most notable would be the following:
 
Jamie Munson
Tim Smith
Bubba Jennings
 
The reason these absences are particularly significant is because Munson formulated the charges.  If the entirety of the EIT now repudiates the legitimacy of the trials and their outcomes then Munson's credibility has, well, if he ultimately had any credibility before now it's hard to know if he has any from here on out. 
 
Jennings was one of the executive elders in charge at the time the firings and trials took place.  While the names of James Noriega and Bill Clem and a handful of others are not on the list of the recently published letter we don't know what words or actions have taken place behind the scenes in the last six years.  Given that those familiar with Clem's history may recall his wife Jeannie was dying of cancer during this period a certain amount of understanding may be possible.  If Clem and Noriega wish to make statements later on they have that option.
 
But it seems worth noting that at least one of the charges Munson considered grounds for Petry's immediate termination has been repudiated by the entire EIT as of this weekend. Munson's charges and their plausibility has been discussed a bit in the past here at Wenatchee The Hatchet.  A general overview of the charges is presented in the link below:
 
More detailed discussions of particular charges have also been the topic of blog posts such as:
 
 
Allegedly Petry refused to participate in the ministry coaching program that may or may not have been done with MCI (and MCI seems to have been a Michael Van Skaik project, for those interested in some background there). 
 
If Jamie Munson wants to "own it and move on" then now he has to own the fact that the entire EIT has repudiated the termination and trial process he was part of.
 
And Mark Driscoll now has what appear to be a majority of the elders who were in office at Mars Hill in 2007 publicly retracting and asking forgiveness for the things they were part of in 2007. 
 
Now, back to the signers.
 
Wow.  That's quite a list.  Some of the men on this list I sincerely hoped would come around to changing their minds about the process and decision but ... better late than never.  A while back Wenatchee The Hatchet mentioned Leviticus 5:1
 
“‘If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.
 
It's encouraging to read that men who were part of the termination and trial process of 2007 for Meyer and Petry have chosen to speak up and take responsibility and confess their activity.  Some of these men may not have known or realized what they were really doing at the time in 2007 and some of them very probably did but that they are willing to publicly address the matter now, confess, ask forgiveness and seek to set a better accounting of what happened than what was said in 2007 is a positive step.
 
It also, unfortunately, suggests that at this point there's virtually nothing about the Driscollian/Munsonian narrative that can be taken as true or even plausible.  It also testifies to an increasing amount of confession from the leadership (past more than present) to a leadership culture that has not only been abusive but either ignorantly destructive and actively deceptive as well.  It's a positive thing for these men to speak up.  If there's a man to be grieved by and for at this point the man is Mark Driscoll now more than Paul Petry. 
 
That's probably enough observation and commentary for now.  While Wenatchee The Hatchet hasn't met everyone who put their names on the letter Wenatchee's met a good chunk of them and maybe more than a good chunk of them remember Wenatchee The Hatchet.  I hoped this would come sooner but, again, better late than never.  Thanks. 

POSTSCRIPT 1:

But, you know, individual confessions from each of the guys would still be a good idea.  And the absences are still disappointing, to put it politely.

POSTSCRIPT 2:

As big as this news will be for people associated with Mars Hill, that that guy from Car Talk died today is going to be bigger news than things connected to Mark Driscoll.  There have probably been more lives changed by Car Talk than Driscoll sermons, at the risk of throwing out a willfully incendiary talking point.
 

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