What I Did Was Wrong – I Am SorryBecause there has been much speculation about this online, and people I love have been hurt because of my actions, I wanted to provide some further clarity regarding my earlier blog post about the list of church leaders.
I want to be clear that what I did was wrong, and that I did not work in concert with or in cooperation with anyone else, including current or past employees of Mars Hill or Pastor Mark Driscoll. I operated on my own accord, without their knowledge, and without their authority. I exercised terrible judgment and I regret my decisions. I am hoping that by posting this the speculation around them will stop.
I neglected to think how my actions would affect the outstanding men and women who stayed behind at Mars Hill, some of them volunteers, who manage and protect the remaining assets as they wind down the organization. Nor did I realize how my actions would harm their families or their reputation. This was certainly not my intention, and I am deeply sorry for the trouble I have caused them.
Under no compulsion other than my conscience and the Holy Spirit, I have admitted in detail my wrong doing and repented to current Mars Hill leadership, and by God’s grace I have received their unconditional forgiveness. I am also very sorry to everyone on the email list and I please ask for your forgiveness as well. Please note that any further use of this list is forbidden and would be illegal without the permission of Mars Hill Church. [emphasis added]
A few things to consider here. If Mars Hill Church was dissolved at the end of 2014 then the corporation as it is now consists of just executive level leadership? But there aren't any executive pastors in place now, are there? Kerry Dodd's lately listed as the president and Caleb Walters may or may not still be secretary. Michael Van Skaik, Larry Osborne, Jon Phelps and Matt Rogers may still be on the Board of Advisors and Accountability but we can't be completely sure what its make-up is at the moment. Paul Tripp's resignation from the BoAA last year eventually produced a statement in which Tripp explained that he believed the BoAA was incapable of functioning in the purpose for which it was designed.
So Dean has apologized for something, although precisely what he apologized for could be clarified. Craig Gross' understanding was that Dean sold him a list, while Dean has indicated being party to a transaction by promoting it but not actually having sold the list. If that's the case then what is the company that set up churchleaderslist.com? Why was the url based in New Zealand, per Craig Gross' report?
From the cache of the Church Leaders List page
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I use the list?
The list you purchase will be delivered in .CSV file format, which you can open using Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers or many text editors. This format is compatible with every email marketing platform such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, Vertical Response, and others. Simply import the list into your email system and you’ll be able to setup an email campaign within minutes. You are responsible for sending emails in accordance with CAN-SPAM laws, such as including an unsubscribe link in every email. We recommend using an email marketing platform such as any of the ones listed above. Our favorite is Mailchimp, which allows you to send up to 2000 emails a month for free.
What is your refund policy?
Once you make a purchase you’ll immediately receive a download of the list in CSV file format. Because of the digital nature of this product we cannot offer refunds. [emphasis added]
How did people join this list?
Everyone on this list opted in through one or more church or Christian leadership websites managed by our partners and affiliates.
How many times can I use the list?
You can use the list as many times as you’d like. Once you download the list, it’s yours to keep and use. [emphasis added]
How up to date is this list?
This is one of the most up-to-date lists of Christians and Church Leaders. We purge bounced emails and update the list often as people change jobs and churches.
And yet by Craig Gross' account he did get a refund from somebody. The site looks like it stated that once you've purchased the list you could use the list as many times as you'd like. So if it turns out it's illegal to use the list in any capacity moving forward ... why did the entity that set up the website go so far as to say that once bought the list could be recycled endlessly?
So if Justin Dean distributed a list per this statement from last week:
by justinjdean | Mar 24, 2015 | Blog |
I was involved in distributing a list of church leaders to a couple of people who I assumed would only use it to spread the gospel and bible teaching.
Then it would seem he would know to whom he distributed a list of names to that couple of people who may have put the list up for sale yet were not authorized to do so. The simplest and most compelling thing Dean could do at this point is explain who he distributed the list to if he wasn't the person who sold the list himself.
Would the current Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability weigh in on this issue? After all, the by-laws would indicate that part of their powers and responsibilities include distribution and sale of assets held by Mars Hill not in the ordinary line of business. This would seem like precisely the kind of scenario in which the BoAA should be most involved and vocal. But who exactly is even on the BoAA at this point?
So if Justin Dean did not work in ccoperation with anyone else then did he even distribute a list to other parties who then put the list up for sale? Because if he didn't even do that then he's the only one who could have been in a position to sell a list. He still hasn't explained exactly what it was he did and which parties other than himself were involved, per his statement from last week. He's sorry and that's commendable to say if we'd have a significantly clearer idea what he did that he's sorry for with respect to the list.
But here's the thing, based on how the bylaws of Mars Hill read with respect to the powers of the BoAA Justin Dean shouldn't even have had any access to the list as an asset of Mars Hill to begin with, right? He's not employed by Mars Hill any more, is he? And if he was in possession of assets the only entity with the authority to even entrust material to him would be the BoAA. Can the BoAA at least clarify that they did or did not, in fact, give Justin Dean any assets to begin with? If Dean's taking full responsibility for something he's done, okay, but it still seems like something he couldn't even have done if he was not entrusted with something by people at Mars Hill. And the thing is, based on the by-laws of Mars Hill the only people who legally count as members would be elders. But the corporation's dissolved/dissolving so who would the current MH elders be then?
Well, Dean has a chance to clarify what happened. And if he could get around to fielding the question of what conversation he asserted The Stranger fabricated in their publishing that would be helpful, too. And maybe he could even field why he thought it was appropriate to mention some kind of tax lien thing connected to Rob Smith as if it were relevant to anything at all. Dean doesn't seem to have realized that by telling Rob Smith he hadn't managed to form a suit for more than a year that this could retroactively cast doubt on the veracity of "we're not entirely sure who they are".
and there's still this from last week.
If selling the list was not authorized then it was illegal, wasn't it? That would make it all the more important to establish who really sold that list. Justin Dean's indicated last week he distributed a list to a couple of people. Well, that's a short list. Who? If it turns out he didn't distribute a list to a couple of people and acted alone, as seems indicated by the new apology, then this vitiates the truthfulness of last week's statement a bit.
The matter isn't about speculation but that some very, very basic questions have still not gotten unequivocal answers. Who sold the list by way of Church Leaders List? Why was the company url based in New Zealand, per Craig Gross's account. If Justin Dean distributed a list to a couple of people who were they? If he acted alone that doesn't mean he didn't distribute the list to others, after all.
That Dean is sorry is certainly a thing for him to share. But the sale and promotion of the list was also done through the Ministry Communicators Association, which is more than just the individual Justin Dean.
And over at I4J's comment/discussion thread, looks like Justin Dean has apologized to Rob Smith for having brought up the tax lien stuff, too.
Justin Dean · Top Commenter · Buford, Georgia
Rob, you make some great points. I owe you an apology. I could have asked you privately about the tax lien but chose to post it and use it against you. That was wrong and I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I'm sure there's more to the story and that is your story to tell or not tell. We disagree on many things but I'd rather not get involved than attack you back online. If there's ever an issue going forward I'll bring it to you first next time, and appreciate if you'd do the same. Again, I'm sorry.
it may have been sparing on the details of precisely what happened but this apology from Dean was more unequivocal in its way than just about anything said by anyone in the history of MH leadership in social and mass media. And the apology to Smith was unequivocal. So that's commendable.