on the resignation letter
I never got to say good-bye to the church and the people and so what went public was actually the resignation letter that went to the legal governing board that was in authority over me and so, uh, i uh, I know under the circumstances there wasn't a way to do that that would have been, uh, clean or easy. I don't have any criticism of the board. I think that, for the people, that there wasn't closure and I didn't, we didn't get to say anything.
And we didn't expect to resign. I met with the board. There was a whole list of things that were charged by current and former leaders and there was an internal governance struggle and threats of legal action that it got very complicated. And a lot of it was anonymous through the internet so you don't know who is saying or doing what. And so I invited the board to do a full examination, interview [emphasis added] anybody, anything, and we would submit to whatever verdict that they determined.
... When I think about eight weeks we met Friday and Saturday, October 10 and 11. I remember because the 11th was my birthday and so Grace and I were present with the board and they said: "We see in your history of leadership, less in more recent years but particularly in the past, pride, anger and a domineering leadership style." That would be the exact words they used. "We don't see anything disqualifying. These are areas we want you to grow. We want you to leadership at the
church soon." They wanted to do some clean up internally. "We want you back on January 4 in the pulpit, give you time to heal, things to cool down, and for some changes to be made."
We agreed to that. I sent in a go-forward plan and then we went home to have birthday cake with the kids. I think it was on Monday night. I was in the bedroom. Grace was in the living room. And so we told the board and told the kids, you know, we come back and ["will do"? garbled] preaching and try and love and serve and, and fix what was a struggling church and God had provided a way for us to do that as volunteers. And so I was to come back as a volunteer. [emphasis added]
And then on that Monday night I was in the bedroom, Grace was in the living room and he spoke to me and he spoke to her in a supernatural way that neither of anticipated or expected. Ah, and so Grace walked in and she said, "I feel like the Lord just spoke to me and said what we're supposed to do." and I said "I feel like the Lord spoke to me and said what we're supposed to do." It's not what we wanted; it's not what we agreed to; it's not what we've planned for. And so I asked her, "Well, what did the Lord say to you?" cuz I didn't wanna influence and she said, uh, she said we're [Grace Driscoll speaks but it's low and indistinct, Driscoll pauses a moment and is urged to continue by Houston] "The Lord revealed to me that , you know, a trap has been set, there's, there's no way, chance we can return to leadership" and I didn't know what that meant or what was going on at the time. And I'm, I said, [garbled] "We need to resign". So this is not what we anticipated
and a lot of people've thought, you know, "maybe he's another plan" but we didn't. We didn't know what we were doing. [emphasis added]
And Grace fell to the floor and she was just sobbing uncontrollably and I'd never seen my wife like that. She was devastated. So we prayed and slept on it and decided we would make sure we got this right. Talked to pastors, those that we trust and sent in our resignation then on, it would have been Tuesday. ...
Now we've discussed this segment of audio plenty at Wenatchee The Hatchet in the last week. It is, alas, however a gift that keeps on giving for bewilderment and contradictions with earlier narratives ... or even within the narrative itself. We've discussed how Mark Driscoll said he both initiated the investigation into his fitness for ministry and said he would submit to the board's conclusions, and then thanks to the above account we're told he just up and decided to reneg on everything he said he'd agree to because he claims God told him ... a trap had been set.
But Mark Driscoll wouldn't have needed a divine missive to know there was the potential threat of a RICO suit. All Driscoll needed to do was read WORLD magazine.
But in other ways, Driscoll’s critics charge, it’s business as usual. Just weeks after Driscoll’s public confession, the executive elders (Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner, and Dave Bruskas) surprised Mars Hill staff by announcing a new document retention policy that would destroy all staff emails more than three months old. The plan was dropped only after a group of former staff, elders, and members sent a letter to the church saying the new policy was an attempt to destroy documents that might be used in litigation against the church. The group’s attorney, Brian Fahling, asked the church to “preserve electronically stored information that may contain evidence” for legal action in which the church, Driscoll, and others in church leadership “will be named as defendants.” The letter lists anticipated litigation in the areas of “RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act], Fraud, Conspiracy, Libel, Slander, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.”
And it was the Board of Overseers or Board of Elders or both that Driscoll claimed said he was okay, not unfit for ministry, but needed a restoration plan. Driscoll said he agreed to submit to the restoration plan, so whatever the trap allegedly was can't have been THAT because by Driscoll's account you're supposed to do things in a godly way with a godly heart submitted to godly authority and, well, why would Driscoll doubt the Board(s)? Whatever the trap theoretically could have been it couldn't have been a RICO suit that may never even materialize anyway. Let's keep in mind that earlier this year Justin Dean taunted Rob Smith about having failed to produce a lawsuit for more than a year. Revisit this post for that.
Justin Dean publicly apologized to Rob Smith for having brought up either of those two things, by the way. Now the salient thing in this is this--Justin Dean couldn't have taunted Rob Smith about tax liens and having failed to produce a suit for more than a year in March 2015 if, as Mark Driscoll claimed, the people that were raising concerns and criticizing his ministry were doing so anonymously. Since when has Rob Smith been anonymous on the subject of Mark Driscoll or Mars Hill in the last five years, again? Since when has Joyful Exiles been anonymous? Since when was Wendy and Andy Alsup's critical review of Real Marriage anonymous? Wenatchee The Hatchet couldn't have gotten a certified letter from Ballard campus pastor Scott Harris in 2013 if Mars Hill didn't actually have any clue at all who they were dealing with online. Not only did Mars Hill leadership know who they were dealing with one of the small dramas within Mars Hill was figuring how many people were leaking content to Wenatchee The Hatchet. The more Driscoll tries to claim the confrontation from people online was anonymous the more bald the assertion becomes.
So, let's get back to whatever the alleged trap was that Driscoll claims the Lord revealed had been set.
"If" the trap God allegedly told Driscoll about had anything to do with RICO that wasn't something to resign over. If a person has read any of the coverage of what such a suit would likely entail if it ever even happens is that the suit would be against the officers and not the corporation. What that seems to mean is that regardless of resignation the suit wouldn't be against Mars Hill but it could conceivably include Driscoll as a defendant. So even "if" someone were to speculate that that was the trap, it couldn't possibly be escaped via resignation.
Mark Driscoll's publishers went back and revised various egregious citation errors in Driscoll's published work and, contrary to Mars Hill's own cease-and-desist scenario from 2011, nobody whose work Mark Driscoll may have potentially or actually infringed upon ever gave any indication of bringing suit. If we want to consult the actual Bible for examples of traps being set for leaders there's this trend of God setting traps to punish, humiliate or even kill corrupt and self-serving rulers who have abused God's people ... but let's not bore you with those details. It may suffice to say that one of the ways God has seen fit to trap and punish errant leadership is to send them a false prophecy, warn that the prophecy was false, and then let the errant leader go to his demise anyway. Ahab, anyone?
The trouble with Driscoll claiming to have heard a prophetic oracle that let him quit in defiance of his own pastoral counsel about submission to authority is that, well, THAT may have been the trap. Perhaps just as some preacher comes up with a theology as an excuse to divorce his wife and marry his mistress, perhaps in a vaguely comparable way a preacher can claim against his own history of preaching and teaching that even though YOU should submit to godly authority and not bail on the church like a dissatisfied consumer HE gets to go back on his word to his own board and apparently his own children to just go quit because, he claims, God audibly gave permission to him and his wife that they could quit. Too bad Grace Driscoll's never seen fit (or been given a chance?) to even explain what her side is. Then again, maybe Mark Driscoll's functional pastor didn't hear anything important enough from God to share it as a way of corroborating or expanding upon what Mark Driscoll told Brian Houston?
So for the time being there's as yet no plausible explanation of what the alleged "trap has been set" could be, let alone why that would constitute a plausible ground for a next-day resignation in direct contradiction of what Mark Driscoll claims he agreed to do with the Board or what he and his wife allegedly conveyed to their own children in the days prior to the formal resignation.
Unless we consider the idea that Mark resigning rather than submitting to the spiritual authority of the governing board WAS the trap, and if it was the trap, he totally fell for it.