But what Robert Morris shared at the Gateway Leadership and Worship Conference days after the announcement of Mark Driscoll’s resignation was the following:
Transcript of Robert Morris and Mark Driscoll from the Gateway Leadership + Worship Conference
on the evening of Monday, October 20, 2014, as broadcast live via DayStar Television:
Robert Morris: Uh, it was publicized that we cancelled him; that’s not true, we did not cancel. I’m speaking of Mark Driscoll. We did not cancel him. He and I decided together uh that he was going to step out of ministry for a season and get some healing. [emphasis added]
Transcript | Mark Driscoll | Thrive 2015-05-01
See Links to Timestamps at the end of this doc. [these omitted here]
It finally came to the point where God released my wife and I from our responsibility to ministry. He spoke to us audibly. It wasn’t what we were expecting. It wasn’t what we had agreed to. We were both pretty shocked and the announcement was going to come out that week. [emphasis added] And, uh, our server, our e-mail and things apparently were hacked and there was no way to get anything done without it being a public situation. And so the Board, which are good, godly people in authority, which I appreciate -- they released a statement earlier than we were anticipating, so um, but that meant, and I agree with that decision, I’m not critical of it. But that meant that I hadn’t told my kids that I had resigned and they were in school, taking test, it was a test week, …. we threw some stuff in a bag and ran to school to grab the kids and within minutes it was on TV, I think it was on CNN. [emphasis added] We pulled the kids out of school, and they already knew because of social media -- media moves so fast. So we told them they couldn’t go back to the house for a few days so we jumped in the car and went to a hotel and it was just kind of a emotionally wrecked.
We pulled the kids out of school, and they already knew because of social media -- media moves so fast. [emphasis added] So we told them they couldn’t go back to the house for a few days so we jumped in the car and went to a hotel and it was just kind of a emotionally wrecked. We’d served in that city for 20 years. Founded that church in our living room. And served it for 18 years. (loud applause) Baptized somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 people. (audible amens from crowd).
So, we’re sitting with the kids explaining to them that dad had resigned and that we were going to continue forward and that God had released us very clearly.
As we have seen, that board included Osborne. Now what Mark Driscoll shared with Brian Houston in a 2015 interview was the following:
Mark Driscoll: “I never got to say goodbye to the church and to the people, um, and so what went public was uh, actually the resignation letter that went to the legal governing board that was in authority over me. [emphasis added] Um, and so, um, I uh, I know under the circumstances that there wasn’t a way to do that would’ve been clean or easy. I don’t have any criticism of the board. I think for the people it, it meant there wasn’t closure and I didn’t, we didn’t get to say anything.
And so, we didn’t expect to resign I met with the board there was a whole list of things that were charged by current former leaders and there was an internal governance struggle, and threats of legal action, and it got very complicated. And a lot of it was anonymous and through the internet so you don’t know who’s saying or doing what. And so I invited the board to do a full examination interview anybody anything, and we would submit to whatever verdict that they determined. [emphasis added]
Um, and when I think about 8 weeks we met Friday and Saturday, October 10th and 11th, I remember because the 11th was my birthday. And so Grace and I were present with the Lord [Board].[emphasis added] And they said, uh, we see in your history of leadership less in more recent years, more particularly in the past, pride, anger, and domineering leadership style. That would be the three exact words they used. We don’t see anything disqualifying, these are areas we want you to grow, we want you to return to leadership of the church soon. They wanted to do some clean up internally. We want you back on January 4th 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.
Um, I think it was on Monday night I was in the bedroom Grace was in the living room and so we had told the board and told the kids you know, come back and was done preaching and love and serve and fix what was a struggling church. And uh, and God had provided a way for us to do that as volunteers and so I was to come back as volunteers. And then on that Monday night I was in the bedroom and Grace was in the living room. And um, he spoke to me and he spoke to her in a supernatural way [emphasis added] that neither of us anticipated or expected. And so Grace walked in and she said, “I feel like the Lord just spoke to me and said what we were supposed to do.” [emphasis added] And I was like, “I thought the Lord just spoke to me and said what we were supposed to do.” It’s not what we wanted, it’s not what we agreed to, it’s not what we planned for, and so I asked her well what did the Lord say to you because I didn’t want to influence her and so she said, uh, she said we’re” (39:45-42:42)
Grace Driscoll: “We’re released.” (42:43)
Brian Houston: “We can take a moment.” (42:52)
Mark Driscoll: “So, she said well what have you heard so I can hear it. “Well the Lord revealed to me that, you know, a trap has been set, there’s no way in which to return to leadership.” And I didn’t know what that meant or what was going on at the time. And um, I said, he said well release too we need to resign. [emphasis added] And so, um, you know, this is not what we anticipated, and uh a lot of people thought you know, maybe he’s got another plan, or, we didn’t. We didn’t know what we were doing. And Grace fell to the floor and she was just sobbing uncontrollably and I’ve never seen my wife like that she was devastated. Um, so we prayed and slept on it decided that we would make sure we got this right, and uh.”
Grace Driscoll: “Speak with wise council.”
Mark Driscoll: “Sought the pastors of those we trust and sent in our resignation in on that, it would’ve been that Tuesday, yeah, and resigned.” (42:53-43:57)
Brian Houston: “So there is a lot of grief, uh, delusion of the church [Inaudible]” (43:58-44:00)
So in this account Mark Driscoll recounted that the investigation taken up by the Board (there’s some potential ambiguity as to which board(s) were specified) was at his initiation. It may be the BoO set up a BoE to investigate things on behalf of the cumulative BoAA for those already familiar with the ins and outs of Mars Hill governance.
What is crystal clear is that Mark Driscoll said that God told his wife they were “released” from ministry at Mars Hill. Driscoll claimed that he heard a trap had been set. But whatever that trap was has never been defined. Since by Mark Driscoll’s own account the investigation was his own idea the investigation itself and its results don’t seem like they could have been the trap. The nature of the trap isn’t really possible to explain and with the mediation of cameras and microphones it’s not even clear if there’s ever supposed to have been an explanation. The interpretation could remain as open-ended as possible for anyone hearing the statement to fill in the blanks.
Given how many stories Mark Driscoll has shared about what happened that led up to his resignation it seems worthwhile to note something he said in an interview with Sheila Walsh and Randy Robison in 2017.
from the April 6, 2017 interview Mark Driscoll had with Sheila Walsh and Randy Robison
We took some time off just to heal up. I signed a non-disclosure agreement so you're not going to talk about it, which was fair and reasonable and I agree with. [emphasis added] And just decided to spend time as a family to heal up, to meet with wise counsel, to learn what we could learn and to see what the Lord had for the next season of our life.
It is with all these stories in mind that we can now finally look at an interview conducted by Larry Osborne with Mark Driscoll in 2016 that has been available to view online for at least a year.