Wednesday, October 15, 2014

From RNS: Pastor Mark Driscoll's resignation letter
October 14, 2014

Michael Van Skaik
Chairman, Board of Advisors and Accountability
Mars Hill Church
Dear Michael:

By God’s grace I have pastored Mars Hill Church for 18 years. Today, also by God’s grace, and with the full support of my wife Grace, I resign my position as a pastor and elder of Mars Hill. I do so with profound sadness, but also with complete peace.

On August 24th I announced to our Mars Hill family of churches that I had requested a leave of absence from the pulpit and the office for a minimum of six weeks while a committee of elders conducted a formal review of charges made against me by various people in recent times. Last week our Board of Overseers met for an extended period of time with Grace and me, thereby concluding the formal review of charges against me. I want to thank you for assuring Grace and me that last Saturday that I had not disqualified myself from ministry.

You have shared with us that this committee spent more than 1,000 hours reviewing documents and interviewing some of those who had presented charges against me. You have also shared with me that many of those making charges against me declined to meet with you or participate in the review process at all. Consequently, those conducting the review of charges against me began to interview people who had not even been a party to the charges.

I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many things I have confessed and repented of, privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit. As I shared with our church in August, “God has broken me many times in recent years by showing me where I have fallen short, and while my journey, at age 43, is far from over, I believe He has brought me a long way from some days I am not very proud of, and is making me more like Him every day.”

Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry. Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

That is why, after seeking the face and will of God, and seeking godly counsel from men and women across the country, we have concluded it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church we helped launch in 1996. I will gladly work with you in the coming days on any details related to our separation.

Recent months have proven unhealthy for our family—even physically unsafe at times—and we believe the time has now come for the elders to choose new pastoral leadership for Mars Hill. Grace and I pledge our full support in this process and will join you in praying for God’s best for this, His church, in the days and years ahead. Grace and I would also covet your prayers for us as we seek God’s will for the next chapter of our lives. Therefore, consider this written notice of my voluntary termination of employment.

Finally, it would be my hope to convey to the wonderful members of the Mars Hill family how deeply my family and I love them, thank them, and point them to their Senior Pastor Jesus Christ who has always been only good to us.

Pastor Mark Driscoll

For those with short memories, Janet Mefferd has never rescinded her public charge that Mark Driscoll plagiarized the works of others in his books. 

“I stand by my allegations of insufficient sourcing, absolutely and unequivocally,” she said by email. “His plagiarism is a very serious ethical and moral breach. Academics and journalists alike have lost their jobs over less than what Mark Driscoll has done.”
If copyright infringement doesn't constitute a moral issue we live in interesting times.  For that matter when Mars Hill let Stoke & Lawrence issue a cease and desist in later 2011 to a church plant over trademark and logo issues it would seem that Mars Hill has a history of not just letting things slide when they have perceived their own intellectual property to be in some way misused or diluted.

As for doctrinal error, it's not as though there aren't people who agreed with Driscoll shaking hands with T. D. Jakes as a fellow Trinitarian.  For an overview of Driscoll's flip-flops on the doctrinal credibility and orthodoxy of T. D. Jakes you can go here:

There's a short litany of posts covering Driscoll on Jakes with a tag now.

As for morality, by Driscoll's own account he tended to view sex as a god and to date has produced absolutely no compelling evidence that his idolatry of sex (which is implied by "sex as god") is really all that past-tense.

In fact in 2007 Driscoll was teaching that most men were exasperated with their sex lives and that in a majority of cases more sex fixed a lot of things.

Mark Driscoll in 2007, "The Biblical Man", "... most guys are just simply frustrated, that I have talked to, because they're not getting enough sex."   In a strange and bewildering irony in a summer 2007 men's training event former Mars Hill pastor Bill Clem instructed single guys on how a married life without sex would be something they might have to confront one day.  While Driscoll was lobbying with his wife to the effect that more frequent sex would cure his mood swings and depression Bill Clem was learning how to do without sex while his wife was dying of ovarian cancer.  This has been documented at some length over at the following post:

Wenatchee The Hatchet has documented extensively from the early 2008 Spiritual Warfare teaching to leaders that the first category of "ordinary demonic" was not enough sex within marriage.

Driscoll also spoke at length in 2008 about how bitterness was a satanic foothold and Wenatchee The Hatchet has compared what Driscoll said about bitterness as a satanic foothold in the abstract with what Driscoll said in the concrete about his bitterness toward his wife over a lack of sex in their marriage as defined by himself.

WtH also cross-referenced this material again in light of republished material from William Wallace II in the "Using Your Penis" discussion at the following post:

So as moral assessments go if we simply applied to Mark Driscoll his own past teachings about spiritual warfare then we'd have to surmise that there was some satanic foothold in his bitterness toward Grace over the lack of sex there was (as perceived by Mark Driscoll, not necessarily by the birth of five children) in the marriage.  Mark Driscoll found it easy to say of other people that bitterness was a satanic foothold but what about his own bitterness?  Did that constitute a satanic foothold or was there some kind of executive exemption?  See, it could seem that if Mark applied to himself the teachings he was willing to apply to others in early 2008 he opened himself up to satanic footholds by being resentful about the lack of sex in his marriage.  He didn't seem to make a case to Grace she was satanically controlling the relationship with too-little-sex, no, by Driscoll's account his appeal was that more sex would remedy his mood swings and depression.

As Wenatchee The Hatchet has noted before, if anyone but Driscoll made this case in the earshot of a community group leader that man would end up in a Redemption Group and possibly under church discipline. 

Sot he cumulative case that Driscoll is not accused of any illegal activity, immorality, or heresy is actually a bit more open to continued discussion and debate than recent correspondence might prefer.

There are other concerns, such as what will happen now that both the legal president and the legal secretary, the two legally necessary officers in the structure of Mars Hill Church, have both tendered their resignations.


Unknown said...

Who (if anyone) is the legal VP of the MHC 501C3? Because in most cases they would assume the presidency.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Bruskas has been VP for a while now

the likely candidate for president is the subject of a later post.

As for the secretary, if WtH is going to speculate an educated guess is that since the secretary doesn't seem to need to actually be an executive elder a financial officer might be a possibility. For replacement executive elders someone from the BoAA would be a guess. Matt Rogers, perhaps? Might be able to take over the "priestly" role so Bruskas can be "prophet" and while the secretary might not be filled by a new executive elder perhaps someone else can get slated for that role. Rogers might fit that better if he's made an employee but this is all mere speculative guesswork. There's potentially some way to manage a transition but the transition has to presuppose that Driscoll is gone permanently. It seems he can't quit one of his roles without quitting all of them at the same time.

NickW said...

So sad. Even through this process I've held Driscoll in enormous respect and have greatly benefited and appreciated his many years of ministry and preaching the Gospel. I still don't believe he did anything to require him to step down or remove himself from ministry, but I appreciate and respect the fact that he saw nothing he could do would help Mars Hill at this point. I hope greatly he's learned some things from this situation and will move into his next stage of ministry ready to be used again by God.