a page with an index of tagged posts discussing the history of the former Mars Hill Church

November 17, 2018

Over the years this blog has probably gotten more traffic on the topic of the former Mars Hill Church than any other topic blogged about in this blog's history.  At the time I was blogging on all of this stuff I was not thinking about keeping it organized by tags or dates as such.  So there's a sprawling sea of material that is probably close to impossible to navigate if you just come to the blog and try to find anything.  

It also hardly helps matters that since Mark Driscoll's resignation in later 2014 a lot of material has been purged or has returned to the internet in substantially redacted forms.  Now that it's been a few years since the peak and decline of Mars Hill, and particularly since things have slowed down to the point where this is practical, it seemed good to have a separate page in which there is an index of tagged posts and a few single-post highlights that can facilitate further reading on the former Mars Hill.  

Over the years a number of people have suggested that a book about the history of Mars Hill could and should be written.  I'm not disputing that.  There's probably at least one book's worth of material in everything here, to put it mildly.  I have not been all that sure I want to write such a book.  I believe people should be able to find out what they want to find out about the history of Mars Hill in a way that doesn't have to shill a book, as I have over the years begun to believe that the pop level Christian publishing industry is a significant part of the problems that emerged in the later Mars Hill.  

There aren't comments allowed on this page at this time.  This is an index of posts and tags that gives you an opportunity to read at length on the history of what used to be Mars Hill.  I was at Mars Hill from roughly the later 1998/1999 period up through 2007-2008 when I refused to renew my membership. I attended intermittently up through 2008 and finally and fully went elsewhere before Peasant Princess kicked off.  I had the occasion to meet Mark but also Mike and Lief.  During a stretch of a few years I had an awful lot of time hunting for work in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis; had a journalism degree that was proverbially collecting dust; and concluded that I had to do the kind of journalistic blogging I was not seeing the mainstream or independent press, Christian or secular, doing with respect to Mars Hill Church.  

Yet for all that this blog hasn't been, isn't, and isn't supposed to be a "watchdog blog".  It may be that most people who have heard of this blog heard about it because of Mars Hill stuff but that'snot what the blog is "dedicated" to.  Post-2014 blogging has shifted back into the kinds of blogging about music and the arts, and particularly musical analysis, that I had always meant to get to back in 2006 when I first started this blog. 

The amount of primary source material a person could consult from the former Mars Hill is staggering.  Mars Hill was a tech-savvy media saturating church.  A lot of that material, I hope, is available at marshill.se.  But in order to begin to know where to look a would-be scholar or historian of Mars Hill may want some guidelines and summaries.  This, I hope, can be provided by way of this sprawling index of tagged and some untagged posts.  

It’s not a tagged post but it has come up in search results or links from the old Boar’s Head Tavern page so it seems worth linking to as a historical reference point.

a history of the attempts by Driscoll/Mars Hill to start a school (5 posts)

a history of Mars Hill leadership attempting to start a workable music label (5 posts)
None of the attempts to start a successful and sustainable music label at Mars Hill took hold.  There was no shortage of bands in the history of Mars Hill, and for indie rock Christian music Mars Hill could be considered moderately influential. There were a lot of really good musicians across rock and even classical musical styles in Mars Hill.  Yet, for all that, Mars Hill never managed to make a viable music label

an associated survey of statements made by former Mars Hill pastor Tim Smith about music, leadership, and also a survey of his transition to the former Mars Hill Portland campus which closed by assimilating into Door of Hope in the summer of 2018 (14 posts)

A confluence of situations (16 posts)
These posts outline the historical background of what became known as the Andrew Lamb disciplinary controversy at Mars Hill in early 2012.  At the time the controversy emerged I more or less let it be known it didn’t seem like there were any “good guys” in the situation. The double standards with which Andrew and his former girlfriend were treated seemed symptomatic of what people who had been leaving Mars Hill seemed to describe as a set of different standards for leaders and their relatives or friends and the rank and file members. 

The former pastor James Noriega ended up in leadership via the assimilation of the Mars Hill West Seattle campus and there were reasons to have had some doubts about the speed with which he was accepted into Mars Hill leadership given that he was one of two pastors at Doxa that had a piece of real estate Mark Driscoll admitted he had wanted for Mars Hill at its launch in the 1990s.  Since Mark Driscoll was a church planting scout for Acts 29 in the early 2000-2002 phase he was in a position to know that the Acts 29 affiliated Doxa had come into a piece of real estate he had wanted for Mars Hill from the start.  Due to sermon editing it won’t show up in sermon audio at Driscoll’s new sites but is available on older audio of the sermons you may be able to find at marshill.se

a call for reconciliation by Mars Hill circa March 2012 and associated analysis (11 posts)

This call for reconciliation was met with a mixed reception.  Some folks at The Wartburg Watch in particular were concerned to discover that one of the contact people for the process was listed as Mars Hill chief of security at the time.  A number of former Mars Hill members conveyed to me at the time that it seemed the call for reconciliation was more of a public relations gambit than an attempt to seriously engage with concerns about Mars Hill member discipline and leadership culture.  It may have been thoroughly sincere in the understanding of Mars Hill leadership but that there was never any public follow up on what, if anything, had come from the call for reconciliation makes it seem, particularly in the hindsight of Mark Driscoll’s resignation and the dissolution of Mars Hill in 2014, like it really was primarily a public relations work.

Acts 29 stuff, broadly observation about the board of leadership compared to the Mars Hill board of leadership (15 posts)

posts dealing with the history of a house and a contract (10 posts)
documents parallel histories of Mars Hill contracting with Result Source from the 2011 to 2012 period and the purchase by Driscoll of a house in Woodway during the same general period. 

The creation of On Mission as a company to handle royalties for Mark Driscoll’s book directly contradicted a statement he made from the pulpit in 2009 about how he didn’t start a side company to handle books because he took that as a sign of selfish greed for gain in a sermon from the Peter: Trial series.  People can change their minds, certainly, but Mark Driscoll never seemed to explain how or why he changed his mind and didn’t seem to tell anyone within Mars Hill that, his public sermons withstanding, he was going to set up the side company he said he didn’t set up.

Although Driscoll in the 2012-2013 period sometimes wrote about the challenges of urban ministry it would significantly impact a reader’s understanding of what that would mean knowing that Mark Driscoll had, in fact, left King County altogether and took up residence in Woodway.  Woodway is not exactly the “Village Ghetto Land” of Stevie Wonder’s classic song from Songs in the Key of Life.

Which is to say Driscoll set up a side company to handle royalties for a book that was contracted with Result Source to become a bestseller and was in a position to purchase a roughly one-million dollar house in Woodway during a period in which layoffs and firings began to abound within Mars Hill, which alienated enough people in lower and middle leadership, it seems, that they began to consider the discrepancy between rhetoric and the real estate situation and respond by sharing material with blogs and the press.

posts dealing with former Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability (71 posts)
This is one of the more opaque topics in the history of Mars Hill.  Sutton Turner’s post-Mars Hill dissolution blogging indicated there was a rift within the BoAA in the wake of the Result Source and Mars Hill Global coverage of 2014 that involved at least some within the Board wanting to pin the blame on those controversies on him.  That gets discussed in posts tagged “turner”, but it’s a for-instance of how opaque the topic of the BoAA remained.  Paul Tripp indicated in a statement that ended up in the press that he did not think the BoAA, as designed, could actually fulfill its purpose. 

posts dealing with former Mars Hill Board of Elders tasked with investigating Driscoll ca. 2014 (19 posts)
The actual results of the investigation don’t seem to have ever been disclosed and while it is possible the investigation was actually concluded there’s not much more than documenting what could be known about the members of the Board of Elders. 

posts on John Catanzaro, former naturopathic medical advisor to Mark Driscoll (18 posts)
Catanzaro was Mark Driscoll’s naturopath since about 2007 ish.  At one point Catanzaro had a lot of material that was available to read at The Resurgence that was purged rapidly in the wake of Catanzaro’s license revocation some time in earlier 2014. 

posts on Craig Gross, a contact list, and an account of what transpired. (5 posts)


It’s kind of a mess and there’s not much more that can be added except to link to this.

Jacques Ellul's writing on propaganda as a way to understand megachurch culture generally and Mars Hill specifically (10 posts)
It was around 2013-2014 that someone suggested, no, urged me to read Propaganda by Jacques Ellul. So I did.  While the book was formally about propaganda in what we could understand to be social and political use of technocratically integrated mass media, Ellul’s book was illuminating because what he described as characteristic of propaganda machines of nation states in the 20th century Cold War era (a new, permanent state of psychological agitation and integration), Ellul’s arguments and proposals about fully integrated propaganda and propagandists as the technocrats guiding societal shifts began to seem remarkably relevant to what Mark Driscoll said about how Mars Hill was actually run as an information culture.  In short, Mark Driscoll has published and said enough that I think there’s a serious case to be made that he’s not a pastor, he’s a propagandist. Unlike other megachurch pastors, however, Mark Driscoll has functionally said that he’s a propagandist, in so many words, and I took some time to compare Driscoll’s statements about media-messaging to Ellul’s observations about what propaganda and propagandists say and do.  

financials at Mars Hill, more or less on money received and spent as described in documents released by or available within Mars Hill during its existence (34 posts)

the fundraising film God's Work, Our Witness from 2011 (17 posts)
It was apparent to me when this film came out it was a fundraising film.  It was, yes, technically a Mark Driscoll account of “our” witness but to compare the film to even the 2006 book Confessions of a Reformission Rev was to notice a shift.  The “our” or “we” in the histories of Mars Hill began to shift more from an “us” that was the co-founding leaders and the Mars Hill community to an “us” that was Mark Driscoll describing himself and his family as a synecdoche of Mars Hill in its entirety.  By 2018 that process of elision became so complete that Mark Driscoll can talk of decades in ministry and his family without reference to Mars Hill at all. 

So the 2011 fundraising film is a kind of curio, a transition from the “our” story that was really “our” story (at least it seems so if you can find the marshill.fm history from the late 1990s), to the Mark Driscoll and his family are the entire story version of the 2014-2018 shift.

posts on the subject of Mars Hill governance (history and documents) (144 posts)
These sprawl because they end up covering materials ranging from 2006 and 2007 up through to the end of Mars Hill. 

semi-related, posts on the Mars Hillian idea of "prophets, priests and kings" (42 posts)

It would be hard to do justice to this set of material because within Mars Hill a taxonomy of understanding the roles Christ fulfilled as prophet, priest and king that was a relatively standard-issue approach to biblical interpretation going back to at least the Reformation got transformed into some kind of Christanese Meyers Briggs Type Index report self-assessment.  Mars Hill leaders were not the only Americans to reduce whole categories of thought in biblical literature to a kind of corporate-speak self-help resume-building praxis but they were, perhaps, uniquely zealous in using it within their culture of leadership, if perhaps just on the West Coast.  The TL:DR for this set of tagged posts is I spent some time explaining why the most basic definitions of “prophet”, “priest”, and “king” as provided by Mars Hill leaders crashed and burned with even a cursory comparison of the definitions to the biblical literature, whether legal codes or narratives.

posts on the different accounts and explanations given for why the controversial 2007 re-organization of MH governance was considered necessary (20 posts)
There’s a lot of primary source material on this rather miserable episode of Mars Hill history you can find at Joyful Exiles.

Gateway conference statement by Driscoll (9 posts)

historical and social context on Mark Driscoll's Thrive conference narrative (10 posts)http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/search/label/thrive%20in%20context

coverage of questions and background of ghostwriting in the history of MH (27 posts)

coverage of questions about Mars Hill Global (21 posts)
This is another complex one.  Back in 2009 when Mark Driscoll said from the pulpit (in a sermon you may not even able to find easily these days), Global was just non-member donors being able to give to Mars Hill global expansion.  That was it.  In the 2011-2014 period, however, the emphasis in fundraising appeals shifted to a more global Global, without necessarily seeming to actually mean any real change in where the money went at a Pacific Northwest regional level. 

on Mark Driscoll's sketchy interpretive approach regarding Esther (8 posts)
Despite repeated claims to have a degree from a seminary, Driscoll has rarely employed technical discussions of Hebrew or Greek.  The Esther series stands out as a case in which Driscoll had a tendentious interpretation on Esther and after a series of not particularly compelling assertions about why he thought his interpretation held up, the big climax of his case was to share a story about his teenage daughter Ashley. It would seem that a man who wants to tell men to be real men and take responsibility ought to have his own exegetical/historical case for why he thinks Esther should somehow have said “no” to the royal harem round-up rather than just quote his daughter who said “I would run away.”  Ashley Driscoll did not need to be, and should not have been brought into, Mark Driscoll’s preaching as to why he thinks Esther was not a great person early on.

brian houston interview with driscolls (16 posts)

content preserved from Pastor Mark TV (3 posts)

Most notably this material would include “A Blog Post for the Brits”, which seemed to me to be a pre-emptive ad hominem on Justin Brierley in the wake of an interview Driscoll did with Brierley in early 2012.

stuff generally connected to Mark Driscoll and T. D. Jakes (4 posts)
While in 2007 Mark Driscoll regarded Jakes as a heretical Word-faith wingnut by 2012 he had concluded that T. D. Jakes was an orthodox Trinitarian.  As these things go being orthodox on one doctrine does not ensure orthodoxy in another but Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald seemed convinced Jakes has become an orthodox Trinitarian and has stopped advocating modalism. 
In later 2011 there was a church that received a cease and desist letter from legal counsel representing Mars Hill Church about logo and trademark concerns.  Mars Hill eventually dropped the matter and made a public announcement that it regretted sending the cease and desist letter.  Mars Hill also indicated that they gave away a lot of content for free but that, sadly, some of their material was stolen.  This was not a minor point to make for the public record, as it had direct bearing on the late 2013 plagiarism controversy Mark Driscoll was embroiled in.  If Mars Hill leadership was willing to get in touch with lawyers with concerns about the possibility that their own intellectual property was being infringed upon how solidly did Mars Hill intellectual property avoid infringement?  Since Mark Driscoll’s books were registered as copyrighted to Mark Driscoll as an individual more often than to Mars Hill this would end up having significance in 2013. 

Mark Driscoll interaction with (or talking about) John MacArthur (12 posts)

mark driscoll preaching from malachi (5 posts)
This series stood out less for what Driscoll said about the book of Malachi than for some weird claims that the reason there was no Mars Hill kids ministry at the start of Mars Hill is there were no kids at Mars Hill.  This couldn’t possibly be reconciled with Mark Driscoll’s own statements in his 2006 book Confessions of a Reformission Rev about how he admired co-founders of Mars Hill Mike Gunn and Lief Moi because they were good dads. Rest assured, by Mark Driscoll’s own testimony there were, in fact, kids at the start of Mars Hill. 

markulinity as distinct from masculinity, Mark Driscoll on manliness (21 posts)

Proposed in these posts is the idea that at length Mark Driscol's blue-collar shtick ended up foundering against the ultimately white collar donor cultivation goals he began to make more central to his organizational approach.  

things related to Janet Mefferd and Mark Driscoll (47 posts)
in later 2013 Janet Mefferd accused Mark Driscoll of plagiarism in an on-air interview.  That catalyzed a months long controversy about plagiarism and Mark Driscoll’s work which was blogged about extensively by Warren Throckmorton.  Mefferd took down the materials she initially posted but did not retract her allegations.  Second editions of Mark Driscoll’s books have changed enough content by way of footnotes and attribution that it would seem Mefferd was right to claim that Mark Driscoll had plagiarized in his books.

These three series are more concise and organized and deal with particular elements of Driscoll's public ministry and thought (which is not to say any of them are actually short in terms of word count):


largely from 2014

from 2016

real marriage (97 posts, which is ironic since I never really finished reviewing the book)
The question of whether chapter 7 from Real Marriage properly gave credit to Dan Allender’s work was broached on July 4, 2013.  A more detailed back to back comparison of Real Marriage to Allender’s The Wounded Heart went up some time around September 2013.  Thanks to screen captures from The Wayback Machine and published materials distributed by Mars Hill at teaching events it was possible to establish that both Mark and Grace Driscoll knew of Allender’s work and commended it ranging from 1999 to 2006, which made the lack of any reference in footnotes or acknowledgments of Allender’s work in the first edition of Real Marriage simultaneously impossible to ignore and impossible to defend.

It would later turn out that Mars Hill contracted with Result Source to secure a No. 1 place for Real Marriage on the New York Times bestseller list. This was the book for which it seemed a side company, On Mission, LLC, was created that could manage royalties.  Mars Hill collapsed for many, many reasons but many of those reasons can be seen as best distilled in the nature of the authorship, publication and promotion of Real Marriage.  Members of Mars Hill who learned that a book that was promoted by way of Result Source that was alleged to have had plagiarism in it and that was made into a sermon series everyone at Mars Hill was required to work through could get the sense that they were seeing a leadership team sacrifice the reputation of a church community on the altar of the celebrity of one person and Real Marriage could be seen as an unusually distilled case study of that kind of troubling process.

posts related to significant resignations in the history of Mars Hill and Driscoll's in particular (54 posts)

resurgence 2006 (website, Driscoll blogging) (13 posts)
This was the time and the internet place in which Mark Driscoll did not actually say Gayle Haggard let herself go (that was a Dan Savage snipe that the progressive press imputed to Mark Driscoll for whatever reason).

This was also the time and place in which Mark Driscoll blogged about Oprah Winfrey as a cult leader, Adriana Lima as a foolish Catholic supermodel, and Jenna Jameson. 

thematically similar, former Mars Hill elders doing their thing on Twitter (8 posts)

resurgence (publishing company or conference stuff, NOT the 2006 website of the earlier tag)

(32 posts)
One of the recurring themes in the history of Mars Hill is the re:currence of re:cycled ideas and materials and re:peated attempts to get things moving forward in book publishing or music labels or schools/seminaries.  There doesn’t seem to be any trace of Mars Hill music label activity or a Mars Hill school or a Mars Hill publishing company. 

robots (i.e. when used to preclude use of WayBack Machine and other archive tools to research Mars Hill)

(19 posts)
This one may be particularly tragicomic.  In a stretch from 2013 to 2014 it began to feel like I would publish something where I would quote extensively from something Mark Driscoll or another Mars Hill leader said for public record and then within a week the materials I had quoted from would be purged from the Mars Hill media library.  So I began to use The WayBack Machine to document that I was not just pulling materials out of thin air or fabricating anything.  What began to happen in the course of 2013-2014 was someone began to introduce robots.txt, which had the effect of precluding materials from coming up in search results from The Wayback Machine searches.  It began to seem that some people were eager that things said by Mars Hill leadership didn’t want that material to be accessible and also didn’t want it to be able to come up through Wayback searches, either.

But since I was at Mars Hill for close to ten years and had made a small hobby of archiving materials of historical interest the short version of a messy tale was that Mars Hill was simply unable to purge material faster than I could archive it, discuss it and keep it in the public record.  Fortunately many people who were at Mars Hill made a point of collecting and preserving Mars Hill media materials for the record. 

a history of sermon editing/redaction of Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll content (14 posts)
Some of the sermons that have reappeared at Mark Driscoll’s newer sites post-Mars Hill have substantially shorter versions of sermons than they had in their original forms a decade ago.

blog post coverage regarding former executive elder Sutton Turner (51 posts)

specifically about the leaked 2012 memo discussing the precarious fiscal situation at MH at that time.

(9 posts)

William Wallace II stuff (20 posts)

[2-17-2019 note regarding some of the WW2 material]
Included in the posts tagged under William Wallace II material is "Using Your Penis".  Something that The Stranger discovered was that a blogger going by Libby Ann published material from the "Using Your Penis" thread Driscoll started under his pseudonym and this got into the news cycle as something Libby Anne was thought to have discovered.  The Stranger staff figured out that Wenatchee The Hatchet had actually published the "Using Your Penis" material about six weeks before Libby Anne did.  There may be those who think Libby Ann published the "Using Your Penis" material first but, well, that's not the case.  I had the raw text of the thread because a source had kept the text file of the strange thread for years.  The html replica of the thread was preserved separately from the other source and I was able to combine the materials to present the strange "Penis" thread.  The text was published July 29, 2014


The Libby Anne material was published in September 8, 2014

Perhaps owing to the echo chamber effects of online networks, there were journalists and bloggers who regarded Libby Anne as having first published "Using Your Penis". It might be more accurate to say Libby Anne published it at Patheos, although my personal conviction is there's many reasons to not take Patheos seriously but I'll avoid digressing into that.  There may be those who think Libby Anne was the "source" for the William Wallace II materials but the "Using Your Penis" materials were published here earlier.  One of the tricky parts about chronicling the history of the former Mars Hill is that the echo chambers of evangelical and progressive writers is so strong that myths and factoids circulate freely and are often not vetted by people who have no interest in digging deeper because they are working from their prejudices.  

Now, for the most notorious of William Wallace II writings ... 

specifically Pussified Nation stuff (20 posts)

Driscoll sounding off on gender stuff and particularly about women (4 posts)

Mark Driscoll on spiritual warfare in general (15 posts)

Mark Driscoll's 2008 spiritual warfare teaching session transcript and commentary on it (66 posts)
if you want to go hear all four some hours of Mark Driscoll talking about spiritual warfare here are some links that, I hope, still work.



Warning this is one of the most extravagantly long series of posts in the history of this blog.  There’s about sixty parts to it, with a very long session transcript and numerous analytical commentaries.  

This was one of the large-scale media entries in Mars Hill’s media library that began to get purged after I began comparing Mark Driscoll’s teaching on bitterness as part of the demonic in his 2008 spiritual warfare teaching session to his 2012 claims in Real Marriage that he was bitter against Grace because of the lack of sex they were having (and not-enough-sex-in-marriage was also part of the ordinary demonic in Driscoll’s litany of the ordinary demonic).  A question that seems inherent in any longform discussion of Mark Driscoll’s teaching is this—if bitterness and not enough sex are ordinary demonic and these were so amply attested by Mark Driscoll in Real Marriage, couldn’t Mark Driscoll have been thought of as being in some way demonized on the basis of his own teaching and practical application thereof? 

REAL ESTATE AND MARS HILL (any and all) (122 posts)

One of the largest categories of tagged posts is the topic of real estate. For a year or so critical commentary on Mark Driscoll’s irresponsible handling of biblical texts or theological concepts got little to no response from Mars Hill leadership.  Ironically, or not, the first murmurings of attempts from Mars Hill leadership to get in touch with Wenatchee The Hatchet had nothing to do with doctrine or biblical interpretation so far I could tell.  Attempts to reach out began to emerge after blog posts on Mars Hill’s history of real estate acquisition and leadership appointments began to go up. 

University District (5 posts)

posts generally related to the transition from the era of Mars Hill to its end (132 posts)

for those who want to read about Justin Dean's book PR Matters ....  (3 posts)


an index of posts discussing Mark Driscoll's video taped interview with Larry Osborne from 2016 (10 posts)


Since Mars Hill collapsed I have considered how much alike Mark Driscoll and Dan Savage seemed over the last twenty years.  It was as though these two men in some way had intertwining brands of polemic.  It’s a polemical point, made ever so slightly with tongue in cheek, but it’s still a serious point that Seattle had a Dan Savage age of Mark Driscoll.

There's also 10 posts about the Sheila Walsh and Robison interview with Mark Driscoll


There are not a whole lot of books about Mars Hill as a formal subject since its dissolution.  There are books that make mention of Mars Hill but I would not commend Dale E Soden’s book to anyone as something to read for any meaningful information about Mars Hill.

While Jessica Johnson’s monograph is an academic monograph I would recommend it.  So far it’s the only book that has been published about Mars Hill that I think would be worth anyone’s time to read.

One of the reasons to read the book is simply because so many materials got purged in the demise of Mars Hill you’ll find the book useful as a printed document that some of the stuff you may have heard about or read about took place.  Given how much material from Repentant Pastors is no longer online Johnson’s book documents at least some of that material. 

The review I wrote is very long and there’s thousands of words of prelude by way of going through 20 years with of Mark Driscoll statements about sex and/or marriage from his Evergreen editorializing days up through to Real Marriage. I think that Jessica Johnson’s case that Mark Driscoll’s brand could be identified as a kind of biblical pornography in which he transformed Song of Songs into a kind of pornographic existence that Christian husbands and wives could create together makes sense. There may be various points at which to contest that that was what Mark Driscoll understood himself to be doing. That’s a valid concern, but I think Johnson’s case that Mark Driscoll as brand could be distilled down to his racy Christians-have-the-hottest-sex branding seems basically accurate.  There are all kinds of other books that could explore the history of Mars Hill and do better work in relationship to Christian doctrines or any number of other things but if Christian scholars or laity want those kinds of books to actually get written they need to start writing them.  “If” Mars Hill ever becomes a topic for scholarly work or historical research Johnsons book is the first and, so far, only book I consider worth looking at to begin that path of scholarly exploration.  At the moment, in later 2018, it seems the feeling is that everyone is sort of “moving on” across the spectrum.

And maybe that’s as should be, but it’s also possible and practical to compile in one page what was documented during the time when Mars Hill was a thing. 

All of that is, believe it or not, not actually a comprehensive list of tagged posts dealing with Mars Hill.  It would be difficult to summarize more than half a decade of journalistic blogging on the life and times of a religious movement that originated in the Puget Sound area.  

One of the narratives that has been promoted in the wake of the demise of Mars Hill has been that Mars Hill did not understand how to deal with hostile secular, liberal media.  This seems like a wildly dubious assertion.

There's nothing in Mark Driscoll's quotes to Mother Jones in 1998 that suggested he or the other founders of Mars Hill thought that they were going to be harmed by the coverage.

If you look extensively into the public relations crises or disasters that faced Mars Hill during the 2011-2014 period many, if not most of them, seem to have been self-created crises that the press and bloggers were able to chronicle but that were, I believe, reflections of problems and failures in the leadership culture of the former church.

There may still be people who believe that bloggers somehow catalyzed the demise of Mars Hill.  I reject that idea.  Thousands of people made informed decisions to stop giving their time and money to Mars Hill based on information they were able to obtain.  If this blog and others played a role in that I don't regret that.  Happy to serve.  If people left because of journalistic coverage they left for that reason, that is not a reason to impugn the press,which, whatever its numerous flaws, is full of people who are trying to do their job the best they can.  It's possible for me to write that and also demonstrate through all the blogging I've done here that I believed the mainstream and independent press were also falling short enough that blogging had to make up the difference between what I thought was being covered and what I thought should be covered.  Ideally a free press and the freedom of the press for an active and informed citizenry should be able to mutually inform each other.

So if you've read this far you understand that if you're here this is only the start of a potential journey of reading and study.  It's never been my "job" to tell you or anyone else what to think about Mars Hill.  I never told anyone they had to leave Mars Hill and at times I got flak for that.  I believed my responsibility was to chronicle things as accurately as I could, spell out what my convictions were but to do so in a way that left the decision to stay or leave with whomever might read this blog. I hoped at one point for reform but as that seemed more and more improbable I was willing to pray that if the brand wouldn't reform it could die.  Jesus does not need new PR or better PR, people who think Jesus needs PR in some American sense of the term need to understand they are part of the problem, not its solution.

In case people are curious, I'm fond of Richard Sibbes, John Donne, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, some Spurgeon.  My thoughts on religion and politics or vice versa are a possibly uneasy mixture of Edmund Burke, Roger Williams and Jacques Ellul.  In other words, those names should let a new reader know that there's no credible way that Mars Hill leadership could suggest I'm particularly liberal in my theology or politics even if I admit to a measured admiration of Adorno and Walter Benjamin, but I'm not much on board with Marxist thought for more or less the same reasons I reject postmillenialist American and Dutch neo-Calvinism. So, yeah, I'm a Calvinist and I'm an amillenial partial preterist.  I don't think someone who self-identifies as an Amyraldian the way Driscoll did is necessarily wrong for it, though it's too bad Driscoll apparently never bothered to recognize that what he thought his limited-unlimited atonement theory was is basically just Amyraldianism.

If all that pedantic jargon has you wondering then, well, yes, I'm a Presbyterian but I admit to having a modicum of ecumenical sympathies.

No, no comments are allowed here.  This is supposed to be a page that can help you get started on a journey, if you take it, of digging into the history of what used to be Mars Hill.  This has never been a space for people to share their feelings or stories or frustrations with Mars Hill.  There are some fine places online that have provided those.  This blog has been more of a historical/journalistic chronicle of what happened.  Comments are moderated and if corroborating evidence of some kind can't be provided odds are good comments just won't be published.

Contrary to some recent secular coverage in the last year, most of the Mars Hill campuses have survived and seem to be doing okay.  It would not really do to act as if a dozen churches surviving and relaunching in the wake of Mark Driscoll's resignation meant that all trace of what used to be Mars Hill just vanished into thin air.

Bloggers didn't do in Mars Hill.  Brave individuals, whomever may wish to take credit, did not really do in Mars Hill.  The temptation to take credit for such a demise seems as agenda-driven as what has been credited or imputed to the leadership of Mars Hill.  If I had to distill what I think happened, Mars Hill was a once prosperous but precarious megachurch brand and empire whose leadership began to alienate the people when the extravagance of the double standards with which they measured themselves and the common member began to be apparent.  People began to leave over abuses within the leadership culture and the centralization of power into a less and less accountable leadership tier at the top of things.  People also began to leave out of the conviction that Mars Hill was not pursuing a fiscally responsible approach to growth and sustainable organizational life.  People left for all kinds of reasons and enough of them left that Mars Hill dissolved.

So, now that all that is said, up there is an index of posts on themes you can explore if you like.

2-2-2020 05:15 pm
Little update, as of this date since the start of this page it's had 12,486 views.  It's not too surprising this has been the most viewed page of the separate pages at the blog.  

One of the things I've noticed online about the post Mars Hill Church diaspora is that, in some cases, people who at one point were fans of Mark Driscoll have shifted more toward a Rachel Held Evans or a Nadia Bolz-Weber fandom.  Such a pivot seems like a change of substance and style, perhaps, for those who think that in switching from a Mark Driscoll to someone like Nadia Bolz-Weber that they're trading up.  They're not.  Having gotten to reading both Shameless and Real Marriage I lay out a long-form case for why the core gimmickry embraced by Driscoll over the last twenty years on sex and marriage is similar to Bolz-Weber's despite the obvious "red-state" and "blue-state" differences they have on LGBTQ issues.  The underlying gimmick of the cussing pastor who tells it like it really is to American Christians who think the Church Fathers dropped the ball and sex is so easy a stance literally anyone across the conservative/liberal spectrum in American popular level Christian self-hep guru writing can do it.  Having read both MD and NB-W's books I would hesitate to recommend either of the books.   For the longer piece where I show how much Bolz-Weber's gimmicks were refined a decade earlier by Driscoll head to the following link:


There's now a nine-part series discussing the comments made about the late MHC by Mark Driscoll to Carey Nieuwhoff, and by Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas to Warren Throckmorton.

2020 interviews on the late Mars Hill: 

Part 1 Mark Driscoll’s interview with Carey Nieuwhof, sharing how Mars Hill had an internal conflict over transgenderism and same sex marriage, a counter-claim to every account of Mars Hill decline presented in the last five years

Part 2 Driscoll to Nieuwhof in 2020,  “ … I’m not going to say I’m Jesus and I’ve never done anything wrong … .”, a review of post MHC books in which Driscoll compared himself to Jesus, and Jesus to himself.

Part 3 Spirit-Filled Jesus and Mark Driscoll’s observations on what can happen to a leader, some other leader, “you” and not “me”

Part 4 Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas go on record about the last year of Mars Hill with Ryan Williams and then Warren Throckmorton, describing their role in crashing The Strange Fire conference and what the plagiarism scandal was like on the inside.

Part 5 Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas talk with Warren Throckmorton about ResultSource

Part 6 Warren Throckmorton, Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas discuss the Dave Kraft allegations and how the BoAA chose to handle charges

Part 7 The path to the `14 investigation, domineering behavior and the resignations of Paul Tripp and James MacDonald

Part 8 Mars Hill ejection from Acts 29: Bruskas on Matt Chandler talking to Driscoll and Driscoll seeming he didn’t get what was coming

Part 9  The formal investigation, a conflict between MH boards, and Mark Driscoll’s Richard Nixon moment

Now that Christianity Today is doing a podcast series on the history of Mars Hill there is a tag for that

Dream Divination in the Ministry of Mark Driscoll: A Survey of Primary Source Accounts

a history of Mars Hill Fellowship by way of articles of incorporation and annual reports 1995-2007

on the Christianity Today podcast mini-episode questioning the origin myths of Mars Hill, a long-form review of Mark Driscoll's stories of conversion and calling from 1992-2019, the most significant revisions have been post-MHC accounts