16 October 2014

Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill, Told He Is Not Disqualified From Pastoral Ministry

In late August, Mark Driscoll announced that he was taking a 6-week leave of absence from his pastoral ministry while the elders of his church reviewed charges that had been against him. Now, an announcement posted on the Mars Hill Church website reports that Driscoll has resigned from his position as pastor of Mars Hill:
On Tuesday, October 14, Pastor Mark Driscoll submitted his resignation as an elder and lead pastor of Mars Hill Church. The Board of Overseers has accepted that resignation and is moving forward with planning for pastoral transition, recognizing the challenge of such a task in a church that has only known one pastor since its founding. We ask for prayer for the journey ahead.

As is well known, inside and outside of Mars Hill, Pastor Mark has been on a leave of absence for nearly two months while a group of elders investigated a series of formal charges brought against him. This investigation had only recently been concluded, following some 1,000 hours of research, interviewing more than 50 people and preparing 200 pages of information. This process was conducted in accordance with our church Bylaws and with Pastor Mark’s support and cooperation.

While a group of seven elders plus one member of the Board of Overseers was charged with conducting this investigation, the full Board of Overseers is charged with reaching any conclusions and issuing any findings. In that capacity, we believe it appropriate to publicly mention the following:
  1. We concluded that Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner. While we believe Mark needs to continue to address these areas in his life, we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.
  2. Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.
  3. We found some of the accusations against Pastor Mark to be altogether unfair or untrue.
  4. Other charges had been previously been addressed by Pastor Mark, privately and publicly. Indeed, he had publicly confessed and apologized for a number of the charges against him, some of which occurred as long as 14 years ago.
  5. We commend Mark for acting upon the vision God gave him to start Mars Hill Church and for his ministry of faithfully teaching the Word of God for the past 18 years. We commit to pray for him, for Grace, and for their children as they transition from ministry at Mars Hill Church.
We would ask for patience as we now make plans for the first transition of pastoral leadership in the history of Mars Hill Church. We have asked Pastor Dave Bruskas to serve as the primary teaching pastor while we work on long-term plans and decisions. Our elders and board members will work closely with the church staff to support the ongoing operations of Mars Hill in the days and months ahead.

Finally, Mark Driscoll was not asked to resign; indeed, we were surprised to receive his resignation letter. While he can speak to his decision as he chooses, we would point to just two things from his letter. He noted that he had 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.” Secondly, he specifically wanted 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.”

Mars Hill Board of Overseers

Michael Van Skaik

Larry Osborne

Jon Phelps

Matt Rogers
The actual resignation letter given by Driscoll to the Board of Overseers is posted at Warren Throckmorton's blog and the two documents share much of the same language. Driscoll's resignation reads in part:
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. . . .

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.
It is interesting to note that Driscoll still has not been declared disqualified from pastoral ministry. Are criminal activity, immorality, and heresy the only grounds for such a judgment? The Apostle Paul would disagree.
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (Titus 1:5–9)
It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 
(1 Tim 3:1–7)
It is further curious that the Board of Overseers commended Driscoll "for acting upon the vision God gave him to start Mars Hill." This statement sets forth a type of unquestionable certainty that Mark Driscoll was indeed spoken to by God to initiate the creation of Mars Hill Church. Thus, ultimately, Driscoll still cannot be questioned, even in the midst of his shameful shenanigans. Yet, Mark Driscoll has claimed to receive varying types of visions, and it is clear to many that some of those are most certainly not from the Lord Jesus Christ.

With this announcement of Driscoll's resignation, the evangelical world will sit back and watch. More than that, let us actively pray for those who have been so adversely affected by this situation.

4 comments:

  1. #1 "We do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry." Is this just a joke or a waking nightmare? If this group of men and the church as a whole really believe this, then they have no business calling themselves a "church" and should change their name to: "Mars Hill Social Club."

    #2 If what he has "preached" all these years passes for sound doctrine then that is another reason to shut your doors forever.

    #3 Such as? The cat is out of the bag and you still find ways to defend the indefensible---WOW.

    #4 Were the "apologies" published on line like the errors were in the first place or have they been sanitized from public view and the web site? Were these "apologies" only for Mars Hill folk?

    #5 So MD skates by once again. Allowed to just exit, stage left, and ride off into the sunrise of another "ministry" down the road. Repentance is not necessary, because in Driscoll's mind he has done nothing wrong. Repentance is not required by this group of inept, Scripturally STUPID "Board of Overseers" who themselves show just how disqualified they are to an "overseer" in any real church. And the "church" itself because of the years of vain philosophy they have ingested from the mouth of a false prophet have no clue as to what is right and what is not.

    The blasphemy inflicted on the Name of the Lord Jesus is beyond calculation. The right thing to do is shut the doors of Mars Hill permanently, burn the signs, literature, and pictures. Scrub the web site except for the statement of repentance signed by all members and leave it up until the net crashes. Will this happen? Should it? God only knows the extent of the sins involved here and who the perpetrators are, but rest assured they will not skate by Him. The usual fate of such men is public humiliation, perhaps it has only just begun.

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  2. Yes, just as you said, according to the passages in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1, MD is definitely disqualified from the pastorate. The leadership at MH is way off the mark on this very serious issue.

    -C

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    1. I would add that it is also extremely concerning that the MH leadership's has been unable to discern that MD is not - and never was - qualified to be a pastor, neither have they been able or willing to hold him accountable for his litany of significant wrongdoings. This is an indication of a serious systemic problem at MH.

      I agree with Darrel, the reproach this whole situation has brought on Christ's name is incalculable.

      My prayers are with those who have been harmed because of MD's words and actions.

      -C

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  3. Same and massively overdue for the cynical catapult operator, mansion living yet sacrificial "giving" babbling, wool over eyes pulling manipulator James MacDonald from HBC.

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