Your Mars Hill Update…

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57 Responses

  1. The nature of the beast (those who attend independent churches) is to not only love, but actually demand oligarchy.

    I think this is the most missed and ignored facet in these churches of supposed abuse – it’s not abuse when you ask for it. Do what you want Pastor, we love you anyway because of who you are.

    If you ask the attenders of these churches to take responsibility, they will have you arrested. 😉

  2. Reuben says:

    Thank you.

  3. Michael says:


    There’s more than a little truth to that…it’s on the people now.

  4. Michael says:



  5. unfortunately, this letter describes most churches nowadays.

    they have stolen authority that doesn’t belong to them and bullied people into either silent ‘submission’ or faith-broken ‘exodus’. they do not reflect the Christ reflected in the scripture. (2cor3 verse 18… you become what you behold)

    F+++ (forget) the modern western ‘church’… ‘SFJS’ Simply Follow Jesus.Simply

  6. I think the elders were star struck. In his article, he speaks of the changing of the by laws … that led to them (now catch this) now not having voice or vote. I take that to mean before they changed, they did have voice and vote – and if they did, why did they not speak up at that time?

    See, when they system was working for them, to gain fame, and power in a big growing church they were elated and carefree – they were the stars – but when the beast turned on them – well, not so much.

    See, no one is being hurt – they are reaping what they have collectivity sown – I see this guy’s exit and just his strategy to get out while he has a shred of dignity left and the fact that he probably hooked up another gig.

  7. Jean says:

    Some churches focus on non-members, others focus on the members, however there appears to be a third category: churches that focus on the pastor.

  8. MLD
    “See, no one is being hurt – ”
    you must a done fell on your head, brother.

  9. I was just flipping TV channels and came across an advertisement for a preacher I used to know as Freddy Price. Good ol’ Freddy, at some point he became Pastor Frederick K. Price. Later, he was Dr. Frederick K.C. Price. Just saw this evening that he is now Apostle Frederick K.C. Price.

    I have to wonder if his church’s by-laws have morphed along with his name changes. Sadly, Driscoll hasn’t been doing anything that isn’t being done in a thousand other churches.

  10. Andrew says:

    MLD, no one being hurt? I think they are all being hurt big time. But I agree its their own fault and they are reaping what they have sown. Hopefully those who learn the lesson will seek a Paradigm shift in their philosophy of ministry but unfortunately probably most won’t.

  11. Hey isn’t it called the “Moses Model”…

    “The time of one man ministry ends after me.”

  12. Someone want to tell me how they are hurt? and I don’t count hurt ‘feelings’ as legitimate.

  13. and the Captain is correct. Driscoll (and his elders – I will not absolve them just because they want to jump ship before the cops show up) is just doing what these guys have always done.
    Benny Hinn? Joel Osteen (even with that big smile, does anyone here think anyone tells Joel what to do?) Reverend Ike (I just had to throw him in.) 🙂 – as I said the other day W.A. Criswell – you could probably name 25% of independent evangelical churches are ruled that exact same way – they just have tougher elders who don’t jump to turn state’s evidence so soon.

  14. Paige says:

    Same song, second verse, a little bit louder and a whole lot worse…..

    I feel like the state of the Church, at large (at least the ‘big’, noticeable ones) is in the same state as the world, at large= pretty messed up. Of course, there are pockets of humble believers who are walking in integrity and faith, but the ‘church’ that makes the news, draws the crowds, brings in the big bucks, etc is in quite a sick state. I am quite certain that God is not surprised. He’s seen this movie before.

    I feel sorry for Dustin and the horror and confusion he must be experiencing as the board and friends turn on him. Been there, done that.
    Fulfillment of that ‘promise’ = “the church is the only army that shoots it’s wounded.”

    God is still Faithful and Truth and full of Grace. In time, he (and others) will view this mess as deliverance.

  15. brian says:

    If MD moves one to other pastors it will be economics. Personally I believe almost all church polity or theology are based on, first economics, then of one goes down the list about 10K other issues might come up. If Driscoll falls it will be do to revenue decline, even the Cross of Christ can’t forgive that sin, trust me its a sin and God will take His vengeance. It actually wont be God but I think folks get my meaning. This next is utterly pathetic and cowardly, I would wish Mark would just call those two elders and pray together, I agree that hope is disgusting and heretical but I would like to see it happen. It Cant even if God willed it but that is my wish.

  16. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    What may make Driscoll unique is his social and broadcast media presence made it more impossible for the evidence of the 180 degree turns he’s done on key issues about financial transparency and governance in the last eight years to be completely scrubbed away. This would be an argument, however, that he’s vastly less truly media-savvy than someone like Pat Robertson or Paul Crouch … which increasingly seems like an idea that is probably a given.

  17. Babylon's Dread says:

    Paul Tripp.

    “Do you remember the event where Mark gave all the guys a couple stones? Find those and use them. This is what God ordained elders to do. You are going to risk your future – and I’m serious about this – by standing together and saying ‘It’s done. It’s over. We go no further. We’re done with skirting issues. We’re done mourning the loss of yet another leader. We are done with all the public humiliations and accusations. We are going to deal with our stuff and Mark, that begins with you. We will not continue. We will not plan further ministries. We will not cooperate with further ministries. We’re done. We’re gonna deal with these issues. And based on our authority as elders of Christ’s church, we are directing you to step down. We will fully support you and will do everything we can to restore you. We’re not divorcing you. We’re not kicking you out of the ministry. Our whole purpose is restoration. It’s the only way that change is going to happen, and no one is going to make that happen but the elders of Mars Hill Church.”

  18. Babylon's Dread says:

    Has anyone heard from Paul since is leaked comments?

  19. Ixtlan says:

    ” F+++ (forget) the modern western ‘church’… ‘SFJS’ Simply Follow Jesus.Simply”

    As for your second sentence, what an arbitrary statement. Don’t you realize that was the one of the slogans that got us into this mess to begin with?

  20. Wally G says:

    It’s astounding how the dysfunctional status quo of the US modern “church” leadership these days carries on. Wow. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed, that I would see the goodness of the LORD.

  21. Andrew says:

    MLD, You aright! Just a pile of dead bodies and folks run over by the Mars Hill bus. But no one really hurt. 🙂

  22. But Andrew – what does that mean? We know that no one was killed and we know that no one was run over by a bus … in fact there is a good chance that Mars Hills does not even own a bus.

    The best I can see is that folks don’t think they were treated right, that they were not listened to, some in fact forced to leave the church.

    Well welcome to life.

  23. papiaslogia says:

    I am intrigued by some of the comments over on Thockmorton’s link: one stated that the deacons were on staff – (getting paid)? Does anyone know if that’s true? Never heard of deacons being paid, as I have always thought that was a volunteer position.

    But the posters point was that the church brought these guys on staff and paid them well, and now that they have families and mortgages, their paycheck and the possibility of losing it makes speaking up now a deterrent.

    But elders leaving is a step in the right direction – the next step is Nickel Sunday! 🙂

  24. Judy says:

    I wonder what this thing is about “loving the pastor”. Last church I was in, I heard that all the time, “Oh, I love pastor _____, he’s so good, he’s such a great teacher, he’s so….whatever.” But when it came to talking about Jesus, many of them shied away and didn’t want to talk about that because the focus was the pastor. I suppose that like the Israelites, we prefer a king. It’s easier to follow a king than it is to follow God because, after all, you can see him. He’s “here”, not that God isn’t “here”, but you know what I mean. When the Israelites preferred a king, God gave them one, with the warning that he would be harsh on them and they didn’t seem to care. I guess nothing much has changed in all those years.

    Maybe the lesson is that God lets us have what we want sometimes, so maybe we should be careful what we want.

    If nothing else good has come out of the MHC thing, I think that there has been an awakening and a separation. In my mind, that is good.

  25. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    mld … if you don’t already know what the “pile of dead bodies” refers to or why Mark Driscoll used the phrase you have some catching up to do. 🙂 If all Driscoll had done was just “move on” instead of having 2 out of 24 guys fired in 2007 Driscoll probably couldn’t even have become a conversation topic this year.

  26. WenatcheeTheHatchet
    “…instead of having 2 out of 24 guys fired in 2007 .”

    I take it then that you have never lost a job where you thought the company was wrong to let you go? Is that the definition of “pile of dead bodies.”

  27. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    if you haven’t educated yourself on the background MLD keep pulling the dogs ears if you insist.

  28. Wenatchee,
    All I asked above was how these folks were hurt.? Dustin Kensrue wrote in his article that the by laws were changed and they now had no voice and no vote … so I asked, “why didn’t they speak up at the time that they did have a voice and a vote”?

    I think we know the answer.

    Back to the topic – when I asked how these people were hurt – and I did say hurt feelings don’t count, I was told “Just a pile of dead bodies and folks run over by the Mars Hill bus.”

    All of these guys complaining were probably hand picked by Driscoll in his “oligarchy” management style and these same guys were in seventh heaven having been touched by God himself – working through Mark Driscoll. Now they don’t like that same style anymore.

    Driscoll may be an ass (and I am sure that he is), but come on, these guys were like leeches and now are in self preservation mode (ie the paycheck)

  29. OCDan says:

    Meanwhile, Pastor Saeed still languishes in a hell-on-earth prison and a child abusers are going to walk.

    No wonder the church is in such disarray. I realize that the tares always grow among the wheat, but this nonsense of worshipping pastors and money and glamour is way out of control. I realize that there is nothing new under the sun, but it seems that with our technology and the sheer number of humans, the rate at which things fall apart or go away with a wink and a nod just keeps increasing, esp. in the West. I know we have always had corruption, but I can’t ever remember a time in the US when it was so blatant, out in the open, and accepted by so many. And then the perps just laugh and say take me to court.

    When we begin to love God with everything we have and our neighbors as ourselves, then the healing will begin. Instead of seeking fame, fortune, and power, or latching on to those with it, we should be seeking HIS kingdom first. Leave these jerks and their churches. Seriously, I know it is easier said then done. Friends, relationships, etc., but Jesus said He brings a sword and will divide families. What do you think will happen with friends? Who do we really stand for? Jesus or MD? Jesus or child abusers? Don’t get me wrong, I am not throwing everyone under the bus (See what I did there?). However, it is high time that those truly in Christ take their salvation, His Lordship, and their relationship with the Almighty seriously and that includes me.

    Michael, I love this blog and the comments and I commend you, but we must always remember that sin will take us places we never thought we could or would go and that is one reason of many why all this fifth goes on.

    MD and so many others all take about accountability, until it comes to their door, then it guns ablazin’ time. How sad.

    And then we all wonder why the church is powerless. You think God will honor that kind of behavior. Maybe we need to take accountability.

    I have said many times before, maybe even once on this blog, I think that sometimes God allows bad things to happen, just to see what our reaction will be. Will it be faith, accountability, trust in Him, humility, stand up and be counted for HIM, etc., or will it be I’m just in this for me, myself, and I?

    Sorry for the rant, but I am just sick of MD and all his ilk. Geez Louise, the people flowing this guy need to vamoose and stop supporting him. All these guys know is power and money. Take away the money and there goes the power.

  30. Nonnie says:

    MLD, I am willing to give the guys at Mars Hill a break. Sometimes it takes a while to see how one has been taken in. If they want to do the right thing now, why fault them?

  31. Nonnie – what is the right thing? I say resign and put your resume on Craigslist

  32. Steve Wright says:

    There should be a difference between an employee and a volunteer in terms of the ease of dismissal – the church is like a business but is not a business. A business is not going to get a lot of volunteers to devote their time to make it run, and a church has that option. So once a church chooses to actually move from volunteer to paid staff, there should be a higher standard when it comes to the removal of that person…which is another reason a church should be slow to hire staff in the first place.

    As an aside, our accountability bylaws differentiate between employee and other ministry leaders and volunteers.

  33. Michael says:


    I hear your heart on this.
    I went to bed last night very frustrated and discouraged…the story on abused kids gets little notice and this one on an obnoxious boar explodes.

    The more I think about though, the more I think the Driscoll story is a crossroads for the American church.

    If he is removed, then perhaps we do care about something other than charisma and celebrity.
    If not…

  34. Nonnie says:

    The right thing is to speak for truth, apologise for going along with what you now know is wrong. Perhaps that means resigning, perhaps not.

  35. It does seem like rats deserting a sinking ship, but yeah, hopefully all of this can get us over the idea of wanting to have an edgy, cool pastor. Scriptures definition of a pastor works much better.

  36. OCDan says:


    Couldn’t agree more with your crossroads statement.

    It’s the old actions speak louder than words. I know MLD always says that it really shouldn’t matter to the larger church, but if people all over the world keep buying his books and CDs, etc., than it is an issue far larger than the local congregants.

    Amazing that this guy and others get away with this nonsense and Jesus threw money changers out of the temple twice, even using a whip once.

    Oh Lord, what have we become? Forgive us.

    As an aside, I have been struggling with this kind of issue regarding the inane topic of football. Look, I love the sport as much as any red-blooded American male can, but the more I read, hear, and realize about this sport at the NFL, NCAA, and high school level, well let’s just say the fans are getting taken for a ride, through such items as tax subsidies and tax deductions for billionaires, etc. and I find it disgusting. I realize I can walk away, but how do I escape taxes even if I vote against them and how do I escape billionaires getting millions in tax deductions, so they can build another stadium? I guess I could move to a state where there are no pro teams and college is small, but I am not ready to move to the Dakotas just yet. I am working on it, but not there yet.

    I am just at a point in life where I think God is continuing to show me to cling to Him, everything else is corrupted, even our best. Also, I should be enjoying Him more, not some sport that should be played by children. What did Paul write? I put away childish things…

    Oh well, at some point God will take care of the accounting and I trust that He will and it will be done righteously and perfectly and no one, even, me will have a complaint.

    Sorry, for going off the rails. Just had to share that sometimes even trying to escape is not possible.

  37. Babylon's Dread says:

    If you street test this stuff you will find some interesting results. People who take time to know what the issues are continue to see this as something that must be pursued. People without a horse in the race are left to their prejudices, preconceptions and emotional responses.

    Some see MD as a righteous man being pursued by petty angry souls. Some see this as something that should be handled out of sight. Others think he is just one more shyster minister.

    Pastoral abuse is not a topic with a consensus. It is too nebulous and hard to grasp. Abuse in general is really hard for people to believe unless they have suffered it. The unyielding nature of the institution that shrouds this is amazing. Undoubtedly it is because so many people have to ask themselves the hard questions about complicity and even the guilt of abetting the horror.

    At this point there is far more than the guilt or innocence of a man at the forefront.

  38. Michael says:

    Very simply, what’s at stake here is the nature and definition of the church.
    We will either embrace Driscoll and his ilks definition while bitching occasionally about it’s cost or we will redefine it.

  39. “Others think he is just one more shyster minister. ”

    This is my view … but on a little different level – the shystering comes in his fooling people that he teaches Christianity. That’s why I can’t figure out why people even publish his books let alone why other people buy them.

    It’s odd that people will trade Christianity for a guy in skinny jeans, an untucked shirt and a rooster haircut.

  40. Nonnie says:

    Speaking of skinny jeans:

  41. One of the two fired in 2007 had left his successful law practice to join Mars Hill full time. Yet when he, a lawyer, disagreed with how the bylaws were being rewritten to take the authority away from the elders and given to a small cadre of leaders, he was fired and his family shunned.

    Career taken away – I’d call that hurt. And I’m not sure how a wife and children crying because their friends won’t even talk to them doesn’t count as hurt, just because it’s feelings.

    Finally, many people who were treated poorly by Mars Hill have never darkened the door of a church again because of it, and as someone who believes in the importance of the church I would consider that hurt as well.

    Yes, they could have been wiser and not picked a church that was essentially the brand of a single charismatic leader, but at the time there WERE checks and balances, and if you look at Mark’s preaching he believed in them (look at where the 9 elders reference Mark’s own words about following Jesus, not Mark). Perhaps MLD’s comments are appropriate for anyone who joined post-2007, but for those pre-2007 I think they are unfair.

  42. Michael says:

    Well said, Steve…

  43. Babylon's Dread says:

    ‘Under the Bus’ may become a brand.

  44. Steve Wright says:

    Reminded that ‘Waiting for the Bus’ and ‘Jesus just left Chicago’ are always connected when it comes to airplay.

  45. Neo says:

    Two words: Church Politics.

  46. Neo,
    “Two words: Church Politics.”

    Do you think those are bad words? A church cannot function without them.

  47. Babylon's Dread says:


    The church could certainly function with higher politics… as those who have inherited a kingdom that is not of this world.

  48. I think church politics have been down on the same level as the days of the apostles.
    Church in fighting of how to handle new gentile converts – had to get the BIG church to intervene.
    What to do with John Mark?
    Who is going to feed the widows etc.?

    People want to feast on the sausage, but know one wants to know how it is made.

  49. Babylon's Dread says:

    MLD I agree that conflict resolution is as old as man… and the NT church had not advantage over us. But I disagree that the discussion of politics in the church centers upon the life of the apostles and their conflicts. Rather to find politics you need to find the mooring and bondage of serving institutional religion. For that we look to institutional Judaism. The church becomes something to be served rather than what we are …then politics burst in on us.

  50. Andrew says:


    I’m trying to find that verse in the bible “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never HURT me”. I’m searching all over the bible for it but I’m finding the exact opposite on how much power the tongue has. Anyway, I don’t buy your premise of nobody hurt. Maybe not physically but I believe the piles of dead bodies and being run over by the Mars Hill bus is a metaphor and hurt feelings definitely count in my book. And I believe they count in God’s eyes as well. I’m surprised you discount them. 🙂

  51. I don’t discount anyone – and i did not say anyone was hurt – I just asked for examples of hurt and you gave me “piles of bodies” and something about people under the bus. That tells me nothing.
    If your friends shun you is that the church’s fault or is that an issue with the quality of friends you choose?
    The fact that the lawyer was not a good match for the new job with the church happens all the time.

    People pick up and leave a worthy church for no particular reason other than the grass looks greener at the new church. Is that not abusive behavior by the congregant for whom the church and it’s leadership have entrusted time, effort, love and God’s word only to have them “feel led to leave.”?

    I have already said that MD is probably a dog, so that isn’t my issue. Michael said it best – all of this is an experiment to see if social media can bring down a prominent ministry leader to teach others a lesson.

  52. “and i did not say anyone was hurt”
    Should read
    “and i did not say anyone was not hurt”

  53. Andrew says:

    MLD, I can’t give you example of those hurt at Mars Hill cause I have never even been there. My only concern is your comment at 12 where you says hurt feelings are not legitimate.

  54. Its more that hurt feelings are too subjective. People get their feelings hurt when they can’t come to the Lord’s Table with us – so are we to be accused of being abusive?

    But hey – even at #10 you agreed that it’s their own fault.

    To me it’s a matter that no one wants to take responsibility for their own bad acts. I don’t care if it’s in the pulpit or in the pew – everyone has their finger out pointing at the other guy. Steve Codling at #41 even tried to push the idea that actions of others have kept people from going to church. This is horrendously inaccurate – one person’s actions cannot stop another person from doing what they want to do.

  55. Corby says:

    While not surprising, it is interesting that there doesn’t appear to be anything in the Portland news about the firing of the MH pastor there. It was all over the Seattle news for a time. Its interesting because when the campus opened there were all kinds of protests which made the news. Sucks to be the new guy at one of their satellite campuses!

  56. Following up on Corby’s statement – does anyone even know about these Mars Hills satellite churches. I have one son who lives in Huntington Beach and he has never heard of it. My other son just moved to Napa from Huntington Beach and he has not heard of it. I spent this morning in HB for business and asked people at 4 different locations if they could direct me to Mars Hills Church? Blank stares

  57. Jean says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of TGC, but I do listen to a lot of Tim Keller U Tube presentations. One thing I respect immensely about Tim Keller is his willingness and ability to debate and field questions in a very level headed and respectful manner from diverse viewpoints. Thus, you can find Keller presenting at, and taking questions from, Google HQ, MIT, etc. We are talking about a very strong intellect here.

    I just came across this 1 hr. documentary on Tim Keller, which I recommend. I think Tim Keller is influential in American evangelicalism, but I don’t consider him a “celebrity” and don’t think he covets that mantle.

    One thing you’ll notice right away, if you compare MD and Keller is that unlike MD, Keller is not angry, doesn’t sweat or point fingers at his audience (thanks again for the nightmares Michael 🙂 ), and appears to be a humble and very good listener. Not only an ambassador for Christ, but an ambassador for the rest of us who aren’t so well gifted.

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