1. Our history with Driscoll and the church. Driscoll entered the church picture in Seattle back in 1996. He along with Lief Moi and Mike Dunn started Mars Hill back when such a church was new and innovative. I remember we saw an article in Mother Earth News about Mars Hill and vowed that we wanted to at least visit this church. It was, I believe, 1997 or 1998 when we first started attending. My memory is foggy but i think it was about a year when we attended back then. The pastors alternated preaching. I remember particularly enjoying Lief's sermons. They were pretty harsh back then, ask Driscoll continued as he claimed the church for himself. We left for two reasons. 1. the drive was LONG, church was in the evenings, which was hard for a family with two little kids who lived in Tacoma, and 2. I'd gotten a pretty solid chewing out by Driscoll in email, in which he angrily told me, when I questioned the church's support of the Pearls' book "To Train Up a Child", that my children were going to go to hell if we refused to beat them. His tone was angry and defensive; not at all what I'd expect of a pastor. At least he WAS a pastor back then. That was the last straw for us and we moved on.
After I was badly hurt by a member of our church that we'd attended from 2003-2009, we started the process of looking for a new home. Unfortunately, I encouraged my husband that we try Mars Hill again. We did and were immediately sucked in by Driscoll's skillful preaching during the Luke sermon series. It was really quite impressive. We assimilated quickly into church culture, joining a community group, going through redemption group, (a therapy like group for people who have been abused or were addicts) we continued as regular attenders until enouraged to join the church. At this point we were having serious concerns about Driscoll and the church. The sermon series after Luke was one that basically reviewed the history of Mars Hill. Watching this series was surreal. The history had been heavily altered. It reminded me of the book "1984" in how thoroughly its history had been scrubbed. There was no mention of Moi, Dunn, or any of the other early players in Mars Hill history. Why is this a big deal? Because its revisionist history. In a small scale, yes, but revisionist history nonetheless.
At this point, we were also having concerns with the church, particularly Driscoll as well. It was the "Real Marriage"series that started to open our eyes to the situation. It didn't bother us, other than in retrospect, when we left our children at home, (a couple were babysitting age) during most of the series. We were encouraged to bring our older children along, but we believe in handling issues of sex ourselves, not relegating that to the church. When, in a small group setting, the video stated that if you were not having sex 2x or more per week, there was something very wrong with your marriage. Again, we thought this completely inappropriate to be addressed in church and my husband and I looked at each other incredulously and looked around us, seeing no one else with funny expressions on their faces. When the "Andrew" situation hit we were further concerned. What did it for us was the testimony by a wife of one of the pastors who was sinned against greatly by Driscoll and Mars Hill church. I encourage you to check out her story. http://joyfulexiles.com/
We left Mars Hill, in the process losing most of our friends. It was extremely traumatic, our schedule went from packed to empty. A few treasured friends stuck with us. We interact on facebook still now, one of whom is practically part of our family. I think of them when I post negative things about Mars Hill. I do not want to hurt them, by any means. I restrain myself much of the time, but sometimes posting is necessary. When a friend posted a link to Mark's apology, I had to respond.
2. Why is Driscoll apologizing, for what, and for what has he dodged all responsibility?
Firing pastors who disagreed with how Driscoll was running the church
As posted before, Joyful Exiles presents a story about unethical firings of pastors who dared to speak up against Driscoll, shunnings, etc. Her site also provides documentation, its not just one person's opinion against another. There has since been no apology published by Driscoll for these sins.
If you search for sermons by Moi or Dunn, you won't find them online. They may as well have not existed. They, along with a plethora of other men in leadership have been evicted from their place in the church, their voices quieted by being forced into non-disclosure agreements. One could argue that they had the choice to sign such a contract, but if you are faced with sudden termination of your job, a family to feed, and the potential for severance pay IF you sign the contract, then is it REALLY a choice? I would argue not. There are solid consequences for those who disagree with Driscoll, as we found as we were encouraged to just LEAVE if we couldn't "submit to the authority of the church." And leave we did.
Current sins committed by Driscoll
I am guessing that you all have heard of the charges of plagiary, well documented, in several of Driscoll's books. This criminal act was apologized for- Sorta. There was a statement by driscoll, more damage control than accountability, he writes:
“Mistakes were made that I am grieved by and apologize for,” Driscoll said. “As a Bible teacher, I know that Jesus loves us and uses everything for good. I know he cares very much that we do things in a way that reflects his glory. As a result, I have been praying that he would help me learn through all of this to become more like him and more effective for him.” - See more at: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/12/18/mark-driscoll-apologizes-mistakes-plagiarism-controversy/#sthash.K58NMiXF.dpuf
By his own standards, Driscoll should step down from authority and reap the consequences of his actions. In one of his sermons, Driscoll preaches:
"There's a difference between a sin and a crime. A sin is something that Christians are supposed to handle with the presence of God. A crime is something that we need to report to the authorities," Driscoll said at last Sunday's service. "One of the saddest things that's happened in recent years is, regarding Christianity, certain churches or traditions of Christianity have decided that when a crime is committed, they don't report it and they hide it."
(find the rest of the sermon and commentary here: http://www.christianpost.com/news/mark-driscoll-churches-should-not-hide-crime-80088/
Further, the even MORE recent controversy of Driscoll buying himself a place on the NYT best seller list is yet another blunder by Driscoll and his minions. Driscoll purportedly used $210 K to finance the purchase of books to ensure his place in the New York Times best seller list. You can read more here
Ultimately, an apology by driscoll falls VERY short of what is required in this situation. He should step down from his position of ministry, speaking, and writing.
My blogging time has run out, so i'd refer you to others who have done way more research than I. I would also encourage all of you to approach this subject with an open heart and mind. It stinks to realize that your "pastor" has let you down and deceived you, I know this by experience. But ignoring the facts is not helpful to anyone.
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