Acts 29 Network Removes Co-founder Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church From Membership

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Jim's picture

A Message from the Board of Acts 29 concerning Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church

It is with deep sorrow that the Acts 29 Network announces its decision to remove Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church from membership in the network. Mark and the Elders of Mars Hill have been informed of the decision, along with the reasons for removal. It is our conviction that the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network. In taking this action, our prayer is that it will encourage the leadership of Mars Hill to respond in a distinctive and godly manner so that the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored.

Greg Long's picture

Actually, David, this is a stunning and commendable move. Should it have happened before? Perhaps, but rather than criticize the tardiness of it, let's rejoice that it did happen. Think of how big a step this is--to remove the very man who help to found the organization, and the one who is the national face of it. For Matt Chandler to be a part of this is quite telling to me, as he and Driscoll have been very close. It looks like this was a long time coming, and only happened after repeated efforts to pursue other avenues of change.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

DavidO's picture

Commendable?  Perhaps.  But it's a half measure at best in that it in no way acknowledges or expresses repentance for their own complicity with Driscoll (for years!) making it too easy to assess as merely a "Driscoll's going down, let's not go down with him" move.  If Wheeler is accurate (I find him credible), how does Acts 29 throw Driscoll over for his arrogant abusiveness and not confess their own?

(See Carl Trueman's latest on broader Evangelicalism's share in Driscoll's guilt.)

Darrell Post's picture

For those of you who haven't been following along and would like this news translated into the fundamentalist orbit...

 

...imagine its 1990 and the Hyles-Anderson College board votes to kick Jack Hyles out and remove any role he or his church has in running the newly renamed Anderson College.

Bert Perry's picture

OK, first of all, kudos to Acts 29 for taking what had to be a hard step with grace.  It's a very different thing than what I've seen in a lot of other places, including churches formerly belonging to Acts 29.

But for us, I think we need to ask ourselves "what can we learn from this?"  If the allegations are true--and what I've seen indicates that at least some of them are--My take here is that, as Carl Trueman's short "what did they know and when did they know it?" comment suggests, we have a lot to learn from what is going on with Driscoll 

For starters, there was a lot of energy put into the management of a movement that probably ought to have been put into ministry--the approach of souls for the purpose of bringing them to Him and discipling them.  Second, there has been a years-long pattern of harshness, cruelty, and coarseness that has characterized Driscoll's ministry, including his church discipline efforts.

Third--and this should shock us--I read today that Mars Hill's accountability board just suffered the resignations of James MacDonald (pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago) and Paul Tripp, a professor from Philadelphia.  No, not that MacDonald or Tripp are horrible people, but quite simply they're both over 2000 miles away, and are therefore aren't in a position to really hold Mark Driscoll accountable.

In other words, Driscoll--and I presume many other mega-church leaders--appears to have succeeded in isolating himself from any effective accountability structures.  And I will add something; many small church pastors have at least attempted the same.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ron Bean's picture

Darrell Post wrote:

For those of you who haven't been following along and would like this news translated into the fundamentalist orbit...

 

...imagine its 1990 and the Hyles-Anderson College board votes to kick Jack Hyles out and remove any role he or his church has in running the newly renamed Anderson College.

If only Acts29 had followed the pattern set by fundamentalists. What are these lumps under the carpet?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

JJ Hoban's picture

What will your reaction be when G.R.A.C.E. publishes their report on BJU?  It'll be a more relevant scandal.  Of course we all know that fundamentalism destroys reputations and slanders just the same.  Take a look any of the dulling iron comments . . . very little sharpening done here.

Bert Perry's picture

JJ, I presume that it'll be published September 1 or 2 when it comes out.  If you doubt this, look at Mr. Bean's comment making fun of stereotypical fundamentalist church discipline methods, Darrell's comment translating it into our own sphere, Jim's other posts regarding the tragedies at 1st Baptist Church of Hammond, and more.  

Now we are indeed imperfect here, to no one's surprise, but I do think it's fair to say that we are indeed interested in not fundamentalism for the sake of fundamentalism, but rather worth fundamentalism inasmuch as it represents what is true about our faith.  Lord willing, we will not protect those who have used authority structures to isolate themselves from accountability.

Stick around and keep us accountable, for that matter.  It is my hope and prayer that you will be pleasantly surprised, and that there will indeed by sharper iron not only here, but well beyond this forum, as a result.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Donn R Arms's picture

Several years ago Northwest Baptist Seminary closed down and gave its assets (the Weyerhaeuser mansion) to Corban University who, at that time, promised to establish a "graduate school of ministry" in the Seattle area. After the deal closed Corban abandoned their plan and instead partnered with Mars Hill to establish a school under the Mars Hill umbrella. Regular Baptist money is now feeding this train wreck. Seems Northwest Regular Baptists are as lacking in discernment as the Acts29 folk.

Donn R Arms

Jim's picture

Acts 29 Removes Mars Hill, Asks Mark Driscoll To Step Down and Seek Help

No one from the Acts 29 Network contacted Mars Hill leadership before sending the notice, Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability (BoAA) members Michael Van Skaik and Larry Osborne said in a letter to church elders Friday afternoon.

"The Acts 29 decision caught us by surprise," said Justin Dean, communications manager for Mars Hill.

In the letter to elders, which was provided to CT, Van Skaik and Osborne, the board's two non-Mars Hill members, counsel elders to "not become bitter or angry," but "continue to pray for all involved."

"I told the lead pastors at the recent annual retreat that we are making real progress in addressing the serious reconciliation and unhealthy culture issues that have been a part of Mars Hill Church for way too long," says the letter, which was later made available to all Mars Hill members. "And we are. I also told them that more opposition would undoubtedly be coming, and it has. Friendly fire always hurts the most."

 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

****** Moderator Action ******

No more posts on the BJU/GRACE situation in this thread, please.  I'm sure it will have its own thread when the time comes.

 

Dave Barnhart

mmartin's picture

lsn't it almost too late for the ACTS 29 board to do this???  This board knew about Driscoll's issues years ago!

Because of their inept, willfully blind leadership how many more people were abused, shunned, lied about, manipulated, taught false doctrine, & church funds misused.  Yes, I know many of those people bear some responsibility for sticking around when they could've/should've left.  That said, we are talking about people who gave their time and treasure to be apart of a ministry they bought into because they also bought into the leadership.

I've personally seen this over and over again in Christian ministry of all stripes.  People working in ministry typically have to or are asked to be paid less and give more because many ministries financially can't pay true market rates.  Yet the leadership all too often forgets or ignores the effort and sacrifice made by the rank and file to be there while they often treat them like dirt.  I could use stronger language but I'd be banned from SI.   

I can't say enough how much I HATE it!

Horrible & pathetic leadership on the part of ACTS 29 board! 

James K's picture

Exactly right mmartin.  Chandler helped run interference for Driscoll as long as he could.  Only when it is obvious that Driscoll is the human torch do they finally say that things are too much.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Larry's picture

Moderator

lsn't it almost too late for the ACTS 29 board to do this??? 

Out of curiosity, what you would like them to do if not this?

Jay's picture

"In the darkest night, any light is welcome."

I am not going to get into a debate over the timeliness of Acts29's decision; more than a few have said that this should have been done a long time ago.  I will, however, rejoice that at last someone did something significant to Driscoll - significant enough to make others sit up and take notice, and something significant enough to make Mars Hill budge on their stonewalling.  The publishers didn't do it, the deacons/elders/executive elders didn't do it, but at last someone did.  This is a pointed rebuke from someone that Driscoll was close to.

For that, I can rejoice.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

James K's picture

The irony is that this was a parachurch organization that did this.

Where are all TGC people or men like Dever, who are allegedly about church discipline being so important?  Why the silence about Driscoll?  Is it a calculated move to not address it because Driscoll is a calvinist/charismatic?  Why is it that only the cessationist have the steel to call this clown out?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

JC's picture

The lesson to be learned from the Driscoll implosion is 'Do not fall for the personality cult'   The 'Evangelical movement invested too much capital on the shoulders of a single man.  As he goes down so does their credibility and sadly the message of Jesus.

I believe wise accountability should also consider 'risk management'.  If the importance of any one person becomes so essential to the proclamation of the message, then that is a danger, not a strength.   Years ago the MH elders should have diversified the leadership.  Instead they doubled down.  

It may be said that Act 29 did that too - but they have been free of Driscoll's leadership for 2 years.   Still I think they should have acted after it became evident that Driscoll publicly lied about the Strange Fire conference ambush.

Jim's picture

Driscoll ousted by faith network he co-founded

In response to Friday’s move, Mars Hill officials said they have acknowledged “unhealthy culture issues” within the church and have been working to address them. But the church group expressed dismay that Acts 29 would dismiss Driscoll and Mars Hill without first reaching out to discuss the matter, and said the church’s problems largely stem from old issues that Driscoll has long since put behind him. “There is clear evidence that the attitudes and behaviors attributed to Mark in the charges are not a part and have not been a part of Mark’s life for some time now,” two members of the Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability wrote in a note to church members. ...... church officials have made clear that Driscoll has no plans to leave — and they have no plans to ask him to. In fact, they reminded church members that they had predicted there would be controversy from within, stating that “Friendly fire always hurts the most.”

My comments: Why he won't leave and why he won't be asked to leave:

  • Why he won't leave: In what career move could he possibly make that would pay him what he is making (not that I know how much he is paid - and probably the MH members don't)
  • Why he won't be asked to leave: Because M/H is  money machine and many underlings depend upon Driscoll the rainmaker. He leaves .... it collapses
  • What the sheeples should do (or to use the famous Goldman Sach's quote ... the muppets): Leave and let it collapse 
Jim's picture

LifeWay Stops Selling Mark Driscoll's Books at 180 Christian Stores

LifeWay Christian Resources, which bills itself as "one of the world's largest providers of Christian products and services," has pulled Mark Driscoll's books from its website and more than 180 stores nationwide.

The action comes one day after Matt Chandler's Acts 29 church planting networkremoved membership from Mars Hill churches and their popular pastor, who has authored 15 books and amassed a following of 13,000 weekly worshipers at 15 locations in five states.

"LifeWay Stores and Lifeway.com are not selling Mark Driscoll's books while we assess the situation regarding his ministry," Marty King, LifeWay's communications director, told CT. 

JJ Hoban's picture

mmartin wrote:

Because of their inept, willfully blind leadership how many more people were abused, shunned, lied about, manipulated, taught false doctrine, & church funds misused.  Yes, I know many of those people bear some responsibility for sticking around when they could've/should've left.  That said, we are talking about people who gave their time and treasure to be apart of a ministry they bought into because they also bought into the leadership.

I've personally seen this over and over again in Christian ministry of all stripes.  People working in ministry typically have to or are asked to be paid less and give more because many ministries financially can't pay true market rates.  Yet the leadership all too often forgets or ignores the effort and sacrifice made by the rank and file to be there while they often treat them like dirt.  I could use stronger language but I'd be banned from SI.   

I can't say enough how much I HATE it!

Horrible & pathetic leadership on the part of [insert any fundy organization] board! 

mmartin, your quote summarizes many fundamental organizations and their leaderships treatment of anyone who does not fall in line with their opinions.

Darrell Post's picture

Dear Lifeway,

While you are at it, why don't you consider not selling all the "To-Heaven-and-Back" books that make you so much money? Oh I guess I answered my own question.

DavidO's picture

Larry wrote:
Out of curiosity, what you would like them to do if not this?

Publicly confess that they aided and abetted Driscoll.  Go to the people they have hurt and make amends.  They admit in their statement that they gave Driscoll the benefit of the doubt despite the testimony of more than two or three of their own pastors.  They neglected clear Biblical process for dealing with a sinning elder to preserve, by my reckoning anyway, their brand name's status.  They need to own up to this.

EDIT: Sorry, the "admission" to which I refer was in their letter to Driscoll/Mars Hill not the statement linked above.  Source:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/08/08/acts-29-netwo...

We have both publicly and internally tried to support and give you the benefit of the doubt, even when multiple pastors in our network confirmed this behavior.

 

Bert Perry's picture

One thing that comes to mind as a valid expression of repentance for when cults of personality cause problems is to remove situations where said cults of personality can flourish.  Here are some thoughts that come to mind;

I recognize that Christ chose primarily to train twelve men who He then sent out to change the world.  Hence:

1.  I am going to invest my energy primarily in men who will be able to train others to do the same.

2.  I am not going to make a name for myself through the size of the church I lead, and will recommend planting new churches rather than building bigger buildings.

3.  The men I train will, Lord willing, be men who will say no to me when necessary, and these will be on the board of deacons or elders.

4.  I will abstain from emotional manipulation and remember that lasting results arrive from reaching both hearts and minds.

5.  I will make sure that I help make disciples in my own family.

Maybe some other thoughts, but this will get us started, no?  It appears to me that Driscoll and Hyles violated most of these routinely, and I think I can justify this from the Scriptures.  Thoughts?

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

mmartin's picture

JJ Hoban wrote:

 

mmartin wrote:

 

Because of their inept, willfully blind leadership how many more people were abused, shunned, lied about, manipulated, taught false doctrine, & church funds misused.  Yes, I know many of those people bear some responsibility for sticking around when they could've/should've left.  That said, we are talking about people who gave their time and treasure to be apart of a ministry they bought into because they also bought into the leadership.

I've personally seen this over and over again in Christian ministry of all stripes.  People working in ministry typically have to or are asked to be paid less and give more because many ministries financially can't pay true market rates.  Yet the leadership all too often forgets or ignores the effort and sacrifice made by the rank and file to be there while they often treat them like dirt.  I could use stronger language but I'd be banned from SI.   

I can't say enough how much I HATE it!

Horrible & pathetic leadership on the part of [insert any fundy organization] board! 

 

 

mmartin, your quote summarizes many fundamental organizations and their leaderships treatment of anyone who does not fall in line with their opinions.

Yes, you are correct.

However, since we are discussing Driscoll this abuse of leadership happens just as easily & as often as outside of fundamentalism.

Ministry leaders and members of every stripe are made up of selfish and prideful people.  We all retain our sin nature.  No group is exempt.

Bert Perry's picture

People working in ministry typically have to or are asked to be paid less and give more because many ministries financially can't pay true market rates.

This quote got to me--it strikes me that this may be one of the issues that leads to problems. Let's explore a moment; our ideal pastor is a man first of good character and sound faith, but also his "abililty to teach" suggests to me certain habits of study (including learning languages, logic, etc..) and personal approach to congregants that wouldn't be out of place in a corporate manager, real estate agent, insurance agent, financial counselor, or the like.  With which group does one compare to find the "market rate"?

The trouble here, as far as I can tell, is that all too many pastors automatically assume that they will be either the "star performer" real estate or insurance agent, or the corporate executive, and thus they design their churches after that brass ring--in other words, some of them clearly, in violation of Paul's prescription for pastors, love money.  Moreover, too many deacons and elders help them in this by arranging compensation after membership and donations.  "get another 100 rears in pews and 5% more tithes, get a nice raise".

And so it strikes me that churches might do well to organize compensation after the question of not how big the church is getting, but rather at how well the pastor does at training others to do his job, like Jesus did.  Make sure you take care of the pastor, including retirement funds, but recognize that there ought to be a roof on compensation simply to deter gold-diggers from the pastorate.

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

Jim wrote:
Interesting connection brought to my attention via Greg Easton's blog

http://netgrace.org/about-us/partnerships/

http://theresurgence.com/

Seriously ... why don't they break with that partnership!?

Jim - 

FYI - NetGRACE doesn't link to the Resurgence as a partner as of today at 3:34 EST.  Not sure what happened there, but that IS an interesting pairing.
 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bert Perry's picture

I contacted GRACE and just got back a note from the leader noting they haven't had a relationship for years, but they'd never eliminated that from the website.  Check it out.  (not to brag, but he blames me!)

 

Thanks for the reminder.  We haven't had any type of relationship with The Resurgence for years.  Unfortunately, we never removed that from our website.  Your note prompted the change.  Thanks.

Boz Tchividjian
Executive Director, GRACE
http://netgrace.org
Facebook  
Twitter 

 

It also strikes me that GRACE could do a lot of good work by doing more or less an ISO style audit of churches and ministries to see if they've got procedures in place to deal with abuse.   Good investigations are going to be hard, and more or less the province of seasoned detectives, but the factors of whether a program is in place are lot easier to discern.  Do GARBC and others do this?  (off topic, but given that this is my line of work, I'm curious)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

Jay wrote:

 

Jim wrote:

Interesting connection brought to my attention via Greg Easton's blog

 

http://netgrace.org/about-us/partnerships/

http://theresurgence.com/

Seriously ... why don't they break with that partnership!?

 

Jim - 

FYI - NetGRACE doesn't link to the Resurgence as a partner as of today at 3:34 EST.  Not sure what happened there, but that IS an interesting pairing.
 

When I posted earlier today, it still displayed a partnership.

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