Pastor Mark Driscoll recently resigned from the church he founded, Mars Hill. Can Mars Hill be saved?
Mars Hill plans on moving forward as clearly identified in this statement put out by the Mars Hill Board of Overseers: Michael Van Skaik, Larry Osborne, Jon Phelps, and Matt Rogers:
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.
Let’s look at some key sentences in their statement:
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.
And this one:
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.
This appears to be the essence of the issues the Board of Overseers has with Mark Driscoll. They mention that there was no immorality by Driscoll, some charges were “unfair or untrue,” and Driscoll had previously addressed some of the issues brought before him.
The underlying issue to them was Driscoll’s domineering style of leadership. So, in their minds, it is perfectly acceptable for a pastor to remain in leadership with a domineering attitude and behavior.
Phoenix Preacher blogger, Michael Newnham wrote an excellent article, A Hollow Victory:
Mark Driscoll’s resignation is both a victory and a loss.
The tyrant has been felled, but the truth and the larger Body of Christ have not been served.
The choice Driscoll faced was between acting as a corporate leader or the leader of a church.
In the corporate world, you cut your losses, protect your resume, and move on to the next opportunity.
In the church, there is supposed to be repentance, restitution, and restoration.
This was a corporate resignation.
Included in Mark’s resignation letter was this important sentence:
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. (Source)
What does this sentence tell you about the Board of Overseers? Are they qualified as overseers to choose a new pastor?
From a spiritual health point of view, can Mars Hill be saved? Should Marks Hill be saved? That is the question.
Recent interview with the first fired pastor, Paul Petry:
(Sorry, I can’t seem to embed the video, but it’s a great interview.)
- Samantha at Defeating the Dragons wrote: Mark Driscoll’s resignation letter
- Carl Trueman: The secret of big evangelicalism is the secret of great comedy