note: believe me when i say that i am seriously hot about this situation, and i know that at least some of my anger about it is righteous. i’m totally open to anyone challenging me on my points of contention, but please deal with the specific concerns i raise. don’t just tell me to watch mark driscoll sermons (i have, many) and don’t tell me not to touch God’s annointed. don’t tell me that these are minor issues. they aren’t. these are issues of destroying God’s beloved, the people that Jesus died for, issues of causing Christians to stumble and question even their faith–issues that might result in worse than having a millstone hung around your neck and being thrown into the sea. (see Luke 17:1-5)
(it is not an accident that mickey mouse is on his shirt here.)
so, after refusing to comment publicly on their disciplinary process and the accusations that the process is unnecessarily authoritarian, punitive and legalistic, on february 13, 2012, mars hill has now released a statement about their church discipline process, in which they reference two specific instances that people raised concerns about.
before you go any further in this post, i suggest you read the mars hill statement.
i’m just going to say it: these guys are liars. first they try to justify themselves in the dark to “protect” the people involved. when that didn’t work, they released a statement. well if they couldn’t go public for fear of hurting people, why did they then go public? are they wrong for going public now or were they lying when they said they couldn’t go public before? did the rules change?
they are purposely spinning and distorting the truth in an attempt to make themselves look good. they have sold their integrity to try to cover their sin, and it’s not even working because anyone with a brain and some ability at critical thinking can see right through them.
the most obvious thing they are leaving out is that they did a lot more wrong in Andrew’s case than just posting that letter to the city (their internal social networking site). to suggest that was their only mistake is either the height of arrogance or dishonesty.
in their statement, they seek to justify their actions by defining confession and repentance. the not so subtle implication is that the people with problems with their disciplinary process are not repentant. this is my favorite section:
“…we’re unrepentant when we pridefully resist the change process. A few examples include: unwillingness to face our sin truthfully, including not allowing other wise and loving members of our community to help us see what we may be blind to…”
so, who are these wise and loving members of the community? were the people that subjected Andrew to meeting after meeting and wrote up that absurd disciplinary contract wise and loving? what about the people that published the letter instructing other church members to shun Andrew? what about the leaders that mentored those folks? the ones in leadership that those folks went to for advice about how to handle the situation? who gets to decide whether these people are loving and wise?
what they basically say is that unless you are willing to participate in their fascist disciplinary process, you aren’t truly repentant. who in the hell do they think they are?
further, this statement misleads (i believe intentionally) readers into thinking that the dismissals were directly related to those cases. from the 2/16 update section of the official mars hill statement:
In addition, in two separate instances, we have removed the staff members involved and they are no longer on paid staff or in formal leadership in any capacity at Mars Hill Church.
first, firing two leaders for being what they were trained to be will in no way fix the problem and in reality is just as bad as what they’ve done with their “church discipline” efforts. two guys lost their livelihood because they followed their leaders example. shouldn’t they consider the fact that their totalitarian disciplinary contract might create leaders that overstep their bounds in this manner?
i don’t know if anyone else has pointed this out, but i think this is VERY important to note. from the christianity today article regarding the mars hill statement (see page 2):
Update: Mars Hill’s Justin Dean explains: “We want to clarify that there are many leaders involved in the discipline process and the vast majority did a Christ-honoring job of pastoring those people. The two leaders who we identified in the blog were removed because of overstepping their authority in cases unrelated to the Andrew and Lance cases. Our goal in mentioning them was to say that we protect our people and not our leaders.”
so, the leaders that were actually removed had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CASES OF ANDREW AND LANCE. so how does this address in any way the concerns that have been brewing since January? the whole intro of mars hill’s statement is written to lead the reader to believe that it is relevant to these two situations, when the biggest “action” that it mentions them taking actually is totally unrelated to those issues. talk about spin.
following the update in from the christianity today article is the following statement:
The church has updated its blog post and this article has been edited to reflect those comments.
i can’t find anywhere where the official statement finally released by mars hill has been been updated to reflect this statement by Justin Dean. so, their statement maintains it’s illusion that mars hill fired pastors for poorly handling the case of Andrew, when in reality, the firings were totally unrelated.
where is the outcry about this? even if you think the disciplinary process was justified, isn’t the lying, misleading, spinning outrageous for a church to engage in? why aren’t pastors in the acts 29 network speaking up about this? why aren’t any of them refusing to be associated with this kind of falsehood, arrogance, and manipulation?
acts 29 pastors: why are you sitting under the leadership of a man that sees nothing wrong with this? a man that is ok with official statements from his church that intentionally obscure the truth and attempt to confuse? are you really content to let this man and his church represent you? they are representing you, now more than ever given the larger role that mark driscoll now plays in your network.
are they misrepresenting you, or are you just like your leaders?
where are the prophets? the men and women that obey the words of God rather than the words of men?