Jan 28, 2012

The Dangers of Mark Driscoll & The Mars Hill Church


UPDATE: April 23rd 2013.  Driscoll's at it again.

So here he is again with his antiquated archaic views of women shining through.  No matter what his apologies may say, we see his real opinion of women.  They should STFU and know their place, and don't DARE speak their mind, especially in public.

ORIGINAL STORY BELOW

A few weeks ago someone posted on my Facebook page about this so-called Pastor named Mark Driscoll who had gone on another Christian podcast and proceeded to dress down the host and make various sexist remarks regarding women in authority in the Church.

He had an interesting discussion with Jeremy Brierley on his podcast "Unbelievable", who asked him about a variety of topics involved with his church and books, and pointed out a lot of aspects that Driscoll has come under fire for (namely his misogyny, homophobic comments and other things).  And to his credit, Brierley was shockingly polite and civil while Driscoll condescended and mocked him repeatedly.

In part of the interview he condescended and denigrated Jeremy and his wife, who is the pastor of their church.  Driscoll, who is not a believer of females in authority in the church decided to ask some questions which, while in the written form is not quite as obvious, were laced with sarcasm and cynicism and to be quite honest he was being a bit of a prick.

Driscoll: So, in the church that your wife pastors, how many young men have come to Christ in the last year?

Brierley: Well we’re not a huge church, unlike yours, but I’d say there’s two or three probably in the last year who certainly, yah, I’d say have come to Christ in a pretty meaningful way.

Driscoll: Okay and in the church, what percentage is young men, single men?

Brierley: It’s difficult to say off the top of my head, but I’ll freely say it’s certainly not a big percentage, no.

Driscoll: Kay, and are you okay with that? Do you think that’s the best way to go?

Brierley: No, but can it be so easily put down to the fact that the church is being run by a woman? I mean, is that …

Driscoll: Yup. Yup. You look at your results, you look at my results, and you look at the variable that’s most obvious.

Brierley: Well, in our case, the …

Driscoll: This is where the excuses come, not the verses. This is where the excuses come, not the verses.

Brierley: … Up to the point my wife took over, it had been run by men. Since she’s come, lots of new families, lots of younger people, both men and women, have come. I wouldn’t say the balance is right perfect yet by any means. But it’s certainly a lot better than it ever was. And so I don’t necessarily see quite the same situation that you paint there in terms of men not relating. I see more men in the church since she’s been there than before she was there, in a way.

Driscoll: What kind of men? Strong men?


Brierley: Well, men. I mean, men come in different shapes and sizes. I mean, yah, both really. Men who are very masculine, men who are, I guess, on a spectrum, more effeminate. But I couldn’t say that there’s been a sort of dearth of men in the church since she’s arrived. I mean, Mark, I don’t want to get into a sort of argument.

Driscoll: No, no, you don’t want to sit in my seat, I understand. So does your wife do counseling with men? Sexual counseling? Does she talk about masturbation, pornography, the stuff that I do?

Brierley: Well no, she doesn’t.

Driscoll: Well, who does talk to the men about those things, especially the young men?

Brierley: Well there are other people that she can pass them on to. We have male elders in our church who, you know, would be able to tackle those kinds of questions. I mean, but would you speak with those kinds of issues to a female in your church?

Driscoll: Uh no. If they’re a married couple we might meet with them as a couple. But if it’s a woman, we would have women leaders meet with them.

Brierley: Sure, well it’s the same scenario in our church really.

Driscoll: Well except for who’s in charge.

Then after the intervew, Driscoll responded in attack mode saying he was maligned and misled, which led to Brierley releasing the entire hour long interview which you can hear for yourself online, and shows that - surprise surprise - Brierley was doing no such thing.

And while he can try to run from his past inflammatory record and he can make all the false apologies he wants, the bottom line is to be quite honest is I don't think he really WANTS to run from his comments.  I think he sincerely believes everything he is saying will help him out in the long run with his congregation.


MORE AFTER THE JUMP



These people will believe in him even more in the face of the "evil media" and he will use this to attract even more people, who are more often then not vulnerable and seeking someone to look up to.  And he'll be there to fill that role of manipulator.

He will make outrageously offensive comments, and then when the pressure is on, he'll throw out a "sincere" apology and things will die down until he does it again.  All the while garnering attention and media coverage of his mega-church in Seattle.

The laundry list of insulting comments unbecoming a man of God is staggering to behold.   Below I'll list just a few of them, with sources so you can see for yourself that I'm not just making things up, because truly they sound like they have to be made up, because what true man of God would ever say and do some of the things he's saying and doing?

He had some bizarre rant about how masturbation was a form of homosexuality because the woman is not involved, and it's really bad if you're looking at yourself in a mirror and getting turned on by your own body.  I think the guy's been hanging out with Patrick Bateman a little bit too much, but hey.  To each their own I suppose.  He said that if the wife is involved (no girlfriend of course, because you know... the whole premarital sex is a no-no ** more on that later**) then it's less gay.

Yeah he's a real walker and talker of Jesus folks.

Which brings me to that most important aspect, I suppose, of how Driscoll views Christ.  See, to him Jesus was not the lovable hippie that he feels that He was portrayed as.  The hugging lambs and patting little kids on the head that we see in images.  No, see Jesus was kinda like Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli.  He was kicking ass and taking names.  He wasn't a "Girly Man" folks, he was a man's man, and Driscoll is tired of seeing Jesus portrayed as otherwise.

Or as Driscoll so eloquently described him, "He's like 'Thug Jesus'".  I swear I didn't just make that up.



And of course could forget the fact that this guy has the ability to see things.  He has admitted that he can see things like molestation and private things in your life that you have done. He's able to see these things, yet does nothing about them?  I would like to think that if I had the power of being able to see horrific things like rapes and molestations and whatnot, that I would use it for good, not manipulation.  But then again who's to say?


Phil Johnson of the Team Pyro blog has an excellent summation of this aspect of Driscoll:


The counsel Driscoll gives is bad counsel. If by his own admission Driscoll's divinations are not "a hundred percent always right," he has no business accusing people of serious sins—including felony crimes—based on what he "sees" in his own imagination. Much less should he encourage his congregants to dream that they have such an ability and urge them to "use that gift."

The salacious details he recounts are totally unnecessary. They serve only to reinforce the concern some of us have raised: Why does Driscoll have such a fixation with obscene subject matter, ribald stories, and racy talk? The smutty particulars regarding a counselee's tryst in a cheap hotel are not merely unnecessary; "it is disgraceful even to speak of [such] things."

Also there's his troubling views on women's roles in Marriage.   Ted Haggard is a former mega church Pastor in Colorado.  He was all about family values, as most of these Mega-Church people are, and all about how "The Gays" are ruining everything in this country.  And if you are supporting "The Gays" then you are just as bad.  So here we have this really right wing mega church Pastor in Colorado who is all about Family Values and how the gays are bad.  And yes, I know you know where this is heading, even if you've never heard of Haggard.

He got caught with a male prostitute with whom he did various things, including meth.   So here you have a "man of God" caught with his pants down (literally) with a male prostitute and drugs.  So naturally you would think that Haggard gets 100% of the blame here right?  I mean he's in control of his own actions.

Actually you would be wrong.  Mark Driscoll had a fantastic view of this whole thing (which he denied he ever spoke on when condescending Jeremy Brierley in the recent radio interview) where he said the following in a blog post which he later removed from his site after he got so much criticism:

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

Then when the shit hit the fan, he responded with a comment about how he wasn't blaming the wife and that she seemed like a "lovely and very devoted wife".

Wow.

After that, many people criticized Driscoll, including Rose Swetman, who is a co-pastor of a church in Seattle Washington, where Driscoll's "Mars Hill Church" is located.

In her very eloquent post she took him to task for many of his comments, present and past, such as how women should not be in any position of authority in the church because they are "gullible and easily mislead".  He also said that opening the doors to female leaders, would then lead the church doors to open to homosexuals, and said that, as a result of the Episcopalian church electing a female Bishop, that next they'd be electing a "fluffy bunny rabbit".  However her main point in her piece was about the comments about Haggard's cheating being due to his wife not satisfying her wifely duties and keeping him at home.

Here's a few snippets from her longer piece which you can read in full by clicking HERE:

Your comments above seem to say that you would call me a “Christian” feminist. You teach that women like me are out of God’s intended roles for women in the church and home and that if the church allows women in ministry then homosexuals in ministry would be the next logical conclusion. This is not only offensive to me, it is demeaning of my personhood. I would consider myself a daughter of my Father in heaven rather than a daughter of Eve, as per your wife’s article. I believe the work of Jesus has reversed the curse and set me free. I no longer live in Genesis Chapter 3.


...


It appears to me that in an effort to be cute or funny, neither of which works, this statement is one of the most mean-spirited I have ever read. Even if you had many valid points from your theological lens in your post, to name-call an ordained minister, whether you agree or not, a “bunny rabbit” you need to “man up” and retract such a demeaning statement and issue an apology.


These two comments, no matter how you explain them, are an offense to many women let alone pastors wives, and to me personally. Can’t you see how even posting that women have motives such as this — my husband is a pastor so he is trapped into fidelity so I can sit back and let myself go — is offensive? In the second post, you sound patronizing and demeaning of Gayle Haggard calling her “lovely and devoted.” Please don’t call me out as a feminist that does not want to be considered “lovely’ or “devoted” because that is not my issue.


The issue is that Ted Haggard’s struggle is homosexuality. It did not seem to matter if Gayle Haggard was the most beautiful, devoted woman, and with her husband the most sexuality active woman on the planet, it would not have changed this situation one iota. So for you make this statement in these terms and make it an issue of sexual impropriety, failure, and sin, in my opinion, simply misses the point. It is offensive to talk to men and women this way and certainly reveals something about your character which for this reader seems rather prurient. One of the marks of a great leader is when she or he discovers that they have not faired well under their responsibility to not arbitrarily offend, is to make a public or private apology as the circumstances dictate. Because this was a public statement, it calls for a public apology.

Driscoll would later issue an "apology" which seemed to sooth some people in Seattle who then stopped protesting outside the Mars Hill church, but provides Driscoll with yet another notch in his belt, another thing he can use to attract more impressionable and vulnerable young men and women to his flock.  He's this badass "cursing" preacher who is a man's man and watches UFC. YEAH!


But considering the things he has done is just mind boggling that anyone would really follow anything he says.   I realize he ha a very charming way about him.  He's got very good presence and he knows how to speak to a crowd.  And the sad thing is that people get wrapped up in that and don't really focus on what he is saying.

Take this comment that he's made repeatedly about his interpretation of The Song of Solomon, which got his program pulled from a Christian Radio Station:


During the sermon, which was entitled “Sex, a Study of the Good Bits from Song of Solomon,” Driscoll interpreted Song of Solomon 2:3 as referring to oral sex and then said, “Men, I am glad to report to you that oral sex is biblical…The wife performing oral sex on the husband is biblical. God’s men said, Amen. Ladies, your husbands appreciate oral sex. They do. So, serve them, love them well. It’s biblical. Right here. We have a verse. ‘The fruit of her husband is sweet to her taste and she delights to be beneath him.’” 

[In recounting the story about the man who started coming to Driscoll’s church because his wife began performing oral sex:]

She [the wife] says, “I’ve never performed oral sex on my husband. I’ve refused to.” I said, “You need to go home and tell your husband that you’ve met Jesus and you’ve been studying the Bible, and that you’re convicted of a terrible sin in your life. And then you need to drop his trousers, and you need to serve your husband. And when he asks why, say, ‘Because I’m a repentant woman. God has changed my heart and I’m supposed to be a biblical wife.’” She says, “Really?” I said, “Yeah. First Peter 3 says if your husband is an unbeliever to serve him with deeds of kindness.” [Laughter from audience] How many men would agree, that is a deed of kindness. He doesn’t want tracts. Those won’t do anything. What we’re talking about here could really help.

THIS. IS. A. PASTOR.!!!!!

Imagine going to church this Sunday, and your Pastor telling you, "Ladies, God has commanded you to perform oral sex for your husbands.  If you've done something wrong in your life? Go down on him and repent!"
Are you kidding me???  Look, I'm a laid back guy.  And I realize this guy is trying to be all cool and hip and attracting a demographic from an area of the country which is not exactly full of church going people.   And I realize that when you're dealing with younger kids you have to at least try to speak their language a bit. 

Ed Lover's message for Mark Driscoll
But THIS?  As Ed Lover famously says, "C'mon Son! C'mon!"

And now that brings us to the most recent controversy surrounding Mars Hill Church, and the reason for this post.   I first heard about this last night, and I have to admit I was angrier than I think I've been in a long long time.  There are certain topics that hit a bit too close to home for me which rile me up more than most.  One is discrimination and violence towards the homeless, as I myself was homeless for many years, and this so-called "Church Discipline".

I haven't spoken on this to much of anyone really aside from a few throwaway comments here and there.  Enough to basically say I disagreed with something, but I never really went into it because it's something that has caused me pain in my life and still does even though I'm far away from that environment.  It still permeates my brain and I don't know if I'll ever get past it.

First let me explain what happened recently that brought all this out, and then I'll get into my thoughts.

On a faith based blog "MatthewPaulTurner.net" which I've read a few times before, they had an exclusive feature in there where a young man named "Andrew" (doubtful it's his real name) had recently left the Mars Hill Church after some truly terrible things went on.  He admits his mistakes, but he feels (and so does Matthew, and I definitely do) that their reactions to them went far and beyond anything that should have happened.

Below I'm going to give you little bits and pieces of the much larger piece which was split over two posts.

Andrew was born and raised Independent Fundamental Baptist, so not only was Andrew accustomed to Mark’s anger-laced fiery style of sermon, he had a deep appreciation for it. In the beginning, some of Mars Hill’s reformed theologies rubbed against Andrew’s Baptist roots, but Mark’s enthrallment for preaching “Jesus Christ crucified” eventually was what relieved Andrew’s doctrinal concerns, and it wasn’t long before he became a member. Soon thereafter, he was wading heart deep amid the friendly, committed Mars Hill community, becoming more and more comfortable in his born again reformed skin, guzzling the Driscollized water.


According to Andrew, joining Mars Hill was a good move for him. While he didn’t agree with every theological declaration that came out Mark Driscoll’s mouth, he loved his community, a devoted group of believers who seemed to love, support, and value him the way Jesus commanded. Over the next couple of years, Andrew became well connected. He volunteered. He became active in a community group. He even volunteered on Sundays as church security.
Toward the beginning of 2011, Andrew met and eventually began dating the daughter of a church elder at Mars Hill. The two fell in love quickly. Last fall, they were engaged to be married.
But shortly after becoming engaged, Andrew made a costly choice, one that involved hanging out alone with a female friend he knew from the community college he attended. Andrew and his college friend messed around. They didn’t have sex. But they got close. But what they did and didn’t do isn’t the issue. He cheated on the woman he was planning to marry. 


On the following morning, Andrew felt devastated, his brain flashing memories of what he’d done the night before, his heart full of shame, guilt, and hindsight’s remorse.
That evening, Andrew met his fiancee at community group. As soon as she saw his face, she knew something was wrong. After the meeting was finished, they walked outside to his car (he was planning to give her a ride home). A long hard conversation ensued, but at some point in the middle, Andrew confessed.
For obvious reasons, she was devastated, lost. They parted ways: She returned inside and he got in his car sped off. But again, his conscience screamed: You can’t run away from this. So as he turned around, he called one of the small group members and asked, “Can we talk?” He agreed, and when Andrew pulled back into the driveway of house where his community group meets, he confessed to his friend (and fellow community group member) what he’d done the night before.

So after he told the group member, that led to many weeks of "meetings" with the fellowship group.  The reaction by them to him changed dramatically to a constant harsh and accusatory tone.  He was labeled a "wolf" which according to Andrew, was the worst thing you could be labeled there, because it meant you were viewed as a "predator" someone who preys on the innocent.


According to Andrew, at Mars Hill, the cliche “it takes two to tango” isn’t true. Why? Because Pastor Mark teaches that women are “weaker vessels,” and therefore, when a girl and boy engage in consensual sexual activity, it is always assumed that it’s the man’s fault because he failed to lead the woman (or “weaker vessel”) toward righteousness. (And everybody knows that women can’t find righteousness unless a man leads her there. Ugh.)


“I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I take responsibility for my actions. I messed up. But that doesn’t make me into a predator.”


At this point, despite all of the meetings, conversations, and tear-inducing confessionals that Andrew has engaged (some by choice, some not by choice), Andrew is not under “church discipline”. Nobody has even mentioned it to him as a possibility. That is, until he begins pushing back.


“After a month of trying to jump through all of their hoops, I’ll admit, I started questioning whether or not Mars Hill was the right church for me.” He admits this isn’t the first he had those thoughts. For a year or so, Andrew had questioned the many of the ideas/values of Mars Hill.


The week before Christmas, Andrew’s community group leader sent him another text message: What’s your schedule like on Wednesday? Another meeting was to be planned, this time with one of Mars Hills family/counseling pastors as well as Andrew’s new community group leader.


Andrew admits that, by this time, he was exhausted. The thought of one more meeting overwhelmed his already very full brain. “But I took some time to pray, and decided that I needed to meet with them and hear what they had to say.”


On the evening of December 18, Andrew met with the pastor and small group leader. It was during this meeting that Andrew first learned that he was being “brought under church discipline.”

And just what does that "Church Discipline" entail?  Well they gave "Andrew" a contract that he had to sign, which outlined his "sins" and what he had to do to be accepted again.

1. Andrew will attend (leader's meeting) and meet with (leader) on a regular basis
2. Andrew will not be involved in serving at Mars Hill.
3. Andrew will not pursue or date any woman inside or outside of Mars Hill.
4. Andrew will write out in detail his sexual and emotional attachment history with women and share it with (leader)
5. Andrew will write out in detail the chronology of events and sexual/emotional sin with K and share it with (leader) and Pastor.
6. Andrew will write out a list of all people he has sinned against during this timeframe, either by sexual/emotional sin, lying or deceiving, share it with (Leader) and develop a plan to confess sin and ask forgiveness.
Now the first three, okay. I can understand that.  You think someone has some issues and you're sort of putting them through this discipline type program where they need to focus on their issues, that's fine.  No problem with that, from me.  I think #3 could be a bit of infringing on someone's rights, but hey...it's a church thing and I get it.

However starting with #4 and ending through #6 it becomes less a situation of wanting to help someone, and more a situation (in my opinion) of utterly controlling every aspect of their lives.  And to be quite honest it is kinda pervy wankerish to start in on wanting to know every sexual detail of sin he's committed.  I mean, really? REALLY?

If I didn't know better I'd think this was about some people wanting to get off by reading about other people's sexual conduct.   That is definitely over the line and ridiculous, and thankfully "Andrew" ended his relationship with the church.

Also it's a power thing.  They want you to admit to all your deepest darkest sins, so in the future they have something to hang over you.  "Do as we say, do you REALLY want all your friends and family to know what you did that one time in college?".  Plain and simple it's manipulation and an outright betrayal.

He wrote and told them he did not feel that Mars Hill was the place for him, and said goodbye.

They responded with "oh you're not getting off THAT easy", and has basically excommunicated him from the church, which means everyone in the church (even though many have voiced that they think it's a bit of an overreaction) have shunned him and refuse to have anything to do with him until he repents.

Funny, I though that was between "Andrew" and God, not a middle man.  That's one of the beefs I have with Catholicism, where you have to confess all your dirty deeds to a priest who then relays God's forgiveness to you.  It's wrong there and it's definitely wrong here.

Driscoll was raised Catholic, so perhaps that has something to do with it.

And there have been MANY people who have found issue with Driscoll's way of doing things, including this fantastic piece over at Big Circumstance.

Now finally to why this makes me so angry.  I've written in the past on here about my faith and how growing up I didn't really want to go to church, but it was sort of expected.  Once I was given the choice I decided to stop going, mainly because I was getting nothing out of it.  I'd go to church and sit there and count the time until I could leave.

After I graduated I moved to a different town and things were fine there until they weren't.  Without going into detail on THAT aspect, I ended up homeless.  Now one thing that a lot of people perhaps are not aware of, is that the VAST majority of homeless shelters are faith based.  Meaning that as a pre-requisite to you staying there, you have to go to church. Call it "rent" or "forced salvation" or whatever you like.  However it was clearly stated when you came in there that you had to be at a little mini-service every day (where they'd do a headcount, make sure everyone was there) or you would be kicked out.

Now there were a few exceptions, such as if you had a medical appointment or you had a job (that was verified), however if you did not show up for that service, you were thrown out of the shelter, no matter if you had somewhere else to go or not.

A lot of the residents didn't particularly care for this, but they begrudgingly realized that the alternative was sleeping out in the cold where anything could happen.   So we all just accepted it.

So I bounced around from shelter to shelter and service to service.  These services would often be led, not by actual Pastors or anything like that, but staff at the shelter, or in the case of one shelter in Bellingham Washington, "The Lighthouse Mission", anyone that donated money to them could get their own slot.  So you'd have a service each night with a different person, none of which were accredited Pastors or anything, they just happened to have money.  Money talks and...well...you know the rest.

So I ended up at this church and I kinda liked it, to be honest. It was probably one of the only churches I had been to that really made me want to be there.   The Pastor was really cool and seemed to be easy to talk to and you could relate to him, you know?  He was a youngish pastor, where most I had been around were much older.

So I actually enjoyed going to the services.  Nothing really struck me out of the ordinary, and eventually I decided that I wanted to take part in the "program" that they had.  And seeing as how I didn't actually have a place of my own to live, that place DID become my home.  I began to open up to them in ways I hadn't really opened up to anyone.  Things that I never really thought I'd tell people.  They were like family to me, and I thought that went both ways.

Then I started to disagree with things that were said.  I viewed things that went on there, decisions that were made, rules that were implemented, as not quite right. I didn't like how they would treat people who were just coming in off the streets (as I had been at one point).  Suddenly my eyes were opened to the abusive mentality that went on under the guise of "toughening" people up.

I'd seen people kicked out of the shelter for bogus reasons, all because they had offended one of the staff.   I saw a deaf man who was staying there kicked out because he came in late one night from work and when he took the breathalyzer test he failed.  He showed them the cough spray that he was taking that caused the false positive, and they still threw him out at two in the morning with nowhere to go.  There were many things that had gone on that I never even thought about, and then suddenly BOOM! everything was different for me.

It was as if I had suddenly taken the red pill and everything was clear.

However as I'm sure many people who have been in this type of situation knows, questioning authority is NOT allowed in many of these churches.   And so after I questioned one too many times, I was deemed as someone who was not "healthy" to be around.

I was told in no uncertain terms that there were people there that were on their walk to a better self.  That they were trying to get their life together and were fragile.  And that my being a problem was impacting them and putting their faith and their walk in jeopardy.

I was then slowly but surely shut out of everything.  Now at first glance that doesn't seem overly bad.  Okay things happen, you pick up and move on.  The problem is this: I had grown to really like it there.  I loved the people and I became good friends with many.  I mean SOLID friendships that I valued greatly.  As I said, it was like a family situation.  At least to me it was.

Now those were gone. Like it never happened.  And it was at that moment that I realized that the whole idea of a "family" that they were touting was nothing but garbage.   Because while I felt an immense pain and agony over my "excommunication", they just seemed to have no problem with shutting me out.   They showed no signs of any hesitation to shun me and to act like I was just some random stranger that looked like a threat.

A few days later I was kicked out due to not being a positive influence on the others who were actually trying to get their lives right.  I was viewed as someone that was a liability and not serious about improving my spiritual life.   So there I was, nowhere to go, no one I knew, and I had a (barely) job at a sports bar type restaurant.  I ended up taking a paycheck and moving across the country soon after that in an attempt to put that whole situation (and some other stuff) behind me.

To this day that whole situation haunts me.  There are days that I long to call some of the "Friends" that I had, and yet I can't.   Even if I had their number, they want nothing to do with me.  I'm an "outsider".  It's similar to the controversial "Disconnecting" that allegedly goes on with Scientology.  Where once you're deemed a trouble maker, you're essentially kicked out and everyone is told to have nothing to do with you.

And to this day I have not been able to get involved in a church.  Even if they seem normal or fun.  After all, that one seemed fun and normal too.  And I refuse to get involved anymore.   Which is why when I run into people who believe that I am not a "proper Christian" it boils my blood.  When I have people who are involved in a church tell me that they don't think I'm a "real Christian" and that they don't see me making efforts to improve myself spiritually, it makes me want to do things that perhaps aren't right.

So that is why this situation has hit me so hard and has gotten me so furious.   The utter betrayal of this kid by these people at Mars Hill is beyond justification.   I just hope his faith hasn't been shattered like mine has and he finds a way to reconnect with an actual church.

Mars Hill, predictably, responded to Andrew's story, and their statement is below:

“In recent days, there has been some discussion surrounding Mars Hill Church and our process of church discipline. We do not wish to comment on the specific scenario in question, as this is a private matter between church leadership and members, all of whom have voluntarily agreed to this prior to becoming members. We do want to be as clear and forthright as possible in presenting our theology of repentance, forgiveness, and church discipline and make clear that our convictions on this come from our study of Scripture and our deep love for our members and a desire for them to enjoy the freedom that comes from walking by the Spirit in response to Christ’s work on the Cross on our behalf. At the heart of the process is our deep belief that church discipline is about the grace of God, not penance.” -Pastor Justin Holcomb

 So basically it's a "look this is how we do things" statement, without actually owning up to anything.  Apparently they want everyone else to own up to their "sins" and wrongdoing, but aren't able to do the same.

Do as I say, not as I do is the way of the Mars Hill gang, apparently.

As a bonus, here's a video of The Young Turks discussing Mark Driscoll, the Pastor of Mars Hill Church, and his belief that masturbation is a form of homosexuality, and how that perhaps shines some light into his own proclivities.



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