I first reported Paul Tripp’s resignation from the Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability on July 30.
Then, after much speculation, on August 1, the church’s weekly news email reported reasons for Tripp’s resignation:
Dr. Paul Tripp joined our Board of Advisors and Accountability in November 2013 and has been an immense help to our leaders over the past year. Dr. Tripp has extensive experience in discipleship and Biblical counseling. Earlier this month, we made the decision together to open the opportunity for him to work with greater focus on issues directly related to his expertise, namely the continued development of our community and redemption ministries.
Because simultaneously being a board member and a consultant does not allow for the required definition of “independence,” Dr. Tripp graciously submitted his resignation from the BOAA in early June, so that he can more extensively serve our church as a consultant. We are excited to continue this work with him, and are thankful for his continued support of Mars Hill Church.
Now compare this statement with Paul Tripp’s statement today:
It’s because of this love that I accepted the position on Mars Hill Church’s BoAA. But it became clear to me that a distant, external accountability board can never work well because it isn’t a firsthand witness to the ongoing life and ministry of the church.
Such a board at best can provide financial accountability, but it will find it very difficult to provide the kind of hands-on spiritual direction and protection that every Christian pastor needs. Unwittingly what happens is that the external accountability board becomes an inadequate replacement for a biblically functioning internal elder board that is the way God designed his church to be lead and pastors to be guided and protected.
So, since I knew that I could not be the kind of help that I would like to be through the vehicle of the BoAA, I resigned from that position.
I would still love to see the leadership community of Mars Hill Church become itself a culture of grace and I am still willing to help, but not through the means of a board that will never be able to do what it was designed to do.
Do they seem the same to you?
The Mars Hill BOAA makes it sound like the decision was mutual (“we made the decision together”) and that they reason for resignation was a conflict of interest. However, Tripp says the reason relates to his fundamental rejection of the “external accountability board” model. He has two objections to this model. One, it doesn’t work, and two, it isn’t compatible with Bible teaching.
Acts 29 Network also found fault with the BOAA to provide accountability:
In response, we leaned on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability to take the lead in dealing with this matter. But we no longer believe the BoAA is able to execute the plan of reconciliation originally laid out. Ample time has been given for repentance, change, and restitution, with none forthcoming.
The BOAA later reacted in defense over those charges, with chairman Michael Van Skaik saying he had not talked with anyone at the Acts 29 Network board.
Even with the public statements it does not appear that the public is getting the entire story.
Is it possible that Paul Tripp did not tell the Mars Hill Church about his real reasons for resigning? Could it be that Acts 29 did not communicate with anyone at Mars Hill? Or was the BOAA being kept in the dark by Tripp and Acts 29?
For now, it appears that there are significant discrepancies in the accounts.
Additional information: Ex-member Scott Shipp takes the comparisons back in time to December 2013.