This morning in all Mars Hill Church locations, a statement from the Board of Elders was read to the congregation by the lead pastors. The BoE was given the task to investigate the charges against Mark Driscoll which were lodged by 21 former elders and a group of private witnesses. The BoE’s report was referenced by the BoAA in their statement accepting Mark Driscoll’s resignation. Driscoll submitted his letter of resignation on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and the BoAA issued a statement on Oct. 15. It turns out that the BoAA statement did not completely represent the process or outcome of the BoE’s work. As I reported yesterday, the BoAA’s statement may not even have accurately represented the BoAA’s initial response to Mark Driscoll.
According to this statement made at Sammamish location, the BoE concluded their investigation and wanted to provide a restoration plan for Driscoll. However, instead Driscoll resigned.
The investigation of formal charges against Mark Driscoll has revealed patterns of persistent sin in the three areas disclosed in the previous letter by the Board of Overseers. In I Tim 5:20, it requires that an elder be rebuked for persistent sin. Our intention was to do this while providing a plan for his eventual restoration to leadership. The Board of Elders in agreement with the Board of Overseers are grieved, deeply grieved, that any process like that was lost to us when Mark Driscoll resigned in position and left the church. Now is the time to move on and consider what God is calling us to next as a church as we participate in Jesus’ mission to make disciples in His name. Today begins a new chapter in the history of our church which has proceeded in one direction under one leadership for many years now, but I want you to understand this, God is our Father. That does not change. Jesus is the chief shepherd of the church and that has not changed.
The elders of Mars Hill Church acknowledge as we’ve gone through all of this investigation, and heard all of these stories, we acknowledge that we have personally led in some of the same ways that demonstrate some of the same ways that Pastor Mark had. And those things require repentance and forgiveness and restoration. We realize that there are ways that we have led as elders in ways that have been domineering, sometimes arrogant and sometimes boastful and at least for my part, I want to say I deeply regret those sins and I ask for your forgiveness. We want to lead you into the future in a way that displays more grace, more love as we speak the truth to each of you. If there are people that I have offended in ways I have pastored this church, I would welcome that you come to me and speak with me to allow me the opportunity to reconcile with you.
At this time Mars Hill Church is going to move ahead under the Board of Overseers established plan for transition.Pastor Dave Bruskas will serve as the teaching and preaching pastor during an interim period of time until we establish a direction we are going as a church. The Board of Advisors are going to be working in the weeks to come on a plan for moving forward and for how that will unfold, what the next steps are, there are a lot of things to consider. As we discover what those things are, what the spirit shows us, then we want to communicate clearly to you and transparently to you what’s happening, the directions and the changes that will be taking place.
This statement does not address the reasons Driscoll was asked to step away from the pulpit. Did the BoE report disqualify him or not? Having a restoration plan certainly sounds like disqualification. From what would Driscoll need to be restored, if not disqualification? Since the congregation is footing the bill for the severance, shouldn’t they find out what is happening? If Mars Hill is going to move forward transparently, shouldn’t the congregation see at least an executive summary of the report?
Also, this statement ignores the promise of Mark DeMoss speaking on behalf of the church that the allegations against the BoAA would also be investigated. There are credible claims that the BoAA did not accurately represent Acts 29 Network and Paul Tripp in their public communications. And yet, nothing is said about that here and the BoAA is in charge with apparently no accountability.
If the BoE is going to move forward with transparency, this statement does not appear to be the beginning of moving forward. This looks like more of the end of the previous chapter.