Mark Driscoll's Resignation: What is the Real Story?

On Wednesday, Mars Hill Church let the world know that Mark Driscoll submitted a letter of resignation the day before. According to Driscoll, he stepped down because he was being divisive. Specifically, he said:

Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

That is why, after seeking the face and will of God, and seeking godly counsel from men and women across the country, we have concluded it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church we helped launch in 1996.

Driscoll also implied that controversies have taken a toll.

Recent months have proven unhealthy for our family—even physically unsafe at times—and we believe the time has now come for the elders to choose new pastoral leadership for Mars Hill.

For their part, the Board of Advisors and Accountability said Driscoll had not disqualified himself but was at times arrogant and domineering. About his resignation, they concluded:

Finally, Mark Driscoll was not asked to resign; indeed, we were surprised to receive his resignation letter. 

There may be more to this story.
After the letters from Driscoll and the BoAA, Driscoll’s sister Melanie Thompson commented on her public Facebook page (under the name Erma Gauthier). Her narrative adds a new wrinkle. According to Thompson, “they” (I presume the BoAA) would not let Driscoll preach. Yesterday, she posted Driscoll’s resignation letter and followed it with comments about the BoAA (image of the thread).

Erma Gauthier They would not let him preach
Erma Gauthier Yeah. I think they really did a number on him. Not biblical or keeping with The Word or process.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Driscoll’s sister is suggesting that the BoAA was not going to allow Driscoll to preach. She could have been referring to the Board of Elders report, but the simplest explanation is a decision by the BoAA. More about the BoE later. In any case, Thompson is not impressed with the work of those who decided what to do about Driscoll. To reinforce her opinion, she points out that the church has the Ballard campus for sale which to her implies that the leadership would keep Driscoll from preaching again.

Erma Gauthier If they were going to let him come back …ever…then why would they sell mars hill Ballard behind his back.

Erma Gauthier Yeah. The people would have to bring him back. The Pastors have blocked him without disqualification.

Erma Gauthier I want Ballard back. We are the body. We want our church and pastor
Read the entire page to get all of the narrative. Despite the fact that the BoAA determined that Driscoll was not disqualified, Driscoll’s sister implied that that the BoAA, and perhaps the BoE, blocked Driscoll from preaching even though they did not disqualify him. According to Thompson, there is more here than has been disclosed by either Driscoll or the BoAA or the BoE. If so, then the BoAA softened their statement and perhaps didn’t accurately reflect the investigation.
There may be even more.
The BoE may have more to say about the BoAA’s statement. A number of sources indicate that the investigation found something more than the BoAA reported.

Peroutka Should Not Be Surprised by White Separatism in the League of the South

Michael Peroutka told the Baltimore Sun that he quit the League of the South when he found online some views of interracial marriage held by League members that were “contrary to his beliefs.” I find this to be extremely doubtful. Peroutka has been going to League of the South meetings since at least 20o4 when he was endorsed by the League in his Constitution Party quest for president. While I realize he may not have attended this session, League of the South president Michael Hill presented his opposition to interracial marriage at the same 2o12 League of the South conference where Peroutka led the crowd in singing “I Wish I Was in Dixie” (at 50:34 into the video) and called it the “national anthem.”
At 45:30 minutes into this speech, Hill describes his hope that his children marry in his race.
He proceeds to extol white pride and the superior accomplishments of Western Civilization.
Again, it is possible that Peroutka missed this session but it seems unlikely to me that he never heard these views spoken at a League meeting.

ECFA Guidance: a Year's Severance Pay is "Highly Unusual"

I reported yesterday that the terms of Mark Driscoll’s arrangement with the church upon termination that I have seen involve the provision of base salary and benefits for a year. If indeed these are the arrangements in force, then the Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability may have yet another reason to review Mars Hill Church’s practices. According to an article on church employees and severance pay on the ECFA website, a year’s severance is “highly unusual.”

How Much Severance Pay Should be Paid?
No bright line rule exists for determining what how much severance pay to provide. The main concern should always be proper stewardship of the church’s financial assets in furtherance of the church’s religious purposes. If a long-term employee is leaving the church, it may be a very appropriate quid pro quo payment to provide generous severance. If a contentious pastor leaves, the church leaders may feel forced to provide extensive severance as a risk management decision. Generally, provision of a few weeks to a few months of severance pay should deemed reasonable under many circumstances. In contrast, a year’s worth of severance pay would be viewed as highly unusual and therefore would warrant extensive due diligence and substantiation to justify such a large severance package.

I realize that “no bright line rule exists” but since the ECFA guidance is there, I suspect it will be of interest to Mars Hill stakeholders.

More Evidence That Mars Hill Global Was Ministry of Mars Hill Church

UPDATE: That was fast (around two hours). The video evidence has been removed from Vimeo; it seems clear that Mars Hill Church does not want this information in front of the public. I intend to repost it in keeping with fair use of material for commentary. In the mean time, the transcript is below.
Video is now below.
Recently, Justin Dean told me that Mars Hill Church’s Global Fund was not a fund after 2012. Even though he admitted the Global Fund was a designated fund before 2012, he said the church did not consider it a fund after 2012. Furthermore, Dean added:

Beginning in 2012 the term “Global Fund” was used on our website to distinguish between global donors and local church donors. Receipts for donations from people who selected that designation would indicate “Global Fund” but it was not a fund and hasn’t been since before 2012.

As I have pointed out, members also gave to the Global Fund and so the term did more than distinguish between members and non-members. Throughout 2012-2014, the leaders of the church referred to Mars Hill Global as something the church members were doing via donations to the Global Fund.
The following video describing a pastors conference funded by Mars Hill is a case in point (the video has been removed from Vimeo, below I have it on YouTube).

(33 seconds) For the last three years there was no funding; there was no way to gather the pastors back together from 1600 kilometers all the way down to Dilla, Ethiopia, and there was just no way of funding that. And I really felt like at that point in time that it was the opportunity that Mars Hill Church had to fund this pastors’ conference. It was amazing that the additional funding that we had, they needed.(1:00)
(2:49) This pastors’ conference affected literally 400 hundred churches and in their Bible college education they had never received discipleship training so this equipping allowed them to go back to their young, young churches and their new believers and transfer that new training to their churches.
And so Mars Hill Church when you gave to provide the funding for them to have this pastors’ conference. Without the Lord sending funds through us, this event would never have happened. (3:25)

It can’t be much clearer. Sutton Turner does not thank podcasters or non-members. He thanks Mars Hill Church members for the funding for the conference. Global here is clearly a ministry of Mars Hill church. While he doesn’t use the words “Global Fund,” the Global Fund was the means that members could use to route their donations to pay for activities in India and Ethiopia. Members were routinely asked to give above and beyond their tithes and offerings to help support Mars Hill Global. Tithes were to be given to the General Fund and “above and beyond” to the Global Fund.