In a stunning statement posted this morning at Christianity Today, 39 former Mars Hill Church elders call on Mars Hill co-founder and current The Trinity Church pastor Mark Driscoll to resign from his current post. Their message is simple: Driscoll was disqualified from pastoring at his former church and never completed a restoration process to become qualified. He now is repeating past mistakes and should step down.
This message follows months of revelations here on this blog, at Julie Roys’ website, and elsewhere from former The Trinity Church members of actions which sounded like the Mars Hill Church charges which were investigated in 2014. As former Mars Hill colleagues and executive committee members Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas detailed in this interview with me last year, Driscoll resigned before he was restored to pastoral ministry at Mars Hill.
Inside the Statement
The elder statement dropped today has been in the works for several weeks. The CT article about the statement chronicles the interaction of some of those former Mars Hill leaders and members and recent Trinity Church leavers. There is a community of people from Seattle and Phoenix who now have Mark Driscoll in common. No doubt more than one person has said, ‘nice to meet you, sorry it is under these circumstances.’
The formal charges against Driscoll covered the years 2011-2014. The elders who were contacted to sign the statement served during that time frame. Thirty-nine elders signed the statement but there are 26 who agreed with it but declined to sign for various reasons. According to an elder close to the process, the main reasons elders who agreed with the statement declined to sign it was fear of legal or other kind of retaliation from Driscoll or fear of jeopardy to their current ministry or other job. Some worried about the emotional toll of public involvement. Very few, less than a dozen, disagreed with the action.
This statement comes during the “Rise and Fall of Mars Hill” podcast series which is shining a light on the Seattle megachurch. The cognitive dissonance must be extreme for people continuing to attend The Trinity Church.
The interviews with former executive elders at Mars Hill Church Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas are below:
Part Two (Much of the discussion of the end of Mars Hill and Driscoll’s resignation is in this part)