Demonstrating that the fall out from Mars Hill’s demise is ongoing, former Mars Hill pastor James Harleman posted an essay of confession on Saturday. It begins:
I sat on a bed upstairs in our room at the retreat home, my head in my hands, asking my wife if our lead pastor was fit to be an elder… if the state of his marriage was in a place wherein he needed a sabbatical, and if his verbal evisceration of another elder’s wife – simply for offering a gentle word of counsel – was anything but deplorable. I didn’t know what to say, or even what to think.
All the elders had been there and seen it. No one had countered or interceded in any way.
It was summer 2006, more than a year before the infamous bylaw change and terminations at Mars Hill Church that many would see as the first sign of a problem. I was just over a year into my tenure as a pastor but still felt like the new guy. The unspoken acceptance of all the other pastors at that elders’ retreat became a justification for my own omission.
Not a true justification, mind you – simply in my own mind.
Harleman is apparently speaking about Mark Driscoll in the first paragraph. He is also one who was involved in trying to bring change internally before he decided he could not.