Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mars Hill Church

"What started with a beautiful beginning - three families sent from Antioch Bible Church in
Kirkland to plant a “daughter church” in Seattle that would be authentic and relevant to reach the
lost - has turned into the personal ministry of one very ambitious man. Although it is still called a
church, I think a more honest and accurate name might be “Mark Driscoll Ministries,” not unlike
the name for Billy Graham’s organization, a man who Mark has said he greatly admires. I think
what we are seeing demonstrates a confused ecclesiology and I fear this is also being taught to
many other young church planters through the Acts 29 Network who want to “have” a church
just like Mark’s.
The amalgamation of church and personal ministry did not happen overnight. The church began
committed to certain distinctives, like biblical eldership, and core values like “meaning, truth,
beauty and community” and then one driven, talented individual eventually monopolized power,
pushed all dissenters away, and turned the church into a “City within a City” where he functions
like a king because he believes this is the best way to “grow the numbers.” And in this case,
Mark has proven that to be true, drawing in thousands with his entertaining (and regrettably often
crass and inappropriate) speaking. I realize that many believe this is great and see no problem
with it. But I would never have agreed to this if it had been openly stated - and I believe many
others would have felt the same. I believe this was spiritually abusive toward all the members of
the church at that time. And, apparently, a thousand or so members had problems with it as well
and chose not to renew their membership in 2008 after the leadership cancelled everyone’s
membership and asked them to reinstate as members under the new bylaws'