Ungodly behaviour

On 8th August 2014, the board of Acts29 Church Planting network announced, with deep sorrow, its decision to remove Pastor Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church from membership in the network. Acts29The reason for this drastic action, according to Acts29, was that Mark Driscoll was guilty of ungodly and disqualifying behaviour. It appears that Acts29 was spurred into action as Driscoll’s ungodly and disqualifying behaviour has increasingly becoming public knowledge over the past year.

One of the greatest examples of Driscoll’s ungodly behaviour occurred in October 2007 when two Mars Hill Church elders, namely Pastor Paul Petry and Pastor Bent Meyer, were fired because, Mark Driscoll claimed, they were ‘off mission’, and therefore were no longer suitable for ministry. Only after four and a half years silence, in 2012, has Paul Petry revealed the shocking details of how he was treated by Mark Driscoll and other Mars Hill elders.

You can learn more about Mark Driscoll’s ministry in the book, The New Calvinists (2014), published by The Wakeman Trust and Belmont House Publishing. The book is available from belmonthousebooks.com/

 Pastor Paul Petry

An extract from Pastor Paul Petry’s letter to the Executive Elders (EE) of Mars Hill Church, dated 25 October 2007:

‘My greatest sins, however, are not what I have said and done but what I havePaul Petry failed to say and do. I failed to speak up to confront and resist the abusive spiritual authority and false teaching about authority that has infected the hearts and imaginations of Pastor Mark, the Executive Elders, and other elders…

You have grievously sinned against us [Paul’s wife Jonna and children] by the ungodly manner in which I was terminated, threatened, my name and character maligned and the malice that has been carried out against me and my family in the way my unjust trial was handled. The harshness, abusive power, anger, manipulation, and control exhibited by Pastor Mark and the EE team.’

 Pastor Bent Meyer

Here is an extract of a post by Pastor Bent Meyer [January 29, 2012] http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/01/27/mars-hill-and-mark-driscoll-under-scrutiny-while-another-painful-story-emerges/#comment-35167

 ‘I am one of the men fired the day of Mark’s rant about two elders he felt needed broken noses. Someone asked what has happened since that day… As to my motives, I want Mark’s best. Bent MeyerIn my opinion he is a very troubled man. He is caught in his own hell. The consequence, of course, is the influence he has on others, which is mixed…

The downside is Mark’s pathology shows up in ways that are impulsive, aggressive, irascible, shut off from effective relational influence, and most apparent not respectful and submissive to anyone, though he claims otherwise.’

 Rob Smith, Mars Hill member

Caught up in this drama was Mars Hill member Rob Smith, who was concerned that the two pastors should receive a fair trial. And so in October 2007, he wrote an email to Mars Hill elders, requesting that Pastor Paul Petry and Pastor Bent Meyer be given a fair and impartial trial.

Smith wrote: ‘I have no idea if the men are guilty or innocent of whatever they are charged with. If the trial is fair I will stand rejoicing with the verdict of the elders. I will join with the elders call for the repentance of the men if they are found guilty. If they do not have a fair trial – I will not be able to stand with injustice and fear that many other members will feel as I will. Injustice will have prevailed and God will not be pleased.’

Mark Driscoll reacted to Rob Smith’s email with fury, and phoned him at home, demanding that he allow the elders come over and confront him. Smith refused, saying: ‘If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this man-to-man.’ Driscoll, Smith says, exploded and insisted that he would come over with his elders, apparently for backup.

 ‘It was the worst conversation I’ve ever had with any human being on earth,’ Smith remembers. ‘He was vile, he was vulgar, he threatened me with obscene language, said that he would destroy me, destroy my career, and make sure I never ministered again. I was shocked that a man of the cloth would speak that way to someone who worked with him for years. I went from a man of decent character to the worst troublemaker in Mars Hill history for simply asking that someone else have a fair trial.’

See: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/why-the-mars-hill-faithful-have-started-to-question-mark/Content?oid=20257920

 Retired Pastor Ron Wheeler

Ron Wheeler, a former associate of Pastor Mark, who was involved in the founding of Acts 29, writes an open letter to Mark Driscoll, dated 7 August 2014. Wheeler was a regular companion of Mark Driscoll in the early days of Mars Hill Church and involved with planting the first Acts29 church in Mt. Vernon. The whole letter can be viewed here:

http://ronwheelerjr.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/i-am-not-anonymous-2/

Below are extracts from Wheeler’s open letter:

‘I remember you and Grace coming up to my house and challenging me to transition the awkward college-age ministry thing we had, and to plant it as a church. I remember your assurances that you would walk beside us, and I remember distinctly how Grace said that “as long as we continue to give God the glory for whatever happens, He will continue to glorify Himself through what is happening”. That resonated with me, and for many years you walked beside me faithfully. We were your first church plant, and for awhile, there was even some discussion about our church going with the name Mars Hill North…

‘But then I listened as you slandered and maligned the men and women we worked with behind their backs – who though we didn’t agree with some of them theologically – were wonderful people, and never deserved to be spoken of, or treated the way you did. People who I know would have considered you a friend and have no idea how you really felt about them. I have personally tried to go back and apologize to people who were “kicked to the curb”, along the way, and yes, I do feel I was complicit to your actions; guilty by way of association and being silent…

In the fall of 2004, my then wife had an affair with another pastor on staff (who was also one of my closest friends)…

Add to all that, some significant personal weaknesses and sins of my own, and I/we needed serious help. I asked you for that help, and in customary fashion, you dropped the hammer. When all of your recommendations on discipline weren’t followed, you came unglued. You cursed me up one side and down the other. You threatened and berated me. I have never been spoken to the way you did to me then. It was vicious and startling. I was reeling and devastated from what I had just discovered with my wife and close friend.

Then you involved yourself in our Eldership in a most irresponsible and reckless manner. In hindsight, it never should have gotten to that point, and I accept full responsibility for that, but what I needed was trustworthy, Biblical accountability, and instead I got slander, threats, and verbal abuse. We had good elders who were caught between a pastor dealing with personal and familial sin, and an outside accountability that was reckless, irresponsible and ultimately had a destructive influence on a once unified eldership. I know it all now. I’ve read the communication you had with the other elders behind my back. Ugly, slanderous, defaming lies, Mark. I thought you were my brother and you treated me like scum.

On March 17, 2005, I sent a letter of grievance to the Board of Acts29, asking them to address what I had come to realize over time, were serious character flaws of yours. I made the case that Biblically you were unfit and disqualified as an Elder. A case based on long established patterns of pride, lack of self-control, sexually vulgar and slanderous speech, exaggeration that bordered on deception, gossip about others and confidentiality issues…

Not surprisingly, we got a response letter from the Board of Acts29 informing us that they would accept our resignation from Acts29, as we had made our continued participation in the network contingent upon their dealing with your issues…

And yet your words rarely matched up to how you live. You can’t preach Jesus and curse people. You can’t preach Jesus and threaten people. You can’t preach Jesus and be sexually vulgar. You can’t preach Jesus and denigrate women. You can’t preach Jesus and then shun people. You can’t preach Jesus and give rich people special privileges. You can’t preach Jesus and steal people’s material. You can’t preach Jesus and approve the use of funds for your desires instead of the donor’s desire. You can’t preach Jesus and cheat your way onto bestseller lists… It really is this simple: to preach Jesus, you have to be like Jesus…

You’ve destroyed people, Mark. You’ve ruined people’s reputations. Through your own perverse interpretation of “God’s grace”, you’ve cast people aside who you decided were not “on mission” spoke of “a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus.” The pragmatism backfired. What you won them with, is what you won them too, and now there are thousands who have been hurt, and who have hurt others. Beautifully, many of them are finding forgiveness and healing as they reconnect with each other and grow in grace.

Please Mark. Just stop. Step down. Resign.

 Driscoll’s ungodly behaviour

Paul Petry describes ‘the harshness, abusive power, anger, manipulation, and control exhibited by Pastor Mark’.

Bent Meyer says: ‘Mark’s pathology shows up in ways that are impulsive, aggressive, irascible, shut off from effective relational influence’

Rob Smith comments: ‘He was vile, he was vulgar, he threatened me with obscene language, said that he would destroy me, destroy my career, and make sure I never ministered again.’

Ron Wheeler writes: ‘You cursed me up one side and down the other. You threatened and berated me. I have never been spoken to the way you did to me then. It was vicious and startling… I made the case that Biblically you were unfit and disqualified as an Elder. A case based on long established patterns of pride, lack of self-control, sexually vulgar and slanderous speech, exaggeration that bordered on deception, gossip about others and confidentiality issues.’

These four men are first hand witnesses of Pastor Mark Driscoll’s shameful behaviour. Scripture is clear. ‘A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth’ (2 Timothy 2.24-25). So a true Christian leader is kind and loving, self-controlled, gentle and dignified. A true Christian leader does not use foul, abusive language.

Driscoll’s behaviour described above is not the conduct of a true servant of God, but of a false teacher who has proved himself to be an abusive spiritual fraud.

You can learn more about Mark Driscoll’s ministry in the book, The New Calvinists (2014), published by The Wakeman Trust and Belmont House Publishing. The book is available from belmonthousebooks.com/