Pastor Mark Driscoll resigns
Mark Driscoll’s letter of resignation as lead pastor of Mars Hill Church, dated October 14, 2014, took many people by surprise. Why did Driscoll resign as the findings of the investigation into his behaviour were just about to be made public? Indeed, he must have known that Mars Hill elders had reached the conclusion that ‘Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner. While we believe Mark needs to continue to address these areas in his life, we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.’
So Mars Hill elders concluded that Driscoll’s arrogance, quick temper, harsh speech and domineering manner do not disqualify him from pastoral ministry; this conclusion tells us much about Mars Hill Church. It is abundantly clear that the elders have not based their conclusion on Scripture.
The qualifications of a church elder
The attributes of church elders are clearly described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 3.2-7 and Titus 1.5-9. Here is a list of the qualifications. An elder is self-controlled, temperate, gentle, respectable and hospitable. An elder has a good reputation with outsiders, loves what is good, is upright, holy, disciplined and above reproach. An elder is the husband of one wife and manages his own family well. An elder is able to teach, holds to the truth and teaches sound doctrine. An elder is not violent; is not quarrelsome; is not a lover of money; is not a novice; is not overbearing; is not quick tempered.
Evidence presented on this website shows that Driscoll is not self-controlled and gentle. Rather he is verbally violent, quarrelsome, overbearing and quick tempered. Moreover, he has a bad reputation with outsiders and is not above reproach. He does not love what is good for he has used his ministry to promote sexual licentiousness. He was a complete novice when he says God told him to start a church. We must conclude that the elders of Mars Hill church have no understanding of the characteristics and responsibility of eldership. Mars Hill has been led by an eldership team that is a mirror image of their leader, and so it is no surprise that they have done all they can to defend his false ministry.
So why has Pastor Driscoll resigned? Is it because the Mars Hill business model, which has suffered a drastic lost of funds, has been so severely compromised that it is unlikely to return to profitability?
Pastor Mark Driscoll’s letter of resignation
October 14, 2014 Michael Van Skaik, Chairman, Board of Advisors and Accountability Mars Hill Church Dear Michael: By God’s grace I have pastored Mars Hill Church for 18 years. Today, also by God’s grace, and with the full support of my wife Grace, I resign my position as a pastor and elder of Mars Hill. I do so with profound sadness, but also with complete peace.
On August 24th I announced to our Mars Hill family of churches that I had requested a leave of absence from the pulpit and the office for a minimum of six weeks while a committee of elders conducted a formal review of charges made against me by various people in recent times. Last week our Board of Overseers met for an extended period of time with Grace and me, thereby concluding the formal review of charges against me.
I want to thank you for assuring Grace and me that last Saturday that I had not disqualified myself from ministry. You have shared with us that this committee spent more than 1,000 hours reviewing documents and interviewing some of those who had presented charges against me. You have also shared with me that many of those making charges against me declined to meet with you or participate in the review process at all. Consequently, those conducting the review of charges against me began to interview people who had not even been a party to the charges. I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are many things I have confessed and repented of, privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit. As I shared with our church in August, “God has broken me many times in recent years by showing me where I have fallen short, and while my journey, at age 43, is far from over, I believe He has brought me a long way from some days I am not very proud of, and is making me more like Him every day.”
Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry. 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. I will gladly work with you in the coming days on any details related to our separation.
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. Grace and I pledge our full support in this process and will join you in praying for God’s best for this, His church, in the days and years ahead. Grace and I would also covet your prayers for us as we seek God’s will for the next chapter of our lives. Therefore, consider this written notice of my voluntary termination of employment.
Finally, it would be my hope to convey to the wonderful members of the Mars Hill family how deeply my family and I love them, thank them, and point them to their Senior Pastor Jesus Christ who has always been only good to us.
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Extracts from a post on Mars Hill website, announcing Driscoll’s resignation:
https://marshill.com/2014/10/15/pastor-mark-driscolls-resignation On Tuesday, October 14,
Pastor Mark Driscoll submitted his resignation as an elder and lead pastor of Mars Hill Church. The Board of Overseers has accepted that resignation and is moving forward with planning for pastoral transition, recognizing the challenge of such a task in a church that has only known one pastor since its founding. We ask for prayer for the journey ahead.’
Pastor Mark has been on a leave of absence for nearly two months while a group of elders investigated a series of formal charges brought against him. This investigation had only recently been concluded…
While a group of seven elders plus one member of the Board of Overseers was charged with conducting this investigation, the full Board of Overseers is charged with reaching any conclusions and issuing any findings. In that capacity, we believe it appropriate to publicly mention the following:
We concluded that Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner. While we believe Mark needs to continue to address these areas in his life, we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry….
Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy….
Finally, Mark Driscoll was not asked to resign; indeed, we were surprised to receive his resignation letter….