Our Sponsors:

Read more »

Our Members

Many thanks to Alan Zullig and June B Hooper some of our many supporters.

ALL MEMBERS »

Inside Mars Hill's massive meltdown

How narcissism, misogyny and Mark Driscoll's own troubled past led to the mega-church mass exodus his flock was too scared to talk about.

A recent outpouring of accounts by former church members of Mars Hill, Seattle's own homegrown megachurch, are painting a picture, both fascinating and horrifying, of outrageous and psychologically damaging behavior that's been happening inside the church for many years.

Women's Training Day at one of Mars Hill's Seattle meetinghouses. Photo: Mars Hill Church

There are emerging stories of sensational kangaroo courts and "sex demon" trials, like something out of the Salem witch hunts of the 1600s. Even more devastating to individual members are the ways in which they are shamed, taught to blame themselves and each other when they see problems, and to formally shun people who step out of favor with church leaders. Shunnings, both formal and informal, have caused the outcast to spend years in isolation, cut off from friends, sometimes suffering deep clinical depression, nightmares, disillusionment and shattered faith.

New heartbreaking stories are emerging almost every week, some told by people who were once prominent leaders, including a cofounder and former pastor of Mars Hill, who describes himself at Mars Hill as "driven by Narcissism and anti-social tendencies."

As insiders begin to open up, financial scandals are also rising to the surface. Former pastors say the church is being run more like a cutthroat business, where people who give up their secular jobs to serve the church are then abruptly fired on a whim. The threat of witholding severance pay is used to secure their silence in the form of non-disclosure agreements and non-complete clauses. But several former pastors have now refused to comply.

Recently, a former member started a petition at change.org requesting financial transparency. It asks Driscoll to reveal his salary, which is estimated by a few insiders I spoke to to be somewhere in the ballpark of $900,000, and it raises questions about how much of the $2 million donated to the church's Global Fund in the 2012-2013 fiscal year actually made it to Ethiopia and India.

A few days ago, the church sent an email to members. "Mars Hill has now admitted that money given to the Global Fund actually went in the church’s General Fund and mostly was spent on expanding Mars Hill video sites," writes Warren Throckmorton, whose blog at Patheos.com has become a major conduit of information about the church.

As of publication time, requests for comment on these and other issues went unanswered.

Collectively, the stories that are emerging help explain how a whole community came under the control of one man, and why, even years after leaving the fold, most have chosen to remain silent, until now.

The problems in the church haven't always been so obvious. In the beginning, Mars Hill church was a grassroots Seattle start-up with a 90s indie rock approach to organized religion.

Exuding charisma, the church's young leader, Mark Driscoll, managed to make stories from the Bible entertaining and accessible. Unlike many other Christian evangelicals, he did not think that beer, electric guitars, married sex and mixed martial arts were at odds with Jesus.

Driscoll preaches a theology that counts homosexuality as a sin. He casts females as destined to play a supporting role, always orbitting the male lead. Though many didn't like what Driscoll had to say, or how he said it, quite a few people did.

Married to his highschool sweetheart, Grace, Driscoll presents himself, then and now, as having a lockdown on what it means to be a card-carrying godly heterosexual man's man. Brash and bossy, a smooth operator with sharp edges, he has what one former member describes as "Chris Rock talent." He made people laugh, and it drew them to him. As it turns out, once they were close, he also made a lot of people cry.

But somehow, despite the rocky road including a mass exodus of an estimated 1000 people in 2007 — a period which many point to as a dark turning point — Mars Hill transformed from a scrappy enterprise with meetings in Driscoll's living room into an expansive multi-million dollar enterprise, with 15 campuses in five states and headquarters in downtown Bellevue. Driscoll's lively and at times alarming Sunday sermons are live-streamed to rapt audiences, amplified through high quality sound systems and projected onto drop-down movie screens.


Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!

Comments:

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 8:34 a.m. Inappropriate

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 11:18 a.m. Inappropriate

This is so shocking...so unprecedented in the history of religious movements...so unexpected an indication of vulnerabilities in the psyche of the Believer...such distressing evidence that a fool IS born every moment...

When will the Kool-Aid be served?

Seneca

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 11:41 a.m. Inappropriate

Suspicions confirmed- once again. JG-

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 12:02 p.m. Inappropriate

There are a multitude of spelling and grammatical errors in the article's text. A simple use of spellcheck (at the very least) was in order here, ahead of publication.

AcerSpade

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 4:20 p.m. Inappropriate

AcerSpade, you're assuming Crosscut has editors who give a crap about professionalism (and about making a writer look at least literate). That's an unjustified assumption.

CharlieE

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 1:12 p.m. Inappropriate

"What does God need with a star ship?"

            - Captain James T Kirk

dbreneman

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 1:07 p.m. Inappropriate

Can I just like this, i know it's not facebook... But the star trek fan in me appreciates the irony of your comment...giggle.

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 4:09 p.m. Inappropriate

Like lambs to the slaughter. How many more will religion claim?

Never trust a religious person, they will always find an excuse to screw you, or maybe kill you in the name
Of their vengeful god.

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 5 p.m. Inappropriate

And it is all tax-free!!! Yay for Religion!!!

andy

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 9:22 p.m. Inappropriate

Mars Hill is not religion; it's a dictatorship.

sarah90

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 8:41 a.m. Inappropriate

What people don't realize is how far reaching this pollution is. My story starts several years ago when my local church of which I was a member became entangled in Acts 29. This was still during the time Mark was at the helm. Our church was thriving when our new pastor took over with many outreach programs, such as a recovery group, and food pantry. We knew who we were, until the new pastor began talking about being "relevant" a buzz word used alot in Mars Hill communities everywhere. He introduced us to the doctrine of Driscoll and began extolling the man's virtues from the pulpit and hawking his books as well. We soon had a little bookstore out front full of reformed theology writers most out of the Acts 29 or Mars Hill publishing groups. Any book on Marks reading list was soon on ours, funny thing though, people started leaving. Just up and gone out of the blue, longtime church memebers. Deacons began stepping down as well. Soon they were replaced with young men who seemed to not be as grounded in the word as they were just kinda cool. While we saw all this change we also began hearing about how broke we were. We were struggling to pay our utilities after years of being fine. Our mortgage was late, and why? Well the only people that seemed relevant enough to the leadership were the young and grungy crowd, the youth and young adults were elevated and the older stable and tithing couples well they just aren't the face of Mars Hill or Acts 29 are they? We lost our heritage and our tithing base when they left, in the arrogance of our leadership they just weren't the face they wanted to project. But I know as well as others, that when our older bedrock couples left we were heading for disaster. Many friends had left, one Sunday after the Pastor had preached transparency I went into our church office and asked for a copy of the budget and financials. The secretary gave me all of it, even the stuff I should not see. I don't believe this was a accident on her part. When I went through the paperwork, I found all our savings gone, and a credit card bill that had over 6 months inflated to over 16.000.00!!! I found that we were paying as a church for the pastors cell phone bill of over 400 dollars a month, he had a housing allowance, insurance and a salary that for our small area was way ABOVE average. But folks, we weren't tithing enough. It was our problem not the problems of the pastor fleecing his flock. I was very upset. I was hurting as I loved this church and could not believe it had been hijacked. Women no longer had many roles available to us, we just weren't being allowed to serve unless it was in complimentary roles, or in the children's ministries. Our programs were wiped out by our lack of funds, meanwhile our pastors would charge our church mileage as they traveled to the church plant we had in a nearby town. The Acts 29 network was killing us and one day my husband and I stood up. I had been hearing lots of rumors about other financial dirty deals so my husband spoke to a pastor. It took them all of a day to call us into meetings. The first one I was told I was reading the paperwork wrong and then they had me hand it over. They said since I could not understand it they thought I should hand it back. I said no problem having made lots of copies beforehand. The next meeting I was called out for being a gossip based on the pastors hearing supposedly stories about me going around town from people. People I might add that never showed up to these meetings. It went from bad to worse, and eventually we were told they wanted us out. We told them we would pray about what our next steps should be and let them know. I had done none of the things they were accusing me of, except for a FB posts that were very mild. Yes, they even monitored my FB page and brought screen shots of comments I had made the week before. sigh. We prepared our kids for us leaving and took them one last time to their youth group so they could say goodbye to their friends and went to church our last Sunday morning to say goodbye and hug a few close friends. To our surprise we were pulled out of the worship service that morning and threatened by that group of men with a police officer if we did not leave immediately. Seriously. I had been a member there for over five years, my husband and I had served and tithed and loved our church and now that group of men were going to arrest us. Our children were with us so we left with them crying and asking our escorts why they were doing this. We later found out why they wanted us gone, the pastor from the pulpit informed the whole church about our "sin" Mark Driscoll style and handed a letter out to over 300 people naming us, calling our sin out and calling my husband out for not leading our home. In other words not shutting up his wife. It took less than two months after we left for them to put the church in bancruptcy and leave the church in ruins, they then moved to a smaller church building stripped out the old one of anything they could carry moved it into the new one and kept up the shop of preaching and teaching the gospel of Mark Driscoll. We lost a vibrant thirty year old church and million dollar campus, and many outreach programs. All for the sake of the Acts 29 heresy. This is happening in many other places even now, the doctrine has not changed, just the leadership. Many older churches are being taken over by Acts 29 and either being absorbed or end up like ours just a dead and empty building with the hurting and wounded surrounding it. I pray for everyone of the those church members right now and hope they will see the light and continue to leave...RUN>GETOUT>SAVE YOURSELVES

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 10:52 a.m. Inappropriate

Hi Rebecca Lynn,
Thank you for sharing your story here. That's devastating. And I agree, most people, including me, are unaware of how far these predatory practices have spread, how many people are being severed from their communities and places of worship and how much money is being hoovered up in the process. I'm curious where this happened? I'm at slsolie at gmail dot com if you want to talk more.

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 12:49 p.m. Inappropriate

I will email you this evening. thanks. rebecca

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 10:15 a.m. Inappropriate

In case you were unaware of your possible Mars Hill support: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/coffee-and-mars-hill/Content?oid=17866798

lem

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 10:50 a.m. Inappropriate

rebeccalynn1973...your story is very important and would be valuable in the course of the conversations by many who are concerned that change come to both Mars Hill and the Acts29 churches. Would you consider sharing it with others? There is a group on FB that is closed, so stays within the group and not broadcast outside. It is called REPEAL THE BYLAWS - EXONERATE PASTORS PETRY & MEYER. If you would prayerfully consider joining and sharing I think there is great value in your story.

cmtartist

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 12:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Thank you I will look into it. My story has been published by the wartburg watch already so some of the victims may have heard it. I have found a lot of comfort in sharing and speaking out. Of course that has painted a big target on my back as well. Trolls tend to try and smear me at every turn inferring that I am really the one at fault for all of this. No matter of the facts, they really don't care for those...instead they come at me when ever I speak out. Despite that our family is doing well, you see we did not walk away from our faith we are in a healthy church doing well. Our pastor has no complaints about my behavior or for that matter my husbands. I have found safety at last. One of my good friends happens to be his wife. I have come full circle and my message is that yes awful stuff happened to me, but God is still good. He can and will heal our pain if we let him. Why speak out if things are so good? Because there are many more of me stuck in the Acts 29 churches and Mars Hill type churches. Many more afraid to question or leave. My message to them is just go, leave, save yourself the pain and heartache. IT will get better, there are safe places, churches that you will be loved in. You don't have to put up with the garbage. What they think of you matters not, it is only what the God who made you thinks that matters......

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 11:02 a.m. Inappropriate


The next meeting I was called out for being a gossip based on the pastors hearing "supposedly stories about me going around town from people." -RebeccaLynn1973

When you go around nonstop posting things about MarsHill it's probably not a stretch to imagine that you were going around gossiping about your local congregation. The fact that they addressed it and you were unrepentant just has you coming across as immature.

These links are all posts where you post about the same thing. They're varied enough in time frame to demonstrate you should probably pursue a new hobby.

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/12/06/replanting-countryside-acts-29-style-a-personal-testimony/

http://mutteringheart.com/2014/06/03/mars-hill-stealing-and-destroying-congregations-right-from-under-our-noses/

https://www.facebook.com/stuffchristianculturelikes/posts/10151833871146534

http://www.kirotv.com/videos/news/video-kiro-7-investigates-mars-hill-church/vCP8LX/




dmarmott

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 12:27 p.m. Inappropriate

My story is out there no doubt. I begin speaking out after my stories were published in the wartburg watch. I don't hide it. Never did. Unlike the pastors and deacons at my church who repeatedly dragged my family through the mud with the allegations they made never once producing one person who actually heard me say or do something wrong. Why? If we had supposedly sinned were no people who observed my sin especially called in? You see that is how churches under Mark's direction work. I am flattered that dmarmott and other trolls find the time to track my many comments about this harmful church movement. I have found my voice and have used it. For awhile I hid with my pain, when I finally was willing to talk about my experiences it helped me heal. I am stronger today than I was, and I don't care if people believe me or not. My story stands and others like mine. So think what you want troll. You won't shut me up until women are free to be who they are in Christ. Until we aren't just a compliment to our husbands or boyfriends, until we are considered worthy on our own merits and I guess that is just too threatening for some of you,eh? To this date no one ever came forward in any way to accuse us of sin, except for those deacons, no one came forward as a witness, or with proof. The worst they could do to us they did. They lied to our congregation and then shunned us. What would you have me do, be silent while I see all this carnage? I think not. I attended there five years, worked alongside my husband in helming a small group, there was never a hint I had done anything wrong or sinned with gossip UNTIL we spoke out with the leadership over the financials....then all of a sudden wham...I was in sin and my husband was too. Imagine how surreal that was for us?!? So people like this troll or others can say what they will, because I know the truth so does my family and many in my community do as well. It is sad that this Pastor still has a small church and even more a shame that he is now a bigwig in the Acts 29 network as a pastor that shepherds others in this ministry. It is to the churches' great shame that these types of groups go largely unchallenged. Mark Driscoll has had a platform for too long. Wake up please you people out there and save yourselves from this heretical doctrine. And for all those trolls, I have been taking it easy lately, better get off my duff and step up my speaking out....

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 2:21 p.m. Inappropriate

Dear Rebeccah,

It is heartbreaking to read your 'from the heart' story. How many more there must be out there who came to these churches with open hearts and minds - who wholeheartedly served and contributed their time, talents, and treasure AND their trust, only to be betrayed and abused in the end. And then, to face further abuse from the sneering self-righteous mockers who see it as their place to demean you, to kick you while you are down, out of some misguided sense of loyalty to these so-called pastors and self-proclaimed kings. Be encouraged that you are helping open the eyes of the blind to what goes on behind the whitewashed walls of these little corporate empires masquerading as disciples of Jesus.

And please, oh please, remember - paragraphs are our friends!

Posted Thu, Jul 17, 5:19 p.m. Inappropriate

My entire inner monologue is run on sentences, sorry. I will work on the paragraph thingy. I have been called worse by trolls so no worries. He does not know me at all or the path I walked. So he can bite me. I began speaking out here and there and I am not gonna let some fanboy shut me up.
I will just have to step up my efforts if one little comment is gonna get his panties in a bunch. I have to say though yelling at me to get a life while stalking mine is kinda ironic, yes?

Posted Fri, Jul 18, 7:10 a.m. Inappropriate

Thank you for exemplifying exactly the mentality that keeps you attending at Our Lady of Perpetual Victimhood.

Trolling Mars Hill articles with some 'troother' story that didn't even happen at Mars Hill, really only demonstrates a perverse theology of affirmation on your part.

I'd say your conflict with your church probably came down to the fact that you were confronted with the righteousness of Christ and it got in the way of your self righteousness.

dmarmott

Posted Fri, Jul 18, 8:21 a.m. Inappropriate

She is speaking her truth and you are attacking her. Pretty clear who is self righteous and who is modeling Christ here dmarmott. Your posts here make you look like a self righteous bully.

Posted Fri, Jul 18, 8:21 a.m. Inappropriate

She is speaking her truth and you are attacking her. Pretty clear who is self righteous and who is modeling Christ here dmarmott. Your posts here make you look like a self righteous bully.

Posted Fri, Jul 18, 2:23 p.m. Inappropriate

So, according to your logic, she can attack people and its 'her truth'. If her claims are scrutinized its attacking and self righteous and therefore wrong, yet it's ok when you do it. If everything is so relativistic, then she gets 'her truth' then I get mine, and you can have yours.

What you're saying is that anything other than affirmation is not allowed. Which is exactly why I mentioned that she has a theology of affirmation. Self in the center, unable to bear scrutiny.

dmarmott

Posted Fri, Jul 18, 2:55 p.m. Inappropriate

I will be transparent, dmarmott. I do not like the "theology" of mars hill church that teaches that women and homosexuals are unequal and that questioning is irreligious. I grew up lutheran and a serious doubter and the pastor was ok with doubt and that is in part what led me back to faith. The Lutheran church I attend is completely transparent in its financing, and the church council is elected democratically. I have empathy for people seeking a spiritual attachment who are driven from their church because of the overt egotism of the leadership. I believe Christ would shrink in horror at what his loving kindness has become (to quote Harlan Ellison). What do you believe that leads you to doubt this woman's story?

Posted Fri, Jul 18, 5:04 p.m. Inappropriate

This so-called church is merely a group of male control freaks.
The leader must be awfully charismatic, but charisma is not the same as depth, wisdom or honesty.

Everything I have ever read or heard makes me think what a 'bunch of a-holes' not 'gee, what a great church'.

Posted Fri, Jul 18, 10:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Cheri,
I appreciate your transparency, thank you. With regards to your disagreements, you are very mistaken. Mars Hill is really just complementarian calvinism with focus on God's love over man's sin. Women are preached as equal dignity, value and worth with a different role. Exactly as the Trinitarian nature of God. As Jesus was fully God with a distinct role, a woman is fully equal with a distinct role. Men are to be servants of women, having authority and using it to serve sacrificially and reinforce her dignity as Jesus was fully divine yet gave his life for the church. It is the role of the man to love his wife to the point that God's grace is evidenced through his service to her.

With regards to homosexuality, the only thing that Mars Hill teaches is A) your identity is in God first (1st commandment). Sexuality, straight or otherwise as an identity is just idolatry. B) sex is a gift from God and its right expression is in the confines of heterosexual marriage, which leads us to the bigger issue.

Either you believe the Bible is all about Jesus and God's infallible word or you don't. The 'or you don't' aspect of belief about the Bible takes many forms including Jesus isn't God, I can pick my own truth out of what was said, it's good advice but not from God, it was written by men so fallible, etc, etc. However, once you compromise on one point you play God, and you make a poor god, we all do. It's possible to love God without hating sinners, no matter what size and shape they come in. After all God loves you like a father.

dmarmott

Posted Sat, Jul 19, 8:54 a.m. Inappropriate

I am not going down the rabbit hole of the many inconsistencies in the bible that make it impossible to be inerrant, I will say the overarching message of Jesus was above all things, love. We will never agree on theology and I am fine with that and am pretty sure God is ok with that too. What I wonder is why your beliefs are so fragile that you feel you have to attack that woman telling her story. I just don't find that helpful, or in any way leading with love. This article is about the growing list of people hurt and shunned by a once growing church. You don't have the same experience with it? Fine. Be positive. Share your truth. Attacking others spiritual journey as you did reeks of insecurity. Have a nice day.

Posted Tue, Jul 29, 7:25 p.m. Inappropriate

Interesting how passive-agressives always end their comments with phrases like "have a nice day".

sarah90

Posted Tue, Jul 29, 10:23 p.m. Inappropriate

Ha! That is pretty funny, what you just did there.

Posted Tue, Jul 22, 8:30 a.m. Inappropriate


"Women are fully equal with a distinct role."

The religious version of Plessy v. Ferguson. Got any slaves picking cotton for the church? The Bible says that's a good thing, too.

The only portion of contributions to churches which are tax deductible should be that which is represented by charitable services given to non-attendees without proselytizing. Mars Hill is the poster boy for modern-day religious charlatanry.

Anandakos

Posted Sat, Jul 19, 11:50 p.m. Inappropriate

To the modern day Law-Lovers who have operated with the strong-arm of CONDEMNATION over trusting sheep, and who continue to defend such practices even though there is NOTHING hidden that will not be disclosed and exposed (Luke 8:17), and to those who defend even now the actions of this church under Mark Driscoll, I will remind you that the Bible says, "It is time for judgment to begin in the house of The Lord." 1 Peter 4:17

If there was no church-cleaning necessary, there wouldn't be a need for an exposé here. The plethora of supporting testimonies and financial statements and buy-offs are indisputable....

People have NEVER run away from the strong and indescribably wonderful loving arms of Abba Father, Daddy God. So when there's a mass exodus, something is terribly wrong. People flocked TO Jesus, not away from Him.

Posted Wed, Jul 23, 10:55 a.m. Inappropriate

What? Daddy God fathered ABBA, the great swedish musical act? I did not know that.

andy

Posted Sun, Jul 20, 10:05 a.m. Inappropriate

Family Circle 40 years later:
Older brother in beard/mullet, bib overalls, bare chested, sternly warns middle sister, pudgy/nearsighted, and younger brother in goatee, all three sitting around a folding table smoking and drinking beer in cans,
"And Remember! No telling mommy I shot my probation officer."

Favorite response after telling this joke:
"I knew they were going to turn out like that."

Wells

Posted Sun, Jul 20, 10:10 a.m. Inappropriate

Poor Jesus. What did He do to deserve all this?

woofer

Posted Sun, Jul 20, 12:31 p.m. Inappropriate

Dear misguided followers of the Scapegoat money " church ". You need to find God and Jesus anywhere but Mars !

Lenny

Posted Thu, Jul 24, 2:35 p.m. Inappropriate

These men are from Mars and women need to get the Hill away from them!

Anandakos

Posted Tue, Jul 22, 8:12 a.m. Inappropriate

Does anyone know what- if any- the relationship is between the Mars Hill Church and Storyville Coffee is?

TGW

Posted Wed, Jul 23, 12:15 p.m. Inappropriate

The Stranger wrote about it awhile back. Seems like the owners are or at least were at one time affiliated with the church and have donated "tens of thousands" to Mars Hill.
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/10/03/god-has-used-storyville-coffee-to-bless-mars-hill-downtown

Posted Fri, Jul 25, 5:43 p.m. Inappropriate

A few thousand years ago, Middle East civilizations chose ethics and morals over dispute. Our generation sallutes them, Arab brothers, Asian communities, Nordic tribal nincompoops, Phillipine bamboo campsite communities, too many of whom bearded/face painted grasping knives, spears, arrows. Encrusted agricultural practices loaded with worst crap. These drove many others crazy, Nordicans/Others who thought themselves best, more worthier than others.
Let others live, others.

Wells

Posted Mon, Jul 28, 11:33 a.m. Inappropriate

I went to a service. The people seemed nice. Some of the titles of literature seemed well ignorant. That is the only word I can think of. They did seem to be very money focused and love was more distant. The major weakness to me was that the sermon was Driscoll via video. The local pastor was not trusted with the message. Driscoll himself seemed intelligent but not well educated in teaching. A lot of his examples were pretty poor. He also talked about praying for money in a way I thought was full of Mark Foolery. He prayed in a prayer circle for help from God and mysteriously $100 was given to him anonymously under his door at critical times. He used those events to leverage prayer with results from God. But it seems pretty obvious someone in his prayer group slipped him the $100 to give him a false sense of prayer? Maybe that is an old pastor's trick. If he prayed alone at home and $100 appeared I would be more impressed. As it here it is the noisy prayer who gets the money first, the quiet one never does.

pdx

Posted Tue, Jul 29, 9:39 a.m. Inappropriate

It is interesting how quickly everyone is turning on Mars Hill.

Seems like just yesterday Anthony Robinson was welcoming Mars Hill to downtown Seattle with open arms:

http://crosscut.com/2013/01/09/religion/112375/mars-hill-church-downtown-pastor-tim-gaydos/

I believe the real problem here are the so-called "moderate" christians. Moderates sugar coat and apologize for their more bible-based brethern.

Mars Hill is doing nothing but practicing what is stated in the bible:

http://haveyoureadthebible.com/moderate-christianity-why-tolerance-proves-ignorance/

Thoughts?

andy

Posted Tue, Jul 29, 11:17 a.m. Inappropriate

Sure. Most people do not take the Bible literally, instead realizing that parables and stories are just that, parables and stories.

Rules and regs = holiness? Not so much when the top down approach uses shame, abusive power and fear to manipulate a flock, or even an individual.

Posted Thu, Jul 31, 10:09 a.m. Inappropriate

Fascinating to me that Christians need church at all. The constructs of being a christian seem simple: be kind and do good works. And the "manual is available everywhere.
The math of church based Christianity also confounds me. They ask for 10% tithe. So a congregation of 10 would easily support one clergy. A congregation of 1,000 is a business. And what do you get? The same free edicts: be kind and do good works.
The rest is fluff and hanging out with others who feel the same way. Donating to a church is not charity. It is not feeding the hungry or providing healthcare. Ponzi was a Catholic. And the Catholic church perfected the trickle-up economic theory.

cynic1954

Posted Thu, Jul 31, 7:52 p.m. Inappropriate

Amazing and bizarre comment thread. Hope those abused will heal. I suggest the best way to really heal is to completely separate and fill one's life with nothing to do with insanity.

I understand that telling the truth of one's experience and being supported is healthy in one phase, but there will be no satisfaction from those people. Eventually, getting engaged in debates with cult trolls will just make things worse, like picking at a scab.

Survivors of abuse need to heal together, learn the warning signs for future situations, and move on to a wonderful fulfilled life. That is my wish for all the people who have been sucked into this mess.

Posted Sat, Aug 2, 6:53 p.m. Inappropriate

wow. This doesn't surprise me. I worked at a very large church in southern california where the lead pastor was "mentored" by Mark (this was about 3 years ago). Mark had some very strong opinions about getting rid of some vital ministries in our church that unfortunately the lead pastor listened too..since he was obviously enamored with the "success" of Mark. Since that time, I am sad to say, the church has gone through horrible times because of the decisions and advice of Mark that were listened too. Although I won't hold him totally responsible (the lead pastor should have sought wise counsel), his decisions and position of "stardom" has hurt many pastors, families, and kids. I was "removed" and the flourishing ministry I was leading was removed as well...so the joke with my friends is that "Mark Driscoll got me fired and I never met the guy.". That church is now struggling to survive with most of the staff resigning (without having a job to go too) and the leadership core making an exodus to other churches in the area. The church has lost 1000's of people over the last few years. I pray that the leadership repents and changes it's course.

Posted Mon, Aug 4, 7:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Pastor Guy,

Have you ever considered that the problem with such churches -- and probably with one you will establish -- is the "glorious leader" structure? Power corrupts. Even Christians.

Perhaps especially Protestant Christians, because of the spiritual materialism inherent in Calvinism: if you are blessed it's because you're a "better Christian". What a mile wide gate through which to drive the truck of idolatry.

Anandakos

Posted Fri, Aug 8, 8:24 a.m. Inappropriate

Absolutely. I have seen this first hand watching a very humble loving leader get a "taste" of success and turn over time into a self seeking monster in the name of Jesus. Sad.

Posted Mon, Aug 4, 1:04 p.m. Inappropriate

Thank you, Crosscut, for having the courage to publish this exposé of Abrahamic religion in action.

Judaism, Christianity, Islam – each claims the same divine sadist as its founder, and each behaves accordingly. As their own scriptures tell us, "by their fruits shall ye know them."

Thus the long, blood-drenched litany of Abrahamic atrocities new and old: Gaza; 9/11; Yugoslavia; the modern-day depredations of Jihadists and Hassidim; pogroms; Mountain Meadows; the First Nations genocide; St. Bartholomew's; Ulster; the European wars of religion; the Burning Times; the Inquisition; the depredations of the Teutonic Knights; the Crusades; the Islamic invasions of Europe; Christian persecutions of Pagans in the latter Roman Empire; the innumerable massacres by the Israelites recounted in the Torah and Old Testament, etc. ad nauseam. (See for example http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Massacres_in_the_name_of_a_peaceful_faith and http://infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/atrocity.html )

At the core of Christianity's malevolence in the United States is the so-called “prosperity gospel” – precisely what is preached at Mars Hill. That it is the dominant religious ethos within the imperial homeland explains the nation's increasing savagery toward lower-income people, especially those who are elderly and/or disabled. Its inherent misogyny fuels the war against women. Its notion of “one nation under god” – literally, god as heavenly Führer – mandates foreign policy based on “American Exceptionalism,” the 21st Century variant of the Nazi doctrine of Aryan supremacy.

Moreover, this sort of fanatically militant Christianity whether Protestant or Catholic is methodically replacing the remnants of constitutional governance with theocracy based on biblical law, a relentless campaign in which the Hobby Lobby decision is but the most recent Christian victory.

Yet most of the Left, with its collective head plunged deep in the sands of denial, arrogantly mouths wishful platitudes about religion becoming irrelevant and thus refuses to recognize the threat – never mind it is thoroughly documented on-line and in many recent books.

The most useful of these sources include three books and three web sites. The books are: The Family: the Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (Jeff Sharlet; Harper: 2008); American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America (Chris Hedges; Free Press div. of Simon & Schuster: 2006); and American Theocracy: the Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century (Kevin Phillips; Viking: 2006). The web sites are: Theocracy Watch (http://www.theocracywatch.org/ ); CatholicWatch (http://catholicwatch.org/); and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (https://www.au.org/).

Meanwhile Crosscut's reportorial bravery in showing us the internal realities at Mars Hill gives us a telling and presumably terrifying glimpse of what our everyday lives would be like if the Christian theocrats – who now control the U.S. Supreme Court (and are therefore able to dictate the terms of all governance within U.S. borders) – continue their victorious onslaught.

Posted Mon, Aug 4, 7:35 p.m. Inappropriate

The SAME divine sadist........

Fantastic post, Loren.

Anandakos

Posted Tue, Aug 5, 10:40 a.m. Inappropriate

Thank you. Of course I know Yahweh, Jesus and Allah are all names for the same divine sadist. And since I no longer remember why I phrased my second graf as I did -- though it seemed like a good reason at the time -- I have corrected it accordingly. Thanks again.

Posted Wed, Aug 13, 11:31 a.m. Inappropriate

Thank you for this comment. It exceeds the original article. Right to the point.

andy

Posted Sat, Aug 9, 10:57 p.m. Inappropriate

I attended one of the Mars Hill campuses (before I moved). I was encouraged to know, trust, and love Jesus and to be a blessing to others. My family and I were very blessed by Mark and MH - I hope those that have been hurt can find healing and I pray that Mark doesn't grow weary but continues in faithfully preaching the Word.

jasone

Posted Fri, Aug 22, 8:44 a.m. Inappropriate

Thank you all, once again, for reminding me why I avoid organized religion. What a mess.

FigTree

Posted Sat, Aug 23, 10:01 a.m. Inappropriate

The Mars Hill story hits the New York Times. And I agree with FigTree. Never turn your brain and emotions over to some manipulative egomaniac like Driscoll.

A Brash Style That Filled Pews, Until Followers Had Their Fill
Mark Driscoll Is Being Urged to Leave Mars Hill Church

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/us/mark-driscoll-is-being-urged-to-leave-mars-hill-church.html?module=Search&mabReward;=relbias%3Aw%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A6%22%7D&_r=0

Login or register to add your voice to the conversation.

Join Crosscut now!
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow Us »