Breaking News: Mark Driscoll Resigns as Pastor from Mars Hill

After a long and public season of controversy, pastor Mark Driscoll has resigned from Mars Hill.  Sad day for all involved, but a day which nonetheless will lead to both God’s glory and the good of His people, for both the people of Mars Hill Church and the Driscoll Family.  This news broke today on the Mars Hill church website:

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.

As is well known, inside and outside of Mars Hill, 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, following some 1,000 hours of research, interviewing more than 50 people and preparing 200 pages of information. This process was conducted in accordance with our church Bylaws and with Pastor Mark’s support and cooperation.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.
  3. We found some of the accusations against Pastor Mark to be altogether unfair or untrue.
  4. Other charges had been previously been addressed by Pastor Mark, privately and publicly. Indeed, he had publicly confessed and apologized for a number of the charges against him, some of which occurred as long as 14 years ago.
  5. We commend Mark for acting upon the vision God gave him to start Mars Hill Church and for his ministry of faithfully teaching the Word of God for the past 18 years. We commit to pray for him, for Grace, and for their children as they transition from ministry at Mars Hill Church.

We would ask for patience as we now make plans for the first transition of pastoral leadership in the history of Mars Hill Church. We have asked Pastor Dave Bruskas to serve as the primary teaching pastor while we work on long-term plans and decisions. Our elders and board members will work closely with the church staff to support the ongoing operations of Mars Hill in the days and months ahead.

Finally, Mark Driscoll was not asked to resign; indeed, we were surprised to receive his resignation letter. While he can speak to his decision as he chooses, we would point to just two things from his letter. He noted that he had 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.” Secondly, he specifically wanted 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.”

Mars Hill Board of Overseers

Michael Van Skaik

Larry Osborne

Jon Phelps

Matt Rogers

A Fall From Grace and A Need For Grace

Great article from Barnabas Piper, he treats this sensitive but explosive issue with what is needed – grace.  Few will do this.  Most will blame Driscoll and write him off.  That’s not gospel love.   Because Barnabas Piper does use grace this is a must read, I’ve posted his article in whole below.

I have watched the slide of Mark Driscoll from a distance. Once upon a time Driscoll played a significant role in my faith and my understanding of Jesus. I am thankful for that. While I haven’t thrown away everything I gained from him, I have a difficult time reconciling it with what he has become in the years since. I’ve kept my distance and haven’t written much about his “fall from grace.”

Most of the responses to him seems to fall into the categories of spite, anger, using him as an object lesson, or gossip and sensationalism. I don’t want to be part of any of that, though at times I likely have been. I hope what follows isn’t any of that. Because what I have come to see is something in me as much as in Mark Driscoll. I’m reminded of a time in my life when I fell and what God used to restore me, a restoration I hope God will work for Driscoll too.

Today I read the statement from Acts 29 announcing the removal of Driscoll and Mars Hill from their network. I am thankful for their decision and saddened by it. They made the right decision from a biblical standpoint and for the good of a church network that genuinely seeks to represent Jesus well. But I found no satisfaction that Driscoll “got what was coming to him.” I remember when he started A29. I was there when he began to gain a following as an author. For it to come to this is awful. I hope he responds. I hope his recent apologies are the beginning to real transformation, real repentance. Maybe this statement by men he once served alongside will be what God uses to shake him from his stupor.

Today I was reminded that a “fall from grace” is a public display of a need for grace.

He needs to be shown the grace of discipline – not retribution, but discipline. People doing and saying the hard, right things to help him see his sins and repent of them. The scary part of this aspect of grace is what happens if someone doesn’t respond. I have been there. In the end God may reach down and rip everything away or he may let the unresponsive one go on his miserable way. The first hurts like fire but leaves one humbled and ready to change. The second leaves one at the mercy of his own blindness.

He needs the grace of people who will stand by him, not as yes-men or flunkies but as sentinels and guides. I know from my own life that when a person is lost in sin what is up looks down and what is right looks left. It takes gracious, strong people to say what is truly up and truly right. And it takes the grace of humility in a sinner’s heart to trust in and respond to such sentinels.

He needs the grace of forgiveness. Most of us don’t need to forgive Driscoll because he didn’t hurt us, though he may have offended us. We just need to move on. But he did hurt many. And he needs their forgiveness. Rather, he needs them to stand ready to forgive when he is at the place when he can admit his need of it. Nobody needs to “let bygones be bygones.” In time, though, I hope they can hand over their hurts to God, release the anger and burden, and find healing in the grace of forgiveness. That forgiveness, the kind we experienced through Jesus, is one of the greatest displays of God’s grace the culture around us can ever see.

Each of these expressions of grace is a reflection of God’s great grace – the grace that breaks and heals, corrects and restores. That is ultimately the grace Mark Driscoll needs. And he needs it no more than I need it or you need it. Just because his fall was from a high and public place does not make his need greater, just more visible. I hope Mark Driscoll’s fall from grace will be a fall into grace.