Driscoll Returns with a Standing Ovation
Mark Driscoll has certainly kept himself busy since his resignation from Mars Hill Church. He’s appeared at several conferences, marketed his sermons while his former church drastically declined, and he even started a new website, MarkDriscoll.org, and ironically he calls himself Pastor Mark Driscoll on the site even though he’s not overseeing a flock at a local church and he is not under the authority of biblical elders. The website describes him as “a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor.”
Paul David Tripp resigned from his membership on Mars Hills Board of Advisors and Accountability (I couldn’t seem to find this “board” in Scripture, by the way) last year. Tripp stated, “This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.”
Sunday, May 17th Mark Driscoll showed up at Gold Creek Community Church in Mill Creek. Driscoll didn’t preach however, but lead pastor Dan Kellogg brought Driscoll on stage and claimed that Driscoll was, “unfairly treated by former staff and the media,” and “He’s baptized 10,000 people who found Christ.” According to one Seattle media outlet, there were several picketers outside the church. A former member of Mars Hill among the picketers stated…
“He has re-purposed his ministry without reconciling with thousands of persons who were abused.”
After the service, over 100 people reportedly lined up to greet Mark.
While on stage, Driscoll addressed the congregation by saying, “I would like to talk about Jesus instead of me: It would be much more pleasant and helpful.” You may remember the controversy that led to Mars Hill’s Board of Overseers to release a statement on October 14, 2014 in which they concluded, “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 in a domineering manner.” Driscoll resigned from his pastorate later that day.
Pastor Dan Kellogg also stated that he hopes Mark would be planting a new church in another state.
Mar’s Hill last year released a statement explaining Paul Tripp’s resignation from the BOAA which stated:
Update on Paul Tripp & The BOAA
“As we have shared before, Paul Tripp recently resigned his membership from our Board of Advisors and Accountability. To the best of our knowledge at the time, this was due to his intent in helping Mars Hill as a paid consultant.
Paul later released a statement, adding additional comments that he did not believe the structure of the Board that he joined was healthyand that we should add accountability from local members of the church. Paul’s concerns were not made known to the Board as a whole before he resigned; however, we agree there is wisdom in adding local members to this board and we were already in the process of doing just that.
We have now become aware of new comments and concerns that Paul Tripp has voiced about Pastor Mark and Pastor Sutton within the last week to a small group of current elders at Mars Hill. These elders then posted these comments as a letter in an unsecure place, and the letter has since been posted online by various critics and media sources.
Paul Tripp’s comments to our elders were never made directly to the Board of Advisors and Accountability, as we have minutes of these meetings. We are deeply disappointed that Paul did not bring these concerns to our full Board or to the Executive Elders directly.
The concerns brought forth by these elders and the comments from Paul Tripp have been heard and are being taken seriously. Their letter, as with past letters voicing accusations toward Pastor Mark, will be processed in accordance with our bylaws. This means the accusations will be thoroughly examined and a report issued when the review is complete.
As for the Board of Advisors and Accountability, we are pleased to announce that the vacancies created on the Board were filled with local members of our church who meet the ECFA guidelines for independence. Pastor Matt Rogers is a local Seattle business leader and has been serving as a volunteer elder at Mars Hill Church Bellevue. He will also serve as the Chairman of the Board of Elders which will provide increased accountability in areas of financial responsibility, staff and elder transitions and church culture. The other vacancy on the BOAA has been filled by John Phelps. John is a successful businessman and longtime member of Mars Hill. We are excited for these men to provide local perspective and accountability on our Board.”
In spite of Tripp’s firm warning, the protest of thousands, the objection of dozens of former staff members, the discipline of Acts 29, distancing of long time friends like Matt Chandler and John Piper, and that Driscoll does not currently attend church or have elders to hold him accountable, it appears there is nothing stopping him from returning – and returning to thunderous applause.
[Editor’s note: Read more on this news here].