Wretched
8/8/14 at 05:31 PM 5 Comments

Twelve Lessons from the Mark Driscoll Explosion

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Photo: Flickr/ Urs Steiner - Creative Commons

An explosion has occurred in Evangelical Christianity. Mark Driscoll has been expelled from the movement that he himself founded: The Acts 29 Network.

If you have not read the widely circulated letter that has been made public, you may read it below. There is much to be learned from this explosion.

  1. Mark Driscoll is in big trouble. Reading this letter was like hearing an excommunication announcement in church. While this letter does not state this, it is clear, Mark’s spiritual condition is perilous. When a thoughtful and prayerful group of Christian friends asks you to“step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help,” you are in spiritual danger.
  2. This is no time for piling on. While we can be grateful to the leaders of the Acts 29 Network for their Biblical actions, a man who professes to be a follower of Jesus Christ is in trouble. It is clear he is not fit for ministry at this time, or ever. Worse, there are clearly some on-going sins that need to be dealt with. This is not the time for “I told you so.”
  3. Mark’s family has been rocked. Nobody wishes that on a wife and children.
  4. Mark’s church has been rocked. Souls have been damaged and some bruised reeds will be bent.
  5. The Board of Acts 29 has acted boldly, wisely, thoughtfully and courageously. Would that more evangelical organizations did the same.
  6. Accountability is good. Cowboy Christians typically end up like Wild Bill Hickok.
  7. Immaturity, the root of Mark’s problems, can be a disqualifying character flaw for a pastor.
  8. John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and others have been proven right in their critiques. We would do well to listen to older, wiser, experienced men in the future.
  9. For Mark’s sake, those of us who are watching from a distance should stop: listening to his sermons, recommending him to others, attending his events, buying his books, reading his articles. Let the full weight of this land on him that he might genuinely repent. Perhaps for the first time.
  10. Virtually everyone in leadership with Mark should be examined to determine their fitness for leadership also.
  11. Celebrity Christianity is a dangerous category.
  12. We will learn much about evangelical Christianity as the days pass and blogs are written. Will they be written with the difficult but commanded blend of “truth and love,” or will they be snarky? This is a test for us too. May we not sin in response to Mark’s sins.

This is a day of mixed emotions. Godly men acted courageously, but a man is in perilous danger. We should be grateful and horrified at the same time. Let us remember to “take heed, lest we too shall fall”. (I Cor.10:12).

Mark,

As the Board of Acts 29, we are grateful to God for the leadership, courage, and generosity of both you and Mars Hill in not only founding the network but also sustaining it through the transition to this board three years ago. The very act of giving away your authority over the network was one of humility and grace, and for that we are grateful.

Over the past three years, our board and network have been the recipients of countless shots and dozens of fires directly linked to you and what we consider ungodly and disqualifying behavior. We have both publicly and internally tried to support and give you the benefit of the doubt, even when multiple pastors in our network confirmed this behavior.

In response, we leaned on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability to take the lead in dealing with this matter. But we no longer believe the BoAA is able to execute the plan of reconciliation originally laid out. Ample time has been given for repentance, change, and restitution, with none forthcoming. We now have to take another course of action.

Based on the totality of the circumstances, we are now asking you to please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help. Consequently, we also feel that we have no alternative but to remove you and Mars Hill from membership in Acts 29. Because you are the founder of Acts 29 and a member, we are naturally associated with you and feel that this association discredits the network and is a major distraction.

We tell you this out of love for you, Mars Hill, Acts 29, and most significantly, the cause of Christ, and we would be irresponsible and deeply unloving not to do so in a clear and unequivocal manner. Again, we want you to know that we are eternally thankful for what you as a man and Mars Hill as a church have meant to our network. However, that cannot dissuade us from action. Instead, it gives added significance and importance to our decision. We hope and pray that you see this decision as the action of men who love you deeply and want you to walk in the light—for your good, the good of your family, and the honor of your Savior.

Shortly after sending this, we will be informing the members of Acts 29, your Board of Advisors and Accountability, and your elders, as well as putting out a public statement on the Acts 29 website. It brings us no joy to move forward in this direction, and we trust that the Lord will be at work in all of this.

In sorrow and with hope,

The Board of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network

Matt Chandler
Darrin Patrick
Steve Timmis
Eric Mason
John Bryson
Bruce Wesley
Leonce Crump

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