Mark Driscoll’s Church “Discipline”

I’d like to share some links on Mark Driscoll’s program of church discipline at Mars Hill Church.  These links are about a young man named Andrew, who was recently subjected to that discipline.

Matthew Paul Turner, Mark Driscoll’s Church Discipline Contract: Looking For True Repentance at Mars Hill Church? Sign on the Dotted Line.

Matthew Paul Turner, Mark Driscoll’s ‘Gospel Shame’: The Truth About Discipline, Excommunication, and Cult-like Control at Mars Hill.

Dr. Robert Cargill, how much more evidence do you need?  mark driscoll’s mars hill church is a cult.

Sarah Moon, Mark Driscoll, spiritual abuse, and fluffy bunnies…

This is why I am very reluctant to get involved in conservative Christianity.  This church has a right to run itself as it sees fit, but I don’t have to be a part of it.  And I do not believe for a moment that I will go to hell on account of that!  I’ll stick with mainline Protestantism, or attending Catholic churches.  As a Catholic told me in response to all of this, the Catholic church dealt with the issue of sin and repentance years ago by setting up the confessional.  You sin, you confess to a priest, and you go out of the booth and try to live the right way.  There doesn’t have to be meeting after meeting with church officials, who are eager to exercise their “authority” and to show how spiritually superior they think they are.  There doesn’t have to be a threat hanging over the person’s head (even if it is merely implied) that those officials will go public with what the person did wrong if the person doesn’t play ball.  (UPDATE: Mars Hill has said that only a few people were informed about the situation with Andrew.)  Heck, even the so-called evil “world” knows better how to restore people than Mark Driscoll’s church!  If I wanted healing and restoration, I’d pay for a therapist rather than listen to Mark Driscoll make an ass out of himself every week or experience “discipline” at the hands of his cultish church.

Some will tell me that I’ve only read one side of the issue.  In a sense, that is true.  But Turner in his posts above links to Mars Hill’s discipline contract as well as the church’s letter to church members about Andrew.  I can tell from the self-righteous, controlling tone of those documents that this is not a church with which I’d like to associate.

“But Mark Driscoll is being biblical”, some will tell me.  Many actually care about this.  Personally, I would not subject myself to spiritual abuse, even if it technically were “biblical”.  But, for those who care about whether something is “biblical”, I wonder if there is a reasonable way to apply Matthew 18.  I mean, not all evangelical churches are this cultish.  Mark Driscoll’s church is applying Matthew 18 and other passages about church discipline in a specific manner, but are there other legitimate ways to apply those passages?

My advice for people reading this: If you attend a conservative Christian church that practices this kind of discipline, don’t limit your social circle to that church.  That way, it won’t hurt as much if you are kicked out or disciplined, for you will have other friends.

My hope is that people will call Mark Driscoll out on this.  I like it when people stand up to bullies, especially bullies who pompously think that they have some divine mandate.  Rachel Held Evans called out Mark Driscoll a couple of times, and that got his attention (whether or not he knew he was responding to her specifically)—-as he responded with a degree of humility one time, and with defensiveness another time.  As Dr. Cargill says in one of the comments, it would be nice if this could get on the national news!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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