Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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!

6 comments:

  1. I was excommunicated by Lutheran Church ELCA.

    I was attempting discipline process for sexually active teenager out of wedlock.

    It would be called fornication by Bible.

    Do you think fornication is sin? Do you think church should do anything about it?

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  2. Hi Larry. Here's a post in which I talk some about that issue:

    http://jamesbradfordpate.blogspot.com/2011/12/david-marshall-sexual-revolution.html

    Basically, I have problems with the conservative Christian view on sex, though I think it has good points.

    On whether the church should do anything about it, I'd say that's up to the church.

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  3. Thanks, James.

    "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."

    I am medical doctor. If you pay therapist, at some level, you own them. They become false prophet. They say "Peace, Peace" when there is no peace.

    The medical system has been on forefront of evolving national morality. Gay marriage, abortion, safe sex outside marriage are examples.

    I was told I was fundamentalist. I was attempting process in only church I have belonged to in my life.

    I find problems with Mar's Hill church at superficial immediate level of about 5 minutes scanning your blog.

    Corporate discipline is big part of Biblical church. Healing the Wounded by James White was major influence. He was Christian psychiatrist.

    Contracts are part of secular/behavioral psychological, 12 step community.

    The opposite of "cults" would be assimilated government churches like Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant. I think cult is pejorative term designated by medical psychological community.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult

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  4. Actually, Larry, it would be nice if I could find such a therapist! The ones I had sometimes told me what I didn't want to hear! At the same time, I was somewhat captive. For example, the first one I saw was at the school where my insurance took care of my visits. If I got another therapist, I'd have to pay out of pocket.

    Have you considered the Missouri Synod of the Wisconsin Synod for Lutheranism?

    On the church discipline issue, I can understand some place for it. I read on one article that some churches do it well and lovingly, whereas others don't. From what I've read about Mars Hill, I'd say it falls more into the latter category.

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  5. http://books.google.com/books?id=za08yGf3G3YC&q=yoder#search_anchor

    ReplyDelete
  6. I guess my concern is that you're saying things about high-profile people, and I fear that some of them could say what you're saying is untrue and sue me for slander. I know of an actor who was about to sue a blogger for what a commenter said about him! But it turns out that Yoder is dead and that what you say in on wikipedia, so my fear there is probably unfounded.

    ReplyDelete

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