A lot of you have surely heard about it or read about it by now, but for those who haven't, check out this account of what "church discipline" looks like in the Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill world...
Today, Matthew posted Spiritual Abuse Must Stop, inspired by the responses to the Andrew/Mars Hill story.
Also, check out this related piece from the ladies at The Wartburg Watch.
I don't have a lot to add. Matthew and Deb (as well as Andrew and Sophia) have addressed it pretty thoroughly. All I can say is it's obvious that the Shepherding movement influence is alive and well - at Mars Hill in particular, and in the neo-reformed, elder-led movement as a whole. So many layers of spiritual dysfunction are evident in the "leadership" at Mars Hill, so much absolute power become absolutely corrupted. "Church discipline" seems to be an issue (more like a weapon) ever at the ready for Driscoll, always on the tip of his tongue, always on the periphery of his "teaching". It even came up in the recent Christianity magazine, Justin Brierly interview I wrote about last week, and seemingly out of left field. It's what leads me to the opinion I posted there...
His Christianity is all about him. His position as pastor is all about his power - an effort to make up for some significant failings somewhere in his psyche, because without that power, he's nothing - and he knows it.
The Andrew story, and Mars Hill's handling of it, only makes that opinion all the more firm.
The really sad thing I'm noticing in the aftermath of these stories, though, is the cult of personality being formed around Driscoll. The comments on Matthew's blog...just mind-boggling. If THIS story won't get your attention and make you seriously consider/question the "ministry" and tactics of a leader and his church, nothing will. Nothing. It's the same kind of cult of personality that supports and upholds a man like Bill Gothard - people always at the ready to figuratively (maybe literally, in some cases) lay down their life in defense of him, even in the face of the slightest of criticisms. And worse yet, it's the same kind of cult of personality that allowed Jim Jones to create the People's Temple and Jonestown, do terrible, terrible things to the people there (while they supported him rabidly), and ultimately kill them - because they were afraid to or unwilling to question.
We ALL need to step back from time to time and see if our allegiance is to a man, a movement, a cause, or to Jesus Christ. If it's to Christ, it seems to me that our first concern would be for the people wounded by men like Driscoll, rather than rushing to defend his reputation. It brings to mind a quote from Quivering Daughters...
"It is a grave disservice to the heart, soul, body and spirit of a woman when she is given the subtle message that the truth of her own pain is not as important as the reputation of the ones who inflict it."
That says it all. Apply it to the people wounded by Mars Hill. I think you'll see it fits there, too.
My hope is that this whole episode will serve as an EPIC wake-up call for a lot of people, especially for those in the "halfway house mode" of their journey. My fear is that it won't.