Thrice frontman and indie artist Dustin Kensrue has resigned from his position as director of worship at Mars Hill. The move comes after a letter—signed by Kensrue and several fellow church leaders—asking that Pastor Mark Driscoll step down for a time and seek “restoration” following numerous controversies, was leaked to the media. The original letter added, “We believe that in many cases we have invited these controversies upon ourselves by not seeking the truth and not seeking to be in the light.” In his resignation letter, Kensrue said that the authority of church elders to correct leadership at Mars Hill “is trampled under the man-made hierarchies and ‘chain of command.’” Driscoll has since announced a six-week leave absence saying, “The current climate is not healthy for me or for this church,” adding, “I have submitted to the process prescribed by our church bylaws as overwhelmingly approved by our entire eldership for addressing accusations against me.”

Throughout his resignation letter (which he posted here), Kensrue focused on what he sees as a lack of ability of the church elders to offer correction to higher church leadership, and the inability to address concerns raised by church members and the media. He told members:

I would encourage you to not muddy the issues by engaging in personal attacks and becoming bitter. I honestly believe that [the Board of Advisors & Accountability and Executive Elders] love you, and that they love Jesus. But I also believe that they are blind to what is really going on, and blind to what the roots of the problems are. I believe that they are treating the media as their conscience, rather than heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the elders. So speak boldly, but speak in love. Mars Hill is not on a good trajectory.

In a statement posted on the Mars Hill website, megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll said that he is taking a six-week leave of absence while the elders of the church review a series of allegations against him.

Storm clouds seem to be whirling around me more than ever in recent months and I have given much thought and sought much counsel as to why that is and what to do about it. The current climate is not healthy for me or for this church … There is a well-documented list of past actions and decisions I have admitted were wrong, sought forgiveness, and apologized for to those I hurt or offended.

Driscoll is effectively stepping down as pastor of the 15-campus, 15,000-attending church based in Washington—at least for the next month and a half. In recent months, Driscoll has come under fire following allegations of plagiarism in his books, using marketing money to essentially inflate book sales, bullying staff and former members and making vulgar online posts under a false name. Though many of the allegations had been previously addressed, in the last few weeks, public outcry grew. Along with criticism from the online community, the Lifeway Christian retail chain announced that it would no longer be selling his books, and the Acts 29 Network of church planters (which Driscoll helped found) removed Mars Hill and Driscoll, saying “the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network” ... Discuss

Read the full text of Mark Driscoll's letter of apology posted on Mars Hills' online social network. Read More

Mars Hill pastor and author Mark Driscoll is being accused of lifting several portions of his book A Call to Resurgence without properly crediting the works’ original author. Christian radio show host Janet Mefferd recently had Driscoll on her broadcast, and pointed out the writings that appeared to have been directly lifted from other sources without correctly crediting author Dr Peter Jones. Mefferd later posted images of the writings in question on her website. Driscoll, who says that he is a friend of Dr. Jones and mentions him in the book's footnotes, said it was possible that a mistake was made, but was clearly surprised by the accusations. (You can listen to the interview here.) He also claimed that nothing improper was done intentionally, as the interview’s tone became increasingly confrontational.

Following the interview, Mefferd tweeted that Driscoll hung up on her because of the questioning, though a raw audio file showed that Driscoll did not hang up on the host during the interview. In response to the radio appearance and accusations, Driscoll’s publisher issued a statement saying, “Tyndale House Publishers was provided a recording of the show by representatives of Pastor Driscoll. A number of people at Tyndale reviewed the tape and were stunned, not only by the accusations, but by the belligerent tone of Ms. Mefferd’s questioning … Tyndale has taken immediate steps as in the process of reviewing the section of Pastor Driscoll’s book that has been called into question. Pastor Driscoll has also reached out to Mr. Jones and we expect to be able to release some information on his reaction to the interview very soon” … Discuss

Mark Driscoll wants to hash out theological differences with John MacArthur—in front of thousands of people. The latest dispute between the two pastors/authors started a few weeks back, when Mark Driscoll made an unannounced appearance at John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire” conference, where he began giving away copies of his new book. Because Driscoll didn’t have formal permission to promote his books at the event beforehand (though, he says some of the pastoral staff gave him the green light after he arrived), the impromptu signing was eventually shut down by church security. The weird run-in caused somewhat of a stir online, and now, Driscoll wants to meet with MacArthur face-to-face to patch things up and discuss church teaching. The theme of MacArthur’s conference (and his new book), take issue with the Charismatic movement and the theology of its leaders. Driscoll’s latest book (which is on the same theme of his upcoming Resurgence conference), also discusses the future of popular church movements from a somewhat different perspective. In an open letter posted on the Resurgence site (in which he describes the awkward book signing incident in detail), Driscoll has invited MacArthur to the conference to discuss their differences.

Despite taking numerous shots from you over the years (some of which I deserved, as I had erred and needed to publicly repent and grow by the Spirit’s grace), I have never responded publicly with anything negative regarding you … In our respective books, we offer very different visions for what faithful, biblical Christianity should look like in light of a culture increasingly opposed to biblical truth. I am convinced there is a more biblically faithful alternative than tribalism and cessationism [believing that some gifts of the Spirit have ceased] … At this point, I believe what would honor Jesus is for us to sit down and talk … I will pay for your travel. I will give an honorarium to you or any ministry you choose … I would also post our discussion in its entirely—without any editing—for free online …

You can read Driscoll’s entire letter here … Discuss

This week we introduce you to a fresh voice in the hop-hop world, outspoken M.C. Propaganda. Prop brings an uncompromising message mixed with some sick beats, and yes, we're big fans. We also talk to author (and former pastor of Mars Hill) Shane Hipps about his new book and thoughts on Christianity and religion. Read More