Mars Hill Church has responded to the recent publication of how one of its members, a guy named Andrew, was treated during the church’s disciplinary process.
The church’s answer comes down to this: they won’t comment on a private matter. The statement emphasizes that the church’s disciplinary process promotes grace, not penance. Included in the church’s post is a sample chapter from Mark Driscoll’s book Vintage Church that deals with this very subject.
Two thoughts come to mind:
First, I’m glad the church finally responded, although I think their statement is incomplete. No real privacy on this matter exists at this point. The entire church was notified that Andrew was being disciplined and were given specific instructions not to interact with him (unless it was to call him to repentance). Andrew also told his story to author and blogger Matthew Paul Turner. MPT’s blog is where this story first came to light. Unfortunately, there is no more privacy to protect.
Second, if Mars Hill’s disciplinary process is supposed to promote grace and not legalism or unwarranted guilt, then, at least in the case of Andrew, the church’s leadership dropped the ball.
Andrew was not a church member caught red-handed in iniquity, as the prophet Nathan confronted King David. Andrew himself informed the church of what was going on his life. He was already humbled. The church needed to help him back up, not knock him down some more.
And if you’re still wondering why this is any of our business, I stand by what I’ve written before: Mark Driscoll is tremendously popular among Christian circles and future pastors are taking their lead from his leadership and the type of church environment he has created. Since Driscoll’s and Mars Hill’s way of doing things is being exported, we have every right to know how they do things.