I. Am. Not. Anonymous.

Dear Mark Driscoll:

You were once one of my closest friends.

You were once my trusted mentor and benefactor.

You were once someone who preached the Gospel with a fierce and captivating passion and purity.

You were the one who inspired me to be a preacher… a church planter.

In 1996 I was working as a missionary in West Africa when my mom sent me a recording of you speaking at the Northwest Christian Education conference.  I was intrigued, captivated, and a bit disturbed by what I heard. You deconstructed my tidy neat little worldview and described the church as a mission outpost that exists between the gospel message and various cultures.  That message convinced me that I could be a missionary at home, and so I returned.

I started attending Mars Hill with my family, driving an hour each way from Mount Vernon down to Seattle.  Mars Hill was maybe a 100 people back then.  I played on the worship team sometimes and listened intently to the vision you cast… a vision built on the Core Values of “Meaning, Truth, Beauty, Community, and Mission”. Those core values were such an invigorating breath of fresh air:

I longed for deeper meaning than the trite, mainstream Christianity-lite I was experiencing.

I longed to hear Truth boldly proclaimed.

I longed to be able to express art in beautiful contagious inspiring ways.

I longed to be a part of genuine, committed, Christ-centered community.

and yes, I longed to be on this great mission of the Kingdom of God, together.

I bought in.

Many of us bought in.

I remember you and Grace coming up to my house and challenging me to transition the awkward college-age ministry thing we had, and to plant it as a church.  I remember your assurances that you would walk beside us, and I remember distinctly how Grace said that “as long as we continue to give God the glory for whatever happens, He will continue to glorify Himself through what is happening”. That resonated with me, and for many years you walked beside me faithfully.  We were your first church plant, and for awhile, there was even some discussion about our church going with the name Mars Hill North.

I listened closely as you preached the virtue of Biblical Eldership, where men proven to be of sound character, pastor the church together and hold each other accountable, a supposed safe-guard against any one person lacking accountability or taking over.

It fit perfectly with what I saw in Scripture and was what I was drawn to myself.

I remember Leif Moi doing that with you.

I remember Mike Gunn doing that with you.

And I remember how excited you were when you first identified Paul Petry and Bent Meyer as men who could do that exceptionally well…  “wise, older godly men, who would add a degree of credibility” were your words to me.

I also remember when my brother-in-law Brian Kirkman went through the eldership process.  Brian, known to me as one of the most faithful, loving, gracious, godly men I know, and yet I believed your lies and how you characterized him.  He was unjustly removed and the way the Kirkman family was treated foreshadowed the shunnings that would occur with the Petry’s, the Meyer’s, and others. I have since gone to Brian and Liz to confess my complicity in how they were treated. It was so incredibly unjust.

My other two brothers-in-law would become elders as well, though both have since left. My sisters all led worship at MH, and were involved in various ministries as well.The degree to which my family was involved with Mars Hill cannot be overstated.

They all fully bought in as well.

Soon I began traveling the nation with you, speaking at various conferences, seminars and events.  It was such an honor.   We became involved on the ground-floor of this new movement that was shaping the landscape of evangelical Christianity. We were on the board of Young Leader network together. We were on the Terra Nova project together. We were working with some pretty amazing people.  These were the early days when there was talk of the postmodern era, and the Emergent church started “emerging” and New Calvinism had yet to emerge as a thing.  It was heady stuff.  It was also dangerous, as some of it started wandering far from historical orthodox Christian belief and practice.

But then I listened as you slandered and maligned the men and women we worked with behind their backs -who though we didn’t agree with some of them theologically- were wonderful people, and never deserved to be spoken of, or treated the way you did.  People who I know would have considered you a friend and have no idea how you really felt about them.  I have personally tried to go back and apologize to people who were “kicked to the curb”, along the way, and yes, I do feel I was complicit to your actions; guilty by way of association and being silent.

For that, I could not be more sorry.

I remember one day you called and mentioned that your book Radical Reformission was coming out the next day.  You started talking about how excited you were and then in a roundabout way, mentioned that you had used the parachurch/fundamentalism/liberalism concepts I had developed off the gospel/church/culture model.  It took me a moment to realize that you were saying you had used those ideas in your book and hadn’t cited me, and were both thanking me and smoothing things over.  I was honestly flattered, but I also had this uncomfortable feeling that you knew what you had done was wrong. But at this point, what was I gonna do about it? Like most things, I just let it go.

Then you met Pastor David Nicholas.  Remember David Nicholas?  The “co-founder” of Acts29, who often has been written out of the Acts29 story.  The one who actually came up with the name Acts29 and already had a church planting system in place.  Soon we were flying back to Boca Raton Florida to figure out how we could work together with this seasoned older PCA pastor (Presbyterian Church of America), you with your connections to all these church planter candidates flying under-the-denominational-radar, and David with his years of experience, his connections (friends like Tim Keller and Amway founder Rich DeVos), and his very wealthy church resources.  I loved David, and he loved us. He was fatherly to us. He could barely relate to our strange Northwest culture, and yet he partnered with us out of a passionate commitment to church planting.

I remember during one of our conferences somewhere around 2002, sitting at the table with you there in Boca, when you interviewed Rich DeVos on how he structured his business model.  I remember soon thereafter when you started talking about how it wasn’t that important that you knew your people or led them yourself, but that you “led the people, who led the people, who led the people”.   Unlike the Chief Shepherd who knows all His sheep by name, knows their voice, and they, His, you distanced yourself from them.  In fact, I remember you bragging about how you had this back corridor between your office and the stage and you didn’t have to be interrupted by anyone before or after church.   I was so confused.  I bought in to the meaning, truth, beauty, mission thing.  I certainly didn’t buy into this.

I had always tried to read all the books you recommended, but soon they became less and less about theology or pastoral practice, and more and more about marketing, professionalism and big business.  (I also remember recommending John Piper’s book “Brothers We Are Not Professionals” back to you, but it wasn’t enthusiastically received.  If only.)

And then all hell broke loose.

In the fall of 2004, my then wife had an affair with another pastor on staff (who was also one of my closest friends).  Our church had serious problems as it was, many as a result of my failing to lead properly.  Many of the things at the church were shaped by your influence, and some of that influence I still recognize as inspired, Biblical, and even prophetic at times.  Again, it is hard to express how much you helped us.

Much of that influence however, was very unhealthy and systemically flawed.  It took me many years of distance and separation to truly gain objectivity and see just exactly how flawed. For instance, I was patterning my/our discipline process after what you were doing.  One of those situations was with a man in leadership named Dale.  I will always grieve over the heavy-handed way we dealt with Dale. Not only was it ungracious and unfair, it was hypocritical.  Again, something for which I’m profoundly sorry.

Add to all that, some significant personal weaknesses and sins of my own, and I/we needed serious help.   I asked you for that help, and in customary fashion, you dropped the hammer. When all of your recommendations on discipline weren’t followed, you came unglued.  You cursed me up one side and down the other.  You threatened and berated me.  I have never been spoken to the way you did to me then.  It was vicious and startling.  I was reeling and devastated from what I had just discovered with my wife and close friend.

Then you involved yourself in our Eldership in a most irresponsible and reckless manner.  In hindsight, it never should have gotten to that point, and I accept full responsibility for that, but what I needed was trustworthy, Biblical accountability, and instead I got slander, threats, and verbal abuse.  We had good elders who were caught between a pastor dealing with personal and familial sin, and an outside accountability that was reckless, irresponsible and ultimately had a destructive influence on a once unified eldership.  I know it all now. I’ve read the communication you had with the other elders behind my back.  Ugly, slanderous, defaming lies, Mark.  I thought you were my brother and you treated me like scum.

On March 17, 2005, I sent a letter of grievance to the Board of Acts29, asking them to address what I had come to realize over time, were serious character flaws of yours.   I made the case that Biblically you were unfit and disqualified as an Elder. A case based off long established patterns of pride, lack of self-control, sexually vulgar and slanderous speech, exaggeration that bordered on deception, gossip about others and confidentiality issues. An excerpt from that letter stated: “The fact that Mark is an incredibly talented leader and charismatic personality, cannot in any way substitute for the simple Biblical requirements of being Christ-like, much less the qualifications of being an Elder. I can make a Biblical case from Titus regarding his being overbearing, quick-tempered, self-controlled, upright, and holy, as well as 1 Timothy regarding being above reproach, self-controlled, respectable, not quarrelsome, and a good reputation with outsiders”.

Not surprisingly, we got a response letter from the Board of Acts29 informing us that they would accept our resignation from Acts29, as we had made our continued participation in the network contingent upon their dealing with your issues.  Apparently, they lacked the fortitude and resolve to deal with your out-of-control behavior, and so became complicit themselves.  How the board of Acts29 abdicated their responsibility in this, is beyond my comprehension.  In addition, I was heartbroken as there were so many guys in the network that I loved.  Guys that I came to miss dearly over the next few painful, depressing years.  You asked me not to contact any of the guys and be “divisive”.  I never did, you know.  When I finally did just recently, I discovered that you had completely misrepresented what happened in my situation.  Thus, what I had seen you do to others, finally came full circle around to me.  It sucked. I didn’t like it at all.

The loss of those friendships, combined with the loss of my wife, my best friend,  and my church, led me into a few of the darkest years of my life.  A season I only survived due to the inexplicable buffer of God’s grace.

That wasn’t the only grievance letter that the Board of Acts29 received regarding you either.  Co-founder and Acts29 President David Nicholas sent one as well.  David was a mentor to you… he was your pastor I remember you saying.  Yet over time, Pastor Nicholas came to have grave misgivings about your character and conduct, personally brought it to you on multiple occasions, and finally wrote about them to the Board.  Yes, David was an imperfect, strong-willed, stubborn man sometimes, but he loved you.

David Nicholas is Not Anonymous.

David wanted the Board to come help our church work through this situation, but you wanted to do it your way. That added to the growing conflict between the two of you.  He had said that the Board would be coming to meet with our Elders during the Reformission conference, and then suddenly, somehow, you took over as President of Acts29.  I remember talking to David on the phone afterwards and him being stunned at what just happened.  You somehow had enough support to vote him off of the board.  Rick McKinley (a very good man) wanted nothing to do with any of this, and pulled out of the board and Acts29 altogether.  How you got the other guys to go along with that move, I’ll never know, but it foreshadowed a similar move that would happen with your own Eldership in 2007.

You consolidated power once more.

You chose to become pragmatic instead of principled.

You became opportunistic instead of obedient.

You mishandled sacred things.

You have abused theological positions as much as you have abused individual lives. You can’t run roughshod over people in the name of being “all about Jesus”.

For you, the ultimate endorsement was always driven by numbers, and we were like the Israelites of old who proclaimed to want a King like David, but were drawn to a King like Saul.  We all need to own up to the fact that we helped empower you to become what you have, through our willingness to eagerly endorse what you are, and you were more than happy to let us.  2 Timothy 4:3 describes a time when “people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” You had the right words.  You said the right things, and strangely, the right people kept endorsing you.

And yet your words rarely matched up to how you live:

You can’t preach Jesus and curse people.

You can’t preach Jesus and threaten people.

You can’t preach Jesus and be sexually vulgar.

You can’t preach Jesus and denigrate women.

You can’t preach Jesus and then shun people.

You can’t preach Jesus and give rich people special privileges.

You can’t preach Jesus and steal people’s material

You can’t preach Jesus and approve the use of funds for your desires instead of the donor’s desire.

You can’t preach Jesus and cheat your way onto bestseller lists.

You can’t preach Jesus and then force your people to not compete with you in spreading the gospel.

You can’t preach Jesus and then force people to either stay silent or not be paid.

You can’t preach Jesus and seek to become the “greatest of these”.

You just can’t. You see that right?

It can’t be “do as I say, and not as I do” for a pastor.

We need to see you be like Jesus, more than we need to hear you say “it’s all about Jesus”.

It really is this simple: to preach Jesus, you have to be like Jesus.

The final straw for me was this video you just released where you cited these anonymous detractors. To the masses watching, you may get away with “sounding sorry”, but to the hundreds…thousands even, who have been actually victimized, they need actual Biblical confession and repentance, the kind that is specific and identifies actual people and actual sins against them.  Evasive generalized statements only worsen the hurt.  Spin doctoring and ‘damage control” is just more of the same big-business marketing tactics that led to this systemic pattern of cancerous abuse in the first place.  Worse, it desensitizes and inoculates people to what real, genuine repentance looks and feels like.

So, why am I saying this to you now, Mark?

Why am I saying it like this, and after all this time?

Well, because you are unreachable through any other means. I’ve tried. Talk about being anonymous.  Who knows where you are, or where you live?   You have isolated yourself behind your ministry fortress and this is the only way to have a hearing.  I don’t even know if you’ll read this, but this is more about my being obedient to speak the truth of what I’ve experienced, and letting it be at that.

I’m also saying this because, like the apostle Paul, I know what it feels like to consider myself “the chief of sinners”.  I am firmly committed to the doctrine of total depravity, primarily because I know my own depraved self.  I know that it was only God’s kindness that led me to repentance. I have been brought low and learned to embrace having my own prideful ship dashed upon the rock of God’s discipline.

I don’t miss the man I once was.  I’m so, so very thankful for how God has refashioned and restored me.  Yes, I lost a lot, but I gained even more, and the only way that happens is through confession. True confession that abandons all justification, that repudiates all excuses, and embraces the revealing light of the Holy Spirit. I lost my marriage. I struggled with ugly patterns of sin and rebellion in my life.  I was lonely, depressed, confused, and stunned.  I flirted with temptation, and easily could have jumped off that cliff during those dark, lonely years, but somehow God preserved me.  Only God preserved me, that I know for sure.  It was terrible path, and yet it was exactly where God needed me, to do the long, painful work of surgery that my soul required. I remember you saying how you’ve never really had to suffer.  Well, perhaps this is that season.  It is a path I am begging you to embrace.  I hope and pray more than anything that you will not allow pride to have a stranglehold over your life.

You’ve destroyed people, Mark.  You’ve ruined people’s reputations.  Through your own perverse interpretation of “God’s grace”, you’ve cast people aside who you decided were not “on mission” spoke of “a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus.”  The pragmatism backfired. What you won them with, is what you won them too, and now there are thousands who have been hurt, and who have hurt others.  Beautifully, many of them are finding forgiveness and healing as they reconnect with each other and grow in grace.

Please Mark.  Just stop. Step down. Resign.  There was a brilliant post today on Dave Orrison’s blog Grace for my Heart that defined the difference between a narcissistic apology and a real apology. The center of the narcissistic apology is the offender saying “I am hurting because of this.” The real apology sees the victim in the center and says, “You are hurting because of this.”  The difference – and a critical one – is empathy.  As my wife so insightfully noted, “a narcissistic apology is when the apology itself is actually abusive.”  It’s extremely manipulative.

The real problem is that this isn’t about an apology, and that’s what so many just don’t seem to understand. An apology might be at the center of the issue, but it’s not the circumference of the issue. This ultimately is about confession and repentance… something unique to our faith.  It may initiate with an apology, but it MUST transition into deep, honest confession that ultimately bears long-term fruit as the changed life of repentance.

In an excerpt from an email you sent to our elders on 9/4/2004 regarding my situation, you said:  “Repentance will take time, even years. Confession is agreeing with God, and repenting is changing.”  Do you remember that?  Those are your own words, and they are spot on.  I know.   I went through the process and it DID take years!  Longstanding patterns and habits must be refashioned. Repentance must be proven genuine and sincere through things like restitution and exoneration of people wronged.  All I’m asking you to do is to take your own advice.

Go to your brothers and sisters you have specifically offended and make it right.  There’s no other way.   If you do, I will gladly stand with you as a brother.  Anything else is simply too little, too late.  I believe that everything hinges on the integrity of your response to this crisis.

You could begin by exonerating Paul Petry, and Bent Meyer.  Refute that mockery of a trial and end their shunning.  I hurt over how you treated Leif Moi as well.  Such a loyal brother to you.

I once was afraid of what you might do to me if I spoke up.  I’ve come to the place where I care more about the truth being known, and healing and restoration beginning, than anything else.  The sharks are circling now, and it appears there are many who want only your destruction. I don’t. I want to see brokenness, humility, and change that I can support.

I love you and your family, and will be earnestly praying for you in all of this.

I have the same phone number and email. You know how to find me.

My name is Ron Wheeler.

I Am Not Anonymous.

About ronwheelerjr

Husband to Amy Father to 7 Firefighter Friend of God
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146 Responses to I. Am. Not. Anonymous.

  1. tony says:

    It’s very painful when someone you thought was a man of God turns out to be something far different. It happened to me and you words ring true . . .

    How is it that a person can start in the Spirit and end caught up in his own flesh? We might just as well reverse the question and ask; how can a man start in the flesh and end following the Holy Spirit? The answer to both questions hinges on choice. We are free to choose how we respond to any situation. We are as free to indulge our appetites as we are to live in the discipline of God’s Word. It is in the thousands of little choices that the pattern of a man’s life is laid down. Each choice is the outcome of a little bit of yeast in our heart that ferments our inclinations; “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” (Galatians 5:9)


    Liked by 1 person

  2. olivia brown says:

    I think that your letter was brave. Thank you. The Internet now brings things to light that need to be exposed. Our world has changed so much. I do believe you. I have always liked Mark Driscoll’s teaching but your letters help me to understand the controversy now. Again, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. godfactormike says:

    Your letter was brave indeed, and a good example for others to follow when they see falsehood, inconsistencies and character flaws. The qualifications for an elder in the Word all have to do with character. 1 Timothy 5:20, which speaks to an elder sinning, says: “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” When a pastor or an elder sins habitually, it’s time for a loving but clear rebuke. You did that, and may others follow your biblical example.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jonathan says:

    I discovered Pastor Mark’s teaching as a new Christian 10 years ago. He has helped me grow all of these years. I’m coming to terms with some sin in my own life, so it’s no surprise that any other man would have to do the same at some point. Mark, be broken, step away, weep, repent. This is how you need to lead in this season. Love you brother.


  5. Joshua S. says:

    The stories coming out of Mars Hill are heartbreaking. Unlike, say, Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church, Mark Driscoll is a man with tremendous influence nationwide. The number of abused extends beyond dozens, beyond hundreds, but well into the thousands. So many scandals, so many breaches of trust… even if he steps down now, it will not be enough. It will take years to make amends with those he wronged, and even then, some may never recover.

    I don’t hate Mark Driscoll. I just want the madness to stop. I’ve been following these stories for months now, and it’s tearing me up on the inside.


  6. Ace Weems says:

    Ron, I too am a former pastor, who started as an associate, and then spent 10 years as a missionary. I came home and pastored a church I love.

    I had junk (sin) in my life and I laid it on the altar. I surrendered as best I could. Everything, as best I could. God answers prayers of surrender.

    Now, I am in a period of repentance, new understanding, and enduring the greatest pain ever.

    Just want you to know brother, your letter is helpful. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The reality of pastoral gossip, or, Pastor Mark Driscoll trains you in godly leadership | lit!

  8. Pingback: Postscript to ‘the reality of pastoral gossip’ — a personal experience | lit!

  9. Pingback: For Resurgence and Mars Hill Church, ‘unity’ is the new ‘touch not my anointed’ | lit!

  10. Pingback: BCNN2 » Blog Archive » Mark Driscoll’s Brash Style Drives Off Followers He Once Attracted

  11. Too many in the modern Christian world have little understanding of true humility, something that our medieval ancestors understood well in the religious terms. It seems to me that, whether it’s an out of control pastor, or a fundie church that is doing more harm than good, the lack of humility is the root of evil.


  12. Jen says:

    Thank you for your words and honesty. I am sure it was hard to write about this! I am so sorry you had to go through all of this and you (and many others) have been so hurt by Mark Driscoll’s reign of crazy over at Mars Hill. I hope he steps down.


  13. Mike Laughlin says:

    For years Mark was known as “the cussing pastor”, which I know he never liked and I’m sure regrets. Through the hail storm that has come against him especially these last weeks I think it would wonderful if Mark could someday be known as “the repentant pastor” because of the disappearance of pride and replacing of brokenness and humility. It would be speak volumes to pastors, the church everywhere and to those who aren’t Christians…..a work only the Holy Spirit can do if Mark is open.


  14. Chuck says:

    Wow. Thank you for sharing. The words leapt off the page at me. As a pastor in a mainline denomination, I feel and know the pain of being chewed up by the church. Like you, I have experienced resurrection and the freshness God provides after the dark night of the soul. Bless you, brother. You are called. Our one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church needs you. I need you. Thank you your letter.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Tmselden says:

    As many Christians that would hope for Mark’s repentance and restoration, his sociopathic, narcissistic character works against real repentance. If we haven’t seen life-changing repentance and responsibility to those he has hurt by now, it is extremely unlikely it will happen.


  16. transmtn79 says:

    Wow! This is powerful. I am glad you found an outlet in sharing with us. I pray this helps to fill you with peace and resolution of this matter. I have had my own dealings with church dogma and politics. I can feel some of your pain. Your reference to Dave Orrison’s blog Grace for My Heart fit perfectly into an empty space of my life where I was seeking closure. Dave’s words also help me to see my own errors in being narcissistic with apologies. I am the first to say I did wrong and apologize; yet, I need to practice expressions of love which “speak to the value of the one who was hurt.” May God pour on me his grace to do this … because I have a lousy track record!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. ceekayellemm says:

    There is nothing that begins the healing process better or more fully than a truly repentant man.

    May husbands, fathers, pastors, elders; Christian men everywhere be touched in truth by this spiritual tragedy, that all who know and love them will be lifted up with renewed hope.


  18. Thank you for you honest and open feelings about your experiences with Mark. We are all sinners and hopefully this will help him with some accountability to God, the family of Mars Hill, and all the broken souls he beat down. I pray only the best for him and that he allows GOD to work in his life. I read the other day “We Protestants don’t need a Pope”, we need Pastors…Thank you again for your blog.


  19. R says:

    I am completely mortified by the fact that you aired your dirty laundry in such a public forum. However bad you think it is, NEVER, should have been handled this way. You say you couldn’t present this directly to the pastor….i don’t believe it. You just damaged WAY MORE people than what you claim Mark Driscoll ever has. I am still in shock by your actions as some way of righteous vindication. UNBELIEVABLE! ugh. just horrible what you’ve done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • j says:

      There’s always one

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tmselden says:

      I hope you are equally mortified by all the sins Mr. Driscoll committed towards others. I find his plagiarizing, his sexual perversions, his abuse, his false teaching way more mortifying than anything Ron has said. God bless you Ron.


    • Rowdie Jones says:


      It appears you are unfamiliar with Matthew 18:17, “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jordan Pickering says:

        And telling it to the internet is which of these?


      • Rowdie Jones says:

        I think that’s quite clear, Jordan.


      • Shaun Smith says:

        “And telling it to the internet is which of these?”

        Which scripture forbids the use of mediums such as the Internet to communicate with the church?

        And which scripture forbids openly discussing the ongoing sins of Gentiles and tax collectors?


      • Matthew 18:17 is also supported by I Timothy 5:20 “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.” NIV

        Note that elders are held to a higher standard by the apostle Paul.


  20. Jordan Pickering says:

    Philippians teaches us to suffer loss of honour, loss of reputation, loss of all things, if it means advance of the gospel and souls saved. In ch1, Paul is tolerant of those who denigrate his name and preach out of selfish ambition so long as it means Christ is preached The hymn about Christ emphasises exactly that attitude: in spite of his name, he became nothing and took on the form of the servant.

    No one needs to give Driscoll a free pass, but I question whether many are thinking about the degree to which their actions are Christ honouring. Do we all have to damn him or defend him in public? I hope that God’s discipline restores Mark Driscoll to a place of even greater strength, but for us, let us all be anonymous if Christ’s name is written larger as a result.


    • T says:

      This is becoming public because Mark has kept it hidden and refused to deal with each single issue in a godly/biblical way. Instead of coming clean he steamrollers people into silence. He built the ticking-time-bomb himself. Now it’s blowing up and everyone can see.


  21. I was victim to many of the things you witness “behind the curtain” as a young minister. My future looked bright, if I could only have kept my mouth shut about so many of the things I witnessed. I couldn’t, and in being a young man that tried so hard to be the things that pastor told me to be from the pulpit, but didn’t want me to be as staff, I have witnessed first hand “do as I say, not as I do.” What is sad, is that in my 7 years of ministry, the very pastors and leaders that destroyed my desire to pastor, or even be involved in a church for that matter, were the same pastors that would stand at the pulpit, sob, and tell these horrible war stories about how when they were young ministers, senior pastors did XYZ to them, not seeing in themselves what they do to others.
    “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

    Seriously, when I was fired without referral, or warning, I asked my pastor how old he was when his sob story happened to him (the one he likes to tell often), he said 25,26. I then said “I’m 26, and I’d like to know how this situation is any different?” He said nothing of it, and proceeded to carry out his execution. Of the multiple reasons given for my termination, none of them were accurate, or couldn’t have been solved by common sense, a modicum of grace, and a transparent conversation. It all happened in the shadows. I was called in on a weekend when everyone was out of office. He left the next day for a 2 week tour. I was gone for months before staff and congregation started asking where I was.

    You are right though, It does take years to walk through these processes of repentance and forgiveness. I’m still walking. Not to belittle PTSD from soldiers, but unless you’ve experience these things first hand, like myself, this author, and many others, you can’t understand the pains and anxieties that follow being berated, blacklisted, and thrown under the bus by people you wholeheartedly followed to the trenches to build their vision and empire. I have never had panic attacks, or near mental breakdowns until dealing with being rejected, and brushed aside by the church that I left the council of my family to help build. It is like having a child taken from you for no other reason than trying your best to be a good parent and look out for it. And this usually happens to young people, who give up their prime years for someone else’s goals, who are too easily dispensable because they are young and have no knowledge of politics. When you are young, you don’t concern yourself with who is going to lobby for you. I honestly couldn’t tell you everyone who was on our board, and I had served there full time 5 years, part time 2. I wish I had though, because when I felt I was unjustly terminated, I took it to a board member I trusted, who offered no help, no investigation, not even as much as a hearing, not even as much as a coffee and a conversation. I then tried to to take it up to state office, but our church was the largest grossing tithe in the state, and I soon gave up from the realization that no one would hear me, or be on my side, and If they did, what would I want? my job back? no thank you.

    I love that you said to preach jesus you must become like jesus. The way I see it, jesus came to earth to be like us. Human, and broken. It seems many pastors preach christ to become like god, judging good from evil, instead of human and broken. The same old lies from the garden. It seems this american evangelical movement has created a cultural epidemic, a bastard flock if you will, in which the shepherd is just biding his time until he reaches best seller status.

    My penance to those who were hurt during my tenure, either indirectly by my silence and turning a blind eye, or directly by my pride, is in my decision to step down from ministry all together. I am not fit to lead, pastor, or teach. My ministry ended abruptly Feb 4th 2012 on false grounds, and not a day passes that I don’t think of those who I have hurt and those who have hurt me. Should my soul find rest, and I feel divinely inspired to pastor again, I would, though it is not likely. I agree with the author Mark. Step down, break yourself for those you have broken, and when you find true repentance, come back and lead as the least of these.

    Liked by 2 people

    • hadassah197 says:

      I suffered PTSD after being devastated following a traumatic “divorce” from church after years of hell on earth and persecution at the hands of the head pastors of the church …….. it felt so evil, so demonic and unjust and i wondered why God had abandoned us …… the damage irreparable …… my will to live shattered ……. eventually life moves on, but you are never the same again. ……. is enough to shipwreck your faith let alone your ability or desire to minister to others…… I pray life will be kind to you from here on in, and that in time your pain may be used to comfort others …… certainly you can only empathize with others pain when you have suffered so deeply yourself.


  22. Overcomer says:

    Deep gratitude for your honesty. In toxic families the most important rule, that keeps everyone sick is “don’t say anything”. Those with the courage to do so break the stronghold of that gangrene infection rotting out the body of Christ. It leads to death, those secrets, death of faith, death of hope, of families, keeping them never allows the gangrene to be cleaned and to heal in the light. On a personal level, Driscoll impacted family members and I grieved to the point of absolute despair that there seemed to be no stopping him.
    His antics made me question whether church was anything but a good ole boys club where jockeying for power while turning women into cartoon characters was all church was. I quit going in fact, and I’m still unable to do so because of power abuses. I was once shunned at a church that I helped found with my family at great expense and loss,

    I know the confusion, betrayal, brokenness the power in your situation is that others are joining you in the truth telling. My biggest encouragement is that evil cannot go on forever. Someone once said “God will always be glorified, always. he will be glorified in repentance, he will be glorified in the destruction of the non-repentant person. Driscoll is reaping the crop of non-repentance as his house of cards topples around him. And I agree, its going to take years not 6 weeks and a narcissistic apology. In fact, it would be most helpful if Driscoll finds another profession where he can harm fewer people rather than come back as the “reformed” reformer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • hadassah197 says:

      So understand and know exactly the pain you describe ……..when narcissistic leaders come into power with no accountability. My God, they have so much to answer for the untold suffering they inflict on people …… you are right …… it is the systematic muzzling that causes so much bitterness inside …… but if you talk, you know that your head is on the chopping block……. thats when you know you are in a cult.

      Liked by 1 person

    • In toxic families the most important rule, that keeps everyone sick is “don’t say anything”.

      So true. It is a good thing that Ron Wheeler and others found the courage to bring the dysfunction to light.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Patrick says:

    Mr. Wheeler,

    What a heart-rendering story and an almost beggar and the rich man plea to your (former) friend to heed the warnings before it’s too late.

    Your letter causes me to feel deep inside my soul that somehow, someway, but for the Grace of God, your relationship with Him is no longer caught up in deception and marketing (such as Jacob in Genesis) but has been stripped down (as the new Israel in Genesis) to the bare necessities of intimacy and obedience.

    For the process you (and so many of us) have had to endure because we get fooled in making the Gospel so complicated, I’m so sorry.

    I once asked an Evangelical pastor if he ever prayed the Our Father and he said, “Oh no! That’s a Catholic prayer!”

    How can we pick and choose the Words of Jesus?

    “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

    Who will rescue Mr. Driscoll if not his real friends who have lived the line written by Sinclair Lewis in Elmer Gantry, “How do I know there’s a merciful God? Because I’ve seen the devil plenty of times.”


    • William says:

      Actually it should read-“lead us not into adversity, deliver us from the evil one-satan.
      The Lord’s prayer is a combination of concepts from the OT writers which was common in the time of Jesus by the Rabbis.
      Also how about the condition for forgivness of trespass:
      “Forgive US OUR transgression
      In the same way (as)
      WE FORGIVE those who transgress against US…
      So if one is not willing to seek forgiveness from others then I John I:9 won’t work for the offender. See Peter asking Jesus- How many times must I forgive my brother who sins aginst me-490 time a day-or as often as needed even as your Heavenly Fathrr iswilling to forgive you!


  24. William says:

    The true meaning of a circumcised —-heart! Being “conformed to the image of The Christ” Messanic and Jewish is not a comfortable nor easy process. The trick is to know when God is pruning or one is being disciplined because of sin. According to John, sin is still “the transgression of the Law” which churches say Jesus fulfilled, thus the cause of these problems! You are a man after Gods own heart!


  25. Pingback: Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 1 | futuristguy

  26. hadassah197 says:

    6 weeks of time off (what, at full pay???) is a joke and an insult to the victims. If mark driscoll was truly sorry he would be publicly stating the names of the people he has hurt and the reasons why he is sorry. Getting a standing ovation after his statement of sorry (words are cheap) is also deeply offensive to the victims who are yet to see justice take its course.. the only thing that will help to see healing progress is for them is to see him removed from the ministry ….. there must be consequences, not just a sorry statement.


  27. Miles says:

    Hey Ron, I’ll tell you that I am not necessarily a fan of Mark Driscoll. However, I think that your letter very clearly states your character. You sir are a coward. You picked a time to air your grievances publicly, conveniently when Mark Driscoll is catching hell right now. And as bad as I feel about what Driscoll has done, you are no better. In fact you are worse. You are that spineless coward in Saving Private Ryan who lacks the courage to slay his enemy on his own and watches his buddy get stabbed to death and just stands there helplessly. People might think your brave and bold for standing up for yourself. However, you and I both know that you are the guy whose wife probably has to tell you that you are beautiful everyday in order to make you feel better about yourself. I’ve been in ministry a long time and have no patience for people like yourself. Airing your grievances publicly was a cowards move and I have no pity or respect for you. I would encourage you to repent and gird your loins. Take down this stupidity and quit playing the victim. This is not about you so grow up and quit trying to create a pity party for yourself. I am not a fan of Mark’s but I’m not going to kick a wounded horse either.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Leona says:

    Today, browsing on the Pew Religion report, is the first time I’ve ever heard of Mark Driscoll. I came across this letter when clicking on a link from the Pew report. However, as a church musician for the better part of half a century, I don’t need to know any more for this story to resonate with me. In all the years I have served in ministry, I have lost respect for a high percentage of those under whom I have served, and cherish the few for whom I have not lost respect. My experience has been that many–if not most–of those who hear Jesus’ call to ministry lose their way in the values of the society in which they serve. They lose sight of the Jesus who never boasted about His numbers of recruits; who didn’t create Excel spreadsheets to demonstrate His presumed effectiveness in attempting to make a case for support from others; who didn’t patronize the wealthy, or discriminate against those struggling with sexual identity issues. Even in His last hours, though He knew that His closest followers would betray Him, He spoke truth without resorting to power trips, without shaming or shunning, or the use of angry words, or destructive displays of anger.

    The path of Jesus is a path of humility, which is not a cherished value in 21st century America. Sadly, Christ’s church becomes hostage only too often to the pettiness of His followers, who want something in return for their efforts–and then, as they begin to get it, begin to believe that they deserve it.

    I have been in the position you were in far too many times. Sometimes I have felt that to save myself for future ministry, I had to leave. On other occasions, I have felt that God put me there because I might be the only one to hold that minister accountable. It seems to this reader that you allowed your relationship with this man to erode your own values past the point that you knew it was happening, and you are expressing remorse, as well as speaking up now because you feel it might be beneficial. I am sorry for the dilemma in which you have found yourself, but encouraged by what you appear to be learning, and the new call that you are able to receive because of the path you have gone down. God’s blessings on you as you discover new ways to serve The One to whom you were called!


  29. FellowChristian says:

    Ron, I am disgusted by this.

    As a Christian, I find the publicity of this entire situation sickening, and you, sir, are one of the greatest contributors to this. We live in a world that criticizes Christians for their hypocrisy, small mindedness, and inability to love people despite their imperfections. What’s worse is that Christians spend more time publicly backbiting one another in front of the very world we are trying to witness to, making us look like damn fools. I am not here to defend Pastor Mark nor condemn him. But I am disgusted that this has become such a media spotlight and that you would take such time as to write an open letter for the world to see. Why this has become a public issue is beyond my understanding, and the fact that it has been made public completely erodes the position of Christians in a non-Christian world. This sort of situation should absolutely remain private, so as to not draw unnecessary attention from a world that now looks upon us all as fools.

    Truly, I ask you to think about this. For the unsaved world to see this unfold, Christians writing open letters for the world to see and condemnation of a pastor by other pastors publicly, what testimony does that give to the unsaved? What in the kingdom of heaven did your open letter accomplish in the saving of lost souls?

    I find the entire situation sickening, disgusting and disheartening, but I am the most disgusted by this letter being made public. Shame on everyone, but you especially who took what should have remained a private matter and made it public for the very world to see that we are to be a witness to. Its for this reason that I believe Christians are so grossly ineffective today. Shame on you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D Smit says:

      I am not personally involved with Mars Hill, but have been at two churches in the past that were crushed and broken because of the division of those for and against a pastor who had strayed from the Message and hurt many in the process. They were extremely painful times for me and many others, and I wouldn’t wish for other Christians to experience it or unbelievers to witness it. But neither should the members of a church fellowship have to endure contempt, disrespect and slander by its leader. I have been following the news about MH and Driscoll because I have acquaintances who were fans and who suggested I read and/or listen to his teaching. I was actually appalled by both his message and his manner (in the specific teachings I happened to listen to) . . .so I have been paying attention. You say that none of this should be public – that it should be kept hidden – because of the negative witness this is to the world. It is true that some on the “outside” may struggle with Christians attacking each other publicly; others rejoice because people who have been hurt and slandered are speaking up – seeking JUSTICE – something every person, Christian or not, yearns to see in this unjust world. But from all I have read and heard, many if not all of those who are now speaking up and writing “open” letters have TRIED to communicate with Driscoll and other elders since the time they were “thrown under the bus.” He has ignored them, shunned and slandered them, perhaps not PUBLICLY, but to MH members, leaders and elders – which IS the “public” these ex-MH people care about. His power is so complete, he is so isolated and protected by his inner circle, that many have finally concluded that this is the only way to get Driscoll’s attention. I’m sorry that you are disgusted and sickened by the words spoken publicly by those who have been emotionally and spiritually abused by Mark Driscoll, but I am disgusted and sickened by what they have suffered because of this man who was called to be a “shepherd” of the flock. Keep it secret? I don’t think so. Most every letter, post, blog, etc., I have read is not written from a heart of anger or hatred, but of love and desire for restoration for someone who was a dear and trusted FRIEND, but who now needs correction and accountability so he will not continue to damage lives. Although I disagree with some of Driscoll’s beliefs and am often offended by his manner and tone, it is clear that thousands have found and grown in faith because of Mark Driscoll’s ministry. All Christians should rejoice in that. But blessing some does not give him license to hurt and destroy others. It should not be so.


      • Evan says:

        so much opinion and conjecture. can we all just agree that we ALL are hypocrites…which is why we NEED Jesus. so much of the posting on this matter is us trying to be God. let us all just let God be God. He WILL take care of this matter.


    • Shaun Smith says:

      Christianity’s effectiveness certainly isn’t helped by those who give the impression that our faith is one that thinks it’s okay to
      ignore victims and sweep wrongdoing under the rug.

      Or the impression that we are all working hard to create a public image that is different from who we really are. That our religion is all smoke and mirrors.

      The world needs the truth. Not a whitewashed story.

      Real Christianity has a long history of lighting hearts on fire because the story it tells is raw and true.


    • Tobin says:

      As someone who has been through similar things, I disagree with you completely. Yes, I think ideally, this type of situation should be able to resolved behind close doors, but unfortunately, reality is often harsh.

      In this case, Ron alleged that many efforts have been made to correct Mark Driscoll “behind close doors”, but instead leading to repentance, those efforts has only been met with retaliation and bullying.

      One of the things I wonder as I follow this situation is if ex members of Mars Hills chose not to make this public, would any of those issues inside the church be addressed at all, my own experience tells me probably not, as I have seen this type of situations happens many many times.

      so my question to you is, do you think it would better for ex members to keep quiet, despite the fact efforts to correct Mark Driscoll failed, and allow his reign of bullying to continue, or is it better to do something about it and put a stop to it? Also if one just sit by and do nothing to stop the situation ,would that not make them accomplice to the situation?

      I do think it is sad sometimes things have to come to this, but I think sometimes it is actually good for the world to see that as Christians, we are willing to hold our fellow Christians accountable, rather than give them impression that we would rather brush things under the carpet, and allow evil to continue within God’s own house.

      Anyway, I can see this whole situation has basically becomes a he says she says, with board from Mars Hills coming out defending Mark Driscoll, saying not all allegation made against him are true.

      And for those of us who are not personally involved in the situation, I guess we will never know who is telling the truth here, but the fact that this is true, is saddest part about family of God, that sometimes we cant even tell which one of our brothers in Christ is telling truth, and who is spinning, or maybe both are not telling full truth…..

      in an ideal world, we should able to trust our fellow Christians words…….


  30. Shaun Smith says:

    a hero is someone
    who is willing to step into the darkness
    and the unknown dangers
    of a building on fire
    to face the flames of injustice
    the fire that is literally
    or spiritually
    consuming the lives and the livelihoods
    of his fellow man

    but what can be said
    of the one who cannot bear to face
    the very words he himself spoke
    or the heat of his own pants on fire?


  31. Brad says:


    Thank you for your openness. I’ve been “run over by the bus” to use Mark’s phrase. (Not by Mars Hill – it was a different “bus” with similar problems.) I am sad to see another church going through this kind of fallout from abuse of “authority”, but you are not alone.

    I praise God to discover that there were and are men at MH willing to stand up and try to speak up for the truth of God and point to God’s words in this situation.

    Luke 22:24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

    Thank you,


  32. Hugh McCann says:

    IMO, This is as important for what you’ve admitted / confessed, as well as the Driscoll revelations.

    God bless you for your candor and honesty.


  33. JAMiele says:

    Read what the Psalmist says about putting faith in mere man: Psalm 146 –
    New International Version

    1Praise the Lord.a
    Praise the Lord, my soul.
    2I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
    3Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
    4When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
    5Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.
    6He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
    7He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
    The Lord sets prisoners free,
    8the Lord gives sight to the blind,
    the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
    9The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
    10The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
    Praise the Lord.

    People – Mark is a MAN. Put your eyes on Christ and realize that we, as men, will let each other down. Yes, Pastors and Elders are held to a higher standard, but they are still just men. Turn your eyes upon Jesus – look full on His wonderful face, and the things of earth will go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.


  34. Lyndyn says:

    Thank you for your humble and honest post. So much of what has been “officially” published about the issues going on at MHC have been direct but lacking in specifics or they have been overly emotional and sound more like gossip than truth. Your letter brings a combination of clarity, specifics, and heart to the narrative that will help additional people from becoming victims of the abusive culture of MHC as long as Mark Driscoll is the leader. I think your letter is not just for Mark Driscoll but for us as the Body of Christ. As the body we need to take our place at the table and begin to have an open and honest conversation about what being a follower of Christ really means. We need to take our place as the spiritual leaders of our families and not abdicate that responsibility to our pastors. This conversation needs to occur out in the open with The Body at large. We need to get clear about what leadership should look like in the church, what church government should look like, and the leadership role of elders and the congregation. I am beginning to realize the fundamental and critical importance of having a correct and honest view of the Gospel without which lies can masquerade as truth. We are saved by grace to receive Christ as our savior and there is nothing we do in our human strength to cause God to love us more or less. Book sales, numbers in the pews, what we wear, the cars we drive, the amount of cash that we tithe, the numbers of hours we are at church each week does not count for us or against us. God only sees Christ! If we as the body would really get that truth leadership would not have a willing pool of victims to abuse.


    • Tmselden says:

      Awesome post and spot on.

      “I am beginning to realize the fundamental and critical importance of having a correct and honest view of the Gospel without which lies can masquerade as truth.”

      The church has so turned to men for answers that the little foxes come in and spoil the vines. It is not until we thoroughly get in the Word and test all things that will we be able to discern the errors.

      Sola Scriptura!


  35. K. Howell says:

    I’ve been reading many articles and comments about the destructive behavior of Mark Driscoll and its devastating effects upon Mars Hill and beyond. I have yet to read an in-depth reporting of what Mark may indeed be demonstrating a genuine form of mental illness called Narcisisstic Personality Disorder. This is a psychological sickness that is described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as the following symptoms:
    – Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
    – Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
    – Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
    – Requires excessive admiration
    – Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
    – Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
    – Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
    – Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
    – Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
    Does having this mental disorder excuse Pastor Driscoll for the harmful things he has done ? No. He has a free will and has made choices…wrong ones. But could it be that no one around him was aware of this malady and so could not recognize that Mark may have been making those decisions through the lens of a distorted and sick mind ? I am a Christian who has a family member with NPD. He cannot see it about himself. His illness cannot make room for this reality. He, too, has been in a high profile position and cannot understand why most of his relationships have suffered shipwreck. He is now shunned by many friends and family members who have been hurt by his actions. The Church must learn to recognize mental illness and deal with it in a Christ-like way, especially if it exists within the mind of a shepherd who can seriously damage the sheep.


  36. Pingback: Good and bad reasons to criticize Mark Driscoll | Ben Irwin

  37. Harvey T says:

    Thank you Ron for not speaking anonymously and willing to share vulnerably and courageously. Those who teach God’s word have a responsibility in what they teach and how they teach and how they direct the affairs of the church. (many more guidelines in scripture)

    I Timothy 5:17 “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”
    The scripture goes on.. “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.” v19,20

    The challenge with situations like this is the insulating and isolating of leadership from the body. Attempts to deal with these sins are dealt with a swift and severe retribution by the leader(s) and soon the leader is beyond anyone’s ability to restore them gently.

    The damage to followers grows larger and larger while the leader is beyond any correction. The forms of media empower the leader to continue to influence the masses without accountability. Now it seems the media is the only means to halt the destruction and bring proper steps of repentance and restoration to a gifted leader. Mark must repent publicly and be restored privately.

    I’m grateful my son or daughter or spiritual sons and daughters have not been exposed to this abuse. Unfortunately this is not true for many others. To those and for those I pray for today.

    Thanks Ron!


  38. T says:

    Thank you for sharing Ron. It takes courage to share the truth.


  39. Tobin says:

    I just read through the letter, while I do think there are two sides to every story, I also know that doesn’t mean you are not telling truth or you are not telling complete truth. Nevertheless, I am really glad I stumble upon this site, it helps me realize I am not alone in dealing with this type of issues, the reality is body of Christ is made up of sinners, and even a genuine believer can go down a really dark path.

    If everything you said is true, I hope Mark Driscoll will do the right thing by stepping down, and give himself some space to really spend time with the Lord and work things through. for him to continue to want to hold on to his post is not going to do anyone any good, including himself…..


  40. Pingback: A Surprising Lesson From the Mark Driscoll Debacle | The Suko Family

  41. Congratulations, you have successfully ruined Mark’s career. Though, you must be happy to hear that. All because he didn’t place a binky in your mouth for you to suck on. Pathetic. Your own testimony childishly complains that he wasn’t what you needed him to be. Did you really expect a human to be perfect? That’s really what this all sounds like. Mark isn’t God like you expected him to be. You expected Mark to be perfect and are now crying like a baby because he isn’t.


    • Tmselden says:

      What hypocrisy! You don’t sound any more mature than Mark Driscoll. And Ron isn’t the one who needs to hear “Mark isn’t God.” It is Mark and obviously you!


  42. Reblogged this on THE GATHERING and commented:
    There are some cherished truths that can be learned in this whole Driscoll ordeal. This post from Ron Wheeler contains many of them:
    “I don’t miss the man I once was. I’m so, so very thankful for how God has refashioned and restored me. Yes, I lost a lot, but I gained even more, and the only way that happens is through confession. True confession that abandons all justification, that repudiates all excuses, and embraces the revealing light of the Holy Spirit.”


  43. mark says:

    Well; one the top Biblical Expositors has been taken down. Hope everyone is happy. Interesting how the saints love to pile on.


    • Tmselden says:

      Let me reword that for you. A man who thinks he was a great expositor and convinced others that he was has taken himself down because of his sin. He is reaping what he has sown. Happy I am not. Grateful I am.


  44. Emily says:

    Thank you Ron for this letter. I am still reeling trying to understand how a Mars Hill megachurch with a demagogue leader was created in the first place. It is a good thing that Mark has been removed from leadership, but what about the underlying ideas and attitudes that led so many to fall into his web of power and control? This phrase seemed to hit the nail on spoke to me: “You consolidated power once more.” As a woman, I have been surprised that most of what the elders talked about in their letter to Mark was them being bullied but little mention about how Mark bullied women from the pulpit and I would add how the patriarchal leadership model of the church encourages a “consolidation of power” within the hands of men. Just like with the Sovereign Grace/Doug Philips scandal, you see how patriarchal leadership structure which consolidates power in the hands of men often goes hand in hand with a more general authoritarian leadership style. WWJD? Of course Jesus would never have talked like MD or act in such a bullying way but I do not believe he would create male-only authoritarian leadership structures that are being advocated today by so many church planting networks. It hurts my heart to see women so categorically “thrown under the bus” and not given a seat at the table in all of these networks. I guess I am wondering, do you see any room for reflection on the overlap between exclusively male authoritarian leadership structures and the authoritarian style so many of you men were on the receiving end of? Is there room for your empathy to extend across the gender line and say consolidation of power in any form is not healthy, it is an old “wine skin” of the past (that yes appears throughout Scripture but is not the primary Story line of Scripture) that is holding back the church from being and doing Christ’s humble witness of love and grace in the world. grace to you, Emily


  45. orlando says:

    A lot of pain here… a lot of pain… and most of us that have suffered under similar circumstances, like Jeremiah, are screaming violence and destruction, and not many are truly listening to our cries… though quite a few are willing to either keep quiet or join in the abuse… like MLK said, it’s no the words of the enemies but the silence of the friends that hurts the most…


  46. Cameron says:

    I am in a group at Palm Beach Atlantic University and our case study is the Mars Hill mega church. We would love your feedback on our video.


  47. Floridian says:

    I am so glad you wrote this post. God bless you. You tried to help this man in a Godly, biblical way but he was too arrogant and deep into his sin to admit his errors and misdeeds. He hurt so many people. If he is actually saved he should be thanking God for his mercy and forgiveness, in taking away his public platform for continuing his sinful words and deeds. Ron, don’t listen to those commenters who mock and blame those who were abused and who defend the offender Driscoll and minimize the damage he has done. They should be ashamed of themselves, should repent and ask your forgiveness, after first asking God’s forgiveness. The Driscolls of this world need to be exposed within the Christian community for what they are. The reason is biblical: such gross sins against members of the body of Christ by an elder who acts and talks the way Driscoll did, lording it over others – these are sins against Christ Himself by a petty tyrant, a hypocrite, a vulgar bawd – rebuke made public so others in his position, or who would think of imitating him, will be chastened and think twice, lest they suffer the same punishment. Thank God that Driscoll was exposed and forced to leave! He himself should also thank God that his years of sinful actions were exposed and stopped. If he repents and is restored I hope he keeps his arrogant mouth quiet and stops trying to be the “head teacher” or the “top leader” somewhere, and instead becomes quiet, humble, teachable and the lowliest servant.


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  49. Pingback: An Open Letter to Matt Chandler and Why Eagle is Deeply Impressed with The Village Church’s Repentance to Karen Hinkley | Wondering Eagle

  50. Van Rue says:

    Ron, your story is horrible and shocking. I pray that you may find God’s peace from these horrible stories, I pray that you may find Christ healing from the pain, and I pray that someday justice may be done in God’s name. It breaks my heart to think that this man bore the title of Minister.


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