My case imploring the church in Seattle to initiate the RICO lawsuit against Mars Hill Seattle and Mark Driscoll. An overview of the problems, sin, corruption and fraud that have poured out of Mars Hill for years which threaten the Christian faith both in the United States and beyond. My thoughts on lawsuits and Christians. Why evangelical Christianity needs this lawsuit to become healthy in time. How the lawsuit can be a great witness to the outside world in holding thugs like Mark Driscoll accountable and make them realize that they are not above the law. My challenge to all Christians who care about the Gospel to donate to the Go Fund Me account to help make the lawsuit become reality. I quote from Mark Driscoll so some of this is going to be graphic.
“The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.”
George S Patton
Mark Driscoll speaking at Robert Morris’ Gateway Church
I want to spend today and step back and look at the situation with Mark Driscoll, the RICO lawsuit, and reflect on the situation. I read the announcement in trying to raise funds at “Repeal The Bylaws” the other day so that the lawsuit can proceed. Here is the Go Fund Me page for the Mars Hill Church Lawsuit Fund.
For the Church in Seattle to Know and Consider…
During my prolonged faith crisis about 3 years ago I showed up at an Evangelical Free Church in Manassas, Virginia called Crossway Fellowship. Beforehand I had decided to avoid an Evangelical Free/Acts 29 church plant named Redemption Hill in Washington, D.C because I wanted nothing to do with Mark Driscoll. I was stunned by what I saw hemorrhaging out of Seattle on the internet. For me Mark Driscoll justified why Christianity is corrupt and why atheism was healthier at the time, but I had all these doubts and questions that I was trying to work out. That said I wanted to avoid Acts 29 because Driscoll’s DNA was all over the Acts 29 network. Today I still am evaluating the health of the organization. Currently I am taking a wait and see approach, and some of my concerns about Acts 29 are also due to its history with Driscoll, links to The Gospel Coalition, (which I view as a spiritual version of Tammany Hall due to how The Gospel Coalition is spreading and exporting corruption) and church covenants and contracts of which I deeply disagree. Resuming the story when I showed up at Crossway Fellowship I was personally disgusted to see them deeply partnering with the Acts 29/Evangelical Free church plant in DC that I decided to avoid. At the time I had decided that I will not go to a church or explore Christianity in an organization using Mark Driscoll’s materials and books. So as I was leaving Crossway Fellowship that Sunday morning I went to the church welcome station and asked, why are they partnering with Mark Drisocll’s denomination, Acts 29? This 60 year old woman or so looked at me and said, “Who is Mark Driscoll?” Deeply frustrated and angered I looked at her and said very bluntly, “He’s that Pastor in Seattle that talks about the Biblical basis for blow jobs!” The look on her face was of shock, and I walked out of Crossway disgusted. It was the first time I ever brought up the issue of oral sex and it happened in a church lobby of all places. But this is the legacy of Mark Driscoll. I write this for those in Seattle to know and understand how much this crap has permeated the evangelical church. Seattle is just ground zero….but the problem has been exported across the country and globe. As such I really view Mark Driscoll to be more like a virus.
My Thoughts on Lawsuits
I know what 1 Corinthians says about lawsuits and how they are to be discouraged. I personally believe that deeply. However, I also believe that there are some cases where lawsuits are justified between Christians and how some acts, or criminal activities make lawsuits necessary. Let me illustrate using myself as an example. Personally I would want to avoid a lawsuit against someone at any and all costs. I don’t want to have any kind of legal action against someone, as that is not a chapter I want in my life. I am a very forgiving guy and will go to any lengths possible to avoid legal action. My philosophy is one of “live and let live.” Yet if someone harmed me, or my reputation in such a way, and the person who did the harm refused to talk about it, work at fixing it, etc… and thought he/she could walk away from it then I would be open to considering the legal route. If that ever were to happen I would say that the person who bore the brunt of that legal action largely brought it upon himself/herself, and created the situation. But especially with me its speaks volumes when a person confesses and issues a heart felt apology and repents. And that is what I would encourage. Again I am just sitting here journaling a hypothetical situation in trying to illustrate how I would have wrestled with scripture and lawsuits. The Mars Hill situation and Mark Driscoll is different.
An Overview of what Emerged from Mark Driscoll & Mars Hill Seattle
I want to give you an overview of what came out of Mars Hill Seattle over the years. Since Mark Driscoll was all about being the “man” this “man” acted more like a wuss and fled, he has never repented, or owned much of this, so with that lets relive what poured out of Mars Hill Seattle over the past 10 or so years.
- There was Mark Driscoll’s bizarre behavior at Strange Fire in which he lied about “being in the area” to “gift his books” while being verbally abusive. His behavior was overlooked by “King” Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas. After the incident Driscoll lied in his tweets.
- There is this moving and disturbing letter by Ron Wheeler to Mark Driscoll where he confronts Driscoll’s behavior and how he treated people. You can read that open letter here.
- There was the fraudulent trial in 2007 that harmed the reputation of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer.
- There was this comment made about Ted Haggard’s wife letting herself go. “It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness,” Driscoll wrote. “A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.’”
- Then there was the time when Mark Driscoll said that he can’t worship a guy he can beat up. Here’s the original quote, “In Revelation, Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”
- There was this boast in the book Confessions of a Reformission Rev, “Mars Hill began having ‘boot camps’ for men, teaching them how to get a wife, have sex with that wife… buy a house… study the Bible… and brew decent beer’. (Confessions p130).”
- In Confessions of Reformisison Rev Mark Driscoll boasts of stealing sound equipment. (Page 62)
- Mars Hill Elders and attorneys sent a Cease and Desist Letter to Mars Hill Community Church in Sacramento, California telling them to stop using the Mars Hill name. Christianity Today covered it here.
- Mark Driscoll also taught on how Jesus Christ commands a woman perform oral sex on her husband, and other takes on female anatomy. You can read parts of the sermon given in Scotland here.
- Mark Driscoll’s anger at Grace for her past sexual mistakes.
- How Mark Driscoll described Christians in Great Britain in the following way, “When you’ve got guys in dresses, you know, preaching to grandmas and young men won’t show up as a nation, you’ve gotta ask yourself, you know, have we picked a course that really fits the past but isn’t gonna work for the future?”
- There was Mark Drisocll’s sermon series on Esther, where he calls her a slut. Here is the quote where he slams Esther’s character, “She grows up in a very lukewarm religious home as an orphan raised by her cousin. Beautiful, she allows men to tend to her needs and make her decisions. Her behavior is sinful and she spends around a year in the spa getting dolled up to lose her virginity with the pagan king like hundreds of other women. She performs so well that he chooses her as his favorite. Today, her story would be, a beautiful young woman living in a major city allows men to cater to her needs, undergoes lots of beauty treatment to look her best, and lands a really rich guy whom she meets on The Bachelor and wows with an amazing night in bed. She’s simply a person without any character until her own neck is on the line, and then we see her rise up to save the life of her people when she is converted to a real faith in God.”
- There was Mars Hill spending $210,000 at ResultSource, Inc (RSI) to get Mark Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” on the New York Times Bestseller list, while committing fraud in the process.
- Then there remains the financial scandals, especially the Global Fund in which money raised for international use was used locally instead. How much money did make it over to India and Ethiopia?
- There was the brave stand by 9 Mars Hill Elders.
- There was the attempt by Mark Driscoll to destroy Agathos and threaten Rob Smith.
- How can one forget what Mark Driscoll wrote on the Midrash and his comments about a “pussified nation?” (Again Mark Driscoll’s words not mine…)
- Leif Moi and 21 other Mars Hill Pastors brought charges against him.
- Plus there is all the plagiarism that Mark Driscoll engaged in, which Warren Throckmorton documented and reported on. Books like, Who Do You Think You Are?, A Call to Resurgence, Doctrine, Real Marriage, Religion Saves, and Death By Love were all plagiarized. Plus I think there were others…am I correct? Honestly how many people could engage in plagiarism on this scale? Could a cadet at the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs plagiarize 7 papers? What about a grad student at University of Michigan on his thesis?
Really I am just scratching the surface…from my memory there is much, much more corruption and fraud that have come out of Mars Hill Seattle.
Why the RICO Lawsuit is Essential and Desperately Needed
There are so many things to say, the challenge is where to begin? Evangelical Christianity today is deeply toxic, its suffering from an abuse of authority, questionable preachers, and the root of all problems is money. Money has corrupted many parts of evangelicalism. I see that from churches I used to attend to watching the Mars Hill saga play out from a far. There are many, many reasons why this RICO lawsuit is needed, and why I am asking the church in Seattle to pursue it. If you are involved in the Mars Hill saga and/or are thinking of getting invovled please consider the following
- The BOAA has not disqualified Mark Driscoll…it’s only a matter of time before he comes back. Its not a question of if…it’s a question of when. A lawsuit could help abort, delay, or attach so much additional baggage to his name that is desperately needed. The SGM lawsuit against CJ Mahaney was also essential and needed and though that was thrown out on a technicality it did have an adverse effect on CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace denomination. A major lawsuit against Mark Driscoll can help him be called into question even further. Its more baggage that sticks on him.
- A lawsuit could help make Mark Driscoll an example to both evangelicalism and the world. It would show that Mark Driscoll is not above the law. It also sends a loud and clear message to other celebrity pastors like Matt Chandler, Mark Dever, and John Piper. It sends a message that they to, are not above the law. It reminds them that they have to submit to the state and that at Capital Hill Baptist, or The Village Church that they cannot hide, cover up or engage in illegalities and try and get away with it. It could teach them about humility and submitting to the law. Many celebrity pastors are accountable to no one…that is one of the flaws of a celebrity pastors. A RICO lawsuit can make Mark Dever, Matt Chandler, John Piper and others step back and give them pause as to what they are engaged in and what they are doing.
- A RICO lawsuit gives a voice to those hurt in Mars Hill. It gives those who were hurt, tarnished, damaged, and betrayed an actual voice. It can help many people re-establish their faith in a system and the Lord again. It would show that people care and the little guy who was stepped on by Mark Driscoll has a voice. I firmly believe that many people who have posted at “Repeal the Bylaws” or “We Love Mars Hill” are members of the “least of these” given the harm, bullying, pain and trauma they endured. It could also help the reputation of Paul Petry, Bent Meyer, Ron Wheeler, Rob Smith, and so many others. By fighting for your name it helps show how precious you are to the Lord and the church. Remember Mars Hill close with the shunning order in effect against Petry and Meyer.
- A RICO lawsuit can help clean up evangelicalism and make it cleaner and safer. It would give many churches and ministries pause. Many churches and ministries beat their own drum and plow ahead beholden to no one. I would think this would help them realize that they are accountable.
- The Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability would be shown for what it is…a worthless organization. A RICO lawsuit could help force a debate on how we evangelicals can police ourselves. When Dan Busby blamed bloggers for writing about ECFA, a RICO lawsuit would force the issue back in his lap and show him and the world how wrong they were, and how they took the side of injustice. I used to think highly of a ECFA rating before my faith crisis years ago…today an ECFA rating is good for one thing only – toilet paper. A RICO lawsuit that forces out Mars Hill financial information could maybe bring about change at ECFA, or reform.
- Those of you who participate in a RICO lawsuit would give great witness to Seattle. You see many evangelicals do a profound job of creating a mess, but a terrible job of cleaning it up. A RICO lawsuit by former members would allow you to hold your former church to a standard and the world which knows evangelicals by hypocrisy, scandal, etc.. would see something unique. They would see Christians holding a corrupt church and pastor accountable. What you have in front of you is an opportunity. Its a unique opportunity to show the world responsibility. A RICO lawsuit against a corrupt organization like Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll is a moral responsibility.
- A RICO lawsuit is a moral responsibility in the sense that it could spare and save others from harm, pain, divided families, destroyed friendships and strained community. How? When Mark Driscoll reestablishes himself in Texas or wherever he lands the mess that unfolded in Seattle is going to duplicate itself. And all the pain, horror, problems that occurred will happen anew to different lives, and a different generation. This is why the RICO lawsuit must commence. To protect others, is the greatest service of love.
- It will help redeem the pain of former Mars Hill members. It will allow them to bond together closer, work through their problems and give them justice if this is pulled off. There can be closure and community in the process I believe many people will find healing along the way.
- There is one final point in this list that I want to emphasize…and I do this as someone who walked through secular humanism for half my thirties. Many atheists and others aren’t walking around proclaiming, “it’s foolish to believe in Christ crucified.” Instead what many atheists and those outside the faith are pointing out and talking about is the corruption that exists inside Christianity. They point out churches that cover up child sexual abuse, engage in extravagant financial schemes, abuse money and how people get hurt. I don’t think many evangelicals understand this because I think many live in a bubble and are removed from these crowds. That said I think many evangelicals would be surprised as to how many atheists used to be Christians. One of the atheists I believe who wrote about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Seattle within Seattle is Valerie Tarico. You can read her story which she told years ago here. A RICO lawsuit would help defuse the claims of many atheists and answer them in many ways. I have to write about this in the future but one of the things that helped me to reject agnosticism was the Sovereign Grace lawsuit. When I raged about how Christianity is a cancer and about the corruption pouring forth form it, watching Christians take a stand against child sex abuse in Sovereign Grace and fight it through the legal system gave me pause. It gave me a lot to think about.
Really its time. Mark Driscoll is not going to repent. He’s not going to go back to Seattle and work things out. Basically I believe a lawsuit should be avoided 99.99% of the time. Mark Driscoll’s horrific behavior and actions demonstrate the need for this action to commence. Sometimes people need to take a hit in the wallet in order to see how off course they are, and others will only change when their income and livelihood is questioned. The only thing Mark Driscoll cares about is Mark Driscoll. Everyone else is a tool, a mean’s to an end for him to use, destroy and eventually dispose. Everyone involved from Ron Wheeler, Leaf Moi, Paul Petry, Bent Meyer, Rob Smith to Kevin Potts and so many attenders and members are fine people. They didn’t deserve the hell they went through. Honestly it grieves me that they did as I believe that they represent some of the best of modern Christianity today. So with that in mind church in Seattle can I encourage you to get this lawsuit moving? Let’s commence with the litigation. Let’s teach Mark Driscoll that he is indeed accountable. Let’s teach other celebrity pastors that they also are accountable and keep them at bay. Let’s give witness to Seattle and beyond in holding a corrupt church and pastor to the fire. When payday comes around I will make a small donation. I would like to challenge everyone who reads this to donate $25.00 or whatever they can. The church needs to come together in unity and support you. I certainly support you guys in this effort.