Preserving the Comments to the Letter of Confession to Paul Petry and Bent Meyer

This is the first of two posts, I am doing this to document and preserve a key part of the history of Mars Hill Seattle. As the domain for the Repentant Pastor website has expired The Wondering Eagle is preserving the apology to Paul Petry and Bent Meyer and the comments as well. 

“When an apology is due, give it freely, then follow your apology with action.”

Judy Ford 

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, [b]fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

James 5:16 

Mark Driscoll 

Below are the comments to the the following post that documented the apology given to Paul Petry and Bent Meyer.


 

  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm: Graham said:Thank you Jesus!

  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 3:20 pm: Dwayne Forehand said:I know these men can never restore what was taken from you Petrys and Meyers, but Christ can and will some day. I hope these confessions are a small reminder that God has not forgotten the ones he loves.

  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm: Mae Fulmer said:Thank you, Lord. Only You can remove the scales from an eye and I am grateful You are working in this process. Now I ask you to soften my heart towards these repentant men. You know me, Lord, as no one else. You know I desire to forgive, You have commanded it, I do not want to disobey you, I long for the emotional release and the peace that comes with genuine heart forgiveness.

    Until that happens, brothers in Christ, know that I do choose forgiveness and eventually my heart will catch up with that choice, that I appreciate this public apology and believe you have at least an inkling of the heartbreak and rippling damage your actions of seven years ago caused.

    For now, the tears are flowing; as is the stream of hurtful, snarky comments in my head. Repentance took time. Apparently so will forgiveness.

  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 3:54 pm: anonymous said:To think… If Paul and Bent’s warnings had been heeded at the time.

  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 4:23 pm: Brooks said:Paul & Bent began the process to holding elders accountable for the sheep, and it took over 7 years for this to be fulfilled. They were *the* shepherds of Mars Hill Church, it would seem evident.

  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm: Jim Tomisser said:I am sitting here reading this…overjoyed by the words of this open letter. I want to thank the elders and former elders who signed this. Thank you for obeying God’s pursuit of you to walk this out together and coming to this place in unity. Thank you to those of you who have reached out to Paul, Bent and their families to reconcile. Thank you for your continued openness for others to come to you. Paul and Bent, I am deeply sorry you have suffered these past years. I pray for continued healing in your hearts and continued restored relationships that bring glory to our King. I have not met either one of you but have a growing affection for you as brothers in Christ.

  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm: Glen Triplett said:Better late than never, I guess. What about restitution for the harm inflicted on those who dared to point out the pitfalls of an organization that had become increasingly cultic in nature instead of truly being the bride of Christ?

  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 6:46 pm: anonymous02 said:As a consequence of the sins committed against these families, is it not then appropriate to financially compensate both effected families (at least) for their salaries lost over the past 7 years, 2 months? That would seems like a gesture of repentance beyond words on a screen.

  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm: Ted Trainor said:Dear Elders,
    Thanks for your public confession. Though I am not affiliated with your congregation at all, as a believer in the Lord Jesus and as a leader in His body, I am encouraged to see your repentance. It is a good model though late in coming to be bold in doing right and to humble yourselves to the brothers who were wronged. There are many, many churches who have done similarly and I think we all should all work hard to bring in third party folks to help us walk through these leadership conflicts. It’s hard to bare ourselves to outsiders, but if they are believers, I feel certain they’d be gentle, helpful, and assist in healthy conflict and reconciliation. Grace and Peace.
  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 9:44 pm: Susan Ambrose said:He gives beauty from ashes…

  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 10:32 pm: Anon said:Seemingly so easy to ask for forgiveness once the church was/ is being dismantled. Seems almost a day late dollar short. Who is the forgiveness for? Really?
    Sad.
  • Monday, November 3, 2014 at 11:43 pm: Dan Hettinger said:I wonder how many times things like this have happened in churches across our nation in settings too small to gain attention but with devestating affects on those involved. I wonder too, why it happens. Beyond humanness and well intended mistakes, is there a pattern that can be defined so we can avoid it. Perhaps the diagnosis of the problem will produce a strategy to prevent and maybe help those already wounded to find a quicker and more complete healing.

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 3:52 am: Justme said:it’s my hope that this repentance will be full… That is, more than a contrite letter, and personal interaction. Though a great start, but restoration is in order. make the wrong right. Return what has been stollen, 10 fold! Repentance without restoration is incomplete. All these mega churches, mega sins, and now mega public repentances, are falling short with restoration of what the sin has taken. It’s my hope that this will also be done, and that just as publicly to show the world the true nature of Christ… Since thus far we’ve been missing it from the mega crowd and leadership… This letter is a fantastic start… Now men, Micah 6.8…

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 4:55 am: David said:When possible should not repentant be accompanied by restitution? Not only did their admitted wicked actions impact these men’s character and reputation, but their livelihood suffered immensely! Since the overarching entity of Mars Hills is dissolving should not those assets after paying off creditors be fairly redistributed to those who suffered! Or the men signing this should each contribute $$$ in a collective fund to diminish somewhat the financial pain these 2 and others unneededly suffere??!!!

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 6:23 am: Brian said:Wow, amazing unbiblical arrogance by a bunch of elders, so called leaders with so little courage and spiritual sensitivity back in 2007. Great you have repented now. Back then you were sheep when you should have been shepards! What great shame has come on the church in Seattle! All because none of you listened to Bent and Paul!

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm: David Guinn said:Paul and Bent: I have been removed from Lead Pastor position, by the leaders in the local church, because I was more interested in bringing lost souls to Christ, than I was in the status quo. It is a hard thing to forgive, but I found it necessary for my well-being and the well-being of my family.
    It hurts, then and now, but God will prevail and open doors formerly closed and the latter will be better than the former.
  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 2:55 pm: Anon said:God does not expect His people to be perfect. He does expect us to forgive each other. Very nice letter!

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 5:26 pm: Linkathon | PhoenixPreacher said:[…] The seven year too late confession of sin against Bent Meyer and Paul Petry. […]

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm: Angel Voggenreiter said:praise God for this! The truth always comes out!!

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 7:12 pm: Jeff Bettger (author) said:As far as I know none of the signers have any say or ability to make restitution through MHC as an entity. That will never happen. As for personally making restitution, I would suggest praying for that. There could be many reasons why that has not happened yet. One could even be that Meyers and Petrys do not want it. Another could be it has not occurred to the signers to do it personally. Another could be there is nothing to personally give. Who knows? I am not one of the people who witnessed the firing of these men. I did however participate in the shunning and have personally reconciled with these men. I would be more than happy to give money to help make restitution for my participation in the shunning. I am sure many others would be willing to do the same. Since there will be no more MHC as of January.

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 8:04 pm: Nitrate said:To the commenters speaking to the tune of “too late” “why don’t you repay them” or in other words implying this repentance here is “not good enough”, nothing short of death would be good enough for you, and your vengeful, tainted hearts speak for themselves. . Out of the mouth the heart overflows.

    May you never find yourself in a position where you need to apologise for some great ill, and rather than be met with grace you are met with smirks and “I told you so” swagger. You don’t belong here, if that is your attitude.

    May you someday understand the grace of God.

    To the elders posting this, I appreciate, so much, this letter.

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 8:15 pm: dave said:Words without deeds are next to worthless. ” be filled and be warmed”
    Indeed,restitution is only a part of the process,” agree on your way to the judge” Luke 12:58-59 and I think we all know who that judge is!
    It is not just the elders who have ROBBED these men and and their families,oh no, the entire congregations that sat by and said and did nothing. All are guilty. The bible speaks to what kind of restitution is in order,and if these words are to have any meaning,then these me should be made whole again. And not only Gods law applies here,but there are civil laws too,that God gave man to institute over society at large. Although these brave,honorable men would never ask,or take such actions,and they should not have to,it is incumbent on the guilty to do so!We all who have been following these dear brothers in their wilderness journeys will be watching and waiting,holding our collective breathe.
  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 10:46 pm: Scott Yosh said:These guys are all cowards that are only doing this to cover themselves from something larger. Yes men are still yes men. Pathetic excuses of so called “Christian Men”. I pity any fool who listens to these losers.

    FYI, attended MHC Downtown for six months with an ex-gf and broke up with her when I told her she was being lead not by men but cult dynamics, and after being condemned to hell for being Catholic. Again, pathetic wastes that will be judged accordingly.

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 10:57 pm: Jeff Bettger (author) said:Scott,
    I was a pastor at Mars Hill Downtown. Would you like to try and reconcile our differences? Sounds like you deserve an apology.
    Jeff
  • Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 11:16 pm: Kirk hoopes said:Of course they repent now. Of course they are forgiven. Of course they should be dis- qualified from further leading in a church without a restoration plan.

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 12:32 am: Anna Williams said:Hallelujah! To God our Heavenly Father be the Glory for the witness of His will to allow judgement to first begin in the household of Faith. I highly commend those of you who are following hard after God to Minister reconciliation into the lives of the Body of Christ, and for the continuance of the Power of the Gospel to save, in the lives of those who are yet to know our Christ.
    It was just this very morning that I was unctioned by the Lord Holy Spirit to prepare my heart to offer intercessory prayers of corporate repentance for the longstanding and unrepentant spiritual attitudes of abuse and carnality seen through and in the leadership of ordained leaders.I had no knowledge of these things related to Mars Hill until this day and time of this writing.So I “see” that the will of God concerning me in this is confirmed through His leading me into the knowing of this. My need for the confirmation is the public sharing of these prayers. And, now I “know” that I did “hear” both “what and how” to obey.Not east to do, but absolutely needful for the purposes of God to be perfectly fulfilled. The Lord alone is Sovereign.so grateful am I to be one of his children and chosen or such a time as this.

    May you be blessed in the increase of Our God’s Grace for your every need and may these works of The Lord’s Spirit be receive far and wide for the perfecting of the saints.

    I praise our God for his ways that are perfect, and I will bless the Lord on your behalf for he great works of Spirit in healing, restoring, strengthening and yet fulfilling all that his plans call for in your lives and His Ministry through the Spirit of the Living God who is yet prevailing in Righteousness and True holiness to see to it that all men may know that Jesus Christ LORD!
    Continued blessings in Jesus Matchless Name

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 12:53 am: Wendy Alsup said:Thank you, guys. Repentance is a good thing. Beautiful really. I have already seen true fruit from this repentance and hope to see more in the coming days. The Lord will restore the years the locust have eaten and bring beauty from the ashes as only He can.

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 2:13 am: Just and Fair said:Nice confession. Now, put your money where your mouth is, and give these pastors their back pay to make up for the financial hardship they’ve endured because of your insolence.

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 4:31 am: Bev J. said:Glad that finally a formal apology has been made seven years too late though. They are forgiven but the consequences remain. What a shameful story. Such toxicity! Unfortunately it happens in many other churches. As a matter of integrity, these men should not serve as elders or board members again in any church or Christian organization. They allowed themselves to be manipulated, caused great long-term harm to pastors and their families and to the name of Christ. Now the church is being scattered further than it already was. They have disqualified themselves. Much like lawyers who have betrayed the trust of clients and are disbarred, and doctors who lose their licenses due to malpractice, these men should not be in eldership positions. They could still serve in much lesser positions but under supervision always.

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 6:15 am: Fellow Servant said:As a pastor for over 20 years I’m grateful to see the step of genuine repentance. I’ve seen far too many friends be harmed by the church, and by elder boards, who although they have great intentions, are often removed too far from the day to day demands of ministry, and are thus too far away to make the most informed decisions when needed. I too agree with the comments that part of repentance is correcting to wrong that was done. These men need to be compensated for what you called the devastating financial ramifications of your collective sin. I pray you make that right, and quickly, before you are unable to with the church dissolving.

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 6:25 am: Kevin Slater said:Praise Jesus and the hope we have in Him. Thanks to each of you for humbly and publicly stepping forward and submitting to the transformative power of Jesus.

    Praying for the continued and complete healing of the Meyers and Petrys and for those who have expressed their own pain in their posts.

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 6:43 am: Greg Logan said:Despite being as cynical as I am about so much particularly in religion (having been a disciple for 35+ years), I find this writing very genuine and heartfelt.

    I trust all involved will continue deep soul searching and wondering where God really wants them to be (instead of their religious flesh).

    This is hopeful. I appreciate sharing – that which was done in darkness shall be shouted aloud on the rooftops. In this instance, very appropriately.

    Greg Logan
    MH Attender for 1.5 years

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 7:06 am: John Wilson said:It is never too late to ask forgiveness when the Aha moment (“OMG, what did I do?”) arrives–even if too late for ideal correction. People are correct that if the repentance is genuine, it will be followed by restitution where it is possible and reasonable. I noticed that wives names did not appear in these apologies–while these were women who were very much a part of the ministry and the shameful shunning, slander and libel. These women also lost their place in the community and ministry, but somehow they seem to have been improperly left out here. And while some have alluded to damage to families, this type of experience in the lives of their children wreaks extreme havoc in their lives…severe in a number of cases. Very sad. Moreover, it seems that salaries, retirements, severance packages, etc., etc. should, under God’s law, be examined as a possible avenue to help financially restore these two families (if not perhaps others) who served the congregation most courageously in 2007 while attempting to save the entire ship. Indeed, rejected bylaws were perhaps THE critical keystone/centerpiece to preventing all of this disgrace, mismanagement, wounding, etc. Paul and Bent were prophets. Honor them.

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 7:07 am: Robin Swieringa, M.Div. said:Dan Hettinger: Right on! Been there. Been done unto, in 2010. The Mars Hill elders described the problematic process: “We believe that the termination meeting’s content and tone was abrupt, one sided, and threatening.” In my case, no specific “charges” were given, and the contractual process for dismissing me was not followed. Months later, I discovered that the employee whose insubordination initiated the conflict that led to my termination had been slandering me prior to my asking him to do anything he didn’t want to do — and, no doubt, had lied to the consultant investigating the problem. I informed the church of this, as well as their other wrongful actions against me; he was, indeed, let go by the church after having been found guilty of ministerial misconduct by the denomination. Even then, there was no acknowledgement by the church or the denomination of any wrong-doing on their part in my case. And I know there never will be. I am slowly but surely learning to trust that God will work this all out for my good, because He called me to ministry and I was acting to promote His purposes. But it has been a long, difficult journey. While I recognize that every form of church polity has its problems, I am firmly convinced that a “congregational” polity is unbiblical, especially in regards to pastoral matters; so, too, is the unsubmitted pastor and the elders he appoints to his own church/movement. An episcopal polity seems to me to be the Biblical norm. And when termination is being considered for other than gross ministerial misconduct, there MUST be a PROCESS of reciprocal communication about the issue(s) at hand — and which includes disinterested peers of the appointing official — with the opportunity, if needed, for confession and/or repentance and/or corrective actions by all involved, since responsibility for the pastor’s “problem” cannot all be laid at the pastor’s feet.

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm: Stephanie Usrey said:Thousands are watching the Mars Hill meltdown. You won’t be able to please all the people, but your humility, forthcoming confessions, and earnest desire to bring healing and RESTORATION

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm: Stephanie Usrey said:Thousands are watching the Mars Hill Meltdown. You won’t be able to please all the people, but your humility, honesty, transparency, and specific repentance give me great encouragement as a follower of Jesus Christ. I earnestly hope restoration of relationship will be forthcoming in the future, as the hurt parties forgive you and move ahead. Forgiveness without restoration of relationship is NOT the model our Lord set out for us – where would we be if He had cut us off? No, restoration is crucial. Thank God for His Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth with His Light.

    Blessings,

    Stephanie Usrey

  • Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 3:11 am: Totally Aware said:The “Damned” church… and many more like this one…

  • Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 4:45 pm: M. Reber said:It is sad, but I do not think Jesus would put all the conditions on forgiveness that man does. There were many that repented a long time back…and there were some that stood up to Mark, but to no avail….this is a collective formal apology, a unified response to sin if you will….by those that are truly sorry for the pain and sin involved here. How many have sought out this list of men and asked them their story. They have one too, and many of them and their families have been hurt in the process…I know! Maybe that hurt is what caused them to identify with the sufferings of Paul and Bent and their families.

    The sarcasm and cynicism is sad in many of the blogs and only adds to the hurt of many…..and Christian witness.

  • Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 5:01 pm: Jeff Bettger (author) said:thank you Mary

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