The backlash against pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill church is growing—and this time, it's Christians and former Mars Hill insiders who are beginning to lead it.
This Sunday Last week, Driscoll released a quasi-apology video with a little stab at his "critics" in the church, calling them "anonymous" with the implication that they're cowards. That kicked off the "We Are Not Anonymous" Facebook page (with comments like "Mark Driscoll you know who we are... look under the bus!") and calls for a protest at the Mars Hill Bellevue site this Sunday.
"It's like Romney at the party talking about the '47 percent,'" says protest organizer Jim Henderson (referring to the video capturing the presidential candidate dismissing 47 percent of Americans as idiotic freeloaders who will vote for Obama). "It's just one of those moments when he served it up for us to hit it out of the park."
Now new documents have been unearthed from 2000, when the church opened up a we'll-take-all-questions message board and Driscoll published some vicious rants under the macho pseudonym William Wallace II who writes about living in a "pussified nation" from which " hell looks like a good place because at least a man is in charge, has a bit of order and let's men spit and scratch as needed." A sample:
(You can read much more here.) Driscoll copped to being William Wallace II in his Confessions of a Reformission Rev, but ex-church insiders say Mars Hill tried to scrub the actual comments from their website and even called members who they suspected kept physical copies and told them to destroy them.
But some ex-Mars Hill members have dug them back up.
"I've never heard Mark straight-up say it was out-and-out wrong of him to post those things," says ex-MH member Zach Malm who runs the website welovemarshill.com (a place for ex-members to share their stories). "He's referred to it as his Angry Young Prophet days. I'd say he was certainly angry and young. Whether he was a prophet is up for debate."
Malm, who was with the church from 2000 to 2009, says he knows people who were contacted by higher-ups at Mars Hill and asked to get rid of the William Wallace posts because they're too bilious for today's more spin-friendly, image-conscious Driscoll—the one who spent nearly a quarter million dollars in p.r. money trying to sneak his way onto the New York Times bestseller list. "The intensity and depths he reached were kind of shocking, especially for those who've only been on board with Mars Hill for the last few years," he says. "Driscoll deals in shock, but not at this hateful level."
People have been predicting the implosion of Mars Hill church for years, but this week looks like a major milestone.