Church or Cult?

The Control-Freaky Ways of Mars Hill Church

Comments

1
Driscoll and Ramtha should form some sort of psychotic religious villian super team.
2
jesus christ!
3
I attended MH off and on when it was in the U Dist. I had friends that went and I wanted to stay connected to the church though my own faith was dwindling. I'd been in churches like this before and it didn't take long to realize that it was turning into a cult of personality just like all of the churches prior did. It's been years since I attended MH, the last time I was there Mark finished a sermon stating that questioning him was demonic. It's a huge church and I know people don't like being called a cult but I'd really encourage members who might read this to do some research into what a cult is, how it maintains control and do some thinking about it.
4
Thank you so much for writing this. It needs to be made abundantly clear that there is not one iota of difference between Mars Hill and any other fundamentalist mega-church, regardless of how they market themselves.
5
This is great. I hope it leads to healing for so many of the people hurt so badly at Mars Hill.
6
@4, That's one of the reasons why I'm always surprised when people engage the theology of Mars Hill rather than its structure and practice. Theologically, there's nothing new or different from hundreds of churches around the country. But the structure of the church, the aesthetics, the size, and emphases on some of those standard theological stances (rather than the stances themselves) are what sets it apart.
7
Is this some kind of joke? What the fuck is wrong with these "church" people and their stupid behavior? Bunch of holy twisted dipshits.
8
"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."

To be fair, isn't this the same view Dan Savage has, minus the religious aspect?

Also, who could think a religious group named "Mars Hill" was anything other than a cult to begin with?
9
"There would be special child worship time conducted by adults and handpicked child apprentices. That cadre of children would grow up through the ranks, studying a children's version of Doctrine, along with DVD classes and Doctrine-related homework to ensure, Driscoll says, "an integration between church and home." Driscoll has also said he wants to commission a new illustrated children's Bible. "Kinda cool, dark, a lot of the bloody Old Testament stories so the boys'll like it, too," he said on one video, winking. "We're gonna do it Mars Hill–style.""

So, how does this not sound like mental programming?
10
"His 'Men and Marriage. sermon was relatively tame: A husband should be the firm and responsible head of his household, the leader of a 'little flock called home and family.' He should think of his wife as 'a garden' and himself as 'the gardener.' If you look at your garden and don't like how it looks, Driscoll preaches, just remember: 'You are the gardener.'"

The really messed-up part is, that IS relatively tame, and it still makes me sick to my stomach. What a dreadful man.
11
My heart is hurting for people who have been deeply hurt by a church in my area. As a leader in a church I know that it is not hard to offend someone. As someone who goes to a church I know that it is not hard to be offended.

But the stories that I am hearing lately are too much. Church discipline is intended to ultimately be redemptive, to help people get closer to Jesus. It's not intended to show your power or authority over your followers.

Pastors can you please take a moment to pray for the people in your area who are hurting because of church leadership. It's not fair to those people that their image of Jesus is tarnished because of human agents.

The truth is that we are all incredibly broken people. The grace of Jesus is the only thing that helps us get our lives back together. Can we talk more about that? Can we humbly recognize our need for Jesus?

Leaders, let's get out of the way of people who are trying to find Jesus. We are not meant to be gatekeepers of faith. We are guides. The only reason that we can guide anyone in their faith journey is because some one guided us. That person was a broken human too.

Let's be honest.

Let's be humble.

Let's celebrate Jesus' transforming love and grace.

Let's help people walk away from sin and towards the grace that we find in the Cross of Christ.

I think that's what people are looking for when they come to church for the first time.

Love.

Hope.

Healing.

Forgiveness.

Compassion.

Community.

We should be the best at creating environments like this because we have received all of this from Jesus in the first place.
12
My heart is hurting for people who have been deeply hurt by a church in my area. As a leader in a church I know that it is not hard to offend someone. As someone who goes to a church I know that it is not hard to be offended.

But the stories that I am hearing lately are too much. Church discipline is intended to ultimately be redemptive, to help people get closer to Jesus. It's not intended to show your power or authority over your followers.

Pastors can you please take a moment to pray for the people in your area who are hurting because of church leadership. It's not fair to those people that their image of Jesus is tarnished because of human agents.

The truth is that we are all incredibly broken people. The grace of Jesus is the only thing that helps us get our lives back together. Can we talk more about that? Can we humbly recognize our need for Jesus?

Leaders, let's get out of the way of people who are trying to find Jesus. We are not meant to be gatekeepers of faith. We are guides. The only reason that we can guide anyone in their faith journey is because some one guided us. That person was a broken human too.

Let's be honest.

Let's be humble.

Let's celebrate Jesus' transforming love and grace.

Let's help people walk away from sin and towards the grace that we find in the Cross of Christ.

I think that's what people are looking for when they come to church for the first time.

Love.

Hope.

Healing.

Forgiveness.

Compassion.

Community.

We should be the best at creating environments like this because we have received all of this from Jesus in the first place.
13
@8 Dan Savage wouldn't make the caveat exclusive to the female halves of the marriages.
14
I'm sure that all complaints about the behavior of church members will be met with the "No true Scotsman" defense.
15
Any church that is unwilling to face the scrutiny of questions is a church to run away from. In my mind, religion went wrong when people stopped listening to God and starting speaking on God's behalf. Authority without accountability is not religion, it's Fascism.

Turn off the TV, shut off the phone and sit quietly for awhile. You can connect with God without the middle man.
16
@8 and @13 - also, dan doesn't put the responsiblity for the CPOS's cheating on the spouse. driscoll draws a causal line b/w the unattractive/unavailable spouse and the cheater's cheating. dan simply acknowledges that refusing to take care of oneself can be damaging to a sexual relationship for a whole host of reasons. but, ultimately, the cheater is always responsible for his cheating. period.
17
Almost all Evangelical churches hate the congregation questioning the leadership, but Dribble has been able to take that to a new level of signing contracts, cutting people off from their community, friends and families, literally demonize it, and mix it with fear of women and gays, while adding a violent sort of macho jesus into the mix. This is new higher level toxic concoction we've seen from other area cults similar to Mars Hill like Community Chapel (look it up, great parallel story line) and Casey Treat's Christian Faith Center.

Brendan - thanks for staying on top of this story. It's going to get worse. As church members get cut off from their non-church friends and families, they will completely dedicate their lives and finances to Dribble and Mars Hill, and we'll soon get another Jonestown. Hopefully the leaders of Mars Hill won't get the local political power that Jim Jones got. Their hate of women and homosexuals should limit that.
18
Where are these young Jesus lovers coming from? Are they born and raised in the northwest? It's freaking me out they live amongst us. They could be sitting right next to you on a bus or in a restaurant. Very unsettling to think about.
19
I hope his wife takes good care of herself so he can resist the temptation of male prostitutes and meth.
20
#16, I think Dan's position is that you owe your spouse the sex they want as long as it is within reason. If you don't comply, the spouse has a right to seek it elsewhere, and you are somewhat to blame because you didn't try harder. Which is what Driscoll seems to be saying, as well.

While Dan doesn't make the distinction between male and female in terms of responsibility, the fact that something like 99% of these letters come from frustrated guys generally makes it seem like the onus is on the woman.
21
That guy is a fucking menace.
22
I googled Mark Driscoll's pic and he's kinda hot.. does that make me a self loathing gay man?
23
PastorJD, I admire your sense of compassion, but church leaders who just 'pray about it' and say 'God will work it out' are exactly the reason why Mark Driscol and those like them have been allowed to thrive. Modern Christians are cowards, and they shouldn't be. How about you stop praying about it and start doing something about it?
24
Mark Driscoll has built his career on subverting the truth and hurting others. There is a new website dedicated to fact-checking him:

http://driscontinuity.tumblr.com
25
the pants on the guys in the picture are too "skinny" for Mars Hill. lol!
26
I'm a member of Mars Hill dealing with a lot of my own junk, and I have never received anything but love and help from an awesome group of people who admit that are hurting as well. I'm sorry for anyone who has been hurt, but I come from the Bible belt and was exiled for my sins. Mars Hill has taught me what the love of Jesus really looks like and how very much His grace abounds.
27
Thank you for the coverage Brendan, I am the husband from the husband and wife part of your article. We were only at the MH Church plant for a total of seven our eight months and with our community group for 3 or 4 months. I cannot imagine how much more difficult it can/ will be for those inside the closed system of MH for years. We ultimately want to Glorify Jesus and edify without becoming bitter, spiteful and vitriolic. That being said the CG in our circumstance had the full support of pastoral staff and used language strikingly similar to that used in Andrew's discipline letter. I have no doubt they were running us through the channels of discipline but did not state as much to us, probably because they know I would have come unglued on them at that point. We also were very worried about telling the pastor where we planned to attend next after leaving as we were hyper aware of the possibility he would call ahead.... he said as much when I talked to him saying he wanted to "hand us off smoothly to our next church."

There is something broken in the ecclesiastical structure of Mars Hill and until Mark is humble enough to acknowledge it and fix it, these stories will continue coming out... whether it's a slow drip of stories or a pounding trip hammer I am not sure, but it will continue. And each one represents someone who has gone through a horrible amount of pain and suffering.
28
Brainwashing a child from the age of 2 is easier than disabling the kid's bullshit detector after it has begun to form...of course they want the really young'uns! What I'm trying to figure out is why this isn't widely regarded as developmental abuse.
You should be free to martyr your intellect on behalf of a ridiculous invisible sky-daddy of your choosing, but doing that to your child's intellect is disgraceful. Where do the parent's civil rights end and where does the child's begin?
29
Excellent article, Brendan.
30
Thank you for the coverage Brendan, I am the husband from the husband and wife part of your article. You can read my take at:

http://twocleareyes.blogspot.com/2012/01…

We were only at the MH Church plant for a total of seven our eight months and with our community group for 3 or 4 months. I cannot imagine how much more difficult it can/ will be for those inside the closed system of MH for years. We ultimately want to Glorify Jesus and edify without becoming bitter, spiteful and vitriolic. That being said the CG in our circumstance had the full support of pastoral staff and used language strikingly similar to that used in Andrew's discipline letter. I have no doubt they were running us through the channels of discipline but did not state as much to us, probably because they know I would have come unglued on them at that point. We also were very worried about telling the pastor where we planned to attend next after leaving as we were hyper aware of the possibility he would call ahead.... he said as much when I talked to him saying he wanted to "hand us off smoothly to our next church."

There is something broken in the ecclesiastical structure of Mars Hill and until Mark is humble enough to acknowledge it and fix it, these stories will continue coming out... whether it's a slow drip of stories or a pounding trip hammer I am not sure, but it will continue. And each one represents someone who has gone through a horrible amount of pain and suffering.

31
I grew up in some slightly out-there churches with some qualities in common with Mars Hill, particularly the emphasis on discipleship. They were kinder, gentler churches, often started by ex-hippies of the kind that Mark Driscoll would surely like to beat up. Anyway, these churches could still be crazy-making and manipulative and abusive, though generally in a passive-aggressive way.

What strikes me as funny is that some of the nuttier people in those churches would look at Driscoll's hyper-masculine approach combined with the name Mars Hill, then would assume that the church is named after the Roman god of war and masculine aggression, and therefore would assume that the church is under the influence of a pagan/demonic spirit of war or something else like that.

It's so easy to see demons behind those who disagree with you when you've outlawed critical thought.
32
Very well written look at the creepiest group in town!
33
Anybody remember the anabaptists?

They made aup part of the original settlers from europe to America. They were demonized and driven from europe for... wait for it... refusing to baptize newborns, claiming that they could not be saved since they could not make the decision themselves to accept jesus.

Round and round the mulberry bush...
34
I went to Mars Hill a few times at the invite of a coworker many years ago – when it was in that lovely (Presbyterian?) church off Marion. Everyone there seemed old to me, though there couldn’t have been many people there over mid-thirties. Someone stole my really great, really expensive-for-me sunglasses.

I kept meaning to go back but never got around to it. Looks like I dodged a bullet there. Of course, I doubt they’d have let me become a member. I always asked too many questions in Bible study. Turns out you can only go if you accept their presentation of Biblical fact and not ask about the nonsensical parts.

35
if you really think about it...SO many things in our culture could be classified as a "cult" democrat/republican groups, world peace groups, anti-gay and anti-war groups....it goes on forever. and I would like everyone to think about the possibility of the stranger being a cult also! Either way, EVERY organization you MUST take with a grain of salt and be weary of your involvement and ALWAYS investigate your personal involvement in it. and always remember, when you point a finger, there are 3 pointing right back at you!!
36
I decided to leave MH a few weeks before all this stuff came out for similar reasons. Don't get me wrong, I still love Jesus and I plan to find a new church that doesn't exercise extreme control over me. I feel foolish for falling into this trap but I thank God he gave me the wisdom to see what was going on. There are many at MH that truly love Jesus and serve him. I pray for all of them and I trust that God will make corrections where they need to be made.
37
These cults are all alike, and can be summarized by the saying (oft repeated in my former cult):
"The question mark (?) is in the shape of a serpent [the devil]. Beware the questioning mind."
Questions about anything were discouraged, but especially those about church authority or dogma. It's all mind control, with the consequences of 'rebellion' [independent thought] being hell, or the equivalent.
38
@35 - "But when you really think about it, isn't *everybody* a cult maaaaaaaaan"

*GROAN*

If you're from Mars Hill, just say so. No need to play the passive aggressive card.

And The Stranger would make a pretty ineffective cult - everybody here is disagreeing and arguing and questioning everybody else ALL. THE FREAKING. TIME.
39
Just making a note here, the statement "Andrew had sinned by kissing a woman who wasn't his fiancée" indicates that Andrew cheated on his fiancée by kissing another woman, it's not to mean that Mars Hill has a policy that a man cannot kiss a woman until they are engaged.
40
Gloomy Gus, Catalina Vel-Duray and I remember the Reverend Bob Moorhead sex scandal at Overlake Church back in the '90s, don't we, kids?
41
Why is The Stranger so obsessed with Mars Hill? Seems very odd to me. Yes, we get it, Seattle doesn't believe in God. Just keep flipping until you get to the porn in the free newspaper because that is so much better for people of all ages to view than a pastor who teaches about how God is love.
42
Good reporting, thanks! It reminds me how much things have not changed in 2000 years. Like the reference to the Anabaptists above, the entire history of Christianity is chock full of similar stories. Not to insult anyone, but when you start to 'Believe' you begin a transformation into a mindless follower. Many can keep a balance between belief and rationality, a sort of suspension of disbelief, but only on Sundays. Its a day off for the rational mind. The rest of the time they can be perfectly reasonable people. As long as you can pass as one of them and your not openly gay, transgender, polyamorus, Islamic, etc. Used to be you couldn't jewish, too, but they relaxed that once the jews stopped wearing the funny hats all the time.
43
Well done, Brendan. You are a treasure to this city. If there was a Genius Award for Journalism, I would nominate you, sir!
44
As a local church leader who is not affiliated with Marshill in any way I have a question. Can we actually trust non biased opinions to come from any of the people that were interviewed? Every person interviewed was a person that was hurt by the church in one way or another. I know Ex Marshill members who go to my church, many of which were hurt during some of these shake ups, and one thing i can say is that you can't necessarily expect a non biased opinion from these people because of the pain they feel has been inflicted on them. Considering the Church is over 10,000 people now, I believe, if it was as bad as people say it is, shouldn't that number be much smaller? Especially when you consider that the vast majority of those attendees are Seattle area young adults who have been taught since youth that much of the stuff Marshiil is being accused of is wrong (evil?). Yet they choose to go on their own initiative and continue to go. Despite the harsh criticism they continually get hurled at them. People just need to be honest and say the main reason many people don't like Marshill, or any other theologically conservative evangelical church, is because they believe that what these churches teach is wrong and what they believe is right. So they accuse any other group that holds to a tradition and teaching other than their own to be dangerous and wrong to plant in the minds of people. Especially children. Even though the other side could lash back with the exact same kind of argument.

I know none of you will probably agree with what i had to say and that's fine. But I'll continue to minister to those who feel like they have been hurt by leaders from Marshill or whatever church, and I pray that these other churches will reciprocate the favor when people that I'm sure I will unintentionally hurt go to their Churches.

God Bless.
45
#44 "Considering the Church is over 10,000 people now, I believe, if it was as bad as people say it is, shouldn't that number be much smaller?"

We're talking about believers here. Not exactly the smartest of the bunch. The fact that they believe any of this nonsense kinda plants them firmly in the 'poor decision-makers' camp in the first place.
46
Big deal, the atheists I know are bigger control freaks.

I just fail to see why people complaign about others, whom are going about their own business.

There must be a scripture or two that deals with this issue.

I do like the rare occasion when I am asked I have found Jesus yet. Yes, I can say: "I didn't realize he was still missing", with a straight face.
47
Mars Hill Church -- what a waste of time. That's why I worship at the Church of Jessica instead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl7_6X9V1…
48
@44, I'd be surprised if that many Mars Hill members are young Seattlites who have grown up around Mars Hill. I'd bet a lot are people who have moved to Seattle and attended relatively conservative churches in their hometowns, or are from the suburbs. Could just be because most the people I know personally who go there fall into one of those two camps.
49
Just to clarify some things for you, Brendan. The sermon preached on Sunday was recorded before the article came out on Matthew Paul Turner's blog. Hence, why Mark didn't address it in the sermon Sunday.

I agree with Pastor Jeff's quote. Also, Mark encourages attendees to educate themselves outside of MH church as well. The articles circulating in the last week have led to a lot of discussion & interpretation inside the community groups at the church, so please don't assume we are mindless followers. The MH people I know still weigh everything the leaders say against the word of God & the discerning leadership of the Holy Spirit. It's realizing that every quote, verse, statistic, etc. needs to be analyzed against the context to which it came from, otherwise, yes, it's very easy to slip into ignorance.

It's understanding that I call myself a follower of Christ & a Christian before I call myself a Mars Hill member.
50
Must we all be skeptics. What I'm saying is none of us is perfect. We all know even within our own homes there are misunderstandings and arguments that arise from mostly miscommunication issues. Lets be slow to judge people. About attempting to make everyone sign a contract for membership. What's wrong with attempting to set a bar of excellence. I wander why more church's don't do the same.
51
The LDS (Mormon) faith starts indoctrinating their youth at 4 years old. They call them Sunbeams. They wrote a song about Sunbeams and then you sing it in your Sunbeam class over and over. That is the beautiful beginning of a life filled with manipulation, fear, and guilt. It always starts off beautiful and innocent and turns into control. The LDS doctrine also states that the man is the head of the household and the woman is subject to him. The LDS faith also makes anyone over 8 years old (age 8 because that is when you are baptised and you now know right from wrong...) commit to and wear a CTR ring (Choose The Right) The LDS faith also envisions God as a manly, violent, jealous God. This all strikes me as very similar to the doctrine of Mars Hill. Watch out folks. The very minute your church asks you to sign a contract, do any "holy work" on any other day than a Sunday or gives you a "calling" It's time to leave. Any church that gets in between you and your wife, lover, relative or friend is no church at all. Hitler also had a plan for the youth.
52
Do some searches on the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) and Kip McKean. Exact same methodology, demand for unquestioning obedience, and "discipleship". It started in the late 70's (by a pastor later disbarred for homosexual acts with young congregants), and yet is still alive and kicking. Including here in Seattle.

Same Shit, Different Day.
53
Kudos to #7. I vote Church. Brenden Kiley is trying too hard to make this into a story. Can we please stop using rhetoric like this? This is on the same plane as calling someone a socialist.

I grew up in an evangelical church much like this one. There's a reason I left. The Pastor and the leadership of the church are obviously taking it too far, but they aren't anywhere close to asking anyone to drink the koolaid.

People like that can't control you if you don't let them.

There should be a standard of excellence, with limits. I've known a few would be ministers that are so two faced, I wonder if the people around them see it too. But balance would be nice, and no creepy stalking like calling the gf's parents! It's not a cult but I still would not want any of my friends to go there.
54
#41, I suspect The Stranger is "so obsessed with Mars Hill" because it's an authoritarian, cultic institution that preaches a sexist, homophobic doctrine and tries to intimidate its members into signing discipline contracts. Of course, what do I know - I'm a hateful non-believer.
55
@53 - and if you haven't developed the emotional skills necessary to resist the control of people like Driscoll, what then? If you grow up in an abusive environment, quite often you don't learn to resist the siren song, and you end up at controlling places like Mars Hill.

I know not everyone who was abused as a kid grows up to repeat their childhoods. Some see through it and break free relatively early. But for those of us who don't, and who are still struggling, it's not as easy as it sounds.
56
Religion is a cult, it's just a matter if it is a benevolent one or a malevolent one.
57
Can't wait to hear from Driscoll's call-boy.
58
This is a distorted and one sided article. Mars Hill church does not control or manipulate its members. I have attended this church for over 5 years and have been encouraged to follow Jesus and live a life that reflects scripture. The young
Man named Andrew did far more then just "kiss a girl" he was involved in repetive sexual sin with several young women in our church. He preyed upon them by pretending to be someone other then he really is and then he would take advantage of them. He was dishonest about who he is just like he was with the information given to the author of this news piece.
59
I'm freaked out by the entire thing, but this idea of gearing things to entertain little boys specifically is just soooooo creepy. It's like young male children are being fetishized by this church, while the girls are just cast off to the side until needed for procreation (or "gardening"?). At least that's the vibe I'm getting.
60
it's funny that from another, unrelated Mars Hill somewhere in the country, there was this pastor (who recently quit however)...

http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6223…

...who seems to be the polar opposite of Driscoll.

sure I'm not Christian, but when I read things like "He rails against mainstream Christians who imagine a 'Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ... a neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy.' Instead, he has molded a doctrine based on manliness, sexual purity, and submission to authority..." I wonder what kind of a person would want to be under those terms? was Jesus' purpose really to brutalize gays, force the submission of women and ensure the meek inherited the Earth VIA CHRIST'S AMAZING BICEPS???

once the initial message is lost in transmission by a narcissist like Mark Driscoll, it doesn't matter how many time his followers say "God is love", they're not following God any longer.

61
@58 That doesn't excuse the misogynism that is displayed. That doesn't excuse excluding other people constantly. That doesn't excuse talking about indoctrinating 2 year olds. Is this religion that fragile that it can't handle people making their decision on religion when they are old enough to actually understand it? I went to church myself until I was old enough to read and understand the bible and I decided it wasn't for me. I decided that I didn't agree with the bible. A 2 year old can't make that decision.
62
I can't fucking wait until Mark Driscoll gets caught doing blow of the chest of someone he found on rentboy.
63
Thank you for this article. You will never know how much. Sitting here crying. Have felt like killing myself because of the pain of past mistakes that have been dredged up since going here. I am a child of God that doesn't want to judge, not my place to. Going to Mars Hill these last few years, can't tell you how damaging, how 'second guessing'....
64
Since there seem to be a lot of Christians posting, I just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of something. Jesus isn't real. Seriously guys, it's a fairy tale. Please read a book about this not written by a Christian.
65
And the faithful wonder why so many consider it imperative that the US maintain a separation of church and state...
66
This article starts with a one-sided story from a disgruntled former member (keyword "according to Lance)."

Then the main point of the article is that there's something wrong with this: "A doctrine based on manliness, sexual purity, and submission to authority: wives to husbands, husbands to pastors, and everyone to God."

First of all, everything there is totally biblical. Even so, it's not what the doctrine's based on. While Biblical submission, manliness, and purity are extremely important, they are only part of the doctrine, not the basis, as that's the Bible.

The writer of this article is more concerned with twisting the truth to make Mars Hill sound like a cult than taking a concerned analysis of a potential problem.

Case in point, the end of the article gives this quote (out of context), "When the kids grow up, they don't do like most kids and just leave after high school, but they realize: "Well, I'm ready for the Doctrine class. I can become a member. I've been doing this curriculum since I was 2!"

The author responds by saying, "Does he want to keep kids from growing up and moving away from Seattle to go to college, start jobs, and begin their own lives?" That's obviously a complete, almost funny perversion of the quote given, which is really just saying that people should stay active in a church all of their lives, not specifically or only Mars Hill.

So this article is basically just an attempt to paint Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll in the most negative light possible by distorting the truth. Even so, it doesn't make many compelling arguments not based in testimonies from disgruntled former members, and falls apart when one looks even slightly below the surface.
67
So the article starts with a one-sided story from a disgruntled former member (keyword "according to Lance)."

Then the main point of the article is that there's something wrong with this: "A doctrine based on manliness, sexual purity, and submission to authority: wives to husbands, husbands to pastors, and everyone to God."

First of all, everything there is totally biblical. Even so, it's not what the doctrine's based on. While Biblical submission, manliness, and purity are extremely important, they are only part of the doctrine, not the basis, as that's the Bible.

The writer of this article is more concerned with twisting the truth to make Mars Hill sound like a cult than taking a concerned analysis of a potential problem.

Case in point, the end of the article gives this quote (out of context), "When the kids grow up, they don't do like most kids and just leave after high school, but they realize: "Well, I'm ready for the Doctrine class. I can become a member. I've been doing this curriculum since I was 2!"

The author responds by saying, "Does he want to keep kids from growing up and moving away from Seattle to go to college, start jobs, and begin their own lives?" That's obviously a complete, almost funny perversion of the quote given, which is really just saying that people should stay active in a church all of their lives, not specifically or only Mars Hill.

So this article is basically just an attempt to paint Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll in the most negative light possible by distorting the truth. Even so, it doesn't make many compelling arguments not based in testimonies from disgruntled former members, and falls apart when one looks even slightly below the surface.
68
The leaders of this "church" buys lots of bling from my friend in a downtown Seattle fine jewelry store ( I won't name it to protect my friend).
THEY'RE RICH!!!
69
i am having flashbacks to the eyes of tammy faye.
70
Also, I find it amusing how many profiles have been created on SLOG today for the sole purpose of defending this church here in the comments thread. An email alert must have been sent out from Mars Hill.
71
"An email alert must have been sent out from Mars Hill." Knat, they probably did that or posted a memo on The City, which is where I suspect a lot of MHers got their info about Andrew being a "predator."

For the record, I created a profile here simply so I could refute this cult. Church. No, cult.
72
Thanks for the informative article. I will say, though, that I think the tone of this write-up is a little skewed towards "fear-mongering". In my opinion :P

But still, it's not often you get to hear about the harsher, stricter side of Mars Hill so I am appreciative to be able to hear a bit more about it.
73
Thanks for the informative article. I will say, though, that I think the tone of this write-up is a little skewed towards "fear-mongering". In my opinion :P

But still, it's not often you get to hear about the harsher, stricter side of Mars Hill so I am appreciative to be able to hear a bit more about it.
74
i feel like i'm reading the tabloids right now. exaggeration much?
75
Lots of MH goons, my goodness. Don't you think it's a bit messed up to try and act as God under God's witness? Dudes on power trips who prey on suffering people? Looks like a wolf in sheep's clothing to me.

Why do you need someone to tell you how to live? What makes you happy that doesn't inflict harm on others? What the machismo in that scene takes away is empathy. It takes away life's natural balance.
76
First off, the "andrew" issue is not telling the whole story and really lieing about what happened. He was dating and sleeping with her, he also was cheating on her with another member of the church, and then kissed another girl on top of that.

Mars Hill has helped a lot of people, myself included. There is a huge problem at the church with people not questioning authority (pastors) and not thinking for themselves.

All you can do is keep your faith in Jesus Christ. If it isn't biblical then don't even think about it. Membership or not, please make up your own mind and don't become a puppet.

Before writing an artical like this, GET ALL THE FACTS STRAIGHT!
77
Not very balanced article but hey what do you expect?
78
@58, I'd like to know your source regarding Andrew being a "predator." If it's the letter posted to "The City" then you've confirmed all of our suspicions of brainwashing and manipulation as you apparently get all of your information from church leadership. If you personally knew him or the people he "preyed" upon then you might have a valid argument.
79
@56 Your comment wins. If anyone else needs a religion, you can follow mine. It's the church of "The First Law of Thermodynamics"...
80
BAHHHHHH H H H BAHHHH H H
81
@squints, the source is from the guy himself.
82
This article did not present a very balanced view of Mars Hill. Readers keep in mind that it is possible to take a few incidences out of the past of any entity no matter how wonderful, and make it look like the worst thing to hit the face of the earth. There is a reason the church has grown as fast as it has and its because its presenting the age old Gospel in a fresh way. Now we might not agree with everything Driscoll preaches and everything that is written in the bible, but trust me do not make a judgement of the church based on this article alone.
83
bloopbloop ... so Andrew told you he'd slept with more than one member of Mars Hill? That would be more than he admitted to in the pair of blog posts that touched off the latest kerfuffle. Why did Andrew tell the whole world one thing and then tell you something different?
84
Cults never last. Most likely, in another twenty years, Driscoll and Mars Hill will be history. God has a way of getting rid of those who abuse His flock. It would be better if a mill stone were tide around their necks and they be thrown into the sea. Vengeance is the Lord's, He will repay.
85
Victory Outreach of Seattle has the same MO..( ex-member of V.O. mens home rehab staff in ballard ) I,m what you call a Disgruntled Christian...Emerging Churches of today are sooo far gone and control is this main method for fame and $$$ ect...keeping the machine oiled and twist and disect the word of God . Also I may add that a Local Christian Collage may start trouble for honest working Americans go to http://spusucks.blogspot.com Thanks for the article and exsposed idiots that make Jesus look bad..., there day is coming !
86
I was telling people Mark was screwed up years ago. One of my best friends goes to his church and at that time he was telling his men to carry naked pictures of there wives with them so that they could masturbate to the. LOL What kind of pastors says this to there men? My mom screamed when I told her this she said" my Lord that is horrible, what if your dad lost his wallet" lol
87
It's all a cult anyway.

Doesn't take a genius to realize the origin myths of one's own culture are no different than the Greeks, the Zoroastrians, the Hopi, or the Aztecs.

A bit of light reading makes it abundantly clear that there's no archaeological evidence for Jewish enslavement in Egypt, among the other huge number of historical inaccuracies that come with fallible men from thousands of years ago authoring morality tales.

It's absolutely stunning that people in cults or organized religion, no matter how moderate crazy, cannot make these simple leaps in logic, particularly in an era of unprecedented access to information.
88
I don't know what's more scary: Mark Driscoll or all the people who are defending this guy in the comments section. I always thought Seattle was more progressive and intelligent than this. Are you really so lost and insecure that you need to follow a fictional "church" lead by a sexist misogynist who's only concern is to get more power, more control and more money? Mega churches frighten me more than almost anything else today.
89
The entire Acts29 Network has pastors that are exactly like this. Driscoll's influence is permeating churches across the nation. Case in point: Darrin Patrick, The Journey, St. Louis, Missouri. Multi-site, lots of press about the pastor's books, lots of press about the great things the pastor does, no questioning of the pastors or you are being "divisive", lots of secret church discipline, lots of mandatory "church counseling" (they even opened their own counseling center), and of course the letters to new churches if you leave.
90
As a pagan I object to their use of the name Mars in their title - trying to appropriate one of our sky gods is totally uncool! You've got your own whiny little deity, stick with him.
91
I wonder about people who need a megachurch or cult of personality to keep their religious faith. Is this an American phenomenon? You do know there are churches that have pastors and reverends who don't go on about delineating gender roles, right?
92
@85, Christian collages are pretty menacing indeed. So many bright colors :(
93
Barf Shart on Mars Hill
94
Amazing similarities to the origins of the Third Reich. Hitler Youth, blind obedience, macho violence, etc.
As to the claim cults don't last; true for Hitler. His only lasted around 13 years and 70 million or so dead afterwards.
95
I think we need to understand that this article is pretentious and one sided. Like ANY church, it's flawed and is lead by an imperfect man. With that said, MANY people have met Christ because of this church. Many people who go to this church love Jesus, are kind, respectful and friendly. Last time I checked, people are flawed and messy and Mars Hill DOES recognize that they also fall short just like everyone else. SO many people have been going to Mars Hill recently, can we celebrate that it's bringing people together instead of causing division within our city.
96
I think we need to understand that this article is pretentious and one sided. Like ANY church, it's flawed and is lead by an imperfect man. With that said, MANY people have met Christ because of this church. Many people who go to this church love Jesus, are kind, respectful and friendly. Last time I checked, people are flawed and messy and Mars Hill DOES recognize that they also fall short just like everyone else. SO many people have been going to Mars Hill recently, can we celebrate that it's bringing people together instead of causing division within our city.
97
...and this article has sparked me to read these stories. if this article sparked some anger and/or sadness, you should read these as well.

http://pastormark.tv/2012/01/31/10-refle…

http://marshill.com/2011/04/27/amanda-go…

http://marshill.com/2009/10/01/seattle-a…
98
When I went there many moons ago I found that what Mark would say was hyperbole but unfortunately many of his flock took it literally.
I wonder if Mark is taking it literally now? I wonder how he feels about what William Wallace II said?
99
The Stranger always makes an interesting filter - and never fails to give the same spin on things. Typically it inspires me to look into the issue myself than taking this author's word for it. Definitely the case again - especially after hearing his own first hand experience. But maybe after the Superbowl.
100
Not including this comment, there are exactly.... 99 comments, and Mark Driscoll's ain't one.