This post is the continuation of Part One: Mark Driscoll’s Church Discipline Contract.
After receiving a “church discipline contract” from Pastor X, Andrew offered no response for a week. This was intentional. One of Andrew’s friends was getting married and since he wanted to make sure he could attend the wedding, keeping his response under wraps until after the ceremony was necessary.
“I worked security,” Andrew tells me. “And so, I witnessed unwanted visitors being escorted off the property all the time. I wasn’t going to risk missing my friend’s wedding.”
A day or so after watching his friend get married, Andrew responded with the following email.
After extensive prayer and careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that Mars Hill is not the place that God has for me to be right now. Therefore, I respectfully decline your help in this next stage of my life. I will not be returning to [name of community group leader’s] CG, and will not be attending Mars Hill anymore. Thank you for your continued prayers.
I asked Andrew, “Why did you decline to sign the contract?”
“Because I felt that the contract was legalistic, voyeuristic, and controlling. I felt like it was putting them in the place of God, determining when my heart was right or repentant enough. I didn’t want that.”
“Andrew, before you received the contract, did you feel like you were already walking in repentance?”
“Yes. I knew that I needed help. I knew that I’d done wrong, which is why I brought what I’d done into the light.”
Pastor X responded to Andrew’s email:
If this is your decision, you need to know you are leaving as a member under discipline not as a member in good standing. What this means is Matthew 18 discipline we discussed in our last meeting will be escalated, as there has not been enough time to determine if in fact you are walking in repentance. It is communicating to [name of community group leader] and me that you are unwilling to follow the leaders of your church who have determined you have been in sin and that time will be needed to determine if you are in fact walking in repentance.
[Paragraph mentioning Andrew’s ex-fiancee edited out by Matthew Paul Turner]
If this is your final decision, you will also need to know this will not be our final communication as this is not an instance where you can walk away from the mess you have helped create and leave many issues unaddressed.
Please let me know if this is in fact your final decision as we will need to know how to best remain in follow up communication.
Andrew hasn’t responded to the pastor’s email. “Toward the end, their desire to control me sort of felt out of control. It’s like they believe that they have some power over me.”
A week or so after that final communication with the Mars Hill pastor, Andrew learned via a phone call with a good friend (a member of Mars Hill Church) what exactly Pastor X meant when he said that Matthew 18 discipline would be “escalated.”
During the conversation, Andrew’s friend mentioned something about “A letter”.
“A letter?” said Andrew. “What letter? I know nothing about it.”
Andrew’s friend informed him that a letter addressed to Mars Hills members had been posted on The City, which is described on Mars Hills’ website as “Mars Hill Church’s online network. Rather than encouraging virtual community, the purpose of The City is to enhance actual relationships within the church…” Andrew described The City to be like “Facebook for Mars Hill members.”