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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Love him or hate him, Mark Driscoll is a very polarizing personality. Though of late he has drawn alot of concern among many conservative Christians (following his hasty endorsement of heretics, his controversial book and esoteric visions). Now there is Andrew-gate :
Until last fall, a 25-year-old Seattle man named Andrew was happily committed to Mars Hill Church, one of America’s fastest-growing megachurches with more than 5,000 members. He volunteered weekly for security duty at his branch of the church, joined a Bible study group, and had recently become engaged to the daughter of a church elder. Then he made a mistake that found him cast out: He cheated on his fiancee with a community college classmate. The fury over Andrew’s experience—and his decision to publicize the church’s internal disciplinary procedures—has led to accusationsby otherChristians that one of the most powerful evangelical voices in the country, Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, employs a cultlike leadership style…
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a man this interested in structures of authority, Driscoll maintains a firm grip over his congregation. Mars Hill is nondenominational, which means it doesn’t formally answer to any outside institutional bodies, so Driscoll holds the power. He has preached against “sinning through questioning” and once said publicly he would like to “go Old Testament” on dissenters. He has reported that he can sometimes “see things” about his members’ past sins…
Andrew first told his story in January to prominent Christian blogger Matthew Paul Turner, who posted it in two detailed parts on his website. According to that account, Andrew cheated on his fiancee, engaging in some kind of sexual contact short of intercourse with another woman. Racked with guilt, he quickly confessed to both his fiancee and another member of his small group. About two weeks later, he also admitted to having a premarital sexual relationship with his now ex-fiancee. Andrew told Turner he was forced out of his original small group, which is an important touchstone for most megachurch attendees (and a requirement at Mars Hill). For the next month, Andrew met with—and received texts from—many church representatives. He was given a new contract requiring that he write his “sexual and emotional attachment history with women” and share it with his fiancee; he was also told to give her, and his pastor, a list of his sexual and emotional sins. (Turner posted the document.) Instead of signing the new contract, Andrew announced he was leaving the church.
Church discipline is biblical. On occasion a Christian will wander away from the fellowship of other believers and find himself ensnared by sin through ignorance or willful disobedience. It then becomes necessary for the church, and particularly its shepherds, to actively seek the repentance and restoration of that Christian.
The purpose of church discipline is the spiritual restoration of fallen members and the consequent strengthening of the church and glorifying of the Lord. One must always guard against tending towards legalism and cruelty. More so one should also guard against developing a totalitarian control over members…that is simply cultic!