Friday, March 28, 2014

My official charges against Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner

The following are the official charges I made against Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner and gave to the BOAA in the Fall of 2012. 

The BOAA asked me in a letter they sent out:
“Do you have grievances or complaints against any Elder or Leader of Mars Hill Church?”

The following was my official response to them:

Pastor Mark;
  • You have led Mars Hill with a culture of pride, fear, and intimidation.
  • You preach grace from the stage but don’t extend that same grace to the staff you lead.
  • You have developed a culture where sin is not tolerated, therefore it is not confessed.
  • You have led the staff in bitterness and rage for years because of your unforgiven sin that Grace committed against you. (This was very obvious in the abusive tone during staff meetings and trainings for several years, leading to demoralization and fear.)
  • Your thirst and ambition to see your church grow have come at the cost of the very pastors and leaders that God has put in your care.
  • The pastors are not being pastored, they are just employees that are expected to produce results.
  • There is not honesty in why key leaders are leaving the church. It is always spun to be a politically correct “calling” vs the truth of why they are leaving, to include me.
  • You have either not been aware of or ignored the fact that one member of the EE, Pastor Sutton, has been breaking the law and tarnishing the name of Jesus to unbelievers, thus disqualifying him from being a pastor of Mars Hill Church.
  • You never communicated to the other Pastors of Mars Hill that I had left not only the staff of MHC, but the elder-ship and the church entirely.
  • You have used threats and intimidation tactics with me to produce results.
  • You have shared with me that you fully intended to fire another Pastor because he didn't fit the mold that you need for that position and then months later carried out laying him off.
  • You have preached living a balanced life of God, Family, Ministry, but require your staff to work 70+ hours a week, neglecting the very things you preached about.
  • You have forced anyone who needs to get a severance package when leaving to sign a gag order, preventing them from being able to speak about why they left Mars Hill.

Pastor Sutton;

  • You have set your ambitions for the church above the people and leaders of the church.
  • You have engaged Jesus’ bride with a business model and its pastoral leaders as pawns to be discarded when no longer needed.
  • You have broken the law by requiring us to stay in a place when the city had issued official notices for us to leave, even when we had other places to go.
  • You have broken the law by prohibiting me from getting a business license as required by Santa Ana because then they would discover we were still breaking the law by meeting illegally.
  • You have tarnished the name of Jesus in the eyes of our non-Christian landlord to whom we were trying to be a witness by being in direct defiance of the local government, breaking the law and inviting him to participate with us to the extent of paying the fines that he was incurring for breaking the law.
  • You made it clear that we would not move, even though we had other options, until the city kicked us out and then you would launch a negative ad campaign against the city, showing that they were persecuting the church, when in fact we are the ones in the wrong.
  • You have made false accusations against me, another pastor of the church, calling me a liar, accusing me of stealing from the church and missing meetings with no evidence, witness, or proof.
  • You have not treated me as a fellow pastor with respect, dignity, and honor, but as a dictator with an agenda.
  • You have abused your spiritual authority and role against me, carrying on a legacy of fear in Mars Hill Church.
  • You have disqualified yourself from pastoral leadership in the church according to (1 Tim 3:2-7) “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach... respectable.... not quarrelsome....”. “Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” (Titus 1:7) “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered...”

The BOAA then asked: “What other feedback do you have?”
My response was as follows:

         I forgive each of you just as Jesus has forgiven me.
It is my hope and prayer that the words in this letter would be considered.
That there would be a season of repentance that would not stop until Jesus comes back. That the fruit would be a people who love to repent because the Gospel comes alive every time they do as they are reminded of the power of the Gospel of forgiveness and grace.

It is my prayer that each of you would spend the same amount of time and energy, if not more, focusing and working on the church and its leadership (staff) being above reproach in God’s eyes, as you do in efforts of growth. I totally understand that every church is run by fallen sinners to include myself. Despite all these sins and circumstances that caused hurt, we have felt God’s continuous hands leading and protecting us. We are thankful for our time at Mars Hill and are experiencing God’s grace in being able to forgive. It is a blessing to see God moving in other churches, and we are experiencing Jesus’ redemptive grace from the leaders of our current church who lead from grace rather than fear. May God’s grace and mercy be abundant for His leaders who repent often of their sin and lead their people to the foot of the cross, not just in word, but on their knees.

I love each of you and Mars Hill Church and pray for great health for each of you and the church. I ask The Holy Spirit to lead each of you with great clarity and encouragement, making the yoke light in the servant hood of Jesus’ Church.

In response, I received a letter from the BOAA that simply said thank you for your response. I have not heard anything from the BOAA or the Executive Elders since. 

Most recently, the BOAA posted a communication to their community group leadership stating; 

We received eighteen responses. While some were very positive, every response was read and reread, looking for anything that would disqualify Pastor Mark and any other Mars Hill leaders from serving, or that would require further investigation. Additionally, the Board looked for repetitive patterns that may also lead to potential disqualification. After a thorough review, the charges were determined to be non-disqualifying. 

The Biblical Qualifications of a Pastor are clear. The violations listed above are direct quotes from the letter I sent the BOAA and EE. 

If the BOAA states that "After a thorough review, the charges were determined to be non-disqualifying." 

Please let me remind you of what the Biblical qualification for elder is:

1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1: 5-9, are the qualifications that I and so many others have seen, heard and experienced that Pastor Mark does NOT possess.

  • Therefore an overseer must be above reproach
  • He must be sober-minded
  • He must be self-controlled
  • He must be respectable
  • Not violent but gentle
  • Not quarrelsome
  • Not a lover of money
  • Not be arrogant or quick-tempered
  • Not greedy for gain
  • Self-controlled
  • Disciplined

There will always be sin in leadership, but where you have continued sin for years and years against hundreds of leaders and countless members, yet claim that it is "non-disqualifying" Your standard is clearly not coming from Scripture and I now know that there is truly no accountability for Mark and Sutton and this BOAA is a sham. 

Another quote from the same letter states;

However, we are hungry for reconciliation and are continually grieved that many offenses and hurts are still unresolved. We want to seek out and hear the hurts in a biblical manner.

You need to know that I and the other Board members have witnessed the Holy Spirit’s work in Pastors Mark, Dave and Sutton as they’ve grieved deeply over the hurts and sorrows that they’ve been the source of. Their hearts yearn for repentance and reconciliation with those that have been hurt and offended.

My question is simply this, if they are "grieved and hungry for reconciliation," why have they not responded to another letter that was sent on March 17th by 20+ ex elders, myself included seeking their repentance and a mediator to help in this process?

Why if they "yearn for repentance and reconciliation" have they still not responded to either Dave Kraft or myself, the two most vocal advocates of repentance. 


  1. They won't repent until the whole thing collapses.

    Proverbs 29:1. I shudder to imagine what that might mean for them.

  2. May the Lord bless you and keep you, and heal your heart from the hurts you have suffered. I thank God for your integrity in holding to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

  3. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  4. I'm heartbroken for what you have been through. I pray that the Lord grants you healing.

  5. Where is this letter? "March 17th by 20+ ex elders

  6. Kyle,

    You and your wife, saw my wife and I (then fiance) through much of our marriage class back in early to mid 2012. We felt it was a bit odd that you were there teaching one week and the next, not.

    Anyways, as a member of Mars Hill Church and a community group leader in the LA area, I have questions and concerns regarding your true intent and way of going about this.

    My main question is:
    If repentance and reconciliation is something that you are seeking not just for yourself, but for others with allegations and stories of their own against the church/leadership; why do so in a way that literally invites non-Christians and/or other haters and outsiders of Mars Hill Church to chime in and take part in the conquest?
    Please help a young leader such as myself, understand how the way in which you're going about this, AND the medium you're using to carry this message, is Christ-like.

    I've read others complaints about how they were sinned against, but cannot for the life of me understand how broadcasting it to EVERYONE who is NOT involved, will do anything Godly to create a conviction of repentance and reconciliation on the part of Mars Hill Church leaders.

    That in my eyes is literally playing into the hands of the enemy. I love my church and its leaders, and I want you to know that in NO way am I trying to diminish any allegations that are coming against them. Again, I only question the way in which this is being carried out.

    I would really appreciate a response to this; especially because you personally know and taught my wife and I.

    1. Ryan, if you look into the history of Mars Hill over the last 7-8 years, you will see clearly that dozens of elders and pastors have addressed these issues privately, and then been fired. Nearly all of them were obligated to sign a gag order or lose months of income (this sounds like coercion to me). Mark has stated publicly from the pulpit, that he would like to "break the nose" of specific elders who disagreed with him or didn't follow his leadership. If what Ryan is saying has any truth, then he has no other choice but to address these issues in the forum he has chosen. He owes it to followers who deserve to know the truth. Why would you blame the whistle-blower when what they are reporting is true? Shouldn't you blame the wrong-doers?

    2. Greetings Ryan

      The Bible contains a number of accounts of the sin and error by believers, with such sin and error, by virtue of being put into the Bible, being made public and open to being read by unbelievers. Peter separated himself from the Gentile believers in Antioch and was publicly rebuked by Paul and the story written in Galatians 2. The gospels contain several stories of sin or errors by the disciples and these gospels are published for all the world to read and not merely believers. The Bible tells us the story of the sins of David and most of the other kings of Judah. If the Bible had been written with the idea that telling the sins of various human leaders is bad thing, it would be a lot shorter.

  7. re: Ryan Black:

    You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Truth is ALWAYS the right choice. Always

    The only way to expose things is to bring them into the light.

  8. re: Ryan Black:

    I can't say for sure why Kyle has chosen this medium to bring to light that which was unknown, but it may have something to do with some of the ideas expressed in this blog post by Fred Clark:

    He basically shared the idea that people often quote Matthew 18:15-17 as a reason to keep things private:

    "However, Matthew 18 isn’t the only thing the Bible has to say about confrontation (and I also have problems with forcing Matthew 18 to be about confronting power systems, hierarchies, and institutions). There’s also Ephesians 5:

    Let no one deceive you with empty words … Therefore do not be partners with them … Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them … everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light."

  9. I have dreaded this day for 10 years, since the second time I heard Mark preach. It was clear to me then that he had significant personal issues which would one day lead to the collapse of his ministry/empire. I dreaded this day for 2 reasons. 1) The disillusionment and trauma which would be visited upon young believers/followers. 2) The public scorn and shame which would be brought to the name of Christian. As Mars Hill has expanded down the coast and around the world, these two consequences of Mark's and the BOAA's arrogance have similarly expanded, to their shame. We should not be speaking of repentance and forgiveness for Mark, Sutton, et al., but rather we should "shake of the dust that is on [our] feet as a testimony against them." Or, as Monty Python and the Holy Grail said, "Run away! Run away!"

  10. So thankful that this season has come. Have neighbors caught in the trap. As Jude says, we must snatch those from the fire of the false teachers. Lots of work to do, but God bless you and the other former MH leaders for doing what is right and exposing the darkness to light.


    Is it possible to be saved without having your sins forgiven? Was Saul saved by faith alone before his sins were forgiven?

    If Saul was saved on the road to Damascus, then he was saved without having his sins forgiven.

    Saul believed in Jesus on the road Damascus, but his sins were forgiven three days later in Damascus
    Act 9:1-19......9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank....

    Saul sins were forgiven in Damascus, three days later, not on the road to Damascus.
    Acts 22:1-16.....10 And I said, 'What shall I do Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.'.......16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins,calling on His name!

    Saul was not saved by faith only. Saul was saved by believing and being baptized in water.

    Jesus did not establish faith only salvation on the road to Damascus. Jesus confirmed what He already had said "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved"... (Mark 16:16)

    You cannot be saved unless your sins have been forgiven.

    In order to support the doctrine of faith only men have offered many reasons why the Scriptures cannot be trusted.
    1. The Bible is not the inerrant word of God, it has many errors and contradictions.
    2. You have to be a Greek scholar to understand the Bible. If you understand the original Greek language, then you would know water baptism is not essential for forgiveness of sins.
    3. You need to use extra-Biblical writings to understand the plan of salvation.
    4. The Bible has been mistranslated, therefore men are saved by faith only and not the way it is presented in the Bible.

    If God is not smart enough to give men an accurate translation of His plan for salvation and Christian living, then why would anyone trust in Him for salvation or for anything else.

    God has given us His plan of salvation in many translations, in different languages. You do not have to know Greek.You do not have to have a Greek dictionary. You do have to be Greek. If men had to be able to read and understand original Greek to understand the Bible, then all Bibles would be in Greek.


    Men are not saved by faith only and there is no verse of Scripture that states men are saved by faith only. Men are saved by faith, but not by faith only.


  12. Dear Kyle, I have no doubt that you have been greatly offended. However, this is not the way to handle this. Putting out someone else's dirty laundry for the world to see isn't helping them change, its vengeance for you.The problem is you need to forgive them, and then let God handle it from there. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Did you even think how your hurt full words and allegations would affect these men and their families? You have accomplished nothing but creating further division in the church. Do you earnestly pray for them in love and want better for them? Where are your true motivations for rallying people against a brother in Christ? I am sorry for your experience, but forgiveness is the only thing that will heal. Take it from someone whose gone around this mountain and learned the hard way. I truly pray that God blesses you and your family.

    1. "Putting out someone else's dirty laundry for the world to see isn't helping them change, its vengeance for you."

      Considering (as another commentator has stated) Driscoll was having elders sign a gag order in exchange for their final paycheck, I'd argue that publishing the complaint in public is a legal tactic and a good one: you can't gag something you've already put out there.

      "Did you even think how your hurt full words and allegations would affect these men and their families?"

      I've read most of the leaked internal documents:

      Here's Jamie Munson declaring your own pastors as "unrepetent":

      Here's Mars Hill members asking literally thousands of questions with maybe six answered:

      Considering (as another commentator here has stated) that Driscoll has a history of threatening to beat people who disagree with him, I don't think it's really out of line to call him out in public for safety reasons.

      "What are your true motivations for rallying people against a brother in Christ?"

      Why shouldn't he be able to rally people to his side? Are you seriously suggesting that the Church historic hasn't rallied around clerical victims when the upper leadership has gone amok? Please see Luther versus indulgences, Francis of Assissi, Wesley versus widespread corruption.

      How Mark Driscoll is allowed to run anything more complicated than a lemonade stand, I have no idea.

      I moved to Seattle in 2006: even back then, I had heard nothing but pretty awful, horrible things about Mars Hill. You're considered a laughingstock by the mainstream Christian community and barely better than Westboro Baptist.

      Oh and let's not forget his forum comments as "Bruce Wallace":

      Please go meditate on that, Cari.

  13. Kyle, I would love to talk. As you know, I have tried to connect with you since March 2014 - literally right after you posted this blog. You have my number and my email address. I would love to talk to you.