James McDonald Resigns from Mars Hill Board, Mark Driscoll Apologizes for Vulgar Comments

( [email protected] ) Aug 04, 2014 06:36 PM EDT
Mark Driscoll
Mark Driscoll, pastor of Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, which has 15 locations nationwide. (AP)

A mere two months following Pastor Paul Tripp's resignation from the Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA) of the Seattle-based, Mark Driscoll-led Mars Hill Church, James McDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Fellowship in Chicago, has also resigned.

The announcement was made to church members through an email in The City newsletter about the BOAA, the governing body of Mars Hill Church.

According to the message, Tripp hoped to work for the church's community and redemption ministries as a consultant.

"Because simultaneously being a board member and a consultant does not allow for the required definition of 'independence,' Dr. Tripp graciously submitted his resignation from the BOAA in early June, so that he can more extensively serve our church as a consultant. We are excited to continue this work with him, and are thankful for his continued support of Mars Hill Church," said the message.

The message continued: "Pastor James MacDonald informed the board at the July meeting of his decision to transition from his current role on the board pending his replacement. Pastor James has been a great help in forming the current board's direction, and we are very grateful for his time and wisdom over the last several years."

A significant amount of controversy has surrounded Driscoll for the past year, including attacks on his "oppressive" leadership style and accusations of plagiarism. Most recently, the Mars Hill pastor was forced to publically apologize after vulgar comments he made 14 years ago concerning women and homosexuals on his church's website surfaced.

In an open letter, Driscoll stated that he was "sorry for" and "still embarrassed by" his comments.

"The content of my postings to that discussion board does not reflect how I feel, or how I would conduct myself today," he noted. "Over the past 14 years I have changed, and, by God's grace, hope to continue to change. I also hope people I have offended and disappointed will forgive me."

After the flood of criticism he received, Driscoll exited social media and has retreated from the public eye. However, MacDonald released a statement asserting that his resignation had nothing to do with the conflicts surrounding Driscoll.

"I have great love and affection for Mars Hill Church and I want to make clear this change is not because I am unhappy with Mark's response to board accountability. On the contrary, I have found him to be exemplary in his current readiness to live under the BOAA oversight. I am not resigning because I doubt Mark's sincerity in any way. I believe in Mark Driscoll and his heart to leverage difficult lessons in service to Christ and his church in the years ahead. I am excited to continue to support that trajectory as Mark's friend, as I focus my efforts on Harvest Bible Fellowship," said MacDonald.

In turn, Driscoll responded: "I am thankful for the service of both Paul and James, two men I admire and respect. Their service on our board has been a blessing to me and Mars Hill Church in countless ways. The amount of hours they have given as volunteers is extraordinary, especially in light of their other ministry demands."