Pastor and author Paul Tripp recently expressed his disapproval for the leadership structure of Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, arguing it "can never work well," as it is not effective in helping pastor Mark Driscoll with spiritual accountability and direction.
Tripp, who recently resigned as a board member on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability, made his comments on Tuesday:
"I love working with churches to help them form a leadership culture that is shaped by the same grace that is at the center of the message that they preach," explained Tripp in his statement.
"It's because of this love that I accepted the position on Mars Hill Church's BOAA. But it became clear to me that a distant, external accountability board can never work well because it isn't a firsthand witness to the ongoing life and ministry of the church," he noted.
"Such a board at best can provide financial accountability, but it will find it very difficult to provide the kind of hands-on spiritual direction and protection that every Christian pastor needs. Unwittingly, what happens is that the external accountability board becomes an inadequate replacement for a biblically functioning internal elder board that is the way God designed his church to be lead and pastors to be guided and protected," he added.
Currently, Tripp is the executive director of the Association of Biblical Counselors' Center for Pastoral Life and Care, as well as the author of 15 books on Christian living. In his statement, Tripp also mentioned that it was this tension that forced him to resign after less than a year on the Mars Hill board.
Tripp's statement comes mere days after church planting group Acts 29, which Driscoll co-founded, dismissed Driscoll and the Mars Hill Church from membership, and deleted mention of Mars Hill worship sites from its web page.
In a statement, the Acts 29 network mentioned the Board of Advisors and Accountability, saying the board's manner of dealing with Driscoll's actions were ineffective.
"In response [to complaints concerning Driscoll] we leaned on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability to take the lead in dealing with this matter. But we no longer believe the BOAA is able to execute the plan of reconciliation originally laid out. Ample time has been given for repentance, change and restitution, with none forthcoming.
Although he is no longer involved with Mars Hill, Tripp says he hopes the best for the church, which has been embroiled in seemingly endless controversy over the past year.
"I would still love to see the leadership community of Mars Hill Church become itself a culture of grace and I am still willing to help, but not through the means of a board that will never be able to do what it was designed to do," his statement concludes.