A former pastor of Mars Hill church recently stated that senior pastor Mark Driscoll, who has stepped away from the pulpit for six weeks while formal charges against him are investigated, should allow the full council of Elder decide when--and if--he returns.
In a statement first given to and published by Grove City professor Warren Throckmorton on his Patheos blog, former Mars Hill pastor Dave Kraft contributed a thoughtful opinion on the many controversies surrounding Driscoll.
"I think the best thing that Mark Driscoll can do for his own health, the health of MHC and for the honor of Jesus' church is to voluntarily step down for a minimum of six months and let the full council of Elders decide if and when he returns," writes Kraft.
During those six months, Kraft emphasizes, Driscoll should:
1. Get some serious counseling from Paul Tripp or Garrett Higbee
2. Arrange multiplied dozens of reconciliation meetings with people who believe Mark hurt and harmed them
3. Set in motion a revision of current MHC bylaws
4. Spend time with his family and with the Lord Jesus in deep and genuine soul searching
5. Form a small accountability group with men who are not afraid to confront and challenge him: older, seasoned and courageous leaders...not "yes" men with a vested interest in being nice to him.
Currently, the formal charges presented by 21 former elders and 21 witnesses concerning Driscoll are being investigated by a Board of Elders assigned by the Board of Advisors and Accountability.
Among the charges include allegations that Driscoll displayed a "lack of discipline with his words and the judgmental comments," exhibited domineering and violent leadership, and was verbally abusive to the Mars Hill staff.
"The next step is the production of a report to be sent to the Board of Advisors and Accountability," writes Throckmorton.
"The BOAA could exonerate Driscoll, rebuke him, exonerate on some charges and rebuke on others, or find him disqualified for the office of elder which would lead to his removal as pastor at Mars Hill Church."
In the meantime, Mars Hills' former pastor of theology and leadership, Ryan Welsh, is praying for "repentance" and a reform of church structure. On his Facebook page, Welsh proclaimed that "I love and deeply care for" Driscoll.
In his post, acknowledging that he too is a sinner, Welsh repeated the call for "transparency" and reform that has led those on the letter to face unemployment. He wrote:
"In the simplest form, the issues are surrounding repentance and church structure. I long for the day when the Holy Spirit's conviction is what leads Mars Hill to repentance, rather than negative media coverage.
"I wait eagerly for the functional trinity of Mars Hill Church to return to Father, Son and Holy spirit from what seems to have become Father, Son, Holy Media."