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Former Seattle Megachurch Pastor Called Out for Continued Pattern of ‘Sinful Actions’

Elders of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church who served with former pastor Mark Driscoll have called on their former leader to resign from his new position leading a church in Arizona, alleging in a statement that Driscoll has “continued in a pattern of sinful actions” towards staff members and parishioners and failed to seek reconciliation or repent.

In 2014, Driscoll stepped down from leadership of the Seattle megachurch, which he founded in 1996, after several former Mars Hill pastors filed charges against him saying that he had engaged in a pattern of abusive and intimidating behavior including domineering leadership, harsh speech, and angry outbursts. 

After leaving Mars Hill, Driscoll founded The Trinity Church in Scottsdale in 2016.

The 39 elders listed on the statement released to Christianity Today said they were troubled that Driscoll “continues to be unrepentant despite the fact that these sins have been previously investigated, verified and brought to his attention by his fellow Elders prior to his abrupt resignation.”

Without stating specifics, they said, “We grieve the harm that has come to The Trinity Church as well as the damage to the reputation of Jesus among unbelievers through Mark’s words and actions.” 

The elders called Driscoll “presently unfit for serving the church in the office of pastor,” and called for him to pursue repentance, reconciliation, and restoration for people he had harmed. 

The statement also called out those who helped Driscoll plant the Scottsdale church, saying they failed to thoroughly investigate the prior charges against him and allowed him to avoid accountability.

In addition to founding Mars Hill, Driscoll founded the Acts 29 Network, a church planting organization that started more than 500 churches. 

He also wrote several books, but major Christian publishers Lifeway, Crossway and NavPress voiced concerns about plagiarism with Lifeway, the retail arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, pulling Driscoll’s books from its retail stores and website. 

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.