Overstretch and Inconsistency at Mars Hill
HT to singleman, who provided a reference to this link.
This account looks particularly troubling on several fronts. Here is the quickie version of my thoughts:
(a) Andrew, to his credit, understands that he has substantial spiritual baggage involved here. If you’re engaged, and you make out with someone else, there’s a serious problem. That will not be resolved in days or even weeks, but rather months and possibly years. That the Mars Hill folks saw a need to address that is not the problem here. One must, however, credit Andrew for being up-front about his issue. Many lesser men would have attempted to sweep this under the rug.
(b) Andrew’s [now former] fiancee was not exactly pristine on this, either: she had been “physically involved” with Andrew. While it is true that the woman is the “weaker vessel”, there is no indicator in Scripture that she is never responsible for her own sexual indiscretions. For Mars Hill to subject him to accountability–for a sin issue that he confessed on his own volition–but not to subject HER to said accountability for a similar sin, is a major inconsistency on the part of Mars Hill. If Driscoll believes that the Scriptures teach such inconsistency, then he needs to go back and read his Bible.
(c) Andrew’s [now former] fiancee has now been set up for future failure, and this is at least as much on Mars Hill as it is on her and Andrew: she has been taught that she can commit egregious sins, and it’s not really her problem. When she eventually marries, her husband is going to be in a major world of hurt.
(d) MrsLarijani and I attend a church that is an Acts 29 affiliate. I can honestly say that the situation there is much more conciliatory and fair. When RL and BW had their affair, the elders did not pile on RL. No; they really were very equitable and even-handed in their assessments of both actors in the affair. BW was not derided as the Jezebel who brought down the pastor; nor was RL derided as the predator who “led poor BW down the path to promiscuity”. Both were confronted for their sin, and both were called to repentance. That is the way it needs to be.
Our church is actually quite laid-back. While the theology is conservative, I can honestly say that the small groups we have been involved with–one led by an Air Force Lietenant Colonel, and the other led by an Army chaplain, both of whom have doctoral degrees and ministry experience–have been anything BUT micromanagy.
For the elders, they have an accountability process to which they subject each other every week. I’ve seen the questionnaire that they use; it’s actually pretty impressive, and does include questions about potential sexual minefields.
Personally, what I would have recommended for Andrew: give him the same questionnaire that the elders use, and invite him to participate in that for a while. By doing this, you are extending him accountability, while at the same time telling him, “We are going to treat you on the same par as we would treat our top leaders here, so don’t be offended.”
Instead, it appears that Mars Hill has punted on a golden opportunity for real restoration.