In a reversal of what normally happens inside a church, about 65 people stood outside Mars Hill Church in Bellevue on Sunday and called on the pastor of the mega-church to acknowledge his sins and repent.I know how most of the people within evangelical circles will spin this. This is an isolated individual acting on his own. He has made some mistakes, and don't we all need the grace of God?
The quiet, peaceful demonstration — “It’s very unusual to have evangelicals protesting,” said participant Jim Henderson — was directed at the church’s controversial, authoritarian and domineering co-founder and senior pastor, Mark Driscoll.
The pastor’s attitudes toward women, and belief in male dominance of marriage, has caused some Mars Hill members to leave and a few to show up Sunday outside the church.
“I am an ex-member who left a couple years ago, because my views on life and women evolved,” said Elizabeth Smith. “I come from a Jewish family, a family with strong women. It appeared, at the church, most development attention was given to me. Women were seen as accessories in marriage.”
Rob Smith (no kin), a former program director at Mars Hill, cited Driscoll’s “disregard for women’s voices,” adding: ”In the church’s view, women are just objectives. They are there to please their husbands. In my theology, Jesus freed women. Jesus was surrounded by strong women.”
Driscoll has also apologized for hiring a firm to spike sales of his co-authored book “Real Marriage” to get it on the New York Times bestseller list. Notes of attribution have been added in another book where he was accused of lifting thoughts from other authors.
The fact is, you see this happening again and again at one church after another. It's not a coincidence. There is a consistent culture within evangelical churches where male leaders are elevated to a status that is beyond question or challenge (and if you want to challenge them, you'll be shown the door in short order). It leads to serious misbehavior, in one form or another every time. Every. Single. Time. If it hasn't happened yet, it will.
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