Mars Hill: Dissenters plan protest, release vulgar Driscoll rant
Editor's note: This story contains offensive language.
SEATTLE -- Former members of the Mars Hill Church plan to carry signs reading "QUESTION MARK" outside the mega-church's Bellevue campus on Sunday morning, and deliver a message to its embattled senior minister, Mark Driscoll.
"You need to hear our case," is how organizer Rob Smith, a former program director at the church, describes that message. "He (Driscoll) has been in an ivory tower and hears what those closest are telling. He hears what he wants to hear and that's what they tell him."
On Tuesday, dissenters released a controversial, vulgar 2000 proclamation from Driscoll, one that has long been deleted from the Mars Hill website. Using his alter ego William Wallace II, Driscoll declared:
"We live in a completely Pussified Nation. We could get every man, real man as opposed to pussified James Dobson knock-off crying Promise Keeping homoerotic, worship loving mama's boy sensitive emasculated neutered exact male replica evangellyfish, and have a conference in a phone book.
"It all began with Adam, the first of the pussified nation, who kept his mouth shut and watched everything fall headlong down the slippery slide of hell/feminism when he shut his mouth and listened to his wife who thought Satan was a good theologian when he should have lead her and exercised his delegated authority as king of the planet.
"As a result, he was cursed for listening to his wife and every man since has been his pussified sit quietly by and watch a nation of men be raised by bitter penis envying burned feministed single mothers who make sure that Johnny grows up to be a very nice woman who sits down to pee."
(James Dobson is the American evangelical author who founded the conservative group Focus on Family.)
In his 2006 book "Confessions of a Reformist Rev," Driscoll explained origins of his "William Wallace II" character. The pseudonym came from what Driscoll called an "unmoderated discussion board" on the Mars Hill website called Midrash. It was being "inundated by emerging church-type feminists and liberals."
"I went onto the site and posted as William Wallace II, after the great Scottish man portrayed in the movie Braveheart, and attacked those who were posting," wrote Driscoll.
Driscoll is now plagued by a range of problems. He has been charged with lifting other book authors' ideas without attribution, and has acknowledged hiring a firm to use inflated sales to put his book "Real Marriage" onto The New York Times bestseller list. Ex-members depict him as isolated, vindictive and harming.
A tipping point seems to have come earlier this month. In a video sermon, Driscoll acknowledged that there are disillusioned former members of his flock but said they have chosen to "remain anonymous."
"And so we don't know how to reconcile, or how to work things out with, with people because we're not entirely sure who they are "
The anonymity assertion "really touched a nerve," said Smith, who once directed a church ministry called Agathos, which cares for orphans.
"We are Christian, loving people who don't normally demonstrate," Smith added. "We want to have a quiet, strong message for Mark Driscoll, that people he has harmed over the years are not unknown to him as he has claimed."
The harming, according to disillusioned former members, ranged from verbal abuse to shunning to threats of retaliation.
Jim Henderson, a Seattle evangelical Christian and former pastor, is helping organize the Sunday protest, set for 10 a.m. outside the Mars Hill Church in Bellevue.
"I would call it a protest against his (Driscoll's) bullying tactics," said Henderson. "My concern is for young people in that church. I find it a manipulative and intimidating place."
As well, said Henderson, Mars Hill should not define religion in the greater Seattle area.
"We have people who are not Christians, who are watching this and asking, 'Where are the people who follow Jesus and why are they not speaking out?'" he said.
Mars Hill Church was founded in 1996. By 2009, Driscoll was being profiled in The New York Times Magazine. The church expanded to the point of claiming 14,000 members at 15 campuses in five states.
But former pastors have protested the church's treatment of people, and challenged Driscoll to submit to a mediation with his critics.
Driscoll did deliver a mea culpa of sorts to his flock last March. He apologized for the book-buying scheme, in which Mars Hill resources were used. He pledged to stay off social media for the rest of the year; Driscoll has drawn 460,000 followers on Twritter.
"I don't see how I can be both a celebrity and a pastor, and so I am happy to give up the former so that I can focus on the latter," he write.
Driscoll said he had also become "convinced by God that my angry-young-prophet days are over, to be replaced by a Bible teaching spiritual father."
He has undeniably sounded like a harsh father.
On Jan. 10, Driscoll tweeted: "If you are not a Christian, you are going to hell. It's not unloving to say that."
And at the conclusion of his Pussified Nation rant, Driscoll (or William Wallace II) declared:
"I know many of the women will disagree, and they like Eve should not speak on this matter.
"And, many men will also disagree, which is further proof of the pussificcation epidemic having now become air born and universal. Pussified men are inarguably legion. Nothing short of an exorcism is needed."
Justin Dean, the church's communications and editorial manager, released a statement about the story Wednesday evening.
"We would prefer not to comment on a potential protest at a Mars Hill weekend service," the statement reads. "We recognize fully that there are wide-ranging views and opinions about our church and our pastor and we acknowledge the right for anyone to disagree with us on any and all issues-we would only ask that they do so peaceably and respectful of those who do choose to worship with us."