This time it's not for talking about sex or the role of women, it's for using an "old school" biblical hammer -- "shunning."
Some former members say this is nothing new, but now they can speak out about what they call Mars Hill's heavy hand.
The Mars Hill Church that Seattle has come to know includes clips of Pastor Mark Driscoll preaching fire and brimstone, "If you don't know Jesus you don't know jack about the Bible ... " with his denim-clad, rock-n-roll persona.
But to former members, Mars Hill carries a different vibe.
Former member Kaelee Bates said, "It was honestly scary and frightening to like be there ... I had such a bad experience I felt traumatized."
Former member Kevin Potts added: "(It was) do what we say -- don't ask questions."
Mars Hill is known for its counter-culture hipster vibe all wrapped around its very conservative Christian message. It started more than a decade ago in Ballard and -- according to the Mars Hill website -- has grown to more than 19,000 members and 14 church sites. Each site may have its own musicians and pastors, but they all hear Pastor Driscoll's weekly sermons via satellite.
In recent months, church discipline has prompted growing disenchantment and outrage among former members.
"There's something wrong happening there and my sense of justice can't let me be quiet about it," Potts said.
The source of the recent angst is a letter made brutally public on a Mars Hill members-only website. It's about a 25-year-old man who had sex with his fiancee. The letter names the man and refers to his "unrepentant sexual sin." It goes on to say he refused to sign a church discipline contract requiring him to, among other things, write out his entire sexual history. Because of his refusal, all members must now shun him -- cut him off from all social interaction -- until he repents.
Hearing about the "shunning" letter was a revelation to Bates.
"It was such a great moment," Bates said. "I'm not alone -- other people have experienced this."
She says when she left the church about two years ago, she was also targeted.
"They try to silence you and if you don't agree with them they just cut you out of their life, like you don't exist anymore," Bates said.
She calls what she experienced religious trauma. "It's an abusive relationship -- just on a larger scale, with more people," she said.
Kevin Potts eventually left the church he loved after he said he was repeatedly told not to question the decisions of church leadership. He believes the formal "shunning" is heavy-handed and evidence that the church has grown into a bully.
"That's horrendously invasive into every element of his personal life," Potts said.
Mars Hill founder Mark Driscoll was unavailable for an on camera interview, though he did record a Valentine's Day interview with ABC focusing on his new book about marriage and sex. Correspondent Dan Harris asked, "Where do you come down on oral sex?" Driscoll responded, "the Bible seems to speak of it on a few occasions and recognizes it as an acceptable aspect of marriage."
But Marketing Director Justin Dean responded via e-mail saying, "the purpose of notifying people within the church was not to harm XXXX, but to help deliver him down a path of reconciliation and repentance" and "the letter was meant to be privately read" by about 15 people online, and that it was "only necessary to inform the people within his close community of friends."
Former members don't buy that explanation and say they know of at least 150 people who were sent the letter. Bates adds, "when you feel that it's wrong, chances are it's probably wrong."