Former elders at Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church in Seattle have contradicted his account of the events that led to his acrimonious departure and the church's closure.
Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill in October 2014 in the wake of a string of revelations about a coercive and bullying culture, plagiarism and allegations that donations had been improperly applied. The church closed at the end of the year and Driscoll has since relaunched his ministry.
Asked about the events on the Life Today TV programme, he blamed an 'eight-year governance war' at the church, saying it centred on disputes over power with his subordinate elders. In a transcript posted by blogger Warren Throckmorton he says: ' They wanted to have independent local churches and we were one large church in many locations. So there was an eight-year battle that finally went public the last year and it was very painful for everyone involved, especially the wonderful, dear, generous, amazing people that served and gave and made it all happen.'
However, Throckmorton said he had been contacted by a dozen former elders who took issue with Driscoll's account. One told him: 'Mark's version is revisionist history. There was no battle. He was always in charge of the church. He ruled it and steered it as he wished. He mostly had "yes" men on board who did what he wanted.'
The former elders who contacted Throckmorton denied any of the 67 elders had wanted to break away and form their own independent churches. One said: 'The common thread in all these events has to do with Mark's character flaws, authoritarian leadership style, unresolved conflict and his biblical qualifications for being an elder being questioned, due to many specific and ongoing patterns, incidents, and behaviors. No discussions in elder meetings over those 8 years involved anything to do with church governance, as that was not even a consideration or topic of conversation.'