US megachurch Mars Hill is facing further scrutiny as its leadership continues to unravel amid heightened controversy.
Dustin Kensrue, formerly Mars Hill Church Director of Worship, resigned on Monday – marking him as the fourth signatory of this letter to have either stepped down or been removed from ministry.
According to Patheos blogger Warren Throckmorton, who has long detailed the Mars Hill controversy online, Gary Shavey and Adam Ramsey, both pastors at Mars Hill Bellevue have also resigned.
Mark Dunford, pastor of Mars Hill Portland, was reportedly removed from his job on 27 August.
Kensrue has now written a second letter to members and elders of the church explaining his decision, which he linked on Twitter on Wednesday.
Mars Hill elders and members, here is a link to my explanation of my resignation from staff and eldership. https://t.co/3Xm8Mn37M1— Dustin Kensrue (@dustinkensrue) September 3, 2014
In this letter, he explains his conviction that his resignation "is the most helpful and loving thing I can do for you [his congregation]".
According to Kensrue, after the letter urging lead pastor Mark Driscoll to step down was received by the upper echelons of the Mars Hill leadership team, he was left with few choices regarding his next steps.
"My options were to essentially do nothing and keep my mouth closed, to keep pressing internally until they were forced to fire me, or to resign," he writes.
"While the nine signers of the letter that was leaked last week have been met with gratefulness and an outpouring of prayer from the people of Mars Hill, internally we have been dismissed and defamed as "immature" among other epithets.
"We have been blamed for creating problems that we did not create, but rather only exposed. It seems that most everyone is able to see what is actually going on except for those who need to repent and take responsibility for this creating the problems we are facing."
Kensrue once again calls for greater transparency within Mars Hill, and for greater freedom for church leaders outside the Full Council of Elders to express their concerns.
He condemns the "unhealthy, fear-driven, self-protective leadership culture" that Driscoll's leadership has perpetuated, and the "man-made hierarchies" that underpin the church's structure.
"If Mars Hill is to survive even another six months it needs to be a place of radical repentance: repentance of pride, deception, domineering attitudes, lazy and self-serving hermeneutics, and a slew of other sins," Kensrue concludes his letter.
"If you are going to stay, I pray that you would be bold yet loving in your confrontation of these sins and your demand for repentance, because the church of Christ deserves nothing less."