SEATTLE — Controversial Seattle megachurch founder Mark Driscoll has resigned from Mars Hill Church, stating that he does not wish to continue to be a distraction to the ministry although a six-week review of charges lodged by others within the church cleared him of moral wrongdoing.
Driscoll submitted a letter to Michael Van Skiak, the chairman of the Board of Advisors and Accountability over Mars Hill Church, on Tuesday.
“By God’s grace I have pastored Mars Hill Church for 18 years. Today, also by God’s grace, and with the full support of my wife Grace, I resign my position as a pastor and elder of Mars Hill,” he wrote. “I do so with profound sadness, but also with complete peace.”
Driscoll thanked the board for concluding that he “had not disqualified [him]self from ministry” following an official review of his leadership, while also acknowledging aspects of his personality that he has needed to repent of through the years.
“There are many things I have confessed and repented of, privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit,” he explained. “As I shared with our church in August, ‘God has broken me many times in recent years by showing me where I have fallen short, and while my journey, at age 43, is far from over, I believe He has brought me a long way from some days I am not very proud of, and is making me more like Him every day.'”
But Driscoll said that while he was innocent of any moral failures or heresy, he did not wish to be a source of contention and thus take away from the church’s focus on evangelism and discipleship.
“Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ,” he wrote.
The author and speaker requested prayers for the days ahead, and wished his best the for the future of Mars Hill.
“[I]t would be my hope to convey to the wonderful members of the Mars Hill family how deeply my family and I love them, thank them, and point them to their Senior Pastor Jesus Christ who has always been only good to us,” he concluded.
As previously reported, Driscoll temporarily stepped down from his leadership position at Mars Hill in August during a six-week review of charges lodged by 21 former pastors who accused him of abusing his power. He expressed his regret for his actions at that time.
“God is not honored by conflict, strife, disunity, arguing, slander, gossip, or anything else that is inconsistent with the fruit of the spirit, and I am deeply sorry, genuinely sorry, for the times I have not lived peaceably with all men,” Driscoll said.
The church-planting network Acts 29 also had asked him to step down and “seek help.” LifeWay Christian Resources then pulled Driscoll’s books from their shelves.
“I want to say to my Mars Hill family, past and present, I’m very sorry. I genuinely mean it,” he told the congregation on Aug. 24 through a pre-recorded message. “I’m very sorry for the times I’ve been angry, short or insensitive. I’m very sorry for anything I’ve done to distract from our mission by inviting criticism, controversy or negative media attention.”