Relevant Magazine reports all Mars Hill churches are shutting down for good.
Here is an open letter of repentance and accountability from Steve Tompkins, pastor at Mars Hill, Shoreline:
There were two things that caught my attention. Here's the first one:
Eight or nine months ago as I was reflecting on Revelation 2-3 (the letters to the seven churches), I began to feel that Jesus was placing Mars Hill under discipline and calling us to repent. Over the course of these past months this text of scripture, especially the first and last letters (those to Ephesus and Laodicea), have consistently formed the paradigm through which I have come to view events, attitudes, and decisions at Mars Hill. In these letters we see Jesus walking among his churches. He knows what is happening. He speaks his words of commendation as well as rebuke. He calls the churches to have ears to hear. .....
I believe that Mars Hill was not built by Christ Jesus, because it was built out of a rebellious heart through the Emergent Church Movement. It was built on arrogance, youth, rebellion, on unbelief in Scripture, on pragmaticism, on seeker-friendly nonsense. What I think this pastor is missing is that God is destroying that which was never HIS to begin with (thus the downfall of Mark Driscoll). God doesn't reform a false church. Maybe he'll eventually see the root problem.I don't know....
That said, I am glad he's taking personal responsibility for his own sin and going to as many people as possible to reconcile and repent regardless of the time of those particular events.
What I have seen on multiple occasions is that when a leader raises an issue with Mars Hill or Mars Hill leadership, they themselves soon become the issue rather than the issue they raised. What they said, for example, is invalidated by how they said it, or because they did not follow proper procedure or protocol. Then, almost inevitably it is not long before they are gone from their position, their job, or the church itself. Often, their integrity was then slandered and their character maligned. Resorting to ad hominem narrative as a response to conflict is horrible and devastating in the extreme. Ad hominem narrative is essentially to defensive one’s own righteousness rather than to trust the righteousness of Another. It never confesses or takes responsibility for sin. It is inconsistent with humility. It resists repentance at any cost. It is therefore antithetical to the gospel.
I believe that, although his repentance appears to be genuine, Tompkins is disqualified for the eldership, because he has violated quite a number of requirements. If he's truly humbled, he should step down from the elder board while continuing to repent and reconcile. There's no other biblical solution. A role doesn't cause change from within: true humble repentance and actions that meet with it, can, by God's Word and Spirit.