Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Steve Tompkins of Mars Hill Shoreline Begins Repentance for His Sin Toward the Church


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. .....

First of all it means that what has been happening at Mars Hill is the work of Jesus in our midst. It means that the root of the problem is not satanic opposition or attack, nor is it social media or vocal online critics, nor is it the members or attenders of the church (past or present). Nor is it elders, deacons, staff and leaders who have called for change from within. In fact the root of the problem has been the leadership of the church who have been blindly committed to maintaining the status quo as if we simply need to push through what has so frequently been referred to as a “difficult season.” ....

Some may wonder why I have stayed at Mars Hill if indeed these are my convictions. The answer is quite simple and brings me back to Revelation 2-3 where Jesus calls—not just individuals—but entire churches to repentance. And if Jesus is calling Mars Hill to repent, then it is incumbent upon the elders to lead the way as those who must give an account. Therefore, I must repent as an elder in the office of elder taking responsibility for my sin as an elder. I must also seek to lead repentance and call others—especially among the elders—to join me every chance I get. This is what I am doing within Mars Hill as Jesus graciously continues opening my eyes. In addition, I have felt conviction before Jesus that I need to apologize and repent personally, face to face when possible, to former members, leaders and staff. I have therefore been revisiting situations that are years old as well as recent. I have been seeing them with new eyes and coming face to face with my own sin. 

End quote.

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.

But this was good, I have witnessed this personally:


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.

End quote.

False unity within church leadership is not only sin and hypocrisy, it's transparent by those gifted with biblical discernment and who love God and biblical Truth. And as usual, when such people challenge the status quo which is perpetrating sinful doctrine and practices among their church, they are shut down,  minimized, disregarded, and even unbiblically disciplined for superficial issues like "tone" (always a trump card by those who compromise the truth for the sake of tradition or unholy relationships).

The number one problem that discerning and truth-loving Christians are seeing among the churches is that of having disqualified shepherds try to lead the churches. Wrong doctrine (what they REALLY believe, not what they SAY they believe--and there's a huge difference) leads to wrong practice. Unqualified men in the shepherd's position end up misusing and abusing their role, not even understanding what an elder is,much less how to perform such a duty. Unbiblical authority becomes their hallmark.

If anything, let this be clear:  man does NOT ordain men to the office of elder (or deacon). Either one is qualified or he is not. Being called by a church does not make one called by God, nor does going to a seminary qualify a man to be an elder. The one God ordains is already demonstrating the qualifications and is serving--thus his God-ordained qualifications are observable, not created nor redefined to make him suddenly qualified.

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. 

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