So far, Pastor Mark Driscoll has taken the brunt of exposure here; with some being directed at the rest of the elders generally. Make no mistake, ALL of the executive elders have been involved in the manipulation of people, data, and events.
Pastor Jamie Munson is a great (and easy) example: He is credited with a good portion of the Elders Response Document (ERD), but his sections ignore most of the questions that he purports to address, and his responses are often very misleading, spinning the questions into ones that he preferred to address.
Take, for example, the below sections from page 56 and 57 of the ERD. In it there are about 13 different question, of which 2 were answered. Jamie did a crafty deflection of 3 of them tho…misleading comments that looked almost like answers. (Note, the text in red and/or blue was added by PH)
ERD pg 56
Q(A): 1) Is the process of member resignation enumerated in the by-laws? I can see that member resignation is waived or forfeited but it is not explicitly spelled out that member resignation is in any way parallel or comparable to elder resignation. Can we get some clarification about that? 2) Is it possible that barring any active church discipline a member may resign membership at any time for any reason? 3) Since pastors and elders are at will would it be safe to guess that membership is also at will?
Q:(B) The old by-laws (and the new) impose many restrictions on the individual member — such as not being able to resign if under church discipline and the giving up of any civil recourse against the church. They also state that by signing the member’s covenant the member is agreeing with the by-laws and the church’s statement of faith. (Candidates having been approved by at least one church member must affirm by signature their agreement with the Doctrinal Statement and the Bylaws of Mars Hill Church) Given these facts I ask the following:
1) Why have the by-laws been inaccessible to members when agreement to them is required to be a member? Would not this make these impositions on the members irrelevant and non-enforceable?
2) Should not every membership be held in suspension every time the by-laws are amended so that members can review the change and assert their agreement to it?
3) Is it just assumed that even though the vast majority of members have not seen the by-laws —that by signing the member’s covenant (which does not state or imply agreement to the by-laws) they somehow intuitively are in agreement and agree to have their rights removed — such as the appeal to a civil court or the desire to leave?
4) Are all of the members of Mars Hill Church going to be asked to read the new by-laws and re-affirm membership — or is agreement just assumed or imposed on each member?
5) If a non-member who desires to become a member is asserting (by signing the covenant) that they agree to the by-laws, then it is clear that the by-laws need to be seen by non-members. This would necessitate that they be accessible to non-members. Why have members now being asked to keep the document non-accessible to non-members?
6) & 7)Seeing that membership requires agreement with the by-laws,
a) should every existing member carefully read the new by-laws and resign if they are not in full agreement with them as Pastor Paul did on Friday?
b) will every future amendment be presented to the members so that they can in good conscience resign if they do not agree with an amendment that occurs?
Q(C): 1) How does the requirement of members signing agreement with the by-laws, in addition to the member covenant and the doctrinal statement, help the pastors fulfill their obligations to all church members as laid out in the member covenant? 2) How does signing agreement to the new by-laws help members fulfill their obligations as laid out in the membership covenant? Do they? 3) If we have gotten along fine without signing off on the old by-laws or even knowing what they were how does signing agreement to the new by-laws change things?
A(#1): It is the prerogative of any member to withdraw from membership for any reason. Unless that person was under church discipline, the member would be granted their request. (answers Q(A) 2 & 3) (But Jamie…how on EARTH did the Elders decided to retroactively discipline Paul Petry when they accepted his resignation at least a month prior?
A (#2) The Bylaws will be attached to this document and will be accessible for both members and potential members to view and examine. There is no violation to read and distribute these Bylaws to others. Jamie, you didn’t answer the questions. Q(#2) 1 & 5 were asking about why they had been (past tense) prohibited up to this point…a question that would have been worth addressing. Your response deals with policy from that point forward.),The issue you may be referring is for confidential documents entrusted to the elders for examination prior to ratification through a formal vote. (Not so, Jamie: a number of folks, including PH, rec’d a copy of the old bylaws in Sept of 07… they clearly state in the footer: “Mars Hill Church Bylaws – use discretion with contents”.)
ERD pg 57
Q: Is it normal to co-mingle church discipline with legal sanctions? Shouldn’t these be separate issues. Surely we can deal with problems of gossip or slanderous talk within the church. The way it is set up now, we’ve created an actual legal sanction for merely contradicting the opinion of the elders.
A: The Bylaws state that this action is required for elders, but not for members. ???? Jamie, what on earth were you responding to with that answer?
PH is certain that Jamie possesses the requisite intelligence to function as an Elder and therefore the above responses were no accident. If a person states that they have “answered all of the questions”, yet the above characterizes their submissions, is that person qualified to be an Elder?