Pastor Mark Driscoll Contravenes Biblical (and Mars Hill) Policy

Hearsay is generally defined as “statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.”(Wikipedia). Yeah…what does that mean? According to my lawyer friend…(not Paul Petry, btw) it means that “generally speaking, if a person says that he, or another person did or said something, that statement cannot be used in court.”

So…what is the big deal? Again I asked my friend to help me out on this one:

Hearsay is a problem because humans are by their nature unreliable: they often don’t remember things as well as they think they do, their view of the facts can be skewed by personal opinion or agenda, they lie, and of course there are many other fallibilities. These fallibilities apply equally to the witness and to the person who repeats the comment in a proceeding.

We assume that if we require a witness to appear and make the statement in person; the witness is more likely to take the matter seriously, less likely to lie under oath, and less likely to lie in front of a judge/jury who are judging whether s/he is being truthful. Additionally, appearing in person allows the witness and the statments to be crossexamined, to check for things like inaccuracy, outright lying, bias, personal agendas, mischaracterization of facts, clarification of the matter being spoken of, etc. etc.

According to the Mars Hill Elders:

Those who have been offended must be careful not to ascribe guilt to others without faithfully seeking truth about what was done or said. Hearsay or second hand report from one person do not qualify as a credible charge. (Deut 19:15, 1 Tim 5:19)” (Church Discipline – Mars Hill Church Elder’s Document, Dec.2007).

There were NO witnesses allowed at the “trials” of Paul Petry or Bent Meyer. In fact, as PH understands it, until about 12 hours before the “trial” not even the Defendants were going to be permitted to attend. Pastor Mark Driscoll, the primary representative of Mars Hill Church, states that hearsay is not permissible in the clip below (again, PH had nothing to do with this clip):

How would YOU like to be convicted at a trial where you could not face your accusors – where anything a person wanted to say about you could be used as evidence against you? Has anybody ever misunderstood or taken out of context YOUR words or actions, or believed untrue things about you spoken by somebody else?

And, are individuals who contravene biblical teaching (and their own policy) for the sake of expedience qualified to be elders?


7 Responses to Pastor Mark Driscoll Contravenes Biblical (and Mars Hill) Policy

  1. Stan says:

    It’s even worse when the charges represent making judgments about the state of a man’s heart… who can rightly judge our hearts? … And, about issues that are very subjective.. what is an “unhealthy distrust…”? what is a healthy distrust? What standard has been articulated to be judged against? That’s why the trials are viewed as credible as a communist era “show trial”…

    What is truly embarassing about the whole affair is that the Executive Elders and some of the remaining elders are PROUD of how they conducted themselves…it makes any fair-minded observer shake their head…

  2. Skeptical Member says:

    I do not think most of the elders even know what hearsay is.

    In their minds it cannot be hearsay if it came from Mark Driscoll or one of the other executive elders. They are after all trusted men. They would never repeat hearsay.

    Of course, as Praying Heart points out, the very definition of hearsay is “any statement other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted”. This means that most of the “evidence” presented at the trial was hearsay and one-sided.

    This would not be allowed in a Biblical trial or in a court of law. It is grossly unfair. It is clearly unfair. It is sinful.

    It also violates Mars Hill own discipline document and the position the Mark Driscoll holds.

    Speak to any of the elders about this. Many say that despite the use of hearsay the men were still guilty. This just demonstrates the danger of hearsay. It is a one sided report of truth. The trouble is that often even the prosecutors sometimes get it wrong. That is why cross-examination is so useful and needed.

    Yet no witnesses were present at the trial to have their words examined. Their words were presented at the trial in the language, tone and bias of the accusing elders.

    No wonder the pastors received a guilty verdict.

    As Pastor Mark pointed out.. “The one who states his case first seems right,
    until the other comes and examines him.” Prov 18:17

    Sadly, our elders were either incompetent or simple enough to note see the folly of having a trial without witnesses.

    Or perhaps they were intentional.

    After all. Who would have the courage to speak up.

    They would lose their job.

  3. dufus says:

    “incompetent or simple”

    no way man…uh….. what is the problim man. who cares man… this is the only real job i have ever had man… what do mean hearsay? let it go man… hearsay is not evin in the bible man…i heard the main dude… he would never repeat hearsay man… nothing he repeated was hearsay man… i know it….

    i knew they were guilty before the trial even began man…

    now lets just move on forget this little mess man..

    uh.. yeah.. lets also vote on giving up our power and authority man… they will never fire me anyway.. I am tight with the main dudes….

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was conducting some internet-based research on Mark Driscoll and came across this website.

    I have no affiliation whatsoever with Mr. Driscoll or his church. I know about him only through the internet. Based on what I’ve seen, he seems like a great guy who has said things that need to be said. This doesn’t mean that I agree with him on everything, but I still like him nonetheless.

    Naturally, you will wonder why I’m commenting since nothing that is happening at his church is any of my business. You would be correct in thinking that. It ISN’T any of my business. Nor is it the business of everyone else in cyberspace. If you don’t mind my asking, do you really think it’s appropriate to air your church’s dirty laundry on the internet? Would it not be better to sort it out among yourselves in private? Does Mr. Driscoll even know that this website exists?

    With all due respect, we Protestants often wonder why so many denominational divisions exist in our circles – this would be one good reason.

    I hope all parties in this situation can work this out amicably and restore their relationships with one another in the spirit of Christian brotherhood and solidarity.

  5. A Closer Walk says:


    If you did a little research on this matter you will see that the matter has been squelched at Mars Hill Church. This matter is being discussed in cyberspace precisely because the elders will not openly discuss it with us members.

  6. Army81 says:

    The matter has been utterly squelched at Mars Hill. Members were strongly discouraged and/or outright prohibited. Members who tried to challenge the policies or even bring up the matters in a civil manner have been disciplined. Members who bring up the matters with elders are either patronized or intimidated, depending on who they talk to;. This is the only type of forum available to us.

  7. prayingheart says:

    Yes, Pastor Driscoll and the MH Elders are well aware of this site – since the site is pursuing reconciliation it would be pointless if they did not. To PH’s knowledge, most members who post or read here have no desire to part company with Mars Hill – nor did those who got unceremoniously booted by MH for respectfully but vigorously dissenting. If you wish to contact PH, feel free to email .

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