NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — Church-planting network Acts 29 has removed Mars Hill Church and its controversial pastor, Mark Driscoll, from its membership.
Driscoll, who started the Seattle church in 1996 and helped found Acts 29, has long been a polarizing figure due to his direct leadership style and his often crude speaking and writing manner. He has come under fire in recent days for inflammatory comments he made on the Internet 14 years ago under a pseudonym.
“It is with deep sorrow that the Acts 29 Network announces its decision to remove Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church from membership in the network,” a statement released by the board of Acts 29 said. “It is our conviction that the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network.”
Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, is president of Acts 29. The Village Church also cooperates with the Southern Baptist Convention, and Chandler is a well-known speaker at many Southern Baptist events. He assumed the presidency of Acts 29 in 2012, when Driscoll stepped down from the role.
Acts 29 counts 500 churches around the world as members. Many of them also cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention, though the two organizations have disagreed over issues ranging from alcohol to Calvinism to Driscoll’s demeanor.
The board’s brief statement concluded by saying, “In taking this action, our prayer is that it will encourage the leadership of Mars Hill to respond in a distinctive and godly manner so that the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored.”
Compiled by Laura Erlanson, operations coordinator for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).