Wednesday, April 1, 2009

mars hill and why i don't go there, epilogue

I know there are Mars Hill supporters who read my blog sometimes, and they still don't seem to understand why I have a problem with that church, so I want to post this as some food for thought. I got this email today from a mental health counselor and a survivor of spiritual abuse, who said this about Mars Hill church in Seattle:

I perceive many signs of cult like control/spiritual abuse: Controlling Pastor/ with “Yes Men” Elders; No Talk Rule; No Dissent; Emphasis on Submission/Obedience; Shunning of "Unrepentant" Former Members; Dis-fellowshipping Questioners/Critical Thinkers; By Laws Removing Accountability of Pastor/Elders; Mind/Thought Control; Membership Covenant and Financial Giving Pledge Required; "Biblical" Counseling Only, if Referred Out, Must Sign Release Form (no confidentiality allowed); Kangaroo Court Firing of Two Elders Who Dared to Question; Extreme Gender Role Enforcement; Members Must Attend Accountability/”Community” Groups… Scary!

I would love to connect with other Former Mars Hill Attenders/Members.

If anyone is interested, the offer's here if you want to connect. My experience with spiritual abuse was crippling and I have a big heart for others to heal. It's been difficult and yet amazing.


Bibliophile said...

I know that situation. How I wish that those still attending my former cult-like church would read about spiritual abuse and learn to sense it. But I remember being in it, and I would not have listened. Only after being tossed out was I able to see things with a more realistic perspective.

Here's a site that provides all kinds of resources on spiritual abuse:

Hugh said...

The very name worries me - Mars was the Roman god of war and so is not a good choice of name for a Christian organisation combining, as it does, pagan worship and violence. Even if they met at a place called Mars Hill (which doesn't seem to be the case from their website) they should have been able to find a more applicable name - or perhaps they found the right one ;)

Benjamin Ady said...

You're awesome.

Truth and Grace said...

If you'd like to learn more about my experience with Mars Hill(I'm the one who contacted Stephy about Mars Hill & the evident spiritual abuse happening there) and some research I've done about MHC, visit my blog:

Thanks, Steph, for posting what I'd sent you. I really want people to know what they're involved in or what they're coming out of and recovering from!

Truth & Grace

stephy said...

Thanks T&G, I just posted a new bit about it. I really hope some people can break out of it. I know some people who attend there and they're really wonderful, salt of the earth, meek and sweet, but they all have a deflated quality to them and it worries me.
Thanks for reaching out with your blog.

Bad Alice said...

This isn't in defense of Mars Hill, about which I know almost nothing. Spiritual abuse is a serious problem with a lot of churches and I'm sorry when anybody is the victim of it.

I wanted to respond to Hugh. The name may seem disturbing, but no doubt they are thinking of Paul delivering his sermon on Mars Hill. It's a biblical reference that reminds them of spreading the news to unbelievers. There is another church I know of with the same name.

stephy said...

For anyone who cares: a fake twitter for Mark Driscoll, the pastor of the Seattle Mars Hill church.