Ron Wheeler planted the first Acts 29 church in Mt. Vernon, WA. Wheeler was a regular companion of Mark Driscoll in the early days of Mars Hill Church. Now, Ron Wheeler has posted an open letter to Driscoll which documents his perspective on the early days of Mars Hill Church, Acts 29 Network and culminates with a plea that Driscoll resign as pastor of Mars Hill Church.
Dear Mark Driscoll:
You were once one of my closest friends.
You were once my trusted mentor and benefactor.
You were once someone who preached the Gospel with a fierce and captivating passion and purity.
You were the one who inspired me to be a preacher… a church planter.
You’ve destroyed people, Mark. You’ve ruined people’s reputations. Through your own perverse interpretation of “God’s grace”, you’ve cast people aside who you decided were not “on mission” spoke of “a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus.” The pragmatism backfired. What you won them with, is what you won them too, and now there are thousands who have been hurt, and who have hurt others. Beautifully, many of them are finding forgiveness and healing as they reconnect with each other and grow in grace.
Please Mark. Just stop. Step down. Resign. There was a brilliant post today on Dave Orrison’s blog Grace for my Heart that defined the difference between a narcissistic apology and a real apology. The center of the narcissistic apology is the offender saying “I am hurting because of this.” The real apology sees the victim in the center and says, “You are hurting because of this.” The difference – and a critical one – is empathy. As my wife so insightfully noted, “a narcissistic apology is when the apology itself is actually abusive.” It’s extremely manipulative.
and then ends:
I love you and your family, and will be earnestly praying for you in all of this.
I have the same phone number and email. You know how to find me.
My name is Ron Wheeler.
I Am Not Anonymous.
No matter where you stand on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, if you are interested in the developments there and in the larger church planting movement, this post by Wheeler is must reading.