Free lance writer Becky Garrison has been asking Mars Hill Church’s partners in education if there is any fallout relating Acts 29 Network’s removal of Mark Driscoll and the church from the organization’s membership. Western Seminary and Corban University are slated to offer classes at the church’s new Northrup Way location in Bellevue.
Garrison emailed Derek Hiebert, the Seattle Teaching Site Director for Western Seminary inquiring about the status of their relationship with Mars Hill given the fact that Western Seminary partners with the Acts 29 Network. Here is his response.
Thank you for your inquiry and question about the nature of our relationship with Mars Hill and Acts 29.
Western Seminary is committed to providing gospel-centered graduate level training in the Seattle metro area. Mars Hill acts as a partnered host organization providing facility and some of the logistics. Western is leading and implementing the content, curriculum, programs and structure of our training, while Mars Hill provides the space for us to accomplish the training. Western is excited to serve anyone and everyone in the Seattle area who desire to pursue theological and ministry training. Western is not under the authority or structure of Mars Hill. We are a separate and distinct organization here to serve Mars Hill and any other church, organization and person who wants to benefit from our ministry.
The nature of our partnership with both Mars Hill and Acts 29 is such that we will continue to serve both organizations. As a graduate level training institution, there is not a conflict of interest with the way that we serve both Mars Hill and Acts 29. Acts 29, as a separate organization, can decide the nature of their partnerships with churches and organizations. We do not influence their jurisdiction on those matters, nor do they influence ours.
Hope this helps for clarity. Please feel free to respond if you have more questions. We want to ensure everyone understands our role, vision and purpose in the Seattle area.
When she inquired about their stance on plagiarism given that Driscoll has committed plagiarism in multiple books, his answer failed to address the fact that Driscoll is scheduled to teach a course during the Spring 2015 .
As a gospel-centered evangelical institution, our policy is not to practice or encourage plagiarism. We maintain integrity within our walls when it comes to accurately citing sources we trust and with which we dialogue.
As an institution partnering with Mars Hill Church in order to serve the Seattle area with our training, we certainly do not condone plagiarism. Whatever the incidents are concerning this, we pray and hope that Mars Hill Church, as a separate organization, will be able to deal internally with them from a biblical perspective according to the gospel.
According to the Mars Hill Schools page, Driscoll and other MH pastors plan to teach for Western Seminary at the Seattle site:
You’ll learn from our senior pastors and ministry leaders as well as seminary professors, all on-site at Mars Hill Church Bellevue.
“As a graduate of Western Seminary, I am very excited to host this top-notch theological program and to be in the classroom investing in students committed to serving Jesus’ mission through the local church.”
Pastor Mark Driscoll, Founding, Preaching & Vision Pastor, Mars Hill Church
Mr. Hiebert did not return my call to learn if Western had dealt internally with the Driscoll plagiarism issue.
When Garrison asked Corban University about their current relationship with Mars Hill Church, she received this response from Steve Hunt, Vice President of Marketing for Corban University.
We, and others, are watching the events surrounding the Mars Hill ministry with interest as recent developments unfold. In November of 2013 we entered into an agreement to provide faculty for a Bible certificate at Mars Hills Schools, with the hope that many more people could benefit from deepening their understanding of the Word. That is still our hope and our commitment, and we are in dialog with all parties concerned to see if any developments will hinder our effort to carry out our mission ‘to educate Christians who will make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.’
Driscoll is on the schedule to teach an apologetics course at Corban’s Seattle Mars Hill site.
Western wants to make sure people know that the two institutions are separate and Corban is “watching the events.” I suspect more announcements are coming and I will update this post if either school addresses the plagiarism issues.