Mars Hill Bellevue Becomes Doxa Church

After incorporating as Bellevue Church, and using Eastside church for awhile, the Mars Hill Bellevue leaders seem to have settled on Doxa Church as the new name for the Jeff Vanderstelt led church. From Jason Skelton late yesterday:

If you were at any of our gatherings on Sunday, you had the opportunity to join with us in the exciting news that we have welcomed Jeff Vanderstelt as the Lead Teaching Pastor of our new church. He will begin in this new role on January 1st, 2015.

As a part of our series, Jeff preached on Sunday and also shared the new name of the church: Doxa Church. Doxa is the Greek word for Glory, and foundational to the choice of the name Doxa is Colossians 1:27 which reads: “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Jeff’s sermon was a part of the series “Jesus: Gift of God” and the focus of this sermon was on the name “Immanuel,” which means “God with us”, showing how Jesus is the fulfillment of  Isaiah’s prophecy. We encourage you to watch the entirety of the sermon to understand the deep meaning of our church name.

We look forward to seeing you this Sunday, December 28th, as we celebrate the work that God has done through Mars Hill Church. We will have one special service together at 10amRick Warren of Saddleback Church has prepared a special message that will be shared.

On behalf of the elders, we want to wish you a Merry Christmas. See you on Sunday!

In Christ,

Jason

Have $100,000? You Could Own TheResurgence.com

It is for sale. Asking price $100k.
The following is from an email sent to prospective buyers from a law firm in Texas.

You are being contacted because it is my understanding you have inquired about purchasing select assets related to the resurgence.com website and domain name.  We appreciate your expression of interest and are reaching out to interested parties and soliciting offers for this website content, technology, accounts, etc.
The asking price is $100,000 and the Resurgence content will be sold to the best offer subject to an undisclosed reserve.  Your offer may be more or less than the asking price.
  • We will be taking offers until 1/05/2015
  • We will choose an offer on or before 01/15/2015
  • Please direct any questions and offers to me, Steven Goodspeed
Here is what you can have for $100k:

Included is:

 

Rick Warren to Preach Final Sermon at Mars Hill Church

Knock me over with a feather.

This Sunday, December 28th, will be our final Sunday as Mars Hill Church. We hope you will join us as each of our churches will be holding worship services.
As we reflect on over eighteen years of ministry, and ultimately close the doors on Mars Hill Church, we are thankful that many of our churches will continue as new independent, autonomous churches. While Mars Hill Church will cease to exist, God’s work through his people will continue.
Our dear friend Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church has graciously offered to preach the final sermon for us. Each of our churches will be showing a special message from Pastor Rick, based on John 12:24.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
Our hope is that this timely message will be an encouragement for the people that have called Mars Hill Church their home, as we reflect on the great impact our church has had on the kingdom of God, as well as an ecouragement (sic) for the new churches emerging out of Mars Hill, and the potential they have to continue bearing much fruit.
Please join us this Sunday. We hope to see you there.

That’s one way to close down a church.
 

Mark Driscoll Launches New Official Website

Looking just like the Mars Hill Church website, Mark Driscoll has launched MarkDriscoll.org.
Incorporated in Texas, the bio begins:

Pastor Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor. In 2010, Preaching magazine named him one of the 25 most influential pastors of the past 25 years. He’s grateful to be a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody.
Pastor Mark is the author of many books, has written for CNN, Fox News, and The Washington Post, and has been featured as a columnist for The Seattle Times.

I suspect the first line will really inflame the Mars Hill in exile folks. The more complete picture includes a church-leaving, elders’-avoiding ex-pastor. I know anyone can take the title pastor but one often thinks of it in relationship to the pastor of a church.
This line is ironic since Driscoll was removed from the network earlier this year:

He is the co-founder of the Acts 29 Network, which has planted over 400 churches in the US and 13 other nations.

Then there is this line:

With a skillful mix of bold presentation, accessible teaching, and unrelenting compassion for those who are hurting the most—particularly women who are victims of sexual and physical abuse and assault—Pastor Mark has taken biblical Christianity into cultural corners rarely explored by evangelicals.

I’ll let readers react to that one.
Pretty amazing really to start the make-over so quickly.
Reminds me of the ServPro commercials; like it never even happened:
[youtube]http://youtu.be/BghyifwhQ4c[/youtube]
An interesting about the website: it is registered to Mars Hill Fellowship (go here and look up the domain name).

Domain Name:MARKDRISCOLL.ORG
Domain ID: D104853693-LROR
Creation Date: 2004-09-07T15:38:06Z
Updated Date: 2014-12-10T02:19:44Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2015-09-07T15:38:06Z
Sponsoring Registrar:eNom, Inc. (R39-LROR)
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 48
WHOIS Server: 
Referral URL: 
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registrant ID:24938753-NSI
Registrant Name:Mars Hill Fellowship Seattle
Registrant Organization:Mars Hill Fellowship Seattle
Registrant Street: 7758 Earl Ave NW
Registrant City:Seattle
Registrant State/Province:WA
Registrant Postal Code:98117
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.2067066641
Registrant Phone Ext: 
Registrant Fax: 
Registrant Fax Ext: 
Registrant Email:jason@MARSHILLCHURCH.ORG

The domain was created in 2004 but renewed this month. The email contact uses a domain name not now used by Mars Hill Church. According to Wenatchee the Hatchet, Mars Hill Fellowship may be separate from Mars Hill Church. I don’t understand the legal issues here, but this information makes me wonder if Mark Driscoll might make a come back as pastor of a Mars Hill Fellowship.
This information also increases the pressure on the church to explain how they are stewarding their present resources. They just spend thousands to investigate Driscoll and found that he should step down and enter a restoration program. Now he shows up with an asset registered to what looks like was the forerunner of the church. Dud they hand over the domain to him? Mars Hill Church is still listed as the contact.
On the site, Driscoll asks for “tax-deductible” gifts which apparently go to something called Learning for Living, described as “an application-pending registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible in full or in part.” Nothing by that name comes up in a search of charities in Washington state.
I suspect this news adds new urgency to the recent challenge by former elder Jon Krombein to release the Driscoll investigation results.
Click here to read the incorporation paper. The attorney is Anthony and Middlebrook, who represented them in their fuss with Santa Ana, CA when the church refused to obey the city’s zoning laws.
 

Mediation Sought by Former Mars Hill Church Members and Donors

This just in…

For IMMEDIATE Release
Mediation Sought by Former Mars Hill Church Members and Donors
SEATTLE, Dec. 22, 2014

A group of former Mars Hill Church members and donors are pursuing mediation with Mars Hill Church to accomplish a number of goals: full financial transparency, an acknowledgment of and some form of restitution for those harmed by Mars Hill, the release of the Board of Elders investigative report of the charges against the former Mars Hill pastor, Mark Driscoll, and an acknowledgment that Driscoll was found to be disqualified.

The group’s attorney, Brian Fahling, is preparing a RICO lawsuit filing based on allegations of fraud related to the solicitation of funds. Mars Hill previously indicated a desire to resolve the issues through mediation, but asked to see more details regarding the RICO filing first. Church leaders will be given a specific amount of time to review the materials and respond. The group prepared to file the lawsuit agrees mediation is preferable and are hopeful the parties can come to agreement quickly.

$40,000 in matching funds has been offered by an anonymous donor to help pay the costs of mediation, and to file and pursue the lawsuit if necessary.

The group is soliciting funds through a GoFundMe account at http://www.gofundme.com/j7wh4c.

The description of the fund includes information about an alternate way to donate.

The press release was changed to insert the word fraud instead misappropriation.

Former Elder Jon Krombein Issues Public Challenge to Current Mars Hill Pastors To Release Information

Former Mars Hill Elder Jon Krombein today released a public statement on his Facebook page:

Attention: Dave Bruskas, David Fairchild, Ed Choi, Tim SmithRyan Williams, Matthias Heusel, Aaron Gray, Bubba Jennings, AJ Hamilton, Matt Rogers, Jason Skelton, Scott Harris, and Seth Winterhalter

You all know more than you are saying about Mark Driscoll’s fitness for eldership, and the way that Mars Hill “cooked the books” with Result Source, MH Global, and Executive Elder pay. These things will not just disappear when Mars Hill ceases to be. Your culpability in all of them will hang over your future ministries and you’re new church “plants.”

You owe it to Jesus, the people who are continuing to trust your leadership, and the thousands who’ve left MH to come clean on everything. And if your honesty is to mean anything or carry any weight it needs to come before the end of the year. I have heard from a few of you that 1) you believe that because you weren’t in the room when decisions were being made, that you are not in any way responsible and that it is therefore not “your information” to share, and 2) that because some of you have decided to remain quiet, that you are all bound to silence together. Those are both lies, and I rebuke them.

You are the senior leaders. Your people trusted you to be informed, make decisions, and steward well. You may have not be in the room when decisions were made, but you knew the details before most and you certainly know the details now. You should have raised the flag as soon as you saw the problem. As well, there is no honor and fidelity between you that should be at a level greater than your fidelity to Jesus. To say that you won’t speak up because the others have decided not to is a cop-out. If you really think that you are fit to plant and lead a new church, your leadership starts now. Do the hard and correct thing by being honest now. If you don’t, the spectre will haunt the rest of your future ministry.

Whether or not it is true, there is much speculation that you are being silent because you fear that speaking up before 1/1/2015 could jeopardize your seed money or a building gift for your “new” church plant. If you do end up disclosing more after the first of the year, that will prove that you were acting in fear now. A man who is afraid to be honest out of fear for personal protection is man who should not be jumping in to lead a new church.

You don’t have to answer to me or anyone else on this earth, but you will have to answer to Jesus.

The challenge speaks for itself.

Vision Nationals: Another Part of Mars Hill Global Which May Lose Funding

Last week, I posted an update on Mars Hill Church’s Ethiopian connection, New Covenant Foundation. Even though Mars Hill Church raised millions by featuring their work, church leaders still have not pledged to give some of the seed money from the church dissolution to these pastors.
The other main international outreach was in India via Vision Nationals. Arjuna Chiguluri is the director of the mission and responded to my request for clarification of the current situation at Mars Hill.

Let me just start by saying that we are heartbroken over all that’s transpired, and we pray for all those affected.
As you know, Mars Hill Church has been a faithful supporter of our ministry for more than 15 years, and we are grateful for all they’ve done to help us plant churches in India. It’s been a truly generative partnership. Many have come to know Jesus as a result.
Anytime an organization loses a significant source of funding, it hurts, but we are very optimistic that God will provide. He has done so for more than 22 years, and we have no reason to believe that He will stop now.
As you think of it, Warren, please pray for India. We have more human need and more unreached people groups than any other nation on earth. Believing that Christ is the key to human flourishing, our passion is to proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel for as long as we have breath.
God bless you, brother, and thank you for reaching out to me.
In the ministry that counts,
Arjuna

As far as I can tell, these two mission groups believe in “human flourishing” as they spread the gospel and seek to improve the quality of life in the communities where they plant churches.
The latest information I have is that the seed money is designed to cover the expenses of the spin-off churches for three months. Surely, the church should donate a share of money from dissolution to these pastors and their families, many of whom live in poverty. With the wealth remaining at Mars Hill, there should be enough in a share to support these pastors for years.
Additional information: I should have added to this post the statement made by Mars Hill about Ethiopia and India:

Additionally, in 2015 we expect to make a final donation to Vision Nationals in India, and New Covenant Foundation in Ethiopia, prior to distributing net assets to the new independent churches, and some of the new local churches hope to continue the legacy of supporting these missions.

While this sounds like the missionaries will get funds, it is not clear that this pledge is for anything more than was planned if the church had remained open. However, neither group seemed to be aware of anything beyond the 2015 money already committed for the fiscal year. Mars Hill is closing in the middle of the fiscal year and it appears that they “expect” to complete their donation for until June 2015.
What I am talking about (and I believe  I wasn’t as clear as I needed to be) is a substantial distribution more akin with what came in through the Global Fund. I hope Mars Hill leaders surprise the world and publicize where the distribution is going. From the current statements of the church and the missionaries, I don’t expect anything more to be given than what was planned for the remainder of the FY.
 

David Barton Settles Defamation Claims Out of Court

Update: Maybe Barton didn’t get a million after all. This from The Blaze:

The historian declined to give the exact sum of money received, as settlements are sometimes less than the sum presented in a judgement.

In conversation with attorneys, I have heard the same thing. I think this is a way to say he didn’t get a million.
————-
Late last night,WorldNetDaily posted an article claiming that David Barton won a million-dollar defamation suit. More accurately, he settled out of court, but he did get the apology he wanted. To my knowledge, this was first reported by Donna Garner in October.
Garner posted the entire apology:

During our respective campaigns in 2010 for separate positions on the Texas State Board of Education, we published a video entitled: ”A True Tale From Texas,” that created a false impression about David Barton. The purpose of that video was to discredit our Republican Party political opponents on the State Board of Education, and those on whom they relied, by depicting their position as politically extreme and detrimental to education. Thus, the video stated that David Barton, who advised the State Board of Education, is known for speaking at white supremacist rallies. We believed that statement had been fact-checked by our political consultant, Scott Garrison, who relied for confirmation solely on information provided him from The Texas Freedom Network. As professionals in education and the proper use of language, we understand that this statement suggested that David Barton is a white supremacist, and that the two organizations he is affiliated with, WallBuilder Presentations, Inc. and WallBuilders L.L.C., were associated with or supportive of white supremacists. After learning more about Mr. Barton, we realize this statement was false. We separately and jointly apologize to Mr. Barton for damage to him individually and to his two organizations as a result of that statement.”

I have known about this for a couple of days and asked the Texas Freedom Network their view of the settlement. They provided the following statement:

Nothing we have seen in the part of the settlement that has been made public even remotely suggests that TFN provided false information about David Barton to anyone. We may provide additional information about this after we have discussed this with our counsel.

It is a shame that the Texas candidates focused on those obscure speeches when there were so many other issues on which to focus.
More curious is that Barton has used the judgment to go after others. I certainly understand why he went after Bob Barr and I defended Barton against Barr’s claims of antiSemitism.
Barton critics Rob Boston and Chris Rodda are mentioned. However, his evangelical critics (e.g., John Fea, John Wilsey, me) are not mentioned. The WND article falters by not clearly spelling out that the criticism of Barton’s historical writing has been found flawed by evangelicals as well as those outside the church. If Barton is going to sue all of his critics, then he will be in court more than out of court.
It might be telling who he sues and who he doesn’t.
At risk of a suit, I stand by my book, Getting Jefferson Right, and am glad to defend my work and assessment of Barton’s historical problems. If anything, I might consider an action in his direction, after years of misrepresentations of me and my motives by Barton.