On Easter weekend, former Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll made his comeback at Trinity Church in Phoenix, Arizona. However, the happy occasion was dampened by protesters warning congregants of the pastor’s past indiscretions.
According to a report from KCTV5 News, protesters gathered outside the building holding signs that read: “Trinity = Mars Hill” and “Where’d all the Money Go, Mark???” in reference to the accusations surrounding the pastor’s time at the now-defunct Mars Hill.
Protester Bob Sluys, a former member of the Seattle-based church, according to a report from KCTV5 News, told parishioners as they entered the building, “Ask Mark, but he won’t answer! His [Driscoll’s] empire was built on the back of unpaid labor, volunteers, abusive culture, and all for Jesus’ fame.”
Over the past year, Driscoll has been accused of plagiarism, fostering an abusive work environment, a divisive leadership style, and most recently, civil racketeering regarding donor contributions. The latest suit, filed by Brian Jacobsen, Connie Jacobsen, Ryan Kildea and Arica Kildea alleges Driscoll and former Mars Hill executive elder John Sutton Turner, demonstrated a “pattern of racketeering activity” in how they ran the now-closed church by “soliciting, through the internet and the mail, contributions for designated purposes.”
The lawsuit also alleges the church leaders “fraudulently used significant portions of those designated contributions for other, unauthorized purposes” and paid $210,000 to a company called ResultSource Inc. to land Driscoll’s book, “Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship and Life Together” on the best-seller lists of The New York Times and others.
However, speaking to KCTV5, the pastor dismissed such allegations and denied the charges in the RICO lawsuit.
“I don’t know anything about that,” Driscoll said. “Haven’t been served, nothing has been done. At this point it’s false and malicious, and I would reject and refute all of that, and I’m very excited it’ll all be cleared up.”
He added that he’s excited to start a new chapter at Trinity Church, where he plans to simply “open the Bible and preach and teach Jesus.”
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SOURCE: Gospel Herald, Leah Marieann Klett