In a reversal of what normally happens inside a church, about 65 people stood outside Mars Hill Church in Bellevue on Sunday and called on the pastor of the mega-church to acknowledge his sins and repent.
The quiet, peaceful demonstration — “It’s very unusual to have evangelicals protesting,” said participant Jim Henderson — was directed at the church’s controversial, authoritarian and domineering co-founder and senior pastor, Mark Driscoll.
Driscoll claimed in a video last week that his critics had chosen to remain anonymous. The central message of the protest: ”We are not anonymous.” On Sunday, ex-members outside carried signs of what they were not permitted to do inside Mars Hill: ”Question Mark.”
“People have been harmed, hurt,” said 17-year-old Bailey Strom, who passed up a day of lifeguard duty and drove over from Yakima with his family to join the protest. Strom’s parents were married by Driscoll. Now, said father Gerd Strom: “Suddenly he became very important and disconnected. Nobody can talk to him.”
The protest came hours after the second resignation of the week by an “outside” member of the church’s Board of Advisers and Accountability. The departure of James MacDonald followed that of Paul Tripp, although both will keep ties to the church.