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Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll a cult?

Discussion in 'Baptists' started by Windowsseven, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. Windowsseven

    Windowsseven Newbie

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    I've been going to Mars Hill Church in Seattle for the 3rd or 4th time and it doesn't feel right. The songs are weird and the lyrics sound cult-ish, especially when they said something like, "Heaven comes down with a roar."


    Is this church a cult? I don't feel comfortable, but they seem to have an emphasis on Jesus Christ.

    The aura is just weird... I've been to huge gatherings and what not, but this is different.
     
  2. laconicstudent

    laconicstudent New Member

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    For what its worth, I felt exactly the same way....
     
  3. Hupomone10

    Hupomone10 Veteran

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  4. christian73

    christian73 Theology Team

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    From what you describe, it does sound cult-ish. If you're not comfortable, go somewhere else.
     
  5. Future Preacher

    Future Preacher Future Preacher

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    I don't blame you for feeling uncomfortable at his church. I have felt uncomfortable listening to some of his sermons where he basically yells at you.

    I have mixed feelings on him. He is reaching a group of people (outcasts, rebels, "punks") who indeed need Christ. But he has said from the pulpit that God hates us all which contradicts the message of Christ's love for us (but hate for our sin).

    We should not compromise. We can't blend in with the world. Mark Driscoll considers himself a rebel and purposely separates himself and his church from other churches. We are supposed to be a body of believers who work together with the goal of bringing Christ to sinners. I don't know if he believes he and his church can go it alone or what?

    Anyways, I hope you find a good, Christ exalting church and feel welcome. Perhaps a smaller church (I'm from a rural area, so I love the small church where everyone is so loving and know you by name!). God will lead you to the right church. God bless!
     
  6. christian73

    christian73 Theology Team

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    That's a good poiont. I've been in both big and small churches, and small churches can feel more like "home".
     
  7. dies-l

    dies-l Guest

    Personally, I am not a fan of the mega church fad, and from what I understand Mars Hill -- Seattle (not to be confused with Mars Hill -- Grand Rapids, which is also a well-known mega church) is one such church. That said, I don't know enough about the church to comment on whether it is cultish. I would ask to provide examples of what troubles you.

    However, I have found that churches just don't work well when they get too big (say 1000+ weekly attenders). We have several mega churches in our area, and they are all well known for being more of an entertainment venue than a spiritual community.
     
  8. Lemmiwinks

    Lemmiwinks Newbie

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    No.

    That church's pastor is well known, so there might be a personality cult there, as there are at many churches, but it isn't a cult in the sense of teaching unorthodox things.

    There have been plenty of churches I haven't felt comfortable at, but none of them were cults in the sense that their theology was unorthodox. I just didn't enjoy them for whatever reason and moved on.

    It doesn't sound like a church that I would want to go to. I don't appreciate getting yelled at from the pulpit. It sounds like an unhealthy dynamic there, with the authoritarianism of the pastor coupled with him having lots of fans who enable him.

    I'd move on if I were you, there are plenty of churches, so why stay in one where you are yelled at and made to feel uncomfortable?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2010
  9. Big Drew

    Big Drew Believer

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    I partially agree with you on that...there are some of the megachurches that are good...the pastors are teaching sound doctrine, and the needs of the congregation are handled properly...but there are others, like the 3000 member church I went to, that have poor management. The pastor is really good in delivering the Word...but, he has more of an evangelist type calling on his life than he does pastoral...and because of this there are many management issues, they're forever making changes to the different ministries...I was there a little over a year and they had three different youth ministers during that time...I was involved in the Celebrate Recovery ministry as the praise and worship leader, and men's counselor...it was going along fine, the guy in charge of the ministry was doing a good job...but then one day the pastor decided it was time for a change...no explanation.

    The other thing I didn't like was not being able to talk with the pastor...they'd always send you to some other staff member if you had a problem, or needed spiritual guidance...I was introduced to the pastor numerous times while I was there...he came into the store I worked at, at the time, and I said, "Hello Pastor," it was like he and I had just met.

    Pastors should know there flock...even if it's just by name.

    The church we go to now, we visited before we started attending the megachurch...only went there once, and a year and a half later we went back...the Pastor and his wife met us after service and he said, "I was wondering about you guys, how old are the twins now?" My wife was pregnant with our twins when we visited the first time!

    I definitely prefer the more personal feel of smaller churches.
     
  10. dies-l

    dies-l Guest

    I suppose that it is possible that a megachurch can be well run, but I have trouble seeing how a pastor can really properly shepherd 1500+ people. That said, one thing that mega churches do sometimes do well is equipping smaller churches. The church that I attend routinely uses materials from churches like Willow Creek (Chicago) and Mosaic (Los Angeles). While I would never attend either of these churches primarily because of their unwieldy size, I have found that their size allows them to create teaching materials that are very helpful.
     
  11. Big Drew

    Big Drew Believer

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    Usually what the ones that are ran properly do is have Elders or Deacons that tend to the spiritual and physical needs of the members...like 50 or so people may be under Elder John's watch, while another 50 are under Elder Bob's...the pastor basically becomes a CEO. And is really only "pastor" of the elders and the other staff members...Don't know that I like this...but it does seem to work.

    I agree with you on the resources that are available through some of the megachurches...they're very beneficial. My pastor has used quite a bit of stuff through Willow Creek and North Point (Atlanta.)
     
  12. JM

    JM Predestinarian

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    I'd say no.
     
  13. Big Drew

    Big Drew Believer

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    No it's not a cult or no it's not a church?
     
  14. desmalia

    desmalia sounds like somebody's got a case of the mondays

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    I agree with what others have said here that it is definitely not a cult. In fact, some of the teaching is very good. However, I don't think it's a church I would be comfortable at either.

    If you're looking for a good, solid church in Seattle, I highly recommend Crossroads Bible Church: Crossroads Bible Church / Welcome / Welcome. I attended there when I lived in Seattle. It is a larger church, but the teaching is fantastic, and they have lots of wonderful ways to become involved, such as programs and adult Sunday School. The senior pastor worked under John MacArthur prior to moving to Seattle. He's a wonderful preacher.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  15. laconicstudent

    laconicstudent New Member

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    Personally, I get what the OP is saying. When I attended, I found it to be very focused on Driscoll.
     
  16. Big Drew

    Big Drew Believer

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    Just read MacArthur's blog and followed the link to another one that had a review of one of Driscoll's books...I'm gonna buy the book now.

    Thanks for the link. :)
     
  17. JM

    JM Predestinarian

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    The question was, "Is this church a cult?"
     
  18. BereanTodd

    BereanTodd Missionary Heart

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    I've never been to the church, but I can say a few things for sure:

    1. Mark Driscoll is an amazing orator of God's word, one of the better preachers out there in that respect. I absolutely love his stuff, and download and listen to everything they put out. He has an amazing ability to both be solidly, firmly rooted in exegesis and careful study of the word, and yet at the same time on the cutting edge of culture and relevance.

    2. His church is having a huge impact in what church planters universally recognize to be one of the hardest places in America for us to have an impact. Seatle is a very unchurched area, and reaching people is not easy there.

    Beyond that, yes I myself prefer a smaller church setting, and I know that any major well known pastor will have a personality cult that will follow him as some here have said. For what it's worth, from what I have seen the man himself remains extremely humble and does not seem prideful in any way, shape or form.
     
    Nilloc likes this.
  19. meupthere

    meupthere Newbie

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    While I have never actually attended Mars Hill I have been getting their Podcast for a few years now.
    Although I do not agree with all the theological stands of mars hill... (Eg I am not a Calvinist).. I have no problems with the core of the sermons Ive heard.
    I would not say they are a cult theologically

    yes Driscoll is a hard preacher... and it seems that he's the key guy.... However i have seem some clips of him describing how each of the other campuses have their own pastors on site that also do teaching and preaching at their respective campuses... where he also state that if

    so it is not likely a cult of the preacher like many megachurches.

    as for the music.... I kinda like their music... I'm in the middle of gen-X and so that's kind of the style I like... Most of their music is new arrangement of classic hymns...
    I have seen some you tube clips where the worship band is playing behind a screen or his not lit up at all... so that the "performance" of the band does not become the focus of the service.
    From the podcasts it sound like( at least @ the Ballard campus) they have the order of the service flipped for the way most churches do it... Sermon, Communion, then music...... Now that different.. it not right or wrong..there's no scripture that describes the order of corporate worship Just that those components be present.

    the song in question for your lead post is Called "Destructor" here's a clip by the songwriter explaining it... its odd, complex but it's trying to get a sense of the Holiness and justice of God.....
    opps I cant send a link ...
     
  20. C-Man

    C-Man ...

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    Mark Driscoll's style is singularly well-suited to bringing people to Christ in the kind of area his church is in. I doubt it would work nearly as well in Texas, but I think his sermons are great stuff.
     
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