Refuse to be bitter. Don’t gossip or judge. Show grace to your leaders.
These are the common lines used to silence whistleblowers when there’s a church scandal. Whether it’s the former elders at Harvest Bible Chapel defending James MacDonald, or a pastor at an ARC megachurch defending his lawsuit against congregants, the response is the same. As author and survivor advocate Wade Mullen has said, it’s almost as if abusers are reading from the same playbook.
So, I was surprised when I recently listened to a 2014 sermon from “America’s pastor,” Rick Warren, using these same silencing and shaming tactics against the congregation at Mars Hill.
The sermon was historic. It was given at the last service at Mars Hill Church before the church shuttered in the wake of scandal involving Pastor Mark Driscoll.
I had heard rather innocuous excerpts from the sermon in the popular Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast. But when allegations of abuse surfaced against Warren’s successor,…