Note: This article has been updated since its original posting to reflect Mars Hill's new statement that two of its leaders were removed as a result of cases unrelated to the two that drew recent media attention.
While affirming its commitment to "bringing correction in grace when members are living contrary to the Scriptures in a way that is unhealthy," Mars Hill Church leaders in a blog post said that "things did not go as they should have" in recent church discipline cases. Two church leaders overstepped their authority, the church said, and now those leaders have themselves been disciplined and removed from ministry.
The announcement comes as the church has come under media scrutiny for church discipline cases.
Over the last month, several blogs have discussed the case of Andrew, a member of Mars Hill Church's Ballard, Washington, campus. Andrew (his last name has been omitted from all accounts) told Matthew Paul Turner's eponymous blog that he had cheated on his fiancée and told his community group about it (as well as about the physical nature of his relationship with his fiancée). That led to a series of church discipline meetings and, eventually, Andrew said, he was asked to sign a contract promising that he would not "pursue or date any woman," would "not be involved in serving" in the church and would write a detailed sexual history. When he said that he would instead leave the church, the pastor overseeing the discipline posted a letter to the community group's social networking site announcing that he was being excommunicated. "Associate with Andrew only for the purpose of admonishment and restoration," the letter said. "Refrain from associating with Andrew in social setting such as: eating a meal, attending ...