Members of Mars Hill have sought more transparency from church leadership. “That’s my own little idol and it works well in a church because no one would ever yell at you for being a Christian who produces results. A petition was launched requesting the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability to suspend Mars Hill’s membership over allegations of financial impropriety.

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I had many friends who ranged from recreational drug users to addicts. I have never even taken a puff of a cigarette, though I did try one Cuban cigar over a decade ago while in the Bahamas.

That’s the sum total of my entire life’s smoking experience.

“Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.” Driscoll’s boisterous personality seemed to dominate Mars Hill, a congregation he built up to an estimated 14,000 people at 15 locations across five states. “The Board of Overseers has accepted that resignation and is moving forward with planning for pastoral transition, recognizing the challenge of such a task in a church that has only known one pastor since its founding,” states the letter, signed by Michael Van Skaik, Larry Osborne, Jon Phelps and Matt Rogers.

Mars Hill shuttered its Downtown Seattle and University of Washington District churches due to financial challenges.

In the past, Driscoll has been provocative, occasionally profane, and has faced more recent allegations of plagiarism and inflating his book sales.

“Mistakes were made that I am grieved by and apologize for,” he said late last year of plagiarism charges. 23 had suggested that Driscoll’s empire was “imploding.” “He was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously,” Timothy Keller, the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, told the Times.

“Consequently, those conducting the review of charges against me began to interview people who had not even been a party to the charges.” Driscoll hinted, though, that his continued presence would be a distraction.

“Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry,” Driscoll wrote.

Though he has been controversial for years for statements on women and sexuality, several tipping points likely led up to Driscoll’s resignation.