Inside the Driscoll “Cult” Part II

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The Roys Report
The Roys Report
Inside the Driscoll "Cult" Part II
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From his shuttered church in Seattle to his “cult” in Arizona, author and celebrity pastor Mark Driscoll has taken pastoral entitlement, bullying, and control to new lows. Even after Part 1 of Inside the Driscoll “Cult,” two former members of Driscoll’s security detail have much more to share. 

On this edition of The Roys Report, Chad Freese, the former head of security at The Trinity Church, and his former colleague, Ben Eneas, reveal more details about the cult of personality and family business that Driscoll has cultivated.

In a bizarre example, Chad and Ben share how staff members, and even church parishioners, are covertly rated on their loyalty to Mark Driscoll. They also give a behind-the-scenes look at the Christian executive who runs the business operations at the church—and the crazy things he instructs church staff to do.

Chad and Ben also tell about the celebrity pastors that continue to platform Driscoll. And in this episode, you’ll discover why the problem of Mark Driscoll is not an isolated story of a single abusive and self-serving pastor. It’s a story that once again exposes the devastation caused by the evangelical industrial complex or celebrity machine.

This Weeks Guests

Chad Freese

Chad Freese served as head of security at the Trinity Church. Chad also is an advanced information systems and cybersecurity professional. He’s a retired Chief Warrant Officer with the US Marine Corps and he’s happily married with two teenage daughters.

Benjamin Eneas

Benjamin Eneas is a Romanian-born immigrant to America. He is a project manager by trade and currently works at a utility company. Benjamin has been happily married for 20 years and has two daughters.

Show Transcript

SPEAKERS
MARK DRISCOLL, JULIE ROYS, BENJAMIN ENEAS, CHAD FREESE

JULIE ROYS
According to Mark Driscoll, The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, is all about Jesus. But insiders say that’s not true. It’s all about Mark—and control and money.
Welcome to The Roys Report—a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys.
And joining me for part two of Inside The Driscoll Cult are Chad Freese, the former head of security at The Trinity Church—and Ben Eneas, a former member of Trinity’s security detail.
Chad and Ben say Trinity is not a church; it’s a cult. And in this episode, you’ll hear about the spectrum of trust. This is a scale that Mark Driscoll uses to rate staff and members.
You’ll also hear about the web of celebrity pastors that run cover for Driscoll and platform his ministry. And you’ll hear some crazy stories—like the time the man providing wise counsel for Trinity instructed Chad to pay parking tickets with gift cards likely donated for single moms.
But before we dive in, I’d like to thank the sponsors of this podcast, Judson University and Marquardt of Barrington.
Judson is a top-ranked Christian University providing a caring community and an excellent college experience. Plus, the school offers more than 60 majors, great leadership opportunities, and strong financial aid. Judson University is “Shaping Lives that Shape the World.” For more information, just go to JUDSONU.EDU.
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Well again, joining me today is Chad Freese, a retired marine and former head of security for The Trinity Church. Also joining me is Ben Eneas, a former member of the security team at the Trinity Church. We pick up our discussion with the question of governance and oversight at Mark Driscoll’s church.

JULIE ROYS
Mark doesn’t have any elders holding him in check. He is like his own man. From what I understand there are some out of state people who provide what he calls wise counsel. These include megachurch pastor, Robert Morris, who is at Gateway Church. We actually reached out to Robert Morris asking him, Okay, what is your official position with Mark right now? And he said he has no official position; he just consults on an as needed basis. Interestingly, despite all the stuff that’s come out recently, talking about this cult like atmosphere and surveillance 24/7 and we can talk about some of that, but despite everything that’s gone on, Mark is slated to speak at a two-day preaching intensive for pastors in August at Robert Morris’s Gateway Church. Unbelievable! Also providing wise counsel is this guy, Jimmy Evans. Pretty big name, former Gateway Church pastor now he leads XO Marriage formerly Marriage Today. I reached out to him, asking him about his role and he responded by blocking me on social media. Then there’s Randall Taylor. He’s a vice president with Dunham and Co, and friends you need to understand Dunham and Co is a huge Christian marketing firm. The clients include Tony Evans, Kayla, Vertical Worship, which is Harvest Bible Chapel’s worship team, Wycliff Bible Translators. I mean, it’s a very, very big company. But it’s concerning who the executives are. Not just Randall Taylor, and I’m going to pitch to you guys to explain who Randall really is and what you’ve seen him do at the church. But other executives, they just hired Scott Milholland. He’s the former COO at Harvest Bible Chapel. He was there under James MacDonald. And we know now that a third party has come in and done an entire audit and found there was massive governance failure and millions of church funds misused by James MacDonald. Well, Scott was the COO during all that. He resigned when everything came out, because everybody rightly understood he was involved. He now has been hired as a top executive at Dunham and Co. Also, there is Dan Sumpter, he’s former executive director of Walk in the Word, James MacDonald’s ministry. And then there’s Randall Taylor. And if you begin to see a lot of threads of people tying together, that would be accurate. I heard it referred to as James was a big brother. And Mark was a little brother, and the two of them would get into a lot of mischief when they were together, but their ministries were interconnected. And now we see this interconnection with Gateway Church, and now Dunham and Co. So, let’s talk about Randall Taylor, because he is, we know, listed as one of the directors of the church, and from what I understand, he would fly in every so often and handle some things with money and different things like that. Chad, I know you’ve had first-hand experience with him. Would you describe his role at Trinity?

CHAD FREESE
Yeah, so my first interaction with Randall Taylor I was told to put him on the VIP list and didn’t know who he was, never heard of him. And the pastor’s explained to me, Hey, this guy’s allowed anywhere on campus anytime does not need to be escorted. And every time he would show up, they treated him like royalty almost on the same level, if not more important than Mark Driscoll himself. And the more I got to know him and be involved in some of the discussions, I realized he’s the business development guy. He handles a lot of the money, the financial stuff. When the church recently acquired the new studio, I was there the day that people they were purchasing it from Randall was there. And they were talking all the financials, what they were purchasing, what equipment was coming with the studio, signing all the paperwork. That was Randall. So, Randall is doing the financial piece of that. And so, I started asking questions about that. And that’s one of the things that some of the pastors told me is, yeah, Randall handles a lot of the business and the financial stuff. Okay. Well, I didn’t know exactly how they had it structured. But if that’s what the services he’s providing, then so be it. So as the weeks went on, I’d seen him fairly often, almost like he was coming around nearly every weekend, and he lives in Kentucky, but he’s flying out here for the weekends to go to our services. And, again, most of his discussions were about growth and expanding and looking at planning another campus on the west side of the Phoenix Valley and looking at the studio that they bought and looking at what they call the Trinity Cafe now, which is across the street from Trinity Church. And so, he’s all about expanding these different real estate options and all about talking about raising funds and donors and money. That was most of the conversations with and around Randall. There was an Easter weekend conversation where he was striking up conversation with both me and my wife, when he was telling us how his son was trying to go to the Naval Academy, and he knew my wife was in the Navy. He knew I was a marine and we were having the military discussions. And then he started asking me about the Manuele incident with Angelo Manuele being kicked out of the church that many people listening to this, I’m sure are well aware, read some of the articles that are out there.

JULIE ROYS
The article that I wrote on that was the first article sort of breaking this whole just series of what’s going on at the Trinity Church and the abuse the cult like environment. So that article, by the way, that was May 10. That’s had over 110,000 views. So, if you haven’t read that, it’s called Mark Driscoll Accused of Cult Like Actions 24/7 Surveillance, Mandated Loyalty. And we’ll talk about a couple of those things. But I encourage you to go read that if you want to get an overview of how crazy some of this stuff is. Just go to Julieroys.com. And then you can just look under Investigations. There’s a whole thing on Mark Driscoll. But that article again that kind of the first one that was huge, and about a family that got kicked out because his son kissed one of Mark Driscoll’s daughters. Again, they were teenagers, and they liked each other. He kissed her and he got kicked out. But anyway, yeah, so he was asking about that incident.

BENJAMIN ENEAS
According to Brandon Anderson, she kissed him.

JULIE ROYS
Oh, that’s interesting.

BENJAMIN ENEAS
I’m just saying that’s what he told me. Right before I quickly pointed out to him to my last name was Eneas. And since it wasn’t Driscoll or Manuele, I didn’t really need to know any of the details. Which he proceeded to tell me more details after service anyway. But that’s just how they kind of do it. They kind of slip in and tell you a little bit of a detail to earn your trust. So, you can actually spread the rumors.

CHAD FREESE
Yeah, the conversation that Randall was having with me. The Easter weekend service was about the Angelo Manuele incident. And he asked me, he said, you know, have you been able to get much information on him? I know you guys have a private investigator. You have this team poll on that. And he said, I read a lot of the police reports about his previous interaction with his neighbor. They’re basically putting, trying to get anything they can against Angelo at this point. And I said, Well, you know, Brandon’s handling that I don’t know what all information he’s got. And whatever I’ve gotten, I’ve just funneled it up to him. Other than that, no. And I could tell that Randall is kind of fishing. But then he changed the subject a little bit. He had just finished talking about his son. Then he starts telling me about his daughter. He goes, Well, my daughter, you know, she’s in her last year of law school. And she’s about to be an attorney. And I just spent three days with her last weekend. And she has access to these different systems and platforms. And he goes, you may have heard of them. She let me use her login. And I was able to dig up a lot of stuff on Angelo. And it’s really like, without a warrant? Like you didn’t, how are you accessing these systems? Oh, well, you know, again, it’s my daughter’s accounts or login like she’s in her last year of law school. So, I just used her stuff. For me being a cyber security guys like, Okay, first of all you it’s illegal. You can’t use in other people’s accounts, especially that you don’t have access to. Identity and access management is huge in the security world and for her letting you use her account to access information about someone the church kicked out? Like let’s talk about ethics, like put the legal part aside. Some morals and ethics like why are you acting this way? And you’re one of the leaders or directors or overseers of our church, our wise counsel? Like what kind of wise counsel are you providing Mark Driscoll? What you’re doing is not right. I of course, I didn’t say that to him. Perhaps I should have. But in my mind, I definitely made a note of it. Like, why are you telling me this? He knew a little bit about my background. And we talked about some things and built that rapport, and I think he did trust me, and he shared that information with me, but immediately I’m like, okay, I cannot trust this guy. But then fast forward a few weeks, Ben and I were in our last we were in our chaplaincy class and Pastor Darien is telling the students in our chaplain class that, you know, pastors are held to the highest level according to the Bible. And if there’s any accusations or concerns of them not being biblically qualified, as we read in First Timothy and Titus, and they’re immediately brought into question, they’re investigated. Most of the time they’re kicked out, they’re removed from their position as a pastor and as pastors, they’re held to the highest standard. And those of us that are aspiring to become chaplains, although we’re not on the level of a pastor, we’re still called to be held to a higher standard, and we need to conduct ourselves accordingly. But then he tells us that he goes and just so you guys know your actions and behaviors online on social media are being heavily monitored. Trinity has hired a team to monitor your social media posts, to monitor who you’re connected with, who you’re friends with, what type of stuff you’re liking and commenting and sharing. Because there were issues like people were sharing pictures of being with people that are now deemed as outcasts. They’re toxic. They’re demonic people that have left the church or being kicked out of the church, even former paid members that were fired. Pastor Dustin included. You know, we were seen in a photo with him on Easter him and his family.

JULIE ROYS
This is Dustin Blatnik, right? Former worship pastor.

CHAD FREESE
Yeah, I knew what Darien was talking about. But he was telling all of us that they had that company to monitor our social media. And I recall back to that very first meeting I had with Mark when I asked him, who’s leading his cyber program and who’s doing social media analysis? If you’ve got people in there, commenting and sharing and saying a bunch of negative things against the church who’s handling that? And he told me, well, we have Randall Taylor, and his company handles all that for us.

JULIE ROYS
Okay, there’s a valid monitoring of social media. But as I understand, the way that Trinity uses it is if you happen to be seen with somebody that they put on their bad list, or somebody who’s left the church, not in the best terms. If you get in a picture with one of them or something like that, then you’re on the outs because you’re not allowed to associate with those folks.

CHAD FREESE
Absolutely.

JULIE ROYS
There’s one more thing that happened at that Easter weekend, from what you’ve told me before. There also was something about so there were a bunch of people getting ticketed, because they had parked in the wrong place. And the cops were coming to the staff and saying, Hey, we got a problem here. We got to issue people parked in the wrong place, we’re gonna have to give them tickets. Course you don’t want your people getting tickets when they come to church. And so, there’s some concern about that. And then Randall, as I understand, took the bull by the horns, and led you to a safe and I want you to tell me what was in that safe and what he was suggesting to do?

CHAD FREESE
Yeah, so I’ll back up just a little bit and let you know that it’s a pretty regular occurrence, that Scottsdale Police Department comes by Trinity Church, because of illegal parking, because of noise, cranking the music in the backyard. And we’re in a residential area and their houses are right up behind the church. And you know, their blasting music, full blast and officers come, Guys, please turn it down. You know, it’s Sunday morning at 8am. You’re blasting this music really loud; people are trying to sleep. So, I was expecting them to show up on Easter weekend. And lo and behold, they did. They showed up. And I got called out to the parking lot on the side of the road. There was I don’t know, 10 cars parked illegally in a no parking zone that’s taken up half of the street that’s next to the church. And the officer said, Look, we need to have these vehicles move. They’re not only they’re in a no parking zone, but it’s a safety issue because their vehicles are taken up more than half of the lane. So, what can you do? And well, there’s not much I can do right now. Because everyone’s in the service. But services going to end in like 20 minutes, can we wait? And they said, Well, you know, we can’t really wait much longer. We’re gonna have to write a citation. You know, we’re out here every weekend. We’re constantly dealing with issues with you guys. So, I radio some of the pastors inside and one of them told me, Hey, just come inside, and we’ll handle it. So, I head inside, the officers leave the property and they said, they’ll be back in 20 or 30 minutes. So, they left the property. I go inside, and I head upstairs to there’s like a balcony overlooking the sanctuary. It’s Randall Taylor and then Ashley Chase. She’s standing there. So, both of them are up there. And Randall looks at me and I’m explaining the situation and he goes yeah, yeah. I’m aware of what’s going on. Don’t we just don’t we have some cash laying around somewhere I can just go grab some cash out of a safe and just go pay these people, like just pay for their tickets as they leave? And I was like, I have no idea. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have any cash. And Ashley goes, Yeah, I think we have petty cash stashed away somewhere in the safe downstairs. Like, let me get Brandon O’Hara. He’s the campus pastor. Brandon comes up the stairs. And Randall asked Brandon, Brandon, like, can you go get Chad some petty cash and we just pay for these people’s tickets? And he goes, Well, we don’t have cash, but we have gift cards. So, we can just pay them with gift cards. Randall said, Yeah, that’s a great idea. Just hand them gift cards as they’re leaving, whatever. Like, who cares if they get parking tickets, the church will always pay for it. Just let them know we’re glad that they’re here. We’re thankful for them being here and just pay their ticket on the way out if you could Chad. So okay. So, we go downstairs, Brandon, and I go downstairs to the safe and Brandon’s in a hurry because he has to be on stage baptizing people. So, he opens the safe, pulls out a box, a little box full of gift cards. I mean, there’s 100-150 gift cards, and there’s just stacks of them. And he just hands it to me. And he says, Chad, just handle this. I got to go back inside. Thank you and just walks away. So, I’m standing there with a box of gift cards. And I’m kind of rummaging through them like, okay, in my mind, they’re asking me to pay for these people’s parking tickets with a gift card. So, I’m thinking okay, I’m gonna have a Visa or MasterCard gift card in here that I can just hand them you know, 50 bucks, 100 bucks, whatever it is. No. It’s Chick-fil-a gift cards, TJ Maxx gift cards, Target gift cards, Outback Steakhouse. And I realized these gift cards were donated at Christmas time to the single moms ministry. They raised the donation, asking people to donate these cards for a specific purpose. Not to pay for people’s parking tickets. So, I couldn’t do anything with those gift cards. I had to put them back in the safe. And thankfully, I went back out to the streets and the officers never showed back up and people left. No one got a ticket. But the fact they wanted me to pay people with gift cards for the parking ticket to me, I didn’t think that was right. I mean, there was parking across the street. People know their parking right in front of a no parking sign, first of all. But asking to use gift cards that were donated for a specific ministry. Maybe not illegal, but it’s definitely unethical. I think it is illegal actually. I think if you donate something, it has to be used for what you’re donating it for.

JULIE ROYS
Yeah. There’s IRS rules about donor intent. And yeah, nonprofits, churches, need to honor donor intent. So, if you donate intending the money to be used for single moms, it should be used for that. Ben, do you have first-hand knowledge of that, of what those gift cards were?

BENJAMIN ENEAS
My wife was also attending Flourish. And to her best knowledge, that was actually what the gift cards were for. Now, we can’t confirm that those were the same gift cards, but random denominations and random restaurants and stuff that kind of matches up with what they were donating for that cause. That does seem to be what it’s for. And what makes it even worse is it’s Sunday. So, it’s not like that Chick-fil-a is going to be useful.

JULIE ROYS
Well, certainly not on that day. But this was also in my article on the Manuele Family. Again, a family who got kicked out because their son kissed Driscoll, or she kissed him whatever the case may be. But their children were paid with gift cards for internships. Again, where did those gift cards come from? And this, this just opens up a lot of questions about how the money was used. Again, you say Randall Taylor was in charge. It sounds like of some over the running of the money. But there doesn’t seem to be any accountability or anyone over Mark and you know, Mark’s salary. Do you guys know what Mark’s salary was? Or any idea?

CHAD FREESE
I have no idea.

BENJAMIN ENEAS
Since we’re not members, the church doesn’t actually have members. They’re not actually required to release any sort of financials. So, this is one of the many things that we’ve learned in the process of attending there, that when you attend a new church, like you had said mentioned earlier, you should ask these questions because they actually matter.

JULIE ROYS
Yeah, they really do and not reporting your financials is a huge red flag. And not enough people ask about that.

CHAD FREESE
There was a security meeting, I sat in with Mark and Angelo Manuele, right? Had brought up concerns about financials. This was after he and his family were kicked out of the church. And again, both his sons were being paid thru the staff and his son Joey, who got married in the church, Mark said it was from his personal money. Come to find out is money from the church paying for his honeymoon. And there was a whole list of issues and concerns with financial. So, one of the things that Angelo was bringing forth was he wanted a third-party financial auditor to come audit the church and see what the monies were being spent on and how the financials were being handled and all of the issues around it. So, I was in a meeting, briefing Mark on some of the concerns from Angelo and others and said, Hey, just so you guys know, this is what Angelo and some others are bringing up of concern. And this is what they want someone to look into. And we started talking about financials and Mark looks at me, and he says, Well, he said, I learned a lot of lessons from my last church and structured this one differently. And there’s a reason that I set it up this way. And let’s not forget, I’m in charge. That comment was about lack of local elders. But the next piece was, he said, I’ve set up, there’s a reason I have multiple LLCs, and nonprofits set up. And he’s like, I can shift things around however I want, from one to another, he said, but I assure you, all of our financials are on the up and up. So, I do have freedom to move things around as I see fit, but there’s nothing wrong going on. And the way he said it, and his tone and his body language told me that that wasn’t completely true. That piece is definitely an area that should be explored more, both between the nonprofit of real faith or Mark Driscoll ministries, and the church. Where those overlap, how salaries are paid, how they’re not paid, where the money is going, that people are tithing and donating to. How’s all this real estate that’s being purchased. That’s the type of questions that people should be asking where their money is going to. And if you look back to the Mars Hill days, and you look at, even on their archived website, where he talks about the importance of financial transparency and he talks about as members and having memberships, you know, they disclose their annual report and all of that, that was part of the discussion I had here during that security meeting with Mark and that’s one of the reasons they don’t have memberships. Again, I think it was because it had bitten them when they had Mars Hill. So, a lot of the things that should be done properly are not being done here. I think the financials is one of that. So.

JULIE ROYS
It’s really important and the fact that he, it seems instead of learning from the Mars Hill experience that I need to develop character in line with my gifting, he’s done the exact opposite. He said, I need to design a church that will enable my bad character and enable me to do whatever I want to do to run this thing. You say, as a cult, it almost sounds like a mafia. You know, he’s the mob boss, and he’s in charge. It’s scary, really, the way that this is designed and in the way that it’s running, and I know so many people are getting hurt. And again, you had mentioned this spectrum of trust. I know, Chad, you were there when this was unveiled. And I think this was the last straw for you was when you saw this spectrum of trust. Can you describe what that is?

CHAD FREESE
I got pulled into another meeting. With Pastor Brandan Anderson and Caleb Glenny. So, the three of us were in Brandon’s office. And he says, So Chad, just you know, Caleb, and I just sat through a couple hour session with Pastor Mark and the rest of the staff, where we talked about trust levels and relationships. And Mark briefed the staff on what is called the spectrum of trust, from a zero to a ten. The higher you are on the spectrum, the more access you get. And I said, access to what? He said, Oh the access to the Driscolls. The Driscolls are a level 10. So, the higher you get on that spectrum, the more trust and more access to the Driscolls that you get. And he says, So Chad, security team is like a level nine as a security team, because security is very important. And you’re in these private meetings, and you’re having these conversations, but you’re not a ten because you’re not in Driscoll’s personal life. You’re not like doing security at his house, for example. So, you’re not fully trusted on a level 10. But your team is like a nine. Then he says so Chad, you’re like, an eight. And I’m like, wait a minute, how am I an eight? I’m the director of security team. Security team is a nine. How am I lower than that? That’s mentally what I’m processing. Like, what is he saying here? And he’s like, you know, your wife, maybe like a six. Ben is even lower than you Chad because he can’t get his wife under control. He’s not leading his family well. He’s not leading his house. Which is totally false, by the way. Ben is one of the best husbands and fathers and leaders I’ve ever become friends with or met. I just want to make that clear on the record.

JULIE ROYS
Well, and not handling your family well means he’s not controlling his wife, and controlling her from speaking the truth, or associating with people that the church has deem she can associate with. Correct?

CHAD FREESE
Absolutely. And that’s what he continued to say about a few other people. So, he says, Brandon says, well, Ben is a level below you. He’s probably like a seven. His wife is, you know, his wife is probably like a level three. Because Ben’s not leading them well, and his wife has relationships with people that the church has deemed as unsafe. These people are toxic, they’re demonic, and she shouldn’t be associating with them. So, he said the same thing about Vlod, who is a very devoted volunteer. He’s been in every aspect. He runs a men’s ministry table; he runs a personal home life group at his house. He’s a chaplain, all kinds of stuff. You know, Vlod is a step below Ben, because his wife has definitely been involved with these toxic relationships. So Vlod’s probably like maybe a five or six and his wife is like, maybe like a one or two. And then he said, so Pastor Dustin, Dustin Blotnik is probably at like level five, because his wife Trina’s a zero. You know, she’s very toxic, and very unsafe. And, again, as men, you guys are not leading your households well. You’re not getting your wives under control. You’re still allowing them to have these personal friendships and relationships with people that the church doesn’t think that they should be friends with or have these relationships with. And he said, you know, specifically, Trina, Pastor Dustin’s wife, and then Maria, which is Vlod’s wife, you know, those two ladies, they just can’t sever the ties in these relationships. Then he goes on to say goes on to say, Chad, it’s like this, you know, as, as men, we’re pretty logical. You know, we approach things from a logical way, but women, women are way too emotional. And women just cannot cut these relationships. They can’t separate, you know, business from personal relationships. And if the men can’t get their wives under control, then we have to reassess where they fall in this spectrum of trust. And he had pulled out a picture. He had taken a picture of the dry erase board, from Mark Driscoll’s office where Mark Driscoll had just briefed his whole staff on this. And you can see the names and initials next to these numbers on a spectrum going from left to right, zero to 10. And there are several names out there that also have been erased. You can tell the dry erase marker had been raised a little in certain areas. So maybe it was a mistake, or maybe they intentionally erased the name before they took the picture to show me. I have no idea. But his next statement to me was, I think that Trina and Marie are the ringleaders of all this. I said, What are you talking about? Ringleaders of what? He’s like, you know, still associating with all these unsafe people and getting everyone together and having these personal relationships and, you know, conspiring against people. I said, Hold on a minute. Are you seriously sitting here telling me all this because, let me guess you’re basing all of this off of a picture you saw on social media? Of all of our families at Easter. We had Easter brunch together at Vlod’s house. So he goes, yeah, how did you know that? Well, one, because I’m not an idiot. And two, you’re talking in circles around all the people you’re mentioning, were in that photo. So, what’s the concern? We just served seven services back to the back over the Easter weekend here at the church. And we all got together to break bread with fellow Christians, on the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. We’re celebrating that. And you’re more concerned about a picture that we took together. And you’re basing that off of whether or not we can or can be trusted, or whether we can or can’t get our wives under control and control who they can be friends with and have those relationships with. So, what you’re telling me what I’m hearing is, the church is going to tell us who we can and can’t be friends with? He goes, No, no, no, no, I’m not, we can’t say that. Because we can’t tell you who you can and can’t be friends with. All we’re saying is that if you choose to be friends with these people that are unsafe, then we can no longer fellowship with you. Or maybe you can’t serve in a leadership position or serve on security. So, you got to pick one or the other, and he says, we need to know Chad, like, are you guys Team Driscoll? Or are you Team Blotnik? And I was so confused, like, what do you guys have against pastor Dustin and his family? Like yeah, they were the ones in the photo, but he was the pastor that was fired recently. And, you know, Mark, just going and Brandon and the rest of them. They lie about the story. They say that everything was great. They left on great terms. And as soon as Pastor Dustin and his family leave, they immediately start slandering them, and talking bad about them. And now they’re marked on a spectrum of trust and asking me to pick are you Team Driscoll/Trinity or Team Blotnik? I’m neither. I’m team Jesus, which is why a lot of us now were Team Jesus bracelets based off a conversation.

JULIE ROYS
Wow! And it just reminds me of Scripture when Paul is confronting the church for you know, some saying I follow Apollos, and some say I follow Paul. And you know. Again, this is so toxic. And there’s major issues of boundaries. There are personal boundaries about who you can associate and what the church can tell you and not tell you to do. And this is where it does cross the line over into, I think, cult like behavior. I mean, this is kind of the definition of cult. It may not have bad doctrine. But that seems to always follow eventually, because you have to find a doctrine to support what you’re doing. But the control is really the scary level. And Ben, you were on the receiving end of this. You kind of learned through the grapevine that you weren’t to be trusted anymore. Right?

BENJAMIN ENEAS
Yeah, Chad comes downstairs and lets me know about this allegation that I’m not leading my family well, or controlling my wife, which is comical, because why would I want to do that?

JULIE ROYS
Thank you. All of us, wives thank you for that statement. And honestly, this is misogyny. I just want to say that outright and to say that women are too emotional, and to not bless the strengths that women have, because they do form such deep relationships. But yes, when you’re trying to form an abusive system and run it, those loving relationships that are committed to each other become an impediment. So, I can see why he would want to degrade that. But again, that’s just my editorial comment, because that really does make me angry. But go ahead, Ben.

BENJAMIN ENEAS
It hits a nerve. And it should because it’s disgusting. And it shouldn’t exist. But here we are. It seems to be kind of prevalent within the entire Christian community right now as we look through SBC and all the going on there. I mean, it’s just sad. That’s not what Jesus wants of us. And no, I have no desire to control my wife. I was lucky enough to marry my best friend who’s my partner in life. And together, we try to live our lives in a way that’s glorifying to God. Do we get it right all the time? No, but I have no desire to control her because she has so many gifts and strengths that are not mine. So why wouldn’t we lean on those? Anyway, that’s just a side note. If anyone’s gonna, I’m more the mail-order husband, I mean, I’m the foreigner. She could have done a lot better probably. She’s awesome. So, I was entertained by the whole accusation, and I was actually looking forward to having the conversation, because at that point, I was kind of annoyed. I was assured, you know, Chad assured me, Hey, don’t worry, they’re going to talk to you soon and you’ll get a chance to get this thing cleared up. But I didn’t realize at the time because at the time, I was still making a lot of excuses. I was drinking the Kool aid for lack of a better term. And I was making excuses for all the things I was seeing, not really seeing it for what it truly was. But this was kind of what made me open my eyes to there’s something wrong here. We can’t talk about being real men and be afraid to talk to one another about something as serious as this. If you’re accusing me of not leading my household, well, by all means, pull me aside, and let’s have a conversation. And maybe if, you know, if I feel convicted of it, I would have been strengthened by it, and I would have had a better relationship for it. Or if not, I could have corrected you and we could have set this straight. But no, they don’t do that. Cowards talk about people; they don’t talk to people. And that’s what we’ve got going on here. So, it’s Wednesday, I’m pretty upset. Thursday comes by Friday comes by nothing. Saturday, there’s a really awkward pastor. And again, I say, Pastor with air quotes all the time. Eden Fine pulls me into a meeting with my wife to talk about what we’re doing. And he lightly brushes up against it. To which my very shy wife asks him point blank, So are we going to talk about this Easter picture or what? To which he feigns ignorance, like he doesn’t even know what we’re talking about. So that doesn’t count as a conversation. If you can’t even own your side of it. At the very least just be a man and say what it is. You don’t want us to have fellowship with Pastor Dustin, who is an amazing individual. He loves the Lord. He was the only pastoral person on staff. And his wife is a gem. She is so kind and smart and has great insight. And throughout this entire process, even though she has been talking poorly about and been truly hurt by it, she’s still asking us to pray about it, to seek God’s will for our lives. And she really is wonderful. I’ve had to apologize to her for even entertaining the idea of having my wife kind of keep some separation. Full disclosure, my wife kind of dealt with some depression when we were living in the Northwest. So, I’m pretty sensitive to anything that’s negative around her just because I don’t want to see her slide back into that. We’ve experienced such a great shift as we move down to Phoenix with the sun, and so many factors play into that. But I was cognizant of that and trying to protect her from anything that was negative. Little did I know, I planted my family in the lion’s den. But like I said, I’ve had to apologize for that. But yeah, nobody’s ever talked to me about this. And when I tried to bring it up to Pastor Brandon, I was basically told I’m sorry you feel that way. What kind of crazy gaslighting is this? That’s not how we handle ourselves. Then I approached Pastor Darien and said, Hey, this doesn’t sit well with me. Can we please figure out a way to move forward? Because this isn’t the way that we should be interacting, especially as pastors. I mean, if you’re a pastor, you should probably handle this a little bit better than that. I’m not asking for perfection, but let’s at least try. First conversation went pretty well, like Yes, I see your point. Yes. That’s not correct. These young pastors, they really need to do better. Totally taking my side, right? Okay, fine, but can we at least facilitate a conversation? Well, next time I talked to him, he feigns ignorance just like Eaton did. No idea what I’m talking about. He knew all the details; I’d already shared them all with him. And now he’s pretending like he doesn’t have any idea what I’m doing, or what we’re dealing with and telling me that I need to, well, I need to initiate contact. I need to do all this. And I was like, I’ve already tried that. I’m asking you. But like I said earlier, like these cowards talk about people, they don’t talk to people. This all could have been avoided. And I’m actually really thankful that it wasn’t because it allowed us to actually open our eyes and look around. And as we looked around, we discovered lies everywhere. The Manuele story; lies all throughout it. Everything we were told about it was basically a lie. That was done in plain sight. The allegation with the security member that brought forth concerns, they’ve spun so many lies about him. But we had no idea because we weren’t there. So, we just kind of believe them because pastors don’t lie. I’m not used to pastors lying. That’s absurd to me. I mean, I grew up with Randy Alcorn and Stu Weber and just these godly men that opened their lives to us, and we actually did life with them. It wasn’t, they’re gonna preach at us from the pulpit and then they’re separate, but they’re somehow more equal than us. No. Like we did life with them, with their kids, we saw when they fell, we saw them praying for their kids, we saw them trying to do better. Like that’s shepherding. It’s walking alongside, not preaching at. So, for me this was all very foreign. The fact that you could have a pastor with the title just lie without any sort of remorse, without any sort of issues and they do it with such frequency that they actually believe their own clippings. It’s kind of it’s absurd.

JULIE ROYS
This is all on the heels of again, you talked about the Manuele incident and surveillance. They hired a private investigator to surveil the Manuele family after they were obviously downgraded to zero on the spectrum of trust. Because they got angry that they got kicked out of the church for something so ridiculous as their teenage son kissing the daughter of Driscoll. At that point, Chad, I mean, was that making your head spin at all? That, oh my goodness, we’re surveilling a family, private individuals who left the church, 24/7? And is that even – I guess it’s legal. But it’s just it’s a little scary.

CHAD FREESE
Yeah, it definitely is a little scary. I guess it is legal to hire a private investigator and what the company and the services that they provide. Morally and ethically using church funds. That’s another question. But given the scenario and the situation at the time, and all the data points that were coming in about Angelo. I mean, we were being fed information from multiple sources, a lot of them from the pastors and the staff, things you’d read on social media. We had some guys on our security team, reach out to him and have some pieces of conversation with Angelo directly. And what the staff was doing was twisting what Angelo was saying to make it sound like he was coming to destroy the church, and they even put it in their recent newsletter that people were out to destroy the church or take down the Trinity Church, and that was never Angelo’s intent. In fact, they did they sent a detective to Angelo’s house, they got Scottsdale Police Department involved. They had him fully investigated and the police report even in the detective was talking to Angelo. Yeah, there’s nothing substantial here. There’s no legitimate threats by you against the church, like all Angelo ever wanted was for, for Mark to repent and apologize on how he’s treated people. And not just Angelo and his family. But many of the families that we’re just hearing about or even those from the past. And that’s what Angela wanted was, hey, this guy’s not fit to be a pastor. Someone else needs to take the realm of being the head pastor, the senior pastor of Trinity. Not saying the Trinity Church needs to go away. But we need a biblically qualified pastor to shepherd the flock. That’s what he was getting at. But of course, in the moment, and the heat and the discussions, and all the different pieces that were coming in, they painted him out to be this terrorist. That he’s lying, toxic, demonic, evil, the same thing they slander everyone that leaves the church. They say the same stuff, whether they were fired, kicked out or left on their own freewill. So, there was an incident where Brandon and this is linked in, I think in my article, and I think in yours as well, maybe your first article that you posted Julie on this topic was the screenshots that I have about, I was the one who recommended that they follow Angelo, and the church was trying to use that against me before I published any of those screenshots. Well, Chad made us do it. Chad made us follow these people. Chad made us hire this security company. Let’s make something crystal clear. No one makes Mark Driscoll do anything. No one makes the staff do anything. I was a volunteer. And I was giving recommendations, professional recommendations, given my position as the director of security. And when I have pastors telling me, well, we have confirmed that Angelo is going to go burn Mark’s house down or he’s going to go burn the church down. Yeah, of course I’m going to recommend, Well, you should probably follow him. Or better yet, call the police and see if that’s credible. Have them follow him. Days prior to me recommending them follow Angelo and his family, in another message that you see the screenshot I took, Brandon said Chad, you know I want to dig up as much dirt on Angelo as possible, I want to get a private investigator. He wanted the private investigator or maybe he did it on his own was go submit requests through the court system to get as much legal information from Angelo’s history. And then from the private investigator following his moves, going to his house, his whole family, developed a robust beyond the lookout or BOLO list describing his vehicles, all of his vehicles that he drives. Everywhere him and his family went and so that was on a whole other level. But one of the ironies in this is back to what Ben was just saying about how they talk about people and not to people. That’s a running theme. I mean they slander so many people. The pastors do.

JULIE ROYS
You know, we mentioned earlier that Mark Driscoll has abused people before. He’s run a cult like operation before. It sounds like it’s on steroids right now. But there is a 2012 recording where Mark compares his church to a bus. And it’s chilling. A lot of people who are listening may have heard this clip before. It’s worth repeating. Because this is how Mark Driscoll views the people in his church, and how he views how to manage them. So, I’m going to play this clip. And then I’d like to hear from you, Chad, because you brought up a question about a bus. That seems to be very indicative of how Mark Driscoll views this whole what he said in 2012, and whether or not he still stands by it,

MARK DRISCOLL
Here’s what I’ve learned. You, you cast vision for your mission. And if people don’t sign up, you move on. There are people that are going to die in the wilderness and there are people that are going to take the hill. That’s just how it is. Too many guys waste too much time trying to move stiff neck stubborn, obstinate people. I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus. And by God’s grace, it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done. You either get on the bus or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options. But the bus ain’t gonna stop.

JULIE ROYS
Chilling. You either get on the bus or you get run over by the bus. You gentlemen have seen a lot of people run over by the bus. It is my understanding there’s a bus out in front of Trinity Church.

CHAD FREESE
There was.

JULIE ROYS
There was. Okay. Tell me about this.

CHAD FREESE
Yeah, so big bus. Trinity Church logo on the side, on the back. My understanding after all of this is come to light this last couple of months is, I was now told that the bus, Chad you got the story wrong. The bus was donated as like a fun thing for the kids. They were maybe going to turn it into an arcade or something for the teens like they were going to retrofit it, and which never happened. But here’s the correlation that I made and that many others have made is, the audio that you just heard of Mark talking about piles of dead bodies behind the bus. You’re either on mission or you’re not and I didn’t even know about that recording. I didn’t know about this sermon, any of it until I started having conversations with former Mars Hill people and they said you need to listen to this. So, wait a minute, we have a bus and I remember asking Brandon Anderson about the bus. About what we were using it for. They were so concerned about parking. Our parking is always overflowing, and it takes up like seven or eight parking spots. Like why is the bus out here? What are we using it for? And he very, like very nervous is like, Well, you know, we’re, we’re just using it as a prop. Okay, prop for what? Yeah, you know, just this just to send a message. Okay for what? Like, I never really got any detailed answer. And that is really what he said. Well, on a separate occasion, Kevin Panky, who is retired but happens to be a bus driver now for just for the fun of it to keep them busy. He drives kids on the school bus and he’s a bus driver. And he offered. He said, you know, Pastor Brandon, I have my license, I drive a bus, this is what I do. Maybe we could take the Trinity bus and take the youth group out. Sometimes they do team building events, like I could drive it. No, no, I don’t, we don’t want to drive it. It’s just to be used as a prop. Again, told Kevin the same thing. So, after hearing that recording, and knowing how Mark and the staff treats people behind the scenes, it’s like, Okay, well, either as a coincidence, or you made a calculated decision, to put that bus out there to send a message. But if it was truly an accident, and you put the bus out there not thinking about what you had said in the past, and that just shows a lack of decision-making ability, or discernment. Knowing that that’s in your past, why would you ever want to put you and your staff in a position to have a bus out there to be accused or even anyone have concern of what type of message you’re sending?

JULIE ROYS
What other message would be sent? This is a famous quote.

CHAD FREESE
Exactly.

JULIE ROYS
Yeah, it is shocking. So, my understanding both you gentlemen still know people who are attending the church. And I’ve heard reports that about 100 families have left. I mean, at one point, this church was like, 800 people then, you know, it seemed like COVID when they opened up, and they were one of the few churches that opened up, it boomed to like 2000. All of the reporting that’s happening, how is that impacting the church and the people that you’re talking to? How do they describe what the church culture is like, right now? Ben, I’ll throw that to you first.

BENJAMIN ENEAS
So, I haven’t been back to the church since we left. But we do have friends there. And it’s kind of awkward, because, you know, I’ve had good friends, and I look forward to becoming, you know, to continuing our friendship later that have actually let me know that in this season, they’re going to have to pull back and just kind of see what God is telling them. Which is a nice way of saying that they’re going to not be in fellowship with people that the church is no longer in fellowship with. We do have other people that are kind of one step in one step out that are letting us know like, Hey, this is what they’re saying about you, and it just doesn’t sit well. It’s awkward to have a pastor talking poorly about ex- congregants. For my part, I’ve remained mainly silent. So, for them to be talking poorly about me, it’s kind of awkward, isn’t it? I mean, I haven’t given you any cause to, to go on the offensive and try to assassinate my character or slander me. But yet, here they are. Whether they’re doing it from the pulpit, if you listen to his sermons, they’re pretty targeted. Scripture be darned, that can be weaponized, however we want. And then on top of that, they’re doing it inside conversations. And they’re also doing it from like the chaplaincy class where Pastor Darien Bennett, he’s weaponizing scripture against us there too, which is again, kind of ironic. I wish them nothing but the best. I’m still hoping for repentance and moving forward. I mean, we don’t have to be friends. But I would love to see this entire situation get turned into something that glorifies God. But at the very least, I just want the truth to stand.

JULIE ROYS
How many are actually going to the church right now? Do you have any idea?

BENJAMIN ENEAS
The attendance started slipping pretty drastically while we were still there. I’ve heard estimates that was attributed to a pastor, that they expect about 1000 people will have left because of this. I have heard that the parking lots about half full. Whether that’s true or not, I haven’t cared enough to even drive by to be honest.

JULIE ROYS
Chad, do you have anything to add to that?

CHAD FREESE
I heard the same thing from those attributed to pastors, saying they expect to lose about 1000 people from this, and I’m not sure how many families have left. I know, I personally know, probably 100 or so friends and former members of our security team, their families, friends of their families, have left. But other than that, I’m not sure you know. What really, again, is we’re not persuading or trying to convince anyone to leave. We still have friends that are attending there. We have friends that are part of that men’s ministry, the chaplain program. And the running theme in these conversations are, well, you guys are just being divisive. You guys are just being toxic. You guys are just out here, trying to spread a bunch of lies and gossip and slander. And what you’re saying is not true. So okay, well, everyone can have their own opinion. I’m not trying to persuade you. I’m presenting facts with evidence, testimonies, stories, what I experienced with my family experience, while other families have experienced. You can make your own decision based off that. I don’t blame anyone or fault anyone for not seeing what’s really going on. Because again, you don’t really truly get to see it unless you’re part of those meetings and discussions. If you just show up and attend the church, listen to the sermon, and leave, you’re probably have a great time. And that’s why a lot of people are still there. I just want to highlight this piece. One of the things that really stuck out to me that I didn’t even know as the head of security until someone came forth and asked me. They said, Do you know of any one on this banned list of people that aren’t allowed to be here? Can you confirm that the in-laws are not allowed to be on campus? So, what are you talking about? He goes, you know, like, Mark Driscoll’s in-laws, his daughter Ashley, you know, her husband, Landon, are his parents allowed here? Or his other son Zach is married to Chloe. Is Chloe’s parents allowed to be here? And as I started talking to these families, man, the way that they were treated, the way that they were sharing their family, they’re in laws. No. They’re not allowed on campus. The way that they’re treated, is horrible. The way that Mark uses their children to drive a wedge between their own families, it’s downright disgusting. And then you look at Pastor Brendan’s in-laws and how they’re treated. His wife’s parents, that relationship, and now they’re using the grandchildren as pawns against them. And these stories are heartbreaking. But that’s what I asked people is if Mark is going to treat his own family this way, his own children’s spouse’s parents, across the board, all of them, how’s it going to treat Joe Schmo that just comes here and happens to volunteer? And when he preaches, he’s all about relationships. He’s been saying that a lot lately. It’s not true. It’s revenue over relationships is what he’s for. He told the staff, we’re no longer a relational church. We don’t have to focus on relationships. We’re growing. But the relationships I do want you guys to focus on, pastors and staff, is those that donate a certain amount of money.

JULIE ROYS
Oh, my word.

CHAD FREESE
Yeah. He said, at a minimum, I want you all to, to ensure you at least remember their name, their face, make them feel welcome on Sunday, say hi to them. So, if they donate a certain amount of money, treat them well. And again, that goes back to what I’ve been saying. He values revenue over relationships. To me, that says a lot. Like you should want, how are you gonna to preach you’re all about relationships, and then tell your staff we’re not about relationships? And one of them was a former pastor that shared this with me. So.

BENJAMIN ENEAS
When we left the at least three of us stepped down from security at the same time. It was more than that, but as we left for the church, it was kind of ironic because one of the three of us received a text message saying that they’re praying for them, and they just wish them the best. And well, you know, they surpassed that threshold of giving. Chad and I do not. So, it was kind of funny as we had a group text message like, Hey, did you guys receive this? And we’re like, No. These guys haven’t talked to us at all. They’re afraid to talk to us. They’ll talk about us all day. That’s their favorite pastime, but they won’t talk to us. But they will talk to you because you donate enough that they actually care. It was disgusting. And it kind of made me feel like I needed a shower afterwards.

CHAD FREESE
Yeah, I guess the guy that Ben’s talking about was one of our leads on our security team. And he makes a very decent living. God’s blessed him and his family. And so, he definitely tithes and donates way, way beyond the 10% that, you know, Scripture tells us that. He gives a lot of time, effort, energy and money. And he was one of the individuals just like Ben that was talked about numerous times behind his back to me. I was in these meetings; we don’t trust him. We don’t like him. All he cares about is getting close to Mark Driscoll, which is total opposite. That’s not true whatsoever. But they would say these things about people, but not to people. So numerous, numerous times. And I’d ask Brandon, and other people that were saying these things like, they’re right outside, like, why don’t you go talk to them? No, we’ll talk to them later. This is multiple occasions. If you’re going to talk about people, you have such concern. I mean, y’all keep saying Matthew 18:15, you throw that in my face, like, every single day is like, just go talk to them. And I’ll tell you this, Julie, and everyone that’s listening – to this day, since we left the church, not a single phone call, not a single text message, not a single email. None of them have reached out to us. The very first communication that we received from Trinity Church was a cease-and-desist letter and threatened to sue us in court. Because we’re speaking out and we’re telling the truth. And we want people to have a platform and a voice and not be afraid. And if that means I get sued, so that other people can have some courage to speak up, then so be it. I’m okay with that. But it shouldn’t get to that point. But that just shows you what type of behavior and the type of people that we’re truly dealing with.

JULIE ROYS
Well, I really appreciate you gentlemen speaking out and having the guts to do that. And I just want to say, despite everything that has been reported, currently, Mark and Grace Driscoll are listed on XO Marriage, Jimmy Evans website as part of the XO ministry team, Sticky teams, which is a conference put on by North Coast Training Network. Larry Osborne, that’s his outfit. And also, Chris Brown is North Coast church pastor, they’re listed. He’s listed as a speaker along with Mark Driscoll. This is an event happening on October 19 and 20, 2021. Two days, it’s billed as two days of practical tools for you to build healthy, thriving ministries. Mark Driscoll remains on a local radio station there in Arizona. A Salem network radio station. Robert Morris again, having a preaching intensive in August, bringing in Mark Driscoll. I mean, you wonder sometimes what it takes or what it will take for someone to do something about a man who has so proven himself, time and time and time again, not just with one church, now with another church and with the pile of dead bodies, not just from Mars Hill, but now at Trinity Church continuing. And so, I just plead with people – contact these organizations. Let’s bring some accountability as a church for what’s going on. I don’t know what it’s going to take, but it has to stop. And again, all I can do is report it. Chad and Ben, you guys, you had the firsthand experience, and you guys are living on the frontlines. Maybe going to get sued as a result of going up against this man who has, you know, reportedly $10 million in his litigation fund. I applaud you for having the guts to do that. I applaud you for having the guts to speak out in this podcast. So, on my behalf, but more importantly, on the behalf of the church, thank you for doing this today.

CHAD FREESE
You’re welcome. Thank you for the opportunity.

BENJAMIN ENEAS
Thank you very much for giving us this platform, Julie.

JULIE ROYS
Absolutely. Well, it’s a blessing to be able to do it, and a blessing to have you on the program. And thanks for listening to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. If you’d like to connect with me online, just go to JulieRoys.com. Also, please subscribe to The Roys Report on Apple podcasts or Google podcasts. That way, you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, we’d really appreciate it if you could leave a review and spread the word about the podcast. Also share this on social media. We really appreciate you getting the word out that way as well. Again, thanks so much for joining me. Hope you have a great day and God bless.

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18 thoughts on “Inside the Driscoll “Cult” Part II”

  1. If what Chad says is accurate, Mark Driscoll will end up in prison. He is defrauding parishioners of their tithes and offerings and is unjustly enriching himself and his family. They are wise to create as much distance as possible between the Driscoll family and himself.

  2. Marky mark’s destruction isn’t sleeping.
    He definitely learned from his days at Mars Hill. And I am not suprised at all that marky is scheduled to be at robert’s church (business) And I still say that jimmy evans needs a better hairpiece. I know he has the money. The church in amarillo tx where he once was pastor was giving his marriage ministry $500,000.00 a year. He wasn’t even the pastor anymore. Of course, the tithing church members had no idea. Again, these guys think they are above the average church attender. We exists to fund their ego and selfish ambition. Clowns everyone.

  3. Julie, I believe a more useful word than “cult” is “authoritarian group”. “Cult” is subjective but many, many times an “authoritarian group” can be objectively identified through looking at the organizational structure in which one person, or a small group of people, are at the top with no accountability. Almost all groups popularly labeled as “cults” are authoritarian as well.

    Steven Hassan has a useful model for identifying authoritarian control:

    https://freedomofmind.com/cult-mind-control/bite-model/

  4. Thank you Chad and Ben for speaking up. We know who the true men are in the room. I am no lawyer but it seems that a lot of hidden information would come to light if the church decided to sue. Not a smart move. You have documentation.

    What a bad situation! I hope you have found good churches and that your wives are well. Needless to say, when someone is defaming and threatening you, they are hurting your family as well.

    I must admit, when all this was coming down, I wondered if anyone had done their research and looked up what was written about Mars Hill before attending. You did answer the question and I can understand why people were or are unaware of pastor Driscoll’s history. His paranoia is destructive. You do not see this in his preaching. I saw his last sermon and he talked how he loved all his congregants! He is a smooth operator.

    Best,
    Vance

  5. My family lives very close to here and have owned our nearby property since the 70s and seen many pastors come through the building that now houses Trinity. I have walked through more than my fair share of uncoverings of abuses at ministry organizations (I worked for a not-pancakes parachurch prayer and worship org, if you know you know. Also used to attend Highlands, another Scottsdale church with its own abuses) and watched things go down at Mars Hill from afar. For whatever it’s worth, this neighbor is watching and cheering you on. I don’t want this in my community, and feared it would come when Driscoll announced his move. I find peace knowing that there are men and women of integrity and courage who are standing against this madness, and appreciate your work shining a light on it Julie. Thank you.

  6. I used to attend a church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (Keystone Church led by Brandon & Susan Thomas), and left partly because the senior pastor has the church setup the exact same was as Driscoll has Trinity set up, and partly because of very similar abuses experienced both personally by myself, and other friends who attended. I knew things were way off when Keystone had both Mark and Grace Driscoll fly in to speak at the church not once, but twice within the last year, and Brandon/Susan have both flown to AZ and spoken at Driscoll’s church within the last month. Unfortunately, abuse within the church isn’t exclusive to Driscoll, but his influence is now affecting churches as far away as my former church in Texas. When someone in the inner circle of Keystone leadership leaves the church, Brandon & Susan verbally direct members to shun these individuals, just like Driscoll does. This abuse needs to stop.

    1. I’ve heard that Ed Young does the same thing with people at Fellowship Church. I was shoved out as a regular member, and outside of my partner, and a former member who is now deceased, not a single person from there has any contact with me. If they do that with a member what do they do to those on the inside?

    2. JH, as a former leader at Keystone, I do recall Randall Taylor is a friend of both Brandon Thomas and Driscoll (Randall is on the “board” of Driscoll’s new business) and associated with Keystone here in DFW. Hmmmmm…

  7. What does God do with people like this? I hope we are praying that God soften s their hearts and wakes them up.

  8. It’s A heartbreaking set of podcasts but very informative. Toward the end of the part two you said what can be done? If only the men that were around M. Driscoll from the gospel coalition as well as the Acts 29 network would use Their voices and influence can reach places that ours never could.

  9. Evans is still a pastor at Gateway Church, he does that plus his XO Marriage ministry as well as working with Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo.

  10. Patty Bodanza

    How timely for this set of podcasts to air as CT also airs “The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill”. I used to listen to every sermon Mark preached. These 2 podcasts make me wonder, as the CT episode 1 asks – why do we follow leaders like this? I understood one of your guests to say if you just showed up on Sunday you wouldn’t know. But it sounds like an equipping campus, and it sounds like people do know.

    Why do Christians, follow bad leaders? From supporting lynching of blacks, to segregation, to just mean spiritedness…why do we value the community, the organization, more than our God who tells us, who’s Son showed us, what a true leader looks like – sacrificially serving. Who defines what good shepherds fo for their flocks? Why are we content with a mouthpiece? I appreciate the detail of these two podcasts, but I’d appreciate even more a real discussion about why we human beings are unwilling to say “the way you’re talking about that person is wrong?” “What you’re doing is wrong!”At the very minimum!

    We listen to leaders and accept from them what is unacceptable. Why?????

    1. I was a loyal Mars Hill member in Seattle for two years. We gave money, were committed to a home group, volunteered and supported the church in every way. We even were up front praying for people after services. My wife and I loved it. It was the first time we would drive home in silence after a service because we were stunned at Mark’s biblical knowledge and how he presented it. I remember sitting in front of our house and quietly sharing how we felt God speaking into our life. It was the first time in years that we had been affected this way as a marriage couple and it was really really good. But then we were just going to the Sunday services. We didn’t see Mark behind the curtain. We didn’t see Mark in the office and his interaction with anyone off stage. We only knew two men on staff…Paul Petry and Bent Meyer. They were the only men who had approached us when we first came there. There was wisdom and spiritual maturity in those men (older than Mark and the elders) and that was what initially drew us to attend more. Later on those men were fired on the same day. We were told as members to not associate with them in any way. Over weeks it bothered me so much that I eventually called Paul and said I wanted to hear his side. I did the same with Bent. I just couldn’t believe the things that Mark was saying about them and I didn’t care if I was “caught” being seen with them. I had to know for myself and was willing suffer the consequences in doing so. After I learned what had happened we quietly resigned. It was after that the church later came apart at the seams.

      I’m saying all this because we didn’t see anything bad going on with Mark at all. No one was saying anything to make us think otherwise. If I hadn’t known Paul and Bent I would have stayed on and suffered the same hurt and anger that so many had later. As a church goer you don’t readily run to read dirt on the pastor you admire, because your respect for him is so great. Because we were basically Sunday church goers only we were shielded from the real Mark behind the curtain. So I understand why so many at Trinity are staying on despite what has been said so far. Believe me many of them if not most have read the same stuff and are trying to process it. But there is a disconnect where they choose to think the best about Mark and reject the rest. That was us for a time too. Trinity won’t fold any day now. It may not fold for months or even years. People will continue to come and go. But when the number of people leaving is greater than the number coming that will be when Mark Driscoll will say that God has directed him elsewhere. All I can say to Trinity members is to take in everything you read and go with your gut on this. Emotionally you will want to stay on. Try to hear that still small voice in your head that may be trying to say, “its time to leave now.”

  11. Julie, this podcast should be used as a teaching tool for those wishing to excel in this medium. So many podcasters make the show about them and use guests as props as a platform to express their own opinions. 98% of this podcast were the guests talking – you facilitating discussion. So refreshing

  12. Aside from secret handshakes (and maybe he had those too), he meets the criteria of a cult.

    As tension mounts for evangelical leaders who have supported trouble-plagued Pastor Mark Driscoll of the now-defunct Seattle megachurch Mars Hills in his latest church endeavor in Scottsdale, Arizona, to pressure him to step down from what his latest congregants are echoing are problems with abuse of power, those who have been wounded by churches around the world are retelling their stories in hope of being heard and finding healing once and for all. Others are asking what spiritual abuse is and what it looks like.

    What Is Spiritual Abuse?
    Spiritual abuse is any attempt to exert power and control over someone using religion, faith, or spiritual beliefs and/or the Bible or religious text. Spiritual abuse can happen within a religious organization, within a family, or a personal relationship.
    Spiritual abuse is not limited to one religion, a single denomination, or a specific group of people. It can happen in any religious group or within the home. It can happen as an element of child abuse, as elder abuse, or as domestic violence. Spiritual abuse can cause serious trauma and have a significant impact on your mental health. Spiritual abuse is never your fault. Spiritual abuse can take place in a variety of places. A person doesn’t have to be a member of a church, your family or a spiritual leader to spiritually abuse you.
    One form of spiritual abuse takes place within a religious organization. Another form may take place within the home.
    You may be/have experienced religious or spiritual abuse if a religious leader has:
    • Used scripture or beliefs to humiliate or embarrass you
    • Coerced you into giving money or other resources that you didn’t want to give
    • Forced you to be intimate or have sex that you didn’t want
    • Made you feel pressured or obligated to do things against your will
    • The pastor/leader is the ultimate authority and can’t be questioned
    • Your skepticism is suppressed or you’re dismissed for asking questions
    • Former members are demeaned/regarded as “apostates”/”unbelievers”, etc.
    • Relies on the Shame Cycle (You need the group to feel worthy, love, accepted, trusted)
    • It has “Thought reform” methods – Your serious questions are answered with cliches
    • They are above the law
    • No financial accountability
    The above-mentioned tactics are found both in large, well-recognized faith organizations and in cults. Often, leaders of these religious groups will use spirituality as a way to exert control over followers. This can have long-lasting and serious consequences for adults and children.

  13. Stefano Dalla Rosa

    Hey brother Chad, my name is StefanoI’m a fellow believer from Melbourne Australia🙂

    I recently heard you on the Julie roys podcast and wanted to thank you for your boldness in standing up to bullies.
    I really appreciate it brother.

    I haven’t experienced the exact same thing but similar difficulties I have a severe chronic illness and was in the health and wealth Pentecostal churches and was in extreme despair that I didn’t have enough faith because I was not healed.

    I checked out your website and was alarmed to see you recommending these two books as I believe them to be unbiblical, Barr’s book even quotes Rachel held Evans who is quite alarmingly unbiblical.

    The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth

    Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

    I would encourage you to give Wayne Grudem’s teaching on biblical manhood and womanhood a listen and see what you think, it’s free on christian audio.

    I’m not very familiar with Driscoll’s teachings but I assume he may have twisted and distorted the biblical position which has led you perhaps to find the other extreme appealing.

    If you get a chance let me know what you think, if you end up disagreeing it’s all good.

    Again thanks for standing up to abusive leadership and if you get sued you should set up a donation for your legal fund, I would gladly donate to it 🙂

    Look forward to hanging out on the new heavens and earth.

    Your brother in Christ Stefano

    1. Stefano Dalla Rosa

      Just wanted to apologise, I made a mistake on the above comment.

      I got mixed up and accidentally thought Rachel held Evans was Rachel Hollis.

      I’m unfamiliar with Rachel held Evans, however I still a firm my earlier concern as I do not believe the conclusions of those books can be reached with sound exegesis 😁

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