Just when we think that the news couldn’t get any worse, it just got worse. In light of all the firestorm Pastor Mark Driscoll has been under, his church Mars Hill has finally come up with a nondisclosure statement requirement for its employees. As one blogger points out, nondisclosure statements are for products of tech companies, especially products that are supposed to go public. In other words, it is a legal step companies take to ensure that corporate product is protected. This begs two questions.
First, what does a nondisclosure say about the church? It points to the fact that there’s a product that needs to be protected. What product would that be? The product is all the bad goings-on in the church. Is the gospel even a product to be consumed? When the church uses legal steps that is originally for product protection, the gospel becomes a product. This view of the gospel or the ministry is highly questionable. IF our gospel is supposed to be public and free, but our product needs to be protected because it contains something insidious and harmful, what does such a procedure say about the church and the gospel? Such a system sounds more like the fake goods from China than the authentic good news from God.
Second, what does the legality of such a statement say about the church? Let me be quite plain and simple. IF anyone who signed such a statement speaks out about the abuses of the church, the church will enlist the legal help of the court to punish the whistleblower. This is a desperate grasp for straws to protect the private consensus that should not need protection in the first place. This is not about privacy. It is about the kingdom of God and its overall separation from the state. It is about having a superior system than the world without using secular (aka profane) methods to manage the church. This not the first time Mars Hill uses a secular method to control its information outflow (remember the plagiarism scandal that resulted in … oh, no correction?), and I have a feeling this won’t be the last. Here we are, inviting the state to interfere with our church “business.” As St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6.2, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?” Apparently, in the case of at least one church, the competence is not there.
Whatever the intent of such a move by Mars Hill, the impact is neither Christian nor biblical.