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Mark Driscoll Steps Down: "I Am Genuinely Sorry"

Author and megachurch founder Mark Driscoll announced this weekend that he will leave his position at Mars Hill Church in Seattle for at least six weeks, as well as postpone the release of his next book, pending a review of formal charges lodged against him for abuse of power.

Recently Driscoll has been the subject of controversy as a group of pastors filed formal charges against him for improper behavior and influence of others during his tenure at Mars Hill. He has been accused of plagiarism and inappropriate use of church funds. He has also been removed from membership in Acts 29 Network—the church planting organization he helped found—and LifeWay Christian Resources has stopped selling his written work.

Driscoll shared a formal address to Mars Hill this weekend in which he apologized for any “distraction” he might have created of late. “I want to say to my Mars Hill family, past and present, I’m very sorry. I genuinely mean it,” Driscoll said in his address. “I’m very sorry for the times I’ve been angry, short or insensitive. I’m very sorry for anything I’ve done to distract from our mission by inviting criticism, controversy or negative media attention.”

According to Religion News Service, public relations consultant Mark DeMoss will work with the congregation in the coming weeks. DeMoss, a former advisor to Mitt Romney during his run for the presidency, called Driscoll a “gifted biblical communicator who has done effective church work in an unchurched part of the country.”

“I like him, I believe in him, and if I only worked with ministry leaders who were faultless, I would be out of business tonight,” DeMoss also said.

In response to Sunday’s announcement, John Piper (@JohnPiper) tweeted, “I hope Mark Driscoll feels a tidal wave of hope-filled prayer for anew day and a new man in this season.”

“While I’m still young, I suspect when I’m old I’ll be known for many things—some good, and some not so good,” Driscoll said. “But I hope that the longer God leaves me on this earth, the more I’ll be known for one thing—that I loved Jesus and His Church, the Church He promised the gates of Hell would not prevail against. I may be an author, a speaker, and a thought-provoker; but in the deepest recesses of my heart, I’m a local church pastor, and that’s what I want to give the rest of my life for.”

View the whole announcement below.