A New Podcast on Mars Hill Church Dives Deep into Evangelical Subculture

I've been taking a little bit of a break this summer from the podcast, but I've been listening to another podcast that was so interesting to me I decided to talk with its creator.

The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill is a new podcast that chronicles the downfall of a celebrity pastor named Mark Driscoll. I am interested in this topic because I grew up in a church that was similar to Mars Hill. Covenant Life Church, the church I grew up attending, was intense, it was insular, and it revolved around one person: the pastor C.J. Mahaney.

I've reflected for years on my experience in that church, as have many others. The church that I was born into became the hub of a national organization of churches with congregations in numerous other countries, and by one estimate, over 28,000 members. But over the last decade, Covenant Life Church and the umbrella organization he oversaw, Sovereign Grace Ministries, have fallen apart under the weight of scandal. Mahaney and SGM are now largely disgraced, and in 2019 they lost their most powerful ally, Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler, who cut ties with them.

"The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill" is about a church that started about 20 years after Covenant Life, and its creator, Mike Cosper, from Christianity Today magazine, does an outstanding job of telling the story. I tried to think hard with him about why these stories matter not just to people of faith but also to people of no faith, or people who are not evangelical Christians.

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