The former leader of Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll, has claimed that leaders at the church plotted to accuse him of adultery before he handed in his resignation.
In a sermon, published earlier this week as part of his teaching series on Nehemiah, Driscoll explained that during his time off following his resignation, he was told by "multiple people" that there was a "nuclear option" in place in order to get him "out of the pulpit".
"During that time I met with some of my critics and enemies one-on-one or in small groups. People that had been friends, people who claimed to be Christians, some who were pastors some who still are pastors. I said, 'God told me a trap was set.' So I asked them. I said, 'Do you know what that might be?' And these people that we had known said, 'Yeah, the nuclear option was we were going to accuse you of adultery,'" Driscoll said.
The 51-year-old stepped down from Mars Hill in 2014 following multiple accusations of bullying staff members, elders, church leaders and congregants during his more than 20 years in ministry.
He now leads The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Driscoll continued by sharing how those plotting against him believed that if "we accused you of adultery, and enough of us signed the open letter, that ultimately there would be such a media firestorm that you would have to exit the ministry . . . "
But this is not the first time Driscoll refers to a "trap" being set for him during his time at Mars Hill. In July 2015, during a tearful interview with former leader of Hillsong, Brian Houston, Driscoll also shared how God had revealed to him and his wife that a trap had been set for him.
Sutton Turner, who served as an elder at Mars Hill, told The Roys Report Driscoll's allegations are "totally false".
"Some did not want him to be restored to full-time ministry," Turner continued. "But all of them wanted him to repent and reconcile with people he sinned against (which he never did) and be restored as a Christian in the church."
In his sermon, Driscoll promised to his congregation he always will be transparent with them.
"If I'm gonna be your pastor and I love you, I promise you this, I'll always tell you the truth. And I want you to love and honor and respect Christian leaders and pastors," he said. "Don't assume the worst, assume the best and don't believe everything you hear. And don't contribute to the gossip."