The successor of John Piper and lead pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis has resigned over alleged leadership issues in the congregation.
Jason Meyer, the pastor for Preaching and Vision of the church's Downtown campus, resigned from his post last week, The Roys Report said.
He succeeded Piper in 2013 after his election in 2012.
Three other church leaders have also left the church prior to Meyer's departure, including Bryan Pickering, Ming-Jinn Tong and Richie Stark.
Pickering, former pastor for Care and Counseling, claimed that he resigned from the church due to concern over "unethical behavior" among the elders that has been going on "for a long time."
The former minister explained this observation through his statement which was read to the congregation.
"I have seen several congregants (current and former), elders (current and former), and a former administrative assistant profoundly mistreated by elders in various ways. I have also seen leadership act in ways I would describe as domineering. I have also seen patterns of deception among our elders that are deeply concerning," Pickering said.
"I have tried on several occasions since early 2020 to speak up to others about these patterns of behavior," Pickering continued. "Increasingly in 2021, especially and intensely since March, I, too, have experienced what I would call bullying behavior. It is now clear to me that it is best for everyone for me to resign."
Kyle J. Howard, a preacher and racial and spiritual trauma counselor, revealed that the resignation of leaders stemmed from the church's effort to develop reforms over its relationship with the minorities and women in 2019, wherein he was tasked to teach about racial trauma.
Howard disclosed that some black pastors in the city refer to Bethlehem as a "white church within a Black space that doesn't actually engage . . . or relate to the Black community." He also learned about the negative impact to other people of Piper's teaching on "marital permanence," which discourages divorce even amidst an abusive relationship.
He said that he shared these concerns to the four church leaders who resigned and proposed for the establishment of a task force that will gauge whether the church's system has racial bias.
But soon after, the elders spoke against the task force, accusing it of having "Marxist" and "woke" tendencies.
Janice Perez Evans, former church member and one of the task force proponents, said that they spent hundreds of hours in studying the dynamics of the church and eventually presented a report to the elders by summer of 2019.
However, the elders ignored their findings and the expectation for reform did not materialize, causing task force members to leave the church.
Further, Howard uncovered that he was deemed "too controversial" by the elders that he was not invited to a conference last year.
Pickering, Evans and Howard revealed that this issue also extends to the school affiliated with the church, the Bethlehem College and Seminary (BCS), which led to the resignation of its philosophy professor, Johnathon Bowers.
Bowers shared this sentiment on Twitter.
"Back in October, I resigned from a ten-year career teaching at Bethlehem College & Seminary because of the school's toxic environment, particularly among the leadership. My family and I withdrew our membership from the church in December for the same reason," he tweeted.
Church Leaders wrote that five of BCS' faculty and staff members have resigned recently due to the issue.
Pickering said that his resignation sends a message to the church elders that they "need to change." It also serves as a warning to the congregation that they are "in trouble" over the lack of accountability among the elders.
Howard agreed with Pickering, hoping that the other leaders who left the church will also "speak up" about their observations.