Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Problem of Authoritarianism in the Conservative Pulpits of America

Last week the New York Times ran a profile on the hip, conservative evangelical Seattle pastor of Mars Hill Church, a man named Mark Driscoll. The article was sent to me by one of our church members, and I enjoyed reading it. Before I criticize something the New York Times attributes Pastor Mark Driscoll saying, let me make it known that I appreciate what Mark has done in the Seattle area, and I am probably very similar to Mark in terms of theology and philosophy of church ministry. In my opinion, Mark has some great ideas, and I know that the people hear the gospel from Mark's mouth.

Yet, Mark is quoted in the article as saying something that I find quite disturbing. After the New York Times makes it known Driscoll has little patience for dissent, the newspaper writes that in 2007, two church elders protested a plan to reorganize Mars Hill Church. The elders, according to the newspaper, felt the reorganization consolidated power in the hands of Driscoll and his closest aides, giving to the pastor too much authority and control. Driscoll told the congregation that he asked advice on how to handle stubborn subordinates from a “mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighter, good guy” who attends Mars Hill.

“His answer was brilliant," reported the pastor. “He said, ‘I break their nose.'"

The New York Times goes on to report that when one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. Pastor Mark Driscoll then gives to the New York Times the money quote that ought to send a shiver up the spine of every member of an evangelical, conservative church in America. Pastor Driscoll said:

“They are sinning through questioning."


The Bible tells us that true leadership is found through men who are courageous enough to be questioned. Jesus said that real leaders are servants, not masters. The incredible notion that a member of a church should be shunned, persecuted or disciplined for simply asking questions of the pastor has more in common than the cultic practices of Jim Jones than the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let me be clear. Those kind of pastors - pastors that advocate an authoritianism inherent in the pulpit, that stifle any and all dissent from the members of their congregations, that humiliate and denigrate the members who for the sake of conscience ask questions - could very well be considered great expositors of the Word of God and doctrinally orthodox. Yet those pastors display a character that is the antithesis of the character of Christ, an ironhandedness that is the opposite of genuine grace, and a disposition that should cause their congregations to realize that their pastors are but one step away from falling over the precipice of moral failure in terms of their church ministries or personal lives.

The problem in conservative pulpits of America is not a denial of the Word of God, the problem in conservative pulipits of America is the preacher acts as if his words are the Word of God.

In His Grace,



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Ramesh said...

Humility needs to be practiced from the heart. And true Repentance.

If we do not ask questions, how are we to learn and understand? Or to act as a "check" against foolishness by the leaders?

Maybe the leaders should listen to this young lady's Testimony.

Clif Cummings said...

The sentence the article after the "money quote" by Driscoll reads: "John Calvin couldn't have said it better."
I know of no one more familiar with the teaching of John Calvin than you. From which of his writings can the New York Times this connection? It seems as if they are trying to connect authoritarian dictatorship style leadership to Calvinism.
To me, the doctrines of grace do not lean in that direction whatsoever.

Bob Cleveland said...


The more church leaders' actions model the behavior of Jesus, the more the results of their leadership will properly be attributed to Jesus, and not to man. And that's where all the credit ought to go, anyway.

Say. Maybe that's part of the problem.

Let me hasten to add I'm thinking in generalities, and not about any particular pastor.

Clif Cummings said...

my apologies for the typing errors.. should read: "The sentence in the article"....and "make this connection". It's past my bedtime!

B Nettles said...

Wow! You can hear all kinds of things about Bro. Mark, and if it comes from the New York Times, one might pour a whole shaker of salt on it. Newspaper quotes are notoriously like preacher stories...embellished maybe?

Anyway, accurate or not, here's something that any pastor can count on:
1 Peter 5:1-3, in pieces [NASB]:"Therefore I exhort the elders among you...shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion...nor yet as lording it over those alloted to your charge but proving to be examples to the flock." Guess what pastors? You have no right to tell a member to leave just because you don't get along. God has alloted them to YOU. You have to suck it up and be a good example. And you better get along with fellow elders, too.

Then Titus 1:7: "For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fornd of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled." Emphasis is mine. NO, you can't break his nose. You're sinning against the flock, not just the one. No, you can't do something just because you think it's a good idea, especially if other elders think it's not...that's what self-willed people do. And you are a steward, not an owner. You protect and keep, not divide and conquer.

I don't know if Pastor Driscoll really said those things (again, I don't trust the NYT, especially in reporting Christian matters), but any pastor who would act that way is demonstrably violating the sacred trust of shepherding the flock. said...

Excellent point Clif.

Ramesh said...

"I don't know if Pastor Driscoll really said those things ..."

Newspapers have clear guidelines on checking the accuracy of quotes. Especially NYT. They may fail in a true understanding of The Word of God/Scriptures/Calvinism or in their analysis, but they check the accuracy of quotes. [Of course, you have to ignore the famous NYT case of the reporter who was making up stories, because he got lazy.]

Maybe they should get competent reporters who truly understand Christian issues and report from the inside.

On Molly Worthen:

Learning To Think, And Live

From Student and Teacher to Biographer and Subject

Teacher Man

Onward Christian Scholars

Rex Ray said...

The division grows in the SBC. Much hinges on which BFM has been accepted…the 1963 or the 2000.

The 2000 was made to be a creed. Our Baptist heritage allows no creeds but the Bible. Hundreds of people lost their jobs because they would not sign.

Many long time missionaries have been fired. They stood for our Baptist heritage and their cost was much.

After months of working to produce a Church Constitution for our BGCT church by choosing the BFM 1963, it was changed in one meeting when I was sick. Tonight, I learned there was a compromise or should I say a surrender?

Our pastor wanted the BFM 2000, but in failing, influenced those present to specify neither one.

To me a Constitution without a BFM is like a flag without color…just white.

Sorry missionaries…your cries have fallen on ears under sand covered by smooth words.

Steve said...

How intelligent Christians could imagine going along with such an attitude in their pastor is beyond me. I keep imagining a "Spanky and Our Gang" skit where Spanky keeps telling Darla and Buckwheat to follow his orders and he ends up with egg or a pie in his face.

My Bible just doesn't read like Driscoll's.

Ramesh said...

"that stifle any and all dissent from the members of their congregations, that humiliate and denigrate the members who for the sake of conscience ask questions - ..."

I do not wish to hijack this blog post. I would like to draw your attention to fbcjax watchdog. According to fbcjax leadership, he has been identified and served papers. Please follow the story as per the links:

Member Comment, indicating that he has been served papers as WD

Church Discipline - FBC Jax Style - Part 1

The Scarlet Letter - A (or B for Blogging?)

Church Discipline - FBC Jax Style - Part 2 - Memo to Bloggers: "NO TRESPASSING"

The Charges Against the Watchdog

The Charges Against the Watchdog - Part 2

The Charges Against the Watchdog - Part 3

The Charges Against the Watchdog - Part 4

Closing Out 2008 - A Look Back...

Of course, WD [Watchdog] has claimed he is not the one who was served the no-trespassing notices to him and his wife. Also they [members who were served the no-trespass notices] were not allowed to see their daughter perform on a wednesday night service.

It appears from the comments, that others have also been [mistakenly] identified as WD before, and they have since left the Church.

If you wish to comment on fbcjax watchdog blog, just go the latest blog post and comment here. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Newspapers have clear guidelines on checking the accuracy of quotes. Especially NYT."

Now that is funny. I haven't laughed so hard since I can't remember.

absonjourney said...

I have listened to Driscoll for years and have found him to be intelligent, honest, and humble. The quote mentioned about breaking someone's nose was offered in jest. Further, the "sin of questioning" referred to was not asking questions but publicly disparaging leadership.

Wade, I would suggest you do a little more homework on this subject, beyond the article. Driscoll is not a Patterson or a Blaising. He is publicly repentant when he is wrong. He has removed himself from positions of power within Mars Hill graciously and without complaint. He is regularly disagreed with by the executive team at the church and is supportive of decisions that he was in the minority in making. He's not perfect but he's not a good example of "authoritarianism".

Anonymous said...

Clif and Wade,

Is it more of a stretch to try and connect Driscoll to John Calvin as the New York Times has done... or... to try to connect Driscoll to Jim Jones and "authoritarianism" as Wade has done?

WatchingHISstory said...

Sometimes he uses profanity in the pulpit.

WatchingHISstory said...

Lord forbid that anyone would be connected to John Calvin!

better to be connected to Jim Jones!

Alan Paul said...

As one who attends what would be considered a contemporary megachurch, I think quite a number of these pastors who lead them will wake up one day and realize that they and not God built their churches. And God may end up denying he even knows them. Just my opinion.

Stephen said...

Wade, I trust that you have done your homework on this, but I don't trust the NYT. I think pastors should keep a low public profile and do what they can to avoid publicity from the secular press. As you know, pastors have enough on their hands tending their local flock.

Tom Parker said...

I have read that he uses profanity when he is preaching. If this is true can someone give me just one good reason why would this man use profanity when he is preaching?

Anonymous said...

As a former senior pastor, I tell folks to respect the biblical office but not necessarily the person filling it. Senior pastors are like other vocational ministers and all people everywhere: imperfect. But senior pastors' imperfections are on-display continually, so the big people which the New Testament says they must be THEY ACTUALLY MUST BECOME (especially Monday-Friday in their churches' offices).

A heavy-handed approach to church leadership is a great way to preach to ones family only on Sundays, as adults today only get yelled at in traffic and no one appreciates someone who fails to tap the collective IQ/spirituality in a local church.


irreverend fox said...


If you read railings of the Prophets in context you'll see most of them employed similar tactics.

Where in the Bible do we find a list of profane words to not say? If not in the Bible then who determines what is profane and what is not?

Anonymous said...

This is a sad report, but an issue that often comes up in a variety of church experiences.

The pastor could be on the wrong track, and the 2 elders are wisely questioning the move, or the 2 elders could be old cranks who stand in the way of the church moving on.

Here are my thoughts:

1. Congregational government (however it is done) is the best way to go, but it can be messy. The Pastor doesn't "run the church" and should not have the say-so over major changes without the people's approval.

2. Other than the pastor, I think it is best for the rest of the staff to serve in a non-governing role. They are employees who serve under administrative and congregational direction. I read a paper by a prof at a seminary one time that said the pastor and the staff were the "elders" according to NT teaching. Of course, a church can put anyone on an elder board that they want to, but I would strongly discourage putting employees on the board that oversees them. The pastor is the only exception in my book. Otherwise, the church has professional staff people (who might move on when a better offer comes along) calling huge shots for the congregation that built the buildings and will be there long after the staff goes.

3. I favor an elder form of government with the pastor as an elder and a requirement that any major changes in the church structure, doctrinal statement, building projects, new pastoral level hires etc., requiring unanimity. A church that has that puts the elders in a position of reaching some agreement, and it doesn't allow for a pastor and a majority of the elders to push things that the other elders do not agree with.

4. In addition to number 3, I favor a provision to remove elders by a unanimous or near unanimous vote of the elders. That's for cases where you have someone on the board who really becomes a constant problem. I realize this principle is held in some tension with number 3, but any organizational structure one follows has its tension points.

5. Pastors and staff should not be vested with the ability to make major church changes without elder or congregational approval. In our church, the congregation also approves all major decisions by secret ballot after a unanimous recommendation by the elders.

6. I would be interested to know how open the finances are at this church.

7. Those comments in Time attributed to the pastor are way over the top. I am sure he thought they were clever when he made them, but now can't believe he said them.

8. This pastor probably did not prepare before he sat down with the Time reporter. We would NEVER allow our pastor to have a face to face with a Time reporter anyway unless there was a huge amount of preparation with a PR person and the rest of the elders. The media lives for quotes like this. Pastors think they are really good at handling people, so they think they are good at handling the media. They are wrong. If the media wants to burn you, they will. If they want to make you look good, they will. If they want your point of view to become accepted, they will work at that. If they want to destroy your point of view, they will work at that, too. And it usually doesn't matter how well you think you did in the interview.

Take the Presidential candidates for example. They spend hours and hours with experienced press, PR and aides before they ever go before a camera. And they are usually given short talking points and are told to stay on those points.

But for some reason in Christian circles we don't think these rules apply. And pastors give interviews without preparation and they get burned time and time again. Or if they don't get burned, something they said burns someone else in a way they did not intend.

9. If I were an elder at the church, and what has been reported is true, I would be very disappointed in the pastor, and it would be a topic at the next elders' meeting.

10. Don't believe everything you read in Time.


Robert Hutchinson said...

dr. jesse c. fletcher in his 1994 book, the southern baptist convention: a sesquicentennial history, speaks about the fault line "pastor-led vs. democratic church polity" in the sbc foundation.

"A clear-cut fault line in Southern Baptist churches throughout the long controversy has been the conflict between those who uphold a democratic style of church governance and those who feel pastors and elders are given authority by God and the congregation is to follow loyally.

"Conservative pastors more and more claim that pastoral authority is biblically mandated and that God will bless those churches that recognize it. They point to the success of the megachurches where strong leaders exercising firm authority are the rule with few, if any, exceptions.

"On the other hand, seminary teachers and moderate theorists of pastoral leadership have stressed servant models of leadership based upon the example of Jesus whom they say reflected king, chief, and warrior roles for the suffering servant concept of the prophet Isaiah...They confess, however, that such leadership styles often fail to generate larger followings and that many Christians prefer strong leadership.

"Despite such teaching, many young pastors seeking models to emulate find that pragmatic fact of success hard to ignore. Church members, longing for successful and prosperous fellowships, also find it hard to ignore. Hardest of all to ignore may be the fact that in 1992 the average Southern Baptist church had only 168 resident members, and with only five baptisms and six other kinds of additions, was losing ground."

what really brings shivers down my spine is that a pastor can what driscoll said, and a mass exodus of members does not occur.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the times report is correct, but might I suggest someone (like Wade) contact Mark and ask him directly? Everyone is approachable these days by email... oh, except some church pastors who have someone screen their email first and will decide whether or not to respond. I imagine he is getting quite a few email these days... This is not to say that I am questioning your facts, Wade, just that I wonder if Mark knows what it sounds like to others.

Secondly, power and control are funny things. The more accollades someone seems to get, the more puffed up. The more puffed up, the more control they want, since they are oh so good. The more they are given or take control, the more others lose it.

The more control someone is given, the more they want. Until they control every aspect of life. It is that way with any abusive person. And dismissing elders because they question you is abusive. Correct me of I am wrong, but are we not mandated in Scripture to "test the spirits to see of they are from God"? Isn't that what questioning is?

I received a devotional today that fits, "The path of least resistance leads to the altar of man and destruction." When the way of the pastor (or anyone) is through public approval and pride and given much power, the path must be carefully trod.

Anonymous said...

There is an equal problem in many churches, where the people in the pew give no respect for the person or position of pastor.

We can all think of those people among the membership who fought for the kind of oversight and control for themselves mentioned in this blog.

Could this be a reason many pastors do not stay in their ministries for the long haul?

I've been accused (not where I presently serve) of leading to many to Christ in to short a time for the purpose of making the majority of the church, my supporters. I still have the letter on file where I was asked to resign but would be willing to be able to remain if I quit evangelizing.

Yes, there are pastors with big egos who go to far but I believe the numbers of people fighting for control is larger among the membership, rather than the staff. said...


I shall put in a call to Mark. It is possible that the New York Times misquoted him, but I would consider that possibility remote for three reasons:

(1). It is not just one quote. It is at least three direct quotes (in quotations) that all have the same theme - no dissent allowed.

(2). Unlike some who are biased against anything the NY Times prints, I believe that the editors know the basic rule of NEVER changing the words of a statement in "quotes," and if I am not mistaken, the quotes is a guarantee that there is a tape recording. Otherwise, the paper will summarize.

(3). I do not know Mark. The usual standard on things like this is, if there is a misquote in a public forum, for the person misquoted to correct it. I have heard or seen no denial.

But, out of respect for Pastor Driscoll, even though it is not required, I will try to ask him directly if his words reflect his view of the authority of the pastor. said...

Thy Peace,

I do not consider your comment a hijack of this blog. On the contrary, knowing personally the people involved in the situation to which you refer, I believe it to be one of the prime examples of pastoral authoritarianism run amock.

In His Grace,


Robert Hutchinson said...

typo in last comment.

the sentence,

"...the example of Jesus whom they say reflected king, chief, and warrior roles for the suffering servant concept of the prophet Isaiah."

should read,

"...the example of Jesus whom they say rejected king, chief, and warrior roles for the suffering servant concept of the prophet Isaiah."

Unknown said...

Alan Paul,

“Because Ephraim hath multiplied altars for sinning, altars have been unto him for sinning.” (Hos.8:11)

Just because someone builds a “mega-alter” does not mean that God is worshiped in that place… In fact, a people may have a multitude of alters for sinning.

That’s not just your opinion, or my opinion brother, that appears to be God’s opinion.

Grace Always,

Anonymous said...

Here is a quote from the best blog on the net (

Here is typical Driscoll on what he thinks is acceptable within the context of preaching (from the Times article)

"An “Under 17 Requires Adult Permission” warning flashes before the video cuts to evening services at Mars Hill, where an anonymous audience member has just text-messaged a question to the screen onstage: “Pastor Mark, is masturbation a valid form of birth control?”

Driscoll doesn’t miss a beat: “I had one guy quote Ecclesiastes 9:10, which says, ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.’ ”

The audience bursts out laughing.

For the record... this is not funny; it's tragic."

For a Christ centered blog with a "bible-solid" theology check out Steve Camp. He is awesome!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Wade. As I said, it is not because I do not trust you or the NYT quotes, but as we are called to confront what we know (as you so often do - thank you)I think it would be helpful for all to hear from you what he says. I believe this IS his philosophy. So let him say so to another pastor, not just a Times reporter who can alwys have people say, oh, he's misquoting him...

Tom Parker said...

Irreverend Fox:

Does your Pastor use profanity when he preaches or if you are a Preacher do you use profanity when you preach?

I do not remember in reading the Bible that Jesus used profanity so I'm not really sure that we ought to be using any in our Christian walk.

I would like to think that most Christians know which words are the profane ones.

James B. Foyle said...

If Mark Driscoll considers questioning a sin, how would he characterize the words and actions of say, Martin Luther, or any other reformer?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Parker,

While I would never advocate for profanity from the pulpit, I DO disagree with your notion that "most Christians know which words are the profane ones".

Is it just the seven dirty words that George Carlin made famous? Or does it include "gosh" and "darn" too? Or does "profane" mean different things to different people? I'll bet it does....

Just food for thought.

Charles Brazeale
Neosho, MO

Anonymous said...

"“They are sinning through questioning."

Before the far-right got so entrenched in American thinking, and The Presidency was so elevated above the Court and the Congress, Americans would have immediately recognized Mark's words for what they are.

But now we are insensitive to the power-grabbing extremism of the far right wing.

Something has happened to us as a people when words like this don't make our blood run cold.
Something terrible has happened.

"You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy."
Charles Manson

Have we lost that American virtue that our ancestors had when they came here seeking freedom from 'authoritarians'.

It is within our American genetics that 'the locus of evaluation' resides within us. We like to make up our own minds. We like our independence of thought and our freedom to seek God in our own way and worship him honestly from the core of who we really are,
not as men would tell us we must be.
The Mansons, Hitlers, Jim Joneses are out there like magnets, folks, and all they have to do is sit back and wait for YOU to come to them.
Their followers all share one thing: the need to worship a powerful personality who will 'make their decisions for them'.

Christ asked us to learn of Him for He was meek and humble of heart. People forget Him in their rush towards a powerful personality who will take over their thinking for them. And so, they go into darkness.

Who do you follow?

Tom Parker said...


I do hear what you are saying, but I do not think that Rev. Driscoll is using the words gosh or darn. I would also say that in most conservative churches that I know of,if a minister uses certain words in his sermons or Bible studies--I will not list them--he or she is not going to be allowed to get away with it.

Katherine said...

"They are sinning through questioning."

I find this kind of quote really ironic coming from a Protestant...

Ramesh said...

""They are sinning through questioning."

I find this kind of quote really ironic coming from a Protestant..."

Especially from Baptists given their history of questioning those in authority. I think Baptists would say they are not protestants, since they trace their history from the 1st to 3rd century AD, they were separate from Catholics.

Anonymous said...

I'd ask a question but it might be sinning to do so,so I will keep it and the answer I want to myself.

Of course, asking a question (being sinful) may lead you to sin by answering (simple logic) so I refuse to be a part of tempting you to sin, therefore I will not ask.

I need to ask my neighbor if he wants to know Jesus... and now I can't without sinning. This is going to be a difficult year.

Who is buying lunch?

Anonymous said...

Bring all the good missionaries home and let them convert US. Oh, how the sheep do stray .

Anonymous said...

I read the NYT article about Mark Driscoll a few days ago, and I lost respect for him. His "shock jock" approach to ministry is highly disturbing. Is this what we want to model for our young people?

Here's Mark Driscoll on video justifying why he uses harsh language. I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture just like Mark, but I look to Jesus Christ as my role model. Did Jesus use vulgar language?

As Christians, we are called by our Heavenly Father to be lights shining into the darkness. I don't see much light coming from Mark Driscoll because he blends in well with the darkness we find in our world.

The 20/20 Collegiate Conference being held at SEBTS is scheduled for February 6-7, 2009, and Mark Driscoll is one of the featured speakers. College students from around our area are encouraged to attend. I'm glad that my college-aged daughter has no desire to participate because she doesn't need to be exposed to such vulgarity. She's a committed Christian who is active in Campus Crusade for Christ and her church. Mark is no role model as far as this mom is concerned.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a Pastor in a rural sbc church, I would have to think that this post is aimed more towards those outside of the circles that I am familiar with. In many Independent Baptist churches this can be a significant issue, but I have found that more churches are in error the opposite way. That is, the Pastor has no voice, and his leadership is followed only as it follows the dictates of the deacons. Many churches have an unbiblical ecclesiology in this regard. The deacons run the church, the pastor preaches, and when he begins to lead they run him off. Of course attempts to adress this error, are generally met with a special business meeting and the printing of a resume. I have seen it, and I am sure you have as well.

Anonymous said...


"If this is true can someone give me just one good reason why would this man use profanity when he is preaching?"

Tom, it got YOUR attention, didn't it. I think he does it as an attention-grabber.

Once I was teaching a science class that involved the metric system. That day's lesson was on hectometers. It was the 'after lunch bunch' and I needed to get their attention.
My info was on the board and I had pulled a screen down over it.
Seeing the sleepy, noisy disruption, I shouted loudly:

"HECK", got their attention, raised the screen,
and finished the word: "HECtometers."
Lesson turned out fine. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, you now have the FBC, Jax Watchdog saying that you are calling FBC, Jax as a prime example of a pastor run wild. You two could not be further apart but he manages to find some similiarities in your writings. Sad day indeed.

Personally, I would not believe anything that came from the NYT and sure would call a pastor before denigrating him publicly.

I recently talked with two current IMB board members and they both said these same things about you. What are we to believe???

Kevin said...

"The problem in conservative pulpits of America is not a denial of the Word of God, the problem in conservative pulipits of America is the preacher acts as if his words are the Word of God."

Really? I wish you would rethink making such universal indictments like these.

Anonymous said...

There can be no out of control 'authoritarian' dictator where the people do not allow it.

People get the kind of leadership they deserve.

In religion, one's ultimate Authority is God: prayer, examining your conscience, and acting on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. All that takes precedence over any influences.
A man's conscience is the way God has written His laws upon the heart and the conscience, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is the supreme Authority for men AND women to follow.

Violation of one's conscience will bring no peace, only guilt and conviction.

Anonymous said...

I want to completely bypass the person and viewpoints of Driscoll in making these points:

1. Jesus served the disciples but did not submit to their leadership.

2. If Heb. 13:17 is talking about pastors, then [in the light of what "obey" means in the Greek] the implication is that pastors are to be persuasive.

3. 1 Peter 5:1-3 is clear that shepherds are not to be heavy handed. Therefore, no amount of waxing eloquent on what "strong leadership" is supposed to look like can get around this.

4. The imagery of Christ being the head of the church seems to reveal a "direct" connection between Christ and the church. Therefore, I think advocating leadership that somehow comes in between Christ and the church seems to conflict with this imagery since that would seem to make the connection between Christ and the church "indirect".

5. If you believe in both congregationalism and liberty of conscience, then I think care has to be taken that one does not end up trumping the other.



WTJeff said...

Awhile back, maybe a year or two, Mark Driscoll was asked by his elder board how he wanted to be perceived publicly. I don't recall his answer, but his elders asked him something to the effect of whether he wanted to be remember as someone with a foul mouth and an ill temper. He told them he did not, and they told him that's how he was perceived. He publicly repented of that on his church's blog,

(I know it's blog protocol to provide a link, but it appears that article is no longer available, so I'm doing this from memory.)

Mark Driscoll pastors in a city that has more pets than Christians. Sometimes, in an attempt to reach that city, he has stepped over a few lines. As I've followed his ministry, however, there is a desire to be biblically faithful. He has hosted such godly men as John Piper, JI Packer,and DA Carson at his church. The thing I like about him is he's as messed up as I am, but continues to push forward with reaching his city for Christ. Does he make some mistakes? You bet. That just means he's as in need of God's grace as the rest of us.

Does this justify his behavior? No. But I wish I were half as productive as him in making disciples. Is he too authoritarian? Perhaps. That just means he's as in need of prayer as the rest of us.

Maybe that's a new comment rule Wade can institute. Before you comment about someone, you have to pray for them.



ezekiel said...


–noun, plural -ties for 2. 1. the quality of being profane; irreverence.
2. profane conduct or language; a profane act or utterance.

Eph 4:29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it.

Eph 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

It would be nice if someone would show us all how one can use profanity and yet not be profane. The Word has a lot of warnings about profane persons.

Does anyone else see the irony or the error in teaching submission but ignoring the speech commands in the same book and chapter? Ephesians?

Mat 15:11 It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that makes him unclean and defiled, but what comes out of the mouth; this makes a man unclean and defiles [him].

Does anyone else see the irony of teaching abstaining from alcohol or tobacco because it "defiles the temple" but using profanity to deliver the message?

Anybody that goes home with a foul mouthed spouse every night should surely understand that Jesus doesn't like it any better than you do. We also need to wonder why the Jesus that you profess to have in you would be any more understanding or accepting than your spouse would be.

Kevin said...

Thanks for adding grace to the comments.
While I disagree with the tone and content of so many Driscoll quotes, I am so very grateful that God has him out there preaching the gospel faithfully and seeing thousands come to know the Lord in very hard place to stand for truth


Anonymous said...



Hail Gladdening Light
Of His pure glory poured
Who is the Immortal Father, Heavenly Blest
Holiest of Holies, Jesus Christ our Lord

Now we are come to the sun's hour of rest
The lights of evening 'round us shine
We hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Divine

Worthiest art Though, at all times to be sung
With undefiled tongue
Son of our God, Giver of life alone
Therefore, in all the world Thy glories Lord
Thine own.

Anonymous said...



Hail Gladdening Light
Of His pure glory poured
Who is the Immortal Father, Heavenly Blest
Holiest of Holies, Jesus Christ our Lord

Now we are come to the sun's hour of rest
The lights of evening 'round us shine
We hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Divine

Worthiest art Though, at all times to be sung
With undefiled tongue
Son of our God, Giver of life alone
Therefore, in all the world Thy glories Lord
Thine own. said...

To Anonymous Who Said,

Personally, I would not believe anything that came from the NYT and sure would call a pastor before denigrating him publicly.

I recently talked with two current IMB board members and they both said these same things about you. What are we to believe???

It would be helfpul if you sign your name. You spoke to IMB trustees who said the same thing about me? Smile.

I was the questioner at the IMB, not the ones in authority. Seeing how trustees responded to questions, trustees who are mostly "pastors" and "pastor's wives," made me realize we have a really warped view of "authority" in the SBC.

To speak to people about whether or not I exert absolute authoritarian control over people from a position of leadership, you would be wise to speak to my congregation.

In His Grace,


Anonymous said...

The worst profanity of all
is to speak the name of Christ
without humility. said...


An unusually profound comment from the category of anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I recently talked with two current IMB board members and they both said these same things about you.

Forgive the bluntness, but I don't want you to miss this anonymous.

As a long time member of the church Wade pastors, they would be lying.

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade,

Is the 'messenger' always needing 'credit'? No.
I glad you understood.

Anonymous said...

Continuing on:

6. Unless I am mistaken, it is a fact that the word "office" is not connected to bishops in the Greek [though it is in at least one English translation].

Hence, the next question seems to be this--Does the Bible teach the "concept" of office without using the term?

If so, then how do you define "office"?

7. I think it is E X T R E M E L Y important to take note that the reasons given in 1 Thess. 5:13 for why leads are to be highly esteemed is NOT because of their position/office [real or imagined], but because of their WORK.

Pastors, be alert to this!

8. I think that old covenant priesthood ideas have been brought over into the New Testament church.

a. The priests were called and it is asked of people wanting to be pastors today--have you been called?

b. The priests were ordained and only pastors and deacons get ordained today.

c. The priests performed certain duties that the "laity" did not get to perform and today there is this idea that only "pastors" can perform baptisms and administer the Lord's Supper.

--I don't think there is a shred of exegetical evidence for a, b, or c.

9. It's every member ministry [Eph. 4:12], not elitist snobbery [Matt. 23:1-12].



Anonymous said...


Your commentary was thought-provoking and profound! Thank you for sharing.

There seem to be quite a few men posting comments today in support of Mark Driscoll, and I guess Mark strikes a chord with them.

Their attitudes are just one more example of how women like me feel marginalized in the SBC.

Anonymous said...

Better Grammar this time:

7. I think it is E X T R E M E L Y important to take note that the reason given in 1 Thess. 5:13 for why leaders are to be highly esteemed is NOT because of their position/office [real or imagined], but because of their WORK.

Anonymous said...


I tend to agree with you and rebuked both of them but to no avail. Its their loss as far as I am concerned.

ezekiel said...

Well said, Benji.

Anonymous said...

I have posted here occasionally. Since the last time, I have left my SBC church and thrown my lot in with the evangelical Anglicans. Frankly, I am sick and tired of folks like Mark Driscoll and his nonsense. I think all of us, deep down inside, do not buy this form of preaching and we spend too much of our time trying to justify it.

We have so far drifted from the truth, attempting to make ourselves look relevant, that we are in danger of losing the very Gospel itself.

Mark Driscoll has always been know to be foul mouthed as well as making ridiculous comments like breaking someone's nose. If anyone took a few minutes to listen to him you would know that the reports are not exaggerated. What is so sad is that we Christians need the NYT exposing this garbage.
I think we need to take a step back and really look at the issues in front of us. I recommend Charles Colson's book, The Faith.

Our world is troubled by disease, violence, and perverted truth. We need to focus on the true Gospel and leave questions about masturbation(Driscoll's more memorable answer) to smaller and private groups.

Finally, a warning. Recently, Willowcreek and Hybels announce that they have screwed up. They have folks coming to church in droves but many of these folks can't even define what Christianity really is.

So, I am quite cautious about Driscoll and his supposed preaching of the Gospel. He may be leading many astray.

Egads! Jesus swearing and discussing masturbation at the Sermon on the Mount? Nonsense.

Love the blog.

Anonymous said...

Mat 15:11 It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that makes him unclean and defiled, but what comes out of the mouth; this makes a man unclean and defiles [him].

What words are indeed considered "profane"? Perhaps the SBC should organize a committee and give us all a list. If they do, should they include women in this list? Could the concept of "profane" be an individual perception issue?

When I read this passage I tend to think that a liar would equally qualify under this text.

Anonymous said...

John Estes and one Anon from a rural church made good comments about power grabs by deacons and church members being the more common form of the abuse of power in the church.

While this blog and my earlier comment addressed power from the Pastor side, let me say that I think you are entirely correct.

I think that those power grabs come from 2 problems:
1) the organization structure of the church, or 2) the structure and format of business meetings.

Most of the Baptist churches that I have been members of had annual elections for deacons who then ended up operating like the church board of directors.

I have seen far more abusive power plays at business meetings and deacon meetings than be any pastor.

Here's how we address that at our church. This is where we may get into trouble with some Baptists.

First, church organization.

We do not have a true democracy. I cannot find that in the NT. I would love to have seen someone vote James or Timothy out of office!

The elders (and the pastor is an elder) function as NT bishops, elders, pastors, but only one of them is paid - the full time pastor. We believe in this plurarily of leadership. I have compared it to First Baptist Jacksonville, which had a co-pastor situation (Lindsay and Vines).

We have 8, not just 2. Only 1 is the pastor, and is a full time paid staff member.

With regard to tasks thought of as church matters, the elders set the spiritual direction for the church much as the apostles did in the book of Acts.

We have deacons who lead servant ministries, but do not set the spiritual direction of the church.

On the legal side, the elders serve as the board of directors under state law. There were 3 founding directors, others were added later, all of whom have been 'affirmed' by the congregation.

But technically, the existing board of directors (elders) approves any new elders by secret vote unanimously. Names are surfaced from among the congregation and the elders. Then over weeks, the elders deliberate and then vote. Then upon unanimous recommendation, those people are brought before the congregation for an affirming vote.

This is essentially a self-perpetuating board, with a chance for the congregation to not affirm any suggested selections.

This does away with an open democracy style governance which is really not found in the NT, in my opinion.

This is what can be so divisive in churches in the U.S. That anyone can "run" for a position and lobby for people to vote for him without any opporunity for the existing spiritual leadership to check this person out and make a recommendation.

We don't have "open" elections where people just vote for their favorite person.

So, this completely eliminates any opportunity to campaign or "get on" the elder board.

A person has to be recognized first by the elders as a spiritual leader.

Second, business meetings.

All business meetings have an agenda set by the elders. No agenda items can be brought up impromptu or without prior elder agreement.

So, meetings cannot be thrown into sudden, disruptive turmoil by motions or ideas that have not previously been thought through and discussed by leadership.

We actually make very few decisions at business meetings which we call "information meetings."

Most of the business is conducted at elder meetings and decided upon, and then shared with the congregation.

We have active committees that are lead by elder appointees and also have volunteers on them. They report recommendations to the elders and the elders vote on the recommendations (I don't think we have ever rejected one), and then, if necessary, the matter is brought to the congregation.

New pastoral staff are not selected by committee. The elders work on that, and then make a unanimous recommendation to the congregation.

The congregation does get to vote on any major decisions - debt, property sale or acquisition, hiring pastoral staff, new elders, but those votes are done during the Sunday service with ballots distributed and cast secretly in the foyer without disruption of the service. The votes are tallied and the votes are reported within the next day or two.

John and Anon:

I believe that in most churches it would be pretty easy to identify a handful (depending on the size) of spiritual and wise men who have the church's best interest at heart, who have been there a while (not all old guys, however), and who love the pastor and would work with him. I think that if many churches could bring themselves to create an elder board made up on those people, and then those guys would agree that no major changes would be made without agreement, then to be voted on by the congregation secretly, then we would have more peaceful situations.

But in some places that arrangement is not possible because of the power plays involved. Some Pastors would not go along with what I have suggested, and some churches wouldn't.

Of course, some people don't agree with the system I have outlined, and that is fine. I think that the NT gives plenty of flexibility in that regard.


gmommy said...

Sorry I don't know how to make a link. Maybe Thy Peace will redo that for me.
This is a church planting organization of Mark Driscoll's.

I was given this link and several others by a Westminster seminary trained PCA pastor in Philadelphia.

I emailed a pastor I am closer to in Virginia about MD and this organization. (Not because of this blog discussion but because a friend has become involved with the organization)
Many of the younger, educated, arts oriented Christians have been turned off by the churches they grew up in. They want to ministers in their neighborhoods and communities. They don't want to live in the "church bubble" of their parents. They want to be the hands and feet of Jesus and include the "unchurched" in their lives.
This sounded pretty good to me at first. The Virginia pastor explained to me (he is a church planter also)that to join the Acts 29 organization , the church has to agree to give a % of their tithes to the organization....I guess similar to the SBC.
He also explained that some of the PCA church planting groups have issues with him.
Both the pastor and friend explained that yes....MD may be a little controversial but that he always apologizes and repents.

Where the PCA church plant organization has very strict guidelines for their ministers...seminary being one requirement....the Acts 29 group will give personal mentoring to someone they see as "gifted" and some kind of online education is either already set up or being set up.

What confuses me is that these young people don't see the parallels between the hard lessons their parents have learned from the megas and the SBC.

I have only begun to read and study the sites with all this information but already there are similarities where power and control are involved.

I find this very discouraging.

Ramesh said...

Acts 29 Network

Anonymous said...

So Wade -

There is a "Problem of Authoritariansism in the Conservative Pulpits of America?"

Does that mean that, as a conservative, you are an authoritarian?

Or are you now coming out as a liberal?

John Daly said...

I just went to an Acts 29 conference this past Tuesday entitled: "Approaching Evangelism: Salt & Light" at The Journey Church in St. Louis. It was well worth taking a day off from work and served to increase my burden to be a proclaimer of His Truth. If the lost person goes to their conferences and seminars to become better in their trade, how much more should we to become more faithful in ours?

Although they did have candles on the tables so we better be on the look out for false doctrine :)

gmommy said...

I don't think conservative and liberal have clear meanings anymore.
They mean different things to different people.
To a friend on the pulpit committee of a what I define as a liberal, USA Presbyterian church....she said they were choosing between a minister that leaned to the right and one who leaned to the left. I asked her to define right and left to me.

The right did NOT think homosexuals should be in the ministry, the left thought they should.

I find a similar problem when people discuss reformed,DOG,Calvinism.
One person's views are so extreme that they don't even resemble another person.
After visiting a PCA church many times and a reformed Baptist church several times....there is a big difference in the way the theology is presented.

I always considered myself a conservative but decided I must be a moderate after I saw all the SBC leadership name calling and accusations.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

John D.,

"authoritarian" and "liberal" are the only choices in your mind?


Anonymous said...

Lets see,
We have a pastor who allows unsound doctrine to be taught from his pulpit.

Hint his name is Wade!

The pastor he speaks out against doesnt live in Enid. Maybe people dont like him because he is complimentarian and insists that his church planting ministry demands you be reformed! I will take Mark Driscol.


Anonymous said...


hang aorund a while and you will see some persons from every camp do something unkind.

I would choose a church based on its faithfulness to the central truths of the Gospel. if you find several like that, join the one where you have both good fellowship and are challenged personally.

Please do not join a church that has a low view of scripture and denies the central truths of the Christian faith, now matter how in sync you may be with socially.

good luck.


Anonymous said...

Wade, I would suggest you do a little more homework on this subject, beyond the article. Driscoll is not a Patterson or a Blaising. He is publicly repentant when he is wrong. He has removed himself from positions of power within Mars Hill graciously and without complaint. He is regularly disagreed with by the executive team at the church and is supportive of decisions that he was in the minority in making. He's not perfect but he's not a good example of "authoritarianism".

Thu Jan 15, 08:18:00 AM 2009

And then does the same thing and repents, then does the same thing and erases it off the blog then repents, etc, etc., ad nauseum.

I thought repenting was turning away. I realize we might slide back but how many times before we realize repentance never took place?

Mark is called out by a famous person like Piper and repents. the Piper promotes him again and he is vulgar then repents. Driscoll writes a blog post lamenting pastors wives who let themselves go physically and blames them for pastors straying. (This was after the Ted Haggard scandal). The outcry is great so he 'repents' and takes it down.

Then we get to hear all kinds of rationalizations about what is the definition of profane. Clever. How about calling Jesus a redneck? Our Holy Lord?

He makes it quite obvious what is in his heart.

I have been following Driscoll for several years and he is simply a showman. His 'redneck' Jesus schickt is simply shock jock preaching. Seattle is his excuse for what he does? Talk about being culturally 'relevant'. And here I thought we were to be 'different' than the world.

These are simply little boys who never grew up and found a place to put on their stage show with lots of followers. It even sells books. And lots of little boys want to be just like him. Not like Jesus, mind you. Like Mark.


Ramesh said...

Here is a blog post by Kevin D. Johnson on his blog Prophezei:

Mark Driscoll Cries Like A Baby

Only By His Grace said...

The Bible is not as antiseptic in its language as we teetotalers reared for generations in the church.

When I was pastor at FBC Springtown, Texas, I taught a once weekly Bible class in the high school library for four years. I would select passages of Scripture from the lesson and choose a student to read the verses out loud as I outlined the day's lesson on the green board. One morning I asked a beautiful young cheerleader who happened to be the Assembly of God pastor's daughter to read from II Kings. She read a couple verses beyond her assignment and was struggling with II Kings 9:8. I was not paying attention until I heard about sixty students snickering and laughing as she stumbled across one word in the KJV of Elijah's prophecy concerning Ahab and Jezebel. She started the sentence at least twice, "…he that puh, puh…" and would stop, refusing to say the vile word. It was funny to the class, but tragic to her. The KJV does not use the word "urinate," but the profane or vulgar word.

When the Apostle Paul uses the "dung" in Philippians it is the common word for defecation. The Bible uses words as "damn," "hell," "whore," and a few others not acceptable in the Christian speech. I find our older generation is much more uptight than the under forty folks. I have a couple ladies in my church whose individual words are completely "acceptable;" however, it is a tragedy how they can use their clean words to slay innocent character.

I think we get way too uptight about such words "darn," "heck," "gosh," "shoot," and dozens of others. Some of you would be very uncomfortable to be with me each Sunday evening as I am driving a forty mile round trip course dropping off twenty rowdy non-church grade school children at their homes. These un-churched kids with their colorful language are every bit as sweet and innocent in their sins as our churched kids are in their plain language of gripping, nit picking and tearing each other apart in their little clicks. They are unwashed, underfed, unclothed, undisciplined and in some cases ignored and unloved, but ….

Phil in Norman

Anonymous said...


Thanks for providing the Acts 29 Network link. It's new to me!

When I checked out the website, I discovered that Mark Driscoll will be conducting a "Boot Camp" where I live February 4-5.

I guess some of the guys in my community will be mimicking him, and I'm a l-o-n-g way from Seattle! Wonder how those kinds of antics will go over in a more conservative community.

Anonymous said...


If the leaders of the church do not point towards Christ, do not follow them.

6:66 From that [time] many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

'THOU hast the words of eternal life'

Anonymous said...

Acts 29 must really be evil.
Look at this one in Omaha Ne.
Imagine John Hannah form Dallas theological seminary speaking at it.

attn hyperbole used here!


I think you confuse repent with doing a media savvy event. He has repented of his language use but you seem to want to keep crucifying him,
Can you say G-R-A-C-E

Anonymous said...

Sorry here is the link....also should be from Dallas

John Wallace said...

I'll let Mark Driscoll decide how he will reach the lost in Seattle. I now live in North Carolina; I can't throw stones that far. Mark is God's servant and will answer to God. Incidentally, I used to live in Seattle; you don't get an audience by being subtle there. Remember Jesus used hyperbole on occasion.

Driscoll is not shy in addressing topics appropriate only for adult audiences. He eschews the gratuitous use of profanity, however, unlike some preachers in the emergent movement. The "cussin' preacher" moniker that still gets thrown on him is based on old and tired news.

I don't know what Driscoll meant by "sinning though questioning." I believe that it is fair to ask questions for clarification and even to question the rightness of decisions made by our leaders. I've questioned the decisions of my senior pastor on occasion but not his motives (only God know them). I think it is sinful to sow discord and to cause dissension by assigning sinister motives to our leaders. The Bible certainly warns against this.

Mars Hill Church is led by a board of elders of which Driscoll is one. He is not without accountability.

The notion that the church's recent reorganization was a move to consolidate power in the hands of Driscoll and his closest aids appears to be colored by cynicism. I understand that many of you feel that you've been burned by leaders who abused their authority. I certainly don't fault you for telling your stories. However, please don't take up the offenses of others because their antagonists seem to "fit the molds" of yours. That's dangerous territory; you could seriously damage the influence of one whom God is using.

There is so much anger based on judgment without knowledge in these comments; it grieves me.

I'm currently listening through the audiobook, Death by Love, by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears." So far, it has been excellent.

God's peace be with you all.

Anonymous said...

Nowhere is the connection between Driscoll’s hypermasculinity and his Calvinist theology clearer than in his refusal to tolerate opposition at Mars Hill. The Reformed tradition’s resistance to compromise and emphasis on the purity of the worshipping community has always contained the seeds of authoritarianism: John Calvin had heretics burned at the stake and made a man who casually criticized him at a dinner party march through the streets of Geneva, kneeling at every intersection to beg forgiveness. Mars Hill is not 16th-century Geneva, but Driscoll has little patience for dissent.

“They are sinning through questioning,” Driscoll preached. John Calvin couldn’t have said it better himself.

Mars Hill — with its conservative social teachings embedded in guitar solos and drum riffs, its megachurch presence in the heart of bohemian skepticism — thrives on paradox.
Critics on the left and right alike predict that this delicate balance of opposites cannot last. Some are skeptical of a church so bent on staying perpetually “hip”: members have only recently begun to marry and have children, but surely those children will grow up, grow too cool for their cool church and rebel. Others say that Driscoll’s ego and taste for controversy will be Mars Hill’s Achilles’ heel. Lately he has made a concerted effort to tone down his language, and he insists that he has delegated much authority, but the heart of his message has not changed. Driscoll is still the one who gazes down upon Mars Hill’s seven congregations most Sundays, his sermons broadcast from the main campus to jumbo-size projection screens around the city. At one suburban campus that I visited, a huge yellow cross dominated center stage — until the projection screen unfurled and Driscoll’s face blocked the cross from view. Driscoll’s New Calvinism underscores a curious fact: the doctrine of total human depravity has always had a funny way of emboldening, rather than humbling, its adherents.


Anonymous said...

John Wallace:

Well written.

Are you related to the John Wallace from Morristown, Tennessee who served on the SBC Executive Committee?


Kevin said...

With all the stones flying, I'm grateful Driscoll doesn't preach in the Crystal Cathedral.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth:

I think Benji Ramsaur made some excellent points in his posts of 1:17 and 1:50. Especially, in my opinions, points 4, 7, 8, 9. Well said Benji.

"I don't think there is a shred of exegetical evidence for a, b, or c."

I don't either Benji.


Anonymous said...


I just got through listening to D.A. Carson speak on "Leadership and Authority of congregation".

It might be the most profound material I have ever heard on the subject--especially about at the very end.

You can listen to him here:

If you are interested, scroll down to "Christway Media" and under that click on "Basic Baptist Beliefs"

You have to pay $10.50 to listen to all 7 downloads--but the one download I just listened to [Leadership and Authority of Congregation Part1] was worth the money alone.

The audio is terrible [you can barely hear him], but still--it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

Heh, heh,

you now have a 'sheep' in wolf's clothing, attracting wolves and trying to turn them into 'sheep' with tatoos, buzz-cuts, etc.

Well, this will provide a church home for the people you might not want in your more culturally traditional churches.

Major authoritarianism: doesn't try to hide either. Question is: along with the ex-druggies and guys who have done time, will Driscoll also attract the skin-heads and neo-Nazi types who name their kids after Hitler?

Time will tell.
Ho hum. More bullies.

WTJeff said...

Continue to bag on Driscoll if you like........or you can check out what someone who knows him has to say. He also gives a much more balanced view of the article.


Anonymous said...

Its Patterson in a different package.

John Wallace said...

Thanks Louis; no relation.

Anonymous said...


What was Carson's main point? What's the "take away" for you?


Anonymous said...


Your question makes me nervous:)

I'm afraid I am not going to do justice to what he said.

Here goes an attempt [emphasis on the word attempt]:

One of the major things he does is take the seeming tension of pastors being both strong and meek [within a congregational government context] and resolves the tension about as well as I think, maybe, is possible.

And he goes paradox[?] on you:

1. Those who seek authority by rite of office will lose it.

2. Those who make little of authority but serve will be granted great authority by the congregation.

He seemed to articulate things that I might have been exposed to and/or thought about with helpful clarity--at least for me.

Ezekiel and Matt,

Thanks brothers.

Lindon said...

"2. Those who make little of authority but serve will be granted great authority by the congregation."

This is a great point. If you have to convince folks you are the leader, you aren't.

Anonymous said...

"John Calvin had heretics burned at the stake and made a man who casually criticized him at a dinner party march through the streets of Geneva, kneeling at every intersection to beg forgiveness."

Sounds like he would have made a good catholic in his time.

Anti-Calvinists find any reason to come out from under their rock.

Anonymous said...

WTJeff said:
"Continue to bag (rag?) on Driscoll if you like...or you can check out what someone who knows him has to say."


My college-aged daughter whom I mentioned in a previous comment attends J.D. Greear's church. She and her friends drive over from UNC-Chapel Hill every Sunday to attend The Summit. J.D. and Mark may be good friends, but if I discover that J.D. uses the kind of inappropriate language that seems to be Driscoll's trademark, I may encourage her to seek another place of worship. There's absolutely no place in church for a foul mouth! Sorry so many commenting here seem to disagree.

Anonymous said...

ANONYMOUS: 'Sounds like he would have made a good catholic in his time.

Anti-Calvinists find any reason to come out from under their rock.'


Calvin said, "Baptism is properly administered to infants is something owed to them."


"Therefore, let it be regarded as a settled principle that the sacraments have the same office as the Word of God: to offer and set forth Christ to us, and in him the treasures of heavenly grace."


Calvin said, "But a little later there followed the Chiliasts, who limited the reign of Christ to a 1000 years. Now their fiction is too childish either to need or to be worth a refutation. And the Apocalypse, from which they undoubtedly drew a pretext for their error, does not support them. For the number 1000 does not apply to the eternal blessedness of the church but only to the various disturbances that awaited the church, while still toiling on the earth."


Calvin said, "We call predestination God's eternal decree, by which he compacted with himself what he willed to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition; rather, eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others. Therefore, as any man has been created to one or the other of these ends, we speak of him as predestined to life or death."


Calvin was forced to flee his native France and eventually found refuge In Geneva. A man of tremendous political and organizational talents, he manipulated himself, and his fellow refugees, into absolute control over the city which gave them protection against the Catholic Inquisition. What came to be known as Calvinism grew out of the policy and writings of John Calvin after he became the ruler and dictator of Geneva, Switzerland (1541-1564).


The outstanding work of Calvin, from a practical point of view, was his municipal dictatorship in the city of Geneva. The literature on the subject is exhaustive. Striking instances of discipline in Geneva are these:

A man was banished from the city for three months because he heard an ass bray and said jestingly, "He prays a beautiful Psalm."

Three men who had laughed during a sermon were imprisoned for three days.

Three children were punished because they remained outside of a church to eat some cakes.

A child was whipped publicly for calling his mother a thief.

A girl who struck her parents was beheaded.

A person was imprisoned for four days because he wanted to call his child Claude (the name of a Catholic saint) instead of Abraham.

It can be seen from the above that many of the persecutions which John Calvin endured were not for "well doing" (1 Peter 2:15): they were for carrying on like a fool engaged in trying to "bring in his Kingdom."

In Geneva, a secret police was forged under the name of The Consistory. Every home was compulsorily examined and searched. The City was divided into districts and committees of the Consistory were empowered to search and interrogate all residents without previous notice. Attendance at public worship was commanded and watchmen were directed to see that people went to church. The one thing that Calvin did not endorse was religious liberty.

From 1541 to 1546, John Calvin caused 58 people to be executed and seventy six were exiled. His victims ranged in age from 16 to 80. The most common capital offense was the opposition to infant baptism. Today, baptism only for accountable believers, is a Baptist distinctive. In Calvin's time it was punished either by drowning, a drawn out and slow burning at the stake, or beheading. All this was done in public, with city residents compelled to watch the butchery. The executions were spaced out so as to exert a continuing policy of fear and terror. Others were killed for advocating local church autonomy; opposing the tie-in of church and state: and preaching that Christ died for all sinners (unlimited atonement). Press censorship continued in Geneva until the eighteenth century.


It is Servetus1 religious views that we are now concerned with, for that is what got him killed. He was premillennial and rejected Calvin's doctrine of predestination. So far so good. Servetus was also strongly anti-Catholic. He referred to the Mass as "a Satanic monstrosity and an invention of demons." To these sentiments the Reformers could agree. So what was the problem with Servetus? His trouble was twofold: rejection of infant baptism and holding unorthodox views of the Trinity.

According to Servetus, infant baptism was "a doctrine of the Devil, an invention of popery, and a total subversion of Christianity." He wrote two letters to Calvin on adult baptism and exhorted him to follow his example. The marginal, notes against infant baptism that Servetus wrote in Calvin's Institutes were used as evidence against him during his trial. Servetus admitted at his trial that he had referred to infant baptism as a "diabolical invention and infernal falsehood destructive of Christianity." Regarding the Trinity, Servetus was not a Unitarian but had a strange view of the Trinity in a great measure peculiar to himself. Now although Servetus' Trinitarian views were not orthodox; they were by no means criminal. Calvin wrote in a letter, "Servetus lately wrote to me... He takes it upon him to come hither, if it be agreeable to me. But I am unwilling to pledge my word for his safety, for if he shall come, I shall never permit him to depart alive, provided my authority be of any avail."

While in Geneva, Servetus made the mistake of attending church on Sunday where he was recognized and arrested. It was on Calvin's information to the magistracy that Servetus was put in prison, which fact Calvin did not deny. The trial lasted over two months and Calvin himself drew up a document of thirty-nine accusations against Servetus.
On the way to the stake, Servetus besought God to pardon his accusers. On account of the use of green oak-wood, Servetus suffered for half an hour. His last words were: "Jesus Christ, thou Son of the eternal God, have mercy on me!" At twelve noon on October 27, 1553, Servetus passed into his eternal destiny. Nine years afterward, Calvin still justified his actions.

The strongest recorded statement from Calvin on the Servetus affair is a 1561 letter from Calvin to the Marquis Paet, high chamberlain to the King of Navarre, in which he says intolerantly:

"Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels, who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard."

The respected Lutheran historian, Mosheim (1694-1755), judged in favor of Servetus. The historian Gibbon remarked: "he was more deeply scandalized at the single execution of Servetus than at the hecatombs which have blazed in the Auto da Fes of Spain and Portugal. The zeal of Calvin seems to have been envenomed by personal malice, and perhaps envy."
A man who would burn another man at the stake for disagreeing with him doctrinally is not a man to be emulated or followed or admired.


Calvin's Institutes just what it is claimed to be: a Protestant Reformed theology. If you want to know the truth about baptism, the Church, dispensations, the Millennium, or the Second Coming of Christ: don't waste your time looking for them in Calvin's Institutes. One of the few books in the Bible that Calvin never wrote a commentary on was the Book of Revelation - he acknowledged that he couldn't understand it.

The Reformed Faith is an amalgamation of biblical Christianity, Roman Catholicism, and allegorical speculations. When Loraine Boettner wrote his book The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, he told the plain truth: "predestination in the Calvinistic system is a Reformed doctrine just like the Catholic Mass is a Catholic doctrine."


Among Baptists, the Five Points of Calvinism are often called the "Doctrines of Grace" to remove the stigma of being associated with the baby-sprinkling John Calvin.

In dealing with the Five Points of Calvinism, It is certainly fitting that five is the number of death, so the Five Points of Calvinism will kill anything near it. Just as it takes no keen intellect to see that five is the biblical number of death, so no insight is necessary, other than an ability to read the Bible, to see the flagrant perversion that the Five Points of Calvinism make of Holy Scripture. Satan, the angel of death is the fifth cherub (Ezek 28:14) and has the power of death (Heb 2:14). The first man dies in Genesis 5:5. In Acts 5:5, Ananias dies after being asked five questions about his sin ("The wages of sin is death" [Rom 6:23]). Paul was whipped five times (2 Cor 11:24). Jesus Christ had five wounds. In Revelation chapter five, we see the Lamb that was slain (Rev 5). During the Tribulation, locusts will torment men for five months (Rev 9:5) until they seek death (Rev 9:6). When the fifth seal was opened, John saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain (Rev 6:9). There were five men stoned in the Bible that died. The "sin unto death" is in First John chapter five. The greatest chapter in the Bible on death, describing two men whose deaths affected billions of people, is Romans chapter five.

The Five Points of Calvinism are the sum and substance of the Calvinistic system: it is the distinguishing mark which separates Calvinists from all other Christians. This is stated in no uncertain terms by the Calvinists themselves. Boettner says, "The Calvinistic system especially emphasizes five distinct doctrines. These are technically known as the Five Points of Calvinism, and they are the main pillar on which the superstructure rests."

Calvinism goes into a realm of human philosophy. It is NOT a Bible doctrine, but a system of human philosophy appealing somewhat to the proud mind. Consider first that what we are discussing is called "Calvinism." Dr. Loraine Boettner says, "It was Calvin who wrought out this system of theological thought with such logical clearness and emphasis that it has ever since borne his name". How strange that, after 1,400 years of Christianity, practically no one had understood the Bible to teach Calvin's doctrine of predestination until he formed the philosophy! What a strangely hidden doctrine, that New Testament Christians could go for nearly for 1400 years until the days of the reformers, when Calvin developed the doctrine fully. It is obvious that great groups of Christians have always found salvation by grace in the Bible. The Bible is very clear on that. It is also clear on every other great doctrine.

A doctrine cannot be unscriptural without doing actual harm. God's way is right; man's way is wrong. And when the doctrine on the matter of salvation is wrong, it is certain to hinder the cause of Christ. So the human philosophy of Calvinism, the doctrine that every detailed event that happens in all the world was foreordained of God and had to happen, every sin was ordained of God, every act of a Christian or of a sinner, and that everyone was either foreordained to be saved before he was born, without having any free choice in the matter, or was damned without any possibility of his being saved-that doctrine is hurtful and has done great harm to the cause of Christ.


If it seems shocking to accuse any group of opposing Gospel preaching and hindering soul winning, a little thought here will show that Calvinists must inevitably oppose soul-winning activities of those who try to get every sinner to repent, of those who offer salvation freely as purchased on Calvary for every person.

One shocking example deals with a Baptist preacher who could easily preach two hours on predestination, but his own grown sons were unconverted, and the father was not only totally indifferent about that matter, but insisted that no one else should try to win them to Christ.

Of course there will be exceptions. Some people who are Calvinists do love Christ in their hearts and so feel His moving of concern for sinners. And most Calvinists will profess that they believe in the preaching of the Gospel to all the world. But in actual practice. Calvinism cuts the nerve of soul winning on the foreign mission field as it does at home.

Did a great foreign mission program arise through the teaching and preaching of John Calvin? Many Calvinists will regret this fact. But the simple truth is that today those most active and most burdened about soul winning on the foreign field among Presbyterians are not those who believe in Calvin's doctrine of predestination. In fact, nine out of ten Presbyterians do not believe it, and the great mission program of Presbyterians was not built by Calvinists.

As the Wesleyan revival spread in England, of course it affected many others besides Methodists and many besides Arminians. Most of the Bible-believing, soul-winning Christians in the world are NOT Arminian. But very few soul winners are unreserved Calvinists. Calvinism does not produce a passion for soul.winning.

Calvinism appeals to those who think that it is the only answer to Arminianism. There are very many Christians that are soulwinners, love God, seek the salvation of the lost and yet ARE NEITHER Calvinists nor Arminian.


God could not predestinate one to do right and another to do wrong, one to be saved and one to be lost. Those who believe that God predestined some people to be saved by God's coercive grace, and that others are predestined to be lost and cannot be saved because of God's deliberate choice, are foolishly wrong. They are wrong in having a doctrine that goes totally against so many emphatic Scripture statements inviting all to be saved, showing that Christ died for all, that God is not willing that any should perish. The Bible pictures man as a free moral agent capable of choice, he is morally responsible.

There is the nature of man as it is pictured in the Bible and as it actually exists. God breathed into Adam's nostrils and he "became a living soul." He was made in the image of God. And what is this about man that is God-like? He is a reasoning creature with a moral responsibility, a conscience toward right and wrong, with the freedom of choice in right and wrong. The simple truth is that men can make a computer which can go through complicated mental processes of adding, subtracting, remembering, judging, hundreds of times faster than man can do it! But the computer has no will, no conscience of right or wrong. Hence it has no personality. It lacks the God-given moral nature of man.

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to fall, and so bring a curse on the whole human race? It was inherent in the kind of being that God created; man must be allowed to choose. But knowing man sometimes would choose wrongly, God planned with His Son before the world began to offer an atonement for the salvation of sinning men! So Christ is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."


Christianity Through The Centuries by Earle Cairns, Zondervan Publishing House.
History of Calvin and Calvinism by Zygmund Dobbs.
Predestined for Hell? No! by Dr. John R. Rice, c 1958, Sword of the Lord Foundation, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Hyper Calvinism by Dr. Peter S. Ruckman c 1984, published in Pensacola, Florida.
The Other Side of Calvinism by Laurence M. Vance, c 1991, Vance Publications.
T-U-L-I-P by James R. Hood, Southland Bible Institute, Pikeville, Ky.
The History of the New Testament Church by Dr. Peter S. Ruckman c 1982, published in Pensacola, Florida.
Foreknowledge, Predestination & Election by Dr. Mark G. Cambron, printed by Seaside Mission, North Miami Beach, Florida.
What is Wrong with Five Point Calvinism? By Paul Freeman, published by Highways & Hedges Tracts, Liberty, So. Carolina.

Ramesh said...

The above Anon comments about Calvin came from here.

Kevin said...

I wonder how many arminians in the comment thread believe everything Jacob Arminius believed.

Anonymous said...


Thanks. I am sure you did a great job.

There is no perfect resolution to leadership organizational issues. I know what has worked at our place, but other forms have worked well, too, at other places.

Attitude (servant oriented) is the key.


absonjourney said...

I'm amazed at the number of people here who are using the media stereotype of Driscoll and Mars Hill to base their judgment of the man and his ministry, rather than actually checking out what he has said, written, and done.

I really thought the "cussing pastor" stuff was old news. I have been listening to Mark for over 5 years now and have heard him curse while speaking exactly once and that was at an early Emerging Church breakout in a crowd of preachers and not in a "church" setting.

I am really surprised that there is so little room for grace or growth among many of you who have posted here. I doubt anyone who has posted, other than Wade, has been called on the carpet in public as much as Driscoll has. The guy has apologized and recanted when he has been wrong (the early years of the "cussing pastor"), explained when he has been misunderstood (the Haggard blog post where he was totally taken out of context), and held firm when he has been right, even when it was unpopular (complementarianism, conservative theology/cultural liberal, etc).

I think the real problem here is he is a relative unknown guy, beyond the caricatures (did I spell that right?) in most Southern evangelical circles.

If you want a honest, no holds barred look at this guy and what he's about read his first two books. Radical Reformission will explain the theology and Confessions of a Reformission Rev will explain the biography.

Finally, to Lydia, who always has such nice things to say about Mark Driscoll: whatever has happened to you at the hands of men in the church, I'm sorry and I hope God's grace will be sufficient for you to heal. But, you are wrong about what is taught from the pulpit at Mars Hill. It is not vulgar or sexist or mysoginistic (spelling again?). It's simply the Bible, which can be offensive and a stumbling block, which in neither case makes it untrue, just hard to swallow in our pride and fallen natures.

And to Wanda, encourage your daughter to go and hear Driscoll. He won't curse. he will be challenging, and the you can get a first hand report about what he's really like and then come on here and enlighten some of these folks.

Kevin said...

Guilt by association seems to be in vogue these days.

Didn't we just do this with the Mary Gruber story last month? That story of a pastor's awful failure to serve and protect the abused woman was used as a springboard in the comment thread to attack the SBC (leadership and/or convention as a whole)

Now this story, likewise, is being used to springboard and label multitudes of faithful conservative pastors "pulpits" as authoritarians who elevate their words above the Bible.

Is this really helpful? Does it fix anything, or is it just theraputic, to take extreme anecdotes and unfortunate quotes then impute the sins and mistakes of those to a multitude?

Anonymous said...

Paradox ? Contrast?

Hmmmm . . .

The tremondous unfinished amount of work that is needed to be done by Christian people in our nation and in our world to act on behalf of 'the least of His'


throwing hissy-fits about a little 'profanity' instead of focusing on this man's out of control "they're sinning by questioning" remark.



What profanes is the low level of concern for 'the least of Mine' and the high level of judgment as Christians rip out each other's throats. Scary.

Time-out to read the words of Jesus again. You can find them in the Bible.

What was important TO HIM?

You know, He didn't exactly hang out with the 'best' people, either;
but he WAS meek and humble to set an example for those who shepherd, and those who care for others.


Anonymous said...

P.S. What made Jesus' example so impressive is that He WAS meek and humble; but He had the power to calm the sea and the winds, He had the power to heal the sick, He had the power to get men who sat in judgment on others to look at their own souls, he had the power to raise the dead, he had the power to willingly give Himself over to a terrible death for the sake of our Salvation.

Power and humility: that is the paradox. And that is the mystery that is Jesus Christ the Lord.

Ramesh said...

The New York Times Company: Guidelines on Integrity

Quotations. Readers should be able to assume that every word between quotation marks is what the speaker or writer said. The Times does not "clean up" quotations. If a subject’s grammar or taste is unsuitable, quotation marks should be removed and the awkward passage paraphrased. Unless the writer has detailed notes or a recording, it is usually wise to paraphrase long comments, since they may turn up worded differently on television or in other publications. "Approximate" quotations can undermine readers’ trust in The Times.
The writer should, of course, omit extraneous syllables like "um" and may judiciously delete false starts. If any further omission is necessary, close the quotation, insert new attribution and begin another quotation. (The Times does adjust spelling, punctuation, capitalization and abbreviations within a quotation for consistent style.) Detailed guidance is in the stylebook entry headed "quotations." In every case, writer and editor must both be satisfied that the intent of the subject has been preserved.

Fact Checking. Writers at The Times are their own principal fact checkers and often their only ones. (Magazine articles, especially those by nonmembers of our staff, are fact-checked, but even magazine writers are accountable in the first instance for their own accuracy.) Concrete facts – distances, addresses, phone numbers, people’s titles – must be verified by the writer with standard references like telephone books, city or legislative directories and official Web sites. More obscure checks may be referred to the research desk. If deadline pressure requires skipping a check, the editors should be alerted with a flag like "desk, please verify," but ideally the writer should double back for the check after filing; usually the desk can accommodate a last-minute repair. It is especially important that writers verify the spelling of names, by asking . A person who sees his or her own name misspelled in The Times is likely to mistrust whatever else we print. And too often, our correction column makes it clear that someone has guessed a spelling by the sound.
Corrections. Because our voice is loud and far-reaching, The Times recognizes an ethical responsibility to correct all its factual errors, large and small. The paper regrets every error, but it applauds the integrity of a writer who volunteers a correction of his or her own published story. Whatever the origin, though, any complaint should be relayed to a responsible supervising editor and investigated quickly. If a correction is warranted, fairness demands that it be published immediately. In case of reasonable doubt or disagreement about the facts, we can acknowledge that a statement was "imprecise" or "incomplete" even if we are not sure it was wrong.

Rebuttals. Few writers need to be reminded that we seek and publish a response from anyone criticized in our pages. But when the criticism is serious, we have a special obligation to describe the scope of the accusation and let the subject respond in detail. No subject should be taken by surprise when the paper appears, or feel that there was no chance to respond.

Masquerading. Times reporters do not actively misrepresent their identity to get a story. We may sometimes remain silent on our identity and allow assumptions to be made – to observe an institution's dealings with the public, for example, or the behavior of people at a rally or police officers in a bar near the station house. But a sustained, systematic deception, even a passive one – taking a job, for example, to observe a business from the inside – may be employed only after consultation between a department head and masthead editors. (Obviously, specific exceptions exist for restaurant reviewing and similar assignments.)

Ramesh said...

Wiki: Jayson Blair

Jayson Blair (born March 23, 1976, Columbia, Maryland) is a journalist who resigned from the New York Times in May 2003, after he was caught plagiarizing and fabricating elements of his stories.

Anonymous said...

FOX News has legally argued in court that they have the right to LIE and
OBFUSCATE and won!

TAMPA, INC., versus JANE AKRE Case No. 2D01-529.

This is interesting and SCAREY!

Excerpt below:

"In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an
assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or
falsifying the news in the United States.

"Fox" argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right
to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. Fox
attorneys did not dispute Akre's claim that they pressured her to
broadcast a false story, they simply maintained that it was their right to
do so."

Please go to link above and read whole story if you're concerned.

Anonymous said...

Now we know.

DL said...

Wow, I've been gone all day and just got to read the comments. The vitriol and nastiness that has been spoken against Mark Driscoll is every bit as bad as profanity. Ephesians 4:29 is about far more than avoidance of certain four letter words. I'm all for vigorous debate, and challenging views with Scripture, but some of the stuff here is heartbreaking - pots calling the kettle black. Where has the grace gone in grace and truth to you?

Ramesh said...

A Brief Survey of Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches
What are their Beliefs and History
Compiled by Cooper P. Abrams, III

- What Is An Independent Fundamental Baptist?
- Baptists Are Not Protestants.
- Who Were the First Baptists?
- When and Where Was the First Recorded Baptist Church in History
- The Beginnings of the Baptists in America
- What Makes a True Baptist?
- The Five Baptist Distinctives
- Concluding Remarks
- Bibliography

WTJeff said...


I know others have addressed your comment, but since you addressed me directly, let me say.....again. Mark Driscoll has publicly repented of his cussing from the pulpit. (See my first comment...somewhere in here.) He hasn't been the "cussing pastor" for quite sometime now. It's no more fair to label him this way, than it would be to label you or I for something we used to do, but through God's grace, no longer do. We need to extend the same level of grace to Mark Driscoll that God does to us. He pastors in place where there's more pets than Christians and God has allowed him to produce disciples at a greater rate than I've ever dreamed of. While we may not agree on everything he does, surely we all can learn from his ability to contextualize the gospel and his passion to make disciples.

Oh, and by the way, I did mean bag....I just like it better than rag.



Ramesh said...

Some more info on Molly Worthen, the interviewer of the above story:

Wiki: Molly Worthen
Molly Worthen (born 1981) is an American writer and journalist. Her first book, The Man on Whom Nothing Was Lost, a biography of American diplomat and Yale professor Charles Hill, was published in February 2006 to excellent reviews from the Boston Globe and Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times. Raised in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, she graduated from Yale in 2003 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in American religious history there. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Time, the Boston Globe, The New Republic, the Dallas Morning News, and the Toledo Blade.

Yale University -> Religious Studies ->Our Graduate Students -> Molly Worthen
Molly Worthen received a B.A. in History from Yale in 2003, where she studied diplomatic history, Russian language, and theology. She published her first book, _The Man On Whom Nothing Was Lost_ (Houghton Mifflin) in 2006, and has written about religion for the New Republic, Christianity Today, and the New York Times Magazine. Her research interests include evangelicalism, higher education, intellectual history, European church history, and monasticism.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Molly Worthin
MOLLY WORTHEN graduated from Yale University in 2003. She received the Ellsworth Prize for most distinguished senior essay in the humanities, the Schubart Prize for best original published work, the David C. DeForest/ Townsend Premium Prize for oration, and the Kingsley Fellowship for the study of Russian Orthodox Old Believers in Alberta. She has written for the Yale Daily News, the Toledo Blade, the Dallas Morning News, and Time. Her interests include cartoon illustration, fly fishing, and improvisational comedy. She is also a national championship debater. This is her first book.

Anonymous said...

Too many pastors forget that they are called out from among the congregation. They are still part of the congregation. They speak from the church, not to it. When pastors forget this, they are too quick to claim authority of office.

But as Benji noted, it is about the pastor's work and not their office.

And I think one anonymous commentator suggests some very good time-outs. Perhaps if we take them we will see the grace and the truth, again.

Anonymous said...


I found a web site with info
including some of the writings of the Early Church Fathers that pre-date the Nicene Creed.

This site, I believe, is maybe Methodist, because they mention Wesley.

The site 'discredits' these Early Church Fathers, saying that they were not gifted with the Holy Spirit as were the Apostles: so their writings are, of course, not in the same category as the Holy Writings. But it is an interesting look into the minds of how early Christian people viewed the Church, and some of the controversy of that era before the Nicene Council. L's

Here is the site: - 6k - Cached - Similar pages -

Anonymous said...

QUAKERS: members of the congregation minister to each other as led by the Holy Spirit:

Silent Meetings for Worship are quite a bit different from most
organized religious services. Basically those attending the meeting sit silently, trying to listen to the (Holy) Spirit , until someone is moved by the Spirit to speak.

The person so moved generally
stands, says what they have to say, and sits down. Meetings like
this generally run for about an hour, and it is not out of the
ordinary for a meeting to be silent the whole hour.

It is customary to wait a few minutes between speakers to allow
time for consideration of what they have said.

Anonymous said...

Do Christians agree on anything?

Gram said...

wait...that should read: "do BAPTISTS agree on anything?"

Big Daddy Weave said...

Thy Peace,

Mainstream historians trace Baptist origins back to 1609. Thus, this year Baptists all across the world are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Baptist Movement.

Whether a person traces Baptist origins exclusively through the English Puritan-Separatists (this is undoubtedly the majority view among historians) or whether a person argues Baptist origins are indebted to both English Puritan Separatism and Anabaptism of the Radical Reformation, historians agree that Baptists are indeed Protestants.

This year at Baylor University, the world's largest Baptist university, we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Baptist movement with various events throughout the year. You can read more about The Baptist Story here

KK said...

Like someone mentioned earlier, I've also been listening to Driscoll for years. I can imagine him making the mentioned statements in jest or sarcasm but can't imagine him actually meaning them. If he did go too far with his words, as was also mentioned earlier, you'll often find him publicly seeking forgiveness from the pulpit. He has often gone too far in his language in my opinion. However, the combination of humility and passion with which he preaches is honestly refreshing in my opinion. Like any other preacher, HE IS HUMAN. We as the listener must take each assertion in with discernment. I would suggest that each of you who so readily lambast Mark actually take the time to go and listen to a varied sampling of his sermons and form your opinion in that manner. Let his words in context speak what them may. Heck, maybe the Holy Spirit will use him to speak to you...

Wade, I'll be looking forward to hearing any account of your interaction with Driscoll. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

Proving out an anti Calvinists is to make a one sentence comment and then wait for the 15 page term paper you get in reply with nothing original in it (all copied from someone else's thoughts) and no bible verses quoted, just stories.

I'll think I'll stick with the bible.

Rex Ray said...

This is my take on Acts 15.

The devil’s greatest victory was confusing his greatest defeat—Calvary.

The start of Catholic and Baptists roots.

1. No greater differences of opinion among Christians have gathered before or since to settle any greater question: ‘How did man obtain salvation?’

2. First group (Jews…led by a sect of Pharisees) claimed Jesus plus something.

3. Second group (Peter, Paul, Barnabus, and others) claimed Jesus plus nothing.

4. Both groups claimed God was on their side.

5. Peter silenced the first group when he said, “Why are you trying to make God angry by placing a heavy burden on these followers? We are all saved by faith in Jesus.” (Acts 15:10-11 Contemporary English version)

6. First group wrote a letter to the Gentiles: “The Holy Spirit has shown us that we should not place any extra burden on you. But you should not eat anything offered to idols… blood...strangled…any terrible sex sins.” (Acts 15:28-29 Contemporary English Version)

7. Peter’s ‘Jesus plus nothing’ was ‘Apples’ in answering how to obtain salvation, but it was excluded from the letter.

8. The letter portrayed ‘Jesus plus something’ was Oranges in answering how Gentiles were to be accepted in fellowship by Jews.

9. The sect of Pharisees Jews, and many Gentiles thought Oranges was Apples much to Paul’s distress the rest of his life.

10. The ‘Jesus plus something’ were the roots of those who became known as Catholics.

11. The ‘Jesus plus nothing” were the roots of those who became known as Anabaptist when they withdrew fellowship in 251 AD from those who baptized babies for salvation.

12. Many centuries later, they became known as Baptists.

13. Soon Baptists will be 2,000 years old.

Anonymous said...

yeah, rex, but did any of them ever cuss when preachin'?

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Glad to hear that Mark Driscoll no longer "cusses" in the pulpit and that he is now setting a better example for our young people. I'm grateful that God has blessed his ministry in Seattle.



Anonymous said...

"I'll think I'll stick with the bible."

You mean that 1000 page term paper with nothing original in it--all copied form Someone else's thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I would double check on that comment, " They are sinning through questioning." The NYT misrepresents a lot of things.

Ramesh said...

Nowhere is the connection between Driscoll’s hypermasculinity and his Calvinist theology clearer than in his refusal to tolerate opposition at Mars Hill. The Reformed tradition’s resistance to compromise and emphasis on the purity of the worshipping community has always contained the seeds of authoritarianism: John Calvin had heretics burned at the stake and made a man who casually criticized him at a dinner party march through the streets of Geneva, kneeling at every intersection to beg forgiveness. Mars Hill is not 16th-century Geneva, but Driscoll has little patience for dissent. In 2007, two elders protested a plan to reorganize the church that, according to critics, consolidated power in the hands of Driscoll and his closest aides. Driscoll told the congregation that he asked advice on how to handle stubborn subordinates from a “mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighter, good guy” who attends Mars Hill. “His answer was brilliant,” Driscoll reported. “He said, ‘I break their nose.’ ” When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. “They are sinning through questioning,” Driscoll preached. John Calvin couldn’t have said it better himself.

From the above NYT article, that quote was derived from a sermon Discroll preached. This was after this: When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended..

I would not know the timelines of the above incidents. Therein lies the answer. Also Molly Worthen obviously based the article on her poring over lot of sermons, material gathered elsewhere besides her interview of Driscoll. I would be surprised if she did not interview Driscoll for this article. Based on her prior history, Molly Worthen is fairly thorough with her writing.

Anonymous said...

"He hasn't been the "cussing pastor" for quite sometime now"

This is true. Now he is just crude and vulgar.


jesserae said...

This post bothered me. Being from WA state and currently serving with the IMB I often find myself having one foot in North West culture and the other foot in “Southern Baptist” culture. At times it is difficult to reconcile the two. So, to have a conflict between your blog (my right foot) and Marks ministry (my left foot) feels uncomfortable to say the least.
You are not a news paper or published article , just a blog, but it sure would be nice if you could find out the whole scoop on Mark Driscoll. I read his blogg and get Marshill free podcast. What the NYT printed does not seem to jive with what I have seen and heard.

Anonymous said...

"I'm amazed at the number of people here who are using the media stereotype of Driscoll and Mars Hill to base their judgment of the man and his ministry, rather than actually checking out what he has said, written, and done."

I have been listening/watching Driscoll for at least 3 years. I came to my conclusion long before the media started writing about him. He is his own stereotype. He created it. He is a 'brand'. And you are buying it. You are probably young and will grow out of it one day. I hope.


absonjourney said...

Crude and vulgar according to what standard, Lydia? The Bible discusses many things that are not normal dinner table conversation- driving tent stakes through the heads of men, rape, incest, graphic sex, and uses words that are not considered polite in some circles, so what do you do with those things? Do you cut them out, ignore them, or talk about them?

What is being done at Mars Hill and in other ministries is the whole Bible is being dealt with, not just the comfortable parts. And some things discussed in the Bible are UNcomfortable. But, they are necessary.

I think you mentioned earlier a question from the series The Peasant Princess based on the Song of Solomon. Where do most people get their information on topics like birth control, masturbation, and sex? Most likely not from Biblical sources. What Driscoll has done is pulled those questions and a million more like them out of the taboo drawer and into the light where they can be dealt with under the lens of Scripture, not just culture.

If you don't like the presentation or the delivery that's fine. I would suggest you don't listen, but quit making a mockery of a ministry that is seeing thousands of people in their 20s and 30s coming to Christ. They are the hardest group statistically to reach and Mars Hill is, by the grace and power of God, doing it and discipling them as well.

Just maybe, Lydia, there is something to learn there.

irreverend fox said...

Tom Parker,

I am sure there are times when I use a word every now and then which someone like you would call "profane" while I preach.

And just think about your last statment about how Christian can "just tell" and think about that from a high view of Scripture perspective. said...


Just a gentle nudge if possible back to the topic of my post.

It was not about whether or not you "liked" Pastor Mark. It was not about Pastor Mark's alleged vulgarities from the pulpit, or obscentities of which he has repented.

In addition, I complimented Pastor Mark in my post.

This post is about the total authoritarianism of a pastor, to the point he calls any questioning of his decisions "a sin."

That's the point of my post. I am waiting to speak to Pastor Mark, but if he believes that those who questioned him, those who dissented from him, those who challenged him are "sinners," then I stand by what I have written, I don't care if it was written about Billy Graham or Mother Teresa.

Character is NOT the issue.

The belief that a Senior Pastor cannot be questioned without denigrating or disciplining those who question is.


Anonymous said...

I guess as long as we can point towareds someone else's cussing, our own stays under the radar. heck yeah, darn tootin'!

Anonymous said...

The year 251 A.D.
is there documentation about the Christians who 'withdrew'
All I could find was a reference to the birth of Antony in Egypt in 251A.D. who withdrew to the desert to pray.


Anonymous said...

A lot of the problem with authoritative pulpits is being painted with terms like "liberal" and "conservative." However, I am not sure that the connection to either is much more than an accidental or incidental correlation. As I see it, authoritanism in the church--whether from the pulpit, as (apparently) in Driscoll's case and with some (many?) megachurches, or among a group of "power brokers" in smaller membership churches such as suggested by John Estes and anonymous at 12:53 on 1/15--is more caused by dysfunctionalism than theological perspective. My ministry led me to serve such churches, until the last one gave me a heart attack, and God mercifully allowed me to move to a healthy church, so I know something of which I speak. It seems to be a dysfunctional way of relating, often combined with insecurity and immaturity, which makes an authoritatian leadership style attractive. And I note that it is attractive to some leaders AND to some followers.

Now, having said that, I notice that it seems to occur more frequently in conservative churches than in liberal or even moderate ones (although that is an impression, anecdotal at best). I suspect this is because conservative churches have a commitment to the Word, which makes them simultaneously more susceptible to overbearing interpretations of the Scripture and reveals a hunger for relationships which overbearing interpreters (from either side of the pulpit) offer. That makes a conservative congregation perhaps a more likely target, but is not a causal factor.


Anonymous said...

"Crude and vulgar according to what standard, Lydia? The Bible discusses many things that are not normal dinner table conversation- driving tent stakes through the heads of men, rape, incest, graphic sex, and uses words that are not considered polite in some circles, so what do you do with those things? Do you cut them out, ignore them, or talk about them?"

Yes and we all know how important the topic of oral sex was to the NT early church. And of course, Paul was always saying that he was going to go 'Old Testament' on those who disagreed with him. Of course, Jesus rebuked Peter for chopping off the soldiers ear. But we all know that Peter instead taught that we should beat people up anyway.

You are looking for a license like Mark's to be crude and what he deems as 'manly'.

"Character is NOT the issue."

Wade, How does being authoritarian not speak to character issues?


Anonymous said...


I do not understand the concept of 'conservative' when applied to a religious setting.
Is this meaning that doctrines do not change from the original doctrines or is it more of a cultural way of 'doing church' as some call it (not me)? Or many both?

Also, the way of interpreting Scriptures is confusing: is there just 'one' acceptable interpretation of a scriptural verse or can there be multiple layers of application?

Sorry so many questions. L's

Anonymous said...

oops. Should be 'Or maybe both?'

Anonymous said...


As usual, you made a good comment. Authoritarinism is as much a personality defect than the product of theology. In our town, the most authoritarian pulpit and church in town was pastored by one of the moderate SBC leaders. He pastored there for about 30years. At the end, he was so belligerent, droves of people were leaving (entire Sunday School classes) to go about 4 miles down the road to join another Baptist church.

There are conservatives like that, too.

It's just to tempting, I suppose, for many people not to make causal connections between bad behavior and theological positions they don't like.

As to Driscoll's use of profanity in the pulpit, I think it is inappropriate and low brow.

Tony Campollo used to make a big show of that. He would curse, and then say how people would be more concerned with his cursing than what he was saying.

It's a shock effect way to make a point. Nothing more.

My coach in second grade told me that cursing was for ignorant people.

The older I am the more I agree with that. It's as if there is no word in the English language that can adequately express, so the choice is made to use a curse word.

If this happened at our church, there would be a huge outcry, and the elders would take action, I am sure.

The service at our place is a worship experience, with some similarities in feel to Tabernacle, Temple or Synagogue worship we see in the Bible. There is an expectation of behavior that is a cut above.

Mars Hill may have a different goal and feel to their service altogether. Still doesn't excuse it in my book. If Driscoll is cursing, he hasn't learned how to passionately state what he means in standard English.

But that may explain why it has gone on.


Anonymous said...

Dear L's,

As I am sure you know, the root meaning of "conservative" is "to conserve," i.e., to maintain a status quo. And in Protestant (and especially Baptist) churches, that is pretty close to the mark: to maintain the status quo on what is perceived as the historical position on various theologies. Of course, the key word here is "perceived," as even in Baptist circles, there is a wide range of positions. we have Calvinism verses Armianism, various worship styles (the staid, formal "Charleston tradition" verses a more exurbant and demonstrative "Sandy Creek Tradition," various strains such as the Primitive and Landmark Baptist movements, and the Modernist controversy to name just a few. Consequently, Baptists tend to define as "conservative" whatever they come out of (churchly speaking), and "liberal" as that which is different, which may mean different things to different people. The theological trappings associated with that are usually defined as fidality to the written Word, though too often without a consideration of interpretation. In short: we often differentiate between the two in terms more of sociology than of theology, but without recognizing this.

As for interpretation, I certainly believer thre can be, as you put it, "layers of interpretation." I think even a brief review of historical theology shows this. But again, a lot of us Baptists assume that the interpretation with which we are familiar is the one and only historical interpretation. And because there is no centralized (earthly)authority for Baptists as there is among Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopals, Catholics, etc., this will vary depending on who and what church is speaking.

Hope this helps. have to get ready for a funeral now.


Kevin said...

Is it sinful to question the pastor? NO!
Is there a sinful way to question the pastor? Sure.

"Questions" can be a subtle and subversive tool to spead gossip and slander in the church. Leading questions, which aren't questions at all, that assume the worst of the pastor or leadership or motives, can actually be used to spread false information and dissention.

We DON'T KNOW what Driscoll had in his mind when he said, "sinning by questioning". Perhaps he had this kind of sinful questioning in mind?

Am I erring in trying to be cheritable? I guess I'm just trying to do unto others, what I would have them do unto me.

In this case interpret a quote graciously, especially from secular source.

Anonymous said...

Characteristics of the Authoritarian Personality (Horkheimer and Adorno)

Conventionalism: Rigid adherence to conventional, middle class attitudes.

Authoritarian Submission:
Submissive, uncritical attitude toward idealized moral authorities of the ingroup.

Authoritarian Aggression:
Tendency to be on the lookout for, and to condemn, reject, and punish people who violate conventional values.

Opposition to the subjective, the imaginative, the tenderminded.

Superstitions and Stereotyty:
The belief in mystical determinants of the individual’s fate; the disposition to think in rigid categories.

Power and ‘Toughness’: Preoccupation with the dominance-submission, strong-weak, leader-follower dimension;
identification with power figures; overemphasis upon the conventionalized attributes of the ego; exaggerated assertion of strength and

Destruction and Cynicism: Generalized hostility, vilification of the human.

The disposition to believe that wild and dangerous things go on in the world; the projection outwards of unconscious emotional impulses.

Exaggerated concern with sexual ‘goings-on.’

Douglas Kellner. 1989 Oxford: Polity Press

Anonymous said...

Adorno identified the
AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY type as having these characteristics.
The authoritarian personality does not want to give orders, their personality type wants to take orders. People with this type of personality seek conformity, security, stability. They become anxious and insecure when events or circumstances upset their previously existing world view. They are very intolerant of any divergence from what they consider to be the normal (which is usually conceptualized in terms of their religion, race, history, nationality, culture, language, etc.) They tend to be very superstitious and lend credence to folktales or interpretations of history that fit their preexisting definitions of reality (thus the Founding Fathers of the US are conceptualized of as supporters of white nationalism.) They think in extremely stereotyped ways about minorities, women, homosexuals, etc. They are thus very dualistic- the world is conceived in terms of absolute right (their way) Vs. absolute wrong (the "other" whether African American, liberal, intellectual, feminist, etc.)

WatchingHISstory said...

Bellevue Baptist paid lawyers a lot of money to say the right words about Paul Williams homosexual crime against his own son. "moral failure" "egregious deviant sexual activity" expensive words that inadequately described the crime. They certaintly didn't want to draw the gay community into this to offend them.

Under other conditions they would gladly offend the gay community!

But the common man on the street knows what this Baptist clergy father did to his own son and it is nearer the truth than Bellevue was. Maybe this why the Church looses relevance to the world becuse we fail to speak their language. We can be pure without being godly and somethimes we need to be godly rather than just pure.

Bellevue's leadership missed a golden opportunity to denounce homosexuality for the evil it is. But next time a homo cuts-up in California they will speak up! Watch out California! We don't take a likin to your kind!

Anonymous said...

prayers needed

WTJeff said...


I think you're right on the money. The feel of this post seems to judge MD's entire ministry based on one quote. When I look at the totality of his work, I give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he has become authoritarian or maybe it was a poor choice of words. Whatever the case, I think he's earned the benefit of the doubt.

I know this post is supposed to be about authoritarianism in the pulpit, but its difficult to separate that from the one accused of it.

Grace causes us to examine ourselves first before considering the actions of others. When I look at myself vs. what God is doing through Mars Hill, I see know option but to extend grace.


Anonymous said...

As far as I know, none of you are members of Mark Driscoll's church and he doesn't make any decisions that affect you so get off your pious high horses and quit acting like a bunch of self-righteous Pharisees. Its comments like we are seeing on here that make people run from Christianity in general and Baptists specifically. Leave him alone and let him and the Lord works things out in their own way. We have never been given the option of judgment.

DL said...

Is it sinful to question the pastor? NO!
"Is there a sinful way to question the pastor? Sure.

"Questions" can be a subtle and subversive tool to spead gossip and slander in the church. Leading questions, which aren't questions at all, that assume the worst of the pastor or leadership or motives, can actually be used to spread false information and dissention."

There's no such thing as dissension without authority. And there's no such thing as pastoral authority in some people's minds. So while I tend to agree with your point, I think it becomes superfluous when leadership is viewed as nothing more than loving consensus and eldership is not a position of authority, but a "humble service" that isn't allowed to speak truth with teeth. I think it's dangerous to relegate the guidance of elders to nothing more than the average guy's opinion. That's just not biblical. But it is popular.

Anonymous said...

Telling someone they are 'sinning' if they disagree or question you is SICK.


Is there any corroborating evidence that comments similar have been made by Mark to show that this is a PATTERN of behavior: a character issue?

The statement is a YELLOW LIGHT, until you see a pattern of "Pattersonian" authoritarian behavior on the part of Mark.
If Mark goes 'Patterson', then the light turns "RED" and look out.

Something very needy in a person who has to push the 'tough guy' act. It shows a vulnerability when someone has to create a persona and then exist hiding behind it, while others attack the persona, and not the 'real' Mark.

When Mark can tell the sea to be still and the winds to quiet; then he will be a 'tough' guy.
But, until then, he is just like the rest of us, no worse, but certainly no better. Just a man.

Kevin said...

True and true.

What's ironic about this discussion is that while there is abuse of authority in some churches, in so many more churches they sin in the opposite direction, being completely ignorant that the pastor has ANY authority or rejecting outright the teaching on submission to leaders.

The pastor in so many churches is seen as an employee who must cater to the many employers to keep his job, rather than be a faithful shepherd of the flock with God has called him to watch over.

Can you imagine the discussion if Driscoll was quoted as saying, "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account"

DL said...

"Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account"

Yeah, but there's a kind of newspeak for that verse, suggesting it really means "Obey your congregation and submit to them at business meetings and on blogs, for they are keeping watch on your natural male tendency to be abusive and oppressive. George Orwell would be proud. :)

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts on Driscoll:

1. I'm a southern guy--I like the pleasantries and the quaintness of southern culture [I like to eat at "the Cracker Barrel" for example]. Hence, it might be difficult, but I want to try and not "judge" edgy Northern Mark through the lens of southern culture. I'm not saying I have all of this worked out in my head, but I hope my fellow southerners might think on this aspect a bit.

2. Eph 4:29 defines an unwholesome word as something that does not build up in context. Hence, one could even use socially acceptable words in the South but speak an unwholesome word since the tone and intent is to tear down. Let us take heed when we stand lest we...

3. I think Louis is right about what the media can do. They can make you look bad and I do think this has to be taken into account.

4. Please do not take any of my comments as critical of Mark--I tried to bypass him and talk about the topic.

5. The "Break his nose" comment does come across to me as playing around--not the kind of playing around I would probably engage in, but again, I'm a southern guy.

6. I would like to know the context of the "sinning through questioning" statement.

7. I hope Mark does respond to Wade.

I understand that some might take what I have said to mean that I am trying to excuse Mark's behavior. Let me say, I have not seen or read much of Mark's stuff and I do not claim that I have been inerrant with this comment.

I guess for me it can be hard to know sometimes when to call a spade a spade and when I need to seriously contemplate "love...believeth all things" [1 Cor. 13].

Anonymous said...


Conscience is sacred ground where the person meets God;
all others (including church authorities), unless invited in, are trespassers in this place.

Some have described conscience as 'a sanctuary on the threshold of which all must halt.

Conscience has been defined in this way:
'not as a fancy or an opinion,
but as a dutiful obedience
to promptings of the Holy Spirit, speaking within us'.

This view of conscience holds in tension:
the dignity and freedom of the human person,
pastoral teaching authority,
and the search for truth
and good.

Anonymous said...

all you have been told
in school,
at church,
or in any book,
and dismiss whatever insults
your own soul"


Anonymous said...

Mark Driscoll has influenced me almost more than any other Christian leader, writer, pastor I know. It's so frustrating seeing the course that this post has taken through comments calling Mark's entire character into questioning. Mark Driscoll is a man of God and Mark Driscoll preaches the Gospel with a passion to see people come to know Christ.

I do hope he responds to Wade and I do believe that this will be cleared up by Mark. It's unfortunate that this post turned into what it has, although I can at least see why Wade has brought it to light. Unfortunately, I wish he had spoken to Mark first.

Whatever the case, I do believe the proper reaction to anything that Mark Driscoll does would be an encouraging word and prayer, not blasting him in the public forum. Last I checked, he is a sinner who has been merficully saved by the grace of God, just like each and every one of us.

Anonymous said...


'"Obey your conscience and submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for He is keeping watch over your soul, as on the Day of the Lord, you will have to give an account"

This way, you can't say, "My pastor made me do it."

DL said...

"Some have described conscience as 'a sanctuary on the threshold of which all must halt."

Nonsense. Our consciences either accuse or excuse us. The heart is desperately wicked, who can know it? Some more biblical people say things like: "To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled."

There are those who actually believe that pastors aren't supposed to impose truth on someone's conscience. This is nothing more than the same quest for autonomy that all sin is. "Leave me alone to think what I want. And wash my feet while you're at it, Pastor."

DL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WatchingHISstory said...

Dr Rogers was authoritarian in a way I consider cruel. He could use his voice to chuckle a ridicule.
He would say the Word is innerant in a way that you would not want to argue.

His Word was the Word. He was a beneveloent dictator but a dictator none the less. Perhaps his model does more harm in the end than all the Driscolls in the church.

Anonymous said...


And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another COUNSELOR to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth (John 14:16).

Holy Spirit
Do not cast me from your presence or take your HOLY SPIRIT from me (Psalm 51:11).

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised HOLY SPIRIT, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God`s possession - to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:13-14).

And do not grieve the HOLY SPIRIT of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

Power of the Most High
The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the POWER OF THE MOST HIGH will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God’ (Luke 1:35).

Spirit of Adoption
You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a SPIRIT OF ADOPTION through which we cry out, “Abba!” (that is, “Father”) (Romans 8:15 - New American Bible).

Spirit of Christ
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the SPIRIT OF CHRIST in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow (1 Peter 1:10-11).

Spirit of Counsel
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the SPIRIT OF COUNSEL and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).

Spirit of the Father
But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER speaking through you (Matthew 10:19-20).

Spirit of Fire
Our God is a CONSUMING FIRE (Hebrews 12:29).

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with FIRE (Luke 3:16).

Spirit of Glory
If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the SPIRIT OF GLORY and of God rests on you (1 Peter 4:14).

Spirit of God
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the SPIRIT OF GOD was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1:2).

Spirit of Grace and Supplication
And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a SPIRIT OF GRACE AND SUPPLICATION (Zech. 12:10).

Spirit of Holiness
...regarding His son, who as to His human nature was a descendant of David,...and who through the SPIRIT OF HOLINESS was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:3-4).

Spirit of Knowledge
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the SPIRIT OF KNOWLEDGE and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).

Spirit of Life
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the SPIRIT OF LIFE set me free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).

Spirit of Power
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him- the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the SPIRIT Of COUNSEL AND OF POWER, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you (Acts 1:8).

Spirit of Sonship
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the SPIRIT OF SONSHIP. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).

Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of power, the SPIRIT OF KNOWLEDGE AND OF THE FEAR OF THE LORD (Isaiah 11:2).

Spirit of the Son
Because you are sons, God sent the SPIRIT OF HIS SON into our hearts, the spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).

Spirit of the Sovereign Lord
The SPIRIT OF THE SOVEREIGN LORD is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the prisoners (Isaiah 61:1).

Spirit of Truth
But when he, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come (John 16:13).

Spirit of Understanding
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND OF UNDERSTANDING, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).

Spirit of Wisdom
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the SPIRIT OF WISDOM and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).

Willing Spirit
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me, restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a WILLING SPIRIT to sustain me (Psalm 51:12).

Anonymous said...


""Some have described conscience as 'a sanctuary on the threshold of which all must halt."

Nonsense. Our consciences either accuse or excuse us. The heart is desperately wicked, who can know it? "

COMMENT: so you think anyone you give authority to can tell you to violate your conscience?
I wouldn't. When you come before the Good Lord for judgment, are you going to say, my conscience told me it was wrong but I did it because my PASTOR told me to do it"?

Do not allow others to 'violate' your conscience. Your conscience, when acted on by the
HOLY SPIRIT, is your guide. It is the HOLY SPIRIT who convicts your conscience. It is the Holy Spirit who guides your conscience.
No one can tell you to violate your conscience and ignore the promptings of the SPIRIT.

Has not God written His laws on our hearts? So much for the 'wicked' heart theory.
Maybe by 'heart' you mean our 'will'?

DL said...

Dear Anonymous, is it okay if I call you Anonymous? Anyway, I don't ever recommend violating one's conscience. But I'm all for shaping the conscience according to Scripture and being held accountable to that shaping by the means that God has provided. Yes, the Holy Spirit guides the conscience, but he does it through the Bible and the church, with all that entails. That's all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

"There are those who actually believe that pastors aren't supposed to impose truth on someone's conscience."

There are those who actually believe that pastors AREN'T

No one can give the pastor the job that belongs to the Holy Spirit.
The pastor is not the Holy Spirit.
The pastor is a shepherd, a guide in matters of faith and morals, but he is NOT the one to decide for your conscience.
That is YOUR responsibility:
to pray and allow the Spirit to act on your OWN conscience.

Darby, if you were right, why would God bother to give every human being a conscience?
It is YOUR conscience, you cannot give up your duty to obey it.

ezekiel said...

This would prolly be a good time to take a look at the Nicolaitans.

" The Nicolaitans are also like their original founder, Nimrod the apostate, guilty of not only compromising the truth of God, and adulterating it, and mixing it with PAGAN beliefs and doctrines and practices, but they possess a wicked, deceptive, deceitful form of CHURCH GOVERNMENT. They are often in the form of religious tyrannies, authoritarian, totalitarian, abusive ministers, and very quick to discipline and disfellowship recalcitrant or slow-to-conform members of their churches. They are very intolerant and autocratic – and rule their congregations like a “god” or a Hitler with a Gestapo-like ministry."


DL said...

"Darby, if you were right, why would God bother to give every human being a conscience?
It is YOUR conscience, you cannot give up your duty to obey it."

Thanks for the interaction. Again, I'm not wanting anyone to give up their conscience, and I agree it is everyone's duty to obey it. All I'm saying is that the Holy Spirit uses means to shape the conscience and conform it to the truth. I'm not for blindly following pastors who overstep or understep Scripture. But I am for following, and being accountable to loving pastors, who serve their flock through thick and thin, and want what's best for those for whom they will give an account. That's all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

DARBY, we disagree.

The HOLY SPIRIT act directly on your spirit. Were you baptized by water and the SPIRIT?
There is no need for an intermediary between YOU and GOD, in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

The Church is a guide.
The Bible is an inspired guide.

Consider all the Church and the Bible teach you.
Consider the reality of your personal situation.
Then pray to God. He will act on your conscience and you will know what to decide and what to do.

There is no need for any
'intermediary' between you and the Holy Spirit.

A 'church' can lead you astray if it is not of God.
Scripture has been quoted by Satan and there are those who mis-use the written Word of God.
But the Holy Spirit will not lead you away from Christ.
You can count on Him and His Authority.

DL said...

Paul told Timothy, "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers."

Paul told Titus, "Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you."

Obviously, Paul thought there would be those who would want to disregard Titus, just like there are those who want to disregard elders today. Did Paul say, "Don't worry about it. The Holy Spirit has it all worked out." No. Elders are not man's idea. They're God's. Preaching is not man's idea. It is God's. Rebuke is not man's idea. It is God's. Discipline is not man's idea. It is God's. And authority and accountability is not man's idea. It is God's.

Rex Ray said...

To “Yeah, rex, but did any of them ever cuss when preaching?”

I wouldn’t have put it past them since some were thinking of killing Paul in (Acts 21:22.)

Would you like to know one that may have thought about cussing when he sent emails to the deacons?

I don’t think he likes any dissent what-so-ever. I believe preachers that do this have ego problems like yelling at his secretary, “GET OUT OF HERE AND SHUT THE DOOR!” (She was only agreeing with him) or “LOOK AT ME! I’M APPOLIGIZING TO YOU!”

I’ll copy paste his email:
“I read the latest blog on Grace and Truth To You. It is a timely topic and each of you should read it. I perused the responses (I rarely respond anymore) and saw one that you should also read. You welcome to go to the site and check my accuracy.”

He copy pasted my comment of Thur Jan 15, 01:55 AM. I don’t think he meant his last sentence to be funny.

When he gets his last paper approved he will have his doctorate. Most of you may be proud he was an officer in the new convention of Virginia.

I would caution all pastors not to start scaffolds that may turn into Haman’s.

To Curious,
As of 1995, there are 2,005,000 copies of J.M. Carroll’s ‘The Trail of Blood’. “In A.D. 251, the loyal churches declared non-fellowship for those churches…” page 14.

I figured their dissent alone would prove them to be Baptists ancestors. smile

You said, “Everyone, just a gentle nudge if possible back to the topic of my post…The belief that a Senior Pastor cannot be questioned without denigrating or disciplining those who question is.”

Do you believe my pastor wanted the deacons to read my previous comment to give me praise, or do you see your post in action? Hey! I may deserve it for this comment.

Anonymous said...

1. John 14:16 is about the special revelation that the disciples would receive from the Holy Spirit and is written down for us in the New Testament through the Apostles [Eph. 2:20]. Hence, it is not right to take that verse to mean that the Holy Spirit leads/guides/teaches in the same sense that He did the Apostles.

2. A Pastor is a gift to the church from Jesus Christ to prepare the church for every member ministry [Eph. 4:7-12].

3. Pastors should "preach the word" [2 Tim 4:2].

4. Pastors need to be careful that any "application" of the word they may preach does not become outright legalism.

5. The conscience is not always perfect and needs to be informed by the word [not by legalism].

Anonymous said...

continuing on:

6. The Holy Spirit does lead [Rom. 8:14, Gal. 5:18].

7. Again, watch out for application, watch out for application, watch out for fellow pastors.

Grace to you,


Dr. Mike Kear said...

As a person who has planted a couple of churches in an independent setting, as Mark Driscoll has done, let me give a couple of thoughts from that perspective.

When God gives a person a vision for a new church, in the beginning of that work it is vital to stay on mission. There are many who will come and want to hijack the vision and move it to where they feel more comfortable. In those beginning months it is imperative to stay on mission. This sometime requires the pioneering pastor to act in what can be considered an authoritarian manner. If God has called a person to do Plan A and another person in the new congregation wants to do Plan B, the pioneering pastor must put his foot down and say No.

That being said, once the church is established and a solid leadership is in place, a leadership that is established in the vision God has given for the church and is on mission, then the pioneering pastor needs no longer act in an authoritarian manner. The church is on mission and the congregation and leadership are on the same page. The only time anyone needs to be authoritarian is when wolves attack the sheep - and this should be done with the counsel of the leadership.

Mark Driscoll started Mars Hill from scratch and had to be authoritarian, in my opinion, in the beginning, in order to keep the church on mission, on the same page. Now that the church is well established, such authoritarianism is no longer necessary.

Now, what I'm wondering is whether the quotes in the NYT were from Mark's early days when a certain amount of authoritarianism was acceptable in order to keep the church plant on mission, or whether such authoritarianism is still ongoing.

BTW, I read Driscoll's book Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church when it came out a few years ago and enjoyed it throroughly. If you get a chance to read that book, much of what is being discussed here will be clarified.

ezekiel said...

As long as we seem to be on the subject of consciences and how pastors are supposed (or not) to impose truth on somebody elses conscience...

1Co 10:29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience?
1Co 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
1Co 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Heb 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Can anyone point me to the scripture where it says the pastor is supposed to convict or impose truth on someone elses conscience?

Joh 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
Joh 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
Joh 16:10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
Joh 16:11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Joh 16:12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
Joh 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Heb 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

I would think a preacher would be better off doing what he is told to do.

2Ti 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
2Ti 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
2Ti 4:4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
2Ti 4:5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

And leave the work of the Holy Spirit and the WORD to Him.

Anonymous said...

Wade - you wrote: "The belief that a Senior Pastor cannot be questioned without denigrating or disciplining those who question is."

Amen! Great article topic and very timely. But since you decided to post on this, why have you left out the most obvious, current example that is taking place right now? That of an accused blogger (AND his wife!) being BANNED with trespass warnings from seeing their daughter sing at FBC Jacksonville?

The by-laws of FBC Jax state the Discipline Committee must meet with Mac Brunson first, before taking any action against a member. So it is fact that Mac Brunson had this couple banned from the church premises because they were blogging about him and asking questions about the A-group, a $307K land gift three weeks after he arrived (verified through public records at, nepotism and financial abuses.

I know you can relate to being shunned for blogging. So why no mention of Mac Brunson?

(By the way, I realize the blogger is anonymous, but the fact that this couple was banned from blogging is documented on the website AND a quick phone call to John Blount at FBC Jax will confirm the accuracy of the information contained on the blog about the trespass warning and letter to the accused posted on the site.)

Please don't omit/exclude the abuses of Mac Brunson in an article about pastors' wrongfully disciplining those that ask questions.



Your friend in Jacksonville.

I am NOT the FBC Jax Watchdog by the way, but have posted here before and sent you my name and contact information last year. So this post is not "anonymous" to you. :)

Anonymous said...

"Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God,
they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit;
for it had not yet fallen on any of them,
but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:14-17).


WatchingHISstory said...

We have a right to question authority. Paul encouraged the women to ask their husbands at home if they had a question.

So women, question authority. Men be informed and always ready to give an answer.

Wayne Smith said...

Rex Ray,

It was great meeting you at the Christmas Service, put on by the youth and the Pastors Wife. What a Blessing you and your Pastor are to the church (New Zion Baptist). The outreach your church is now having on our Fannin County is such a Blessing and Witness to Jesus Christ. Keep up the good work and Support your Pastor.


Anonymous said...

Thank you EZEKIEL,

you bring the light of the scriptures to support
the Holy Spirit's Authority
in our lives. :)

HE will bring peace, when we obey our consciences.
That healing peace cannot come from a pastor.

Lin said...

"Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account"

Now, here is a verse that is badly translated and is routinly used as a club. We certainly would not recommend that folks obey a leader just because they were given a title of elder or pastor. Jim Jones was once thought of as a humble and godly man.

A more accuurate translation for the first part would be:

"Trust them that are your leaders and be yielding: for they watch in behalf of your souls...."

But the KJV translators were laboring under an authoritarian mentality of state/church. It is always a good idea to check verses in an interlinear if possible. Which reads: Be ye persuaded to ones leading and be ye deferring..

Look at the range on the word peitho:
a primary verb;

to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate
(by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or
authority), to rely (by inward certainty):--agree, assure, believe, have
confidence, be (wax) conflent, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.

Yet the translators chose 'obey'.

The thrust of the word peitho is not one of submission to authority; it is one of listening to someone out of respect and taking their advice. A better translation of peitho in verse 17 is "Listen to," not "Obey them."

Peitho is sometimes translated "trust" in the King James Version of the New Testament and would have been an ideal translation in verse 17: ‘Trust them....’ This leaves the reader with a different flavor entirely than does the translation "Obey them..."

Now, go through the verse and pick out the word "elder." If you cannot find it in the verse, look for it in the context. You are right! It is nowhere to be found. Is it not strange that the main text to which those who advocate "Elders Rule," does not even mention "elders"? It is assumed beyond a shadow of a doubt that verse 17 is talking about elders. Then, it is welded into a law of God that this verse gives elders the authority to rule over the congregation.

Two other verses in Hebrews 13, verses 7 and 24, are very similar to verse 17. It is unclear who the Hebrew writer had in mind. Verse 7 reads: "Remember them that had the rule over you, men that spake unto you the word of God; and considering the issue of their life, imitate their faith." Notice the past tense treatment of "had the rule." Verse 24 states: "Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints...." It is very possible that those "that spake unto you the word of God" were the first to preach the gospel to them, including the apostles themselves.

We still must have discernment as to who is a real leader 'to be listened to'.I must question if it is one who insists they are the 'authority'. said...


I've left messages with Mars Hill to speak with Mark Driscoll. It is an automated phone system and there is nobody with whom you can speak. I will let you know when they respond. said...


I am familiar with the FBC Jacksonville saga. Pastor Mac Brunsons wife, Debbie, served with me on the board of trustees. Their former youth pastor called me and told me that Debbie went on and on in staff meeting at FBC Jacksonville, explaing the problems at the IMB with me were because I was a "liberal." He was disturbed that she felt the freedom to denigrate me to people who didn't even know me, and ironically, this young man had family in our church who knew my beliefs - and vouched for my conservatism.

So, I am not surprised that members at FBC Jacksonville are being treated harshly for voicing disagreement with the pastor, his wife, or their son. Frankly, to see how Debbie handled disagreement on the IMB Board of Trustees spoke volumes to me about how they might handle disagreement at their church.

The only criticism I have with the FBC Watchdog blog is that it is anonymous. The objection might be from the one writing it, "But if they knew who I was, they would make my life miserable."

My response is a simple one. If you can't say what needs to be said and be identified as the one who is saying it, risking the wrath of those of whom you write, then what you write ought not be said. The courage of character is seen by posting one's name beside the dissent expressed.

Once the person in Jacksonville who runs the blog goes public, I will make sure that what I know about the Brunsons and their style of leadership is decared publicly, and that those who are being abused by authoritarian leaders are protected.

I don't play anonymous games.

In His Grace,


Anonymous said...


1. SBC 'leadership'
(live in mansions)
unquestioned access to funds
You don't want to disobey 'or else'

2. The Trustees
(appointed by leaders)
high salaries
They back up the 'leadership'
or they get fired.

3.Your pastor - you must go through him to know God's Will
Without your pastor, you cannot know what to do.
(HINT: it's called 'intercession')

4. Your Bible - this is your
ultimate guide, as long as
your church tells you
how to interpret it

5. fill in authority name _____

6. fill in authority name _____

7. God - ? (who?)

8. Your conscience - don't worry,
the Bible and your Pastor
have everything covered
Your conscience can go back
to sleep.

WatchingHISstory said...


Is this the same reason you don't respond to NBBCOF complaints about Steve Gaines. I respect your position on anonmyninity

Charles A Page
Collierville, Tennessee

WatchingHISstory said...

anon 3:00

Adrian Rogers
Bellevue Baptist
Memphis, Tennessee

his god: his immagination, his god isa a god of love

Anonymous said...

"My response is a simple one. If you can't say what needs to be said and be identified as the one who is saying it, risking the wrath of those of whom you write, then what you write ought not be said. The courage of character is seen by posting one's name beside the dissent expressed."

This is a hard decision. In your case, being public does not mean you will lose your income or ability to find a job. I personally know some people who publicly spoke out about some abuses of leadership in a mega church who ended up losing their secular job! Why? Because the tentacles of a mega church reach deep into a community and the leaders/elders are usually men of influence in the community who command respect even in secular and government venues. These are men who can make a phone call and cast doubts on the person who spoke out. Mega's are large vendors for many secular organizations, too.

Would it be better to say nothing? Or would it be best to write about public teaching or even behaviors that are questionable even if anonymous? Until someone loses it all, and other 'Christians' go scampering for their hide outs so as not to be the next victim of influence, it is hard to understand what one faces when speaking out. Kids need shoes and the mortgage has to be paid. And some do not realize how vengeful these leaders can be when any bad PR comes out. They have a lot to lose if anyone believes it. If they can ruin and make others believ the messenger is the 'evil' one, they will.

That is why so few speak out.


Ramesh said...

Thank you JJtheB, Pastor Wade and Lydia for your comments.

Anonymous said...

JJtheB says:

Wade - I understand and respect your stands on these issues. Thank you. Yet, Lydia makes some good points on why some things still need to be said, even if only by anonymous bloggers.

I hope you will consider sharing with your readers what you know about the harms and abuses authoritarian and abusive bully pastors inflict on their sheep/members. Families and staff that have been run over by Team Brunson and Maurilio Amorim have no voice.

Of particular interest right now is Mac and Debbie Brunson, since they pastor at one of the largest churches in the SBC and they host a pastor's conference each year where pastors and leaders come to hear how Mac and Debbie run things.

Also, Mac and Debbie are about to start a $20,000,000.00 capital campaign fund to increase their brand and engage in some sheep stealing efforts.

Personally, I see no reason why the Watchdog's anonymity should effect anything you choose to share or write about on this subject based on your own experiences.

Blessings to you.

Go Gators!

Anonymous said...

LYDIA wrote: " And some do not realize how vengeful these leaders can be when any bad PR comes out. They have a lot to lose if anyone believes it. If they can ruin and make others believ the messenger is the 'evil' one, they will."

All you need to do is look
at what Wade went through
to know that this so true.

P.S. 'what Wade IS GOING through as he is still targeted by those bullies' toadies on this site.

Anonymous said...


I never said nor implied that the Holy Spirit was given only to the Apostles.

I'm saying that the remember/teach/guidance the Holy Spirit would give the Apostles in the Gospel of John has to do with the special revelation that flows from the Father through the Son through the Holy Spirit through the Apostles to us in the New Testament.

And the gospel of John is clear that it is "all" truth.

Hence, no "new" special revelation is given to us through the Spirit.

Yes, the Holy Spirit [as the "Helper"] helps us to understand the special revelation from the Apostles in the N.T.

But there is a big difference between helping us to understand something and "adding" something additional to what has already been provided.

I have no problem with the 1963 BF&M preamble:

"Therefore, the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is Jesus Christ whose will is revealed 'in' the Holy Scriptures." (emphasis mine)

However, the 1963 confession itself contains a statement that I think is a recipe for idolatry:

"The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ."

The gospel of John reveals that the Apostles "continued" the teaching ministry of Christ through the Spirit after His ascension.

If you want to follow the "authentic" Christ, then follow New testament revelation.

Any other Christ is a [g]od.

God Bless,


FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Lydia - well said.

Pastor Wade - I do respect your views on anonymity. I hope you will give me a chance here on your blog to give my view on the anonymity issue, since the Watchdog has been living it for a year and a half.

My view: sometimes anonymity is required when it is someone with ZERO power trying to hold accountable someone who has much power - especially when the one in power lord's that power over his people like Mac does and is not shy about using fear and intimidation from the pulpit to squelch opposition. Anonymity does not equate to "cowardice" as so many Watchdog detractors have there is always the risk of exposure and the fury of the one in power to be exacted against the "anonymous" person.

As the Watchdog has blogged - Mac has used the threat of "church discipline" over his church ever since December 2007 making mention of it in ways meant to strike fear into people. He changed the bylaws creating a discipline committee and process - but instead of lovingly explaining the bylaw changes and process, he made scant references to them in intimidating ways. He has most recently made remarks from the pulpit to intimidate deacons that they are not to "worry", and are not to be "businessmen", else they are "not trusting Jesus." Even the night the accused bloggers were prevented from seeing their daughter perform Mac said one purpose of church discipline is to "put the fear of God" into the congregation. So if the one in power is willing to use his power to instill fear to shut his detractors up...and when those who SHOULD hold the one in power accountable refuse to do so, OR when those that COULD have held him accountable have been forced by their own economic circumstances to agree to NOT speak ill of the pastor - who is left? He has scared the people, he has surrounded himself with men for whatever reason won't hold him accountable, he has purchased the silence of those who probably WOULD hold him accountable after they left his employ.

As you probably know, and as most members at FBC Jax do NOT know, ministers that were fired during the first 2 years of the Team Brunson tenure were required to sign legal documents that they would be silent about their experience under Team Brunson. So their silence was purchased by Mac, using the money given by the people of FBC Jax who themselves deserve to know of the abuses. So those who had visibility to the inner workings of Team Brunson aren't even allowed to share their story without fear of having to give the dollars back. Is that a common practice Wade? Requiring ministers who are fired by the pastor (without a personnel committee input - since our church doesn't have one) being required to sign legal documents guaranteeing their silence?

And what is Mac's public response to the facts presented on the anonymous blog? To either give no answers, or to give false or misleading answers. To the question of the $300,000 land gift, he tells his congregation in the most arrogant terms: "Last time I checked the federal government said I could live anywhere I wanted to...and I'm paying for that house." Misleading, as it doesn't address the land gift at all, but leaves the impression that there was no land gift, that HE is paying for ALL of his million dollar home, when he is NOT - $300,000 of it was given to him by a member of the church two weeks after he came here.

As the Watchdog pointed out last November, Mac devoted sermons at SWBTS and Criswell College to telling pastors when they get into their churches there will be people who will come of of "nowhere " to slander and accuse them - painting himself as some victim, and that these pastors TOO will have the same problem he has - which ain't true. The anonymous blogging has been a huge sore spot and irritant for Team Brunson, and many people have told me in the church that Team Brunson has been obsessed with finding out who the blogger is so they could shut him down. They got a name and an address supposedly of who the blogger is, the accused couple, and they came down with the full fury on them by issuing trespass warnings. No visits. No explanations. No grace. No phone calls. NOTHING. But a trespass warning kicking effectively kicking them out of the church.

To me, the actions and words of Mac Brunson since the anonymous blog started - themselves prove the necessity of an anonymous blog.

And the question remains: why is there no popular anonymous blog about Wade Burleson? Why is there no anonymous blog about, say, Johnny Hunt or Jerry Vines or whoever? Here in Jacksonville, there are quite a number of mega or near-mega churches...why no popular anonymous blogs about them? Could it be...could the reason be...that there is not a NEED for one?

Thanks for allowing me to have my say here on your blog. said...


It is your blog that gives you a voice. As the printing press gave Luther a voice, as the cable wires gave Europe a voice overseas, as the radio gave FDR a voice to America, and as television has given a voice to pop stars, your blog has given you a voice, and one could argue a very influential voice.

It is because of your blog that you no longer have ZERO power. On the contrary, you have an extraordiary amount of power. Thus, the attempts to silence you, to intimidate you, and to remove you.

I appreciate your response to my challenge, and above all people, I know what it feels like to be intimidated, threatened and bullied, but my point stands.

It is through the courage of bearing all the above that people begin to say, "Hmmm, maybe this fella is on to something."

Professional, including the men and women on your church's Finance Committee, Bylaws Committee and Personnel Committees will eventually respect a person who has the courage to sign his name.

I guess, Watchdog, what I am saying is simply this: Put power to your message by making yourself known. If they remove you from the church on disciplinary grounds, the message you have been seeking to get across to the congregation will have far more impact than if you remained anonymous.

Obviously, I cannot guarantee you that you and your family will not suffer pain, humiliation and the like. But I can guarantee you that you will garner the respect of thousands who know you have the courage to stand by what you write. And, in the end, you write for the betterment of your church, not the protection of yourself.

In His Grace,

Wade said...


You asked, Is this the same reason you don't respond to NBBCOF complaints about Steve Gaines? I respect your position on anonmyninity

Yes, it is. I don't respond to, nor give input for, anonymous blogs or comments.

Anonymous said...

Dear Benji,

We clearly see the roles of the Holy Spirit differently.
Can I ask you, are your views shared by all in the SBC?
I think my concern is the issue of whose authority one follows:
A. A person: the pastor, or
B. Your conscience, after prayer

If YOU had a difference between what your pastor told you to do and what your conscience told you to do, then, which would YOU feel that you had to obey?

In the light of how some church leaders have treated others, I ask this question, because I would think they their pastoral authority would be compromised by their 'unChristian' and uncharitable treatment of those in their care.

How do you feel about this?


Anonymous said...

Absolute authority of a Church leader reminds me of Rev. Moon and the Moonies.

The SBC had some dealings with Rev. Moon at one time, did they not?

Did Rev. Moon influence the 'absolute authority' of church leaders over private conscience debate?

Anonymous said...


"Moon uses events like the inaugural luncheon to increase his own prestige in the religious community. A brief report about the luncheon on the Unification church's website speaks approvingly of Moon's ability to draw a broad cross-section of religious leaders to his events, asserting that the gathering "united Christian leaders black and while, including Robert Schuller, Jerry Falwell, the leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, a representative of the Bill Graham organization, and many others."

Critics say Moon's ultimate goal is a merger of the world's religions under Moon and his elevation as the supreme head of a unified theocratic state. Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han, in an article published in Unification News in September of 1992, declared themselves "the True Parents of all humanity" and asserted, "[W]e are the Savior, the Lord of the Second Advent, the Messiah ... [W}e must have an automatic theocracy to rule the world."

In March of 1989, U.S. News & World Report noted that Moon has stated that his aims include the "subjugation of the American government and population."

'we are the Savior' ?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thank you Pastor Wade. Allow me one more attempt:

If there is any "power" exerted by the blog, it is that there is a tremendous READERSHIP. The Brunsons would not care much about a blogger no one reads. Contrary to what you say, there would be ZERO power added to the blog by revealing my identity. ZERO. It would only serve as a means for them to apply pressure to shut it down which they very much want to do. What determines readership of the Watchdog? is not a blog primarily about what the Watchdog is a blog chronicling the actions and words of Mac Brunson...quotes, audio, and video...with some colorful commentary of course from a layman of the church. I have maintained, and still maintain, that Mac himself holds ALL the power...even the power to shut the blog down by making it humbling himself, explaining his past abusive actions and words, and moving forward in love, and openness, and transparency, and stopping his actions that are dividing the church. He himself can completely remove any power of the Watchdog blog himself. But its his insistence to stay silent, to attack his congregation from the pulpit in and out of Jax...that puts the power in the Watchdog blog.

[For the record: our church does not have a "bylaws committee", a "finance committee", or a "personnel committee"...Mac's bylaw changes in Dec 2007 dissolved the finance committee, and trustees appointed by the pastor take care of matters concerning bylaws and finances...and Mac himself has sole authority in all personnel matters with no oversight whatsoever from the deacons or a committee. Just want to set the record straight!]

Anonymous said...

I have met Mac Brunson once. Never heard him speak (wait, he nominated Jim Richards). Never met Debbie.

Met and heard Adrian Rogers many times.

Never met or heard Mark Driscoll.

A question or point that needs to be considered after reading this blog:

How to distinguish between those situations where the leader truly allows no questions to be asked, and those situations where the questions do get asked, and answered, but not to the satisfaction of the questionner. And then - what to do about it?

I do not know the ins and outs of any of the situations that are the topic of this post (Mark Driscoll) or the variants that have popped up (Adrian Rogers, Mac Brunson, or really all the ins and outs at the IMB and Wade).

I have recently watched what happened at one of the largest Baptist churches in the South. A dissident group did not like the way things were going. They asked questions. They got answers. They did not like the answers but were in the minority.

So, they asked more questions. Some were answered, some were not. By this time, the pastor, staff and about 70% of the membership were fatigued and were tired of answering the same questions posed in new ways or being to retreive finanacial records (credit card receipts) that were 6 years old. The deacons, finance team, staff etc. had looked into this, and were satisfied that there was not a problem.

The folks that did not agree kept asking questions. They filed a lawsuit. All of the lawsuit was dismissed (a request to remove the pastor, all the leadership, for the court to appoint new leadership etc.), except for a request for more records.

So more records were produced, taking a number of hours of staff time and a continual drain on the church emphasis and time.

The new records did not produce much. No record of criminal or moral wrongdoing. Confirmed a sloppy way of doing business that had been going on for 3 decades (which the dissidents had been part of in years past), but was not new or unique to the pastor or the recent years there.

The entire lawsuit eventually went away.

The Pastor had the support of a clear majority of the people, but the continued discord and fighting left lots of people discouraged and the church was not an attractive option. Things went on for over a year.

The Pastor decided to leave and get a new start. He's doing fine. The church is not.

Most of the members would prefer to have kept the pastor. He is gone.

The dissident group is persona non grata. Most of them have left because even though the pastor is now gone, they realize they can't get their way anyhow.

Attendance has dropped way off. Money troubles have followed.

No one was helped by any of this.

So, if something has been done that is criminally or morally wrong, take it to the police or the people in authority.

If it's not criminal or morally wrong (an affair etc.) take it to the proper channels in the church. If you lose because the decision making mechanism at your church (deacons, elders, committee, congregational vote etc.) rule against you, that's all you can do. Unless you decide to wage a Guerilla War of some sort.

At some point one has to make the delicate judgment that even if one more expose is run, and one more set of facts come out, that the majority of the people are happy with the way things are.

That may be appropriate. That may be wrong. That may be sad. But that's the way life works.

But at what point a person just needs to figure out that they have done all they can do, that they are not going to persuade a majority of those in power of their position, and they need to consider either moving on to greener pastures or reconciling to living in the situation.

If one chooses the latter, there is some amount of quiet, I believe, that is called for. It doesn't mean one gives up on one's principles. It means that one has the social grace to see that their cause (however right) is not going to carry the day at this time. And for the love of the organization, they are going to stay but be quiet and stop bringing up divisive matters that they know they will lose on.

I admire Rodney Hammer for many things, but probably the thing I admire him the most for was finally deciding that he had done all he could do, and that it was time to move on.

Again, I don't know enough about all of these situations to have firm opinions. I will say that the FBC in Jacksonville appears to be an easier call. If watchdog or whomever doesn't like what the church is doing - leave. Surely he has brought these things up at the church. If he hasn't, he should. If he doesn't get what he thinks is the correct decision from the church, either learn to live with it or move on.

What is so hard about all of this?

I am simply describing a phenominon that exists in all church/ denominational disagreements.

I will leave it others to figure out when it's time to fight harder, when it's time to lay low and let time march on for a while when a new opportunity to push the issue - but be peaceful in the meantime, and when it's time to move on to something more productive.

I believe in retrospect the folks at the church that I mentioned above would probably admit (if they could bring themselves emotionally to do so) that they should have been satisfied when they got their questions answered and they should have either decided to go to a new church or stay, but focus on the things they had in common so that the church could move forward, or they should have gone to a new church.


Anonymous said...

Let me quickly add that I recognize in an insitutional denomination context like the SBC that their is an annual meeting and priorities and direction are always an issue that is more understandable for folks to debate emphases and such.

A church with a new pastor who is setting the direction with the apparent blessing of the lay leadership and congregation is the more delicate situation in my mind.


Anonymous said...

Once FBC Jax makes his/her name known then it becomes about him/her instead of the content. Instead, even, of facts. Just like it has now become about you, Wade, and not the content.

No stone will be left unturned. His/her message will be moot because he once campaigned for McGovern in college so he is a liberal. Or he smoked pot when he was 18 so he is a drug head. Or perhaps he was late with his mortgage once and is shifty and irresponsible. Some may think I am overdramatizing. I am not. I have seen the great PR machines at work on folks. And it is usually done as a great whispering campaign while they shake their heads as if they knew the guy was a loser/liberal/narcissist/troublemaker all along.

If he has kids, they will even suffer under the trauma that will be inflicted on them.

Fact is, people do not want to think ill of someone they follow. They may never admit they fell for the 'special anointed' spin and instinctively shoot the messenger.

I do agree with Louis about moving on. But even those who choose to move on must tell the truth if asked why they moved on. If they don't, they are liars. But if theytell the truth, they will still be attacked and shunned.

It is a no win situation when it comes to celebrity pastors and their empires.

Lydia said...


I normally find myself in agreement with your views. Not, however, here.

The Bonhoeffers, Luthers, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and other courageous men and women of history all faced certain death, but still signed their name.

The writer in Jacksonville does not face the prospect of death, so I have little sympathy for anonymity in his case.

Anonymous said...


I believe there is only one teacher--Matt. 23:8.

The Holy Spirit helps me understand the will of that One teacher in the New Testament.

Other believers [including, but not limited to pastors] can help me understand the will of that One teacher in the New Testament.

The local church can help me understand the will of the One teacher in the New Testament.

Historical Confessions of faith can help me understand the will of that One teacher in the New Testament.

The Holy Spirit will never lead astray from the One teacher's will. However, if any pastor/Christian/confession/church is in error, then I am not bound by their error since there is only One [ultimate] teacher.

I'm not an individualist.
I'm not a slave to tradition.
I'm not a slave to progression.
I'm a biblicist.

That probably will sound arrogant to some.

So, let me say it this way.

I'm a traditionalist who is open to the possibility of "some" progression--especially in the area of understanding the implications of what it means for God's people [notice the togetherness here--I'm not an individualist] to be in the New Covenant.



Rex Ray said...

I have printed several of your comments that I intended to say thank you, but here I am disagreeing with you on your take of ‘The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.’

You said, “Any other Christ is a god.” How in the world do you get TWO Christ?

To me, ‘The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ” means ‘The Bible is to be interpreted through the eyes of Jesus.’

In the Old Testament a young boy was stoned for gathering firewood for his mother on the Lord’s day.

We do not practice that law because Christians ‘see’ through the eyes of Jesus, both for the Old and the New Testament.

Christ did not come to replace the law but to fulfill the law through his eyes, his mind, and his heart.

The 2000 confession replaced Christ with the Bible which in my opinion was a very poor swap.

Gram said...

a wise friend once said to me "do you pray about what is bothering you as much as you complain". praying and trusting God to intervene is effective.

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