Each journey was a great blessing to me personally and very positive and productive for our ministry. I learned a lot about these two men who previously I have only read of or exchanged emails with. In the case of Mark Driscoll, Mark and I had done several radio interviews together prior to actually meeting. I like these two men personally and consider them brothers in the Lord.
I have said many times, all I have to do is whisper the names of Driscoll or Patrick and it immediately sparks emails and phone calls, and lends to accusations of compromise and ignornace from listeners towards myself.
However, it has always fascinated me that even while these two men are sometimes accused of blasphemy and heretical teachings or methods, they both maintain close relationships with godly men such as John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Tim Keller and now Mark Dever.
What are we to make of it when such respected men of God tie their wagons to other minsitries that many feel are wrong? Apart from his relationship with Driscoll or Patrick, John Piper is considered one of the most important voices and ministries of our time, by many of the same people and organizations that condemn Mark and Darrin.
Mark Dever is senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washing D.C and founder of 9 Marks Ministries. Dr. Dever is the author of two great and very important books, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church and The Deliberate Church. Mark Dever recently spoke to a session of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, started by Mark Driscoll and where Darrin Patrick is Exec V.P. In his message there, Dever said,
”Our differences are enough to separate some of my friends—your brothers and sisters in Christ—from you. And perhaps to separate them from me, now that I’m publicly speaking to you. And I don’t want to minimize either the sincerity or the seriousness of some of their concerns (things like: humor, worldliness, pragmatism, authority).
But I perceive some things in common which outweigh our differences—which the Lord Jesus shall soon enough compose between us, either by our maturing, or by His bringing us home. I long to work with those, and count it a privilege to work with those whom My Savior has purchased with His blood, and with whom I share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I perceive that we have in common the knowledge that God is glorified in sinners being reconciled to Him through Christ. This is not taught by other religions, nor clearly by the ancient Christian churches of the East, or by Rome, by liberal Protestant churches, by Mormons, the churches of Christ, or by groups of self-righteous, legalistic, moralistic Christians. And not only do we together affirm the exclusivity of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone—we agree on the sovereignty of God in life and salvation, the regenerate nature of church members, the importance of church membership and discipline, the baptism of believers alone, the priorities of expositional preaching, and evangelism, the importance of authority and a growing appreciation for the significance of complementarianism. These are not slight matters. And they only fire my desire to encourage you and cheer you on, until you cross that finish line that the Lord lays down for us.”
Now a friend of mine has told me recently that Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where Dr. Albert Mohler is president is preparing to establish a relationship with Acts 29. SO, what are we to make of it?
Here’s my two cents, although the intentions of the the hearts of many ministries, bloggers and individuals were noble or sincere, some of us (and I include myself in this group) jumped the gun and drew conclusions without knowing all the facts. Yes definitely, there are ministries that are wrong and need to be exposed. But there are many people and ministries that we have critical of that need to be understood and the only way we will be able to understand where they are coming from is to read, ask and visit.
I am very encouraged when I hear that Piper, Mahaney, Keller and Dever are a part of the lives and ministries of Mars Hill, Acts 29 and The Journey. I wish I had such relationships.
It’s time we take a cold, hard, scriptural look at these ministries that so “offend” us, and get over having our personal feelings hurt, and do what is right. There are thousands, no millions of souls whose only hope is the Gospel of Christ. Let us work together, with those who are faithful to the call, and take the Gospel to every creature.