15 May 2013

Open Letter to Mark Driscoll (2013)

by Frank Turk

Dear Pastor Mark --

I know you don't read any of the little blogs, or people who are trying to make their own tribe, but others do, and I think it's worth writing a brief open letter to you this week based on your epic video from this weekend:

I think it's fantastic that you can walk away from the Gospel Coalition, and hand over the reigns to Acts29, and with no muss and no fuss start your own tribe.  It's proof that you have something which most of us don't have.  I'm sure there's a Greek word for it, but unfortunately I don't speak Greek.

Someone with more time on their hands might want to go through this 21-minute monologue and find all the ingrown hairs and blemishes, but sadly: I'm on a tight schedule this week.  I'm writing today about the funniest parts of this video.  In your attempts here to get tribes to talk to each other, you have somehow done two things so well that they deserve a mention.

The first is this: you are fantastic at making much of yourself.  You are the master of the humblebrag now that the meme is dead and the ship has sailed.  Like a self-aware version of Ari Gold from Entourage, you drop all the names you know to demonstrate your position -- but dutifully, you're not like any of them.  T.D. Jakes didn't hardly even know you when he met you, for pete's sake.  And thankfully: you're nothing like the homeschooled fundies who can't make a tribe for themselves, who act drunk even though they would never touch the stuff.  You're a tribal leader.

If anyone knows how to salvage his own reputation from the doctrinal and moral pratfalls and frankly-insulting egoisms for which you are actually well-known, it's you -- and it's funny to watch you do it as you get older and your audience stays the same age.

The other funny thing you do so well is, if I can be so bold, the fifth attribute of a tribal leader: you're the world-champion enumerator of enemies.  You brandish the keen condescending tongue of someone high-school famous who knows that his popularity is only durable as long as he can demonstrate there are others who are uncool, infamous, unacceptable and undefended.  Rarely has this been more evident than in this 21 minutes of video.  You elevate yourself by making anyone who is like you were 10 or 15 years ago into a completely-unacceptable hayseed.

The truly-spectacular part, though, is how you wrap both of these objectives into one key omission in the schedule for this conference: in an allegedly-open discussion between tribes, you have simply overlooked asking anyone who would actually challenge you, anyone who disagrees with you in a substantive way.

Now, I get it: a fundie homeschooler presbyterian who is cessationist and dogmatically concerned about the fundamental truths of the faith -- so much so that they draw necessary conclusions about those items which cause them to rule out some tribes as unacceptable or actually unChristian -- is not a successful, fruitful tribal leader in your view of it.  They are no Billy Graham or Francis Shaeffer.
But: the point of your omission is very clear: you personally have nothing to learn from someone like that.  You would never let someone like that (whom you labelled "mental" in this video, and accused of being ignorant in almost the same breath "thanks to the cold medicine") influence the people who still come out to see your road show.  Like a very amusing parody of Syndrome from the Incredibles, you list the shortcomings of all your past heroes and all your past fans who have, frankly, found you lacking and then you say, in effect: "You're weak! and I've outgrown you."

Now: so what?  So what if you're a Punch-like parody of a pastor?  Can we all just get the joke and move on to the next big thing?

In my view of it, explaining the joke ruins it, so my apologies for that.  Sorry to spoil it for you.  But here's the thing: I can't just list my grievance and walk away.  To be a helpful critic, I need also to offer you a remedy or a better example.  That's what the popular kids say, anyway, so here's my thought about what you could do about it.

1. You could start talking to people who have pointed out your mistakes -- rather than talking about them.

Now, I realize that there are some people who are actually not worth talking to: people who have unreasonable ways of talking about you; people who have unreasonable expectations about how to resolve the problems (you know: turn yourself in to the police for your crimes against humanity); people who, frankly, don't understand what they are talking about; etc.

You don't have to talk to those people.  You could talk to a Carl Trueman, or a Phil Johnson, or any number of Acts29 guys who are regretful that you really aren't who they thought you were.  Jonathan Merritt seems to get you in a pretty succinct way - you could try him.  You know: in the same way you brought tribes together in this event last weekend.  Publicly, and as if you respected them.

That requires actual humility and actual repentance and actual wisdom, so decide for yourself if that's something you want to engage in.  Ask yourself, "will that be good for me?"

2. You could reconsider your utterly-superficial notion of being a pastor

Let's face it: this one may get categorized by you as "unreasonable expectations" because in your eyes, you were audibly called by God to be mightily used.  Who is anyone to accuse the Lord's anointed, after all?  But: the crazy thing in the New Testament (the part where Acts 29 would be if it were a real chapter in the book) is the categorical absence of offices like the one you hold.  The guys to whom the Lord actually did audibly speak all wind up travelling the world -- in chains, to their death.  The others wind up staying in local churches -- and a lot of them wind up dying for the faith.  Timothy, for example, who you might say was prophesied over as having the gift of an evangelist, was stoned to death in Ephesus.

You might consider yourself a "Bishop," I guess, but as it turns out in history (the part where the actual evidence is, not the part where you imagine the evidence is for receiving the gift of Spiritual Skinemax) the guys who were like the kind of Bishop you are were the guys fellows like Francis of Assisi were very worried about -- because those fellows were more concerned about influence and power than they were about Christ and his Church. They only associated with the rich and famous, and they didn't like it when anyone else pointed that out.

What you could do is take all your tweets about how much you "love your job" and rather than think a book or a conference is what saves marriages and souls, go back to the Bible and remember: what kind of man does it takes to shepherd a local church? What kind of life it is to lead a local church? You could turn back to that.  Live that life, and the rest, I think, would take care of itself.  Ask yourself, "will that be good for the people God has given to me?"

3. You could actually repent of your obsession with being famous and influential.

That's a fairly loaded suggestion from a fellow like me who, let's face it, is a blogger with any kind of an audience -- and that audience due entirely to the men who have allowed me to be their friends.  But here's what I think: if you took 2 years off from the circuit and the book-writing and spent it instead on unpacking your own need for speed at the expense of other people, I'll bet when you returned to the big stage 24 months and one day later you'd have something very interesting to say to the rest of us.

Something along the lines of, "I have learned how to abound, and how to be abased."  Something most people could relate to in the normal Christian life -- in every culture, not just affluent Washington and Chicago.  You could ask yourself, "Am I concerned about the normal Christian life of real people?" And with that question answered, do that -- rather than trying to do what Oprah and Rob Bell have done and are doing to the Christian faith.

Those things said, if this note reaches you, thanks for the laughs.  I hope this finds you in good humor, good spirits, good health, and good conscience.  As a fellow father and husband, I wish the best to your family, the blessings of God upon them, and the wisdom and humility of Jesus to you as their shepherd and provider.

And what I really wish, with all sincerity and all real good will, is that you will repent for the sake of your own soul, and the sake of those who follow you.


Robert said...

Wow...I'm only 8 minutes in and wondering does he take the time to listen to himself? He doesn't take time to listen to anybody else and consider that he might be wrong. And apparently living down in Houston as an engineer qualifies for living in the woods and being a homeschooling parent who says "Noooo" about Rick Warren. And how is being asked by President Obama the qualifier for being the next great leader? Although, given Billy Graham's leanings towards some form of universalism, I'm not sure I'd want to be tagged as the next one of him.

Apparently, I am fundamental because I use NASB. Or, to use his words, I'm mental.

I also wonder if he ever thought about the fact that John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul were actually keynote speakers with T4G in the first few conferences.

You nailed it with the three points you have listed. He has such a huge plank sticking out of his eye that I think it smacked me way down here in Houston from his conference up in Dallas.

What is really sad to me is that I have a cousin who is into the seeker-sensitive crowd and he was posting about attending this conference. I'm thinking he probably feels like he left this conference with a deeper understanding of Christianity, but this is what he got. All Driscoll does is confuse things more and make things worse when he acts like a clown as he did here.

Anonymous said...

This is an incredible correction, and spot on, I might add.

And, if you don't mind me stating so, I'm impressed that you would care to call out "one of your own," meaning someone in your own Calvinistic camp. There are many others who would not do so, and you all are to be commended.

Kerry James Allen said...

One of "our own?"


Must be a newbie.

Marla said...

I find it almost hilariously hypocritical that he could have this talk with a straight face. Who else talks about 'tribalism' besides him? Who has steadfastly refused to listen or learn from anyone not in his approved group? Talking trash about other groups -- what else is this talk about?

Also -- in the preview clip, James MacDonald is talking about money being an idol....ummmmm...anyone else see his treatment of David Platt?

Last I knew, I have lots of other Christian brothers and sisters who read a different translation, and we all get along fine.

Driscoll here is projecting his own weaknesses on others, and it is no wonder he is perplexed at the in ability of 'tribes' (I hate that word in this context) to talk to one another. Look in the mirror!

DJP said...

"I'm sure there's a Greek word for it"

Maybe ὕβρις?


Anonymous said...

We'd be in such a better position if we starting applying the "above reproach" Biblical requirement to pastors. Frank Turk is right: Mark Driscoll needs to stop being a superficial pastor. But the Bible says he needs to stop being pastor, period. It's no different than if Driscoll were a female and were "pastoring". Driscoll's not Biblically qualified to be a pastor, and he never will be.

Bill said...

About the only direct reference to Scripture, vice men (non-believer at that), was at the very end where we must call people to repentence and faith. Outside of that, lots of man centered opinion and very little Scripture.

Whozep68 said...

Wow! Tell me how you really feel. I was a fanboy of Driscoll for awhile. That was until I actually became a pastor and realized his exegesis is less than be desired. He did introduce me to reform doctrine and expositional preaching but he hasn't really matured over my years of following him. But I agree that all of those tribes talk rings hollow when he won't engage with those from other tribes that aren't more than fleshy straw men

DJP said...

Very, very well-put, as usual.

Longtime readers will feel the extra "oomph" because, in early Pyro days, Phil was more critical of Driscoll, I was more reserved, and Frank was (shall we say) cautiously positive, inclined to appreciate and give the benefit of the doubt.

It was Driscoll himself, in word and deed, who moved Frank to a more necessarily critical stance. Not because Frank was just inclined to condemn, right out of the box. He wasn't.

Anonymous said...

That is one of the most incisive and constructive and irenic correctives I've read in a long time. Sure beats the pants off what I tried to do a couple weeks ago anyway, back when Mr. Driscoll called questioners rebellious. (http://timfall.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/mark-driscoll-smacks-down-rebellious-evangelicals/)

Thanks for taking the time to write this. If it doesn't make a difference to Mr. Driscoll, it makes a difference for a lot of the rest of us.


P.S. Funny coincidence: one of my captcha words is "anointed". I wonder if Mr. Driscoll considers himself to be so?

FX Turk said...

DJP: I was thinking "skubalon"

DJP said...

I see. You're thinking fruit, I'm thinking root.


Michael Coughlin said...

and the sake of those who follow you.

God only knows the extent of the damage done. I can recall with vividness (vividity should be a word) an encounter with a particularly difficult "pastor" whose primary defense was that he is friends with MD.

Go and make disciples (by itself) - is an unnecessary command. Every man is making disciples and teaching doctrine. The question is whose doctrine do you teach and what type of disciples are you making.

Tom Chantry said...

I'm sure there's a Greek word for it, but unfortunately I don't speak Greek.

Maybe ὕβρις? (Hubris.)

I was thinking "skubalon"

I see. You're thinking fruit, I'm thinking root.

And so now we know what the fruit of the hubris-tree smells like. That’s almost as good as the original post. Almost.

Josh said...

As one of the loser pastors of the world with no fame, no book, no adoration I find "pastor" worship and self-worship troubling.

These men love to be seen at heard at the feasts, but the problem is that we are all too glad to give them the best spot.

The flock that I have been entrusted to care for needs the blessed hope of the Gospel daily, and all I see in these kind scenarios is people giving each other high fives about what one of their idols said.

In a lot of ways it feels like most of Christian culture has become like sports - popularity determines everything.

I am deeply concerned but I have felt for the last 10 years in pastoral ministry that I am often dealing with a tribe of people that consider themselves born again but so few truly are.

The continuous rise and fall of stars in the evangelical world makes me never want to suggest any preacher to my congregation until they have been dead for a 100 years.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Love the comment about how he gets older but his audience doesn't! Doesn't take a genius to figure out why that would be, does it?

Anonymous said...

As I kept listening to Driscoll(ramble), I kept thinking...is your train of thought even on the tracks?

Driscoll just needs to come out and say that doctrine doesn't really matter....'cept it does.

Michael Coughlin said...

I believe the challenge for "us" is to aim for love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith in order that we may not think too highly of ourselves.

FX Turk said...

We need to install a "LIKE" button on comments.

And we need to reinstitute the Clowning function. On rpinciple.

Kyle said...

Someone had to say it. Well done, Frank. I'm just surprised it took until now for the open letter to come out.

I'm sure you'll have a flood of fanboy responses from the Driscollites.

Lore Ferguson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Scott Bell said...

I'm not a big enough "Driscoll watcher" to know all of what's gone on in the past. Frank's criticism is silver-phrased, as usual, but with a cutting edge that comes from OT times (that's "Old Turk", which can be very painful, see, e.g., Gen. 34:25)

As to this video, Driscoll is obviously a smart guy, and great communicator and "popularizer." These gifts can, of course, be used for good or ill. I thought this presentation was sometimes funny and largely accurate (outside of his mangling of Arminianism, but we'll let that go). But what is the point? It boils down to another of many "unity calls" that have happened over the long history of the church. But history teaches the opposite, that "tribes" (I really don't like that uber-trendy word) break away from larger tribes, and go to ideological or doctrinal "war" against the old.

And, as Frank indicates, it is more than a little ironic that Driscoll's call for unity and "listening" included put downs of a couple of the "numbered" classifications.

In the end, I wonder about this whole deal of conferences themselves, which lift certain individuals ("Chiefs"? Egad!) up for a couple of days....when the real focus should be at the local church.

Stephen said...

Of course nothing has changed and this year's conference is still all about featuring guys who have big churches and big radio shows: http://theresurgence.com/conference

Greg T said...

Well written open letter. This clearly took some time and thank you for doing it.

DJP said...

Right, Stephen. Like TGC.

...and, I was thinking, T4G. But that made me realize something.

Frank: what T4G did last time, in interviewing Trueman on the big stage and engaging his points of criticism, is to some degree a model of what you're talking about, isn't it?

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

"Very, very well-put, as usual.

Longtime readers will feel the extra "oomph" because, in early Pyro days, Phil was more critical of Driscoll, I was more reserved, and Frank was (shall we say) cautiously positive, inclined to appreciate and give the benefit of the doubt.

It was Driscoll himself, in word and deed, who moved Frank to a more necessarily critical stance. Not because Frank was just inclined to condemn, right out of the box. He wasn't."

I remember these days very well. Phil Johnson was the leader in that TRIBE.

Great article, Frank!!!

Scott said...

I am aware of many of the unhelpful things Driscoll can say/has said, as pointed out recently by Jonathan Merritt's article. But I have to say that the 21-minute video clip was quite good. I'd say tribalism has been around much longer than recently. But overall, the points Driscoll makes (though with a hint of self-indulgence at times) are spot on about tribal leaders.

Stephen said...

What I meant to point out, Dan, was that even other big-name conferences like TGC will have plenary speakers whose bylines are as mundane as

CEO of Gulf Digital Solutions and general secretary for the Fellowship of Christian UAE Students (FOCUS) in the United Arab Emirates. He has worked for many years with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in the United States. He is the author of Marks of the Messenger and Speaking of Jesus.

But every bio for Driscoll's event goes like this:

Reaches three million people annually through his ministry. At age 19, led a 30 person Bible study, which is now one of the largest churches in the U.S. One of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. Replanted a church of 160 people and grown it to over 10,000

FX Turk said...

DJP -- Anything like that would be credible.


In this case, I'd want to see the thing moderated in some way because Driscoll has everything to lose by having to repudiate everything he has to repudiate. I'd want to see someone present who has the good sense to ask insightful questions of both sides to make sure neither one was misunderstood or bullied.

I would love to see 90 minutes with Carl or Phil on one side, MD on the other, and the moderator being someone who is the evangelical equivalent of the Honey Badger.

Chris H said...

And Boom goes the dynamite.

Thanks, Frank.

Robert said...


The problem is that Driscoll doesn't listen to or invite people that criticize him to any of these gatherings of the "tribes". And he is getting on to people for not doing that while taking swipes at them. All the while acting as a pastor even though he doesn't meet the Biblical qualifications for a pastor.

DJP said...

Maybe it's only because imperfect/unsuccessful guys need to hear from people who think differently?

Just trying to help.

Unknown said...

I'm not a Driscoll fanboy; I agree with much of what you said. But I have to say that while your post is sound—biblical, even—it sounds as arrogant as the arrogance you denounce. Sarcasm and biting wit ("it's funny to watch you do it as you get older and your audience stays the same age", "high-school famous", "a Punch-like parody of a pastor"), while fun to read, are enemies of humility.

When denouncing the unrighteous activity of a brother in Christ, where is the grief that your brother has wandered into error? If my brother wanders I want to protect him, not humiliate him; where is the love in your plea? Like the humblebrag you denounce, your well-wishes at the end sound utterly false coming on the heels of everything that came before.

If there had been in this post any grief over the aspects of Driscoll's ministry that bother you, any sense that you're hurting for him and not just for the Christian community in general, your correct biblical assertions would have weight, because they would be accompanied with the fruits of the Spirit (notably kindness, forbearance, gentleness) that give them such weight. As it stands, they're lost in the fog of your considerable wit. Brother, please consider praying and grieving for Driscoll, then coming back and rewriting this.

Tom Chantry said...

Jason P.

So, you think he's a "brother in Christ," then. Why? Because he says so?

Chris H said...

And Constable Jason P of the Tone Police has arrived.

Sarcasm and biting wit are staples of both Old and New Testaments. Paul tells the Judaizers they should just castrate people, if circumcision is helpful - rather sarcastic and biting, wouldn't you say?

If Frank had been cruel or had misrepresented the issue, I'd agree with you. As it stands, I think you're being unnecessarily sensitive to something that's been a tool in the Bible for millennia

Josh said...

To quote Shai Linne (Christian hip-hop artist)

"The only heresy today is saying that there is heresy".

Now one could argue that this is simply bad advice or pride, but is it not heretical to put oneself out there as the model of pastoral ministry and then to practice something other than what is pronounced in Scripture? To me that is false teaching and denying cardinal truths of Scripture.

FX Turk said...

Jason P:

I suspect that you have not read this part of Scripture very deeply or seriously. Or: maybe that part of Scripture is just offensive to you.

Let me say this, however, about the first of what I anticipate to be a plethora of complaints about my use of the gift of tongues (that is: sharp tongues) in this post: I doubt that the bandwidth drama of tearing my virtual shirt over the sins of this fellow would improve the tone. I think it would make it worse by making it more effeminate and childish.

And we know this for sure: MD wants us to man-up.

As we said in the old days: Booyah.

FX Turk said...


Parenthesis Colon Parenthesis Colon Period


DJP said...


< /inside baseball >

Kerry James Allen said...

OT=Old Turk
NT=New Turk

You learn something new from these comments like, always.

And we're supposed to take a guy seriously who wears a Mickey Mouse shirt when he preaches? Or who, when he wears a suit, wears a pair of Chuck Taylors with it?

"Even worldlings look with scorn upon loose habits in a preacher." CHS

Unknown said...

I appreciate a lot of what the Acts 29 network is trying to accomplish. I have read and seen these pastors struggle to define the church biblically in the midst of an unstable culture, and I'm very thankful for that.

I wonderthough at the un-intentional hubris demonstrated by their very name. To label one's self after a chapter in the Bible that doesn't exist is almost saying "If God were to write more about the history of the Church, He would write about us. " I know that is not what is intended, but seeing Driscoll's pride on the helm, I cannot help but seeing it steered into those dangerous waters.


CBC Portugal Missions said...

What I get from Driscoll is that he tries his best for everybody to think that he's always the smartest, wittiest guy in the room…because he already thinks that.

Anonymous said...

Frank, great post.

The thing I’ve grown absolutely tired of with MD is the constant straw men he makes fun of. It’s gotten really old.

It's the exact opposite of what he is scolding people for in this talk...oh, the irony.

Unknown said...

Driscoll wants to know what tribe I am in? Well, in one where he is not and would never be a leader.

FX Turk said...

107 FB likes? Hey: this post is bumped for a much more edifying post about Paul's view of the epistemology of language. How can it be getting all this traffic?

@TIWIARN didn't even link to it. Lazy Bot.

Nash Equilibrium said...

@Jason P

I suggest you should be praying and grieving that Frank has wandered into error by writing this post, and not publicly humiliating him!

Tom Chantry said...

If you were trying to bury the lead, you didn't dig a deep enough grave.

SolaMommy said...

That video is obnoxious. Driscoll might as well be wearing Abercrombie & Fitch.

CAPTSteveHardy said...

Since the name came up, there seems to be a lot of similarity in attitude and actions between MD and POTUS (and apparently they attract people with similar capabilities of reasoning).

FX Turk said...

How do the kids say it?

"Capt Steve Hardy posts a comment LIKE A BOSS"?

JR said...

In political terms Driscoll is broadening the base.

The reformed crowd calls BS on too many of his antics so he needs to make his tent wider.

Which is great if you're in politics. It's just that, he's not. He's a pastor.

He's confused his cult of personality with his primary calling.

Anonymous said...

Jason P , you are correct my friend. In this fan boy laden blog (as all are)you are the only individual speaking with clarity and a right mind. The reason we have Mark Driscoll types is because of people like these. I come here once a week for my daily dose of beyond reason ignorant Christian humor. When you sit in shock at how smart people can do such stupid things, well, just visit the pyromaniacs and be shocked no longer.

On a different note as a homeschooler we have made the choice to separate from the reformed crowd because the other Christian groups , and non Christians, see you for what you are. As much of a joke that Driscoll is you are the one group that could actually learn from that video.

Keep hating pyro`s.

Chris H said...

I wish Uh Oh had a profile so we could visit his/her blog and learn more about how being upset at "haters" while using words like, "...daily dose of beyond reason ignorant Christian humor," ISN'T a kettle/pot situation.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

"107 FB likes? Hey: this post is bumped for a much more edifying post about Paul's view of the epistemology of language. How can it be getting all this traffic?"

Not so fast, Frank; I posted "both" articles you wrote today on FB. :)

FX Turk said...

I think we have identified the infamous one-star hater: Uh Oh.


FX Turk said...


I would try to sort it out, but the grammar in that comment is too fantastic to allow me to proceed. It's like bug spray against a Gadfly.

DJP said...

I think the style's familiar.

Banned people just can't stay away. There's probably a Latin term for it.

Tom Chantry said...

I thought OSH came by daily, not weekly. Oh well.

I try not to do this, but word verification: "TUESDAY zzzings" ~ is Blogger telling me to take a nap each Tuesday? I would miss one of Dan's posts!

Kerry James Allen said...

"The reason we have Mark Driscoll types is because of people like these."

As Frank would say, "Ah ha!" Or is it "Uh oh?"

There you have it. Solution to producing more false prophets: Shut Pyro down ASAP and all will be well theologically. Who knew that Frank and Dan were such enablers?

FX Turk said...

Hitler knew. I have the video.

Tom Chantry said...

...remember back when Frank and Dan started that whole Hymenaeus and Alexander thing?

DJP said...

Good times.

Tom Chantry said...

I'm curious, though, which one of you was Diotrephes?

Nash Equilibrium said...

"Banned people just can't stay away. There's probably a Latin term for it."

I don't know, but there really should be a definition for "Driscolling". Anyone want to take a shot?

Tom Chantry said...

Sollozzo! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!

trogdor said...

Quite the ecumenical speech from someone who exults in running over his own tribesmen with his bus if they aren't fully on board with his 'vision'.

I'm really not sure what tribe I'm in. Maybe the one that thinks that publicly endorsing a false teacher means you take part in his wicked works. But I guess putting in another box for "Heretics are bad" vs "Who cares as long as he preaches heresy to a lot of people?" would ruin that spectacular chart.

I don't know who my tribal leader is, but I do know my pastor. And thankfully, he's not a 12-year-old pubescent in a midlife crisis body using a thin veneer of orthodox confession to cloak rampant immature hypocritical perverse practice.

FX Turk said...

Trogdor: the best part is him claiming to be hopped up on cold medicine while complaining about the legalistic sobriety of others. That kills me every time.

But: you are obviously a home-schooled Cletus with an axe to grind.

FX Turk said...


I'd vent my frustration, but I've been shot by the son of my failed assassination attempt.

Anonymous said...

They say you can't lie down with the dogs and not expect to get fleas. I guess you can't sit at the nerds' table and not expect to get fruit roll-up on your pocket protector.

SuzanneT said...

For some reason the terms "clumping" and "tribes" in this context reminded me of "Babylonian religions" and "spread throughout".

In the same vain (ahem) I can't see any self respecting, orthodox minister of God's word seriously considering them self as a kind of "Chief" - "Tribal" or otherwise.

Kerry James Allen said...

Sorry, swim, you're looking too closely at the nerd's table and not paying close enough attention to the false teacher roaming the school cafeteria.

MCC said...

Yeah see, you're getting the usual virtual high fives from your fanboys. Is it likely on that day to generate a Well done, good and faithful servant from your Lord and mine? And Driscoll's. I'm not so sure, myself. Proceed now to denigrate me and my contribution to this thread.

DJP said...

You made a contribution? Serious question.

Reworded: as opposed to Frank's post, you think you said something?

Reworded again: Is "Oh, yeah?" a "contribution"?

Kerry James Allen said...

We can't denigrate your comment due to the fact that none of us over here have the gift of prophetic insight into people when they approach us as Driscoll has. Say something substantive and we will try our best to denigrate if that will meet expectations.

Carl C. said...

Ah, so "I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity" is the wage of a blog critiquing blatant tomfoolery? Whew, and here I was thinking Christ had some more substantial criteria for entry into His kingdom.

Anonymous said...

Carl C. - Happily Christ does have more substantial criteria. It's his death and resurrection and finished work on our behalf.


P.S. Sorry, didn't mean to get all serious on everyone. On a lighter note, you can click here to read about Biblical Flatulence.

Calvyn Jonker said...

"I would love to see 90 minutes with Carl or Phil on one side, MD on the other, and the moderator being someone who is the evangelical equivalent of the Honey Badger."

Frank, could I humbly submit Mark Dever as a nomination for 'Honey Badger' at your wished-for confrontation? He stays 'cool' and 'sharp' under pressure and is a true 'workman' of Scripture.

FX Turk said...

Dever is in my top-two honey badgers.

FX Turk said...


I'm pleased you think I have "fan boys." That makes me feel a lot like Kevin Smith.

Now: what exactly is wrong or right with the actual post? Or do you have to read it first to find out?

threegirldad said...

Some people have clearly not bothered to read "THE RULES" (located along the right just below the blogroll).

Carl C. said...

timfall -- precisely! Very well put.

You brandish the keen condescending tongue of someone high-school famous who knows that his popularity is only durable as long as he can demonstrate there are others who are uncool, infamous, unacceptable and undefended.
What a great summary of the barrage of potshots he took in this video at others not in his tribe.

Thank you for speaking up like you have in your post, Frank. I have family who used to be under MD's direction, and let's just say this kind of corrective is very needed. Hopefully this will be the one he heeds, that you don't "have to be somebody" (video, 8:45) like a "tribal chief" to speak truth to which he'll actually pay attention and under which he'll truly be humbled.

FX Turk said...

Carl: I suggest that anyone who would tell MD he's wrong is not a tribal leader, but a fundie homeschool Cletus who is a failure at ginning up his own tribe.

But: look for the reaction against Driscoll's brief jibe about driving a minivan. That's where the action is.

Carl C. said...

I suggest that anyone who would tell MD he's wrong is not a tribal leader, but a fundie homeschool Cletus who is a failure at ginning up his own tribe.

Right, at least that's the picture he paints. Do you see this as a part of (or reason for) the disconnect between his ministry and reasonable accountability? Is lack of accountability what you're inferring here? "I think it's fantastic that you can walk away from the Gospel Coalition, and hand over the reigns to Acts29, and with no muss and no fuss start your own tribe.  It's proof that you have something which most of us don't have."

But: look for the reaction against Driscoll's brief jibe about driving a minivan. That's where the action is.

True, but Frank, he's such a nice boy doing things like ministry, so you shouldn't be pointing out these minutiae...
Personally I think Eddie Haskell is a better likeness than Pat Robertson, but they both get the point across.

FX Turk said...

It just made my day that someone linked to the Eddie Haskell post. It may have made my week.

To lack of Accountability, I think that's a generous way to put it. I don't it's a lack of accountability at all: I think it's a disdain toward anyone who would try to hold him accountable. God spoke to him after all -- called him audibly to be a the king of pain or whatever it is he's going to become. How can anyone hold him accountable when God is the one calling the shots?

yankeegospelgirl said...

Until Mark publicly repents for pornifying the gospel, he has nothing of value to give to the church. It's amazing to see how he still views himself as a fount of wisdom after claiming to have sex visions from God and writing _Real Marriage_.

Bill said...

Frank...thanks for the King of Pain reference, now I here MD mixed with Sting. You didn't make my week :)

yankeegospelgirl said...

Also, thank you Pastor Mark for insulting all Fundamental Baptists with one fell sweep. I happen to be in that "tribe," more or less, with some twists and quirks borne of my educational and church background, and I can assure you that we really do have fun, and we drive cars. Shocka!

Aaron P said...

Frank - long time reader, first time commenter (do I sound like I'm calling in to a talk show?).

As a homeschooled hayseed who was also a part of an Acts 29 plant (nice to be mocked by the former head of the organization), here's my frustration: Driscoll does make a valid point if you simply take his thesis statement at face value. The problem is that he fills it out with so many gross generalizations, caricatures, and straw men (not to mention what Frank aptly described as humblebrag) that it completely submarined the thesis.

I also love the point he makes around 5:30 - "Come with the attitude of a student, not a critic. Come to listen, not to disagree." "Perhaps you're the one who might be wrong." Well said, Mark. Maybe watch this yourself while putting yourself into the audience under that admonition.

FX Turk said...

Aaron --

You know, as a blogger, and a well-known critic of the subculture of watchblogging, I understand the tightrope that one has to walk in order to be a blogger and criticize blogging. The problem one faces is that one has to be able to work with more nuance than stereotypes suitable for "Family Guy" will render. Unfortunately, for MD, he's a "Family Guy" guy.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody see the hypocrisy in a blog "open letter" critisism?

DJP said...

Justin, what?

Unknown said...

First a lot of spot on comments here.

Now, I watched all 20 minutes of Driscoll's monologue. First, He claims to be reformed. So I'm thinking when is he going to open the Bible. Was not the reformation noted for its SOLAS. You know SOLA SCRIPTURA. Shouldn't a preacher preach from Scripture since Jesus said to live by every word of scripture as also said Paul. Second, let's be known for a knew label-TRIBES-woo hoo! Third, just who is Evan Gelical? Never heard of him. I remember the LORD saying we would are HIS Church-eklesia (sorry if I can't spell it) Fourth, did he get a new label machine for his birthday or something. My kids were using one the other day and having a blast labeling everything in their room. A question though: Why such a high price for a conference?

Lord, give us shepherds after your own heart.

FX Turk said...

Justin Grice:

Nope. I don't see it. Explain it to me -- because I have never thought of anything, or discussed anything, or worked out my own ideas and theology ... until you showed up.

Unknown said...

Of course this is the part where he says he doesn't like your tone and that you should send him your criticism privately. Of course, besides the fact that this can be easily refuted from Scripture, it is exactly the type of thing Driscoll is most allergic too.

Anonymous said...

Good assessment Frank!

I'm at a loss as to what this event was supposed to accomplish. You're not going to bring people back together by smugly dissing them as you speak.

I thought the video was insulting, and arrogant (especially when he said Resurgence and Mars Hill are in the same tribe as Jesus) after dissing most of the other goups.

I don't have, nor do I want a tribe. I just want to study the Bible, understand it, be transformed by it, and share the Gospel with people who are lost in the hopes that they may be saved. And when I see someone teaching something unbiblical I'm going to warn others because false teaching can shipwreck people's faith. It is serious and I don't care if "tribal leaders" don't like getting criticized. If they are wrong, they should be corrected.

Unknown said...

Well, I for one am baffled. First I read the article. Then I watched the video in its entirety, ready gasp at all the points made by the writer of the article. But after finishing, I found that Driscoll was spot on and really accurately identified what's happening in western christianity today. And the blogger's points precisely align with Driscoll's points. We all know which "tribe" Pyromaniacs is in. ;)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MVM said...

Well Frank it looks like you may get your wish if MacArthur is up for it.

FX Turk said...


For the record, if you think Mark Driscoll really invited Dr. MacArthur to his conference, you should ask yourself one question.

Here it is:

If I wanted John MacArthur to come to my conference or church to speak publicly, would I publish and invitation to him via my blog, or would I contact his scheduling team to see if and when he's available?

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

Just re-read this. Amazingly pertinent.