My Take on Baptist Press Throwing Mark Driscoll Under the Bus

[Note: To read SEBTS’s response to Baptist Press, go here.]

Yesterday, Baptist Press came out with a hit piece on Mark Driscoll, preaching pastor of Mars Hills Church in Seattle, WA called “Driscoll’s Vulgarity Draws Media Attention.”  Within minutes after posting, the reaction from those on Twitter ranged everything from bewilderment to disgust to frustration.  Having been someone who has tracked and written about Mark Driscoll and the Acts 29 Network in relation to the Southern Baptist Convention, I have been asked by some to offer my take on this piece. So here are my thoughts in no particular order.

1. Baptist Press is like the Associated Baptist Press. They write what is news to them, not necessarily what is newsworthy. They have a constituency to cater to, and in the case of Baptist Press, it is largely the Executive Committee.  Baptist Press must be seen for what it is and be given credibility only when it deserves it–and in this case, it deserves none.  Furthermore, I am almost convinced that Mark Kelly did not write the article nor was David Tolliver informed that his statements were directly related to Mark Driscoll.

2. It is interesting to note who Baptist Press chose to provide the content of their critique against Driscoll.  MacArthur’s critiques are fair enough, although it should be noted that his comments were made three years ago.  But then Baptist Press borrows from Ingrid Schleuter, the noted heresy hunter and fundamentalist commentator of Slice of Laodicea.  Ironically enough, Ingrid and her writing cohorts such as Ken Silva have included the SBC in their barrage of “missives” including the “emerging church” and “contemplative spirituality.”  Does Will Hall (managing editor of BP) know they are lending credibility to the same fundy group that fiercely criticized their own?

3. Then there is David Tolliver, from the famous Missouri Baptist Convention who, under the direction of Roger Moran, de-funded all dually affiliated Acts 29/SBC churches because of their “cultural liberalism” (that is, their non-fundamentalist approach to culture).  As I stated earlier, I have no reason to believe that Tolliver’s statements were targeted at Driscoll himself but were inserted into the article to imply that to the reader.  Be that as it may, for Baptist Press to garner ammunition from the Missouri Baptist Convention against Mark Driscoll only further exacerbates the tension between Acts 29 churches and the SBC.

4. But what is disturbing the most is the timing of this piece.  Just last week, Acts 29 Network held a bootcamp where Mark Driscoll shared the platform with Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary. Driscoll and Akin again spoke at the 20/20 Collegiate Conference on the campus of SEBTS.  Driscoll and Akin are continuing their shared influence as Driscoll spoke last year at the SEBTS sponsored Converge Conference addressing the emerging church.  Are we to think that this article by Baptist Press just so happened to be published one week after this conference? Are we to believe that this is not an attempt to discredit and dampen the influence of Driscoll in SBC life?  Are we not to see the implication this has on attempting to shame Danny Akin and SEBTS for their affiliation and cooperation with Driscoll?

5. There are two competing visions for the SBC going on right now: the Great Commission Resurgence under the direction of Danny Akin and David Dockery headquartered at SEBTS, and the Baptist Identity Movement under the direction of Paige Patterson and Malcolm Yarnell headquartered at Southwestern Seminary.  Prior to the Annual Meeting in Indy last year, the Baptist Identity boys were blazing the Internet with series of blogposts talking about Baptist distinctives and in particular “ecumenical compromise.”  From the Annual Meeting forward, however, the Great Commission Resurgence has won the day, leaving the Baptist Identity crowd in the wake full of a separatistic, landmarkist agenda.   Having Driscoll (and Mahaney) who do not share the same ecclesiology and distinctives lead Patterson and his camp to consider the actions of Akin and SEBTS as Baptist compromisers.   The BP article on Driscoll is an indication, in my mind, of an attempt to discredit the leadership of Akin and undermine the Great Commission Resurgence movement in the SBC.  Fortunately, most Southern Baptists are not buying it.

6. Finally, remember all the talk about reaching out to the younger generation?  Those under the age of 40 in denominational involvement are an endangered species, and articles like only work to ensure that they become extinct. Isn’t it interesting that the two biggest movements in the SBC–Calvinism and Acts 29 Network–are most often caricatured and criticized?  It is almost as though the powers that be want the SBC to fail without a future generation to consider the SBC worthy of their labors. Why would they want to stick around and continue to put up with stuff like this anyway?

I am not a Driscoll fan boy. I have not met him, nor am I a part of the Acts 29 Network.  I have great respect for him in many things he is doing, and there are things which I disagree with Driscoll about, some of which I have publicly taken issue with here on my blog.  Nevertheless, the moniker attached to Driscoll as “the cussing pastor” is long worn out, and Driscoll has repented of that.  Furthermore, those who perpetuate that perception of Driscoll are either willfully misrepresenting the truth or living at a level of ignorance that disqualifies them from writing about the subject.  Driscoll’s cussing garnered media attention – five years ago.

In any the case, the fact that articles like this can be written about a brother in Christ that is so inaccurate and uncharitable in the Baptist Press does not raise the issue of Mark Driscoll but Christian virtue. I’m tired of being embarrassed as a Southern Baptist, and I would much rather partner with those who resembles Jesus than the Sanhedrin. As for Dr. Akin, he deserves our prayers and deepest respect.  He, like others (e.g., John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Tim Keller, etc.), has chosen to see what God is doing in the life of Mark Driscoll and encourage him.  Undoubtedly, Akin has and will continue to (as a result of this BP article) receive grief and criticism as a result. As for Mark Driscoll, I would put him up to any Southern Baptist preacher today who preaches Christ and Him crucified (and how many SBC churches can you find Jesus preached on any given Sunday?).  Baptist Press’ efforts would serve the cause of Southern Baptist life much more in the future should they highlight such preachers who are planting gospel-centered churches and reaching this younger generation whom we have all but written off.  Southern Baptists can learn from Mark Driscoll, but that can only begin when we lay down the knives.

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86 Comments on “My Take on Baptist Press Throwing Mark Driscoll Under the Bus”

  1. Ken Nichols Says:

    Thanks Tim! Sometimes our convention and its entities reminds me of certain wild animals who eat their young. Believe it, or not, but God is at work in the SBC and not just here! He is at work in every church where Christ crucified is preached.
    I stand in solidarity with every preacher who does so. They can choose to drink, I don’t. They can choose to wear a tie, I don’t. They can choose to use mousse and hair gel, I don’t have hair. But, if they preach Christ, they are my brother.

    Ken Nichols

  2. Justin Vance Says:

    Thank you for this. I’ve email the BP and Mark Kelly about this article the moment I read it. It’s astounding to see how far our SBC, its leaders and representatives (i.e. the BP) are willing to stick their head in the sand.

  3. Ivan Schoen Says:

    Excellent, Tim. Great job on shedding light on this for me. The result of all this will be:

    1) More respect than ever for Dr. Akin,

    2) Less respect for the BP,

    3) Listening to and reading Driscoll to find out what he is all about.

    Thanks for standing a stand, Tim

    Ivan Schoen

  4. Rob Says:

    I would love to hear your take on this blogpost about Driscoll:

  5. Noah Oldham Says:

    Thanks for the response. I’m planting a church in St. Louis and am having to deal with all the convention/Acts 29 crap. I appreciate your ability to uncover the deeper issues and call actions like these what they are.

  6. Ivan Schoen Says:

    “…They can choose to use mousse and hair gel, I don’t have hair. But, if they preach Christ, they are my brother.”

    LOL That is awesome, brother! Yes, if they preach Christ, they are my brother too! AMEN!

  7. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen Says:

    Amen and amen! While I do not agree with the methodology of Driscoll at time, he clearly has Jesus on the mind and that, as an 18 year old, is commendable. That said, it seems that what you mentioned regarding an Identity Movement among Southern Baptists and that means attacking everyone who is NOT SBC enough (how do you measure that?). BP ought to be ASHAMED of themselves for publishing hit literature.

  8. Driscoll quote from the ABC piece:

    “I think, to be honest with you, humility is something that, by God’s grace, I’m learning,” he said. “I would not pretend to be an expert in humility.”

    For those familiar with Driscoll, this quote is where the real story is.

    More here:

  9. Greg Alford Says:


    I think it is important to remember (and this article clearly affirms) that the Baptist Press is not a News Organization at all, but rather it is a Political/Advertising Organization. (I was going to say Propaganda Machine, but this is your Blog and I will be nice.)

    You and I think a lot alike on most issues, and I think you expressed my feeling on this article very well… only you are a much better writer than I am.

    Thanks for being “Fair, Balanced, and Unafraid!”

    Grace Always,

  10. Alan Cross Says:


    You and I met at the Baptist Identity conference at Union a few years ago. I bring that up, because that is where you stood up and asked why our “leaders” insist on lying about things. You were right then and you are right now. For some reason, we are afraid of telling the whole truth about people because it will not advance our agenda. But, then our integrity is destroyed and our “agenda” lies in ashes anyway.

    I am not a Driscoll “fan boy” either. I am aware of him, but figure that he has enough devoted followers. I am not needed in that throng. Still, we should be accurate with how we deal with people.

    You are also right about the GCR winning the day, whatever there is to win at this point. I honestly don’t know how much difference that will make. We seem to be heading down a lonely road that only God can pull us back from.

  11. gavinbrown Says:


    Good point about Ingrid. I’ve read her blog sporadically for several years, and cannot recall much in the way of praise for the SBC.

    I also did a search on her blog using the words “Southern Baptist,” and the posts that came up were overwhelmingly critical, whether directly or indirectly.

  12. gavin brown Says:

    …and referring to Driscoll as the “cussing pastor” is a low blow and way out of date. Do your homework, BP!

  13. Great post and great points, Timmy. Here’s my perspective. I find it ironic that most of those who are being used most mightily by God to reach the west with the gospel have no problem standing beside Driscoll (like Piper, Mahaney, Keller). Then there are those who keep trying to preserve something they say used to be great who keep slandering Driscoll. It seems those who have fruit on the tree like him and those whose fruit has long ago fallen are jealous.

  14. Ken Silva Says:

    Timmy a li’l correction 4 ya:

    1) “Ingrid and her writing cohorts…” Ingrid has no organization; we are all separately led by God to cover what we do.

    2) “Ken Silva have included the SBC in their barrage of ‘missives’ including the ’emerging church’ and ‘contemplative spirituality.'” Sorry ’bout that chief; I’m a solo act.

    And, I include those forms of spurious spirituality in the SBC because, well, they are in the SBC. Pretty simple, k.

  15. Ken,

    Whether Ingrid has an organization or not, you are in cahoots with her via your cross-posting from Apprising to Slice. To argue that you guys are separate is like saying there are no peanuts in peanut butter.

    Timmy Brister

  16. Rob,

    That is an area where I disagree with Dricoll (church governance and polity).


    There are a lot of good guys in STL. I’m sure you are connected with the guys at The Journey. I’d keep in close contact with them and learn as much as you can.


    That’s true. But his admission of that is encouraging, no?


    You have a good memory my friend. I will not forget that day at Union. If we travel down this lonely road together in the future, I will be sure to soften the cushion. 😉

  17. Ken Silva Says:

    “you are in cahoots with her via your cross-posting from Apprising to Slice.”

    You miss my point: We are led by the Lord to write what we write. In that sense we are together.

    But, I’m no more “together” with Ingrid than Rob Bell is with the Emergence rebellion against Sola Scriptura. 😉

  18. Chris Newkirk Says:

    Good word brother.
    Although you know far more about the behind-the-scenes discussions than I – I would surely echo your heart.

    Its amazing that many of us who love church history overlook amazing flaws…. yet, when it pertains to people in our day and age we are willing to throw anyone under the bus for any reason. This is disheartening to say the least.
    Think about all the moral and theological things we choose to overlook about many of our heros in history …. I’m surely not suggesting that Driscoll is the next Spurgeon. But seriously, all of us need to learn to show a little grace, humility, and love.

    Thanks bro.

  19. pilgrim1973 Says:

    I’ll preface this by stating that I know many of you in the SBC blogosphere don’t know me unless perhaps you’ve frequented the Puritan Board. (I’m Pilgrim there.) I hold to the Doctrines of Grace and in the last year reverted back to my previously held baptistic beliefs after having been a member of a congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church for several years. The OPC is similar to the PCA, although it is more “conservative” in some respects in that it is more self consciously Reformed. My wife and I are now active members of a Southern Baptist church.

    Timmy has offered his take. Here’s mine, FWIW, that I previously posted to a different location:

    I am thankful that Driscoll is sounder in doctrine than most, but I cannot endorse his continued flirtation with the more vulgar aspects of our culture. I much prefer the MacArthur model and think MacArthur got it right in stating that this emergent approach to culture (if not doctrine) will stifle progress toward authentic sanctification. As for the talk of “younger leaders,” I’m 35 and would probably fall into that category, but I couldn’t disagree more with Brister and the other defenders of Driscoll on this issue.

    Like I said on Burleson’s blog [in opposition to the evangelical feminism promoted there, among other things] if this stance makes me a “fundy” from the perspective of some of the “Calvinists” and others in the SBC, so be it. If Tim Brister’s embrace of such (as well apparently to some extent the PCA’s MNA, which has been the left wing of the PCA since at least the early 80’s) is indicative of the future direction of Founders, then I’m saddened and simply not interested in going down that path. (Many of the more hard core Reformed men would look askance at me anyway due to my premillenialism, because it’s “unreformed.”) We hear the talk of “younger leaders” being forced out, but the path of many of these “younger leaders” is going to be rejected by more younger people than they know. Paul Washer is also held in very high esteem by many younger people, and his approach on these types of issues couldn’t be more different than Driscoll’s.

    Just because somebody’s a “Calvinist” (and Driscoll describes himself as a 4 1/2 pointer) doesn’t mean he is therefore sound. I learned that well during my time in conservative Presbyterianism when I saw some embracing heretical views on justification. (Unfortunately, it seems some in the SBC seminaries have to at least some degree embraced the New Perspective on Paul mediated through N.T. Wright as well.) We also can’t just excuse what a man does just because he is close to some leader that he respect. Too often in our circles, I think there’s a knee jerk reaction to defend a fellow Calvinist when he’s criticized by a non-Calvinist, no matter what the issue is. That’s part of the mentality that drives Wade Burleson’s followers, and who knows how many have moved left on gender issues, etc. with him as a result.

  20. pilgrim1973 Says:

    BTW, I’m not sure why my information for my comment at 5:23 pm didn’t come through. I’m Chris Poe and blog at

  21. scott shaffer Says:


    I find it interesting that you complain about BP “throwing Mark Driscoll Under the Bus”, and then you resort to ad hominem attacks on BP’s credibility, Ingrid Schleuter, Ken Silva, and all the Baptist Identity folks.

    Just so you don’t misunderstand me, I think Driscoll should be given the benefit of the doubt for repenting about his language. I can tell you that I listened to some of his sermons from late 2008 that contained coarse humor that would be unacceptable in most SBC churches. Driscoll, like us, is a work in progress.

    I also think you are probably correct that the timing of the article is not a coincidence.

  22. scott shaffer Says:

    One more thing – you complained about the inaccuracies in the article. Can you point out which statements were inaccurate?

  23. iMONK Says:


    No one would like to write a post on BP and especially on the horror that is Ingrid S’s free range papacy of the evangelical world than me.

    But I’m not going to because Driscoll’s use of that borderline porn site link (cited by Ingrid) in the piece is a serious piece of stupid. When I saw it I was stunned.

    I am pretty 50/50 on Driscoll, but sometimes I just don’t know what the guy is thinking.

    I’m with you on fairly supporting him, and I think God leads Ken and Ingrid to write what I write like he leads me to eat 12 Brownies because it’s a Biblical number.

    But I’m not spending any rent on defending a guy who puts that kind of link on his web site. I’m the guy’s friend, but I have to wonder what kind of self destructive tendencies a person has online to post that link. It’s bad.

    peace and appreciation

    Michael Spencer

    P.S. Please don’t give Silva space. I get a rash.

  24. opus Says:

    Ken when you write comments can you please say something less snarky.You come off sounding like a 13 year old girl writing for the school newspaper.


  25. opus Says:

    Ken,when you write comments can you plaes say something less snarky?You come off sounding like a 13 year old girl writing for the school newspaper.

    fixed punctuation

  26. Are you sure about that? 🙂

  27. Wanda Says:

    As I comment for the first time, I realize that most of you reading and posting here are admirers of Mark Driscoll. I know he has impacted many lives with the gospel, but have you ever considered the harm he may be bringing to the body of Christ? Please read this letter written by a young lady who is 18 years old. It can be found at the following link:

    “Dear _________,

    I wanted to thank you so much for your latest post exposing the foul-mouthed “pastor” Mark Driscoll. I am an 18 year old Christian young woman who has struggled with pornography. You have no idea what reading and watching Mark Driscoll’s material did for my spiritual life. I was instantly reminded by my sinful flesh just how much I enjoyed my despicable sin, and was repeatedly tempted so strongly that I had to stop reading his article. I should have been able to find refuge in a godly pastor’s words, not even more temptation. I should be made to think of Holy Scripture, not of the perverted images that I have a hard enough time trying to keep out of my mind.”

    As Christians, we are not to cause our brothers and sisters in Christ to stumble, and I fear that there are many like this teenager who have fallen into sin by being exposed to Mark Driscoll’s “sex talk”. I was absolutely STUNNED by what I discovered on his church website. Mark knows that sex sells, and he uses it to tickle his listeners’ ears! Let’s be honest — this isn’t rocket science!!!

    I agree with John MacArthur’s position on Mark Driscoll, and I wonder what Mark’s legacy will be. He didn’t want to be known as the “cussin’ pastor”, so he repented. Exactly how does Mark Driscoll want to be remembered by his children and generations to come?

    Thanks for reading my comment. Please give it some serious thought.



  28. Pilgrim,

    You are free to disagree with me and share your viewpoint. I, and others, are free to disagree with you as well. Now I will admit, however, that because I attending a PCA-related church planting conference which had MNA leaders identifies me as some how “left wing” and indicative of the future direction of Founders is quite a leap. One of the things I learn from a widening readership is how diverse people’s perceptions are, and how far away they often are to reality.

    MacArthur is a good guy. Driscoll is a good guy. I agree with both of them at times, and I disagree with both of them at times. In some cases, I will come to MacArthur’s defense; at other times I will defend Driscoll. It all depends on what is being said and by whom . . . and whether a defense is warranted to begin with.

    For the record, your comments are welcome here. It doesn’t mean we will always agree, but at least we can listen and attempt to have a civil discourse regarding important matters. And regarding comments, the only time comments are not posted immediately is if it somehow gets moderated due to multiple links or anything suspicious for the spam filter. If that does happen, just let me know, and I will hunt it down for you.

  29. Scott,

    Welcome to the blog. Ad hominem attacks are against a person, and I would like for you to show me where I have attacked these people whom you have mentioned. I have stated their agendas and convictions, but nowhere have I attacked their personhood. If you cannot see the difference between the two, then you do not need to be making such charges.

    Regarding the inaccuracies, Baptist Press did not attempt to give a balanced perspective on MD. In fact, I have good reason to believe the people they interviewed were not aware that the line of questioning had anything directly to do with him. Furthermore, BP brings up issues that are several years old with a bias that is intended for uninformed readers to come away with a very negative outlook on MD and anyone who appreciates his ministry. Even after the article was originally posted, BP inserted two paragraphs in an attempt to smooth out their errors but made little to no difference in the tone and trajectory of the article. In all, the article does not shed light on MD life and ministry but only a single, agenda-driven issue with bias comparable to that of the NYT (whom they reference). Apparently, BP has recognized the folly of their article and have posted the one written by an editor from SEBTS today.

  30. iMONK,

    I understand the back-and-forth nature of understanding Driscoll. Personally, I don’t understand his decision regarding elders a couple years ago. As of last month, I don’t understand his position that Jesus Himself is an evangelist to the unevangelized. And regarding the Christian nympho site, I would agree that I do not see how that has pastoral or personal benefit members of your congregation. Although there are no images regarding the topic (that I am aware of), the topics addressed are not something that I am personally comfortable addressing.

    Having said that, I have and will continue to stand with Driscoll on preaching Jesus, planting churches, and seeing the gospel transform lives and communities by the power of the Spirit. As one has said earlier, if the great heroes of the faith were dismissed for some of their sins and errors in judgment, then I wonder if anyone would be reading their stories today.

    The thing about controversy is that it has the tendency to obscure the greater and more enduring qualities while highlighting the failures or faults that, though not excusable, should not label their legacy. And this is, unfortunately, where much of the blogosphere lives today. We know people via controversy for the moment, not the character shaped over a lifetime.

    P.S. I will take your advice about Silva and Slice. 😉

  31. Wanda,

    The story of this lady is indeed a sad one. What are Christians and more importantly pastors to do with this issue of sex, then? Let me come and say point blank that I am personally irate about the number of pastors who are preaching on sex because of the church growth that such a topic promises to provide to its members. But on the other hand, I am also equally disturbed by the apparent incompetency of Christian ministers to speak up and address biblically the role of sex in marriage and what true intimacy is all about. Sex is God’s idea, and it is intended to be for good, and if there is one area where more spiritual warfare is waged by the devil, it is in the area of sexual temptation and sexual sin.

    The Bible is not silent on this subject, and neither should we. But we should address this topic with the maturity and understanding necessary to not see it become a stumbling block rather than a redemptive work of God’s grace in marriage relationships.

    So I guess you can say that I’m not on either side. I would have handled this topic differently than Driscoll, but I don’t fault him for addressing it. I do fault other pastors, however, who do not address this in their church for the good of their members.

  32. […] 12, 2009 by Chris Poe Earlier today, I left the following comment on Timmy Brister’s blog.  I thought I’d post it here as well.  Brister was responding to this Baptist Press […]

  33. sam Says:

    This is another reason the time has come for calvinists to break away from the SBC. How much more hostility needs to be seen for calvinists to get the message. It is a crying shame and a crime that men of God such as Voddie Baucham who was a rising star within the SBC until he came out of the Calvinistic closet.

    The furor at Southwestern seminary. Who knows what the truth was there regarding the proposed ousting of calvinists professors. But we do know Patterson’s view on calvinism. To a degree i would say where there is smoke…

    Then we had the now infamous John 3:16 conference held at the SBC president’s home church.

    Young pastors are leaving the SBC in droves and for good reason. They are not made welcome there. They do not want to fight the entrenched bureaucracy that is more concerned about maintaining status quo.

    That is not to say that missions and church planting should not be supported. But one does not need to be involved with the SBC to do so. Several churches have joined in cooperation to support missionaries without having monies going to SBC staffers and entities such as Lifeway.

    The time is coming when the SBC will split once again and that time can not come fast enough for many including me.

  34. Ivan Schoen Says:


    I fear you’re right. I’m 56 years old so it’s not as important to me. I know who I am and I know where I’m going. With or without the SBC, I’ll be fine.

    And I know God will just fine too.

  35. heath lloyd Says:

    Preach on, Timmy Brister!

    I wonder a couple of things:
    1. how must Ed Stetzer feel working in Nashville, for the SBC, and holding the positions (and influence)he holds — does he feel insecure? like he’ll show up for work one day and find that some board of trustees has fired him and his desk is cleaned out?

    2. how and when will they come after Dr Akin, and how will it all fall out?

  36. The Littlefields Says:

    Thanks for you insight on this article. I have tried to distance myself from the SBC life politics in the past year or so. Mainly because, like you, I am tired of being embarrassed as a Southern Baptist and wanted to not read about it for a while. But this story and other events (like Radical Reformation Day at SWBTS) have pulled me back in to keeping up with the SBC happenings. I also agree that we should support Biblical churches and not a Sanhedrin. Keep up the good work and thanks for your insights.–Dirk

  37. Heath,

    I can assure you that Ed has his enemies, but he also has friends in high places. No need to worry about Ed. And the same goes for Dr. Akin. What we need to be worried about is if (or better yet *when*) the Conservative Resurgence will turn into an all out civil war.

    On that day, the CBFers will rejoice and say, “I told you so.”

  38. scott shaffer Says:


    Thanks for responding. We disagree with what constitutes an ad hominem argument. An ad hominem argument doesn’t have to attack one’s character. In essence what you said was, look at BP’s sources, they aren’t credible. But, you never actually addressed the accuracy of what those persons said.

    In your response, you again mention the errors BP made, yet you still haven’t pointed out any factual errors.

  39. Scott,

    If for five minutes of my day I walk around in this world only wearing underwear, and someone chooses to write an article about how inappropriate it is for me to live my life only wearing underwear, would that be accurate?

    As far as the BP credibility goes, just ask around. Don’t take my word for it.

    And for the factual errors, as I said, they edited their article after having not told the whole story on Driscoll’s past history with cussing and his subsequent repentance.

    The bottom line is that this was a hit piece otherwise known as propaganda.

  40. scott shaffer Says:


    Thanks for the discussion. If I understand your comments, they didn’t state anything that was incorrect, rather, they didn’t give the whole story. Specifically, they didn’t reveal that the criticisms were old and that Driscoll had repented. Fair enough. The same could be said of the recent NY Times piece.

    However, they also didn’t mention the recent link to the website imonk mentioned, or to Driscoll’s crass humor in the Solomon sermons. The sword cuts both ways I guess.

    Was it a propaganda article? Probably.

    Thanks again for the discussion.

  41. Thanks for commenting, Scott. Grace and peace.

  42. hcfischer1 Says:

    David Drake wrote this hilarious piece, before the BP outbreak. “Slice of Laodicia officially condemns God”

  43. Grady Bauer Says:

    Two things…
    First, I think their article is back firing on them. It has us all checking out Driscoll and it has us all realizing that their article is bogus and obviously written from a “Baptist Identity” perspective.

    Second, articles such as this and the mentality behind them is exactly what is driving young SB’s away from this convention in droves. You said it well…Calvinism and guys like Driscoll are what speaks to our lives and they continue to do everything they can to stand against it. So in a few years the SBC will cease to be of any importance and they’ll claim that the convention is smaller but purer…whatever!

  44. Wanda Says:

    Sam Says:
    “This is another reason the time has come for calvinists to break away from the SBC. How much more hostility needs to be seen for calvinists to get the message. It is a crying shame and a crime that men of God such as Voddie Baucham who was a rising star within the SBC until he came out of the Calvinistic closet.”


    How much do you know REALLY about SBC’s former “rising star” Voddie Baucham (as you have labeled him)? I would encourage you to do some research on his alliances.

    Did you know that he is closely tied to Vision Forum and Doug Phillips? If this is the direction you want the SBC to go, then maybe a “split” would be the best thing. How much do you know about “Dominionism” and the Constitution Party, which ties in with VF? There’s much more going on in Baucham’s ministry than you probably realize.

  45. […] And here is what Timmy Brister has to say. […]

  46. Wanda,

    Have you ever noticed that nobody listens to compulsive conspiracy theorists? And also… that what compulsive conspiracy theorists say rarely (if ever) comes true?

    I think the two might be related.

  47. Jeremy Burrage Says:

    This is an example of the very thing I am tired of in our Convention. So many in leadership cannot be satisfied unless they have conflict stirred up. And if it continues the flight out of the Convention by young minsters will continue, which I believe to be a bad thing. All of this takes the focus off of our goal to Glorify Christ by Making Disciples of the Nations.

  48. Grady,

    I think Baptist Press is out of touch with Southern Baptists, and I think this is case in point. More than backfiring, I think it is an indication of much of what is wrong about current denominational life and communication.


    If you are the lady from Burleson’s blog, I understand your position on womanhood. However, I do not want this post to turn into an egalitarian vs. complementarian debate, so if you don’t mind, I am going to exercise a little moderation to keep the thread on topic.


    Exactly my friend. By the time this elder generation passes and seeks denominational involvement by the younger group, they will have so beat them down by the infighting they will never shake the hand of those who punched them in the mouth. That is why affinity-based networks is the future for our generation. Why Acts 29 is trashed in the SBC. The denomination cannot compete with networks. One is a beast eating it’s own; the other is a battleship taking it to the enemy for our King and His Kingdom.

  49. In 2002, I was (essentially) kicked out of an SBC church for embracing Calvinism. Stuff like the BP article reminds me what a blessing that actually was.

  50. Lauren Crane Says:

    Timmy – Thanks for the insightful piece in response to this whole issue. I think you did a great job of fairly reporting the issue and facts, which seemed to be the problem with the BP article. The error with the BP story is not that is was factually inaccurate, but that it is an obvious piece of yellow journalism. Granted, much of what is done in the Christian media is biased – that’s a given as we’re trying to be a “counter-cultural kingdom” – but to see that slant come so strongly against a brother in Christ thoroughly saddens me.

    It is worth noting, however, that the article was the result of a small minority at BP, not as a reflection of everyone associated with the organization. With that in mind, it seems that now would be an excellent time to try and figure out how to be unified as the Church, instead of throwing everyone under the bus because of the opinion of a few higher-ups at BP. What a testimony to a watching world it would be if we could actually practice the long-suffering love for one another Christ says we ought to be known for.

    Anyways, just my thoughts. Blessings – Lauren Crane

  51. Darren Casper Says:

    In spite of disappointing journalism which is at best misinformed and poorly researched, and at worst purposefully misleading…I too wonder about Dr. Tolliver’s awareness of this article and it’s context. I agree with Dr. Tolliver that a pastor’s speech, no matter the subject, should direct men to godliness. I also pray that Dr. Tolliver will be publicly, and boldly speak and lead the state convention and it’s executive board to reverse it’s position on Acts 29.

    However, Missouri is certainly a tough place to be a Baptist and partner with Acts 29. Some MBC churches that as of last year received support through summer missionaries are no longer being supported. Why? Simply because they are an Acts 29 church.

    Articles like this do nothing to help bring end in sight to division and Missouri’s position of zero cooperation or partnership with the Acts 29 network and it’s churches.

  52. Wanda Says:


    I was simply responding to a previous commenter. I like to stay “on topic” as well. Thanks for the kind correction.



  53. […] Provocations & Pantings Trusting God :: Treasuring Christ :: Triumphing the Gospel « My Take on Baptist Press Throwing Mark Driscoll Under the Bus […]

  54. Lauren,

    First of all, I want to thank you for your well written article covering the 20/20 conference (as well as Melissa Lilley’s). It is unfortunate that your article appears in Baptist Press only after the first article is revealed to be the disaster piece that it is.

    As far as Baptist Press goes, I have some good friends who write for them, though I probably should not name names (for the time being). 🙂 You make a valid point which I concede.

    Nevertheless, with any company or organization, there is a figurehead and/or spokesman. I don’t like everything Christianity Today writes, but I respect Ted Olsen and Timothy George and know they are seeking to present the stories and issues as fairly and accurately as possible. The problem with Baptist Press, as you have implied, is at the top. When articles are censored because the Executive Committee doesn’t like what is written, does that not pose a problem? The Southern Baptist Convention has and always will be a democratized voice of believers in autonomous churches cooperating together for the sake of reaching our world for Christ.

    Baptist Press chosen to write not for the people but for the powers that be. The direction the leadership has taken, the influence given to a certain elite group of men in the “Executive Committee” (the Baptist Cardinals), and the internal superstructure of a bloated bureaucracy makes for predetermined filters for good writers whom I do not envy.

    Baptist Press does have the potential do something good. If I were them, the first place I would look is to see what Doug Baker is doing with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. I don’t see that happening, though.

  55. Jason Says:

    Great post. You should be the editor of the BP to make sure stuff (horsecrap) like that does not get published. Even though I am a mix between multiple Baptist (SBC and BBF) it is stuff like this that lessons my desire to serve along side with those of us who have baptism nailed down theologically and increases my desire to serve guys who are all about proclaiming the Gospel (Keller, Driscoll, Chandler, etc…)

  56. Darren,

    Good to hear from you man. I trust that the church plant is going well. It was great to catch up with you at the LEAD conference. What has happened to good, biblical, and gospel-centered Southern Baptist churches in Missouri is heart breaking. It is a vivid picture of the entrenched problems that lie within SBC politics and the inability to prioritize the sufficiency of Scripture over personal preferences.

  57. andrew jones Says:

    great post timmy. thanks. appreciate the honesty.

  58. Brian Says:

    Crazy how much attention Driscoll gets! Wowzers.

    For those that form opinions about someone by reading blogs vs. listening to the man himself: If you’re not going to check out Driscoll’s sermons with your own ears – I’d trust John Piper’s opinion of Driscoll more than the attack-bloggers that write about him.

  59. I started to write, “Yeah, Brian, but those same people throw Piper under the bus for liking Driscoll.”

    But then it occurs to me, even if they think that Piper’s dead-wrong on this issue, they still largely respect him.

    So why no “baby with the bathwater” for Piper like they do for Driscoll?

  60. Brian Says:

    Brendt, very true.

    this is a sidebar, but while we’re talking about the man… he was on CNN. Justin Taylor posted it here:

  61. Ken Silva Says:

    “It is a vivid picture of the entrenched problems that lie within SBC politics and the inability to prioritize the sufficiency of Scripture over personal preferences.”

    Brister just told you why the SBC itself has suffered its mortal wound.

  62. […] Timmy Brister responds to Baptist Press’s critical essay on Mark Driscoll Provocations & Pantings […]

  63. […] Timmy Brister’s (excellent) response can be found here. […]

  64. strangebaptistfire Says:

    I have to agree with iMonk on this one. If Driscoll has a link to a “Christian nymphos website” (I can’t believe I just typed that), then that kind of thing is going to define his legacy for many within and without the church, irregardless of Baptist Press’ reporting or the high quality of other aspects of his gospel ministry.

  65. orthodoxbritneyspears Says:


    You say you defend Mark because he preaches Christ. If he did so more I would defend him as well, but every major interview he has received in the last two weeks is all linked to his being the “sex” pastor. When you teach Song of Songs as if its a sex manual, you go on tour as a sex therapist. None of this is the calling of a minister of the Gospel and only continues the confusion in american evangelicalism between minister as moral therapist or minister as dispenser of Christ by means of word and sacrament. Besides flippant and rushed over comments about Christ in these interviews, they are all about sex. Nothing wrong with sex, but as a minister is this really the best use of his time and energy. Or is it just establishing his rock star status?

  66. Wanda Says:

    I agree with what Orthodoxbritneyspeaks has shared.

    While Song of Songs is an inspirational book of the Bible, there are 65 others from which to preach.

  67. BrianD Says:

    Tim, this was an excellent post in defining why Baptist Press was so out of bounds in its article on Driscoll.

    I wonder though how many people who read it will have little or no idea of the politics behind the article and accept it as face value? I suspect quite a few people will…and that may be the most damaging effect of the article itself. Again, that is extremely unfair to Mark Driscoll (though he may not care at all) and destructive to legitimate, helpful, edifying discussion of whatever issues are raised by his ministry, the issues he addresses and the gospel he seeks to proclaim.

  68. Tim Says:

    The SBC is continually shooting themselves in the foot. Many young pastors and seminary students are realizing where the SBC is heading and are leaving. I was a member of one of the three Acts 29 church plants in MO. I was also a senior at at Baptist College at the time, and am now no longer pursuing a position at an SBC church. Many others are doing the same. I hope the MBC and SBC wake up and quit fighting pointless battles and begin to focus on the Gospel.

  69. strangebaptistfire Says:

    Let me amend my last comment just to add that I am thankful for how Driscoll has conducted himself on the recent Nightline and D.L. interviews.

  70. […] Baptist Press article on Mark Driscoll have referenced a generation gap.  See here, here, here, here and here (and don’t miss the comments) for […]

  71. Wanda : While Song of Songs is an inspirational book of the Bible, there are 65 others from which to preach.

    Oh, you mean like:

    * 1 & 2 Peter
    * Jonah
    * Phillipians
    * Titus
    * Nehemiah
    * Ruth
    * 1 Corinthians
    * Genesis
    * 1 & 3 John
    * 1 & 2 Timothy
    * Revelation
    * Ecclesiates
    * Habbakkuk
    * Ephesians
    * Galatians
    * Proverbs
    * John

    And topical series on:
    * Giving
    * Prayer
    * Doctrine
    * The Life and Ministry of Jesus
    * The Cross

    These are all on the main sermon page for Mars Hill.

    Please don’t get your information about Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll from ABC News, the New York Times, and ill-informed bloggers (not you, Timmy).

  72. Oops, pasted the wrong URL. Here is the main sermon page for Mars Hill.

  73. Wanda Says:

    Brendt Waters said:
    “Please don’t get your information about Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll from ABC News, the New York Times, and ill-informed bloggers”.


    Thanks for the advice. I can assure you that my research on Mark Driscoll has been much more extensive than the sources you have mentioned.

    Here’s the problem with Mark Driscoll. He has built his ministry more on sensationalism than on the gospel. He really knows how to “tickle” his listeners’ ears. Sure, he covers the books of the Bible you mentioned, but I believe he focuses too much attention on eroticism. In order to keep his followers interested, he has to go to greater and greater lengths to “shock and awe” them. That’s the problem with building a ministry on “sex”. How low will he go to keep Christians interested and entertained? I wonder why so many of his supporters seem to be men . . .

    When Mark hits the mid-century mark, how effective will he be in his current approach to ministry? Only time will tell . . .

  74. Wanda, please resolve these two statements that you made:

    1. While Song of Songs is an inspirational book of the Bible, there are 65 others from which to preach.

    2. Sure, he covers the [20] books of the Bible you mentioned…

  75. Dee Says:

    Let”s see. Mark does this because he needs to relate to his Seattle culture. Hmmm…..Jesus and Paul were involved with the Roman culture. If you think Seattle’s oversexed, you should read about those Romans!!! I guess Jesus had it all wrong. Perhaps the Sermon on the Mount could have discussed sexual positions. Jesus was just a bit behind the times. Just think about what could have been done with 1 Corinthians 13? One could really sex that one up. In fact, lets write a new Bible. Surely, we could make it more relevant.

  76. Dee, Ray Bolger is holding on line 2.

  77. Morgan Says:

    Thank you for your defense of Mark Driscoll.

    On a related note, something that irks me many Sundays is Pastor Mark’s bashing of “fundamentalists,” who he pretty much describes as Pharisees. But of course, many who identify themselves as fundamentalists are genuine followers of Jesus, and Pastor Mark is just changing the definition of “fundamentalist” and thereby isolating fellow brothers in Christ.

    Why Mark, why?! Ugh. Let’s stop beating each other down.

  78. […] I’m really growing to like Mark Driscoll. But apparently the SBC… doesn’t. […]

  79. Morgan, I hear you, but I would argue that it’s not Mark who’s changing the definition of “fundamentalist”, but rather those to whom he is really referring. They hijacked the term before Mark was even born.

    I grew up in a “fundamentalist” atmosphere (in the Pharisee sense) and was so poisoned by it, that it’s been decades since I self-identified as a “fundamentalist”, and probably wouldn’t today even if you put a gun to my head.

    While it’s true that “many who identify themselves as fundamentalists are genuine followers of Jesus”, that many is either not very vocal or in the vast minority. And the more vocal and/or majority need to be addressed.

    Think of it in the shepherd/sheep model. The people (sheep) to whom Mark (shepherd) is ministering — specifically those at Mars Hill for whom he has direct responsibility — are often the kind of people that “fundamentalism” (in the Pharisee sense) targets. When a lion or a bear threatened David’s flock, he KILLED the lion or bear.

    David killed to protect a dumb animal.

    Mark criticizes those who are trying to drag people with them to hell. (Matthew 23:15)

    Frankly, the Pharisees are getting off lightly. 😉

    The key is that God knows your heart, that you are one of the good fundamentalists, and He can distinguish that there is such a thing. Although I can’t read Mark’s heart, I would venture a guess that he knows that there is such a thing also, and isn’t critizing all fundamentalists. But if he took the time to distinguish in his teaching, his messages would be even longer. 😉

  80. Brian Says:

    Reading through these comments, I have to completely agree with Brendt. So, I won’t repeat what he’s already well pointed out. But, just for fun, I would be willing to bet that those coming to negative conclusions about Driscoll’s ministry have never heard his sermons first-hand. Am I right? Anyone who has heard his sermons, for themselves, with their own ears, will come away knowing that Jesus is the main thing at Mars Hill. There’s no question about what it means to follow Christ, what the Bible says about who is and who isn’t going to heaven or hell, and why. It’s there and it’s clear. Praise the Lord for clear, bold, educated, discerning men like Mark Driscoll in a world of relativism and pluralism, and mega churches and “Christian” book stores filled with health/wealth/prosperity gospels and other watered-down gospels.

  81. Thanks for the post. I am a SEBTS DMin student and could not be more proud of Dr. Akin and our seminary’s work in taking the gospel to the culture. Thank you as well for this informed piece that brings to light the reality of Driscoll and his heart for Jesus and His gospel. Though he does not need any defense, thank you for standing alongside of a brother who has repented and is having his sin rubbed in his face all over again. Soli Deo Gloria!

  82. […] conference featuring Driscoll, as well as their continuing relationship with his ministry. Timmy Brister also sees this as an attempt at undermining Driscoll’s influence on young SBCer’s by […]

  83. […] might want to read the article from Tim Brister that is referenced by the article posted above. My Take on Baptist Press Throwing Mark Driscoll Under the Bus Provocations & Pantings Some of you on this board are some of the most grace-LESS people I’ve ever seen when it comes to […]

  84. Druedea Says:

    I first learned what a bad guy Driscoll was after Phil Johnson lumped him with all the heretical sex obsessed preachers who preach from a bed in their P.J’s and Pornified preachers. I investigated on my own through the podcasts on itunes. What I found was shocking to say the least. I LOVED every sermon. I have downloaded over 70 sermons and have been challenged in my faith and obedience and have a deeper desire to understand the doctrines of our faith than in recent years. Praise God for Driscoll. He is edgy and not for my mom & dad’s taste in preaching. But the strong biblical content and uncompromising word is unarguable. Keep praying that God’s hand will remain upon him.

  85. Peaches Says:

    It’s been a couple of years since this post was first written and since the SBC controversy about MD. What has history taught us in this time.
    The SBC continues to struggle with the Baptist Cardnials and the BI folk leading the way.
    MD’s ministry is honoring God.
    MD is still not perfect but is contiuing to grow as a minister and leader.

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