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Ten Leaders Who Will Shape the Future of the SBC in 2010

ten leaders

1. Johnny Hunt – Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga.

As the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Hunt has given birth to an expansive vision of renewal for the SBC in that he has been a vocal proponent of a Great Commission Resurgence. He appointed a task force to study the Convention’s structure. Occasionally criticized for his lack of support of the Cooperative Program as a mega-church pastor, he has consistently challenged state conventions regarding the amount of money retained in their states, rather than directing greater percentages to the SBC’s mission boards and other entities.

2. Danny Akin – President, Southeastern Seminary

Akin has been one of the driving forces behind the Great Commission Resurgence.  A lightening rod for many, Akin has maintained that unless the SBC changes, there will be no future as young leaders will no longer desire to continue to support the Convention’s agencies, mission boards and institutions. He has been criticized for hosting a collegiate conference with Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash. Akin and SEBTS continue to affirm the inerrancy of Holy Scripture, expositional preaching, and evangelism.

3. David Dockery – President, Union University

One of the few writing theologians of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dockery has often played the role of diplomat and peacemaker within the Convention. Widely known as a leading authority on Southern Baptist history and polity, he maintains wide associations both in and out of SBC life. Under his leadership, Union University has grown to be recognized as a leading international university, where the integration of Christian faith and learning is a reality. He has recruited top faculty to the campus and has maintained that while the church should remain primary as the agent of the Great Commission, key partnerships at every level of SBC life should remain vital to advance domestic and international mission efforts.

4. Tim Keller – Senior Minister, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

Though a Presbyterian minister, Keller’s books and sermons are widely quoted by leading SBC pastors and theologians. Soon after planting Redeemer, Keller intentionally sought to establish key outreach efforts to the city of New York as well as equip the church to minister to New Yorkers. His model has become the focus of many church planting efforts within the Southern Baptist Convention.  His book, The Prodigal God, remains recommended reading by many SBC pastors.

5. David Hankins – Executive Director-Treasurer, Louisiana Baptist Convention

Hankins is recognized as one of the most academically inclined and widely read leaders of state convention Executive Director-Treasurers. Co-author of One Sacred Effort, a book about the history and organization of the Cooperative Program, he remains a vocal supporter of the Southern Baptist Convention as it stands today. In his presentation before the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, he stated that the future of the SBC rested on the support of the Cooperative Program as defined by the current convention structure.

6. Jonathan Falwell – Senior Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va.

Since his father’s death, Falwell has led the church toward a renewed focus on the Gospel, resulting in the baptism of hundreds of young people and the dynamic growth of Liberty University. Falwell often serves as a model for young pastors who see him as an example of the way churches can mobilize its ministry for evangelism—particularly among college students.

7. Mark Dever – Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

When the Together for the Gospel conference attracted more than 5,000 participants in 2008 (many of whom were young Southern Baptists), Dever gained national attention for his vision of pastoral training and ministry. Nine Marks Ministries, which he launched out of his church, identifies key indicators of health for local congregations. He is widely seen as an example for young pastors. Large numbers attended his Nine Marks at Nine events at the recent Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, where he dialogued with pastors and theologians about the biblical manner to discharge local church ministry.

8. Ed Stetzer – President, Lifeway Research

Stetzer is a ubiquitous presence in the Southern Baptist  Convention. Seen by many as a prophetic voice for the SBC, he has drawn criticism from some who see him as out to re-shape the Convention in ways which could dismantle existing structures. A prolific author, he has been the voice of young pastors who were dissatisfied with the way Southern Baptist life was drifting. Notable for his famous one-line quotes such as “When I attend the Southern Baptist Convention, I feel young and thin.”

9. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. – President, Southern Seminary

Recognized by many as one of the leading theologians in the SBC, Mohler’s media outreach is expansive. He writes a daily blog, hosts a daily radio show, and has authored numerous books which serve as a cultural critique from a Christian worldview. His recent Presidential Forum compared the Southern Baptist Convention to the General Motors Corporation.

10. Mark Driscoll – Senior Pastor, Mars Hill Church, Seattle, Wash.

Though Driscoll did not attend the recent meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, he was mentioned more times from the floor of the Convention than perhaps some who were there. While he has been criticized for his public view on the use of alcohol and his former use of profanity in the pulpit, he remains a strong influence on hundreds of pastors through his vast media outlets. The Acts 29 Church Planting Network also operates under his leadership. Many Southern Baptist church planters are now affiliated with the Acts 29 Network.


Author: Staff

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  • Amber Benge

    I am absolutely appalled that Mark Driscoll was chosen to be included in this list. I have never been more ashamed to be a Southern Baptist. See this article:

    Amber Benge

    • Douglas Baker

      Amber –

      Thank you for your note. The inclusion of Mark Driscoll in this list does not imply that the editors of the Baptist Messenger endorse or approve of his past or present actions as a gospel minister. As the article states, these men will influence the SBC (for good or ill) over the coming year. Mark Driscoll has numerous pastors who follow his ministry closely and look to him as a model for ministry.

      Again, referencing the statement in the article, Driscoll was mentioned more times from the floor of the SBC than some people who were present in the meeting hall.

      In our research, we found that more stories were written about Mark Driscoll than perhaps any other non-Southern Baptist pastor. Last year’s piece which you reference from the New York Times Magazine is evidence of that very fact.

      Thanks –

    • David H

      Oooh. He must be a glutton and a wine-bibber. Why does that sound familiar?

      I’m glad you get your info on Christian institutions from pagans. They’re always looking out for the church’s best interests after all.

    • Matthew

      I see that you threw out the link to the article without pointing out anything you had a problem with. What specifically in the article do you disagree with? Can you point out specific theological differences you have with Driscoll? I fail to understand why so many people hate (yes, it’s hatred) him so much.

      • Wendy

        I fear that too many people dislike Mark’s style because he is willing to discuss what happens in real life and sometimes I feel like Christians try to hide their dirty laundry. We all are human and all have real issues and we all face the world daily. We need people who will REALLY talk to us and help us with real struggles we face. But I think some would still like to not face those issues!!!

    • Cornelius

      Well, it’s in the NYtimes.
      So it must be perfectly accurate and unbiased.

      On a much less sarcastic note: Love to see Tim Keller and Ed Stetzer on this list.
      Wonderful Godly men and outstanding teachers.

    • As some of the other commentors pointed out, it’s important to keep in mind the source when reading this article. More importantly, I would ask that you listen to a few of Driscoll’s sermons before jumping to any conclusions, and understand that he is preaching the gospel in Seattle. He’s preaching to people with radical worldviews and a culture that most of America doesn’t see and can’t understand. I would never say don’t judge, but I would say to judge discerningly.

    • Wendy

      Mark Driscoll does have a harsh style sometimes, but I think this is the best thing I’ve heard from the SBC in years. I grew up with questions not answered and topics that weren’t broached… I think that Mark speaks very directly to the people he is leading. He is dealing with a people group in Seattle that are living in the most non-Biblical way and the ONLY way to deal with that is by answering every question directly without hesitation! I have only listened to him online from California, but I am proud of the way he leads and wish the SBC would have been more open to methods like his that would have better directed me and many I grew up with in a Southern Baptist Church.

      Before you continue bashing Mark Driscoll for his tactics, I urge you to go to his churches website and actually listen to the man and NOT articles that are meant to thrill and take the most extreme pieces of his messages and use them to startle readers like yourself!

      Mars Hill Church
      *Listen/watch his sermon on Ruth… I think every teen or young person who is dating should watch that!
      *Also, his sermon on Corinthians… amazing!!!

    • Ura Montal

      Amber- perhaps you should test Mark through the lens of Scripture. I too did not trust Driscoll, but put him through the test, and I found that he is repentant of many things he has been called out on and is more faithful to scripture than many in the SBC. The Mark Driscoll of 5 years ago is not the Mark Driscoll of today. Praise Jesus for His grace. The Christian life is one of repentance. We must follow that lead.

    • Paul Rohrbaugh

      I’ve been a member at Mars Hill Church for 4 years. My father was a Baptist Missionary and I grew up overseas. I attended Judson Baptist College. My Baptist roots are deep. You’ve got Mark Driscoll wrong. ALL wrong. He loves Jesus, is serving Jesus, is proclaiming Jesus, and I can tell you if there was ever anyone I would want fighting the good fight right next to me, it would be Mark. There is something special happening in the Northwest. People meeting Jesus. Jesus transforming lives. New believers, new disciples….700 hundred baptisms last year alone. He is a Man of God…..doing what God has called him to do. Be careful with the criticism. I challenge you to listen to one of his sermons…I think you’ll find that most of the comments “captured” by the press are out of context and make no sense unless you hear them in the context of what he was saying. He has a great sense of humor….Laughing at ourselves and at Christian culture is something we should all be doing more of. Bless you, Paul

    • Min

      Amber- Before you are a Southern Baptist you are a Christian. You may not agree with his preaching style but Pastor Mark Driscoll is our fellow brother in Christ and as a Christian, you should love him. He preaches the true gospel, loves Jesus, and leads many to Christ each week- and that’s all that matters. And for your info- I think Pastor Mark is a great bible teacher who loves his church and has a genuine burden for lost souls. Before you speak against fellow believers, why don’t you go to to the Mars Hill website and listen to some of his sermons?

    • Ryan

      Absolutely love Mark Driscoll!

      He loves Jesus. He admits his mistakes. He has the brass to confront sin and tell people how it REALLY is, from God’s word. He speaks in a way that easily relatable to those under the age of 40. I cannot fathom how any true follower of Jesus could possibly detest Mark Driscoll. I have listened to many of his sermons on iPod for over a year. The man is spot on!
      Maybe things are different down south and people still behave and think the way we all did back “in the good ol’ days”. If so, I can see why some may be offended by his aggressive teaching. I’m from the Left Coast. This is not the bible belt, to say the least. Driscoll has been gifted with the ability and passion for Christ to communicate to the all prodigal sons and daughters out here, and NOT compromise the Gospel.
      I strongly urge and pray that everyone listens to this man a little bit. God is doing great things through him and his ministry in an area that Jesus has largely been discarded for granola, gay rights events, and the false religion of man-made science.
      Amber, if you’re willing to listen to a brother…I’d ask that you pray about your feelings of Mark and reconsider your position.

    • Amber Benge

      I have done a great deal of research of Driscoll since I wrote this comment and I just wanted to apologize. I believe he truly does love the Lord and is doing a great work in his city. While I don’t agree with everything he stands for, I can now see why he has been so influential. Sorry for my initial reaction! 🙂

  • Brent Hobbs

    I’m a young SBC pastor who appreciates Mark Driscoll as well as most of the men on the list. I think we’ll be in good shape if there is heavy influence from those on this list.

  • Andrew

    @Amber –

    With regards to the inclusion of Driscoll on this list, it doesn’t really matter if you like him or not, or even if the BMO does. The list was not titled “The Baptist messenger’s Favorite Pastors.” It was titled, “Ten leaders Who Will Shape the Future of SBC in 2010.” Pastor Driscoll’s impact is undeniable and widespread. He will be a force for decades to come in evangelicalism, and has done a great deal to spread the gospel both nationally and abroad. His podcasts and vodcasts are downloaded repeatedly, and his writings and ministries are ever-increasing in prominence.

    You needn’t approve of him to be a Christian, proud of your SBC heritage or anything of the sort – you must simply be aware of him.

    I do, however, encourage you to give him a chance!

    My Best,


  • KBH

    Good lists! Thanks.

    Driscoll’s being on the list will offend some, but it is accurate.

  • I was hoping to see Matt Chandler (Lead Pastor of The Village Church in TX) on the list. He’s my fav. 🙂

  • Awesome to see Keller on here.

    I wonder if Pastor Mark will drop in at next year’s convention in Orlando?

  • Just curious if Amber’s dislike of Driscoll is based on his reputation as the cussing pastor or something else? That whole cussing pastor thing is from a very long time ago. I suspect you’d be hard pressed to find something stronger than “hell” from him in a very long time. But that nick name has stuck (apparently the name comes from Donald Miller of “Blue Like Jazz” fame). Beyond that, he frankly addresses issues in ways that are culturally relevant to his congregation and city. So when they talk about sex, they talk about masturbation and oral sex. His church is primarily made up of young single adults, and to not address these issues from a biblical viewpoint would be failing his role to that congregation(s). While Driscoll obviously doesn’t need me to defend him, it is frustrating how few of his critics bother to actually check the source materials. Just about every breath he has taken in the last 10 years has been recorded somewhere, it’s pretty easy to verify where he stand and what he has and has not actually said.

  • ally


  • I am very happy to see Mark Driscoll added to this list. To not add him would be stinking your head in the sand to the influence he has had. Great list.

  • Awesome!! There is a great variety with these men of the Lord. While Driscoll may walk the line of appropriateness at times, he is profoundly affective in the work of the Lord. I’m a huge fan and thrilled that he is influencing the SBC. Also thrilled to see Mohler and Stetzer in the mix. And my alma mater’s pres David Dockery! Big reformed presence.

  • Brian Bennett

    Mark Driscoll is the best! I’m just thankful that he’s not a uber, sissy, feminine, worship pastor singing prom songs to Jesus. Mark, if you ever want to step into the cage with me, it would be my honor.


  • Heath

    Driscol influences hundreds of SBC pastors? That should read thousands.

  • Awesome that all the comments have been about Pastor Mark. Evidence of his infuence, even on this thread. Agree with Joshua about Matt Chandler. Truly a man of God with a profound effect on His followers.

  • jeff

    What a great group of men! I am especially pleased to see Pastor Driscoll on the list. I see some do not agree and are hostile at his inclusion. Please follow the advice that Andrew mentioned in his post above – Listen to the sermons online. You would have a legitimate objection if Pastor Driscoll advocated drunkeness or gluttony. Personally (and I am aiming this comment at me just as much as anyone else) take a look around the auditorium next Sunday and see if you don’t agree that a lot of us Baptists don’t have a bit of a problem with gluttony.

  • D. Lee


    I am absolutely appalled that you would use the NY Times as a legitimate source of information. You haven’t even done us the favor of citing your objections to Pastor Driscoll’s teachings.

    Before you judge and condemn him, please know that he has effectively brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to tens of thousands of people whom uptight and “respectable” Christians have closed the door to.

    • Wendy

      Amen D. Lee!!!

  • Melissa

    Sadly , more stones will continue to be thrown @ P. Mark as he becomes more famous.

    Luckily, more peeps will be opening their bibles in hopes to pick on him and find fault.

    Those that bother to actually read IT that is!

  • Petie

    Cannot believe John Piper is not on this list…very disappointing…. 🙁

    • Ulrich

      Can’t believe it either! Why is John Piper not on this list?

  • Chris Jackson

    This is primarily in response to Amber but also just a general comment. I think people fail to realize just how close some of those guys (Mohler, Keller, Dever, Akin) are to Driscoll when it comes to theology. I’m sure we could nit pick small differences but the idea that the Cross of Christ is central and NOT what we do or do not do (a beer with dinner, a tattoo, a lip ring) that is vital to the Gospel. My heart is genuinely saddened by Christians that speak out so harshly against men like Driscoll who fearlessly and tirelessly proclaim Christ risen. Also, I think it’s important to note that Driscoll has mellowed considerably in some of the areas that many found to be so offensive/abrasive.

    With Love in Christ.

    • Cheryl

      Chris, not only are they close in their theology, but they are close as friends and brothers in Christ, and talk to each other regularly. Pastor Mark mentions John Piper, Ed Stetzer, and many others on a regular basis from the pulpit!

  • Mark

    I don’t think Amber was appalled at Mark Driscoll but at the negative comments about him. I read the article and while a bit sensational it shows that Driscoll is being light in a dark world which we all certainly need more of. There is nothing in her post that says she doesn’t like him, just that she is ashamed to be SBC. I agree that putting someone on the list for negative reasons is not the best idea. Not very edifying. I viewed his inclusion on the list as more of a lamentation that some SBC pastors are affiliated with Acts 29.

    I agree that Matt Chandler would have been a great addition and was honestly amazed that Tim Keller was included in light of the Driscoll addition.

    • Justin

      Ummmm……..Matt Chandler is an Acts 29 pastor………

  • Paul Bruggink

    It is particularly interesting to see Tim Keller and Albert Mohler on the same list of 10 Leaders Who Will Shape the Future of the SBC, given their very different views on the creation-evolution debate. Will Tim Keller’s white paper “Creation, Evolution and Christian Laypeople,” given at the recent BioLogos Foundation conference, shape Albert Mohler’s future views on biological evolution?

    • Paul Bruggink

      Apparently not, given Al Mohler’s talk at the 2010 Ligonier Ministries National Conference a week ago Saturday.

  • Mark

    Falwell made it??? College outreach of TRBC??? LU’s Campus Church reaches local students but that is an outreach of LU, not TRBC. There isn’t much of a college ministry apart from the LU students that show up. He’s a great guy I’m sure, but this is largely blown out of proportion.

    Viva Driscoll and Keller. May our churches follow their example of humility and TRUE evangelism (and its not just saying the prayer and getting them dunked…its a commitment).

  • And where is Wade Burleson?

  • I’m guessing that since most of the posts on here are about Mr. Driscoll, it might mean there is something there worth noting. I’m also surprised that John Piper and C. Michael Patton aren’t on the list. Any one else that should be on the list?

    • Justin

      R.C. Sproul. LOL

  • Craigo

    Amber, Amber, Amber-

    Mark Driscoll was included for several reasons: 1) he is leading a LOT of people to follow Jesus – how about you Amber? 2) he started the Acts29 Church planting network and is leading them to plant churches like crazy – his territory IS expanding (pardon the reference to Prayer of Jabez) – unlike the territory of the SBC, which is in sharp decline, Amber and 3) he planted a church in Seattle which has grown from 9 people to close to 10,000 people in 12 years.

    If you really care about the SBC, you should be rejoicing that he’s included. You obviously have never heard him speak, never attended his church or listened to ANY of his podcasts or you’d recognize him as a godly man that has a LOT to show US as Southern Baptists (yes, I are one). Lighten up for Pete’s sake ………… you know nothing of that which you speak……

  • Jacob Cates

    I was very interested to see such a group of self-proclaimed Calvinists on the list. Though some may view this trend as negative, I’m excited about a return to traditional Protestant theology. We can stay away from paedo-baptism though; sorry Pastor Keller!

    Baptist theology has far to long been plagued by a weak exegesis and the convention would do well to return to its roots in, if I may boldy say, the Bible. This list of guys may not all be Reformed, but they all are desperately pursuing the text like our forefathers, Protestant generally and Baptist specifically, and all of these men are the kind I as a Southern Baptist can follow.

  • Pastor Mark Driscoll is a man of God and a man with integrity. Yes, he has been called the cussing Pastor! That was quite a few years ago. He has said publicly that he is growing as a Pastor. He is still young.

    He is friends with many on the list as well as John Piper and RC Sproul.

    He deals with some tough issues where people don’t want to be churchified but talked to as equals. He succeeds at that. He is open and honest in his beliefs with his congregation.

    His sermons, at least online are more than an hour long. He continues them the next week and does books of the Bible over long periods of time with lots of information and study guides available.

    I have downloaded many of his videos and have done due diligence. His theology and doctrine is in tact. His love of God and man is in tact.

    He made some mistakes……so have I… have we all. The journey is a lifelong one and a very narrow road.

  • LJP

    Wow, I was expecting to read hate messages about Mark Driscoll and about how hellfire is surely in his future for preaching a Gospel that allows alcohol and talks openly about sex. Props to all of you. He really is a very Godly man who speaks directly from the Bible and has changed thousands of lives. Culturally liberal but theologically conservative is how Pastor Mark likes to describe Mars Hill Church, and they do a fantastic job speaking and relating to Seattlites while not giving in theologically to the culture.

    • NTR

      One can’t be both “culturally liberal” and “theologically conservative” and say that no concession has been made theologically to the culture. That’s assinine on it’s very face. Most of us who dislike Driscoll don’t discount the fact that he’s been very successful. That’s never been the issue. We do have areas of disagreement with him theologically, and pointing those out does not ammount to hate. For all of you Driscoll “lovers” out there, guess what? The man ain’t perfect!

  • Frank S.

    I am amazed at how you all are jumping on Amber when Mark Diiscoll is the one who sinned. He may have repented, but the things he did were wrong and hurtful to the cause of Christ and Amber is doing nothing wrong by pointing out her concern. If Mark has truly repented then I’m sure he is aware of the consequences of his sin and is humble towards those who he has offended. The church needs to stop criticizing, mocking and being sarcastic towards those who are exercising the gift of discernment and start respectfully and humbly consider their warnings as God’s gift of mercy to stay the rebellious and wayward tendencies of men (and women). And all this talk about relevance is garbage. With God, the end never justifies the means. He is holy and His servants are holy – period. Those who sacrifice righteousness and holiness for pet doctrines and seemingly effective methods run the risk that they will be part of (and are already in) the end-times delusion warned about in the Scriptures. “One can pay too high a price for blessing, and if that price is the denigration of God and His name, it is too high a price.” Thank you Amber!

    • Ura Montal

      none of Driscoll’s sins disqualified him from pastoral ministry.

  • Frank-

    Matthew 7:3-5
    Read it. Live it.
    This quote from you: “He may have repented, but…” reveals all we need to know.

    May the Kingdom minded tribes of Driscoll, Keller, Stetzer, and Dever increase for God’s glory. Thanks for recognizing these four men. They have had significant impacts on my life and ministry. All of the men listed here are worthy of our prayers and our partnership in the Gospel.

    • Frank S.

      Hi Ryan:

      If you’re saying that I need to live by Matthew 7:3-5, I humbly and wholeheartedly agree with you. In fact, we all need to strive to live by all of God’s Word and I am fully aware of my falling short in many areas. I thank God for His mercy not only for myself but also for Mark Driscoll. It appears that you missed the points of my post altogether. For clarity, here is a restatement in different terms: 1. The treatment of Amber on this site by many is shameful and not appropriate for the Body of Christ. 2. The Church, in wisdom, must get back to respecting and considering those who have the gift of discernment and stop attacking them when they question their “favorite” preacher. (especially when that preacher has done or is doing something that is contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture.) 3. God is Holy and when our methods (and doctrine) are exalted above His holiness, they are suspect and should be scrutinized. 4. The Body of Christ doesn’t need to figure out ways to be “relevant.” God’s Word is already relevant to this generation and if we preach it, it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe!

      God bless you!

    • NTR

      Ryan, how about you take a quick gander at John 7:24 before you start throwing Matthew 7:3-5 out there as an end to debate? You might also consider keeping your proof text in context by reading the rest of the chapter in question, particularly verses 13 through 23.

  • Doug Lane

    I, too, am a young-ish SBC pastor who has been blessed by the teaching ministry of Mark Driscoll. Those willing to LISTEN to Driscoll’s sermons instead of taking potshots based on select quotes in articles, will find that he is uncompromisingly orthodox in his theology (albeit Reformed like Dever and Mohler) and his preaching. Like the Reformers, Driscoll preaches in the vernacular, not in the highly stylized form, meter, and vocabulary (i.e. – Christian-ese) of the GREAT preachers who preceded him (through whom, admittedly, God has tremendously blessed the church). It is refreshing to hear him preach and teach. I always walk away from his sermons and Q&As challenged, convicted, and exhorted to holiness.

    Has Driscoll said some stupid things through the years? Certainly. So have I. So have his critics. One of the things that I find most endearing about this pastor is his humility in admitting his faults and repenting for those lapses in judgment.

    As to the other men on the list, I am less familiar with many of them than I probably ought to be. I have a strong appreciation for Drs. Dever and Mohler. I have learned much from their respective works and have grown much as a Christian, a father, and a pastor.

  • Frank S.

    The treatment of P. Mark by Amber was what we all are calling her out on…in Christian love of course. You need to give SPECIFICS which would show that P. Mark has actually repented. Please submit your list so that he can prove to you that he has repeented and get his gold star!

  • Melissa

    Frank, I apologize for putting your name in the field instead of my own! It was MELISSA who wrote the above post NOT Frank S! I still though request that list! (Note to self, post only after consuming morning coffee).

    • Ura Montal

      List? just listen to his sermons over the last 2 years and you’ll have your list.

      I’ve listened to everything Driscoll has taught over the last two years as well all free content Rob Bell has taught over the same period of time. One has tested faithful to Scripture and the other has not.

      • Melissa

        @ Ura – dude, I have listed to many sermons Driscoll sermons and read some of Bell’s stuff. I agree with you that Driscoll is faithful to Scripture. I won’t comment on Bell.

  • Stephanie

    @Frank: As an (almost) member of MH, I find it interesting that you are so reluctant to let Mark’s repentance actually be real. He doesn’t curse in the pulpit anymore, at least as far as I’ve heard for almost the last two years. He’s the ONLY mega-church pastor I’ve heard who doesn’t water down the Gospel and God’s Word. He refuses to skip over the “hard parts” of Scripture that are difficult to understand and interpret, or the ones that most people simply don’t like. Mark does not believe that the ends justify the means: he’s calling out unmarried couples who are sleeping with each other, helping to counsel people who are caught deep in drug and alcohol addictions, and working to address the awful prostitution and human trafficking that’s going on here. Every other mega-church pastor I’ve listened to has been very self-absorbed within the walls of their own church and willing to sacrifice the integrity of God’s Word for the sake of their popularity and/or numbers. Mars Hill goes beyond its walls all the time – they only care about numbers because it means more people are meeting Jesus. I’ve been a Christian almost my entire life, and I’ve gone to Christian schools and studied theology a lot for my age – but I’m learning more here at this church than I ever have before.

    • Frank S.

      Thank you Stephanie! I did not mean to give the impression that I am “reluctant to let Mark’s repentance be real.” I rejoice and give glory to God that he has repented and also for the things you mention in your post that he is doing. The spirit of your post is what I would expect from a believer who is trying to convince someone that the repentance of another was genuine and that they can be trusted. I sincerely think it will speak to those who have doubts and legitimate concerns about what Mark Driscoll’s preaching and practices were in the past and the honor of God’s name in relation to those things. Their concerns are not without warrant and I’m sure that you agree that the Church must never allow the seeming success of anyone to be the test of their validity or of God’s approval. We must always go back to God’s Word and judge by it. God bless you!

  • Heath

    Driscoll is seeing people come to know Christ and live for him in a place that traditionally has opposed him.

    For the most part (at least in Oklahoma) we are failing to see more come to know Christ and are seeing fewer true followers. And we’re in the Bible belt. What’s it going to take for us to wake up?

  • Graham Buck

    I find it interesting that no one has yet commented on the fact that the list is comprised solely of middle and upper-middle aged white males…

    Just sayin’

  • shann

    I don’t understand. What did Mark Driscoll do wrong?

    • Ura Montal

      very good question.

  • Amanda

    While at first glance the Acts 29 Network sounds like a nice church planting vision that the SBC should be glad to get behind, prayerfully and through the cooperative program, a careful reading of its doctrine shows that it is not likeminded in key salvation doctrines and is not something we want to “shape the future of the SBC.” We must look behind the words to the meaning that the speaker is intending—not just assume the speaker is intending their meaning as we would use them—not allowing our logic to be lost in the speaker’s charisma.

    At our core, we believe that God is good and that Jesus died to provide the opportunity of salvation to ALL people (“Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.” IV. Salvation, Baptist Faith and Message 2000), Acts 29, by its own admission, believes: “We believe that because all people have sinned and separated themselves from the Holy God that he is obligated to save no one from the just deserved punishments of hell. We also believe that God in His unparalleled love and mercy has chosen to elect some people for salvation.” (this and subsequent Acts 29 doctrines can be found at
    under “Reformed”). And, “[w]e believe that the salvation of the elect was predestined by God in eternity past.”

    Inorder to believe that “God in His unparalleled love and mercy has chosen to elect some people for salvation” and still remain logical, you must believe that A. God is not Good, for if he was Good, why would He condemn some to hell, or B. that God is not all-powerful and simply unable to save all. Such a belief does not sound like “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your MIND” to me. Matt 22:37, Mark 12: 30, Luke 10:27 (emphasis mine).

    Futher, they state “[w]e believe that God’s saving grace is ultimately irresistible and that God does soften even the hardest heart and save the worst of sinners according to His will.” This a perfect example of how, at first glance, their docrine seems to aligin. But taken with desernment in context with the above, the fact that “God’s saveing grace is ultimately irresistible” shows they belive that those who are God’s “elect” do not have a choice in slavation. If this is ture, then the negative impications of this statement must also be true: it is ultimately impossible for anyone but the “some people” God “has chosen to elect” to be saved. This cannont be reconciled with John 3:16, 1 John 2:2 nor most other “salvation” verses.

    A careful, discerning reading of this and the rest of their doctrine will at least make you question if this is something we should be supporting, let alone hope will be shaping the future of SBC work. Our heritage as those who always held the purity of the Gospel foremost is at state—not to mention the salvation of many.

    We need to take heart to the advice Paul gave in Galatians 1.

    • Justin

      You have obviously never read any reformed theology before checking out the Acts 29 beliefs or you wouldn’t be so shocked. It may surprise you that half the list shares this theology. You may not realize this either, but you probably fall on the side of Arminianism. Look it up on (or better yet, and be blessed. Have peace in knowing that if you are truly one of the “whosoever” that believes in Him, you were elected and, therefore, have nothing to worry about. Peace.

  • JC

    People…great comments, but read between the lines. Amber does not like Driscoll because he is Reformed and she is not!!.

    As to another I am surprised is not on the list…Paige Patterson (especially with Mohler & Akin on here).

    God bless,

  • Baptist Messenger Staff, thanks for your service for Jesus! -interesting to read your list and prayed for each man and his family-I was especially glad to see David Dockery of Union Univ (our son, Dr Gene Fant, Jr is Dean of Arts & Sciences at Union) so we know ‘first hand’ of Dr. Dockery’s dedicated Christian leadership. I must,also, express my thanks, for including my kinfolk, David Hankins (on my Daddy’s side -Joe Bailey Hankins from Texas). Dr. Hankins’ outstanding scholarship and stance for the Co-operative Program is needed more than ever to continue our joint quest for lost souls in 2010! TO EACH OF YOU WHO ARE READING THIS-REMEMBER,YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT LEADER AND INFLUENCE ON SOMEONE TODAY. I’m praying for you, too!

  • AK

    It seems that Amanda just doesn’t like anyone who is in Calvinist’s camp, and Mark was just the easiest target to attack. I would like to encourage you, Amanda, to read John Calvin’s commentaries — you will see that he doesn’t omit all of those “salvation” verses nor any Calvinist does.


  • Seth MacGillivray

    For the record, “cussing pastor” is an old term given to Pastor Mark many years ago in a book “Blue like jazz”, Unless you consider hell to be a cuss word, Mark has never used profanity from the pulpit at Mars Hill Church.

    Agree or disagree with him, that is a fact.

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PROJECT 2010: A look back at the decade

As the years of the first decade of the 21st Century come to a close, The Baptist Messenger looks back...