I knew Mark was the primary voice for Acts 29 and that I was not comfortable with how some of his comments represented the network. I also knew Mark and many of the other brothers are faithful ministers of the gospel, disagreements aside.
I remember listening in anticipation as Mark rattled off a series of affirmations. I was waiting for that moment right after the affirmations in which he would ask, “So, do you denounce modalism and prosperity teaching? Are you prepared to change your church’s doctrinal statement, disassociate from modalist organizations, and denounce any and all modalist and prosperity teaching you have participated in?” That moment never came. Instead, Mark smiled, shook Jakes’ hand, and said, “awesome.” I was stunned. I know Mark is smart enough to know that heretics will often affirm what you affirm and the real test is in whether they will deny what you deny. I wondered why Mark didn’t go there.
I looked at my assistant pastor at this moment and we both knew that our run in Acts 29 had come to an end. We were no longer talking about secondary issues. We had now crossed into seeing the leader of our network embrace a man who is heretical with regard to the nature of God and the gospel. We were now watching Mark treat a full blown heretic as pastor for other young pastors to learn from. I listened to the buzz in the room, and on twitter, as several young reformed guys rejoiced at finding in TD Jakes a humble pastor to whom they could look. I was deeply saddened. I pulled out of Acts 29 that night.
I want to be very clear. I don’t think Mark Driscoll is a heretic. I don’t think Mark has bad intentions. I think Mark is a faithful, orthodox pastor who is well-intentioned. I know many pastors in Acts 29 who are taking a different approach to this issue than I am. I believe they are faithful, well-intentioned brothers. I didn’t leave Acts 29 because I question the integrity of any of these men.
I do think Mark Driscoll is wrong on this issue. I think his failure to defend the gospel and the nature of God in the Elephant Room, as awkward and unfortunate a setting as it was, was a major failure in his duty as a spokesman for Jesus, the church, and Acts 29. I can not follow a leader who will not act on Titus 1:9 when so many young pastors are looking on. It is for this reason I left Acts 29. I pray Mark will see the grievous error that took place that day. I will still love him, pray for him, and admire him in many ways if he doesn’t.
Vegas’ move echoes that of Dan McGhee, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel Detroit West, who earlier in January led his church to dissociate from James MacDonald’s Harvest Bible Fellowship over concerns that MacDonald ‘seems insistent in pushing boundaries in the area of associations with men whose ministry philosophy, practice, and even theology we can’t endorse’.
Read Vegas’ full post, here [update: the post is no longer available, see below]:
Vegas has withdrawn his post from his blog. He explains:
Where did my controversial post go?
After posting on my blog, something I rarely do but hope to begin again, I was slammed with comments, calls, emails, twitter messages etc. I decided to pull the post and restart my lame blogging career with less controversial posts. So, sorry if you missed it folks.