Elephant Room 2 claims first Acts 29 casualty

Chad Vegas, lead pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Bakersfield, has spoken out about why he left Acts 29, a church-planting network founded by Mark Driscoll:

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.

Further reading

20 thoughts on “Elephant Room 2 claims first Acts 29 casualty”

  1. “.. I also knew Mark and many of the other brothers are faithful ministers of the gospel,..”

    Seriously brother? X-rated visions and porn sermons are faithful? I see a big disconnect between that being ok and the er2 (really gives elephants a bad name) handling being wrong. All are part and parcel of the same issue, which is NOT being faithful to the Gospel.

  2. It would appear a big divide is growing in the church. The “let’s accept everyone” and the ones who stand by the Word of God.

  3. Mark Driscoll is not the Federal Head of Acts29, he is not the pope and none of us are indicted by his error. Acts29 is a network of church plants which share certain core distinctives, nothing more. Though, I can certainly respect someone’s decision to pull out of the network for Mark’s affirmation of TD Jakes’ ministry.

    1. “Mark Driscoll is not the Federal Head of Acts29…and none of us are indicted by his error.”

      You are in denial.
      As long as you and others stay in the denomination, you are sending a loud and clear message to the church and to the world. Silence equals complicity. Are there no Bonhoeffers among you?

      1. It is not a denomination. You have a misunderstanding as to how A29 functions as a network of churches. Mark is on the board of directors but is not a “head” as you are asserting. That being said there are discussions/concerns being voiced within the network… thinking the best of those who are brothers while addressing significant concerns about ER2 and its implications.

  4. Vegas has withdrawn his post from his blog.

    i.e. Vegas has been Silenced in the name of Gawd and Mark Driscoll.
    (Not necessarily in that order.)
    Long. Live. Big. Brother.

    1. Uh, not really. Chad is my pastor, and he is used to controversy. Don’t assume you know his intentions.

  5. “.. I also knew Mark and many of the other brothers are faithful ministers of the gospel,..”
    “It would appear a big divide is growing in the church. The “let’s accept everyone” and the ones who stand by the Word of God”
    “Mark Driscoll is not the Federal Head of Acts29…and none of us are indicted by his error.”

    doubleplusgoodthink, comrades.
    doubleplusgood doubleplusduckspeak!

  6. http://www.acts29network.org/acts-29-blog/dear-acts-29-members/

    1. The Board of Acts 29 will be myself, Pastor Matt Chandler, Pastor Darrin Patrick, and Pastor Dave Bruskas. Each man has been able to hand off their network to full-time staff, thereby freeing them up to go to the next level of leadership and help me work across all of Acts 29 and serve all of the networks that comprise the A29. Each man also has a church staff that is large enough with sufficient funding to do more than one network and help invest in others. Furthermore, Pastors Darrin and Matt can help me be in community with wise counsel from A29 and navigate the ever-increasing complicated waters of the broader church and culture, and represent us in the media and at events, as well as through preaching and publishing. Pastor Dave runs the entire ministry side of Mars Hill and can assist me with the details of running Acts 29 centrally.

    With Pastor Scott’s encouragement and the board approval, this means I am resuming the presidency of Acts 29. I want to invest every resource and relationship at my disposal to serve our church planters. Consider this primarily the “Prophet” board. This board is not closed and other men may join it in years to come. This board will be meeting soon in California, long before our annual retreat, so that we have a clear battle plan for the next season of Acts 29.

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