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Watch this on two levels: (1) to follow the content of the discussion about the pros and cons of multi-site congregations; (2) the way in which Mark Dever is slow to speak, quick to listen, and asks good questions to advance the discussion and change the tone of the conversation. Instructive on both levels!

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164 thoughts on “Dever, Driscoll, and MacDonald on Multi-Site”

  1. Michael says:

    (3) Notice the mention of “I” a lot more from 2 of the speakers.
    (4) Notice the deflection twice that multi-sites equals “church planting.”
    (5) Notice the phrase “I just beat you…”

  2. Matt Privett says:

    Good observations, Justin. I noticed much of the same when I viewed this earlier today. Dever was slow to speak, but at least halfway through the discussion I felt it was because MacDonald, in particular, wasn’t letting him get a word in without interruption.

  3. That was a great discussion. I have decided that our 62 member Baptist church is going multi-site early next year.

    Okay, seriously. That was a good conversation to listen to, and I really appreciated how Pastor Dever handled himself in that. The oddest thing to me was MacDonald’s insisting that he be taken off the air when he dies. That was odd. I have actually enjoyed listening to J. Vernon McGee at times. I have also really enjoyed reading many of the sermons of those long dead. To one up that, I would pay a week’s salary to hear Whitefield or Spurgeon deliver a couple of the sermons I have read by them!!

  4. I could not resist the urge to leave at least one more comment on that video. It may be some form of pathological problem for me, but I just had to mention it.

    I did notice the “I just beat you” line, and I thought he actually didn’t. It is true that when Driscoll dies/retires that there will be 300 or so preaching opportunities that will open up compared to the 52 or so that will open up when Dever dies/retires. The reason Dever will have so far less open up, all things being equal, is because he allowed men to assume those roles before he dies or retires.

    This conversation really provoked me at several points. I really appreciate you posting this JT.

  5. Mike Garner says:

    I think Driscoll and MacDonald are probably correct, but I think Dever definitely comes out as the winner of this mini-debate for a couple reasons. The 2v1 dynamic makes Dever seem like he’s getting picked on, and their constant interruptions add to this. Also, Dever, asks much better questions.

    1. Andy says:

      Dever seems to know the issue backwards and forward and has based his position on doctrinal reasons, whereas the other two seem to be approaching from a more pragmatic mindset.

      It helps that Dever has written a tome on ecclesiology, and just a few months ago, his ministry’s journal focused on this issue.

      It was linked here on this site, actually:

  6. Todd says:

    Justin, your comments are right on. Maybe it was partially because of the setting that James and Mark Driscoll were interrupting him, but Pastor Dever comes across as more authoritative and trustworthy on this subject.

  7. Mike Garner says:

    Further, if you are going to come out and say “I just beat you” you better have made sure that you just hit the nail into the coffin with an air-tight argument. The argument that they used here is actually one of the worst, and I think if Dever was given time to respond he would have shown some of the gaping holes in that point.

  8. lander says:

    (1) Content: Dever prefers 1 main service per church (but has a secondary evening service). Dever asserts a pastor must know his flock (but has 800-900 in the service whom he can’t possilby know).

    (2) Tone: Dever is quick to listen, slow to speak in the video (but 9 Marks asserts that multiple services/sites are not biblical which sets the real tone for this banter).

    I love Driscoll. Such a Luther-like passionate man, bold for the gospel in a dark world. The “i beat u” comment was dumb but did not offend me at all because Dever is advocating a model that hinders the church’s mission. And he’s the ecclessiologist!

    C’mon Justin: 1 service per church and no communion for PCA guest speakers–complete with “biblical” justifications?

    1. Justin says:

      Can one accomplish the church’s mission properly if it distorts the biblical meaning of the local church?

      1. lander says:

        And the biblical meaning of the church is 1 service per church–based on the semantic field ekklesia (as Dever asserts)?

        Guess Piper, Keller, Helm, Driscoll and Macdonald (all Gospel Coalition leaders) missed polity 101.

        1. Greg Long says:

          Did Dever actually say “one service per church”? Even if he did, what he means is that at the primary corporate worship service that the church has, the entire congregation (ekklesia–gathered body) is invited and able to gather together.

          1. lander says:

            You understand his position. One main/primary service, all members in attendance. He critiques 2 services/sites as sub-biblical.

            Their decision is based not just on the meaning of ekklesia but also the admirable desire to know every member by name and provide hands-on shepherding of every member by a elder or pastor (not a small group leader, class, mentor, etc.).

    2. Andy says:

      It’s perfectly possible he knows all the members of Capitol Hill. When I was a college freshman, the residence hall director already knew my name merely from a photo, and I was one of 600 people in the dorm. Plenty of people have 1000 friends on Facebook, etc. So that sort of thing is easy, particularly when you don’t have the pressure of getting to know them all on one weekend, but rather over months, years, decades, etc.

  9. John Nicolds says:

    The “tone” of this discussion as I see it is the tone of 3 men who respect and LIKE each other. I thought the “I beat you” comment was very consistent with that tone. You’ve never hung out with a couple of buddies and razzed each other??? I agree that Dever came across as wise, but I also greatly appreciated the other twos defense of multisite.

  10. Michael says:

    “C’mon Justin: 1 service per church”

    Ya, that’s so like, New Testament or something!

    1. lander says:

      The NT limits the church to 1 service? Where and in what ways? And why?

  11. I think the bottom line in this whole multi-service/mulit-sight debate is this: Which are you willing to put more importance on: (1) Pragmatically reaching as many people for Jesus or (2) Doing whatever you can to glorify God and see that his glory is not diminished by mere pragmatism.

    1. lander says:

      Better choice: Glorify God by preaching the Gospel to all who will listen.

      1. wes says:

        wouldn’t this include after you die?

  12. Lou G says:

    Not only did Dever come across as wiser and more biblical, he also looked a lot better and younger than the other 2 (even though the other 2 were obviously trying to look younger and cooler).

    I’ve been involved with Multisite campuses before and it wasn’t the best experience. What Driscoll and O’Donnell consider to be “missional”, really just emphasize church members becoming “self-feeders” that serve, give, work as their way of fitting into the ministry of the church.

    1. lander says:

      So Dever is better looking and that is relevant in what way?

      1. Lou G says:

        Like I said, Driscoll and MacDonald are the ones who are trying to look younger, cooler and better in order to be relevant. It’s ironic that the “stodgy, traditional” church guy looks better than the two that are trying so hard to actually have “a look” about them by wearing a 20 year old’s clothes.

        1. lander says:

          Lou – nobody said Dever is stodgy. A fine looking fellow he is! And he’d be embarrassed to think that has any bearing whatsoever on the discussion.

          BTW, Driscoll is trying to look like Driscoll: a guy from a working class, blue collar democrat neighborhood in a ‘progressive’ city that got SAVED and started the whole city about Jesus.

          1. lander says:

            correction: “… and started telling the whole city about Jesus.”

  13. JB says:

    So it is more spiritual to be on video because it becomes less about the preacher?? Huh??

    1. LOL! I thought the same thing. Driscoll is very persuasive. You’d nearly believe that Dever is being more personality centered by allowing someone else to shepherd all Capitol Hill’s church plants instead of being broadcast there himself on video! Especially after Driscoll’s admission that he will not be replaced in those churches when he steps down. All of these “mult-sites” are really just slow church plants like Dever said.

  14. Open 24 Hours says:

    I’d say that many if not most multi-site churches are founder-centered and founder-exalting. But I do not want to generalize everything, such that if a particular multi-site church is designed to be gradual church plants and preacher-training-grounds, then I’ll hope it succeeds and wish it well, though I would not prefer to attend such a campus myself. But having done a little distance-learning seminary via DVD lectures, I have to not be one to dismiss technology that is well-used.

  15. JB says:

    I appreciate much from Driscoll’s ministry but he comes across as condescending- “You have a pastor-centered model/ we are a missions-centered model” and arrogant- “I just beat you”.

    1. Victor says:


      If we had a thumbs up feature (and it’s probably best that we do not) on these comments, your comment JB would probably get the most thumbs up.

      Driscoll’s personality is wearing thin on me, its not cute anymore. I wish he were actually an introvert as he says.

      Oh, and I have been blessed by Driscoll, and will continue to listen hoping he gets better.

  16. JR says:

    I find it strange that Dever gets away with only preaching 25-30 Sunday mornings a year. And he doesn’t preach Sunday night…so he’s only in the Capitol Hill pulpit 25% of the time.

    Given the PASTORAL role of the pulpit…the one chance he has to shepherd them collectively he only engages 25-30 Sunday mornings a year.

    Given his take on the word “ekklesia/assembly” I thought he would he preach more.

    1. RAPursley says:

      I don’t think that it is as much the pastor’s role to always be the one in the pulpit as it is to ensure that the word is always being preached from the pulpit. Dever is being just as pastoral in allowing trustworthy men address the congregation. It matches the vision of church as incubator for aspiring pastors. Also it is healthy for a congregation to hear a solid word from their other pastors. It seems to be the pastoral thinf to do.

  17. Danny Wright says:

    I didn’t enjoy this one (the tone and conversation) as much as the one with driscoll/chan/harris (even though i enjoy the content of both). this just felt different.

    then i realized this is the same in sports broadcasting. the three man booth is very difficult to pull off. the chan/driscoll/harris discussion worked (even with humor interwoven) because harris took the back seat. however, in the driscoll/macdonald/dever discussion, two men are taking equal positions in questioning dever. driscoll and macdonald end up speaking all over each other as much as they do over dever.

    i agree that dever handled himself very well, but i think the three probably have a good relationship together (why else would they be on camera) that didn’t show on camera. but i don’t think it worked well in this short clip. (they mention feeling pressed for time.)

    1. David says:

      The chan/driscoll/harris discussion worked because the humor was edifying. It was used to spotlight the faithful living of Chan.

  18. terry says:

    The more I listened the more I was thankful for the simplicity of our small house church. But their is liberty…

  19. Mike Garner says:

    “I find it strange that Dever gets away with only preaching 25-30 Sunday mornings a year. And he doesn’t preach Sunday night…so he’s only in the Capitol Hill pulpit 25% of the time.

    Given the PASTORAL role of the pulpit…the one chance he has to shepherd them collectively he only engages 25-30 Sunday mornings a year.

    Given his take on the word “ekklesia/assembly” I thought he would he preach more.”

    He also believes in the Plurality of Elders and not a Single Head Pastor model.

    1. Dan says:

      Good for him!

    2. JR says:

      I know that CHBC is an elder run church…I wasn’t implying otherwise. Dever was simply making an argument that a local congregation should be taught by its own pastor (not a video of the popular guy 30 miles away), yet he preaches only half the Sunday mornings a year. I realize the other pastor-teachers at CHBC are within the church and able to function pastorally from the pulpit just as Dever would, but with Dever’s gifts he should be in the pulpit more (that’s just my take).

      But I would trust CHBC and it’s elders. It’s a solid place.

  20. markus says:

    I came out of a church much like Driscoll’s in many ways, and only many years later started attending CHBC where Dever serves. Honestly I didn’t like a lot about the church at first, but stayed because the community and care was so evident, palpable and thick, you couldn’t help but recognize the specialness of it. It’s only with hindsight I later realized how much of that was due to having one church and one service. I know it wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Others may not believe the Biblical case for it, but the Bible does call us to community and from my experience, the proof is there. At the very least I consider it the best means to a Biblical goal.

    Like Driscoll, Dever too, wants the Gospel preached to as many as will listen, the difference is he doesn’t seem to imply he’s the only one who can do that. The church here has two full time church planters on staff – and in truth many more since members are regularly leaving to become pastors or seminary students – and when they plant that church, the Gospel will be faithfully proclaimed there. Many members will go with them, and know their new pastor, and be excellently shepherded by him.

    I encourage you all to check out the Church Dever serves, and feel out its community and Gospel proclamation. The reason you won’t find him preaching on Sunday night, is because Dever instead guides regular members in sharing with the whole church their prayers, requests, and we pray for each other at length communally.

    I encourage you all to consider being radical about church, what would happen if you asked not just your second site, but your second service to be a second church? Do we not trust God to raise up a faithful preacher? Are we really so convinced that only 1 man can shepherd?

    1. Will says:

      I agree with everything you said about CHBC and the community there, but I think it is unfair to say that Driscoll thinks that only 1 man can shepherd because of the multi-site model. After all Driscoll started the Acts 29 church planting network that plants tons of churches that he is not the teaching pastor of. I think Dever, Driscoll and McDonald all share the same passion for church planting and raising up young pastors to shepherd their own flock.

  21. Dan says:

    I appreciated viewing this conversation. It was good to hear both positions argued. There was similar panel discussion held at SBTS and moderated by Al Mohler (, but it lasted nearly an hour and there was more territory covered. It was also genial and there was one representative from CHBC defending their position while the others all represented the multi-site position.
    To me it is not multi-site vs. single site. It is really how you do either one. Multi-site can be done well and single-site can be done well and both can be done badly. I know of one church that even advertises itself as a multi-site church (how trendy!). It could possibly be argued (to some degree) that all of Paul’s churches were multi-site churches and he was “pastor” of all of them — the major difference being that in Paul’s day there was no simulcasting of the message. My biggest concern about multi-site is that we could be creating a popularity cult, however, that doesn’t have to happen and that same risk occurs with the “senior pastor” model in a single site.
    I thank God for all three of these brothers and their zeal for God’s vineyard.

    1. Michael says:

      “It could possibly be argued (to some degree) that all of Paul’s churches were multi-site churches and he was “pastor” of all of them — the major difference being that in Paul’s day there was no simulcasting of the message.”

      Actually Paul was an apostle (church planter + traveling preacher + so much more)and he encouraged others to “appoint elders in every city as I directed you”. And what is the main difference in an elder and a deacon (and other members)? Elders must be “able to teach”. Therefore each church had teaching elders.

      I think multi-site is only Biblical if they each have their own pastors/elders. So you might have a West, East, etc campus but each has its own elders/deacons. Of course then you run into issues of Papism, etc. with the leader.

      1. Dan says:

        Yes, Paul was an apostle and he taught the appointment of teaching elders in each of the congregations. And yet, in some sense, don’t you think he felt a responsibility for the churches he planted that might be called “pastoral?” What did he mean when he appealed to the church in 1 Corinthians 4 when he likened himself to being their father, spiritually speaking? Certainly there are significant differences between Paul and Driscoll and MacDonald, but is it possible that what Driscoll and MacDonald are doing is somewhat analogous to what Paul did, i.e., shepherding (in some sense) several churches in a variety of locations? Some men think that Dever is an apostle (even though Dever would probably avoid the term) because he has been instrumental in the planting of so many churches. Ask the brothers who interned at CHBC and are now pastors and you will see that Dever certainly has his Timothys and Tituses.
        Again, my main point was that how multi-site is done is perhaps more the issue than whether multi-site is done. I think when you say, “I think multi-site is only Biblical if they each have their own pastors/elders” that you may agree with me on this.
        Grace and peace to you.

    2. henrybish says:

      The Apostle Paul instructed for his letter to be read in the churches – is this not similar to Driscoll having his sermons being preached in the churches? I’m sure Paul would have used video if he had it.

      1. henrybish says:

        Also, one major point I thought was missed is the giftedness of a particular preacher being the main reason for multi-site. If all the other elders were able to benefit the congregation through their preaching as much as Driscoll, why not use Driscoll to do the preaching bit?

        I would like to hear more from Dever though as I’m sure he has some good arguments but was not given a chance to say them.

    3. Michael says:

      I saw the debate at SBTS. Despite being gained upon, Greg Gilbert won that debate just as Mark Dever clearly won this debate.

  22. Bruce Russell says:

    Driscoll’s concept of preaching is defective. He doesn’t preach to the audience at all. He’s an introvert and doesn’t even look at the audience. He likes it that few people have access to him. He is indifferent to the fact that he is in person or in the video screen; In fact he thinks it is an advantage. This is an impersonal conception of preaching, and a far from the apostle Paul’s standard of “straining in childbirth” for particular people.

    1. Mike Garner says:

      Jonathan Edwards was far less personal than Driscoll.

      And just because he is impersonal in sermons doesn’t mean that he doesn’t labor with great intensity for particular people. We don’t really have examples of Paul preaching sermons to people in a church setting (at least not very many), so citing him as an example is a bit of a non-starter.

      I think the fact that in a multi-site setting, you can’t speak to the particular needs of the congregation might be a valid argument, but it certainly needs to be phrased better than this.

      1. David says:

        Surely, there are exceptions to rules/generals.

        Also, just because Edwards was amazing theologian/philosopher/intellectual doesn’t automatically mean he was an incredible pastor. But, if you assert that he was an incredible pastor, then tell me about his shepherding of his flock – thus putting your comment that Edwards was far less personal into question.

    2. lander says:

      Amazing God can use such a flawed and introverted vessel with a defective view of preaching. Kinda gives me hope.

      My view of preaching is not nearly as pure or mature as Chapel or Clowney, Piper or L-Jones. How bout yours?

      Driscoll does indeed preach TO an avid listening audience, in whopper-long biblical sermons. And many of the listeners take copious notes, read his books and other serious books, and attend deep training seminars, and win their friends to Christ and plant gobs of churches. Wish I had that kind of defect.

      Driscoll may not be lovey-dovey but he does understand the idol factory of the heart and the common struggles against sin in his listeners. He grasps the alien worldviews that vie for their affection.

      And he gets hammered by secularists in the media for taking biblical stands. I’d say that if that’s defective preaching, give us more defects.

      1. Bruce Russell says:


        The scripture is sharper than any two-edged sword, able to divide the soul and spirit. Driscoll has an impressive gift of utterance. Certainly some good is going to be done. But true preaching involves real-time reciprocity (Romans 1:11-12). The preacher proclaims the word to the flesh and blood situation of his hearers. It is prepared for and delivered to a tangible community that is named and loved. They are dependent on his labors; he is dependent on theirs. God speaks.


        1. lander says:

          Agreed. And Paul also had his letters read and circulated. Was that method “defective”?

          You assert that Driscoll’s “concept of preaching is defective”. Looks very effective to me–by God’s grace. Wish I could preach half as good Driscoll.

          And his books ain’t bad either. Check out “Doctrine”. A few folks who endorsed it found it helpful.

          1. Comparing Paul to multi-site is just silly. Paul didn’t write a new letter that was read every week in every church. Compared to the length of his ministry he wrote very seldom, and only to certain churches. He is more like a visiting preacher that comes around once every few years.

            1. lander says:


              Again, I agree with the thrust of you statement: “The preacher proclaims the word to the flesh and blood situation of his hearers.”

              Paul did that via the mail, in person, over dinner, pulling an all-nighter at UT (Univ. of Tyrannus). There is absolutely nothing preventing a pastor proclaiming the Word to the flesh and blood situation of his hearers via video.

              If the argument is that it cannot be done because he cannot adequately know their situation, then that argument must be applied to Dever as well, and any other pastor, whose church is 900.

              And Gabe, I’m pointing out the obvious: they read his letters to edify the church and he wasn’t physically present. Therefore, making it a LAW that a pastor must be physically onsite seems unwise.

  23. Richard says:

    With all due respect to Messrs. Driscoll and MacDonald, there were three men in that discussion. But only one gentleman.

    (Note: I only speak of this video. I appreciate all three and I’m sure they are all gentlemen in “real life”. Really.)

  24. Gavin Brown says:

    From what I’ve read and heard previously, I think Dever would also be concerned that the form of preaching (in this case, video) significantly affects the content. Ken Myers has been beating this drum for years, and it is worth noting that for good or ill, video preaching is received and processed differently than live preaching.

    That being said, my inner pragmatist really likes the idea of multi-site :)

  25. Jim Hathaway says:

    When I stop preaching I will have 100 people able to do what I am doing. That seems to be the argument given by Driscoll. He and McDonald lead a network that they are over (at least in the sense of being the lead preacher/nfluencer). Dever leads a single church of 900 that has started numerous autonomous churches. For Driscol too say Dever’s church is pastor driven and his is missional is irrational. I think to discuss goes south right at the start when Driscoll and McDoanald interrupt Dever’s theological foundation based on his understanding of ecclesia. Being talked over made it appear he was concede his strongest point. I think if he had time to expound that point the discussion might have gone differently. The others offered no clear

    1. lander says:

      They should have let Dever finish his point. True. Woulda saved a bunch of debate about their bad attitudes and need for humility (as if Dever and the rest of us don’t wrestle with pride too…).

      But they ALREADY knew what his point is. Dever asserts ekklesia demands 1 service per church. Any who listen to Dever/9 Marks already know that Dever is against what Keller, Driscoll, Piper and Macdonald do with multi-services/sites.

      So they cut to the chase. They assert that even if ekklesia means gathering and is a kind of controling metaphor, there is freedom to apply it in biblically responsible ways to further the mission.

  26. Jim Hathaway says:

    (Continued) The others offered no clear rebuttal to that point. Just a challenge. I wish that point had been discussed more extensively. Dever gives a theological foundation and it seems to me the others argue pragmatically only. (Note. sorry for the misprints in my previous post. It was sent unexpectedly before I checked it.)

  27. Gethin says:

    I think I learned more about the second thing seeing as Dever didn’t get much of a chance to speak on the issue.

  28. Ryan Rudolph says:

    I got a little upset with Driscoll and MacDonald because it came across as they were attacking Dever from the start, and the problem is that ALL three men are humble, listening, slow to answer men. So I’m asking myself, why are they so aggressively assertive (MacDonald particularly)when speaking to Dever.

    And my thinking is this: because Dever in his writing his aggressively assertive that multi-site is wrong. They have to be responding to something… so maybe lets not be too hard on the boys. Otherwise a very enjoyable chat.

    1. lander says:

      You got it. There has been a WHOLE boat load of critique coming from 9 Marks and rather confident assertions on audiaphora.

      I love 9 Marks! They helped save my bacon. Their implied correction of the young/stanley/warren models is needed.

  29. Danny Wright says:

    As I said before, I didn’t really enjoy this interaction as well, but yikes…are some men really ready to assess character based on a 10 minute video?

    I’ve given illustrations, used humor or sarcasm in a sermon before and didn’t realize until too late that it did not translate to the congregation in the way I intended. I think you have to allow that this video could be the same way.

  30. JMH says:

    Good gravy, you only have to get about a minute in to see who’s being the adult here. And that’s regardless of the merits. Dever has a lot more self-control than I would have.

    (BTW, I mostly like Driscoll and have no beef with MacDonald.)

  31. Reg Schofield says:

    MacDonald makes no sense when he calls for all his preaching etc… be stopped after his death. Does he mean his writing as well? This is foolish . I have benefited more from a slew of dead guys than many living . Plus I enjoy listening to Lloyd-Jones immensely.
    Plus I disagree with with Driscoll and MacDonald when they assert that Dever will have a harder time being replaced.Does Driscoll not think he has to a large degree , have many following him because of his larger than life personality? His personality is so present in his ministry that to replace that will be hard as well. That is not a knock but a fact. The local Church needs a flesh and blood pastor , not a jumbo tron. Those campuses or whatever they want to call them , if following a biblical framework , need a real flesh and blood person preaching there .
    For the record , I thought Dever asked great questions and was more prepared to use the word of God to back up his arguments.

    1. lander says:

      Macdonald’s wish that the Harvest churches and aging boomers not support some kind of ongoing video memorial is REFRESHING. Of course they’ll do it anyway–but he’ll be dead and won’t have care then.

      With his cancer-scare, he has obviously faced the reality of death. And I for one truly admire that he does not want them to build some kind of ongoing online memorial. What a humble attitude!

      Like he said “… he served his generation… then up and died”.

  32. Josh Gelatt says:

    The banter between the 3 men shouldn’t surprise or trouble us. Dever clearly loves these guys, and Driscoll’s “I beat you” comment seemed intended as good, clean fun.

    I do think perhaps he and MacDonald are naive to think that things will go well and good once Driscoll dies–at the same time I am not too troubled by people flocking to hear him preach. God has risen up great men throughout the history of the church (people flocked to hear Calvin and Luther, too. Spurgeon was mega-church before mega-church was cool).

    All in all, I would lean towards Dever’s view, but with an appreciative (yet concerned) eye towards Driscoll.

    1. Michael says:

      “people flocked to hear Calvin and Luther, too. Spurgeon was mega-church before mega-church was cool”

      I think the here issue is multi-site, particularly on video screens. Preaching and mega-churches are different issues, as some would consider Dever’s church a “mega-church.”

  33. David says:

    Table-talk will always entail a separate decorum from conference-speak.

  34. Andy Chance says:

    I can’t really add much to what others have said. It has to be admitted that MacDonald and Driscoll came off as jerks (I tried to think of a less harsh term, but I couldn’t).

    But I think we should ease up on them. Sometimes a person comes off differently on video from how they are in real life.

    1. Andy Chance says:

      I know that if you use the word “jerk,” that you’re in danger of being a jerk. But what else would you call it?

      1. Chuck says:

        I think it’s a really good word in this case.

        1. lander says:

          Perhaps. Other words might be “passionate” “convinced” or “hitting-back” (at the 9 Marks critque).

          1. Andy Chance says:

            I hesitated in my word choice for sure. And notice that I said they came off that way (even though I doubt they really are) and that we should cut them some slack.

            But “passionate,” “convinced,” and “hitting-back” are all compatible with being a jerk.

            “Gentle,” “kind,” “respectful,” “charitable,” and “polite” would all be things that should be evident in a Christian’s conduct. And they do not go along with being a jerk.

            I don’t really think Driscoll and MacDonald are jerks. I’ve benefited from their work, and I don’t even know them. They just seemed like jerks in the video.

            If they don’t see the video playback and cringe a little, then they might really be jerks. But I don’t think they are.

            Which is part of the irony. If all someone ever sees of a person is what they see in a video, and they do something jerk-like in the video, and people don’t get to see the rest of their life, then they might get the wrong impression of them.

            That’s one of the drawbacks of only seeing a person in a video.

  35. Brad Leake says:

    Depressing. Praise God for Mark Dever.

  36. Al Bennington says:

    I haven’t read all the comments so I don’t know if this has been brought up… one thing they didn’t talk about was the effect multi-site has on other local pastors who aren’t famous. for me it would discourage me beyond imagination if one of the big-time personalities set up a mulit-site right next door and drained away potential members or current congregants. feels like wal-mart destroying the local flavor.

    1. Gary says:

      Al, exactly right my friend. You asked the question I have always asked as well: Why does celebrity pastor X have to open up another site church, 2 blocks away from another church that is already faithfully preaching the gospel?

      1. Kevin P says:

        Garret, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head re: multi-site methodology. There is nothing new under the sun. What those who advocate multi-site are doing is aduplication of the parish approach to church expansion. The difference within evangelical churches is that these leaders are setting themselves up as bishops as opposed to some heiracheal ecclesiastical body. Fortunately with these two gentleman (MacDonald and Driscoll) there is a high level of trust based on their established body of work, however unfortunately, the root of their approach is based on the desire to control everything under them. I respect the stated desire to ensure that what they do is not centered on a form of devotion to them as individuals but lets not be naive, many people initially attend these churches based on ‘brand recognition’ (whether that be church name or lead pastor) and that is the approach of this post-modern approach multi-site church work.

      2. Stephen Uekert says:

        To Al and Gary who mentioned these famous pastors drawing away potential members. I thought we were all on the same team? Nothing bothers me more (and I speak as one who has had to fight hard to overcome this MINE mentality and still fail at it) than a pastor who is worried about someone “stealing his people”. They are God’s people. Not ours.

        Shouldn’t we be more happy to see someone leave our church and go to another rather than fall away completely or stay in a church where they aren’t growing and maturing in Christ?

        Craig Groechel said it best when he states that we must be Kingdom minding….and not OUR kingdom minded. I have spent many years being about my OWN kingdom and have watched underwhelmingly the results of that. However I am fighting hard to break those chains and be about the FATHERS Kingdom. With that in mind, it really doesn’t matter what church people go to (as long as it is Biblical of course) as long as they are in fact going and hearing the Word.

        And in most of our cases, in our communities, if every single seat in every single church was full there would still be THOUSANDS and in some cases hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people in those communities that still are out there to be reached.

        Let’s change our thinking to be more about HIS Kingdom, rather than our own gentlemen.

        1. Gary says:

          Yes, I agree. We should be about HIS kingdom. But when looking to plant another site, why not go into a part of the city that is lacking a church, as opposed to planting in an area that already has a good church (or churches)?

        2. Al Bennington says:

          You’re exactly right about the kingdom mentality that we should have. But it cuts both ways. I’m afraid the risk of building our own kingdom falls more squarely on those who are trying to spread their “brand” all over the city (and driscoll uses this vocabulary). We are all certainly on the same team. That’s why I would be concerned if a pastor would open up another site very close to an existing church because they know that their “brand” “sells” and it will guarantee immediate people. This is all hypothetical of course because I can’t point to any real life examples. I would be interested in hearing real life stories of how a new site either discouraged or encouraged an existing work close by. Then maybe I would be less skeptical. I am not arguing with church planting – I’m all for it. But I would want it to always be done with a kingdom mentality. I know there are enough lost people to go around, but again, I can’t help feeling like we’re at risk of creating the market-driven church equivalent of starbucks. That will smack of artificiality and territorial-ness, setting off the BS sensors of on-looking unbelievers and skeptics for miles around. I just want the question to be on the table – how does it affect existing works that are trying to be missional? Any testimonies?

  37. Garrett says:

    1. I can tell that Driscoll and MacDonald are clueless about Capitol Hill Baptist.
    2. Dever was never allowed an opportunity to engage well.
    3. When it comes to the Doctrine of the Church, there is no one better at that than Dever.
    4. The other two seem so desperate to keep Dever down.
    5. It appears that MacDonald and Driscoll don’t really seem interested in hearing from Dever because what they are doing is “working” and that appears to be the only reason to justify their argument.
    6. The whole multi-site situation seems very Anglican. They have many parishes and one bishop.

    1. Garrett says:


      I am not that familiar with MacDonald.

      I do enjoy Driscoll on many topics.

      Also, I do believe there is liberty to disagree about these things.

      1. Vivian says:

        Yes… who is this MacDonald fellow? Is he a pastor or a blogger?

    2. lander says:

      1. You assert that Driscoll and Macdonald are clueless about Dever and 9 Marks. They aren’t of course. They’re friends. They read his books. And then you say you’re familiar with Macdonald…

      2. Agree. But they do know his position which is well-known. This was like their response to his critique.

      3. Agree. But he’s not infallible. His position of letting a PCA pastor preach at CHBC but not take communion that same day is widely considered to be overly restrictive. And some think he ratchets down the application ekklesia to 1 serice per church to tightly. But, yes, for Baptists especially, he da man on polity and has Cambridge doc to prove it.

      4. Nah. Just trying to convince him to get his wrong principles out of the way so as to let his church grow. Dever should add a 2nd service…

      5. You missed it. They LOVE Dever. They read him and want his respect and input and blessing BECAUSE he is so knowlegeable on polity

      6. It’s “modified connectionalism” that will evolve into a bunch of churches–which is glorious and God-honoring.

      1. Garrett says:

        1. If they understood CHBC’s model, Driscoll wouldn’t have said something as stupid as “your pastor-centric” model.
        2.Is that how you excuse that?
        3. He is not infallible, but his understanding of how chuches have resembled this before is helpful.
        4. As soon as he started to engage about ekklesia, he was cut off.
        5.You missed the point that I was making about their argument from pragmatism.
        6.That is a cute distinction. If discipline takes place, I assume it looks very Anglican.

  38. CS says:

    So has every local church prior to the advent of video campuses been “pastor-centered” instead of “mission-centered”? And does the same hold true for every local church that is not large enough to go multi-site? And should smaller local churches use video of their pastor anyway to keep it in order to make it “mission-centered” instead of “pastor-centered”?

    1. CS says:

      **self-edit: remove “to keep it” from the final sentence. Oops.

    2. Garrett says:

      Great point. I agree, the “pastor-centered” comment was a great use of rhetoric and not good logic.

      You could tell Dever knew they were never going to allow him ample time to argue his point.

  39. Craig Hurst says:

    I appreciate Dever’s ministry but I was surprised he only preaches half the yr. on Sunday morning and none on Sunday night.

    1. Dan says:

      The pastor’s purpose is to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4) and that doesn’t happen if he monopolizes the pulpit.

  40. Andy Chance says:

    Maybe the Gospel Coalition should intentionally make these videos longer. I think it’s pastors who watch them mostly, and most pastors would appreciate an in-depth discussion of these things instead of ten minute clips. A moderator making sure that both sides speak to the issue might be helpful too.

  41. Interesting and intriguing. I am glad to hear Driscoll and MacDonald’s comments on their multi-site endeavors to be long-term church planting.

    I also very much appreciate Dever’s demeanor in this conversation.

  42. David says:

    I sympathize a bit with each position. The thing I am curious about is why these mission churches (campuses) don’t become particular churches as soon as the campus leadership is ready to take off the training wheels? I feel like that would help to give the church (broadly) in Seattle more staying power. There need to be different parts of the body that work together ecumenically. What is the point of a body that has five arms and no legs?

    All that said, I really appreciate Driscoll’s boldness and preaching. He has terrific content, I’m just curious about the long term strategy and how it will affect the church.

  43. Sam Byers says:

    What was interesting here is that the conversation focused so much more on preaching than ecclesiology per se. Dever is officially Baptist, but Driscoll and MacDonald are at least baptistic. So the question is this: do they all agree that the church is autonomous or not? Multi-site would be no problem (someone correct me if I’m wrong) for Presbyterians because in some ways you’ve just created a presbytery. But for Baptists (or baptistics), how autonomous is each campus. Driscoll said all their campuses have their own elders. Can they decide how much and when they want Driscoll streamed in? Do they decide what they want preached? How much freedom do they have? Complete freedom from the mother campus? And is this a neccessity? Is there sufficient evidence for city churches in Rome and Jerusalem that would account for various campuses in a region that are attended by the different elders, but function as one elder board and just different services?

    1. CS says:

      That’s a great question–what would happen if a Mars Hill campus (or any other multi-site offshoot, for that matter) felt that it was ready to be its own church, with its own preachers 100% of the time? I wonder how that would go over.

      1. lander says:

        It’d go over probably like all the other dozens upon dozens of ch. plants out of Acts 29: quite well.

        Do you assume Driscoll would resist it? He’s a church planting dynamo. I suspect he’d be happy to launch some more.

        1. CS says:

          No, I’m not assuming he’d resist it. I’m legitimately curious. I wonder if it’s happened before.

          1. lander says:

            It will happen. Stay tuned. Even Barney and Paul needed a time out from each other. And pray his elder team(s) get it right! It will surely happen at some point.

  44. Luke says:

    Some serious arrogance on display here.

    1. lander says:

      Sorry Luke, we can’t see where you are to evaluate whether there is “serious arrogance on display here”.

  45. JC says:

    I’m curious to know how far out this can extend in terms of the lifespan of the pastor. In other words, if streaming video (or delaying a week or two) is acceptable, is the next logical step then to have multi-site pastors recorded and played back to congregations for decades to come, even long after the pastor has left this earth?

    1. Greg Long says:

      That is a GREAT question, JC. Why wouldn’t you do that, given Driscoll’s ecclesiology, if it continue to bring people to Christ?

      1. JC says:

        Is this issue present in societies outside of the Western world?

        A friend of mine joked that this would be helpful for Chinese house church pastors. Normally, it’s the house church leader that gets arrested when the gov’t breaks up a house church. But, if he’s “virtual” and not physically present he won’t get arrested! We should spread the word…

      2. According to MacDonald, JC, it wouldn’t continue to bring people to Christ, because Driscoll’s clothes and illustrations would be stale.


  46. Douglas says:

    Watching Dever’s evident humility and godliness was so instructive for me. I probably would have become flustered, irritated, and snarky in the face of such interruption and arrogance. Praise God for giving us the opportunity to watch a godly man handle himself in a godly manner. I’m challenged.

  47. Billy R. says:

    “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” (Heb. 13:7)

    Is the multi-site virtual preacher (who is never actually on-site) enabling congregations to carry out this exhortation in good conscience?

    The same leaders are furthermore said to be the ones who are “keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Heb. 13:17)

    Is the congregation obligated to submit in any tangible way to the virtual preacher? If not, why not?

    1. lander says:

      Your valid concern applies to ALL large churches–including Dever who preaches 25-30 times to a church of 900, and also to Piper, Keller, etc.

      Could it be that healthy, sound churches can deploy small group leaders to embody Heb. 13.7; 17? Even a pastor of a small-ish church cannot completely fulfill the intent of these verses.

      And do you assume these verses are not being lived out at Mars Hill and Harvest?

      1. Billy R. says:


        Thanks for your interaction.

        It seems that this verse requires teaching shepherds that are recognized by the flock. The congregation is told to look to, imitate, and submit to, these specific men whom God will hold accountable for the way they care for and nourish the flock.

        It seems to me that only a group of elders who are living among and daily caring for the flock can fulfill the intent of these verses. God help the man who is content to be held accountable for a congregation he has never met.

        1. lander says:

          I agree. The shepherd metaphor is coast-to-coast, cover-to-cover.

          But elders delegate much care to deacons in the NT. Good care sometimes yields healthy, reproducing sheep. And this necessitates pastoral ‘systems’ of discipleship and care that broaden the circle of who provides it (e.g., small groups, classes, etc.).

          I think the core leaders at Mars Hill do indeed look to their elders who guide, guard and grow the flock as examples.

          Your last sentence is, ah, well a bit gloomy. It implies that only pastors/elders of small churches where everyone is hands-on-shephereded by an elder will pass the test that’s coming. I hope that is not true for Spurgeon’s, Dever’s, Boice, Ryken’s, Piper’s, Driscoll’s and Keller’s sake. In truth, I believe it to be not true of many pastors like these men who pastor large-ish churches

          1. Billy R. says:


            I would not only imply, but explicitly state (I think with Scripture) that regardless of the size of the church, there should be sufficient pastor/elders to hands-on shepherd every member. Nothing leads me to beleive this is an unreasonable expectation for churches of any size. And I have seen it first-hand at Dever’s church.

            My friend I do think that the biblical warning is meant to be gloomy when a biblical admonition is neglected.

            1. lander says:

              Even Witmer in his seminal work on shepherding encourages delegation by elders to deacons.

              A 900 attendee CHBC, and a 12-1 ratio of pastor/elder to sheep, yields 75 pastor/elders. A bit unwieldy.

              But maybe we mean different things by “hands-on shepherd”.

            2. Billy R. says:

              “But maybe we mean different things by “hands-on shepherd”.”

              How about knowing their names for starters?

  48. Andrew says:

    Driscoll and MacDonald are so full of themselves I’m surprised Dever could even fit in the studio.

  49. Daryl says:

    Full disclosure: I had (and still have) more respect for Dever than the other 2 guys, going in to this.

    That said, they did almost as much as Dever did to convince me that multi-site churches are a mistake.

    Clearly they don’t respect the smaller (read in, realistic) churches as they should, and how they don’t see that they are building a cult of personality is beyond me.

    I couldn’t help but notice that they 2 amigos we all about extending their influence for the gospel, while Dever seemed to be all about extending the influence of the gospel through all available preachers.

    They talk about how they aren’t replaced when they die. Baloney. They still have the church (as Mark Dever does) in which they actually preach/pastor, to consider. It’s just that they also have all those other ones to consider.

    Did everyone else notice that Mark Driscoll’s issue with old video was the out-datedness of how it would look. (Might that be related to how dated he already is because he tries so hard to be up-to date and relevant?) and Macdonald seems to think (at least it appeared this way) that it’s his presence on the globe, that gives meaning to his messages?

    Dever wins…and the beauty is, he wasn’t trying to win anything.

    1. lander says:

      So your presupposition was validated.

      They said nothing to disrespect churches.

      Driscoll ure is training more pastors and preachers than any pastor connected to the Gospel Coalition. He is motivated to influence his city and the nations with gospel. To assert otherwise is to criticize him without knowledge.

      Driscoll’s succession plan is well-conceived. He is not building a giant empire campus with a massive sanctuary. The pastors onsite are bonded and do lead and they will continue to do so if he gets run over tomorrow. The main campus will go thru the same process any other church does–with one exception. It is possible that a satellite pastor could take the main campus church and very quickly move forward.

      The point is: CHBC has the freedom to do their thing. Why does Mars Hill not have that same freedom?

      1. telos104 says:

        Listen to/watch the video again and you’ll see the answer to your last question.

      2. Andy says:

        Lander, brother, I applaud your zeal, but want to caution you that an aggressive/argumentative tone toward your brothers and sisters here may be detrimental to your case.

        1. lander says:

          Thanks. I’m working hard to not be argumentative and focus on issues to make guys think about what they’re saying about brothers. But I guess I’m not being very successful.

          People feel they have a right to just whack Driscoll on the left and right. That bothers me. Read some of the comments on the other string and you’ll see what I mean.

          It is an injustice when good men get whacked by brothers and no one stands up to them. There is canabalism among conservatives that must be opposed: “we struggle not against bible believing evangelicals with a different model but against…”

          I love all 3 guys in the video and have benefited from them and the Gospel Coaltion (of which all 3 are leaders). It’s my tribe. So sorry if my inner defense attorney was on. It is not a habit (I rarely post on anything anywhere–too busy) but I had a day off and went for it.

          Not that it matters, but, I pastor a medium size 1 service church not connected to any of the guys in the video, have planted, and worked in mega-land too. Been there done that. Got the scares to prove it.

          I don’t ‘know’ any of the guys in the video and they don’t need me to speak for them. I just love the kingdom advancing thru all 3…

          And I hate to see the Gospel Coalition site get narrowed down to: “the Bible demands 1 service if you disagree your a pragmatist like Osteen” and “shame on you” and “ecclesiastical murder”, [etc.
          all comments on this site–kinda scary].

          1. James says:

            Lander I think the majority of people criticizing Mcdonald and Driscoll actually agree with your view of multisite being o.k. It is just that people disagree with their attitude about it.

    2. Daryl says:


      It seems to me that Driscoll talking about letting the weaker preachers preach to the site with people in the hundreds, and the better ones preach to the sites with people in the thousands, is saying something about his what he thinks about smaller churches and the importance of their pastors.
      Like better preachers ought to have a bigger stage and not be stuck in a back-water somewhere.

      I’m in such a back-water. I think God for the preaching in our church. Maybe that’s why the comment bugged me. He seemed to want to “reward” good preachers with bigger crowds, as if that had anything to do with anything.

      I don’t see anyone saying Mars Hill can’t do what they want…

      My guess (as someone else mentioned) is that both men really want Dever’s approval and Dever really isn’t interested in that.

      That may not be true, but it sure comes off that way.

  50. Victor says:

    Dricoll and McDonald essetially told Dever “Yea your a smart guy, but our churches are bigger than yours is, so we are better than you. Lets not talk about the Biblical case for and against multisite, rather let us talk about numbers and what seems to work.”

    God bless Mark Driscoll, but for him to say that he is “an introvert”, especially in the pulpit, is silly. I laughed out loud when he said that.

    1. lander says:

      I actually am not surprised at all that he’s an introvert out of the pulpit.

      I’ve worked with national level preacher-types. What they do exhausts them. They retreate to refuel in study and prayer (hopefully). Some do not get energy with people, they get drained. So they delegate “care” and focus on what they’re good at: preaching, doctrine and vision.

      It appears that Piper is an introvert out of the pulpit. He likes books, poetry, writing and board games with his family. He’s not out on the golf course with the guys or yucking it up in the locker room or enjoying his hospital visitation route every day.

      I think Driscoll is unique. He’s like one of God’s sledge hammers to wake up a generation headed for liberalism and/or hell. In doing so, he gets flak from the lefty media and conservatives who post hard comments on his character on boards like these.

      I feel for the guy and think he’s exerting an amazing amount of God-centered effort in a very difficult job.

      1. Victor says:

        I agree with everything you just wrote. It’s just that Driscoll’s errors are related to his personality and they are always public, which draws attention to him and not to his sound teaching.

        1. lander says:

          Yup. Let’s pause and pray for him.

    2. Gary says:

      I’m not a pastor.

      Isn’t the dirty secret that when pastors get together, the thing they all ask each other is “how many you runnin these days?”

  51. Kim says:

    MacDonald and Driscoll were dumb and rude. Dever was a gentleman and didn’t brag at all.

  52. Dan says:

    It will be interesting to see over time not only how many people come in to a multi-site church, but also how many leave. Of course, this could be said for single-site churches, too (see Exit Interviews by Hendricks). Jesus said he wants our fruit to remain (John 15:16). I’m really glad for the numbers of people who seem to be coming to Christ through healthy churches — whether multi- or single-site. I’ll be even more glad to see fruit that remains.
    Do you think that the model of church (multi- vs. single-site) has any impact on long-term fruitfulness? Does discipleship happen better in one model over the other model? If evangelism happens better in multi-site, is that because there are some characteristics of multi-site that God wills to use more than characteristics of single-site? What factors most contribute to long-term fruitfulness in a church?

  53. Preacherkip says:

    What I find funny with this video is that it seems less that it’s a discussion and more like MacDonald and Driscoll trying to defend themselves against a view that they assume, and they won’t even let Dever have a moment to explain his point. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with multi-campus, but for crying out loud can we stop trying to justify this on the basis of pragmatism. If it’s alright to do, then at least come from the Scripture!

  54. Gunner says:

    It’s encouraging to see a man of Dever’s intellectual pedigree and pastoral stature ask good questions, consistently acknowledge areas of agreement, listen well throughout the discussion, and change his perspective when information was corrected. At the same time, he clearly has reasons, both scriptural and pragmatic, for what he believes, and did not back down from those (even though he didn’t have time to express them except through questions). Good friends who’ve participated in the internship at CHBC have said these exact things about him. This is not to say anything negative about Driscoll and McDonald who are preaching the same gospel and are being used by God and should be honored for many reasons as well. But clearly Dever ought to be commended for his example in these areas in this particular discussion. And once you move past the dynamics of the discussion, the content is instructive, too.

  55. John says:

    Since when did egotism become a gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Seems like 2 of the 3 of these guys should review this other Gospel Coalition video…

  56. Gunner says:

    On second glance, one of the more telling instances of the video is the 1:00 mark when Dever begins to give the reasons for his position. As he begins to argue from the meaning of “ekklesia,” he touches his left pinkie with his right hand, signaling that he’s about to give a handful of reasons, reasons which he doesn’t get to express. Maybe these TGC dialogues (on the more spunky topics) should have a moderator like the “Evening of Eschatology.” Then again, that might dampen down the personalities, which can be as instructive as the topics themselves.

    1. Scott Cline says:

      I’m quite disappointed in the GC for not giving us Dever’s other fingers, as it were.

  57. wes says:

    It’s funny that driscoll questions dever’s definition of ekklesia. When dever says that it means assembly, driscoll says, “according to…?”

    According to your own book on Doctrine (pg. 308).

    1. Scott Cline says:

      I thought the same.

  58. John C says:


    Driscoll is blind enought to call CHBC a “pastor-centric” model.

    Ha ha.

  59. Tony says:

    To all of those who feel that MacDonald is coming off strong or arrogant…watch this:

    Grace Through the Humble To the Humble: MacDonald and Mahaney

  60. Scott Cline says:

    GC should start hosting these discussions in a college dorm room if they’re going to let Driscoll play the freshman theologue.

    “Says who. Says who. Says who. Says who…”

    And Driscoll seems to rub off on MacDonald whenever they’re together… this being the most blatant example I’ve seen…it’s embarrassing.

    Anybody ever contemplate the possibility that shepherding is a total package? That he who lives among the flock, lives before the flock, knows the flock, serves the flock, counsels the flock, sorrows with the flock, rejoices with the flock…is he who teaches the flock?

    Driscoll (et al.) is godfathering a kind of care that belongs to another church’s shepherds.

    Besides, who wants to stand before God accountable for sheep you never shepherd? Yikes.

    And what’s with MacDonald’s “influence” in other cities? Influence among whom? Christians! That’s church planting?

    Anyway, the main thing about Driscoll is that Driscoll is the main thing.

    Bugs bunny took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

    1. James says:

      Very funny Scott, I agree with your thoughts entirely.

    2. lander says:

      Scott – You guys do 3 services at Vanguard, right? Maybe I got the the wrong guy…

      1. Scott Cline says:


        Sorry, I’m not the Scott Cline of CO Springs and have no affiliation with that church.

  61. Chuck says:

    I thought this was a very interesting chat and video. I have heard MacDonald in person on various occasions. I have always thought that if he was running a corporation, which I believe he could no-doubt do, he would be a ruthless boss. I have also heard Driscoll speak in person on various occasions. I chuckled when he called himself an introvert because I always felt he was trying to engage the audience with his stand-up comedy routine/preaching. I would have like to have heard the conversation without the constant interruption of Dever. If you are going to listen to preaching from the big screen why not just stay home and watch TV?

    1. Gary says:

      Chuck, I echo the question you ask in your last sentence.

  62. Tim says:

    I can’t believe he said, “I just beat you.” The hubris is astonishing.

  63. Rob says:

    I think I heard MacDonald say that he takes guys that he “mentors” who are just getting into preaching and sends them to the multi-site with 200-300 & the more experienced to the 2000-3000 size multi-site. He calls the former guy the “9th grade preaching” guy. Is this to say the 200-300 are only worth 9th grade preaching – that significance is determined by quantity?

    I think the Puritans were working too hard for all those years . . .

    I also can’t get past that Jesus only took small crowds and only focused on 12; that Paul would appoint elders in every city, for them to rule – not just wait for another letter; that Peter tells elders to shepherd their flock, not shepherd another flock to placate the vision of a self-confessed introvert, nor be an organizer for an absentee-shepherd.

    Preaching is feeding – the local shepherd should preach.

  64. JR says:

    My oh my. Come on Justin…I have tons of respect for you…why set up the video the way you did this way??

    Seriously…are we really going to let Mark Dever off that easy? I love the guy…his books are amazing and helpful…but he’s the same guy who won’t even let an Acts 29 or Resurgence booth SHOW UP at T4G. Ironic, don’t you think? Together for the Gospel…mostly?

    Let’s be honest…with the flood of (unprovoked) vitriolic writing coming out of the 9Marks camp against Mark Driscoll and multi-site model, I’d say M. Dever absolutely already set the tone for this meeting before it even started. He’s the one that’s made it such a lightning-rod issue. And Driscoll was gracious enough to smile, laugh, joke around with him, and honor him, rather than call him to repent (lol). Why not have a little fun.

    I think the reason he was slow to speak was that he realized how weak his arguments really were. And I thought the Sunday School comment was hilarious…he’s not even consistant with his own position!

    Hilarious interchange, great to see grown men engaging, joking, discussing. Probably went out and had lunch afterwards and haven’t thought a thing about it since. We’d do well to do the same. Everybody take a deep breath and move on…

    1. Greg Long says:

      Wow, “flood of (unprovoked) vitriolic writing coming out of the 9Marks camp against Mark Driscoll and the multi-site model”??? Can you give me an example of such vitriolic writing?

      I guess I wouldn’t think it vitriolic to allow individuals to argue against your position in the same e-journal, as 9Marks did when discussing this issue.

    2. John says:

      If you think Dever was silent because his arguments are weak, then you don’t know Dever. There is a lot more behind the scenes decisions you obviously are ignorant of to make the comment about T4G. You forget that there are others involved in that group.

      Not to mention, 9marks is not writing “vitriolic” peices againts Driscoll. In fact he allowed others like Chandler and J.D. Greer to present the other side.

      What are you talking about? Seriously. Did you read the same ejournal everyone else did? You should retract that comment.

      That’s a nice way to slander Dever and he did deserve that from you.

      Not cool.

    3. Matt says:

      JR, with all do respect, brother, if you were actually impressed by the Sunday School comment and think it exposed an inconsistency in Dever’s position, then you clearly don’t understand Dever’s position.

      He is a Baptist, which among other things means that children aren’t members of his church. A gathering of children isn’t a gathering of members, and therefore isn’t a gathering of the church.

      1. John says:

        I agree with Matt on that.

      2. Scott Cline says:

        Dittos, Matt. Although I’m not personally a fan of age-segregation, I would agree Sunday School involving younger children does not split up the assembly. They are not part of the assembly.

    4. Scott Cline says:


      Your criticism of Dever’s refusal to give A29 a slot in T4G–that he is adding a “mostly” to what you think is meant by “T4G”–is incredibly naïve.

      Has T4G leadership ever invited an Arminian to speak? Or one who rejects MacArthur’s articulation of Lordship salvation? Or a Dispensationalist? Or a Fundamentalist?

      There are many, many brothers with whom we could be “together for the gospel” who are not welcome to speak (or be officially repped) at the conference of that name.

      And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Of course it is the organizers’ prerogative to delineate a doctrinal and practical circle in which officially public participants must reside.

      I was about to mention that we all do that.
      More accurately, we SHOULD all do that.

      So, if “T4G” means, “the gospel is the only required arena of fellowship for any kind of participation in this conference,” then it’s a misnomer and should be identified as such.
      But, if “T4G” means, “the gospel is the most important thing on that list of things which bind together participants, even though that list includes many things implied in practice but not articulated in name,” then it’s a fine name.

  65. Andy Chance says:

    I was one who was initially critical of Driscoll and MacDonald. But I think this has been blown a little bit out of proportion, and I’m sorry for playing any part in that.

    1. Richard says:

      I’m with Andy. I still think they were out of line but this discussion is out of all proportion. Forgive, forget, and move on.

  66. Matt says:

    Just in case anyone is still reading these comments, I found the revised version of this article to be even more clarifying and helpful than the original:“church”

  67. Brian says:

    I’ve greatly respected each of these guys, however, Driscoll and MacDonald seemed so defensive. Some of their arguments were not logical. Multisite with video projection do NOT make the church more about them? Really? Driscoll preaches 75% of the time. That certainly seems to make each of those campuses alot about Driscoll. Is there biblical support for this? No, but they seemed to be down on Dever because he didn’t have multi-site. This was an insightful discussion that made me re-evaluate the “humility” that I thought I saw in Driscoll and MacDonald. Why build multi-sites when church planting will do? That is the question on the table?

  68. Amiller says:

    Multi-site is a great way to get a bigger house:

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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