9Marks Churches

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9Marks Churches

Postby Joseph Patrick » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:16 pm

From Joseph Patrick...aka Gerry Milligan

I have just received an e-mail from a former colleague in the Arabian Peninsula who said David Platt was "very involved" with 9Marks churches. I have tried a google search and am not that clear on what 9Marks churches are all about. This friend intimated something less than wholesome. Me? I'm so technologically challenged that I am not sure what I discovered. Could some of you assist me?

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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby William Thornton » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:36 am

One of the networks of loosely affiliated mostly, perhaps all, Calvinistic churches across denominational lines...criticized for heavyhandedness concerning church membership and the practice of church discipline. Platt's church is listed as part of the network. Popular and influential pastor Mark Dever is honcho.

Resources:

http://www.9marks.org official site

Image for criticism

The 9m church on Dubai is at the center of some criticism.

I have no personal experience with any 9m church or pastor.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:56 am

Seems to be that Dever is one of those pastors that I think of as a conservative neo-presbyterian. He is into the Board of Elders model for church governance and, as William has said, a conservative Calvinist. I looked up affiliated churches online here in Iowa. Most of them I'd never heard of but those I have were all Calvinist/Reformed.

I'd never heard of this group before this thread.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Haruo » Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:39 pm

We went to a wedding of an Esperantist in Enumclaw, WA, last weekend, held in Calvary Presbyterian Church. My guess is the (interim) pastor who officiated is a rather conservative Presbyterian, but what I'm wondering is whether the Baptist Church kitty-corner from the Presbys--Sovereign Grace Baptist--might be a 9Marks church, or are Baptists too different to be welcome in that outfit?
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:31 pm

Ed: Hauro, when you write 'I'm wondering is whether the Baptist Church kitty-corner from the Presbys--Sovereign Grace Baptist--might be a 9Marks church, or are Baptists too different to be welcome in that outfit?"

I am wondering which Baptist you are wondering about, independents, Southern, ABC-USA, or any one of the several predominantly black brands with in the denomination.

If you listen closely to Dever you hear him always referring to pastors as "He or Him". So hopefully that is not an ABC-USA congregation. I am 99.999% sure it is not CBF. :wink:

To me the "9 marks" are good but I have some serious disagreement with the organizations (Dever's) definition of some things in those marks. Gender of pastors being only, Elder rule and TULIP theology are others.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Haruo » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:22 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: Hauro, when you write 'I'm wondering is whether the Baptist Church kitty-corner from the Presbys--Sovereign Grace Baptist--might be a 9Marks church, or are Baptists too different to be welcome in that outfit?"

I am wondering which Baptist you are wondering about, independents, Southern, ABC-USA, or any one of the several predominantly black brands with in the denomination.

If you listen closely to Dever you hear him always referring to pastors as "He or Him". So hopefully that is not an ABC-USA congregation. I am 99.999% sure it is not CBF. :wink:

To me the "9 marks" are good but I have some serious disagreement with the organizations (Dever's) definition of some things in those marks. Gender of pastors being only, Elder rule and TULIP theology are others.

I just meant whether the typical Baptist view of the meaning and mode of baptism--views which I think hold true across Calvinistic/Arminian lines, and are likely to be held more strongly by the conservative wing than the liberal one, would be a bar to full fellowship with the 9Marks folks. I'm pretty sure Sovereign Grace BC in Enumclaw is affiliated with a Reformed Baptist denominational group.

As for the gender of pastors bit, that was one point I listened for in Driscoll's remarks in another thread. Listening to his use of "man/men" and trying to discern when he meant "male human(s)" from when he meant "human being(s)" of whatever gender. Pretty sure that when he thanked the "men" who filled his pulpit while he was on vacation he meant "males", but there were a couple other places in the remarks where it was less certain, and where the two readings might palpably affect his perceived meaning.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:49 am

Ed Pettibone wrote:If you listen closely to Dever you hear him always referring to pastors as "He or Him". So hopefully that is not an ABC-USA congregation. I am 99.999% sure it is not CBF.


If you're referring to Mark Dever's church, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, it is SBC. I've visited there once, and have read several of his books. His "9Marks", not specifically reformed, are his definition of a "healthy church" and they are 1)expositional preaching, 2)Biblical theology, 3)Biblical understanding of the gospel, 4)Biblical understanding of conversion, 5)Biblical understanding of evangelism, 6) Biblical undersanding of membership, 7)Biblical church discipline, 8)Promotion of Christian discipleship and growth, and 9)BIblical understanding of church leadership. From reading some of his work, what it boils down to is an attempt to separate BIblical theology and practice from church tradition.

Here's a well known quote of his:

"If you have no interest in actually committing yourself to an actual group of gospel-believing, Bible-teaching Christians, you might question whether you belong to the body of Christ at all!”

Not sure if that's a definitive statement, but it gives you an idea of where he is coming from. When he went to Capitol Hill Baptist, it was an aging, declining congregation of about 100 people. They have about 800 on Sunday morning now, and they are involved in a variation of a "church planting" ministry, in that they have helped several other declining churches in and around Washington with revitalization efforts.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:01 am

Translation from Fundie speak into English, "If you don't belong to my kind of church you may not be a Christian at all."

Sandy when I was hunting for churches with membership in his group all I came across were Calvinist/Reformed churches.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Haruo » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:21 am

Sandy wrote:... Mark Dever's church, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, ... is SBC.

Okay, that answers my question about whether they would think Baptists too eccentric.
Sandy wrote: His "9Marks", not specifically reformed, are his definition of a "healthy church" and they are 1)expositional preaching, 2)Biblical theology, 3)Biblical understanding of the gospel, 4)Biblical understanding of conversion, 5)Biblical understanding of evangelism, 6) Biblical undersanding of membership, 7)Biblical church discipline, 8)Promotion of Christian discipleship and growth, and 9)BIblical understanding of church leadership. From reading some of his work, what it boils down to is an attempt to separate BIblical theology and practice from church tradition.

Thanks for listing those, Sandy. I knew nothing of this movement prior to this thread, at least nothing I recalled (I'd seen Devers' name before but didn't even know he was Baptist. I think my seeing his name previously was probably in connection with Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll, which probably holds to a similar view of a "healthy church" (and is now struggling with the possibility that they are not as "healthy" as they thought they were).
Sandy wrote:Here's a well known quote of his:

"If you have no interest in actually committing yourself to an actual group of gospel-believing, Bible-teaching Christians, you might question whether you belong to the body of Christ at all!”

Sounds a bit arrogant, and like a backhanded way of getting around one of Jesus' famous sayings, but I suppose he means it kindly, hoping it will scare the occasional lucky heretic into his fold.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:52 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:Translation from Fundie speak into English, "If you don't belong to my kind of church you may not be a Christian at all."

Sandy when I was hunting for churches with membership in his group all I came across were Calvinist/Reformed churches.


Well, I don't know what being in his "network" means except that a church has made a commitment to follow the 9 marks. I'm not sure how specific they are on details of each of those points. On the Texas list, I see a lot of churches that I can identify as not being reformed, including several that are at least dually affiliated with CBF. The ones I see in my area here in Pennsylvania are a mix of independent Bible churches, which are elder ruled, but not necessarily Reformed, Baptist churches that belong to GARBC, non-denominational congregations, PCA and EPC, a couple of SBC churches, and some CMA and ABC-USA congregations.

It's hard to tell the nature of a church from a single visit, but I wouldn't say, by the appearance of the congregation at Capitol Hill, or looking at Dever's educational background, and having read a couple of his works, that he could be identified as "fundamentalist" in any sense of the word. You're not going to grow a Southern Baptist church, and from their website, a clearly identifiable and highly committed SBC congregation, in a neighborhood like Capitol Hill in the center of Washington, DC, by being "fundamentalist." And this is a relatively young congregation, quite diverse.

I would guess that in a city like Washington, in a ministry in the heart of a neighborhood like Capitol Hill, you would encounter a lot of people with a Christian background that have become disconnected from a church. I think what Dever is doing is calling people like that to accountability, and pointing out that it is difficult, if not impossible, to be Christian and not want to be part of the body of the one whom you claim is your savior.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:04 pm

Sandy,

I'm forgetting you and I have different definitions of what constitutes "fundamentalists." In my book if the pastor is an inerrantist then he is a fundamentalist. That probably doesn't fit your definition.

The quote you gave, "If you have no interest in actually committing yourself to an actual group of gospel-believing, Bible-teaching Christians, you might question whether you belong to the body of Christ at all!” sets all kinds of alarms and red flags off for me because of code wording that it is employed.

What other kind of Christians are there other than "gospel-believing and Bible teaching." ? None that I'm aware of. However this is usual far right Christian speak for the following syllogism.

Premise one - If you don't follow the Bible you aren't a Christian.
Premise two - I have THE right interpretation of scripture.
Therefore - if you don't follow me (or my group, or my understanding of the Bible) you aren't a Christian.

I hear it all the time out of Christians who make their interpretation of the Bible THE one way to read and follow it.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:07 pm

I would say that belief in inerrancy is probably the main point that defines "conservative" but not "fundamentalist." Fundamentalists self-identify, with a lot of specific detail of interpretation that differs from conservative theology on many points. After reading some of his work, I'd say Dever probably does define "Bible believing" with "inerrancy," but I'd say that's the practical theology of a majority of Christians, and particularly of the younger seeker group to which Dever's church appeals. They're not so much setting themselves in opposition to others, as they are defining themselves. And it appears to be working.

Maybe William has some observations regarding Dever's position within the SBC, but they don't appear to have been drawn into the Calvinism vs. Non-Calvinist debate. They are pretty supportive, and actively involved in the SBC. The first one of his books I picked up was at a book signing in the bookstore area of the SBC in Indianapolis. But I'm not convinced that, outside of a few bloggers, there's really all that much to it.

I don't see the Sovereign Grace Baptist Church that Haruo mentioned on the list in Washington state, though I see quite a few Baptist churches.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby William Thornton » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:04 am

Dever is very influential with the Calvinist crowd' particularly younger ones. 9M stance on church membership and discipline is controversial in some quarters because it is considered abusive.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:14 am

William Thornton wrote:Dever is very influential with the Calvinist crowd' particularly younger ones. 9M stance on church membership and discipline is controversial in some quarters because it is considered abusive.


What gets my attention is the word "biblical" in every line. It is nowhere defined. Sounds a little like the folks who refer to "biblical marriage" without telling you the exclude most of the marriages of the Old Testament. The devil is in the details.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:32 am

After reading a couple of his books, I'd say that his definition of "Biblical" is that church order and practices should be based on what is found in the Bible, and not in church tradition. For example, their churches are "elder led" so they have elders involved in leading the church's ministries, included and ordained as one group, including pastors and associates who are vocational. Use of the term "biblical" is definitive. "Where the scripture speaks, we speak; where they are silent, we are silent."

The church website notes that their Sunday morning worship service begins at 10:30 and concludes at 12:45, with a sermon lasting an hour. That's definitely a Reformed perspective on both worship and the place of the sermon in it.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Haruo » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:03 am

Were any of the apostles baptized?
[silence]
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:54 pm

Haruo wrote:Were any of the apostles baptized?
[silence]
Where I can find a proof text, I speak; where I can't, I am silent.


No silence on that issue though, since Jesus himself was.

These things go hand in hand. Notice that expository preaching is also one of the 9 marks. Maybe that's why they have an hour long sermon. Lots of content and corroboration in those messages.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:27 pm

When a sermon is an hour long, it's often more suppository that expository.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Neil Heath » Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:55 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:When a sermon is an hour long, it's often more suppository that expository.

Best thing I've read all day!

Never will I sit thru hour-long sermons. I've had two pastors who could say more in 12-15 minutes than many say in an hour.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Mrs Haruo » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:12 pm

The Nazarene churches I attended when I lived in California tended to feature a lot of singing and short sermons. At one church we had an interim pastor who was retired from the seminary near San Francisco. He had come from the oil country in the Central Valley and said "I always told my students: "If you don't hit pay dirt in 20 minutes, STOP BORING!"
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:42 pm

Sandy wrote:I would say that belief in inerrancy is probably the main point that defines "conservative" but not "fundamentalist."


Yes, I think there is the difference in our definitions. I won't belabor the point. But pretty much only inerrantists think that their views aren't fundamentalism. Everyone else tends to see inerrancy as the dividing line between fundamentalism and conservative Christianity. And the SBC saw it that way before the takeover.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:12 pm

The SBC terminology that I've always been familiar with is "conservative," including those who believe in inerrancy and infallibility, "moderate" who were the theological conservatives who accepted inerrancy but didn't think everyone in the SBC needed to, and "liberal" for those who didn't accept inerrancy, and didn't accept the text of the scripture as infallible or authoritative.

If inerrancy is equal to "fundamentalism," then "Fundamentalists," by that definition, constitute the vast majority of non-Catholic Christians in the world, and in the US. But there are few others who use the term that broadly. That is the equivalent of calling all non-inerrantists "liberals."

Virtually all conservative Evangelical denominations hold to inerrancy, and put it in their faith statement as a high priority. And few of them would self-identify as Fundamentalist, or would be identified that way.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:19 pm

Sandy wrote:The SBC terminology that I've always been familiar with is "conservative," including those who believe in inerrancy and infallibility, "moderate" who were the theological conservatives who accepted inerrancy but didn't think everyone in the SBC needed to, and "liberal" for those who didn't accept inerrancy, and didn't accept the text of the scripture as infallible or authoritative.


You conflated some things here Sandy. Inerrant, infallible, and authoritative are three different things and neither inerrancy or infallibility is necessary to believe the Bible is authoritative. No one in the SBC ever said the Bible wasn't authoritative.

But I think we've gotten side tracked. 9Marks leader is clearly a Calvinist. Apparently some of the churches in his 9Marks group may not be. But there isn't surely a doubt that is Dever is part SBC's new Calvinist wing.

The nine marks aren't bad. But just strike me as oddball or semi-redundant or even semi-condecending. Almost everyone of them includes the word "Biblical" as if other Christian's exposition, sharing of the goodnews, evangelism, may or may not be Biblical? Also his insistence of using the term "expositional" when the more usual term for the same thing is expository seems a bit odd. Bu,t the wording makes the group sound sectarian.

The group is apparently opposed to the social elements of the gospel denying their existence. http://www.9marks.org/answers/what-are- ... are-gospel . That's pretty shaky ground theologically when Jesus made meeting the needs of the "least of these" one of the requirements of the kingdom.

Also the site contains this argument for moving from historic Baptist practice to a board of Elders http://www.9marks.org/journal/moving-de ... led-church . Frankly, even as a former Baptist this is just weird. If you want to be Presbyterians by all means become Prebysterians but why adopt a conservative Presbyterian Calvinst theology and polity and still call yourself a Baptist? Beats me. When my theology became Weslyean I didn't try to convert my church to Methodism.

I honestly don't understand the value of such parachurch organizations for churches that are in a denomination. The SBC has plenty of resources for local churches without these kind of groups.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Haruo » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:20 pm

Sandy wrote:
Haruo wrote:Were any of the apostles baptized?
[silence]
Where I can find a proof text, I speak; where I can't, I am silent.


No silence on that issue though, since Jesus himself was.

These things go hand in hand. Notice that expository preaching is also one of the 9 marks. Maybe that's why they have an hour long sermon. Lots of content and corroboration in those messages.

I don't think the fact that Jesus was baptized has any bearing on the question of whether the apostles were baptized. On the latter point as far as I know the scriptures are silent. There's lots of stuff about Jesus' baptism, and a fair amount about apostles baptizing others (and about Jesus telling them to do so), but as for Peter, Paul, Thaddeus, or even Judas Iscariot having been baptized, I don't see it there. Citation?
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:31 pm

Haruo wrote:

I don't think the fact that Jesus was baptized has any bearing on the question of whether the apostles were baptized. On the latter point as far as I know the scriptures are silent. There's lots of stuff about Jesus' baptism, and a fair amount about apostles baptizing others (and about Jesus telling them to do so), but as for Peter, Paul, Thaddeus, or even Judas Iscariot having been baptized, I don't see it there. Citation?


I agree Haruo that there is no proof. My opinion is that it is likely that they were baptized given John's ministry of baptism and Jesus command to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If they weren't I'd be surprised. But then since baptism isn't necessary for salvation I don't see it as a huge deal if they were not.
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