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Wow. This is something. I need to go think about his comments for a long time. Crap Ben. Why did you post this. :)

See ya for lunch Wednesday.

On first blush, I readily agree with Dever. Churches are becoming more and more centered around the personality and person of their point leader - and that is dangerous. So I am all about taking measures to prevent that...

On the other hand, it sounds as if he is taking deliberate measures to limit his effectiveness in using his gifting - and I'm not sure about that. Would that work in other giftings - would we take steps to tone back our effectiveness in using gifts like hospitality, wisdom, mercy, or discernment?

Lots to think about here...

Sorry, I just can't agree with this. God gave him his "personality". I don't think it's "wrong" to use what God has given us. Of course, that's up to him, but to condemn others on the basis of what he feels is appropriate for him would definitely be a mistake. Of course, he doesn't like vocal "performances" either, so I think there's some theology in there that I don't agree with at all. I don't believe for a minute that solo performances are anti-Biblical. His obsession with 17th century church is just as much "preferential" as is my mother's preference for bluegrass gospel music. Trying to find Scriptural directive for either one is a laughable matter, since neither one existed in Scriptural times.

God gives talents. I think we are incredibly out of line if we bury them to avoid the "fear" of drawing attention to ourselves. Use what God has given to point to Christ.

That doesn't mean that every word I utter is going to contain C-H-R-I-S-T. Let's keep Christocentricity pointing in the right direction but also use the good sense that God gave us.

Understanding his sinfulness (i.e. sarcasm, self-promotion, etc.), Dever takes that out of the equation and places the Word of God in the center of his preparations. "God's Word is the source of all life and health" and expositional preaching, is simply, exposing God's Word, without "ourselves" (i.e. sarcasm, etc.) and our ugliness getting in the way of preaching what God intended to be taught. Yes, he may be holding back some of his "giftedness", but who's to say that he is, but he's still preaching the whole counsel of God and is effective in doing just that. Who's to say that those who solely ramble and place their "giftedness" (i.e. personality, etc) into their entire sermon isn't doing the church a disservice? Just a thought, not a sermon...
To address BS' comment concerning the 17th century and bluegrass (i.e. preferences), I believe it would be argued that time has tested the validity of the music, doctrine, and structure of the church. If you bring that point up in regards to that he's doing it wrong or your ma is doing it wrong, then we ALL are doing it wrong in one way or another. Yes, God has given people throughout the centuries the ability to write music and to think differently about church, but if we're wrong or if we have gone astray in our ideas, then we should ALL run back to singing from the Psalter and look into God's Word to see how Christ has structured the church through Paul and others.
Once again, thanks for posting and commenting, it has been good for me and I hope for you as well.

But he has no problems that his website and books bears his name "Mark"?

Maybe he should have a symbol like Prince used to have to place on the website and on the books?

Wouldn't recommend confuting sarcasm with sinfulness. There are more than a few examples of prophets, disciples, and even Christ wielding that...

Our "ugliness" is not an obstacle to God's message; it is God working through just that in our lives (even a pastor's sermon) that shows the power of that message. There are very few passages in Scripture that don't resonate with personality.

Chad, are you sarcastic with your congregation? There's a place and time for everything, but I'm pretty sure being sarcastic with one's congregation will get old on them and isn't the best way to show love from the pulpit. But who I to say anything?

I agree with you on the "ugliness" statement. God in His sovereignty can and has used sinners to do His work and to spread the kingdom. Praise Him for that. And praise Him for sending Christ to save us.

typo... Meant to say,"Who am I to say anything?"

If you want to see Mark work without a script, attend a Wednesday evening study at the church. He runs it like a small group meeting, but with around 150 people.

nice. great discussion guys.

Always humorous to be called BS... :) Thanks for reminding me of all the college insults! LOL!

TW- Not sure how to take your response to me; I think you're disagreeing with me but I'm not sure which part of my statement you disagree with... My point is largely that what he is doing works for him and his church. What my "ma" does works for her. However, to make a case that all churches should conform to 17th century worship atmosphere or that all Christians should use/hear/consume only bluegrass music from Scripture is not good exegesis. Sure, "there is nothing new under the sun", but that's a prooftext OUT of context when applied to this kind of thing. There was no "bluegrass" and there was no 17th century liturgy when ANY of the Biblical books were written. Are the heart thoughts and attitudes covered? Sure, and that's the real thing that we need to see - God isn't, in my opinion, obsessed with our particular form of worship NEARLY as much as he is obsessed with the OBJECT of our worship. Will we all worship Christ identically? Definitely not. However, it is not unusual for persons who worship in a particular way to seek out other persons who worship in a similar fashion. That's perfectly normal and SHOULD happen, IMO. However, to blatantly condemn others who do not worship in a similar fashion or to proclaim "this is the only way to worship" is, in my opinion, a misapplication of the Scriptural principles that should be applied here.

My statements here are driven by the thought that it would be easy to assume that Mark Dever has it "right" that preachers need to do everything they can to remove ANY attention from themselves. My contention is that EVERYTHING we do should point to Christ, whether it is using our talent, our personality, or our weaknesses. If he cannot preach without unduly projecting himself into the sermon unless he uses a script, I have no problem at all with him using a script. However, to draw the conclusion that "high personality" pastors who memorize their points and expound with great emotion and flair are preaching for the wrong reasons or with inferior motives would be erroneous, again, in my opinion.

Is Elevation highly oriented around Steven Furtick? Yes, but I don't believe that their entire ministry is dependent on his existence. He's just the most visible part. Likewise Perry Noble. NewSpring could function, based on what I see, with no Perry Noble at all. There would be change, yes, but Perry insistently points to Christ.

USE your talents. Don't bury them.

I hope I'm clear - I intend no criticism of Mark Dever for his position. Whether it is right or wrong is strictly between him and God. I cannot say. But I cannot endorse the mentality of applying his thoughts to all of Christianity.

And, duly noted, that's probably MORE BS....


Amen, Bernard Shuford. Thanks for your comment.

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