About Me

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New Orleans, LA, United States
Family from South Africa, Born in New Orleans, Lived in South Carolina. Married to Annabeth since May 2004. We have three boys (Bolt, Mack, and Birk). Currently living in Uptown NOLA and serving as Lead Pastor of Vintage Church and Camp Pastor of Student MissionLab.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Legalism Sucks

This past week the Baptist Press decided to write an unfair article assassinating Mark Driscoll and his ministry. Check out the article:


Mark and his team were recently at the Southeastern Baptist Seminary in NC speaking at the 20/20 conference with CJ Mahaney and Daniel Akin. I want to encourage you to read this response article and also click on the various links throughout the article.


Thanks Southeastern for responding to the ridiculous legalism that was presented in the Baptist Press. No wonder so many guys are bailing on the SBC. Please don't allow a few idiots to dictate the convictions of our entire tribe. Most of us fall on the side of Southeastern's response. Our church is called to reach our Judea and Samaria through the partnership of NAMB and A29. You can here our partnership desire at the beginning of my message this past Sunday.

BE THE CHURCH: WITNESS (http://vintagenola.org/podcast/)

I agree that we should always be careful and use wisdom when trying to engage our world for Christ. Of course I don't see eye to eye with everything in A29. Being a part of this network allows me the blessing of interacting online with other A29 pastors around the world about any subject. Every subject is fairly discussed and assessed through the lens of Scripture. I have enjoyed reading the thoughts of Mark Driscoll, Darrin Patrick, Scott Thomas, Tyler Powell, David Thew, Eliot Grudem, Daniel Montgomery, and many others. I have been extremely impressed by the humility and fairness of this network. Most of the guys in the network don't agree with everything. But we dialogue with the purpose of being most effective in making disciples of all nations.

I say this with as much grace as possible. I don't have all the answers and my church has a long way to go. THE SBC IS AT A POINT OF CRISIS. Let's stop criticizing our brothers and sisters in Christ that are reaching our world for Christ. Last time I checked most of the churches in our denomination are struggling. Learn from these churches that are making it happen. You don't have to agree with everything and you don't have to participate with everything. That is the beautiful thing about the local church and on top of that a baptist local church. You are completely autonomous. We are praying in our city that God would bring thousands of Bible-believing churches that are tons of different shapes and sizes. I don't know if this is true in your city, but New Orleans isn't filled with a bunch of look-a-like suburban robots. This city is diverse.

I am all for attacking the false prophets of our day that we read about in I John. I have a feeling that when it is all said and done, I am going to make a lot of these heretics and so-called ministers in NOLA pretty mad. But when it comes to our brothers and sisters in Christ, let's dialogue with the ultimate goal of unity for the cause of Christ.

This past week I memorized Philippians 2:1-2 with one of my friends. I'll let these words speak for themselves.

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind."


  1. Hey Rob,
    I read the article posted by Baptist Press, without actually hearing anything that Mark Driscoll said, and I was curious - what part of that article do you consider to be legalism? Do you feel this way because you think it was an overreaction to Driscoll's words? Or do you not feel as though God expects a holy standard of speech from the pulpit?
    I did not see legalism in the article because I thought it made a great point about engaging the culture, not endorsing it, and being above reproach with your speech as one who claims to speak for God.
    What is your definition of legalism, and where do you draw the line between legalism and personal holiness?


  2. Thanks Jonathan for your comments and questions.
    The entire blog was an unfair attack against Driscoll and his ministry as stated by SEBTS and Ed Stetzer. The sad thing is that the BP staff only quoted 3-4 critics without sharing their own personal opinion on the matter. One critic wasn't even focused on Driscoll but rather on handling delicate subjects. Doing this immediately placed BP News in agreement with these statements.
    As I stated in my blog, I don't agree with everything that Driscoll states however the tragedy of this blog is to turn him and his ministry into a self-absorbed promotion of his own agenda instead of God's. It would have been great if Driscoll had been interviewed (because he has admitted to mistakes) or if there were opinions from both sides of the coin. Why try to assassinate one of our brothers who is getting it done? This is at the core religious legalism. It is the same as accusing someone who is drinking a beer or has tattoos as someone who is non-christian. I am all for the pursuit of holiness in our preaching and living, but that standard is more of a question of personal preference and conviction then absolute truth. How do you measure holiness? We are called to preach the Scriptures and there is a lot in Scripture that would be considered controversial and unholy in today's Christian culture. I'm sure that many people would have had problems with Paul's usage of greek mythology to connect the Gospel in Athens. The line b/t legalism and personal holiness is extremely tough to establish. Legalism is attempting to base salvation or Christ-likeness on the performance of good works or on observing rules that are not based on clear biblical teachings or principles and regulations and imposing those rules on self and others. Does Scripture give a clear picture of what is "vulgarity"? What is considered below reproach from the pulpit? A lot of that depends on culture. The truth of the Gospel will never change, but how we contextualize the Gospel in culture is subject to variety. I would always lean towards a more conservative pulpit language (and I think so would Driscoll-he has already repented of being the "cussing" pastor). My main frustration was this blogs title and content. What was the purpose? The BP News needs to do a better job of presenting a more up to date and fair blog that truly reflects the opinions of ALL Baptists.

    Thanks again for the questions. Not sure I answered them all, but I have enjoyed looking at this subject again.


Thanks for your comment!