Mark Driscoll crashes John MacArthur's Conference. Says books were confiscated.

So… you can’t make this stuff up.

John MacArthur holds a conference in California to try to set the record straight on the charismatic movement (turns out that most involved in the charismatic movement are not even believers according to MacArthur).

Mark Driscoll (who has described himself in the past as a charismatic calvinist) is speaking at a conference at the same time a few miles away on how to act like a man.

It was the perfect storm.

Here’s how it went down.

Driscoll (and his friend James MacDonald) decided to join the party and make an appearance during a break at the Strange Fire conference on MacArthur’s campus.

Driscoll brought a few boxes of books to give away (and evidently sign) to conference attendees.

But conference officials (Driscoll said security) asked him not to pass out books, because all resources given out at the conference needed to be approved.

Driscoll said… no problem… I just want this to be a gift to the conference.

So… they took the boxes of books (since they were a gift), and secured them in the conference offices.

Driscoll then tweeted that his books were confiscated.

It’s really a great story.  And a great thing to do to promote a book or get headlines.  (Hey, we’re talking about it here!)

But a couple of thoughts (then a couple of links if you want to drill down a little for some other perspectives).

1.  I’ve been around large Christian conferences.  Both Mark and John promote big conferences (Driscoll’s is coming up soon).  Neither would let anyone walk in off the street and start handing out stuff… for a couple reasons: you really do want to have some control over what is handed out at your event; and more importantly, you have sponsors that have paid a high price to the conference to have the luxury of handing that kind of stuff out.  I doubt that if John MacArthur shows up at the Resurgence event with his Strange Fire book, that it would be met with any more enthusiasm.

2.  This is a classic match up of two really big personalities… two guys that, while they have more in common than the disagree with, will make it a point to spar publically to prove their point.  Sometimes it’s better to be right and be quiet… but it’s not in either of these guy’s nature to do that.

I respect John MacArthur for all that he’s contributed to the Kingdom.  Same with Driscoll.  But let’s put aside the public theatrics.  Do the one-on-one reconciliation thing that men should do as brothers.

What do YOU think?


Here are a couple of other blog posts with some different perspective… Here and here.

What do you think?  Leave a comment.


  • pietrosquared October 21, 2013 Reply

    That was wrong, Mark… and I think you know it…

  • Dan October 21, 2013 Reply

    So John should have just shut up and let him not only crash the conference and pass out books, but then lie about them being confiscated? Seriously?

    Comparing the classless actions of Mark Driscoll (who has a reputation of being both classless AND a bomb thrower to gain attention) to MacArthur’s decades long of systematically addressing issues of a controversial nature is REALLY out of order and unreasonable, in my opinion.

  • Terry L. Powell October 21, 2013 Reply

    Todd: I agree with you – the work of the Kingdom is too important to spend our time sparring. It is time to agree to disagree and move on.

    • terriergal October 22, 2013 Reply

      Your post frames the situation as if both sides are equally at fault. This is incorrect, and horribly so.

      Neutrality when someone is wronged only helps the one doing the wrong, not the one wronged. Driscoll doesn’t need help. He helps himself. All the time. He needs correction is what he needs. One on one doesn’t cut it. Many people have tried to correct him one on one.

  • Ed Groover October 21, 2013 Reply

    I think you’re being very generous to Driscoll. He behaved in a way that at least impolitic. He was also in his reporting of what happened…in other words deceptive. MacArthur is not the bad guy in this.

    • Todd Rhoades October 21, 2013 Reply

      Actually, Ed… I’d like to be generous to both gentlemen.

      MacArthur is the bad guy here only in that he convened 3,000 church leaders to rally around his position of cessationism. What a ginormous waste of time and resources for all those leaders. My guess is that he changed no one’s mind… he was preaching to the choir.

      In the big scope of things… that’s probably bigger than someone showing up unannounced and handing out some books.


      • terriergal October 22, 2013 Reply

        People have been generous to the bully Mark Driscoll for far too long. Where are the men with spine? Oh, that’s right, they were putting on the StrangeFire conference to confront error plainly, while Mark was outside demanding unity and being divisive and deceptive by making them look like the bad guys. He’s a manipulative political animal, not a pastor.

        And consider that I am not a particular fan of either man.

      • brian October 27, 2013 Reply

        Todd, all conferences are “preaching to the choir”. Please stop trying to defend Driscoll. What he did is indefensible. I don’t even like MacAuthur, (his style) but it’s very plain that he is head and shoulders above Driscoll in the character department. That’s not even debatable.

        If this were the only childish and controversial thing Driscoll ever did, most people, myself included, would let it slide, but the guy has a “rap sheet” a mile long.

  • Wayne Magruder October 21, 2013 Reply

    I believe that we all play for the same team. Our journey is to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, not bicker over who does it better. Imagine Paul chastising the Roman church for living out their faith in a way that was different than Paul’s way. Garbage like this is why I no longer attend conferences. Get back to Jesus preacher!

  • James October 21, 2013 Reply

    Hi Todd;
    I’m glad someone is generous! I’m not for either side, if there’s supposed to be a side. I can only capsulize in one word…”Childish”.

    And the world looks on a just laughs. There are no winners here, only losers!


    • terriergal October 22, 2013 Reply

      “I can only capsulize in one word…”Childish”.
      About which side?

      “And the world looks on a just laughs.”

      No, they would laugh if we pretended Emperor Mark had new clothes. They are not blind or stupid about Christians’ hypocrisy. It’s better to be honest and admit there are problems. I’m sick of the world noticing our dirty laundry (which is pretty hard to disguise anymore) long before we will ever admit to a problem.

  • I think Driscoll & MacArthur should have a duel. Each should build an alter, place a sacrifice on it and pray. Whichever one’s God sends down fire from heaven is the real God.

  • davepatchin October 21, 2013 Reply

    When you believe it is your duty to correct others in the body of Christ for their perceived doctrinal errors, despite the fact that you have no standing or relationship to do so, you tend to get confronted by others who feel the same way.

  • Fred October 21, 2013 Reply

    Driscoll, ugh!
    What a minus.

  • Mick October 21, 2013 Reply

    You and other have made it clear that you feel as though Dr MacArthur is un Christ like for his “strange fire” book and confrence. When if fact he is taking Jesus warning in Matthew 24 regarding the end times church seriously. We are told repeatedly in scripture to be discerning. If his questioning of what is and is not of God causes such reaction of condemnation rather than sincere self examination then we are scripturaly missing the mark.

    Mark Driscoll was inappropriate at best and self agrandizing at worst. Dr MacArthur would never contemplate doing anything like that from everything I have ever known about him.

  • Cathy October 22, 2013 Reply

    One on one reconciliation would involve MD admitting that he lied. Reconciliation involves calling sin sin. If MD really believes the gospel as he purports to, then he will not need to try to hide or justify his sin.

  • Cathy October 22, 2013 Reply

    The equivocation between what John MacArthur and Mark Driscoll did at Strange Fire is somewhat breathtaking.

  • Dave October 22, 2013 Reply

    Okay, so the theatrics as reported make for good jokes and entertainment. I eked out a smile when I read about it. But, it’s also terribly disappointing and terrible for Protestants. Every time we look to big personalities selling books, promoting conferences, and so forth, we edge ever closer towards reversing the Reformation. We may not call books and conferences “indulgences” and would be shocked at anyone who would advance the notion. But that still doesn’t take away from the eerie feeling that we are investing more in personalities (regardless of how much they’ve done to “advance the Kingdom”) than we are in our Lord. My parenthetical comment raises another struggle for me. Does God really care how much we’ve done for Him or how much we love Him…how well we know Him, how well He knows us? I seem to remember some Scripture about that. Shame on us. We should be constantly reforming not constantly regressing.

  • Mike October 23, 2013 Reply

    Is this one of those “splinter” vs “log” issues?

  • Steve Miller October 23, 2013 Reply

    I don’t know, Driscoll has a beard, he is a big guy and he showed up unexpectedly and handed out gifts. Around these parts that makes Driscoll seem more like Santa Claus and less like a bully.

    If I went to a conference and another big name preacher/author showed up I would think that was a bonus, a good thing.

    Both Mark and John have been gracious with each other, it seems more like the real heat is from how it became an opportunity for cessationists and continuists to square off against each other in the social medias.

    Just because the two views are opposing it doesn’t mean every time there is a difference of opinion it needs to escalate into a full blown name calling shouting match.

  • Jim McGuckin October 23, 2013 Reply

    Driscoll has long been an antagonist and this just goes to show his tactics haven’t changed. At times he acts like a drunken frat boy pounding his chest and declaring himself to be “The Man”. John MacArthur and other pastors of standing have had to call Mr Driscoll out numerous times for his behavior and poor representation of Christ. So it doesn’t surprise me to see Driscoll show up as an agitator, it did shock me to see James MacDonald with him. After seeing the video though the evidence is clear Driscoll exaggerated the events, made a bunch of smart comments and basically outright lied about it all after.

  • Chuck October 24, 2013 Reply

    Dare I start a “Pentecostals for MacArthur” group?


    However, taking everything at face value, what Driscoll did was wrong.

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