February 16, 2011

The RAP on Mark Dever: What is the “Militant” Separatist to Do? (continued)

The first installment of this series was The RAP on Mark Dever: What is the “Militant” Separatist to Do? We reviewed Dr. Dave Doran’s personal reasons for insisting there is no need for him to justify his cooperative ministry effort on the platform with SBC pastor Dr. Mark Dever at the Feb. 22-25 Leadership Conference at Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale). I also provided a transcript of an interview Dr. Mark Dever conducted with RAP, Hip Hop artists Shai Linne and Curtis “Voice” Allen. We considered the revelation that Mark Dever has embraced and is promoting the RAP, Hip Hop culture. We also documented Dr. Dave Doran’s personal, “biblical justifications for and biblical boundaries of ministerial cooperation and fellowship.” Dave Doran asked,

Do Mark Dever and CBTS obscure the distinction between the church and the world by denying the transforming power of the gospel, by embracing worldly approaches for the church’s growth and/or worship, or by failing to articulate and practice genuine church membership and discipline?”
Brother Doran answered, “No.” From the transcript of the Dever/Linne/Allen interview at 9Marks, however, we now know that the correct answer is, “Yes” to the bolded portion above.

Following are select excerpts from Mark Dever’s interview with RAP artists Linne and Allen.
“I’ve listened to this [RAP, Hip Hop] for a few years anyway and you gave me your Atonement album and I loved that.”

“The rhyming, I love words, and the complexity of the rhyming, it’s dazzling. Forget Jesus in this; I’m artistically interested. Then as I understand it I’m fascinated. It has the Gospel clearly…It is more theologically dense than any other kind of music I’ve ever heard. I love Bach’s oratorios, but this beats them as far as theological density.”

“I can testify as one Beethoven lover that I have listened to this [RAP] music on and off, with all the rest of my music, for a few years. But the last three days just only listening to this, and listening to it again and again, I liked it when I began, I like it even more now.”

“Get [Storiez] for one of your ministers who works with children in your church, and I bet you’d encourage them.”

“Felix…is one of our members here [Capital City BC] and did some rapping for us in one of our member’s meetings...and I would say it was well received by our congregation.”
These quotes show that Dever’s admiration for RAP, Hip Hop is not an “occasional inconsistency…a single episode,” nor merely “a wrong decision based on bad judgment.”5 No, Dever has “for a few years” been personally listening to, encouraging and promoting this form of worldly pop culture into his personal life and ministry.
Significant doctrinal differences are certainly more serious than differences of cultural philosophy. But I would argue that differences of philosophy of culture are more dangerous because they are more subtle. Allow me to explain. If someone in my congregation is exposed to an argument for infant baptism or the continuation of sign gifts, I can fairly easily point him to exegetical and theological reasons we do not hold to such doctrines. But if someone in my congregation is exposed to sacred music that is fleshly, it is much more difficult to demonstrate why that music is fleshly because expression of abstract emotion (that’s what music is) is difficult to articulate.6
If Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder are on the platform at Lansdale next week tacit endorsement of and legitimacy is given to Dever’s affinity for and promotion of RAP. This is the kind of “mixing and mingling” that has not been seen in sixty years, but with Bauder, Doran, Matt Olson (at NIU) and Tim Jordan leading the way, a convergence with non-separatist evangelicals is coming into vogue. This kind of fellowship and cooperative ministry with non-separatist evangelicals will not end with Mark Dever at Lansdale. Greater compromise is sure to follow.

One of Brother Doran’s guiding principles for necessitating separatism is “embracing worldly approaches for the church’s growth and/or worship” that, furthermore, “obscures the distinction between the church and the world.” Let’s Get Clear on This, Mark Dever’s long time personal embrace and promotion of the RAP, Hip Hop medium in the NT church is a CRYSTAL clear case that the biblical boundary has been crossed. Unless Dever removes himself from the Lansdale conference, is excused from it, or repents Dave Doran has one option if he is to be faithful to his own principles for biblical separatism as he defined them. So, what is a self-described militant, biblical separatist to do?

In the days leading up to the February 22nd opening of the Lansdale conference we will anticipate whether or not a man who claims personal “militancy” in separatism, who has stated in black and white terms his convictions for ministerial cooperation and fellowship will hold to his convictions in principle and in actual application.

In his 1995 article, In Defense of Militancy, Dave Doran wrote,
It is difficult for most of us to handle the relational pressure that comes from being a separatist without a strong, compelling belief that it is not just an option, but the right thing to do.”7
Could Dave Doran be under relational pressure? Just as it was in 1995 “separation is not an option, but the right thing to do.” It’s the right thing to do today just as it was sixteen years ago. This week Brother Doran has to decide if he will be a militant separatist as he defined it. Or will he opt to appear with SBC pastor Mark Dever at Lansdale and thereby confirm he has become another whose voice for and commitment to militancy in the defense of biblical separatism that has waned?
It seems to me that those who want to rid contemporary Fundamentalism of its alleged belligerence should watch the pathway carefully. The last group of people to take that path found it to be a winding road which ends up in a theological wasteland.”8
It becomes increasingly clear that Dave Doran, Kevin Bauder, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan are well down that “winding road” and seeking to influence this and the next generation of impressionable young people to join them there.


For related reading see, Is Northland International University, “Unchanged?” NBBC Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity and for reading on the convergence of Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism at Lansdale see Ps. Brian Ernsberger’s Dead Man’s Curve at The Parsings of a Preacher.

5) Quoting Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran respectively. With these comments they each dismissed Al Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration, which gave Christian recognition to the deadly enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18). See- Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration: Was This a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenism?

6) Scott Aniol, Is Music a Separation Issue? Preserving the Truth Conference, Jan. 2010.)

7) Dr. David Doran, In Defense of Militancy, Sentinel 11:2, Spring 1995.

8) Ibid.

Following are additional examples that reiterate and reinforce what we have considered from Mark Dever in his interview comments above.
“But there’s one access pass Mark Dever has lacked since his growing up days in rural Kentucky, one elusive audience and language he has not commanded, one world to which he is a stranger. Da ‘hood. Da block. Da peeps. Now, Mark and the Merita brothers at 9Marks are taking it to the street, the hip hop generation. They’re teaming up with Lamp Mode recording artists to produce a new holy hip hop cd called ‘The Church: Called and Collected.’ That’s gonna be hot–the 9 marks set to hip hop. Coming June 8th.” (Mark Dever Trying to Earn His Ghetto Card, Thabiti Anyabwile, May 5, 2010.)
Moving ahead to June 2010 to The Church Called and Collected, which is based on Mark Dever’s What is a Healthy Church? (9Marks of a Healthy Church) See, Ecclesiology Meets Hip Hop at The Gospel Coalition’s Between Two Worlds blog.
“Justin Taylor over at [The Gospel Coalition’s] Between Two Worlds has a post on the new album by LampMode that covers Mark Dever’s Nine Marks of a Healthy Church…. I believe that solid Christian hip-hop music is today’s hymns.” (Bryan Thornton, Voice of the Sheep, “The Church” is Hip-Hopping Good)


  1. Reminder to All:

    In most articles at IDOTG comments submitted by Anonymous persons will not be posted. Furthermore, there will be no debate or discussion over whether or not the Bible speaks specifically to Rap, Hip Hop being wrong. IMO, that debate is settled and will not be rehashed here.

    If you would like to read a very helpful resource may I suggest The Battle for Christian Music by Tim Fisher.


  2. Lou,

    It will be most interesting to see what these so-called leaders will do.
    Thanks for bringing this to light for all to see.

  3. Brian:

    IMO, they will keep walking the pathway of compromise until the slippery slope has them in free-fall. They are going to go this way to have their fellowship with non-separatist evangelicals.

    They are on the same slippery slope that men like Jerry Falwell chose years ago. They must believe that they can succeed where Falwell, and many other lesser known who took the same steps, failed. They are headed, by choice, in that direction and like Falwell, van Impe- Doran, Bauder, Olson, Jordan, et. al., are going to wind up in some kind of tragic “theological wasteland.”

    My goal, and I will be relentless in this goal, is to do what I can to document their words, actions then warn and encourage others so that they do not succumb to the influence to follow them down that slippery slope.

    If nothing else I will be leaving behind an accurate history (from the present day) of DD/KB/NIU/CBS form of compromising the biblical mandates. This way future generations of God’s people will recognize, admonish, withdraw from, mark and avoid should it surface again in their day.


  4. Brother Lou:

    Words mean something. What you have shown us is that these men have clearly changed and are disingenuous in their responses to their change. They cannot go back to their old position, so they mislead others by saying they have not changed. What else do we need to know about these leaders? Mark them and avoid them (Romans 16:17)
    Keep up the good work!

    Tod Brainard

  5. Pastor Brainard:

    Thanks for stopping by and the comment.

    The amazing thing is that we can quote these men verbatim and in context, demonstrate the obvious inconsistency and then count on shrill cries of misrepresentation. Incredible!

    In the case of Dave Doran he makes very clear, unambiguous statements indicating what would constitute for him grounds to withhold fellowship. I’ve documented examples above. However, when faced with Dever’s obvious crossing the boundary it is as if he (Doran) suddenly develops amnesia.

    It begins to make one wonder why believe what he writes or says about separatism, when he ignores what he writes/says about separation. I see a pattern of selective application of the timeless principles and moving his fellowship increasingly toward non-separatists.

    As the trend continues from Doran you begin to wonder if he really believes the things he writes. IMO the time has come for him to disavow his 1995 article In Defense of Militancy. He has obviously drifted far off of that marker.

    Thanks again,


  6. To change a familiar phrase a bit, these men are in essence saying,"Do as I do, not as I have written." Indeed, the loudness of their actions are drowning out what has become the whisper of their words.

  7. Tod/Brian/All:

    I was just recalling a thread discussion at the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron site, maybe 3 years ago. There was one discussion of the inconsistencies in the ministry if John Piper. One of the men who commented wrote, “There is a disconnect between what Piper writes and what he does.”

    As we watch what is taking place with Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran and Matt Olson (at NIU) are we are seeing the a disconnect?

    If you read Doran’s article In Defense of Militancy from 1995 and compare what he wrote then to what he does today there is a disconnect. Maybe this is why he bristles when articles such as that are cited and referenced. In this two part series I was able to document statements Dave submitted at Don Johnson’s blog (an ox goad, eh) , where I also participated, which was just a few days ago. It is plain as day that he made very clear statements about what for him would hinder platform fellowship. I then documented that Dever clearly crossed the boundary that Doran delineated. Yet Dave is going to be on the platform with Dever at Lansdale next week legitimizing Dever’s affinity for and promotion of RAP in the church. As I said above, it is as if Dave develop amnesia when he is faced with having to actually apply separatist principles he claims for himself.

    Just as with Piper there is a growing disconnect between what Dave Doran writes and what he does.


  8. For me it's an unsettling feeling when I hear Rap or Hip Hop, and it destroys the peace within, but it is a powerful tool to attract teenagers.

  9. PC:

    Debateable, but I do know this- What you attarct/win them with, you win them to.


  10. The following is an excerpt from an article in the Calvary Baptist Theological Journal, Spring 1993 issue written by Tim Jordan titled "Separation: Optional or Essential?"

    I quote:

    "When I watch some drastic changes in people that I know and love, I realize that they were making the same decisions that I was making all along, but not for the same reasons. I do not know why they made the decisions they made to walk the way that we walked before, but, if they were making them for the right reasons, then they would not have changed, because God did not change. So, why do I, ultimately, need to separate? Because of who God is. I think that most of the errors in your life come from a deficient theology. We do not understand who God really is. If I knew who God was, I would not deliberately, voluntarily link up with moral or doctrinal error. To do that is to lose fellowship with the Father."