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.”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.
“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.”
“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.”6If 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.”7Could 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.”8It 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.
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)