Christianity,  Theology/Bible

Mark Driscoll crashes the “Strange Fire” conference

As many of you know, John MacArthur is hosting the “Strange Fire” conference at his church in California this week. The conference is focused on reasserting a cessationist position and highlighting the dangers of the charismatic movement.

The Christian Post is reporting that Mark Driscoll showed up to the conference today, engaged attendees, and handed out free copies of his new book, which has a chapter advocating the continuationist position. Driscoll himself posted pictures of his visit on Instagram.

Driscoll also says that the books he was handing out were confiscated by security.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports that conference organizers are disputing that claim. From Bailey’s report:

Rich Gregory, assistant to John MacArthur, said he was there when it happened and that Driscoll’s books were not confiscated and there was nothing confrontational.

“It was great, we were happy to have him at the conference. He brought books to hand out. We explained to him that all the books distributed on campus need to be approved. He told us that he wanted them to be a gift to us from him. One of our conference directors took that gift and brought them up to the offices. If you hear from him and he wants them back, we can send those back if he wants them. We were not looking at him like, ‘Boy you’re trying to stir up controversy.’ I don’t want to judge his motives for what he wasn’t trying to do. I wish they had actually stayed for the actual content of the conference.”

Read the rest here.



  • Bill Gernenz

    You said it, wow. If nothing else, it is definitely in poor taste. What would Driscoll say/do if someone did this at one of his conferences?

    • John Carpenter

      Probably nothing. I went to the “Real Marriage” Conference and didn’t see any “security”. I guess there was some there but if John MacArthur would have shown up handing out copies of his “Rape of the Song of Solomon” the article probably would have been put on the table and he probably would have been invited up to the stage to help Mark answer questions.
      I doubt they’re such control freaks.

  • Lynn Burgess

    From Mike Riccardi’s Facebook (Grace Community Church, local outreach pastor):

    Mark Driscoll openly lies about what happened at his publicity stunt at Strange Fire.
    The director of the conference explained to Driscoll that those who are distributing books have gone through an extensive process and that they’d like him not to distribute them. After continuing to direct attendees to take the books, security offered to help him take the books back to his car. Driscoll insisted multiple times, “No, they’re my gift to Grace Church. I want you to have them.” After insisting that security not help him with the books back to the car, the conference director accepted the gift and brought them to GCC offices.

    That’s what happened. Driscoll’s reporting of it in such a way is nothing short of lying, absolutely shameful, and unbefitting of one who would take upon himself the calling of preaching the Truth.

    • John Carpenter

      Typical of the inflammatory language of MacArthur and Johnson. Driscoll’s very concise statement is not in contradiction to the fuller description in that facebook statement. Rather than letting the books be distributed, they were kept by the security. No need to accuse Driscoll of lying. Some of MacArthur’s people need to more careful about their language.

  • Lynn Burgess

    Mark Driscoll ?@PastorMark 4h
    Hey #StrangeFire friends – see u in 1hr. I’ll have free copies of my new book. The chapters on tribalism & Holy Spirit may be helpful.

    Mark Driscoll ?@PastorMark 3h
    Hey #StrangeFire Friends, I’m eating at In N Out Burger by the seminary. Come say Hi and get a free book.

    Mark Driscoll ?@PastorMark 2h
    Handing out free copies of my new book, A Call To Resurgence, at #StrangeFire

    Mark Driscoll ?@PastorMark 2h
    Security confiscated my books. #strangefire

    Mark Driscoll ?@PastorMark 2h
    Praying with a guy at #strangefire who’s planting a new church this Sunday.

  • Lynn Burgess

    Phil Johnson ?@Phil_Johnson_ 32m
    So @PastorMark and @JamesMacDonald came by, acting like boys, for publicity’s sake? Missed it. Wish they’d been in my session. #StrangeFire

    austintduncan ?@austintduncan 43m
    #StrangeFire @Phil_Johnson_ will be selling these in the parking lot at the Act Like Men conf tonight. @PastorMark

    • John Carpenter

      I think it’s great. The “conference” was foolish, divisive and bogus. If one wanted a serious investigation of what the Bible says about the gifts of the Spirit, ask Wayne Grudem, John Piper and D. A. Carson. If one wanted to know about what is really going on in the charismatic “movement” (if there really is one any more), there were probably some people available who would know.
      MacArthur is unlikely going to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with him. Besides, “cessationism” is a ridiculous position: it purports to defend the sufficiency of scripture by proposing something not found in scripture.

      • Lynn Burgess

        John: How much of the conference did you hear yourself? It actually was quite incredible and not at all foolish, divisive, or bogus.

        Your cluelessness is really obvious in your quip that there may no longer be a Charismatic movement. You really should listen to the conference; it will be posted in a few weeks on

        You might be especially interested in the gracious and complimentary things MacArthur said about Piper and Grudem by name and their “group” by extension. Does he disagree with them, yes. Did he appeal to them to reconsider their position and point out some problems with their position, yes. Did he throw them under the bus, not at all.

    • John Carpenter

      Did you read the story? The books were freely given. When Driscoll wasn’t allowed to hand them out any more, he let them take them.
      Shame on MacArthur for hosting a divisive conference and teaching something he cannot prove from the Bible.

      • Brian Johnson

        @john carpenter. Have you actually listened/read transcripts from the conference? I was there, I saw what happened, and frankly driscolle’s tweet is stated in a very negative light. They offered to carry his books back to his car and he told them No, they are a gift. So what part of that is having them confiscated?

  • Timothy

    Here’s a couple questions I have:

    Will GTY use the books. If not, can’t confiscate be legitimate terminology? Or no?

    Why would Driscoll feel the need to do this – even understanding conference logistics?

    All around, this is just sad. There’s seemed to be an underlying tension between Mac and Driscoll for some time. This only exacerbates everything. Then fighting over this minimizes the message of the conference, too. So sad.

    • Lynn Burgess

      Timothy: MacArthur’s people offered to carry the books to Driscoll’s car and he refused insisting they keep the books. It has nothing to do with the books being used by GTY.

  • John Carpenter

    Challenging false teaching is acting like a man. The Lord Jesus did it in Matthew 23 and Paul did it to Peter.
    The immaturity is on the part of MacArthur for hosting a foolish and divisiveness “conference”.

    • Doug McGuire

      Sproule, MacArthur, Piper, Driscoll, MacDonald, Mahanney, Mohler… None agree on all things. Theological arrogance is not believing and teaching orthodox Christianity (in its variety) but crashing someone else’s conference to show your immaturity and lack of theological perspective.

    • Josh Brown

      It appears immature and inappropriate, not just to me, but to others. I am not a cessationist, but I respect brothers, like MacArthur, who are, and I think some of their concerns are legimate. I certainly wouldn’t characterize them holding conference to express those concerns as “foolish and divisive.” I wonder why folks like Piper, Grudem, or Carson didn’t join him? Carson could have handed out free copies of his exposition of 1 Cor 12-14, and Grudem could have done likewise with his book on NT prophecy. It would have been a great opportunity for them to join Driscoll in acting like a real man.

  • Patrick Owen

    Mark Driscoll is ok with non-trinitarian TD Jakes but doesn’t like sound biblical exegesis from John Macarthur? Something is wrong with Driscoll.

  • D. V. Aguiar

    GOD is not the author of confusion. The world will hate you if you are one of mine. My sheep hear my voice and follow me. Christianity is based on the truths about CHRIST, not on my gifts and expeiriences. The heart of man is wicked and deceitful and can not be trusted. But the word of GOD is pure , meaning without blemish or flaw. We have been given gifts for the strenghening of the body”CHURCH” so that we can proclaim the good news of salvation through CHRIST. The whole mission of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Christ as the savior, and to give to each one of us the mind of Christ, the heart of Christ, the love of Christ.The Spirit also convicts,teaches,discerns etc. giving us the courage to continue daily in a world getting darker by the minute. The role of the Holy Spirit is to REVEAL CHRIST, not me.

  • Glenn Carrin

    James White sounds right: Both sides need to organize a set of moderated debates. If your argument is as foolproof as a one-sided pep-rally conference claims it to be, then defeating all cross-examiners will be valuable. Every Strange Fire speaker must participate in a debate. I for one would find their engaging in debates with Grudem, Brown, etc. to be most helpful. And there will be a notable lack of vitriol when the other side is present.

    Acts 15:6-7 The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After there had been much debate….

  • Jason Kates

    I love MacArthur. I love Driscoll. I’m going to the R13 conference in 3 weeks. I’m not sure what Driscoll is trying to accomplish with this stunt though, and it’s clearly a stunt. Whatever his motives, it comes across as tacky, an unnecessary disruption, a publicity stunt, etc. I respect the men’s right to disagree with each other, and not all disagreement has to be done through sterile writing, moderated debate, etc. I think this misses the mark though.

  • Marg

    MacArthur’s conference and his confident condemnation of charismatic Christianity, the “Real Men” and their graceless, ill conceived actions, and some of the comments here just make me cry. It is a sad day for the western evangelical church.

  • Esther O'Reilly

    I don’t get it. Unless the strange fire people are the ones lying through their teeth it sounds like they had a pleasant interaction. There’s nothing wrong with Mark passing out his books at the conference, but trying to smear them after the fact? Ugggggh.

  • Ian Shaw

    Hmmm, maybe if Mark spent less time clearly crashing someone else’s kool-aid and more time on his picks for the monthly UFC pay-per-views, we all wouldn’t be talking about this. (sorry, had to make light of it somehow). We all don’t know the whole story I suppose, so we probably should just leave it alone.

  • Tim

    Tweeting is a tough way to communicate (and one that perhaps Mr. Driscoll hasn’t quite grasped effectively), but to say “confiscated” when the other person says “He told us that he wanted them to be a gift to us from him” shows that there was a breakdown in communication somewhere. I have no idea who is giving us the more accurate rendition of events, but this shows why Twitter should not be relied upon for serious conversation.


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