Brannon Howse – “I believe Mark Dever is a fake pastor.”

By | January 19, 2019

I have copied a brief section of Brannon Howse’s video where he and Tom Littleton discuss Mark Dever and 9Marx abuses.  Howse says he would “run from these type of people.” I agree with their analysis. You may view the complete video here.

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I understand you have a very limited scope in bringing this video to the attention of your readers. That said, I really did find much of it inflammatory and intellectually irresponsible. Ridicule & misrepresentation of a complicated subject (which Dever’s work on ecclesiology is, like it or lump it), a misleading presentation of the historical facts, and a constant worldly rhetoric (turn on any political broadcast today to compare) do not edify anyone. I’ll return to this point at the end of my comment, but this is terrible source to draw from in your work on this website.

I know you are not attempting to engage in an anti-plural elder polemic, but the video very clearly is, and that is drawing numerous negative comments, especially since you write, “I agree with their analysis.” It is unclear what the scope of this comment is. There is no acknowledgement that the plural elder view is primarily held to by it’s many proponents out of a desire to be faithful to the Bible. It is portrayed as a novelty, and without historical warrant. There is also the suggestion that a pastoral staff & deacons model is somehow not subject to the actual abuses described in this video, which in the comments you seem to agree consist in:

1. A deficient view of Christian liberty, with an accompanying overuse of Church discipline.
2. Engaging in “conflict resolution,” without a genuine interest in dialogue. Instead the intent is to control. This might be re-stated as an elder model that cannot ultimately be superseded by individual, because the elder’s can proceed to church discipline before the individual can fairly appeal to the congregation.
3. Church’s without a sufficiently experienced eldership, or an eldership consisting solely of young seminarians.

I will follow this with a second post…


Some history:

Dever was over in the UK with Roy Clements in the early 1990s, pursuing an academic career at Cambridge, when he was made aware of Capitol Hill Baptist Church. The church was in a weakened state, devastated by its last pastor’s sexual sin. Dever saw an opportunity to implement his theories, which later became known as 9Marksism.

From an interview with Mark Dever several years ago by World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky:

I had been preparing for 10 years to teach historical theology, so I was not aiming at pastoral ministry, but they had lost their previous pastor under unfortunate circumstances. I preached Sunday morning, and Sunday night was praying about the situation. I felt strangely, subjectively called to pastor that church.”


“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

(Matt. 7:1–5 ESV)


Dever may not be one of my favorite pastors, but I think you could have come up with a better choice of video for your claims. This sort of reminded me of using an AMA site to talk about delicious, high calorie desserts.


Apparently, Todd and Brent are the last godly men standing. Good to know we have them.


I’m shocked you posted this video. These guys are criticizing Dever for being too liberal on political and social issues…and for promoting a pluralilty of church elders. Is this really the direction you want to go? There’s nothing specific in the convo about the type of abuses you usually focus on.


Dever’s alliance with Keller made another one bite the dust. What is going on? I had believed parachurch orgs were kind of benign, but no more. How did these orgs get so much power?