Theologically Sound. Culturally Relevant.

Mark Dever

Is Mark Dever A False Teacher?

Category 4

Verdict: Mark Dever Is A Mob Boss Of False Teaching

Scope

Mark Dever is a pastor of a prominent church and a founder of a prominent ministry that is a platform for the material of other writers. When researching Tim Keller, we held Keller responsible for the content published by The Gospel Coalition. In a similar fashion, Mark Dever is ultimately responsible for content published at 9Marks.

This verdict is not meant to discuss other pastors, yet it would be unreasonable not to cite Jonathan Leeman’s teachings in rendering a verdict on Mark Dever, as Leeman works for Dever in directing the editorial content that has Dever’s brand on it.

Bio

Mark Dever is a prominent American pastor, author, and speaker who has made significant contributions to the field of Reformed theology and ecclesiology. Born on October 28, 1960, he has dedicated his life to the ministry of the local church and has had a lasting impact on the Christian community.

After completing his studies, Dever began his pastoral ministry as an associate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) in Washington, D.C. In 1994, he assumed the role of senior pastor, and under his leadership, CHBC experienced substantial growth and became widely recognized as a model of a healthy, biblically faithful congregation.

At CHBC, Dever implemented and promoted the principles of what is known as “9Marks” ecclesiology. These nine essential marks of a healthy church include biblical preaching, biblical theology, biblical understanding of the gospel, biblical conversion, biblical evangelism, biblical membership, biblical church discipline, biblical discipleship and growth, and biblical leadership. Through his ministry at CHBC and the “9Marks” movement, Dever has sought to equip and encourage churches around the world to embrace these biblical principles.

In addition to his pastoral role at CHBC, Dever has been involved in various ministries and initiatives aimed at strengthening the local church. He has served as the president of 9Marks, a ministry dedicated to promoting healthy church practices, and has played a significant role in training pastors and church leaders through conferences, seminars, and speaking engagements.

Dever’s influence extends beyond his local congregation and ministry involvement. He has authored numerous books that delve into matters of church health, including “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church,” “The Deliberate Church,” and “What Is a Healthy Church Member?” These publications have provided valuable insights and guidance for pastors and church leaders seeking to build biblically faithful and vibrant congregations.

Furthermore, Dever has been involved in mentoring and investing in the next generation of pastors and church leaders. He has taught courses on pastoral ministry at various seminaries and has been a frequent speaker at conferences and events geared towards equipping emerging leaders in the church.

Critical Race Theory

Mark Dever has been a key figure in advancing the Social Justice Gospel in Evangelicalism. Within his own church, Dever peddled Critical Race Theory in Sunday school curriculum. In September 2019, Disntr, then Reformation Charlotte, uncovered the material for a class on Social Justice, Identity Politics, and White Privilege at Capitol Hill Baptist Church.[1] Yet even though Mark Dever has gone woke, he is hardly vocally advocates Critical Race Theory himself. Rather his role appears to be a facilitator of struggle sessions.

This is also evident in how 9Marks has been operating.

9Marks

Around the first wave of Black Lives Matter riots 2014-2015, 9Marks noticeably adopts a Critical Race theory framework in its published articles. It was way ahead of the general trend seen in 2020. In Jonathan Leeman’s article “Why the Race Conversation Is So Hard” we see a clear appeal to white people to have conversations about race, which is a euphemism for struggle sessions which value unverifiable stories over empirical evidence. Leeman employs Critical Race Theory premises such as white supremacy inventing the concept of race and therefore racism.[2]

Multiple articles read as though struggle sessions and from various authors.

Many white brothers and sisters don’t work against, much less acknowledge, racism, whether subtle or blatant. Meanwhile, the world readily admits that white supremacy resounds today and that subtle racism skulks in ways more difficult to discern. Some white folk in the church act as if, according to one writer, “any mention of ‘racism’ is a racial slur directed at them.”

Written in 2016 by Isaac Adams, Adams lambasts white Christians for not being woke in their churches.[3]

9Marks was instrumental in the push for the Multi-Ethnic Church model, even publishing a journal on it which features race hustlers like Jarvis Williams, Jemar Tisby, and Trillia Newbell.[4]

The evidence is overwhelming the role that 9Marks played in advancing Critical Race Theory and the Social Justice Gospel into the church. Yet, ironically, Mark Dever consistently has others do his wokeness for him.

Branch Covidiansim

In March 2020, Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman put out a podcast promoting lockdowns. According to Wondering Eagle, a blog reporting rather favorably on Dever:

Two Sundays ago at Capitol Hill Baptist Mark Dever discussed the COVID-19 virus. He told people that during this medical crisis it was okay to not go to church. In a podcast with Jonathan Leeman the creator of 9 Marks explained his thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic. Dever looked for guidance from the 1918 Spanish flu and leaned upon that for a way forward. He advised Christians to follow the government and asked people to email the leadership of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and let them know that they will stay home. 9 Marks released this four minute clip early and sent it out with their 9 Marks update.

9Marks would remove their podcast that promoted compliance with lockdowns.[5] Mark Dever sued the government for lockdown measures and even won. However, Mark Dever absconded the DC government rather than defied them in the process of gathering for worship. This stands in direct contrast to churches that defied lockdowns. They subsequently only fought on the ability to gather and not how to gather, meaning that Mark Dever still imposed sinful barriers to worship. Therefore, Mark Dever deserves zero commendation for his actions during lockdowns. Mark Dever instead fulfills the pattern of ministry leaders who took PPP Loans and peddled the government narrative. Both CHBC and 9Marx took PPP loans and peddled the government message.

Moreover, Jonathan Leeman of 9Marks would be one of the most prominent voices attacking John MacArthur for reopening his church.[6] Yet Jonathan Leeman would hypocritically coauthor a book on the importance of the church gathering in person after spending a year justifying disobedience.[7]

At the 2023 Annual Southern Baptist Convention, a female pastor called out Mark Dever for closing his church while she reopened sooner in an argument that the female pastor was more conservative than those opposing her.

Woke Preacher Big Eva Pipeline

Capitol Hill Pastor Internship Program has produced a lot of woke pastors that have written for Big Eva, be it 9 Mark or The Gospel Coalition. Mark Dever has been a party to the rise of many woke preachers. SBC Underground documented several pastoral interns gone woke.[8]

  • Thabiti Anyabwile – Perhaps the most notorious example Anyabwile has become a figure of regular controversy, particularly through his writing at his Gospel Coalition Blog. Two articles that provide ready examples can in an article titled “On Abortion and Racism: Why There Is a Greater Evil in This Election” – where Anyabwile claims that the anti-abortion movement is a product of idolatry[9] and “We Await Repentance for Assassinating Dr. King” – where Anyabwile claims that all White people are complicit in MLK’s assassination.[10]
  • John Onwuchekwa – Onwuchekwa notably called the Southern Baptist Convention racist[11] on his way out after the SBC gave him $125000 in grant money.[12]
  • Isaac Adams, the author of Talking About Race
  • Edward Copeland, a product of the internship program, in 2020 when he wrote “Why I Hate August,” a piece that equated Kyle Rittenhouse with church-shooter Dylan Roof.

Conclusion

Mark Dever has an extensive history of being woke. Yet even though Mark Dever has gone woke, he is hardly vocally advocates Critical Race Theory himself. Rather his role appears to be a facilitator of struggle sessions, the endorser of woke books, and the publisher of their literature. Mark Dever is a pimp of Social Justice in the church, and this pimp has many whores. The organized crime analogy is most fitting, as Mark Dever plays an instrumental role in Big Eva to this day, even emerging as a leader among conservative Southern Baptists despite his history of Social Justice advocacy. Yet the nominal separation from him and his consigliere, Jonathan Leeman, is more of a yoke.

Being a registered Democrat, as uncovered by Judd Saul of Enemies Within The Church,[13] the actions of Mark Dever have long been an effort to move the SBC in a more liberal direction.

It would be unfair not to mention that Mark Dever was instrumental in defending male eldership at the 2023 Annual Southern Baptist Convention, but this was an easy issue for many woke teachers to appear conservative, like Al Mohler.

At a minimum, Mark Dever is a Category 3 for his Ahab-esque tolerance and promotion of evil. At a maximum, he is a Category 4 wolf in sheep’s clothing. In any case, Dever should be avoided.


[1] https://disntr.com/2019/09/04/mark-devers-church-teaches-sunday-school-class-on-social-justice-identity-politics-and-white-privilege/

[2] https://www.9marks.org/article/why-the-race-conversation-is-so-hard/

[3] https://www.9marks.org/article/why-white-churches-are-hard-for-black-people/

[4] https://www.9marks.org/journal/multi-ethnic-churches/

[5] http://web.archive.org/web/20200424184727/https://www.9marks.org/pastors-talk/quick-take-what-should-churches-do-about-coronavirus/

[6] https://www.9marks.org/article/a-time-for-civil-disobedience-a-response-to-john-macarthur/

[7] https://evangelicaldarkweb.org/2021/10/25/big-eva-grift-jonathan-leeman-and-collin-hansen/

[8] https://www.servantsandheralds.com/how-captiol-hill-baptist-church-and-9-marks-helped-evangelicalism-go-woke/

[9] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabiti-anyabwile/on-abortion-and-racism-why-there-is-a-greater-evil-in-this-election/

[10] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabiti-anyabwile/await-repentance-assassinating-dr-king/

[11] https://thefrontporch.org/2020/07/4-reasons-we-left-the-sbc/

[12] https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/july/john-onwuchekwa-leave-sbc-african-american-atlanta-church.html

[13] https://protestia.com/2020/11/02/bombshell-tim-keller-mark-dever-are-registered-democrats/

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2 Responses

  1. This is just so sad. This is why I rarely, if ever, interview anyone on my show anymore.

  2. I tossed Mark Dever in the “heresy can” several years ago. I don’t remember exactly why but I do remember thinking that something was Scripturally not right about him.

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