No. 21 on the list of most-read posts on this blog appeared on January 30, 2006, and was my first meeting with Mark Dever. Mark is a great man of God, and was very much the initiator of the set of relationships now described as Together for the Gospel. I interviewed him for a second time in a post entitled “Theology for All—An Interview with Mark Dever,” and posted notes from a series of talks he gave in London in September of 2007.
One of the highlights of the year for me has been meeting Mark Dever—so much so that several weeks after this meeting I published a post entitled, “Is Mark Dever an apostle?“
He graciously made space in his schedule for me to interview him face-to-face in spite of the fact that I was unable to hear him preach during his visit to the UK. I had previously reviewed his book, Deliberate Church, so this opporunity to meet the man filled me with eager anticipation. I have also enjoyed his new group blog, Together for the Gospel, which he writes together with C. J. Mahaney, Al Mohler, and Ligon Duncan.
On meeting him, it immediately became clear just how much Mark is a relational guy. At first it felt as if he was the one interviewing me, along with my pastor and friend, Tope! He showed such an interest in our church and in our history that I almost forgot why I was there. He was interested in us as people, and we spent a significant amount of time chatting about church leadership, preaching, and friendships that cross denominational boundaries.
He is a man of humor—when I confessed that of the four guys running Together for the Gospel, Lig was the only one I didn’t really know, he laughed and accused Lig of being the “pope of evangelicalism.” He rattled off a list of Lig’s credentials and jobs, and then finished up by saying something like this:“It’s no wonder you don’t know him—after all, he’s a Presbyterian! There’s a bit of a jump between charismatics and Presbyterians, so he would be the one furthest away from you. And besides, there aren’t too many Presbyterians in the UK anyway! Baptists are like cousins to charismatics, and C.J.—well, if you’re in Newfrontiers, he must be like an apostolic uncle to you!”
I was impressed that he was aware of the relationship between Newfrontiers and Sovereign Grace, and for that matter, that he had even heard of us—our family of churches is not very large in the US.
I did, however, protest that I know of at least one famous American Presbyterian—David Wayne—and we chatted about how friendships that cross genuine differences of opinion are invaluable to our learning and development as Christians.
Mark was eager to point out that he had learned a lot from the three other guys despite the fact that he is utterly convinced that Lig, in particular, is living in sin over his view of baptism! We had a good laugh about that. I explained to him what I felt was my trump argument—one I had put to David Wayne when we had discussed it online. The argument essentially goes like this. If the Baptist is wrong and the paedobaptist is right, what is the worst possible outcome? Unless you believe in baptismal regeneration and that babies who die unbaptized go to hell, then the worst outcome is that we are unnecessarily delaying baptism for people and as a by-product giving them a chance to remember it happening to them! On the other hand, if we are right and the paedobaptist is wrong, then, as Mark put it, they are in sin and preventing people from obeying a simple and direct command in Scripture. Mark smiled and said, “I used exactly that argument with Lig!”
Read more . . . Adrian Interviews Mark Dever