A Fourth Open Letter to Jordan Kauflin (On Redeemer Arlington Using Mark Driscoll)

This is an open letter to Jordan Kauflin at Redeemer Arlington. This letter is about Redeemer once using Mark Driscoll in their church. Driscoll, despite the red flags and concerns, was deeply popular with the Neo-Calvinist movement. And that included churches like Redeemer Arlington. This post asks why did Jordan Kauflin and Eric Simmons use Driscoll? Was it worth it especially in light of how he turned out? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that he was a corrupt and misguided individual who should not be in a position of authority and teaching. What does it say about doctrine when people like Redeemer use questionable individuals? 

“No psychologist should pretend to understand what he does not understand… Only fools and charlatans know everything and understand nothing.”

Anton Chekhov 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9 NIV 


Its time for another open letter to you. You should know that I will keep cranking this out as I address, analyze or look at the problems with Redeemer Arlington. I have another bone to pick with you. And yet its one in a long line of items to raise. As an evangelical I expect you not to own your mistakes. No not to admit your error or to want to clarify a point. Evangelicals don’t do that, the classic evangelical response is to double down and retrench. Just as C.J. Mahaney doubles down and your father Bob puckers up and kisses his ass and defends him, you too will double down. So now that I have that out of the way this is what bothers me.

Mark Driscoll was the rage at Redeemer Arlington in the 2012 to 2014 timeframe. Its my understanding that you used his material. That your small groups uses one or two of his books. And that included someone who tried to get me involved in Redeemer Arlington at the time. The other day Mark Driscoll said that Calvinism is garbage and that people like yourself and others in your movement have daddy issues. You can read about it in, “Mark Driscoll on When Your Pastor is Attacked, Plus he Also Rejects 5-Point Calvinism. Personal Reflection on the Controversial Seattle Pastor in the Context of a Past Situation with Redeemer Arlington.”  I was not surprised when I heard that he said that. I actually saw the warnings and the red flags back in 2012-2013. I saw an insecure man who was deeply unstable and highly questionable. I also saw a man who was capable of violence and one that is crude and crass. And based upon all that I rejected him. However, the individual you discipled who tried to get me involved in Redeemer embraced him. He called him sound, healthy and that he was a good preacher. As they say in the Army my reaction was “Whiskey Tango Foxtrott!” And we fought over Mark Driscoll.

The other day when I heard what Driscoll said about Calvinism being garbage I shook my head in anger and disgust. I called him out 6 years ago. I saw the problems and the concerns. But your church could not. Instead your church encouraged people to embrace Driscoll. And today I want to know why? Why did you act in such a way? Why did Redeemer encourage people to embrace Mark Driscoll? Is the guy on the verge of being the atheist the one who should lead Redeemer? After all I seem to have a lot more discernment that you or Eric Simmons have.  And I want to be clear the point of this letter is not a see I told you so. Instead its written out of frustration and disgust, But why couldn’t you see the issues? Why could someone like myself see them instead? Again as they say in the Army, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrott!”   So much of that fighting could have been prevented. So much healing could have taken place. So much of this mess that took place could have been avoided.Do you know how divisive Mark Driscoll was to a lot of churches and ministries? Plus Redeemer could have issued a statement or said, “we’re wrong for using Mark Driscoll.” But will you do so? Nope…because evangelical Christians don’t own mistakes. Instead you will act like nothing is wrong and you will plow forward. Going forward however, I should suggest that Redeemer has forfeited its right to claim they have sound  doctrine. So just stop acting or claiming as much. This is sad Jordan but its the way you and Eric choose to lead your church. Well until I write another open letter I wish you well. 

Very Respectfully,

David Bonner