Friday, November 29, 2013

The worst thing I've ever heard a husband say about his wife: plus, Mark Driscoll and the evangelical industrial complex

Mars Hill church
I've written about Mark Driscoll twice in the last week. I promise this won't become the Mark Driscoll blog, but it seems the Holy Spirit offers me a moment of critical mass, when all of a sudden, the qualms and concerns I've had about a particular preacher or writer is enough. And with Mark Driscoll, enough is enough.

I wrote about his self-described (pseudo)-suffering here, whereupon I compared his published list of personal woes to real martyrs' suffering. I also wrote about him here, where I looked at his plagiarism and other bad fruits, and asked the question, 'Does the fruit of Mark Driscoll's works show he is a false pastor and a wolf?" (Answer, yes). 

In that second essay, I listed many examples of a man in a downward spiral, who clearly does not have the Holy Spirit in him and yet is given pass after pass for wild and ungodly behavior against the church, against his sheep, and against Jesus. I'd queried the interwebs in a non-rhetorical question, 'at what point does the visible church collect its God-given discernment and place a pastor like Mark Driscoll in the wolf category?'

After the initial charge of plagiarism surfaced on the Janet Mefferd show, a second (and third) round surfaced a couple of days later on the same show. Ms Mefferd offered verbal and .pdf proof that there was more plagiarism, this time, not just similar concept, tone, and language, but word-for-word lifting. Mark Driscoll's book "Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter" had on pages 7 & 8 whole word-for-word paragraphs from different pages that were published in D.A. Carson et al “1 Peter,” New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, Ed. D. A. Carson, 4th ed. (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), p. 1370. You can see the evidence here.
Janet Mefferd
public Facebook profile

It is plain and clear that the bible says men who are called to pastor should be shepherds after Jesus's own heart (Jeremiah 3:15). It is also plain and clear that they are held to an extremely high standard: they must be above reproach. (Titus 1:6; 1 Timothy 3:2). Above reproach in the Greek word as it's used in the NT means blameless, not convictable when a person is properly scrutinized. GotQuestions explains 'above reproach' in our terms,

"The dictionary defines “reproach” as shame or disgrace or that which brings rebuke or censure upon a person. The Bible speaks of being “above reproach” or “blameless” as one of the distinctive marks of those who aspire to the office of elder or deacon within the church (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7). As such, their work for the church, as well as their interactions with others, are to be of such moral quality that they do not bring shame or in any way disgrace the body of Christ or the name of Jesus. This holds true not only within the church, but outside it as well."

In other words, if you were to look closely at a pastor's life, there would be nothing you could accuse him or or call him to account over.

This is obviously not the case with Mark Driscoll. He is almost constantly reproved for some kind of bad behavior or other. There have been moral failings, ethical breaches, spiritual irreverence and doctrinal error. He has been counseled by elders of the faith and has ignored their counsel, demonstrating a refusal to submit to authority. The specifics are at this link. Though the sheep bleat and bleat, Mr Driscoll remains, seemingly impervious to the attempts to lever leviathan from his place.

Of all the perplexing and ruinous behaviors in that list which Mr Driscoll has evidenced, there is one which affronts me greatly. It is the modern blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. That term was created and expounded upon by Dr John MacArthur in his sermon of the same title delivered in 2011. He had become concerned with the modern mystics (of which Driscoll is one) who claim to receive direct visions and revelation from the Holy Spirit, but which in fact are demonic. Here is Dr MacArthur's explanation of how and why the modern blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is so deadly:

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Wikipedia, Press photo
I’m not here to defend the Holy Spirit, He can defend Himself. But I am here to say that reproaches that are falling on His holy name are falling on me as well, and mostly this comes in the professing church from Pentecostals and Charismatics who feel they have free license to abuse the Holy Spirit and even blaspheme His holy name. And they do it constantly.

How do they do it? By attributing to the Holy Spirit words that He didn’t say, deeds that He didn’t do, and experiences that He didn’t produce, attributing to the Holy Spirit that which is not the work of the Holy Spirit. Endless human experiences, emotional experiences, bizarre experiences and demonic experiences are said to come from the Holy Spirit…visions, revelations, voices from heaven, messages from the Spirit through transcendental means, dreams, speaking in tongues, prophecies, out of body experiences, trips to heaven, anointings, miracles. All false, all lies, all deceptions attributed falsely to the Holy Spirit.

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Mr Driscoll has famously said "I see things" in which he claims all of the above. He claims that the Holy Spirit allows him to view sexual fornication in graphic detail as it happens, 'like a movie.' I am astounded the entire Church did not come down on his head in resounding reproaches for making that statement, because it is gross, blasphemous and entirely demonic. Pastor Phil Johnson aptly called Driscoll's statement, "pornographic divination."

Yet Driscoll's claim stood, and like all demonic lies, it was not the first time he has made the claim. In researching this week about the claims of his plagiarism, I came across an excerpt from his book, Real Marriage, published at the beginning of 2012. It is a marital advice book in which the Driscolls reveal graphic details about their own marriage and weave those personal revelations with advice for other couples. I do not recommend the book.
Grace Driscoll
Source- Mars Hill Press Kit

In that book, Mr Driscoll reveals the following:

One night, as we approached the birth of our first child, Ashley, and the launch of our church, I had a dream in which I saw some things that shook me to my core. I saw in painful detail Grace sinning sexually during a senior trip she took after high school when we had just started dating. It was so clear it was like watching a film — something I cannot really explain but the kind of revelation I sometimes receive. I awoke, threw up, and spent the rest of the night sitting on our couch, praying, hoping it was untrue, and waiting for her to wake up so I could ask her. I asked her if it was true, fearing the answer. Yes, she confessed, it was. Grace started weeping and trying to apologize for lying to me, but I honestly don’t remember the details of the conversation, as I was shell-shocked. Had I known about this sin, I would not have married her.” (p. 11-12, Real Marriage)

Here is a pastor who claims to have the Holy Spirit inside him and claims this Pure Spirit allows him to view other people engaged in sexual congress 'like a movie." I find his claim makes me want to throw up. It is completely impossible that the Spirit of all holiness would place pornographic pictures in Driscoll's head, and  voyeuristically, of other people no less. How is this any different from simply putting in a real porn movie and watching it? But Driscoll claims this is a gift from the Holy Spirit. His statement is a true and explicit example of the modern blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. This alone should cause enough warrant to remove Driscoll from pastoring. But wait, it gets worse.

As a Christian, Driscoll says that this demonically delivered porn vision would have been the reason he would have chosen not to marry his wife. However, we rely on the bible to make decisions, not experiences or visions. Every time someone received a vision and decisively went forward on the basis of that, it turned out to be hell itself (Mormonism, Islam, etc). He is showing the entire church through his published book that it is acceptable and holy to receive porn visions, and worse, that it is proper to make decisions based on those visions, and not the bible.

Third, as a husband, he throws aside the sovereignty of God in making the claim that the sexual visions he claims to have had would be enough reason for him not to marry her. That he did marry her is evidence of the sovereignty of God. If God had not wanted Driscoll to marry his wife Grace, he would not have. That he had been married to her for years by the time this vision entered his brain is evidence that this is the woman God has intended him to marry. It should be noted that Driscoll states he was not a virgin when they married, either. Moreover, it is the worst thing I've even heard a husband say about his wife, made all the worse because it is in print, and online, forever.

Can you picture Christ saying that about a sinning woman? No. Look what Jesus did say to sinning women: John 8:11, John 4:16-25, Luke 8:2. This is why Driscoll is not a shepherd after Jesus's own heart.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (Ephesians 5:25) 

Carl Trueman made an interesting statement in between the different claims of alleged Driscoll plagiarism that surfaced over the last week. In his short but pointed essay called Judge for Yourselves, Mr Trueman said,

"This could well prove an interesting test case for the ethical stature of conservative evangelicalism. Is there an evangelical industrial complex out there or is there a morality which transcends and ultimately regulates the evangelical marketplace?"

Ms Mefferd reported that Tyndale, who published Driscoll's A Call to Resurgence, has committed with Driscoll to publish more of his books in a new imprint called Resurgence Publishing. Last February Driscoll announced,

"We’ve reached an agreement with Tyndale House Publishers to publish numerous titles under a new imprint called Resurgence Publishing (the last two books with the Re:Lit name will be released this spring). Tyndale will publish all of my (Pastor Mark’s) work moving forward, in addition to other Resurgence authors whom we’ll announce in the coming months. We’ll kick things off this fall with the launch of my next book."

This week, Driscoll's publisher Tyndale said that they have examined the alleged plagiarism evidence and are fine with everything. Everything is hunky dory, please disperse.

"Tyndale House takes any accusation of plagiarism seriously and has therefore conducted a thorough in-house review of the original material and sources provided by the author. After this review we feel confident that the content in question has been properly cited in the printed book and conforms to market standards." (source)

So we have Mr Trueman's answer. The "evangelical industrial complex" is alive and well, machinery grinding  our doctrine, the sheep, and lucre-seeking pastors and all, in the ever-eternal pursuit of money.

Discerning book buyers have long wondered why LifeWay continues to publish obvious heretics such as Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyers and the like. Offering heretical books to the sheep for money seems a bad trade compared to the treasures Jesus said are stored up for us. And now Publishing House Tyndale's weird response to blatant plagiarism is another head-scratching moment in our apostatizing church. Why?

Because Mark Driscoll as merchandise has become more valuable to the money making church than Mark Driscoll as godly pastor is to the ever sanctifying church.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; (1 Peter 5:2)

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (2 Peter 2:3)

8 comments:

  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    After reading this post, I read Jeremiah 23, which was my Bible chapter for today which, though written to the Jews, describes today's "prophets" perfectly.
    There seems to be false prophets and false doctrine at every step recently. In my very conservative church, during a small group meeting, it became very apparent that the group leader's beliefs were akin to Pelagianism. This was after 2 months of meeting with this group and really admiring this person for their outspoken faith and witness. All members of the group were very surprised and we had a long discussion, which didn't change the leader's view. I wonder can one be a Christian and a Pelagian?

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  2. Elizabeth,

    I just realized this as I reread your post:

    From your quote from Driscoll's book in his own words:

    "One night, as we approached the birth of our first child, Ashley, and the launch of our church, I had a dream in which I saw some things that shook me to my core...."

    He seriously was having these demonic p*rn*vision dreams BEFORE he even founded Mars Hill? That's what it reads like. If that's the case, then great. Just great.

    The root then produces the fruit now.

    -Carolyn

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    1. I KNOW! It hit me too when I found that quote. I was shocked, and worse, his description of the p*orn's graphic detail "like a movie" sickened me and was the last straw. That quote alone was the reason I wrote this entire essay. The man is NOT SAVED.

      Mat 24:3-5,10-11 (NIV) ..."Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Jesus answered, "Watch out that no one deceives you, for many will come in my name,.. At that time many will turn away from the faith... and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people."

      What do we suppose a wolf in the place of a pastor will look like? Exactly like this. What do we expect people wanting to heap up teachers
      to tickle their itching ears will look like? Exactly like this. Bible verses are not only for bible times. I always scratch my head when people read the verses like that and assent mentally but when it comes to applying them to a known, current teacher, they balk.

      'Acts 17:11 Bible Study' has a great study on false prophets/ false prophecy, and they mention that the false ones will come and do signs and wonders. However,

      "In fact, aren't we specifically warned that near the End of the Age many will show great signs and wonders? What then? Are signs and wonders "fruit"? Effective witchcraft is not the "fruit" we are to look for (Gal 5:22-23)." more here
      http://www.acts17-11.com/fprophecy.html

      Just because Driscoll had a sexual vision in which his future wife was the star, and she confirmed it, does not authenticate that the vision was from the HOLY Spirit. As a matter of fact it does firmly authenticate the fact that the vision occurred, but that it was from the devil. Other people many times forget that Pharaoh's wizards performed signs, too. the devil has that ability inso far as Jesus will allow.

      In my opinion the fact of these visions Driscoll is having is PROOF that the man is not saved. Would the Holy Spirit deliberately place a sexually graphic vision of other people to come to a sanctified person's mind? No. Not when He is busy renewing it.(Rom 12:2). Does the Spirit further our sanctification by putting temptation in our mind? No, God does not tempt anyone to evil (James 1:13).

      Mark Driscoll is a wolf.

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  3. The more I read, see, and hear of Mark Driscoll, the more I am convinced that he is obsessed with sex, and perversion of sex. He's more like a high school locker room jock than a shepherd of a flock

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  4. Elizabeth,

    To say, "The man is NOT SAVED" I think is completely off base. I consider myself a discerning Christian and have listened to enough of his sermons/interviews to know that the vast majority of his teaching isn't characterized by what has been popularized in the media. He's quite intelligent, well-read, and firmly in the conservative camp on all the major doctrines. He does speak frankly and openly about sex, because he was preaching to thousands of young men in their twenties every week. He does have some limited charismatic leanings, which are false experiences; however, I can't dismiss him on that basis alone. There are many other evangelicals that we give a pass to who have much worse claims to charismatic experience. What he has said once on Premier Christian Radio, which I agree with is, "Sometimes I go to far, but just about every pastor I know isn't going far enough." He's been staunchly against the push for allowing homosexuality and feminism to influence the church and staunch defender and preacher of the gospel. His main failings stem from the fact that he started a church when he was 28, without any experience, and made a lot of public mistakes along the way - including not keeping his ego in check, which is his greatest weakness. There's no doubt he's pushed common sense boundaries on more than one occasion, but he's far from being a heretic or unsaved.

    I'd recommend that you watch this video from the 2013 Resurgence Conference and tell me from that video why you think he's not saved: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_QPKam4FjA

    JP

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    1. Hi JP,

      I'm not going to watch Mark Driscoll. It is not profitable. It is already obvious he has nothing to offer the faith.

      I know it can be confusing when a pastor preaches engagingly, that he would be false. It's also perplexing when we watch him even for a long period of time in seeming to handle the scriptures rightly. But that is not the only benchmark to determine if a pastor is a wolf or not a wolf.

      First, we don't compare pastors to other pastors to see if they are saved or false. That he may go too far while others don't go far enough has nothing to do with anything.

      That he displays 'only a little bit of charismania' also has nothing to do with anything. God's standards are strict and knowable. A little bit or a lot, wrong is wrong. The scriptures speak to this exactly:

      "Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? (1 Cor 5:6)
      "Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Matthew 16:6)

      In the above verse we are told specifically that the yeast can and does come from spiritual leaders, who indeed are false. We must be on guard against them, not tolerate them. Jesus charged the Thyatiran church with tolerating a woman they knew was teaching sin AND behaving immorally. Rev 2:20.

      Last, while Driscoll's theology seems OK, and in many cases it is, (but increasingly it's not), theology is not the only standard to determine wolf from saved. We look at fruits. It is by their fruit we shall know them. Mt 7:16. (And you notice that it says we SHALL know them, there will be no uncertainty, it is a knowable thing that we discern a wolf from a Christian).

      Behavioral standards comprise MOST of the qualifications of overseer. Driscoll has not stumbled once, momentarily, but has demonstrated along-term entrenched pattern of lying, bullying, charismatic visions (pornographic no less), lack of submission to elders, refusal to repent, mishandling of church money, blame-shifting, boasting, crashing another pastor's conference to pass out his own books, (false) relevant/seeker sensitive/emergent/ rock and roll church structure, the way he treats his wife as stated in this blog essay, non-compete contracts for church planting, summarily firing people and with-holding their severance, and more.

      I'm sorry that it would take more that that to raise your discernment antennae.

      By your own admission, his inability to "keep his ego in check" disqualifies him! Read Titus 1:6-8 and 1 Tim 3:2.

      He is not only disqualified, but any person who claims to be a Christian and demonstrates such an abusive lifestyle within the church is not saved.

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    2. Message to JP regarding "censoring" comments-

      First, this is my forum and I determine what profits the body of Christ and which comments see the light of day. As a former journalist, I did the same with letters to the editor and online anonymous comments. If the comment has exhausted the topic, is too long, doesn't remain on topic, is is pointless (I'll get to that in a minute) it doesn't go thru. Profanity is not the *only* measure of a helpful or thoughtful comment. Just because someone has a keyboard and internet access is not an automatic pass to publish everything they say.

      Second, the topic you and I have been discussing had become pointless. Not that your comment was without value, it was, but it had exhausted itself. You began to repeat yourself, didn't use biblical verses to support your opinion, and it was time to let it be. Give space to let the Spirit intercede in your mind and heart. Any further back and forth (as demonstrated by your third, long comment), would be pointless. You weren't getting the biblical underpinnings. You were going on opinion. So not only was the comment pointless, It was fruitless.

      Third, my instinct to call the conversation quits by deleting your third comment was right on. At the first opportunity, you came out with accusations, meanness, and ad hominem attacks.

      The indicator for me is always whether a person reads the recommended verses and has an insight as to how they relate to the conversation, or offers verses on their own -that are related to the topic- as a helpful furtherance of the conversation. You did not. I cannot offer you any better than the bible and its thoughts and commands. Our conversation is done.

      The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off. Proverbs 10:31

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