Posted in beth moore, evil, Joyce Meyer, mark driscoll, mother teresa, pope francis

What is evil? You would be surprised.

Here are a few links for you. There is a theme.

This was a great analysis of Mark Driscoll’s “Update Apology”. The author parsed Driscoll’s words and translated into plain-speak. And it isn’t good.

An analysis of Mark Driscoll’s update to Mars Hill Church

Because we can do that, you know. We can analyze the words of Driscoll personally, and we can analyze the words as an articulation of Mars Hill Church’s attitudes and intentions. So we can dissect these words to discern what they are really saying to us, the abused. We can listen to what Driscoll is saying and what the church is saying. What is in their heart? Here’s what I’m hearing:

The spiritual abuse Driscoll has heaped on the sheep, and the reproach he has brought to Jesus’ name, is heinous in the extreme. It’s evil.

Once I wrote on Twitter and this blog that if Hitler had repented, he’d be in heaven, and that “Mother Teresa” was in hell. I got a lot of flak. But I wanted to point out two things: Jesus’ work on the cross and His resulting grace covers ALL sins- except the sin of rejecting Him. Secondly, most people don’t know what an evil pagan Mother Teresa was. When they think ‘evil’ the go-to poster boy is always Hitler and when they think ‘nice’ they always think Mother Teresa. But theological rejection of Christ and a lifetime of working against Him is evil. Let’s call it what it is. Here is one author who does.

Here’s What We Learned From Mother Teresa and Why We Should Reject It

Speaking of calling evil, evil, here is Denny Burk on that very topic. Let’s not get so inoculated with the times that we forget what evil is- opposing Christ in any form. Here, Burk uses ISIS terrorists as the example. In his essay at the top is a photo of a black hooded ISIS terrorist holding a knife.My point is that the ones who terrotize in Allahs’ name are not the only evil ones. The smiling pseudo Christians are actually worse.

Refusing to call evil “evil”

This next essay is about apathetic Christians who have emerged from a generation of decisional acceptance of Christ and the prevalent lazy attitude toward obeying Him. We are reaping the ‘rewards’ of a generation as this author says, of “Millions upon millions of content and confident, flesh-obsessed walking dead who think like the world, act like the world, love what the world loves and hate what the world hates…all in Jesus’ name.”

The (church built) Zombie Apocalypse is upon us…

If you haven’t caught on to the theme of this essay with links, it is evil, but not Hitler evil. Not ISIS evil. It’s pseudo-Christian evil, in my opinion, the worst kind. I expect terrorists like ISIS to be ferocious, bloody knife wielding lawbreakers. But the true Christian world forgets that a Beth Moore, a Mother Teresa, a Mark Driscoll, a sin-avoiding preaching pastor, a lazy pseudo-Christian, are also terrorists. They’re terrorists, lawbreakers, spies, and destroyers.

Do you think one of these images is worse than another? You’re right, it’s Beth Moore who is the more evil.

An ISIS terrorist’s gun kills the body. Moore’s weapon, the bible, (the way she uses it), kills the soul. (Matthew 10:28)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.  (Matthew 23:15)

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

James Robison and wife Betty.
Their program on Wednesdays features Beth Moore

This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. (Galatians 2:4)

Just because we can see that ISIS terrorists are maniacal, foaming at the mouth unthinking dogs doesn’t make them more evil than a Beth Moore or a James Robison. It actually makes them less evil, because they are easy to spot. The true terrorists of earth are the ones who creep in to church in order to destroy the name of Christ and hinder the witness of the sheep.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)

One of the faces of today’s evil

Jesus knows we find it hard to bear the evil done in His name. He understands the teeth-grinding righteous grief we feel when we see what is done in His name by those calling themselves His children-

‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. (Revelation 2:2)

A preacher like Mark Driscoll is actually more dangerous than an ISIS terrorist. Same with Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, James Robison, Mother Teresa, Pope Francis…They have one thing in common, they are all part of satan’s system and are his trophies of evil.

Let’s call it what it is.

Posted in false teachers, jentezen franklin, joseph prince, mark driscoll, rick warren, vultures

Rick Warren on the lineup for Hillsong Conference 2015.

A friend on Facebook posted this today:

“Mark Driscoll is appearing at Hillsong along with Rick Warren, Jentezen Franklin, and Joseph Prince. Are you still wondering if there is a problem?”

I wasn’t sure what he was referring to but a 1 minute search on Google brought up the Hillsong Sydney 2015 conference:


Why yes, there is definitely a problem. Each of these men pictured above who lead churches have demonstrated non-orthodoxy either with their conduct and/or their theology.

But first let’s start with the venue, Hillsong Church.

Erin Benziger sums up the issue with Hillsong in this way:

Hillsong Church has been the subject of criticism not just for its seeker-sensitive, pragmatic methods of ministry, but also for its promotion of a form of the false Word Faith gospel. It is not unusual, in fact, for Hillsong’s massive conferences to feature prominent Word Faith leaders such as T.D. Jakes and Joel Osteen. Below can be heard a critique of Brian Houston teaching earlier this year on the text of Matthew 7:13–14. This clearly demonstrates Houston’s ability to twist God’s Word beyond recognition:

And after the colon above there is a video demonstrating non-orthodox interpretations of the Matthew text.

Hillsong has also been the focus of financial scrutiny and official investigation.

Hillsong teaches word faith doctrines, prosperity gospels, and more. The church itself is not a solid church in that it can be said they consistently handle scripture incorrectly and teach unorthodox, non-evangelical teachings.

Todd Friel of Wretched Radio said, Be Careful of Hillsong. But he also said that if he was extended an invitation to go, would he go? He said if he was assured he could preach anything he wanted, and after telling the Hillsong organizers what he planned to preach if they still wanted him to come, he would. Why? Because Hillsong people need the Gospel. So are the preachers listed for the 2015 lineup solid preachers going with an intent to share the Gospel to a lost and wandering herd of sheep? No. Given the track record and long-term pattern of Franklin, Prince, Warren, and Driscoll, we cannot give that benefit of the doubt. Let’s take a look.

Joseph Prince is just purely, out and out, a false teacher. (source)

Rick Warren is a pragmatist, indeed, the description under his photo above lists him first and foremost as “a global strategist.” Warren is driven by fads and leads his church that way, prays to false gods, and fails to give the Gospel either totally, or at least clearly.

The issues with Mark Driscoll are so numerous they’d be impossible to list here on a short form, or even to list them all in one blog post. What I find most egregious about Driscoll’s unregenerate life are his demon trials, spiritual abuse, pornographic visions, plagiarism, and fiscal secrecy. To name just a very, very few.

There are problems with what Jentezen Franklin teaches and also with his approach to pastoring. In addition there are issues with who he associates with.

I posted the above about the men Hillsong has invited to their conference to show that is not about a wayward word-faith church trying to correct its course by inviting good men to preach, it is about an unregenerate church inviting unregenerate men to unite their rebellious hearts and minds in darkness.

To this end, a series of scriptures came to mind that to me seem linked.

False Christians are proactive in their self-delusion. The seek out and purposely find false teachers who preach a message that appeals to their craven hearts.

The false Christians with itching ears heap up teachers to themselves so their itching ears can be scratched. (2 Timothy 4:3)

And the false teachers are not innocent bystanders either. They do what they do because they are greedy. (2 Pet. 2:14, 1 Tim. 6:5).

And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:3)

Therefore, seeing an opportunity for dishonest gain, the false teachers and false prophets seek out and gather the false Christians with itching ears who are rushing toward them.

They meet.

And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” (Luke 17:37)

Now, the Luke verse and its parallel in Matthew 24:28 is a difficult one to exactly interpret. The context is the Tribulation. Jesus is preaching the signs of the times and the coming of the Kingdom. It cannot be specifically applied to a situation of false Christians heaping up false teachers who in turn exploit the false Christians who are happy to buy their false products and listen to their false message. The Expositor’s Greek Testament says of the vultures verse, “If we connect it with Matthew 24:27 the idea will be that Messiah’s judicial function will be as universal as His appearance (Meyer and Weiss).” That seems to be the general meaning.

But what I picture in my mind when envisioning such a conference as Hillsong 2015, is a lot of dead people being picked over by vultures.

Sermon Bible Commentary explains the parallel Matthew 24:28 verse:

The Law of Divine Judgment.

I. When a wild beast falls in the desert, or a beast of burden on the highway, there is no stir in the heavens [skies] for a time. But, far above human ken, the vulture is floating poised on his wings; and looking downwards his eye soon distinguishes the motionless thing—for he hunts by an eyesight unequalled in power among all living things, and like a stone he drops through miles of air. Others floating in the same upper region, see their brother’s descent and know its meaning. One dark speck after another grows swiftly from the horizon, and in a few minutes fifty vultures are round the carrion. That illustrates—and with astonishing power and sharpness—for the disciples had often witnessed such a scene—the suddenness, the usefulness and the necessity of judgment. Inevitable, swift, unerring, as the vulture’s descent on the carcase is the judgment-coming of the Son of Man to corrupt communities and corrupted men.

II. From all this we now infer the law of judgment. It is this: Wherever there is entire moral corruption then there is final punishment; wherever there is partial corruption, there is remedial punishment. God in His capacity as Governor of the world, as Educator of mankind, is bound to destroy corruption. It is necessary that the vultures should devour the carcase, lest it pollute the air and breed a pestilence. It is necessary that corrupted nations should be blotted out, lest they infect the world with evil which may delay the whole progress of mankind. And our own sense of justice goes with the destruction. Nor, when we are wise, do we think that such justice shows want of love. We know that the weak man who shrinks from exacting deserved punishment is often the most cruel when his own interests are touched; and we can trust ourselves in the hour of our trouble best to One whose justice we are so sure of, that we know that if our trouble was caused by wrong-doing He would make us feel that wrongness before He would relieve the trouble. S. A. Brooke, The Spirit of the Christian Life, p. 57.

It is hard to say who is more alive and who is more dead, this ever descending cycle of false Christians who are dead being the provision for the false teachers to feed on them, or the false teachers selling what the dead Christians want. It is hard to say where the vulture begins and their food ends or where the food begins and the vulture ends.

In Hosea 13:1 Hosea prophesies that Ephraim (Israel) used to be alive and exalted, “but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.

In the New Testament we read of a similarly tragic situation.

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Revelation 3:1)

They look alive. But they are dead. They live, move, and breathe, but they are DEAD. The word dead in the Revelation verse is nekros, “unresponsive to life-giving influences (opportunities); inoperative to the things of God.”

So we see that an entire bunch of people can gather, sing praises to God, move, worship, wave hands, applaud approvingly, and be dead tot he things of God.

labeled for reuse, source

And what do vultures do, but feed on the dead.

A warning to us all:

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16)

Posted in discernment, mark driscoll, merchandise, wolf

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:


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.


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)

Posted in macarthur, mark driscoll, mefferd, plagiarize, reproach

Does the fruit of Mark Driscoll’s works show he is a false pastor and a wolf? (Updated)

Updated to add Carl Trueman quote and link.

Creative Commons

Plagiarism is a serious issue these days in academia, publishing, and journalism. In 2005 Judy Hayden called academic plagiarism a “crisis“. In publishing, both Fareed Zakaria and Doris Kearns Goodwin were exposed as plagiarists when portions of each of their works were shown to be plagiarized. Yet for all that, plagiarism increasingly seems to be brushed off these days as a minor mistake. wrote further, “Goodwin, the elder, is a serial plagiarizer who has been welcomed back with open arms by the TV punditocracy.” As for Zakaria the journalist, last year “Zakaria was suspended … by Time magazine and CNN for lifting several paragraphs from a New Yorker magazine essay and using them in his Time magazine column. Zakaria apologized, calling it a “terrible mistake.”

Academia has plagiarizer checkers, whereupon the Professor submits the student’s paper to a site and software automatically checks for similar language or lifted portions. This is now as much a standard task for Professors to perform as actually grading the papers.

Because plagiarism involves lying and stealing, one would think that plagiarism would have no place in Christian circles. But it does.

Increasingly, pastors are routinely exposed for plagiarizing sermons and failing to give proper attribution, passing them off as their own study and work product. I wrote back in May that our own pastor was asked to leave due to serial plagiarism, among other reasons. It has sadly become a common problem in the pulpit.

With so many pastors attaining celebrity status and writing books, going on tours and giving interviews, the temptation to plagiarize their for-profit work product exists for them as much as it does for secular writers. Just as with any sin, it can creep in, lie in wait, inoculate the bearer to its evil, and then sear the conscience.

In my opinion, that seems to be what happened to Mark Driscoll.

Wikimedia commons,
Mars Hill publicly released photo

Readers might know that he crashed the Grace Community Church Strange Fire conference last month and attempted to pass out his un-vetted books at the conference. Then when he was caught, he spoke falsely about what happened, claiming that his books were confiscated and he was abruptly escorted off the grounds by guards. Photos, eyewitness accounts, and video proved those to be lies, almost immediately.

I chose not to write about it because there has been so much ink already on Driscoll that I thought the event was tawdry and over the years there has been plenty to show that he has engaged in acts which in my opinion at least, bring him below reproach.

This week, Mr Driscoll was interviewed on the Janet Mefferd show regarding Driscoll’s new book, “A Call to Resurgence”. (Interview link below). Mefferd, who is familiar with the work of Dr. Peter Jones, and in preparing for the Driscoll interview, noticed that 14 pages of Driscoll’s book were extremely similar in tone, language and concept to Dr Jones’s, and there was no direct citation nor was there proper attribution. Were the pages plagiarized?

Mefferd asked Driscoll about this. The interview became heated on Driscoll’s part, and unfortunately he began to attack Ms Mefferd. Pastor Driscoll said that Mefferd was being unkind, rude, grumpy, and trying to give Driscoll orders. He said she was unChrist-like, had no experience as an intellectual property attorney or judge.

Then he hung up on her.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15)

Part of Driscoll’s reasoning was that like Zakaria had said, the 14 pages of eerily similar content in his book to Jones’s was “a mistake.”

Later, Ms Mefferd related that her former newspaper editor emailed her after examining the evidence, saying, “He works on the plagiarism issue with the American Copy Editors Society, listened to the interview and said that group would agree with my assessment of plagiarism in the Driscoll case. Just thought you all  would like to know!”

Yet Ms Mefferd is receiving a lion’s share of blow-back simply because she asked Driscoll about the plagiarism, and Driscoll isn’t (yet) repentant about the apparent plagiarism nor his behavior on the interview with toward a woman of the faith.

Pastor Wade Burleson wrote of this issue,

Mark Driscoll is a pastor. He is not a scholar. It could be that he made a “mistake” by not realizing the seriousness of selling a book where he appropriated the thoughts and ideas of another author as his own. It could be that Mark truly didn’t know how to give proper credit to Dr. Jones in his book’s footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography. … Pastor Mark Driscoll might not be clear about the scholarly way to give credit. However, what Pastor Mark Driscoll should know how to do is to treat someone who calls him out on his error.”

In researching this issue, I came across Driscoll’s own FAQ about use of material from his blog, church web pages, and sermons and sermon transcripts. It seems that Pastor Mark Driscoll is perfectly clear about intellectual property, plagiarism, and attribution. When it comes to using his own work-product, that is. After reading Driscoll’s FAQ on plagiarism, I ask us all, at what point do we stop giving benefit of the doubt?

The FAQ states,

“If I use material from one of Pastor Mark’s sermon’s [sic] do I need to cite him as the source of that material?
“Yes. If you don’t cite him, you are plagiarizing. If you use content from one of Pastor Mark’s sermons or from one of his books, you need to attribute the content (whether it is a quote or paraphrase) to Pastor Mark. Also, even though we make transcripts available of our sermons, this does not mean you can take the transcript and deliver the sermon as though it is your own. This too is plagiarism.”

I have a concern here about two things mainly.

1. After a pattern of sin has become entrenched in a pastor’s life, without any evidence of repentance, and with bad fruit more constant than good, when do we stop giving benefit of the doubt and saying things like “He is working for the Kingdom of God?” How does it honor Jesus to ignore a pastor’s pattern of a variety of sins where there is no repentance, and when the evidence points to his sin’s entrenchment and a seared conscience?

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:5)

Remember, ‘ravenous’ means they are always hungry and they never stop eating. The root of the word ‘ravenous’ in Latin means to plunder, take by force.

2. Why doesn’t the Church take plagiarism seriously? Plagiarism is lying and stealing. Pastors called to shepherd the sheep on behalf of the name of Jesus the Christ should not lie. It seems a moral given. Yet we have become soft on the benchmarks the bible gives on sin in the sheep and especially the pastors, and especially if they are celebrity pastors. Pastors and elders must be above reproach. (1 Timothy 3:2,10; Titus 1:7).
“The Mefferd-Driscoll controversy points to another aspect of celebrity culture: celebrities are routinely allowed to behave in ways which would not be tolerated in ordinary mortals.” Carl Trueman

So I ask again, why do churches put up with lying, unrepentant pastors? Why do they overlook patterns of sin and the bad fruit they produce? It is not about me being mean, or judging another or forgetting I am a sinner too. When a pastor who sins grievously according to the standards outlined in the Word, whether he repents or not, he has violated those standards. If you hired a doctor at a hospital and found out later he never went to medical school, would you keep him on? Of course not, he is not qualified. Pastoring is a matter of qualifications, and those were set by Jesus, the highest authority that exists. Yet there seems to be an easing of standards and more and more avoidance in applying them in discipline when it comes to pastors. Why do we let the wolves gobble us up?

In his 1991 essay titled Should Fallen Pastors Be Restored? John MacArthur wrote, “Gross sin among Christian leaders is a signal that something is seriously wrong with the church. But an even greater problem is the lowering of standards to accommodate a leader’s sin. That the church is so eager to bring these men back into leadership is a symptom of rottenness at the core. … By all means we should be forgiving. But we cannot erase the consequences of sin. I am not advocating that we “shoot our wounded.” I’m simply saying that we shouldn’t rush them back to the front lines, and we should not put them in charge of other soldiers. The church should do everything possible to minister to those who have sinned and repented. But that does not include restoring the mantle of leadership to a man who has disqualified himself and forfeited the right to lead. Doing so is unbiblical and lowers the standard God has set.

Oh, and what happened to the pastor I mentioned who was asked to leave due to 4 years of plagiarizing sermons on a weekly basis, even passing off the original pastor’s personal anecdotes as his own? Within 5 months, he was quickly hired as interim pastor at a nearby church. Yes, the search committee was aware of the reason he had left. They hired him anyway.


Enough is enough from Mark Driscoll. We should state plainly that his fruits are not from the Lord.

1. Driscoll claims to see visions of congregants in the act of adultery, and claims these pornographic visions are from the Holy Spirit.

2. Driscoll speaks crassly about sex from the pulpit, crossing the line of propriety especially by focusing on adult content in front of congregations and children are present. MacArthur wrote a 4-part series about Driscoll’s Rape of Solomon’s Song preached by Driscoll in Scotland a few years ago. MacArthur stated that Driscoll defended his talks, “It’s frank but not crass,” Mark Driscoll told a Sunday congregation in Scotland just less than 18 months ago. But then he continued by paraphrasing Solomon in a way that was totally crass and not even remotely close to what the Holy Spirit intended. (A CD copy of that shocking message, entitled Sex: A Study of the Good Bits of Song of Solomon was recently sent to me [MacArthur] by some deeply offended and concerned Christians in the UK. It is primarily the reason I’m doing this series.)” Dr MacArthur said that Driscoll engaged in “scurrilous soft-porn” from the pulpit. One should consider that blog series a rebuke by an elder of the faith to Driscoll. And yes, Driscoll was privately contacted by MacArthur before the blog series was published.

2a. It should be noted that the New York Times reported, “Mark Driscoll’s sermons are mostly too racy to post on GodTube, the evangelical Christian “family friendly” video-posting Web site. With titles like “Biblical Oral Sex” and “Pleasuring Your Spouse,” his clips do not stand a chance against the site’s content filters.”

3. Driscoll swears from the pulpit like a longshoreman. “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” ~James 3:10

4. Driscoll runs roughshod over deacons and employees, engaging in guerrilla-like tactics (Mark & Jonna Petry for example) of firing them when they question his leadership or his doctrine. (John 12:42)

4a. Driscoll does the same with congregants who won’t get aboard his metaphorical vision bus and won’t align themselves unquestioningly with Driscoll’s vision for his own leadership of Mars Hill. He calls it ‘blessed subtraction’ and boasts that it is by ‘God’s grace’ that there will be a ‘mountainous pile of dead bodies under his bus’. More here. (Matthew 6:21).

5. He makes a mockery of the pulpit and ignores rebukes and discipling opportunities from elder men of the faith. “Nevertheless, I have written Mark privately with my concerns. He rejected my counsel. … Mark Driscoll’s response to that admonition and the things he has said since have only magnified my concern.” More here.

6. I mentioned the Strange Fire Conference intrusion in October, where Driscoll and another pastor came uninvited, passed out their books (which were doctrinally opposite to the Conference’s teaching objective) and lied about the incident- we know this because many eyewitness and video testimonies surfaced almost immediately which contradicted what Driscoll had tweeted. (More here)

7. And now this objectively analyzed plagiarism incident where not only the plagiarism is exposed but Driscoll dealt harshly and made ad hominem attacks to a sister of the faith and acted not in grace but in childish pride by hanging up. (1 Peter 3:15; Proverbs 14:17; For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God, James 1:20)

There are more examples of course. I do not like spending time listing these examples. They give me no joy and only engender heartbreak for a man who claims to serve my precious Lord. I am sorrowful for the congregants he is a poor example to. I am saddened that he has given such opportunity to pagans to mock us and our Holy Jesus.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone,” (Colossians 4:5-6)

Christianity has standards. We have standards for entry, for behavior once converted, and for pastors who are supposed to be leaders. (Jeremiah 3:15, Proverbs 27:23, James 1:22 , Titus 1:5-9, 1 Peter 3:15)

Is Mark Driscoll a shepherd after Jesus’s own heart? The question must be asked, at what point do you stop saying that a crass, lying, plagiarizing, childish, sex-obsessed, porn-vision pastor who goes rogue, refuses to submit to authority, and sullies the pulpit with profanity is doing Kingdom work? When?


For Further Reading–

Janet Mefferd’s Interview with Mark Driscoll 

Janet Mefferd Show

Carl Trueman: If the Top Men take over, who will ask the hard questions?

Chris Rosebrough/Fighting for the Faith,”Allegations that Mark Driscoll Plagiarized Dr. Peter Jones

Wiki Classroom: Avoiding Plagiarism

Pastoral Plagiarism: 10 Do’s and Don’ts

What are the biblical qualifications for pastors?

Thom Ranier: 10 Things members desire in a pastor

Posted in church, ed young, mark driscoll, sexual, temple prostitutes

We’re THIS close to temple prostitution nowadays

EDITED to remove hoax reference to Wal-Mart CD refusing to stock Vineyard CD of racy worship
I wrote about the current trend we are experiencing in the Jesus is my boyfriend issue a week or so ago. In it I mentioned that the trend we’re currently experiencing in some Christian and/or evangelical quarters is to reduce Almighty God to our boyfriend or husband, and how this not only diminishes His august Majesty but introduces an inevitable sexual component to this unwanted trend.

In this essay I am going to extend the trend forward to a place that is obvious once you think about it.  I alluded to it when I mentioned in that Jesus is my boyfriend essay women as ‘camp followers’. I’ll answer answer the question of “why are mega-pastors like Ed Young, Mark Driscoll, and others introducing sex into the pulpit and why is contemporary music turning into breathlessly romantic and sometimes sexual songs about Jesus?” Here is my answer:

Because satan is preparing for the re-introduction of temple prostitution/sexual divine where the ancient pagan practices of sexual rites constitute a vital offering to deities. Now stick with me as I make my case. It is long so get comfortable.

Since time immemorial, worshipers have sought a union with the divine. We all have eternity in our hearts, (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We all have a conscience. (Romans 9:1). We all have knowledge that a higher being created the world. (Romans 1:19). Some of us suppress this truth. (Romans 1:18). Some respond and are saved by the blood of Jesus when we repent. When we repent, we finally recognize our union with Him, He sends the Spirit to dwell in us, and we are united to Him through covenant, marriage, and adoption.

However back to Romans 1. Those folks who refuse Jesus take a different path. They still seek union with the divine but because they are under satan’s sway, they have to live with his version of it. For those who suppress the truth, they respond to the union with the divine in ever increasingly corrupt ways. The trajectory is always down, as the progression in Romans 1 shows us.

In my opinion, the most overt unholy element of the current unholy perverse downgrade is the union of the sexual in worship.

Everything old is new again. We always come full circle. If you get a globe (remember those?) put a felt marker on the dot of your town, and spin the globe all the way around allowing the marker to draw a line, where will you end up? Back on your town. It is the same way with cultural trends. New Age is really old age. Today’s Personal Revelation is really old Gnosticism. Today’s Charismatic ecstatic experiences are really old Catholic mystic visions. Nothing satan does is new. Why should he expend energy creating new ways to pervert worship when all the old ways still work?

At root of the oldest way to pervert worship is sex. Let’s go back to Genesis and put our marker on the dot of the Garden, and draw that line through to today and you’ll see we will end up where we began.

In Genesis 3 satan tempted Eve. He told her that the fruit was good to make her wise. (Gen 3:5). She saw it was good and a delight. The word delight as used here in the Hebrew means ‘exceedingly, greedily, lust(ing), pleasant.’ She lusted. She didn’t just say, “oh, look, a piece of fruit!” She’d seen it every day so far! Satan made her see it differently, through exceedingly greedy lustful eyes. Satan joined that lust of the eyes with the lust for wisdom and we have the beginning of his tactic to unite the lust of the eyes with the pride of wanting higher wisdom.

Let’s advance that tactic of uniting the sexual and the divine, the erotic and the Gnostic, to Genesis 6:2, where “the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.” It means what it says, people. Unholy sexual union with heavenly beings.

Let’s advance the scene to Exodus 32:6, the Golden Calf-
“And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”

What happens when you are congregated with all your friends and family, sit down to eat and drink, and rise up again to play? Clarke’s commentary says of the word play

“And it appears they went much farther, for it is said they rose up to play, letsachek, a word of ominous import, which seems to imply here fornicating and adulterous intercourse; and in some countries the verb to play is still used precisely in this sense. In this sense the original is evidently used, Genesis 39:14.”

Paul wrote of that scene, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did.” (1 Cor 10:6-8).”

It was an orgy, OK? The context indicates this very strongly. If they were worshiping an idol they were under satan’s sway and under satan’s sway with the additional accelerants of food and drink and dance, they went the extra mile and indulged sexually. It was another case of the union of the sexual and the divine.

Scenes of the Golden Calf revelry in ancient art. Note how often they are shown partially dressed-

Adoration of the Golden Calf, Nicolas Poussin
Gerrit de Wet – The Adoration of the Golden Calf

Van Leyden Lucas – Dance of Jews around the Golden Calf

Let’s advance the scene again, to the times of the pagans until Jesus came. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus was the first to state that the ancient Mesopotamians practised temple prostitution. This is really tough on the heart to read:

“The foulest Babylonian custom is that which compels every woman of the land to sit in the temple of Aphrodite and have intercourse with some stranger once in her life. Many women who are rich and proud and disdain to mingle with the rest, drive to the temple in covered carriages drawn by teams, and stand there with a great retinue of attendants. But most sit down in the sacred plot of Aphrodite, with crowns of cord on their heads; there is a great multitude of women coming and going; passages marked by line run every way through the crowd, by which the men pass and make their choice. Once a woman has taken her place there, she does not go away to her home before some stranger has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse with her outside the temple; but while he casts the money, he must say, “I invite you in the name of Mylitta” (that is the Assyrian name for Aphrodite). It does not matter what sum the money is; the woman will never refuse, for that would be a sin, the money being by this act made sacred. So she follows the first man who casts it and rejects no one. After their intercourse, having discharged her sacred duty to the goddess, she goes away to her home; and thereafter there is no bribe however great that will get her. So then the women that are fair and tall are soon free to depart, but the uncomely have long to wait because they cannot fulfil the law; for some of them remain for three years, or four.”

Temple prostitution was a practice in most cultures. Deuteronomy 23:17 forbids followers from indulging in temple prostitution.

“None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, and none of the sons of Israel shall be a cult prostitute.”

Khajuraho Group of Monuments

Divine and sexual union is a central teaching in Tantric Buddhism, where sexual practices and rites constitute an important offering to Tantric deities. The temple Khajuraho at left is a monument to the Hindu and Jain gods, and is described by UNESCO World Heritage sites as “decorated with a profusion of sculptures that are among the greatest masterpieces of Indian art.” Most of the sculptures are graphic sexual acts. In one of the sculptures a man is having relations with a horse. Masterpiece, eh?

Even after Jesus, the carnal/sensual remained as a part of worship in many cultures, even Catholicism. The sexual as worship was practiced by Catholic and other mystics in the Middle Ages. The late Middle Ages  from 1300-1500 was the height of the Catholic Mystical period especially for women. These females, especially Teresa of Avila and Hildegard of Bingen, experienced and wrote about their personal, intimate, erotic, ecstatic and divine union with God through overtly erotic experiences when overcome with their ‘visions’.

Other female mystics were, starting in the 1200s, Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn, Mechthild of Hackeborn, Mechtild of Magdebourg, and Gertrude the Great. Their visions are largely based on the Song of Songs and filled with eroticism and the Body of Christ. As we approach the current age, we find Mark Driscoll setting off a firestorm with his graphic and heinous teaching of the Song of Solomon. It was so bad it earned a 4-part rebuke from John MacArthur. Did I not tell you that everything old is new again?

Julie B. Miller, writes, “Scholars of women’s religious history and spirituality readily agree that medieval and early modern women mystics utilized the vocabulary and imagery of  sexual love to describe their passionate and intense relationships with the divine.”

In Ruth Evans’ book “Medieval Virginities” we read that in much current scholarship the erotic language of women medieval mystics is not thought to be entirely allegorical. Rather, the religious experience of  these women is often regarded as intrinsically erotic…

Jean Gerson, a medieval male mystic himself, noted this trend in 1415 and warned against it. But there is a clamor to accept mysticism today and all that comes with it, including the re-emergence of accepting a union of the sexual.

OK, you get the idea. So what does this globe trotting that have to do with today? Because that old notion of uniting the sexual with worship is ba-ack! BIG TIME. It is not in the pagan religions though and it is not in the Catholic religion. It is in traditional Christianity!

It started a few years ago in books with ‘frank’ explorations of sex within the confines of a one-man, one-woman Christian marriage. Lately Ann Voskamp explored the idea of sexual imagery with Jesus like this: “God makes love with grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us. [C]ouldn’t I make love to God, making every moment love for Him? To know Him the way Adam knew Eve. Spirit skin to spirit skin?”’ The trend continued with certain sexually topical sermons in the emergent churches. It quickly descended to stunts, like this one from Ed Young with his 24-hour “bed-in” and “7 day sexperiment.”

Ed Young and his 24-hour bed in, sexperiment

It continued with Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill.

Mark Driscoll ‘Obsessed With Sex,’ Says Critic; Followers Ecstatic to See Pastor Go ‘Mainstream’
“The popular and controversial book about sex and relationships penned by Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll has one critic claiming there is a new craze for “sex talk” in the church, while the pastor’s followers seem excited that Mars Hill manages to promote a biblical approach to sex among secular audiences.”

This downward trend continued with lesser-known pastors taking the Young and Driscoll stunts as permission to be even more “open” about sex in the pulpit. The sex focus became prevalent, palpable, and more disgusting. I’m talking over only the last 4 years. It has happened that fast.

It continued further, with Driscoll preaching the Song of Solomon is a salacious way. Elder of the faith John MacArthur publicly rebuked Driscoll in a 4-part essay called “The Rape of Solomon’s Song.” In the first essay he said, “Mark Driscoll has boldly led the parade down this carnal path.”

He is more blunt in this essay about Driscoll’s version of proper sermon topics and language here, in the essay called “Grunge Christianity.”

“[I]t would certainly be accurate to describe both his vocabulary and his subject matter at times as tasteless, indecent, crude, and utterly inappropriate for a minister of Christ. In every message I listened to, at least once he veered into territory that ought to be clearly marked off limits for the pulpit. … Apparently the shortest route to relevance in church ministry right now is for the pastor to talk about sex in garishly explicit terms during the Sunday morning service. If he can shock parishioners with crude words and sophomoric humor, so much the better. The defenders of this trend solemnly inform us that without such a strategy it is well-nigh impossible to connect with today’s “culture.”

MacArthur is referring to a particular sermon Driscoll had preached in Scotland that was extremely sexually graphic, offensive, and tasteless. I won’t even link to it.

So as this parade of carnality now permeates the pulpit, added to this is dance and me-oriented romantic lyrics in praise songs. Am I exaggerating the nearness of the return of temple prostitution? Methinks not.

Look at Passion Worship Band’s lyrics to “Madly”:

We are madly in love with you
We are madly in love with you
We are madly in love with you
We are madly in love with you
And all of my life and nothing less I give to you my righteousness…

WE have righteousness to give to Jesus? NO!

Or these sensual lyrics:

You are my desire, no one else will do
‘Cause nothing else could take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Kelly Carpenter – “Draw Me Close”

Or these–

You call me child and I’ll call you Father
Kisses from heaven of joy and laughter

I want to lavish my love on you, Jesus.
David Harper“I Want to Lavish”

Included in racy or romantic lyrics are breathless sexy singing arrangements. Todd Friel warned about this amorous phrasing and sexy singing delivery. Humorously but not so funny, there is a list of 6 lyrics from secular love songs and Christian praise songs. It is impossible to tell them apart. Add to that terrible turn of events, the widespread recent inclusion of dance and skits to ‘praise and worship’ music time during services…

Praise Dancing is now emerging as a ‘ministry.’ It is also called “body worship.” You notice the unintended double meaning, I hope. Increasingly we see dance movement accompany contemporary music as part of the worship service.

Here is an example of a body worship praise dance called Total Body Worship Too… at a Baptist Bible fellowship.

During the dance, people got up and danced themselves, others rushed forward to capture the moment in film or video. The pastor was dancing along the side. As the dance went on, the dancers increased their tempo and simply gyrated and flung their arms all around with no obvious choreography. It is chaotic worship that focuses attention on the body and not Jesus Christ. Pardon me, but I see no ministry here.

“Praise dancing is a ministry,” says 17-year-old Ariana Starks at a recent Saturday morning practice at St. James, where she shimmied her shoulders to vibrant gospel music. “Most young people go to church and find it boring. This is a way to attract people into the house of God who wouldn’t normally want to come. … “The Lord is using us through the art of dance to preach the word of God,” says Debra Crenshaw, founder of the Fremont-based Christian dance company Dance For His Glory. “It can be entertaining, and people can get enjoyment from it, like the purpose of secular dance. But that’s not our sole purpose.”  Dance as worship is an age-old custom that can be traced back to the ancient Israelites who danced during Jewish festivals and ceremonies. Sufi Muslims have also been connecting with the divine through inspirational dance for centuries, going back to the whirling dervishes. ” (source).

Did you catch that? ‘Connecting with the divine’ through the body. A physical act. not a spiritual one of the mind and heart. Oy.

Contemporary music already has relinquished much of its mooring to biblical doctrine, and marrying the romantic Jesus boyfriend theme of contemporary music lyrics with bodily expressions of the divine love, on the pulpit or stage, is yet another example of the sexual carnal intrusion ready to burst on the scene in full force when the Spirit is taken out of the way. Challies speaks to praise dancing here.

Modern day cults always have a sexual component and ritualized sex. It is one way you can tell it is a cult!

Our globe has come full spin and where we started with satan in the Garden with wanting higher knowledge to be like God and lusting after the pleasurable fruit. (The lust of the eyes and the pride of life). We are that much closer to the golden calf dancing of Exodus and the pagan practices of ritualized sex at the pagan temple.

Hillsong Church dancing

“The Worship of the Golden Calf” by Filippino Lippi (1457-1504)

The Holy Spirit restrains sin. It is one of His ministries. Prior to the Flood judgment, God removed the Spirit (Genesis 6:3). He will do so again before the Tribulation judgment (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Can you imagine the flooding-in of the sexual when there is no restraint, if there is THIS much of the sexual is already present, even in evangelical churches?

Below is a still from a video of Elevation Church – Charlotte, NC Code Orange Christmas dance to advertise the Code Orange revivals in January at Elevation Church

I didn’t want to put salacious pictures in front of you, but I’d like to close with a challenge: as you view some of these ‘praise concerts’ at churches complete with dancers, mimes, props, Charismatic laughter, body gyrations, loud music and hypnotic drum beats, synchronized hopping, keep in mind the Pastor Ed Young in his bed, the imagined picture in your head of the temple prostitutes, and ask yourself, isn’t it obvious where the romanticizing Jesus movement,  mystical ecstatic experience, Song of Solomon sex talking preachers are headed the moment the Holy Spirit is out of the way? The final union of the sexual and the divine- satan’s way.

Posted in authoritarianism, mark driscoll, mars hill, paul petry, spiritual abuse

Spiritual abuse rising in many places, it seems

If you are aware of pretty much anything in the church these days, you will be aware that the church of today has many problems. There are carnal people who are not saved but think they are, people living as if Jesus is a cherry on their man-made sundae, worship songs that are more like rock concerts, seeker sensitive, word-faith, prosperity gospel imitations of true faith. We know from all this, and from the 7 Letters to the Churches contained in the first three chapters of Revelation that the church was in trouble and will be in trouble.

One of the troubles that is rising fast in these days is “authoritarianism” or “spiritual abuse.” More bloggers and pastor-teachers are writing about it. That is because it is a problem that has burst onto the Christian horizon as suddenly as a tornado or a lighting bolt. But that is not to say that the conditions laid out for its emergence as a problem have been as sudden. The conditions that support spiritual abuse have long been laid.

The conditions that allow spiritual abuse to thrive are like mushrooms on manure. I wrote about how and why spiritual abuse happens here: When carnality leads to spiritual abuse. Part of the reason it occurs is that congregations have silently abdicated their command to test these things for themselves, (1Thess 5:21) and to seek truth from the scriptures like good Bereans. (Acts 17:11). They are only too willing to submit instead to a person who tells them what to do, and that person is not Christ. Alone and unlearned, and seeing a chink in armor, pastors who are wolves come in, not sparing the flock. (Acts 20:29).

I wrote about the signs that a church may be becoming spiritually abusive, here:
Is your church spiritually abusive?

Here is a definition of spiritual abuse, though not an exclusive one, certainly:
“Certain signatures define spiritual abuse: authoritarian leadership, claims that the group or leaders have a special calling or gifts, inability of leaders to handle criticism, harsh treatment of those who question or try to leave. These are just a few. Though the manifestation of abuse differs in externals, underneath are similar traits, repeated in abusive groups. Become familiar with spiritual abuse in a variety of churches and you will soon see how these leaders manipulate and control.”

A couple of years ago, rumblings started to emerge from one of the nation’s largest “evangelical” churches, Mars Hill in Seattle, pastored by Mark Driscoll. Some talk of authoritarianism came out and then later some rumors of spiritual abuse. Matthew Paul Turner was one, Bent Meyer was another.

Then, another Mars Hill elder and his wife came forward several weeks ago: Paul Petry and his wife Jonna. Paul put up a blog containing documents clearly showing in the pastor and elders’ own words just how permeating the pastoral abuse at Mars Hill had gone. Paul’s wife Jonna put up a gripping narrative that re-tells their abusive treatment done in the name of Christ by Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll and others. Though the abuse occurred over a period that concluded 5 years ago, the couple had sought reconciliation for several years after, then went on to healing, and then through prayer finally felt led to open the lid to the can of worms and explain what had happened. They did so gently and sensitively, which is why their blog and the documents hit the Christian world like a bomb.

Here is their blog: Joyful Exiles. In it, Mark Petry said,

“Four and half years ago, I was fired from Mars Hill Church because I refused to resign under pressure. I was a pastor on staff, an elder, and an officer of the corporation along with a group of other men. I spent months seeking formal reconciliation and years hoping for a better course. I have not spoken about these matters publicly until now. With the mounting stories and “histories” coming out regarding Mars Hill Church, it no longer seems right or beneficial to remain silent.”

If you care to read Jonna Petry’s narrative, it is here. I recommend it as a lesson not only in how spiritual abuse works and its devastating effects, but as a lesson in grace bestowed by the Holy Spirit and a treatise in forgiveness. Jesus surely is great and the Holy Spirit a comforter in times of trouble.

A couple of years ago when the problem was not as widely known, when people would leave or be exiled from their abusive church and come forward with their story, they were painted as cranks, malcontents, and witch bloggers. Part of the problem of authoritarianism is that the authority that has clutched onto the church leadership has as a regular ammunition in their arsenal no compunction to excoriate their accusers. Ad hominem attacks by the abusive are a standard marker of abuse, and it was often hard to sort out who was telling the truth on what. Many didn’t even try, the entire issue being so negative and sordid. But as this problem grew, and more and more people came forward the issue began to sink in that it is a real and present problem. It seems that a critical mass has been reached as to the breadth and the legitimacy of the problem.

Tim Challies wrote about it here. And then he wrote about it again here.

I sought and received permission to re-publish Christian Counselor Bob Kellemen’s essay on spiritual abuse here.

This week Wade Burleson wrote about it here.

I don’t have a lot more to say about the issue of authoritarianism, or spiritual abuse, than I’ve said already. But I welcome the chorus of solid Christians who are speaking out about it. Like any abuse, there is shame and humiliation associated with it felt by the abused, and there is also a real battle to know whether to legitimately speak up or to remain silent.

To that end, this article may help from Christian Research Institute Journal, Christians Chriticizing Christians: Can It Be Biblical?.

Here is a website that offers information on the topic, starting with this article, “The Bible and Spiritual Abuse

Provender has the best archive of helpful articles on the topic that I have yet seen. It includes information on spotting it, dealing with it, talking about it, and recovering from it.

One of the early, and seminal, books on the topic is now completely online in a .pdf. Recovering from Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth.

I am personally heartbroken whenever I read of a church that engages in spiritual abuse. It is a glorious thing for Jesus to raise up a humble pastor to guide the people the Spirit has sent to his church. It is a special blessing to receive preaching that is solid and true. Pastors who counsel kindly and who are themselves an example of Godly love are a triumph of the Holy Spirit’s work in the world. Therefore I am especially heartbroken when I read of one who has gone wayward. I know they will be judged more strictly (James 3:1). I have cried many tears over one in particular.

I think to myself, what a waste! What a torment to abuse Jesus’s pulpit for personal gain or glory! What a heartbreak for the people who are stuck there!

But I do caution against excessive sentimentality on the cycle of abuse in that it is not all the pastor’s fault. Authoritarian churches only exist if there is not only an abusive pastor or elder but if there are those who remain to be abused. No one is stuck there. In that, Paul Washer has a good thought–

“False teachers are God’s judgment on people who don’t want God, but in the name of religion plan on getting everything their carnal heart desires. That’s why a Joel Osteen is raised up. Those people who sit under him are not victims of him but he is the judgment of God upon them. And they want exactly what he wants, and it’s not God.” ~ Paul Washer

I pray for the reconciliation of these abusers to a Holy and Righteous and loving Jesus. I pray for congregations’ eyes to be opened and for their ears to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. If you have been in an abusive church then bless you, and I hope that in just knowing you are not alone by seeing these links and reading these stories that you will allow the Spirit to begin the healing process in you. You have a comforter, given to you by God himself:

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” (John 14:16).

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;’ (Romans 8:26).

No matter what your trial, dear one, Jesus is sufficient for all our needs, even amid the heartbreak of abuse. For those who have been spiritually abused, you know the deep sense of betrayal that splits apart the heart. Yet for all that, Jesus is mighty. He endured an even greater betrayal by the very people He had come to serve and save:

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

He knows how you feel. He knows. Praise our God who feels our pain and who intercedes for us, approach His throne in your pain and leave it there for Him.

Peace be with you…