|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.
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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.
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)