Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mark Driscoll's Pornographic Divination - The Cessationist Stink (Part 8)

Phil Johnson was the one who uncovered that shocking video of Mark Driscoll where he describes the "visions" he gets from God. This is an issue that is very serious and Johnson wisely decided necessitated a response:

Pornographic Divination
by Phil Johnson
15 August 2011

In a post last week, I pointed out that the preposterous claims, unhinged behavior, and spiritual quackery that are so prominent at the charismatic movement's lunatic fringe are by no means limited to the outer edges. Goofiness and gullibility are necessary byproducts of a belief system that fails to take seriously the principle of sola Scriptura and its ramifications (i.e., the authority and sufficiency of Scripture).

Here's a sample of the kind of thing I was referring to: The video below features Mark Driscoll, claiming the Holy Spirit regularly gives him graphic visions showing acts of rape, fornicators in flagrante delicto, and sexual child molesters in the very act. WARNING: This is an extremely disturbing video, for multiple reasons:

This is bad teaching. The biblical "Gift of discernment" has nothing to do with soothsaying and everything to do with maturity, clear understanding, the ability to make wise and careful distinctions, and (especially) skill in differentiating between holy and profane, clean and unclean, truth and falsehood (Ezekiel 44:23; Hebrews 5:14).

The counsel Driscoll gives is bad counsel. If by his own admission Driscoll's divinations are not "a hundred percent always right," he has no business accusing people of serious sins—including felony crimes—based on what he "sees" in his own imagination. Much less should he encourage his congregants to dream that they have such an ability and urge them to "use that gift."

The salacious details he recounts are totally unnecessary. They serve only to reinforce the concern some of us have raised: Why does Driscoll have such a fixation with obscene subject matter, ribald stories, and racy talk? The smutty particulars regarding a counselee's tryst in a cheap hotel are not merely unnecessary; "it is disgraceful even to speak of [such] things" (Ephesians 5:12).
For that same reason (among others), these yarns aren't even believable. The Holy Spirit's own eyes are too pure to behold evil, and He cannot look on wickedness (Habakkuk 1:13). So why would He display pornographic visions to Mark Driscoll, whose mind and mouth are already too lewd anyway?

This proves that cessationists' concerns are not far-fetched. Reformed charismatics frequently complain that it's unfair for cessationists not to expressly exempt them when we criticize the eccentricities of the wacko fringe mainstream of the larger charismatic movement. But Reformed charismatics themselves aren't careful to distance themselves from charismatic nuttiness. John Piper was openly intrigued with the Toronto Blessing when it was at its peak. (If he ever denounced it as a fraud, I never heard or read where he stated that fact publicly.) Wayne Grudem to this day endorses Jack Deere's Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, despite the way Deere lionizes Paul Cain. Sam Storms aligned himself with the Kansas City Prophets' cult for almost a decade. I can't imagine how anyone holding Grudem's view of modern prophecy could possibly repudiate what Driscoll insists he has experienced. Does anyone really expect a thoughtful analysis or critique of Driscoll's view of the "gift of discernment" (much less a collective repudiation of this kind of pornographic divination) from Reformed charismatics? I certainly don't.

Thus we see that the leaky-canon view leaves the church exposed—not only to the whimsy of hyperactive imaginations, but also to the defiling influence of an impure mind as well!

Thanks Phil, and for the record, as someone who has defended Driscoll in the past, I can do nothing but 100% agree with Phil Johnson's commentary here!

Go On To Part 9
Go Back To Part 7
Go Back To Part 1


McMurdo said...

On the ‘gift of discernment’. I Agree. I think MD is using the wrong word. Visions perhaps, words of knowledge perhaps.

On making accusations, I don’t think you can say this. Driscoll specifically says, “Lets not assume it’s true, go and ask your Grandpa”. In other words, check it out. And scripture seems to allow for checks and balances (see 1Thess 5:19-21, 1Cor 14:29).

On giving too much detail, this may or may not be right. It depends on the context. A medical student may talk ‘in house’ about things that are not discussed widely. Was Driscoll preaching to the whole church, or training a specific group of people? His assertion early on that he does not talk about these things suggests that this was not for public consumption, or part of his main teaching ministry. If it gets put on YouTube by someone and distributed by you and Philip Johnson in an attempt to discredit his ministry, that is your business, not his.

Habakkuk 1:13 has been quoted out of context by Phil Johnson. This is not something the Lord says, but it is Habbakkuk’s lament to the Lord on receiving revelation about how He is going to use the Babylonians to fulfill His purpose. Habbakkuk has to have his theology corrected by the Lord in the light of this.

On ‘pornographic visions’. I simply don’t agree. On this basis, you could say that much of scripture is either pornographic or excessively bloodthirsty. Should we censor the bits in the Bible about Noah’s nakedness, Lot’s incest, Onan’s wickedness, Tamar’s rape. Perhaps we should censor much of the book of Joshua. How about looking at Ezekiel 23:18-21 if you want something really shocking. Worse than anything MD said. And I haven’t even mentioned the Song of Solomon! All of these could be labelled pornographic. When someone made a film about Jesus’ crucifixion, it was given an X-Certificate, and nobody seriously objected.

On MD’s mind and mouth being too lewd. Firstly, I’m not sure we can be his judge on how lewd his mind is. As for his mouth, you need to be more specific - I have never found him to be foul-mouthed in recent years, although he has been accused of this.

But this is where I have a **real** problem with your argument.

You are a big promoter of Martin Luther. I like him too, and regard him in many respects as a hero. But I am under no illusions. Martin Luther used foul language in some of his writings. Far worse than anything Mark Driscoll has used (to my knowledge). Google ‘Martin Luther bad language’ to get some examples. Mark Driscoll would never have written anything like ‘Of the Jews and their Lies’, in which Luther advocated persecution of the Jews. Inspired by your other hero Augustine of Hippo [and you still haven’t answered any of my questions on his false teachings], he advocated the persecution of heretics, and is in part responsible for the horrific treatment of the Anabaptists.

I want to put to you that there are double standards here...

PWD said...

I echo McMurdo's words, and would add this question to the author: does God choose not to look at the sexual immorality, the murder, the anger, the lies, the violence, the theft that goes on around this world on a daily basis? You must reconcile Habakkuk with this verse from Hebrews 4:13: "And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

It's important to know (and the author failed to mention) that this clip from Driscoll is taken from a series of lectures he gave to fellow counsellors and pastors of Mars Hill; it is NOT from a sermon.I wonder what some of the people who have been helped through horrible experiences by his one-to-one counselling would have to say about all of this?