18 August 2011

Let's Not Dance Around the Real Issues

by Phil Johnson

If I had [a dream like Paul's Macedonian vision] today, I wouldn't know. I would have to think and pray about it. I would be no more bound to go than I would be bound to go if the Macedonian call had been a phone call (or an email) asking me to come.—good stuff from Doug Wilson

"My musings on this remind me of the guy who decided to make peace at Gettysburg by walking between the armies wearing a blue coat and gray trousers. And that worked so well . . ."
—more from Doug

ead THIS, then come back.

Let me say to begin with that it's neither the tailored Confederate pants nor the ill-fitting Yankee shirt that makes me want to shoot Doug Wilson. It's those ridiculous tap-dancing shoes.

It takes a very talented two-step artist to hopscotch around the many overturned cans of writhing worms Mark Driscoll's prophetic claims and recent jeremiad against cessationism have left strewn around the dance-floor. Doug attempts some impressively fast footwork, but without the necessary finesse. He comes off looking suspiciously like he's just doing the Curly Shuffle.

OK, Doug did have several good things to say, including the quote I've put at the top of this post. When he's right, he's capable of breathtaking clarity and remarkable gems of pithy wisdom. When he wants to obfuscate, he does that with supreme skill, too.

The latter is what I think he was doing throughout most of the post I've quoted above.

Remember: Mark Driscoll claims God has put a TV in his head which regularly plays explicit videos of sexual crimes and acts of fornication. Those claims (and Driscoll's other recent attacks on cessationists) have caused (or widened) a rift between Mark and certain stodgy, outspoken cessationists.

Doug Wilson acknowledges that Driscoll's assertions and allegations are, well, bizarre. But from Doug's perspective, it seems, the disagreement itself is an even more troubling and more pressing problem. Doug says there's wrong—serious wrong (perhaps even equal wrong?)—on both sides.

But Doug believes the whole conflict might be cleared up with a parley: "I would like to see us work out the protocols for how to talk about such things," he writes. "[And I] think it would be good if Phil and Mark could get together to work it through."

Doug recommends (and evidently concurs with) a post by Toby Sumpter, who likewise acknowledges that Driscoll's claims are "weird and goofy." But, says Toby, "I don't believe [Driscoll's misdeeds] rise nearly to the level of sin or scandal that [Phil] Johnson suggests."

Really? If it's not grossly sinful, certainly scandalous, and probably blasphemous to recount to one's congregation the play-by-play details of an adulterous couple's secret tryst (up to and including the coital position) and then claim one knows those details because God Himself revealed them through a prophetic peep show—then I wonder what kind of claim one would have to make to rise to the requisite level of opprobrium.

Even among the more skeevy televangelists, the only one I know of who has claimed to receive a "revelation" as obscene as what Driscoll described is Kenneth Hagin. Anyone who thinks Driscoll's claims are a misdemeanor indiscretion isn't thinking clearly. No one in Reformed circles would think it a minor matter if, say, Dave Hunt or Hank Hanegraaff claimed that kind of kinky supernatural insight into other people's private sins.

And setting aside that issue (plus the inappropriateness and tastelessness of how Driscoll publicly recounted his visions), let's not forget that Driscoll rather emphatically encouraged people in his church who have similarly suggestive imaginations to experiment with this kind of mystical "revelation" when they counsel and disciple others. That, as I said Monday, puts his people directly in harm's way spiritually. And it's not just the stub-your-toe-and-it-hurts kind of danger; this actually encourages weak and undiscerning people to flirt with eternal peril.

It also sets up a manipulative form of counseling that fosters spiritual abuse.

And so on.

Again, it's pretty hard for me to imagine what kind of pastoral malfeasance would rise to a high level of scandal and wickedness if stuff like that does not.

Anyway, what annoyed me even more about Doug Wilson's argument was the suggestion that cessationists must share the blame for teaching such as Driscoll's because we haven't "debated this one deeply enough." We haven't yet hammered out suitable "protocols" for explaining and dealing with "remarkable guidances, provisions, answers to prayer, striking bits of random knowledge, etc."

See, I think Doug knows better than that. He can probably cite from memory more Puritan and Reformed works than most pastors have read in their whole lives. I'm certain he knows about the doctrine of divine providence. And if so, he surely knows full well that the historic Reformed understanding of that doctrine is robust enough to account for any and every authentic incident of divine guidance, provision, answer to prayer, striking bit of random knowledge, and extraordinary providence that has ever occurred.

I've blogged on that issue many times before, so I won't rehash it today. I'll just say I'm disappointed in Doug for implying that cessationists aren't able to account for (or are unwilling to acknowledge) extraordinary providences, and that this has been some kind of long-standing deficiency or overlooked area in Reformed theology. That simply is not true.

Moreover, it doesn't take a Calvinistic Doctor of Divinity to understand that it is quite possible within the standard categories of historic Reformed cessationist teaching to avoid deism and do full justice to the immanence of God without claiming that God is still giving fresh revelation daily. It is most certainly not "worldly" to deny that the apostolic signs are still fully operative today (especially given the scaled-back, terribly fallible way these "gifts" supposedly operate in the modern charismatic movement). In other words, Driscoll's "Cessationism is Worldly" speech cannot be easily or blithely dismissed as excusable misunderstanding—and surely Doug Wilson recognizes that.

What precipitated Doug's post yesterday is that in a few weeks Driscoll will be one of the speakers at a conference sponsored by Wilson's church. Toby Sumpter writes, "Hopefully through this conference in particular a few bridges can be built between Seattle and Moscow, between Driscoll and Wilson, between us Presbyterians and the more groovy parts of the body of Christ. Hopefully we can learn from Driscoll, and hopefully, like good friends, we might have something to offer him."

Hopefully, that's diplomatic language suggesting that Wilson and other CREC leaders plan to raise these issues in face-to-face talks with Driscoll and (hopefully) they will try more earnestly to change his mind on the cessationism question—or at the very least persuade him to repent of these luridly sensational, highly doubtful, and spiritually dangerous claims.

(Perhaps while they're at it they can get him to lay off impugning cessationists as deists and crypto-atheists.)

But I think Doug Wilson and his fellow CREC leaders also have an even more important duty. And I want to close by encouraging them to fulfill that duty:

Doug, please give some kind of clear, unequivocal denunciation, warning, and disclaimer about this nonsense, for the sake of your own flock and the wider body of your disciples—especially the young lambs among them. Some of them will very likely think Driscoll's presence at The Grace Agenda Conference signifies the CREC's and Doug Wilson's imprimatur on the corpus of Driscoll's teaching—including not only the "weird and goofy" stuff, but also the ungodly, dangerous, and patently unbiblical notion that sometimes "eyes full of adultery" (2 Peter 2:14) might actually be a kind of special spiritual gift.

The thought sends a shudder through my soul.

Phil's signature


Ron Van Brenk said...

Why would Doug want to be invited to the discussion?
So that he could be the non-partisan guy wearing a blue coat and gray trousers?

Just invite MD and the great Grudem.

Have Grudem ask MD why he did not preface his prophecy with, "I think the Lord is putting on my mind that..." or "It seems to me that the Lord is showing us..." or some similar expression (Grudem's Systematic Theology pg.1056).

Yes, ask MD why he being so darned dogmatic when even Grudem isn't.

Mark B. Hanson said...

I think Wilson raises an interesting point: what is the proper way to to approach "I have seen this" or "this happened to me" among cessationists? We believe that God still works, and may work in a miraculous form. I have (as I related in the meta for an earlier "da gifts" post) seen at least one healing I would describe as both organic and immediate.

Leaving Driscoll's "God TV" and his execrable pastoral practice in both relating and handling his stories aside, how do we properly speak about these providences without giving cover to the wackies?

I would say "clam up", except we have some solid examples of not doing so - Jonathan Edwards comes to mind.

Can these stories (testimonies, really) be used in a way to edify the body of Christ? If so, what is the best way?

Mark B. Hanson said...

Sorry for the double post, but in reviewing my last, I am reminded of Luke's words: "Mary treasured these things in her heart..." She saw the miraculous things happening around her son, and remembered them. But she did tell someone - Luke - later. And for our edification he wrote about them.

Of course one could make the argument that this is scripture...

Coram Deo said...

Wright and Driscoll - what a theological/spiritual train wreck!

Methinks instead of "building bridges" of compromise and error with Sanballat and Tobiah the true church of Christ needs to be building up the walls of truth, whose ramparts never fail.

In Christ,

Robert said...


The Scripture you are referencing is not talking about Mary seeing signs and wonders. Just read the verses around it and you can see that. We need to understand the context and not just use different verses to support whatever we think while taking verses out of context.

As for Doug Wilson, it just sounds like he is compromising for the sake of bringing in MD because MD has affected many people. That sounds like pragmantism to me. And pragmatism makes people think less of God's sovereignty and more of how we can do things better on our own.

There are so many issues with these types of visions and the way that MD describes them that it would take a long time to discuss them all. Of course, MD and anybody who defends what he is doing (like Doug Wilson) should work out the implications of what he is saying before speaking about any of it. Unfortunately, either they are too lazy to do so or don't want to think about it because they have an idea of what type of discussion that is.

And ironically, it is posts like this that you and others have put up over the course of many years that have defined why this is unacceptable. The parameters are already defined, but they just don't like them. Thank you for not trying to tap dance and compromise because that only serves to weaken the church.

Thomas Louw said...

I have appreciated Doug Wilson & Phil Johnson in the past.

I’ll admit that I do not know Doug Wilson’s stuff all that much.

(Especially our Language barrier.)
I understand Phil’s (my) disgust at what MD is doing and the route he has taken and that his friends should reign him in.

The problem is how do you reign in something u said? How do you stay in the pulpit if you admit that something you said, aren’t well from God although you’d claimed it. How will anybody believe you again?

I think Driscoll will never go back and say “Oeps” because if he says that he will make himself out to be a liar and loose “his” ministry.

It is sad really, what a communicator, what damaged done in the name of “God-TV”
Yeah maybe, Phil and Mark must have a sit down but, what will it accomplish?

The Holy Spirit can convict both of errors made, if there are errors on both sides, which I doubt.

Being grouped with Kenneth Haggin, now that is maybe the biggest insult a Christian can be given.
I had so much hope for Haggin “oeps” sorry Mark.

This is a very sad day; I’m desperately trying to hide my down trodden heart with jokes. It’s not working.

Great God given talent being wasted on…self-promotion?
We only have two options really, Mark is outright lying or it is a devilish deception.

There is a third, maybe I could be wrong, part of me wished it was the third.

Nash Equilibrium said...

1. Isn't Wilson just doing another variation on the theme of the Tone Police? a la "Can't we all just get along? Nothing new in this, really.

2. Why is it that every nut-job pastor seems to name their church Mars Hill? Do they just like Roman gods, or what?

Thomas Louw said...

“ But why does it require me to believe that human beings cannot be connected in a true, spiritual way, within a spiritual realm, in such a way as to preserve all our fallibility, kinks, blind spots, and such? And yet, despite all that, why can't the connection still be a genuine one?”

The connection with Christ is still a genuine one. I think the Charismatic guys so want some mystic communication form Christ, some supernatural proof of our relationship with Christ they get deceived and pulled into this “mystical” world which in part remove them from that which they so desperately are looking for.

Caleb Kolstad said...

Right on the mark. Thanks Phil.

Rob said...

A question on a comment from the earlier post you linked here, Phil. You have the statement of, "Those who think those moments of intuition are God speaking with a private message invariably become extremely superstitious; they foolishly order their lives by their feelings; they commit the sin of trusting too much in their own hearts; and they diminish the more sure Word of prophecy."

During out nightly family worship time we've been incorporating some biographies of people like George Mueller and Amy Carmichael, and while reading about Carmichael there are frequent instances when the biography states that God told her to go to a certain village, she was told by God, she would make two converts (which she did), followed by a subsequent trip to another village where God told her she would make four (which she did), then eight, etc, etc.

I'm curious, as I read things like this, should I pause, look up at my children, smile and say, "now kids, realize that Amy here is really just foolishly ordering her live by her feelings"?

Coram Deo said...

“ But why does it require me to believe that human beings cannot be connected in a true, spiritual way, within a spiritual realm, in such a way as to preserve all our fallibility, kinks, blind spots, and such? And yet, despite all that, why can't the connection still be a genuine one?”

Union with Christ does exactly that, Doug. The mystical spiritual union of man and God is woven within the mystery of the church, the Body of Christ.

As the church militant now we see through a glass darkly, as the church triumphant in glory we will know Him even as we're known.

All this glorious, transporting, mind-exapanding, unfathomable truth is found not in visions of dubious origin, nor the supposed voice of God in one's head, nor in some goose-bump experientialism, but rather it's found in the inscripturated Word of God, which testifies to the Person and work of Christ, and the mind-boggling truth of redemption accomplished and mercifully applied by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the praise and glory of God alone.

As believers we have:

God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

The Holy Ghost;
The holy catholic Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.


And to all this we desire a holy liver quiver and on-demand porn videos courtesy of the Holy Spirit?

No thank you, Satan.

In Christ,

puritanicoal said...

D.A. Carson would look great in a Blue Coat and Grey pants. (See e.g. "Showing the Spirit" pp. 183-188)

Tom Chantry said...

Here's the true laugh-out-loud quote from this piece:

between us Presbyterians and the more groovy parts of the body of Christ.

Presbyterians! HA!

Wilson's enormous-tent "Christianity" is at the root of those pathetic blog-posts. Make no mistake, he may call himself "Reformed," but he is a dangerous false teacher himself, and his predispositions for "cultural Christianity" make him likely to give cover to anyone with a big enough name to draw in big numbers.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Wilson's post was nothing more than damage control. After all, hosting conferences is not a cheap endeavor.

JR said...

What deserves more loony points? Let me rephrase...what's more confusing?

-Driscoll's visions, et al

-Wilson's Postmillenialism

-Wilson's Paedocommunionism

I really like Wilson, and Driscoll...but reading them is like owning a pit bull as your family pet. They might be a really great companion animal, you just gotta keep a close eye on them lest they eat your kids.

DJP said...

"They might be a really great companion animal, you just gotta keep a close eye on them lest they eat your kids."

First laugh of the day. Much needed. Thank you.

Brad Williams said...

This is crazy. So crazy!

You shouldn't even have to be a cessationist to say that Driscoll's supposed vision is just rank awful. How in the world can you preface a supposed vision from God with "sometimes I'm wrong" and then go on to declare that someone's grandpa molested them when they were too young to remember it?

It is terrible, terrible, terrible! I do not care how good Driscoll has been, how big his church is, or how many people have been genuinely converted to Jesus under his ministry. It does not excuse this level of irresponsible ridiculous chicanery.

Superman is an awesome guy. He's done a lot of good deeds. If he comes to your house to steal the family jewels, you are justified in whacking him with a Costco's kryptonite meat chub no matter how much the cape wearing fan boys protest.

Anonymous said...

Wish there were "like" buttons for comments.

Brad Williams said...

And by the way, defenders of this sort of "prophetic prognostication", how often is "sometimes?" Is it 10% degree of error? 5%? 35%?

Is a 15% margin of error acceptable? That's a little better odds than you have playing Russian roulette. Still comfy with that? Would you take a 10% risk of being wrong when you are telling one of the children of the church that their loved one molested them and you didn't know it? Is 5% still too high for that? If it is, then keep your mouth shut and quit blabbering that this is revelation from God. It isn't. It is not consistent with how revelation works. There is plenty to talk about from Genesis to Revelation without your fallible "God TV" giving you supposedly fallible insights into such potentially monstrous issues.

There. Next time I'll try and say what I really think.

Eric said...

I'd echo Brad, and I appreciate that the indignation is palpable, because it should be.

I find it interesting that Wilson never really attended to any of the meat of what Phil had said in his post. Wilson never really interacted with any of the points Phil made about the irresponsibility and unbelievability of Driscoll's statements.

Who among us would honestly feel comfortable sitting under the teaching of a minister that claimed that sometimes even when he got up to preach he had visions of rape!

Driscoll has serious problems and being coddled by the likes of Wilson only serves to embolden him. Right now he seems to thrive on popularity and that popularity grows in large part due to conferences. Unfortunately, as long as he can maintain his popularity he probably will not be apt to re-order certain areas of his life.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJP said...

I've taken on myself to tag-team to this post.

Jerry Wragg said...

Tom Chantry -
Whenever a fairly well-known person begins to feel upstaged by another uber-well-known person, it's apparent to me that the lesser-popular one invites said fellow-celebrity to one of their conferences.

Net-effect: Everybody becomes more popular and more books will sell. Publishers are happy, the super-popular are happy, and those being upstaged experience a resurgence in their own book sales!

How nice...

Driscoll has been invited to almost every conference sponsored by all the older, at-one-time-all-the-rage, leading voices in evangelicalism.

No...it couldn't be! They don't do this just to sell their books among Driscoll's constituency, do they?

DJP said...

Phil, I now note that in his Thursday, August 18, 2011 4:42 am comment on the meta to that post, Doug Wilson himself evidently joins in saying that it is Biblically precedented that the Holy Spirit gave those X-rated visions to Mark. That, or I have no idea what construction to put on his post.

Proving your point in your previous post yet again.

James Scott Bell said...

I watched the Driscoll video Phil links to at the end of the post. I hadn't before. Maybe someone brought this up already, but he recounts telling someone that he was abused as a child, "touched" a certain way by someone, and why don't you go ask him? And he does, and the guy supposedly admits it and says how do you know? And the first guy says, "Pastor Mark told me."

Does any of that strike you as highly unlikely? That a child abuser would casually admit such a thing just by being asked?

It doesn't pass the smell test for me. I wonder if that is "discernment"?

Anonymous said...

"If it's not grossly sinful, certainly scandalous, and probably blasphemous to recount to one's congregation the play-by-play details of an adulterous couple's secret tryst (up to and including the coital position) and then claim one knows those details because God Himself revealed them through a prophetic peep show—then I wonder what kind of claim one would have to make to rise to the requisite level of opprobrium."

It's paragraphs like that which keep me coming back to this blog!

Nicholas said...

Thanks for this discussion.
I have just two comments. I think that when Doug was talking about the idea that this topic hadn't been talked about deeply enough that he was referring specifically to his blog. I could be wrong but that was my impression when I intitially read it.
In regards to Driscoll, his accounts can only be explained by one of three things in my estimation; They were from God, they were from Satan, or he was lying about the whole thing. I would love for you to address them in this light. IF they really happened, then I don't think it can be chalked up to a vivid imagination like some spiritual Spongebob. It has to be either from God or Satan. What do you think?

Brad Williams said...


I think your estimation is correct. It is either a lie or from God or from Satan. Here's my answer:

I think he's lying. That's the simplest explanation. I know that it will upset people for me to say that, but it really shouldn't. I do not trust people who say that they have had prophetic visions from God, and by their own admission I shouldn't since they admit that they can be fallible. I think that this is simply pride-puffing, personal authority exalting, "in the moment" bit of damaging immaturity.

If I am wrong, I will have to deal with it before the Lord. I don't really care what Driscoll or anyone else thinks. But that sort of flim-flam pretend prophesy isn't going to make much headway into the flock over which I am responsible if I can help it.

To be consistent with my own theology, I will leave the door cracked for it being the devil though. I don't think God the Holy Spirit grants porno vision for the purpose of counseling someone who has been sexually abused.

Anonymous said...

My question is, where does the continuationist draw the line, if they do?

Robert said...


It is either from Satan or he is lying. And I honestly lean more towards the former because he seems thoroughly convinced. I know people can lie enough to convince themselves pretty heartily, but it seems that he has claimed to have always had these types of visions. I wonder if Satan does not work in such ways as to bring a more sypathetic view towards those who disguise themselves as angels of light. Throw in some sound doctrine and teaching to keep people off balance and then bring in the rest.

If I too am wrong, I will have to deal with that before the Lord, but I am just going off of what I see in Scripture (with my finite mind).

Rob said...

Nicholas, your question touches on what I asked earlier: for instance, when Hudson Taylor wrote that he heard God say to him "Go for me to China"... was that just Hudson's imagination?

rockstarkp said...

Over in the comments on Wilson's blog, looks like his response to the "sexually explicit" issue is to cite Eze 23:19-21.

puritanicoal said...

Wow. Just jumped right out there and called a brother in Christ a liar.

Oh, the irony. Brad, if you think about it; without any investigation, without any checking into the facts, admitting you may have to "answer for it" if you're wrong - you made a prophetic statement. You just prophesied that MD is a liar.

Prophesying that a purported prophet is a liar because you don't believe the prophetic gift continues until today. Classic.

Tim Bushong said...

As an elder in a CREC church (and a credo-baptist to boot), I know darn well that this is most likely conference-driven, and that the CREC would never ordain a man who held MD's doctrinal views on da gifts.

But I'll admit- I'm scratching my head more than a little at these later 'revelations' from MD (seriously- no pun intended), and as I've only ever heard about 5 minutes of Mark's preaching, I was caught totally unaware of his charismaniac leanings.

Hopefully (and more than likely) there will be some "let's get real" conversations behind the scenes.

Sir Brass said...

Tom, I assume you're referring to DW's "Grab 'em by their baptism" Federal Visionist views?

That's what his post seems to have been leaning towards anyway.

However, returning to the North v. South reference, let's look at Northern vs. Southern Presbyterianism. It's the Northern ones we ought to be on the lookout for, as they're much more vulnerable to Wilson's views even as they'd consider the Southern ones to be more akin to "wet baptists."

The current Presbyterian infighting regarding FVism is truly nasty indeed.

*clutching the 1689 & thanking the Lord we don't have that problem*

Eric said...


What definition of prophesy are you working from?

Martin said...

This is disheartening.It is as when you ask a christian "Where is that in the bible?"And they then answer "It is complicated" Wow!!

Robert said...


There have been many people who have had the time and influence with Driscoll to bring about some change. Any changes he has made have been minimal and he seems to have actually grown worse after receiving counsel. This is part of what makes me wonder about the silence over at TGC over the ahole cessationist venting that he did not so long ago. That coupled with these X rated scenes he sees as he prepares to preach his sermons should bring some form of public rebuke (or at least some type of response). He made his comments in a public forum, after all. To me, the lack of a response tells me that they must not see it as being that big of a problem for their/his audience.

Brad Williams said...


Without any investigation? Hardly. If a guy tells me that he dunked on Michael Jordan in the NBA finals, I won't feel compelled to watch clips of the championship games to call him out on it. Why should I have to take seriously the claim that God showed Mark Driscoll a man molesting a child as if he were watching it on TV? It is patently ridiculous. Do you expect me to be afraid of saying so because God might get mad at me for disbelieving his prophet? I am amazed, brother! Imagine how stupid this sounds, "Hey man, I'm watching you get molested by your grandpa right now on my special spiritual TV. Also, the Holy Spirit is telling me that you were too young to remember this. I could be wrong though."

Do you define prophesy as anyone who attempts to make a factual statement? Talk about dumbing down prophesy! Every time someone says, "I think you are lying", that is prophesy? How do you know, if you are a continuationist, that I don't have the gift of discernment and the Holy Spirit whispered to me that Mark Driscoll was lying?

I did not say that I "may have to answer for it." I said if I did have to answer for it, I would do it before the Lord. Not you, and not Mark Driscoll. I am prepared to do that for the sake of the sanity and safety of my church. You, on the other hand, are content to dumb down what "prophecy" means, allow men who are "sometimes" wrong to act like God poorly communicates His Word to his prophets, and that God shows men scenes of the most heinous sort (child molesting!!!) on a "TV"...you know, even though it could be mistaken, which Mark himself said. Not me.

What degree of error in the Word of God are you comfortable with, Puritanicoal? I'd really like to know the answer to that.

DJP said...

Brad, if I may bring my practice of tagging onto my betters to you:

1. PLUS isn't it just amazing that the effect of the dawning of the Messianic Age (which we're told has happened) and the giving of these glorious gifts of His results in... downgraded prophecy that's hit-and-miss?

2. PLUS note once again that the (usually) UNSPOKEN CORE DOCTRINE of "continuationism" is the insufficiency of Scripture. Because, you know. Driscoll couldn't say anything effective or authoritative about child molesting and spousal abuse without these visions.

Robert said...


Just to tag on to what you said...being a father of two young boys, if I had a vision of somebody doing that I would ahve problems controlling my anger. Maybe Driscoll just has a lot more self-control over his anger, although from reading some things he has said before I seriously doubt that. I also don't see how somebodyw ould be able to stand there and preach without showing any type of emotion or problem after seeing these things.

Tim Bushong said...

Robert- you wrote: "To me, the lack of a response tells me that they must not see it as being that big of a problem for their/his audience."

Good point- and my very first thought was "so why haven't the OTHER elders at Mars Hill called him on this stuff?"

Or is it a matter of MD being "1st among equals?"

Still scratching my head...

Sir Brass said...

This is just a good example of why God gave STRICT criteria on who He was speaking through and who was just faking it. He did that because... you know... He is God and He gives these gifts as He sees fit, and He did not will that His Word as delivered by the prophets be delivered in uncertainty. HIS prophets would be evident by the certainty of their prophecies. The false prophets He would not be allowed to prophecy correctly.

As Dan pointed out, why would the completion of the canon introduce a significant error factor for the prophecies of the prophets of God?

Unless... you know... the prophetic gift had run its God-ordained course, fulfilled in the completion of written Scripture. You know... kinda like the Old Covenant. Saying that it has ceased, maybe that isn't the best phrasing. It was fulfilled. The training wheels came off.

MD isn't speaking for God with these prophecies (even if he were, his handling of them certainly disabuses one of his ability to use the divinely-granted knowledge with the wisdom expected of one given such weighty information), MD is speaking for MD... or he is being deceived by Satan's agents.

jamesmcoats said...

Tom Chantry,

What is it, exactly, in your esteemed opinion designates Doug a dangerous false teacher? That's a deafening charge. Also, What, exactly, is your evidence of his "predispositions toward cultural Christianity."?



Sir Brass said...


I'll let Tom answer for himself, though I think I know part of the reason, seeing as he and I are both confessional Reformed Baptists. It has to do with Doug's Federal Visionism.

Brad Williams said...

Guys, I'm going to bow out of this for a little while. Puritanicoal, if you want to respond, and I really mean it, you can email me. I think my email is on my profile. Also, you can respond here and I will try and answer it later, or you can have the last word, or I could email you.

I'm afraid I may be a little too fired up right now to have civil discourse.

puritanicoal said...

Quoth Brad "Why should I have to take seriously the claim that God showed Mark Driscoll a man molesting a child as if he were watching it on TV? It is patently ridiculous."

Why is it patently ridiculous? Just because it contained disturbing images? Do you think the prophecy in Acts 21:11 is patently ridiculous?

That prophecy, inter alia, also supports my answer to your last question.

Anonymous said...

am i the only one who wonders what it must be like to be in pastor mark's congregation? knowing your pastor has prophetic x-ray vision and can look into your past life and sins and see [or has already seen] you nekkid must be awkward....

Anonymous said...

seriously. why isn't the first question out of that womans mouth "wait. what? you saw me naked?"

also, seeing as how mark is a sinful, frail man like us all, is it possible that seeing such images might cause him to lust towards members of his congregation? if that were happening to me, i would try my hardest to not have those pornographic images in front of me. or did the lord also gift mark with a supernatural lust-free mind?

DJP said...

And, with puritancoal, the Clintoning down of Biblical prophecy in defense of modern fakery rears its ugly head yet again.

puritanicoal said...

Dan, instead of simply saying, "I disagree with your take on prophecy, let me show you why," much like the current mainstream, liberal media, you tie it to an emotionally charged issue (Clinton), and then link your brothers in Christ to that issue to make your humble theological point.

I could be wrong on my reading of scripture. I have attempted to back it up by looking at the reading (exegesis, in some instances) of it by those smarter than me. Men who can also be wrong - D.A. Carson, Wayne Grudem, Sam Storms, Gordon Fee, to name a very few. I have also read the MacArthurs, Hanegraffs etc. All brothers in Christ. I have landed on the other side of you on this issue.

Linking me, and other well-meaning, thoughtful, intelligent, loving Christians with Clinton is childish, at best.

Anonymous said...

Puritanicoal, I have a question for you. Where do you draw the line? Where do you say, this is genuine and this is ingenuine?

Matt Aznoe said...

Earlier in this thread, Rob raised an excellent question that I think needs to be carefully considered:

"I'm curious, as I read things like this [concern Amy Carmichael], should I pause, look up at my children, smile and say, 'now kids, realize that Amy here is really just foolishly ordering her live by her feelings'?"

This is an honest and very real question for anyone who reads about the saints of old who lived by faith. There are many such men and women of the faith who claimed to hear the voice of God or receive direction with unfailing accuracy. Should we just discount all of these people because of the bad apples that are so prevalent today? Is it so hard to believe that just because there are thousands of false prophets and teachers that God could not actually guide and direct one of His children?

We act like it is so different now -- that there are way worse false prophets and teachers, but the Old Testament is filled with examples of false prophets and the small minority of true prophets who humbly followed God.

So what is the answer? Do we discount and reject all people who claim to receive messages from God even when their lives exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and Godly living?

DJP said...

I get that you don't like it. I can live with that.

Still, it is what you are doing. There is absolutely no objective case to be made by any sane person that what is happening today is a continuation of apostolic revelatory/attesting gifts.

Leaving two choices:

1. Disown fakery for the travesty that it is.

2. Prop it up at any cost, by Clintoning down the real deal.

The second is the Clinton option, and modern "continuationists" take it every time.

Eric said...


Is it childish to accuse someone of trying to prophesy for saying that they believe someone is lying?

Nash Equilibrium said...


"I'm curious, as I read things like this, should I pause, look up at my children, smile and say, "now kids, realize that Amy here is really just foolishly ordering her live by her feelings"?"

Did it ever occur to you that these stories aren't true, and if so, it suggests that maybe you shouldn't be using those stories in family devotions? Put another way, how do you know those stories are true?

Anonymous said...

Puritanicoal, can you explain how the prophecy in Acts 21:11 compares to the "visions" that MD states he was given by God? Is there any graphic, sexual content in that prophecy? Paul was prophesying about how we would end up in Rome. How is that even remotely connected to what Brad is saying?

I'm trying to understand your line of argumentation, brother, but I am having a very hard time. As far as the Clinton analogy - unfortunately, that's a pretty accurate analogy. The biblical term is being redefined to accommodate what we want to call prophecy today. Clinton tried to redefine the word "is" to get out of a messy situation with "that woman". Kind of sounds similar.

And, one last question: Can we for one moment consider the consequences of declaring such things that "could be wrong" to someone who may actually believe and act on them against his/her family member? Can we consider the damage that could potentially do to a brother or sister in Christ, or to an entire family, of the so-called prophecy does indeed turn out to be false, and the accusation wrong? It is irresponsible to not consider that. That in itself makes what he has to say patently ridiculous and incredibly dangerous.

Terry Rayburn said...

Doug Wilson's theological problems are minor ones:

1. He denies the gospel of grace by faith apart from works,

2. He denies biblical justification by faith alone,

3. He disguises himself as an angel of light.

Other than that, he's terrific :)

Seriously, why Doug Wilson's view gets any weight on Pyro, or is even "blogrolled in bold" continues to mystify me.

Should we consult N.T. Wright and Peter Leithart? Pope Benedict XVI might have an interesting take, no?

Jerry Wragg said...

Aren't we about finished with excusing, minimizing, covering for, reinterpreting, speculating about, and overall defending the theology, philosophy of ministry, and practices of Mark Driscoll?

He's proven many times over that he's:
Stubbornly resistant to critics, both privately and publicly. In other words, it's an established pattern (Prov 9:9) -
Patently undignified in his pastoral manners and preaching. There is no way to fit his ministerial approach into the NT concept of pastoral dignity (Titus 2:6-8) -
Recklessly impure in his thought-life and speech. As every Christian understands who battles daily for a pure heart, a clean conscience, and a sincere faith, Driscoll's mental and verbal content simply does not reflect that of the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter how many clever attempts to redefine it are offered (Matt 15:11-18;Eph 5:3-12) -
Dangerously "self-absorbed" in his teachings. His views of revelation always portray him as the hero of all his stories, and his attempts at true exposition are more thematic than real textual work. I don't know if he makes it up as he goes, but it isn't faithful to Christ (1 Cor 2:1-5; 2 Cor 4:5; 2 Tim 4:2) -

We must say what Scripture says about these things, and nothing less will do!

Be straightforward about the truth. The Lord deserves our humility and integrity in these things.

puritanicoal said...

Dan, I have a strange urge to quote Billy Joel. Paul quoted secular poets, so it's probably okay for me, too. "You may be right. I may be crazy."

Eric - chill.

Matt Aznoe said...


Have you ever considered that the visions and miracles of the Bible could be wrong? That the prophets of the Old Testament were deluding themselves and making up spiritual solutions for what we now with our modern science can explain rationally without the need for the supernatural?

Have you ever considered how much some of these attacks sound just like the attacks of atheists and agnostics? Seriously.

Why should we believe the Bible at all? Why should we find any of the prophets and apostles trustworthy? Because someone told us that they were true?

Or is it because God has revealed to us that they are true? Is it because God is performing miracles in our hearts every day and opening our eyes to the spiritual reality that the world calls foolishness?

Instead of calling the godly men and women of history -- whose faith was confirmed with their very lives and who finished the race with Christ's name on their lips -- instead of calling them all liars and frauds, perhaps you should consider that your theology is flawed somehow, and that you do not really understand what it means to hear God's voice.

Both sides could use a healthy revisit of the scriptures and come before our holy God in humble petition for wisdom.

David Regier said...

Wow, Terry.


That said, the only way this week could get more exciting is if Jesus told someone to have a beer.

Rob said...


Did it ever occur to you that these stories aren't true

So in Hudson Taylor's biography, when in his own words he recalls how as a teenager he heard from Heaven, "Go for Me to China", are you saying that this wasn't true? Was Hudson lying, prior to travelling to China and working tirelessly to start the China Inland Mission? Did he make that up?

Tom said...

At 5:51 AM, August 18, 2011, Rob asked a question that has not yet been addressed. Do people like George Mueller and Amy Carmichael and their accounts of God telling them to go certain places and do certain things mean they were foolishly ordering their lives by their feelings?

From what I’ve read of the Sensei, DJP would respond, “Yes.” Unless it’s in Scripture, one cannot directly/accurately assign to God any feeling, emotion, nudge, voice, calling, urging, “liver quiver,” open door, etc. that one may have. Those, like George Mueller, who claim that God tells them to do things by faith when Scripture never explicitly says to do so, are living presumptuously and foolishly ordering their lives. Whether or not God provides or whether their feelings, spidey-sense, or calling turns out right in hindsight is irrelevant. God does not speak / communicate to us outside of the Word.

puritanicoal said...

Michelle - you may want to read that passage a little more closely; you made a pretty big error in your reading of it. And, you may have to read more than a few verses.

JR said...

David Regier for the win!!!!

Terry Rayburn said...


Without doing a whole treatise, here are the basics of Federal Vision theology:

1. One is brought "into the covenant" through water baptism,

2. One stays in "the covenant" by works,

3. One is brought out of "the covenant" if they aren't obedient enough (alas, there are, of course, no measuring sticks to measure this with, so it's a statistical crap-shoot, not unlike as in Romanism or Church of Christ-ism),

4. If they are brought out of "the covenant" per #3, and stay out, they are lost eternally,

5. If they stay in the covenant by their works, they will eventually, in the last day, be "justified", declared righteous by their works!

There are variations on the theme, which range from the New Perspective on Paul, to Auburn Avenue Theology, to slants on Federal Vision, but they all deny biblical justification.

Some are quite bold about that false teaching, some are subtler [read, sneakier], hense my "angel of light" charge.

Biblical justification is rightly thought by many to be the heart of biblical soteriology, and therefore the gospel itself.

See examples from Phil Johnson, which magnify my being mystified at the props and promotion given to Wilson around here:

here and here

James Scott Bell said...

I don't know much about Amy Carmichael, a little bit about Mueller. My impression of Mueller was that he did not depend solely on a "voice" but was always in the Word first, awaiting direction.

This, BTW, is not different than what John MacArthur once described as getting direction from God. In his sermon "You Can Trust the Bible" he said, "I look back at times in my own life when I didn't know what direction to go, what my future was, or what my career ought to be. Then I began to study God's Word and submit myself to His Spirit. Then God laid out the path for me."

I've heard Dr. MacArthur on more than one occasion say, "The Lord put it on my heart."

But that is a far cry from the sort of revelation MD is proclaiming.

Dave Swavely said...

D.A. Carson included the traditional interpretation of 1 Cor. 13 ("they will cease") in his book called Exegetical Fallacies as an example of assumed beliefs that are wrong or at least not provable, but now ironically I think most Bible students assume that the traditional interpretation is wrong. And I think that's a wrong assumption!:) Take a longer look at the passage, perhaps with the help of Victor Budgeon's discussion of it in his book Charismatics and the Word of God, and you may realize that "face to face" has been pressed way too far. It's not a reference to Christ's return, just a contrast between the foggyness of ancient mirrors and looking at someone without them. The point is that a day is coming when revelation will be clearer, and more complete (telios doesn't mean perfect as we think of it, but complete). One last thought: everyone is a "cessationist" to some degree, because no one thinks that there are rushing winds and flames on heads anymore, and all would have to admit that there are no resurrections and healings like Jesus and the apostles did, at least in a public way like they did (if there were, they would be all over Youtube!). And no one has called down fire from heaven or parted any seas lately...once you admit there is any difference between biblical times and today, you must be open to the issue of a specific purpose for them back then (which I would say was validating divine revelation) and you must realize that it's only a question of what has and has not ceased.

Terry Rayburn said...

An added note on Federal Vision:

It disgusts me when FV guys chafe at the accusation of being similar to Roman Catholicism, even though both are rank effectual sacramentalists and works-plus-faith in their soteriology, and both deny justification by faith alone.

Granted, they have their differences. But it's like saying, "Hey, those Mormons are not as bad as those Jehovah Witnesses. At least they celebrate Christmas with a Tabernacle Choir!"

Tom said...

JD wrote: I've heard Dr. MacArthur on more than one occasion say, "The Lord put it on my heart."

I agree that this is different than what MD is claiming, but still God doesn't work this way: laying things on people's heart and all.

That is presumptuous foolish living.

Rachael Starke said...

I don't know that I'm with Frank on missing the Clowning function in Blogger, but I'd love to be able to put a gold star by every one of Brad Williams' comments.

Matt Aznoe said...

"But that is a far cry from the sort of revelation MD is proclaiming."

Absolutely. I think MD is way out of line, and I have a hard time seeing why God would use such imagery to speak to MD, especially in a time where pornography and sexual sin is so prevalent in our society.

And I am certainly not arguing against the need for the Bible. We must be engrossed in the Word as it is the primary vehicle through which the Spirit speaks. This is also attested to throughout church history by the men and women of God.

Matt Aznoe said...

(For those who may read the wrong message into my last post, I do not believe that God is speaking to MD through those visions. Whether the visions are real or not, I do not know. If they are real, it is even more disturbing because of the likely source.)

Tom Chantry said...

I am now busy doing stuff "like ministry," but both Aaron and Terry have spoken to why Wilson is no Presbyterian in any meaningful sense, but instead is a dangerous false teacher.

Eric said...


I'm cool as a cucumber just waiting for an answer (or answers, as it were). Don't care to interact on those questions? Fine. Your ivolvement in this meta is puzzling and enigmatic.

David Regier said...


Thanks for boiling down your impression of Federal Vision.

I was just asking where Doug Wilson:

1. Denies the gospel of grace by faith apart from works,

2. Denies biblical justification by faith alone,

3. Disguises himself as an angel of light.

But now we're off topic. Sorry.

Sir Brass said...

For the sake of clarity, Federal Visionism and New Perspectivism are NOT the same. They both are coming to the same conclusions but from different points.

For the sake of consistency, we must note the distinction. Simply b/c they arrive at the same endpoint is no reason to lump them as one and the same.

Anonymous said...

Puritanicoal - I misread who prophesied, but you didn't answer my question. What does that have to do with what is being discussed here?

I also note that the one who prosphesied didn't preface what he said with "I could be wrong but..."

puritanicoal said...

Eric, respectfully, it wasn't puzzling to Dan. He knew exactly where I was going with my "enigmatic" responses.

To answer your questions:
1) My "definition of prophecy" is an amalgam of definitions (or understandings) from David Hill, Ralph Martin, Grudem, Robertson and Plummer, Aune, Fee, and Carson.

2) No.

Terry Rayburn said...

Gee, David,

Premise 1: Federal Vision is A

Premise 2: Wilson is Federal Vision

Logical conclusion: Wilson is A

As to his actual teachings on that subject, you'll have to do your own homework.

If you're interested, I'd start with reading his materials, perhaps by doing Google searches such as:

"doug wilson" "federal vision"

"doug wilson" false teacher


Of course, for the record, I don't actually advocate reading his materials, except with the greatest of discernment and a grasp of Federal Vision vs. The Gospel.

puritanicoal said...

Michelle - I'm going to spoon-feed this to you, although, I should make you do your own homework. You are absolutely correct in that the one who prophesied did not qualify his prophecy. In fact, he stated it was from the Holy Spirit. Yikes. Yet, his prophecy wasn't 100% correct. I'll let you figure that part out.

Terry Rayburn said...

Sir Brass,

Both FV and NPP can be "lumped" into works-plus-faith salvation, both deny the gospel of grace through faith, and both deny biblical justification.

Of course there are distinctions.

Relating to my last analogy, I would class them similar to which is better, ritual underwear (Mormonism) or Watchtower authority (Jehovah's Witnesses).

I have no interest in "being fair" to either school of false teaching.

Eric said...


1) Not that it would be surprising to me if Dan understood something that I didn't, but I said your involement in the meta was enigmatic, not your individual points. I found your overall involvment to be enigmatic because of the responses (and lack thereof) that you chose.

2) Respectfully, you must have a goofy (and unbiblical) definition of prophecy if it includes as prophecy concluding publicly that one believes someone is lying.

David Regier said...

Thanks for giving me your methodology, Terry.

I've actually read Credenda/Agenda back to 1998 and listened to every sermon of his for the past four years.

And I will categorically state that you have no earthly idea what you're talking about regarding his position on justification.

Sir Brass said...

Terry, it's a matter of respect.

You don't have to respect their beliefs as valid, but you ought to respect them enough to know what they believe and why they believe it and then engage the things they actually believe.

You cannot honestly engage a JW by lumping their arguments and a Mormon's arguments into same camp. You'll just be attacking a view they may not actually hold simply b/c you don't want to "respect" them.

We're called to be honest and truthful in our engagement of other religions because God is truth. When God confronts false teachers and the apostles do the same (in the OT and NT respectively), they go after what those people actually believe and refute them.

puritanicoal said...

Eric, it probably is goofy. It's a tough word to get a grasp on.

donsands said...

Thank you for speaking the truth in love once again Phil. You're a fine pastor, and a strong saint of Christ our King and Master.

Mark Driscoll has big time issues. I pray he would come to repentance and put away these sayings.
"Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,.." Titus 1:13

The bad teachings back in the 1st century were a bit different, but there are similarities as well, and so the Word for Titus, is for our pastors today as well.
Thank you Phil for being a good Titus.

And I could get this out of my head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBiHysKnvGs

Nash Equilibrium said...


"So in Hudson Taylor's biography, when in his own words he recalls how as a teenager he heard from Heaven, "Go for Me to China", are you saying that this wasn't true? Was Hudson lying, prior to travelling to China and working tirelessly to start the China Inland Mission? Did he make that up?"

Possibly he heard it. Possibly, he only imagined it. Possibly he did lie. How would we know? How would you know it's true? How do you know that Benny Hinn's claims are true or untrue? Do you think that sinners don't lie, or confuse imaginings with God's voice?

Those are a few questions you need to consider. Oh, and don't believe everything you read.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Matt Aznoe:

"Have you ever considered that the visions and miracles of the Bible could be wrong? That the prophets of the Old Testament were deluding themselves and making up spiritual solutions for what we now with our modern science can explain rationally without the need for the supernatural?"

Logically, your argument amounts to "if you believe the Bible, then you must also believe every miracle reported to you" and "if you think that any of the modern miracles reported to you are untrue, then you must also accept that the Bible may be untrue"

That's pretty faulty logic for a Christian, who (being a Christian) supposes that the Bible is a special case and not just another set of reports.


Phil Johnson said...

The debate about The Federal Vision is off topic for this post. Please respect that. Perhaps someday we'll have a thread to discuss the FV controversy and the nuances of Wilsonian FV doctrine vs. the New Perspective of N.T. Wright.

Not here and not now, though.

Furthermore: just for once, can we stick to discussing the merits and demerits of the doctrinal issues on the table and not get diverted into discussions about specific individuals' hidden motives, their eternal destinies, and the question of whether they are truly regenerate or not? I haven't raised any of those questions--rarely do--and the discussion always sours when someone brings up questions of that nature--especially if (as is usually the case) they do it in a fit of passion or an overabundance of zeal.

Doug Wilson and I probably would disagree on a list of matters as long as my arm (written in twelve-point type, not those big gothic tattoo characters), and some of the things we might disagree most strongly on are very important to one or the other or both of us. But I don't know of any reason to question whether he is even a true Christian and I don't want the combox of our blog to be turned into an open forum of such questions.

Likewise with the discussion about Driscoll. I deplore some of the things he has said and done in Christ's name; I think his notions of what a "gift of discernment" is like are positively dangerous; and I think we have more than sufficient grounds to challenge his fitness for ministry. But I haven't questioned his salvation, and I don't want the comments here to veer that direction. Judgments such as those are above my pay grade. If that's the point you want to make, do it at your own blog.

St. Lee said...

I think more than a few of those who have commented missed the whole section of Phil's original post which spoke of providence. They may want to go back and read that, as well as follow the link that is highlighted thus: "I've blogged on that issue"

I found it to be a great preemptive strike on those who say "oh yeah, but what about such and such?" But I guess if everyone read the posts the size of the comment sections suffer.

FX Turk said...

Terry --

As a long-term antagonist of Doug Wilson, I think you didn't really get the Federal Vision right. AT the very least, you didn't get Doug's take on the Federal Vision right. I'd say that everything after #1 is flawed in your description.

Consider this before going any farther.

Matt Aznoe said...


I did not say that if you believe in the Bible you have to believe all miracles. I have stated already above that I do not believe in all of the miracles that MD is claiming as they do not match up with the character of God revealed in scripture.

You are claiming that I am making a sweeping statement, but the fact is that you are making the sweeping statement that all miracles, signs, or prophesies (God speaking directly to people) are not from God. The arguments that you use to support this belief are the very arguments that atheists and agnostics raise against the Bible.

You said, "Those are a few questions you need to consider. Oh, and don't believe everything you read."

And I counter with some of my own questions. Have you ever considered that perhaps some of the those stories told throughout the centuries by men and women of God could be true? Is there any good reason to believe that they weren't other than your interpretation of scripture which is far from clear on the point of cessation (how, what and when)? Could your interpretation of scripture on this particular matter be wrong?

Don't believe anything you read... but on what grounds can we believe anyone's writing (outside of the Bible)? Why should I believe MacArthur? Why should I believe Piper? Why should I believe Calvin or Augustine or Wesley or Spurgeon? How do you discern the voices you should listen to?

We all here can agree that the one thing we can read and believe is the Bible, and the Bible tells of times when God spoke directly to His people. It was relatively rare, but it happened. Instead of throwing all people who claim such things under the bus, perhaps we should consider what they say in light of scripture. If God truly did speak to them, it will be confirmed in their life and their fruit, and it will be in keeping with the character and will of God.

Dave said...

Acts 2:17. Could we be living in the last days (e.g. Heaven is for Real "visions", Driscoll's "dreams"...)? Or the "factual statements that are self-contradictory" "misspeak" of the teller of tall tales?

Rob said...


Do you think that sinners don't lie, or confuse imaginings with God's voice?

Absolutely, and I do read these books with discernment. And I respect the cessationist viewpoint and for the most part agree with it. What is difficult for me is giving a blanket condemnation of EVERY Christian who's ever acted on what they perceived as God speaking to them as "imagining" (or delusional, which sounds more like the objection of the atheist.) If it's someone like Driscoll talking about prophetic porn, then yes, that's ridiculous and dismissable. But its another thing completely when its someone like George Mueller and a bunch of orphans, sitting at an empty table and relying on God to provide food (and He did!.... unless Mueller made up that story too.)

Well, "this is a hard teaching" and I need to get back to work, but thanks for the responses.

Daniel said...

Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation." - Acts 16:17 [NASB]

Am I to assume that this young lady was a prophetess or perhpas spiritually gifted?

No, I am not.

What I see demonstrated in this text is how supernatural knowledge does not necessarily come from God, even if that knowledge is as true as true gets.

As a skeptic, I cautiously am willing to I say, that "just maybe", Driscoll was describing his visions exactly as he experienced them. Maybe. Then again, maybe not. But even if he was, that doesn't necessarily mean to me that these visions are from God.

What concerns me is how Driscoll has concluded not only that these visions -are- from God, but (and this is more disconcerting) that God intends for Driscoll to use these visions in the normal course of his ministry even encouraging others to similarly give themselves over to the same, occasional, questionable, "revelation driven" style of ministry.

That strikes me as crazy-dangerous.

Jesus knew the sin of the Samaritan woman before she ever came to draw water, and rather than paint a graphic description of her sin, He simply stated that she had had five husbands, and that the man she was now with was not her husband. That is how the Spirit of the Lord spoke in scripture - not in graphic nitty-gritty details, but naming the sin plainly, and without comment.

Wherever you stand on the gifts, you have to admit, that the way the Spirit deals with the Samaritan woman is no where as graphic as Driscoll's sin-vision. Nor does our Lord confront her with such graphic details of her sexual sins.

Peraps Driscoll really does have sin vision, but I doubt it comes from the Lord, for wouldn't the Lord teach the man how to use it properly if he did?

Matt Aznoe said...

Rob, well said.

Daniel, I wholeheartedly agree.

Scott Barber said...

This post made me think of Barth's distinction between scientific-Eros theology, and Agape theology, where the first needs to control and systematize God (a tame lion), and the second takes pleasure in God's freedom and builds a theology driven by the mystery and discovery that is inherent to every true love relationship (not a tame lion) [see the last chapter of Barth's Evangelical Theology]. A lot of what I have read recently from the guys at Teampyro strikes me as driven by the first impulse: to stuff God into a neat and tidy box, and when things happen outside of a certain cultural and theological comfort-zone (God actually acting in radical ways in history) they just restate their convictions a little louder. Man should never be the judge of what God can and can't do, therefore maybe you should be challenging your systematic theologies which are out of step with what God is doing in history right now. I'm not much of a charismatic, but I have heard, seen, and felt too much to say "thou shalt not" to God in this area.

Tom Chantry said...

The debate about The Federal Vision is off topic for this post. Please respect that. Perhaps someday we'll have a thread to discuss the FV controversy and the nuances of Wilsonian FV doctrine vs. the New Perspective of N.T. Wright.

Not here and not now, though...

Doug Wilson and I probably would disagree on a list of matters as long as my arm (written in twelve-point type, not those big gothic tattoo characters), and some of the things we might disagree most strongly on are very important to one or the other or both of us. But I don't know of any reason to question whether he is even a true Christian and I don't want the combox of our blog to be turned into an open forum of such questions.

I'll accept that rebuke, as I clearly was the one to derail the thread. I'll stand by all that I said, but I won't stand by it here. I didn't mean to be off topic.

Eric said...

Scott Barber,

As has been said before, no one is saying "'thou shalt not' to God", no one is judging "what God can and can't do", and no one is "stuff[ing] God into a neat and tidy box". You couldn't make more ludicrous misrepresentations if you tried.

donsands said...

Good word Daniel. Balanced and biblical response my brother.

Nash Equilibrium said...


"You are claiming that I am making a sweeping statement, but the fact is that you are making the sweeping statement that all miracles, signs, or prophesies (God speaking directly to people) are not from God. The arguments that you use to support this belief are the very arguments that atheists and agnostics raise against the Bible."

No, I haven't said that. What I've said is that we can't know that they are from God, or that they've even occurred. The ones that are in the Bible, we can know are true, but not the others. People lie - all people, even "heroes" of the faith. They also have imaginations, and make errors. Recognizing that fact is hardly the same as saying that miracles never exist.

"Don't believe anything you read... but on what grounds can we believe anyone's writing (outside of the Bible)? Why should I believe MacArthur? Why should I believe Piper? Why should I believe Calvin or Augustine or Wesley or Spurgeon? How do you discern the voices you should listen to?"

I actually said, "don't believe everything you read" not "don't believe anything you read." Big difference.
Now as far as the question of "why should I believe MacArthur, Piper, Calvin," etc.,.. That's exactly the point: You shouldn't believe them, necessarily. You should believe the Bible and take everything else with a grain of salt as having been produced by fallible men. I'm sure MacArthur would give you the same advice. Perhaps your confusion on this point explains some of your confusion on lots of other points? Just a thought!

Nash Equilibrium said...


If you are reading these stories with discernment, then I really have no bone to pick. That says to me that you recognize that none of the stories of miraculous stuff is unquestionably true, in the sense that the Bible is unquestionably true.

That would include the Mueller story, although that is not a good example because God providing the food for their table, and other necessities, was God answering a prayer, not God speaking to Mueller in an audible voice or other signs and wonders. I don't think anyone here is suggesting God doesn't answer prayers, because he does, every day. I just can't know what all the answers are.

I believe God does miraculous things, I just don't know that we can ever listen to second-hand reports of them and be 100% certain of their veracity.

Coram Deo said...


Your lone comment in this meta was very timely, and I respect your request to not make the issue about the state of Driscoll's or Wilson's soul.

Yet I think your request raises some valid questions. As believers we are to deal with "in-house" issues with fellow Christians differently than we approach unbelievers, no?

I mean, presumably in a counseling session one of the first things you would attempt to discern is whether or not the individual you're dealing with makes a credible profession of faith, correct? It changes how you deal with him.

With this in mind shouldn't we expect that the views of believers towards the positions staked out, and claims made by the Driscolls and Wilsons of the world will be colored by their beliefs about the subject's status as a fellow believer, or an unbeliever/false teacher?

To some the threshold of evidence has been met, and to others it hasn't; obviously God knows their hearts, but as finite believers we can only go by their fruit.

You said that "Judgments such as those are above my pay grade."

I understand and agree with your sentiments here, but are there not cases where duly appointed elders can reach such conclusions within the local, visible professing church?

Aren't there Biblical guidelines to go by ("treat him as a heathen or a tax collector") for making such determinations, or do we generally assume every profession of faith is credible, and therefore approach all professing believers as Christians irrespective of their outward conduct and fruit (good or bad), as the no-Lordship crowd contends?

I'm not taking a contrarian position, I'm sincerely asking for your views on the subject.

In Christ,

Adam Omelianchuk said...

Phil, I think there may be an assumption in your thinking that needs examining. Keep in mind, however, that I am largely in agreement with the spirit of your criticisms of Driscoll. I only offer this as something to chew on and respond to (like I would ever comment here to post by agreements!).

You said: "...or at the very least persuade him to repent of these luridly sensational, highly doubtful, and spiritually dangerous claims.

From what I gather from this and the previous post, I think it is fair to say you assume L:

L: "For any x and some y , if x is inspired by the spirit and uttered prophetically by y, then x is free of lurid material as spoken by y.

Furthermore, it seems as though you affirm the contrapositive of L:

"For any x and some y , if is not the case that x is free of lurid material as spoken by y, then it is not the case that x is inspired by the spirit and uttered prophetically by y.

Yet Ezekiel 23:19–21 says:

19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.

Now I presume that there is nothing in Driscoll's comments that are more lurid than this, but perhaps you would (I think implausibly) disagree. In light of this you face a dilemma: either Ezekiel 23:19–21 is not inspired or L is false. I think you should go with the latter. If so, then then the presence of lurid material does nothing to help the claim that the alleged prophetic utterance by Driscoll are false.

What do you think?

Eric said...

If I see one more Ezekiel 23 quotation used in this overall discussion as cover for Driscoll's pornographic visions I think I'm going to scream.

I don't recall Phil ever saying that God has never used graphic language in the Bible to convey the truth He chose to convey.

I do recall Phil questioning whether the Holy Spirit would cause Mark Driscoll to graphically view (as on a television screen) the sexual sins of others, and then to go on to publicly describe his viewing of those sexual sins in some great detail.

Neil said...

The passage in Ezekiel is an analogy, likening the continual spiritual unfaithfulness of the children of Israel to something whorish and sensual and selfish. It was to teach a profoundly important lesson to sinners who hadn't got it even after God's judgement had fallen on them. The images were conveying the filth and vileness of their spiritual mess. The audience would have understood the message. It wasn't novel... it was a common theme in prophetic writings.

Mr. Driscoll wasn't doing that. He said he was talking to real people, to their faces, telling them that he saw their... exploits. Except for when what he was watching was fake. Novel stuff. And nothing like the Ezekiel passage.

God sometimes chooses to use distinct descriptions to illustrate the depth of our depravity.

Why does Mr. Driscoll choose to tell us (i.e. anyone with access to an internet browser) that he saw his counsellee unclothed and fornicating?

DJP said...

Really good observations, Neil.

Saying it shows he has a more-special relationship with Jesus, and has powers beyond those of mortal man.

Adam Omelianchuk said...


Well I hope you don't lose your voice :). I think the reason it keeps coming up shows that this is the weak spot in Phil's case, which made the claim that the Spirit's "eyes are too pure to behold evil." The implicature seems clear enough: the Spirit would never inspire lewdness.


I think you raise a good point. To us, the passage seems unnecessarily graphic, but it was inspired for the purpose getting the attention of the audience. It was meant to break through their spiritual stupor and bring them to repentance. God spoke that way to those people at that time because their hearts were hard. Yet there is nothing to say that this line of reasoning is not open to Driscoll, particularly in the case of the adulterous wife he described.

Henry said...


I really don't get you.

1) The presence of sexually explicit material (or any other sin) does not invalidate a prophecy. E.g Ezek 23:19-21. Please would you deal with this as you explanation gives me a problem with the Bible.

2) You are very quick to point out con artists (I'm glad). But I have never seen you own up to the prophecies or healings that are credible. How is it that Driscoll has repeatedly been correct with these 'visions'? Is he lying? If not, why is it so much to believe that he may have a gift? You seemed to totally ignore that Driscoll's sexually explicit proved correct!

Neil said...

DJP, I find it funny in a gallows kind of way that we are comparing the inspiration of Mr. Driscoll with Ezekiel, and the reasoning of Mr. Driscoll with God.

Did I say the Ezekiel passage is unnecessarily graphic? Nah, it seems horrific and necessary in concord with the severity of the horrific message.

Mr. Driscoll's video is another story entirely. It's a verbal peep show, describing a supposed actual retrospective x-rated private TV-in -the-head peep show of a female known and familiar to him. It breaks credulity to believe that God would show x-rated movies of vulnerable acquaintances as a "gift". But irrespective of whether it's for real, the public telling of it shows a harmful lack of.... discernment.

But the host said this better:
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).

To be frank, if Ephesians 5:12 doesn't shut your mouth on this matter, then I forsake hope of any humans doing so.

Coram Deo said...

I've been thinking about Rob's comments.

Are the Holy Spirit leadings/promptings/inner voice/word of knowledge experiences claimed by George Mueller, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, and Charles Spurgeon, for example, qualitatively different from Driscoll's claims because of their content (G vs. XXX), or is it the claim in and of itself, or some combination thereof?


In Christ,

Tom Chantry said...


Do you read the comment threads? I ask because your objections are neither novel nor unanswered. Your first objection has been answered by many, perhaps most easily found by referencing Neil's comment immediately following your own, but it has all been said repeatedly.

As for your second objection, one cannot improve on Brad William's answer - from 7:28 this morning.

Honestly, the comment threads do serve some purpose beyond allowing critics to continually post the same feeble objections - there is also the opportunity for the community to point out their folly - if only they would listen.

Tom Chantry said...

And while we're on the subject, Henry - I'd love for you to define "proved correct." What is the standard of proof.

I just had a vision that my cat is possessed by the spirit of Marie Antoinette. It seemed unlikely to me, so I asked her, and she responded "Let them eat cake."

There, I just told you that story, and I said (with no witnesses, and none of you has ever met my cat, nor do you know even whether I have one) that she confirmed my prophecy. Did my prophecy "prove correct"?

Phil Johnson said...

Ochuck: "The implicature seems clear enough: the Spirit would never inspire lewdness."

Sorry I got behind reading this comment-thread and had several other important things to do this afternoon.

But Eric answered you exactly as I would have. There's a difference between strong, graphic language and lewd, vivid, lust-inciting details. If you really see no difference, I probably won't be able to help you.

There are perhaps two dozen places you could point to in Scripture (at most) where the language is purposely harsh and graphic--explicit enough to shock Victorian sensibilities. The Ezekiel passage has become the go-to passage people always use to try to justify the steady flow of verbal sewage that comes from several high-profile pulpits nowadays. It is a tiresome argument and not a all persuasive. In fact, unless you quote from the ESV or the Message it's not all that easy to squeeze enough shock value out of that passage to make the point.

To be clear: it IS plenty shocking, even in the Hebrew--and it aims to be. But it's hardly titillating, and it certainly is not trying to be.

So it's time to put that one to rest.

Alex A. Guggenheim said...

It ain't Phil and Mark that need a sit down...its Phil and Doug. But possibly after some face to face with MD, Doug Wilson will realize he has wasted his time (not that I find Wilson's convoluted Federal Vision much more attractive but that aside [and that is a big, big aside] he does effectively express Protestant orthodoxy at times).

Adam Omelianchuk said...

Fair enoughy, Phil. I guess I don't see Driscoll being "titillating" in this instance. Though, I do have a problem with this private exchange being made public.

Neil, I agree that it is inappropriate for Driscoll to share these matters of counseling publicly. I think such matters should be kept in confidence, but that was not my point. Nor was I talking about the specific mechanism at work in Driscoll's mind. I was talking about what you call the impropriety of what you call "verbal peep-shows." The language of the passage from Ezekiel is just as graphic, if not more so, than what Driscoll said. That's my point.

Tom Chantry said...

The language of the passage from Ezekiel is just as graphic, if not more so, than what Driscoll said.

Interesting word: "graphic." We use it metaphorically to speak of words which create an image in our mind. Adam argues that the words spoken in Ezekiel create as strong a word picture as do Driscoll's words quoted here. Perhaps, so, but that is a subjective judgment.

Remember, though, that part of Phil's argument is that, according to Driscoll, what he saw was graphic in the literal sense: an actual vision. He is saying, not that God painted a word picture by revealing certain words to him, but that God ran a film inside his head. The Holy Spirit was not the narrator of adultery, but rather its cinematographer. This is graphic on a level and in a manner which Ezekiel's prophecy never was. While the statement "The language of the passage from Ezekiel is just as graphic, if not more so, than what Driscoll said," is arguable, if anyone were to try to say, "The language of the passage from Ezekiel is just as graphic, if not more so, than the movie the Holy Spirit played in Driscoll's head" - well, that would be categorically untrue.

It's just not at all the same thing, and it's not a matter of subjective categories of judging something of the same type. There is a qualitative and not merely a quantitative difference.

Aaron said...
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Aaron said...

There are two points that are overlooked in the comment thread (but which Phil pointed out in his last thread). First, such graphic details are unnecessary for their purpose. You don't need to see the "coital" position in order to convince somebody that you know about their adulterous liason.

The second is that when he is wrong, it isn't like guessing the wrong lotto numbers. The ramifications of falsely accusing people of molestation or adultery are life devastating. How can one rightly claim to have a "gift of discernment" when he can't discern that he better be 100% right 100% of the time when making such allegations? Counseling persons involved in such issues should not be done with such amazingly carelessness.

Nash Equilibrium said...


2) You are very quick to point out con artists (I'm glad). But I have never seen you own up to the prophecies or healings that are credible. How is it that Driscoll has repeatedly been correct with these 'visions'? Is he lying? If not, why is it so much to believe that he may have a gift? You seemed to totally ignore that Driscoll's sexually explicit proved correct!

There you go again!

Why do you and others keep assuming that these visions were correct, or that they even occurred?

Anonymous said...

A couple of relevant quotes:

==That the Bible narrates great wickedness is readily admitted, but it is to denounce and rebuke it; whereas the Latin and Greek classics exhibit every thing that is furious and fierce and base, adorned with the fascinations of eloquence and song. One might as well argue that because Mr. Chrystie testifies against profanity and debars debauchery, therefore, we might and ought to go to the haunts of ribaldry and schools of obscenity. "It is a shame to speak of those things that are done of them in secret." [Eph. 5.12.] "Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners." [1 Cor. 15.33.]
http://www.truecovenanter.com/reformedpresbyterian/magazine/covenanter_literature_christian_or_pagan.html ==

"I judge it not convenient to be too circumstantial in showing you what is prohibited under this precept [seventh commandment --CD]. I know that some, especially the popish casuists in their treatises of moral divinity, such as Sanches, Diana, &c. have spoken of these things so minutely, and with such a filthy accurateness, that they violate the very eyes and fancies of their readers; rather teach vice than condemn it; and instruct the ignorant to sin skilfully rather than convince the guilty to bring them to repentance" (Ezekiel Hopkins).

Earl said...

Phil your article Pornographic Divination is excellent along with this one. After the Paul Edwards interview I wrongly called you a wet noodle-I’m so thankful it was never published.
Finney, James, Drucker, Kierkegaard, Bob Buford, Terra Nova, Young Leadership Network, pragmatic, subjective, mystical, contemplative, non-cessationist-Driscoll drank deeply from the same source, along side of Pagitt, McLaren, et al and is expressing quite effectively his version of Finneyism/Druckerism/Pragmatism. According to an article in the Criswell Theological Review, (Spring 2006 http://criswell.wordpress.com/ ) written by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill, it was the Leadership Network that initiated the Emerging Church movement. Driscoll states:
 “In the mid-1990s I was a young church planter trying to establish a church in the city of Seattle when I got a call to speak at my first conference. It was hosted by Leadership Network and focused on the subject of Generation X. ... Out of that conference a small team was formed to continue conversing about postmodernism By this time Leadership Network hired Doug Pagitt to lead the team and organize the events. He began growing the team and it soon included Brian McLaren. Pagitt, McLaren, and others such as Chris Seay, Tony Jones, Dan Kimball, and Andrew Jones stayed together and continued speaking and writing together as friends…”
The leading edge Emergent intelligentsia, who are near full blown liberalism and interspirituality, proudly endorse Hegel as the basis of progressively finding truth through human wisdom, yet the Driscoll group seems less aware of their penchant for Hegel. The process of Hegelian dialogue could hook Purpose, Willow and Driscoll to the same train as McLaren and Bell. The rejection of Patriarchal MacArthur authoritative diadactic would be less troubling if it were by men of the stature of Sproul and Wells. Two things are bigger when hatched than at any time of their lives-wasps and preachers. Can you imagine what Calvin, Luther and others would write in response to these guys? Oh that Peter Jones would comment on whether or not the Driscoll group is the YRR seeker sensitive hook up to the train of oneism-sit back and watch the transformational power of consensus and dialogue.
As you can well imagine I am a Pastor MacArthur’s age.

Robert said...


This was posted in other comments this week, but let me ask you why you think God would show a pastor a vision of a woman from his congregation who is married to somebody else? And how do you think the husband and wife would handle the fact that he saw her and this other guy naked, having sex together? I mean, do we seriously have to discuss why this is wrong? I can't understand why anybody would defend this just because they either 1) like Driscoll or 2) are continuationist. Either way, it just doesn't make any sense at all and shows they are clinging to an idol instead of facing reality.

Hugh McCann said...

If Driscoll is the Todd Bentley of the Y2Rs, does that make Wilson or Piper his C. Peter Wagner?

Adam Omelianchuk said...


Your question falls outside the scope of my point. I did not comment on the nature of the mechanism at work in Driscoll's consciousness. I focused what he said publicly, which was claimed to have been beyond the bounds of propriety. I don't have access to Driscoll's visions to make a judgment on what he saw and how he saw it.

With that said, I am not sure I would rule out the possibility of God giving someone a vision of lurid events that occurred in the past for the purpose of making a call to repentance. Now truth be told, I am skeptical of such things, but I do not think it is impossible. You ask, “Do we seriously have to discuss why this is wrong?” That begs the question. You seem to be assuming that if pastor P has acquaintance knowledge of someone S’s sin and then tells S that he has it, then P is participating in sin. But surely, that is false. It also seems plausible to me that if the vision comes from the Holy Spirit, then the person having the vision is filled with the Spirit. If he is filled with the Spirit, then it is probable that one enjoys protection from the desires of the flesh. If that’s the case, then why would a husband be offended at someone who reveals the truth about a past affair that has gone unconfessed? It seems more likely that his moral outrage would be directed at the wife. The lurid details are revealed to authenticate the claims that represent facts only known to the person concealing them.

Of course, all this depends on whether the events are true. I am not sure we can tell if we only go by Driscoll’s testimony. He has a penchant for histrionics that leave much to be desired. But even if they are true, and Driscoll’s way of knowing them turns out turns out to track the truth, I still think a healthy skepticism is warranted. We don’t have access to such a method of knowing to judge if it is reliable. It is highly unusual like say the powers of clairvoyance. If it turned out that someone could predict criminal behavior like the “precogs” do in Minority Report, we would still be justified in our skepticism because such cognitive powers are well outside the norm. Perhaps over time it could be established, but that would require at least admitting such cognitive powers are possible.

Hope this helps!

Robert said...


Sorry, but I'm dealing in reality and not trying to dabble with theoretical discussions to justify somebody else's actions. I can sit here and talk in theoretical terms all day, but all that matters is what happens in real life.

I don't have to have access to his visions because I can go by what he said. He stated the positions she and the man were in, how they looked at each other's bodies, how he had the body type she wanted, and that he sees everything. In fact, the way he made that statement seems like it applies to every vision he has...rapes, domestic violence, pedophilia, etc.

And let me also say that you didn't even try to look behind options 2 & 3 for this vision in particular; option 2 being that the vision is not from the Holy Spirit, and option 3 being that Driscoll is just lying. We don't have any corroboration of Driscoll's accounts, so you can't rule out 3...and surely if you've read Scripture you know that demons actually exist and work in the world, which means door 2 is not without merit.

sakredkow said...
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sakredkow said...
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Tom Chantry said...


You raise a valid point. Understand that there are differences of teachings within the Christian tribe and that some of us understand "discernment" in more rational terms than others. The whole point of this thread is that many of us do recognize a predator in our midst, and that we are concerned to correct the errors of those who allow such predators to thrive.

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Nash Equilibrium said...


Such a predator only concerns us, because of those he is preying upon, not for his sake.

Why would anyone think that the Cussing Pastor would make up visions in an effort to draw attention to himself? lol

I occasionally personally encounter people who claim to have visions. Should I assume they are true visions from God? NO. So, should I assume that Driscoll's are? NO.

sakredkow said...
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Adam Omelianchuk said...

Robert, did you understand the last paragraph I wrote? I maintained that we can be skeptical of Driscoll even if his reports are true. That means we can favor the likelihood that his revelations are false, which would be satisfied by the two (theoretical!) options you say I didn't consider. I am not sure why I had to consider them since I made an argument for skepticism against the best possible defense Driscoll could make! I clearly believe that the burden of proof is on Driscoll to defeat any false-making explanation of his utterances. I hope you understand that.

Robert said...


I see what you're saying, although I do disagree with the types of revelations that God would use if He were to do so...it seems we'll have to agree to disagree on that.

I do still have one problem with what you said, though. Just because a vision is from Satan or a demon doesn't mean it is false (yikes!)...it just means it is not of the Holy Spirit. And that is the main conern that I have with this whole thing because if Driscoll isn't telling lies about his visions, then I am really left with this as the only viable option.

At the end of the day, I am only stuck with the fact that Driscoll is either lying or receiving visions from demons. Either way, that is a cause for concern because there are many people who follow him.

Nash Equilibrium said...
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Nash Equilibrium said...


Yes there are always people who are gullible in any group. In fact, probably the main group I see this attribute in, is atheists. They are incredibly gullible, to the point that they think all the complexity around them just happened by accident, like an explosion in a print shop causing an unabridged dictionary to form. And all because someone told them it was so!

However, we can't do much to protect the gullible in that group; all we can do is point out the fallacies of those who claim to be Christian teachers but are mixing other stuff in with actual Christian beliefs.

thanks dude.

Terry Rayburn said...

Phil wrote, "...not get diverted into discussions about specific individuals' hidden motives, their eternal destinies, and the question of whether they are truly regenerate or not?"

I will certainly honor the request to desist from veering off the subject...

...though since Turk violated the request :) -- I would just add that one's SAYING in a document that they believe in justification by faith doesn't make it so. They simply redefine the terms, as the Cardinals did who signed the "Evangelicals and Catholics" document which declares J by F.

For the record, I didn't question anyone's eternal destiny nor regeneration.

Peter said...

Seein' that Mars Hill is really Mars Rock, I'm wonderin'...

Is the Life on Mars?

(Cf. 1 Jn 1:1-2.)

Chris Nelson said...

Driscoll admits to error in his "visions". He is the cursing pastor who uses the Song of Solomon it seems as some us the book of Romans. His anger from the pulpit is legendary and we are to deduce that these other "visions" are true because he says so! I would like to meet the co adulterer. Has Driscoll met him possibly? Did they perhaps discuss this episode? Just wondering if his "vision" was more a remembrance.

Nash Equilibrium said...

"Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be!"

Aaron Snell said...

"It's just not at all the same thing, and it's not a matter of subjective categories of judging something of the same type. There is a qualitative and not merely a quantitative difference."

Tom Chantry FTW!

Anonymous said...

One of the so-called new atheists is referred to as "Darwin's bulldog" or some such.
With all respect to Mr. Johnson, as this is meant to be complimentary, the Bible appears to have a modern bulldog, and his blog bites hard.
Thank you Sir, for the honest, and God honoring words you pen.

Tyrone said...

Thank you for the beautiful tone in this post; this is what comes to mind...

"to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ." (Ephesians 4:12-15)

Unknown said...

Maybe a good place to start the broader discussion is not just with a five minute clip, but with the entire four-part lecture series and the accompanying 13-page notes. It looks like Driscoll is trying to examine the Scriptures for guidance on how to evaluate a common phenomenon. He has lots in there to interact with.

DJP said...

Gregory: Counterpoint.

Unknown said...

DJP, that's not really a counterpoint. While an appeal to context can be a dodge and a smokescreen, it can also be an opportunity for enlightenment.

Doug Wilson's point has not been an unqualified defense of Driscoll's comments. It has been a call to have a discussion about how to evaluate claims that many people make (including many people we consider sober-minded solid Christians). Driscoll's comments come in the midst of him having that discussion.

Isn't it worth knowing how Driscoll evaluates his experiences? If he is saying that out in his TV audience he senses someone with hemorrhoids so send in your donations now, then, yeah, its safe to pretty quickly write him off. But if he is trying to explain to the church leadership how to minister to the flock and looking for a biblical lens through which to look at these "weird" experiences, then dismissing him requires more work.

Unknown said...

I don't know why my last comment posted as "Unknown." It was moi.

Unknown said...

Oops. Did it again.

Gregory C. Dickison

Tom Chantry said...

Uh, really, Gregory, it just doesn't require any more work. The reason for recounting the visions which you give is wholly insufficient context to justify Driscoll's words.

Let me paraphrase the post to which DJP linked:

Well, okay, I suppose the one exception would be if, in the lectures or notes, Driscoll says,

"Okay now, I just realized, Those visions I recounted are chock full of mystical mumbo-jumbo and irresponsible, potentially disastrous implications. Don't even listen to them! Obviously the Holy Spirit didn't put a prurient vision in my head. And even more obviously, neither I nor anyone can go around accusing people of adultery, batter, or for pity's sake molestation (!) and saying 'Jesus told me' unless the accuracy rate of these visions actually is 100%."

Does Driscoll say that in the lectures? Perhaps in the notes? Anyone? Bueller?

Didn't think so.

I mean, honestly, Gregory. You have to search real hard for a biblical template to understand this sort of "weird experience"? Really?

John said...

Has anyone read how it appears God showed Elisha that Hazael would be responsible for horrible things? And that those things are listed out in some detail, in the Bible ?

Check out 2 Kings 8:7-15.

Particularly verses 12 & 13.

The argument comes down to "do the gifts continue?" It's not a matter of what God will and won't show and have people talk about.

The bible has some very graphic descriptions of horrible things. Has this been completely forgotten by the authors of this blog? (see Judges 19:27-29 Acts 1:18 for starters)

DJP said...

None of us wants to miss anything in the Bible, John.

So, which of those passages has God showing pornographic movies of people someone actually knows in someone else's head? or shows God sometimes getting it wrong?

Because, of course, otherwise, they're all irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add a little personal anecdote to this whole MD "porn from God" stuff if I may.

Some years ago, whilst I was a younger man who cared little for the direction of his thoughts regarding other folks and sex etc, it wasn't uncommon for my mind to go unchecked to lurid and perverse possibilities about any half-way pretty woman who crossed my path.

Thankfully the Lord helped my to train my mind in other directions!!!

However, couple what became an almost automatic thought pattern about women with the idea that God speaks and tells us things outside of Scripture...well you can see where that can lead.

I suspect (although I cannot prove) that there is a real reason why MD's "sin-cam" is so topically specific. Since he's the man in his church and since he believes God gives him further revelation I think we're seeing the natural outcome of the two.

It's hard to not see a fall coming somewhere along the line.

I pray not.

Besides, can we not remember that being even a little bit wrong, one time, disqualifies MD from being permitted to make these claims, even if continuing prophecy WERE valid today?

trogdor said...

(Sorry if I'm mixing up things from the multiple threads on this. After a few hundred comments at once they all blend together.)

I continue to think the most amazing thing about Driscoll's story is the vast superiority of his communication skillz over the Holy Spirit's. Somehow Driscoll is able to communicate these things to the recipient and audience with a few simple words, whereas the Holy Spirit just can't communicate it to him without showing a porno in his head.

I never would have thought that the Holy Spirit would be incapable of just saying "Hey, she had an affair with a stranger in a hotel in 2004" or "this guy was molested by his grandfather when he was 2". What a handicap the Holy Spirit must be working under, unable to use simple words, and needing to run pornographic videos through a pastor's mind to convey simple facts. It's mind-blowingly astonishing, but hey, if Driscoll says it (and numerous commentors echo the sentiment), it must be true, right?

Wait, no. It's not. It's not any more true than any other aspect of this absurd story.

And frankly, if you've been intimating that the Spirit needs to communicate through (pornographic!) mental images, as though He couldn't just say it like you or I or billions of other sentient beings, stop being ridiculous. K thanks bye.

John said...

DJP, thanks for taking the time to reply. I appreciate you're doing that.

So, which of those passages has God showing pornographic movies of people someone actually knows in someone else's head? or shows God sometimes getting it wrong? I am not aware of any. However, am I correct in reading Isaiah 20:2-3 as God asking Isaiah to walk around naked?

This in itself seems to be pornographic. How would this fit in with this articles idea the Holy Spirit would never show Driscoll such visions if God has asked people to do lewd things?

I don't know Driscoll's track record on accuracy. If he fails at this sometimes, then he shouldn't be mentioning this at all.